I know this is something that a lot of people can’t relate to.... because this ‘lifestyle’ seems to have a lot of things that others can’t relate to. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

Background: Every 2 years, you are required to take ‘Home Leave’... or as a lot of people call it, ‘homeless leave’. So while we’re more or less permanently living overseas, we have to spend 20 working days (4 weeks) in the US, by law. For a lot of people, this means staying with family, hopping around or paying for a hotel/airbnb/etc while they’re back in the US. Granted, we get home leave ‘leave’ so we still get paid, but none of the expenses of actually staying in the US are paid. You can imagine how this gets FUN when you have kids or pets.

Because we’re also in between tours at that point (that’s when most people take home leave), we’re also doing things to prep for the next tour. Doing any shopping for consumables, clothes for a new climate, anything else we might want/need to send. So things get expensive.

Current gripe: Many months ago, my dad said my animals could stay with them during home leave. Most of my family and friends are on the East Coast. I wanted a home base for them so they only have to move back to the US and then onward to Argentina, not bouncing around. Also, there’s a vet less than a mile down the road that’s ‘in the family’. I wouldn’t have to pay an arm and leg for their boarding either. I was assured during Christmas in the US that this was still fine. Until tonight, when my dad tells me they can’t stay there because ‘the inn is full.’ My step-brother (he’s a few years older than me) is currently living with them after a divorce/selling his house. He has a dog and 2 cats. My dad/step mom have 2 cats that don’t get along with his, so they rotate days outside in the house. I have 2 cats and a dog. I understand why, but he also said the dog now isn’t getting along with other dogs lately.

So the basic bedrock that my whole home leave plans rested upon is now gone.

We have to fly to Hawaii (I know this is where it gets whiney) because that’s our home leave point of record and i’d like to spend a week or so there. The flight is paid for in my transfer between posts, so we’d have to pay all the costs, but not the flights. So we knew there would be a little more expense... but now it’s just going to get out of hand.

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Boarding all the animals is going to cost at least $1500 for the times we need, and that’s not the whole time. Plus possible hotel fees for when we might need them to stay with us for shots. Plus all the vet stuff we need to do anyway will now be done in the DC area instead of being cheaper where my dad lives. And also, I DIDNT WANT TO BOARD MY ANIMALS.

I’m already stressing about how we’re going to see family and actually get some down time during our ‘break’ between posts. I was stressing about how i can actually get the animals there and how i can fit that into gov’t flight regulations so i don’t have to pay a fuck-ton more for shipping them. And now this. I just keep seeing dollar signs adding up and more logistical nightmares.