Wednesday, May 20, 2015

OPSEC- Loose Lips Sink Ships

Life in the Military is... secretive. 

Or at least, it's SUPPOSED to be! Not everyone grasps that concept: Including Military Spouses. 
Instead, spouses are quick to share sensitive information, especially when they are sad or lonely. 

On social media sites you'll see a status update of something that resembles this:

"I'm dreading Steve leaving in 3 days. Sometimes, I hate the military"
"Dropping Steve off in San Diego. So thankful we were able to see him board"
"YAY! I just heard from Steve! Hopefully he'll pick me up a nice purse while he's in Italy! #amore"
"My heart will be home in 2 days! Time to clean the house and shave these hairy legs!"

Spouses, may I blatantly tell you: SHUT THE EFF UP!

Is it to seek attention from your other friends so they can support you? 
If so, tell them in person or call them (without giving out too many details) but do it privately; NOT blast it for the world to know!
Is it because you're proud and you want everyone to know the sacrifices your family is making? hint: Heroes don't ask to be put on a pedestal. 

Let me introduce you to my friends: OPSEC, PERSEC and COMSEC

  • Don't discuss future destinations or ports of call
  • Don't discuss future operations or missions
  • Don't discuss dates and times of when they will be in port or conducting exercises
  • Don't discuss readiness issues and numbers
  • Don't discuss specific training equipment
  • Don't discuss people's names and billets in conjunction with operations
  • Don't speculate about future operations
  • Don't spread rumors about operations
  • Don't assume the enemy is not trying to collect information on you so he can kill you, he is
  • Be smart, use your head, and always think OPSEC and COMSEC when using email or phone
For Social Media: 
  • Don't check-in on sites such as Facebook, Four-square, Instagram, etc. 
  • Don't list your specific job or your spouse's specific job.
  • DO NOT use a picture of your spouse in uniform as your profile picture or banner
  • Don't update everyone when your spouse leaves or is in the process of coming home. 
  • Don't ask for prayers when your spouse is in "work mode" or in a "dangerous area". (psssst Downtown LA doesn't count as hostile duty.)
  • Don't post pictures of your spouse in uniform with other information available (such as ship name).
  • NEVER EVER use a count-down or count-up timer. EVER.
  • Don't tag other people in status' or photographs that relay ANY of this information mentioned above.
It's funny, smart phones have become too smart for the average user. They are collecting TONS of sensitive information and the user blindly goes along with it. 
It's scary as hell
Make sure your computer is protected (and I don't mean with a dust cover over it) and your smart phone doesn't have unknown apps or unnecessary access to your personal information. We all like to candy crush, but it doesn't need to post to other peoples pages. Know what I'm sayin'?
Assume that you have stalkers!  Even if it's the spouse in the command that you can't stand who is constantly trying to figure out what you're up to. Assume that SOMEONE is looking at your "private" public stuff. Cuz you know they are. Haters. 
Operations SecurityProtecting critical information about military movement or operations.
If you're posting that your spouse leaves in 2 days and that you're dropping him off in San Diego and you're Facebook friends with every other spouse in the command, what do you think a stranger can figure out from that information?

The puzzle pieces begin to fit together to form the big picture: This stalker now has a ships roster, pictures of people in uniform (GET THOSE UNIFORMS OFF YOUR PROFILE PICS!) and if things aren't set to private then what? I can follow your friend's posts/photographs and keep collecting valuable information. 

The Ten OPSEC and COMSEC Points:
Take an interactive quiz about OPSEC here:

What is PERSEC? 

Personal Security: It's that information that isn't part of Military Operations but could put you in a dangerous situation (and can add viable information that could lead to OPSEC).

Do you have stickers on the back of your vehicle? Do you have any "proud Navy wife" or "1/2 my heart is in Iraq"? Do you have a cute little stick figure family? what about one that resembles this? 
If you have this on your car, I will personally kick your ass. 

This is known as a pedophile menu. It's especially effective if you have a sticker of where your child attends school. Bonus points if you list names or any extracurricular activities. TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Tell your kids you're proud; don't shout it to the world. 

What is COMSEC?
Communications Security: Measures taken to prevent cricital or sensitive information from unauthorized  persons information from devices such as computer, telephone or smart phone. 

Ever heard of Metadata? Your phone has, and so has the enemy. 
It's the data that lists the location of where your status updates are done or where photos are taken. 
It gives longitude and latitude coordinates and guess what? Google can show them EXACTLY where you are. 


Act like a "normal" civilian family. A lack of big announcements or news will not attract attention. I know this is heartbreaking as we all want to SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOPS THAT WE LOVE OUR MILITARY MEMBERS but that kind of attention is also attracting the wrong kind of attention: from the enemy. 

Diary of a Military spouse: working vs stay-at-home

Working wife:
Day 1 hectic but satisfying 
Day 145: I took a sick day to be home by myself
Day 289: what is this "fun" thing they keep talking about? I'm drowning in chores and a constant work load
Day 568: ALL I WANT IS A STAY-CATION! But I know all I'll end up doing is laundry and cleaning the house. 

Stay at home:
Day 1: stayed in my pajamas
Day 145: I took a sick day but the kids just laughed at me and asked for lunch
Day 289: I did all the housework and decided we could have a little fun. However, there's still 5 days left until payday so it has to be "free" kind of fun. Like the playground or water sprinkler.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hair affair

So you know those days, when your spouse is gone on deployment, you think to yourself: "Self, I need a new look. You know, one that screams 'I AM AN AMAZING WOMAN' or some crazy statement like that?"
Well, today was one of those days.
Here's what I looked like before:
Horns growing out of my head, red eyes and silver talons. Some say I was possessed and that I scared small children. I knew I needed to do SOMETHING (and thanks to my special friend for taking this very flattering photo of me)
I figured since I'm a natural demon, I can't very well change my red eyes or my penchant for scaring small children, but I CAN change my hair color.
Could one could call that hair color above as a "dishwater blonde with evil lowlights"?
I needed a change. But since I have two small children, no daycare and low on funds, I did what any sane woman would do (and without her husband around to stop her).

I went to Sally's beauty supply and bought a very large tub of hair bleach. Hurried home and mixed up the evil concoction in my cauldron.

But my reserved self said "wait.. let's not do anything CRAZY without at least testing it first." So, I did a test strip- a RACING STRIPE. If I was going to mess up, at least I wanted to make it look intentional.

I checked every 5 minutes or so until I figured it was drastic enough.
This is how it came out when it was washed and dried.

So, I walked around for a day like that to see how I liked the color (or lack thereof) and started to have a little pep in my step.
That next night- I did my whole head.
After shampoo, I was left with glowing blonde locks of dripping sunshine.

Of course, this wasn't enough for me. Many years ago I was a yellowhead (that's what I call this shade) and had nightmares of Big Bird teaching me how to count.
I needed to tone it down a notch.... WITH PURPLE!!!!

Don't worry, it doesn't stay purple. Toner just counteracts the yellow. You know that color wheel you learned in science or art class? No? Well, don't blame you. But at least SOMETHING I learned in school relates to the real world (EAT YOUR HEART OUT TRIGONOMETRY!)
This was the result:

WOOHOOO! I made it! I look like I successfully entered the Witness Protection Program!
I had a new head of hair that made me feel like a million bucks.

Hold on, let me take a selfie.

Demon was EXORCISED!

Blondes do have more fun and in the great words of my favorite platinum blonde singer:

This SH!T is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s...

Take that military lifestyle- I kicked you in the balls! I saved money by doing it myself WHILE watching my kids since my husband is gone. 

  Cuz I ain't no HOLLA BACK GIRL, ain't no hollar back girl!!!....


(For those of you wanting to know what I used and for how long: know that I'm not a professional stylist or cosmetologist- obviously, so I claim ZERO (nada) responsibility if you follow my method)

Hair length:
Wella ColorCharm powder lightener (bleach)
30 volume developer
left on for 45 minutes

Wella colorcharm powder lightener (bleach)
20 volume developer
left on for 15 minutes

Wella ColorCharm T-18  with 20vol developer 1:2 ratio
Applied to towel dried hair, Left in for 4 minutes
(it started turning my bleach blonde hair a silver/gray color so I then applied the Wella ColorCharm T-11 over it for 6 minutes. I think I'll stick with T-11 from now on.)

Schwarzkopf Bonacure Color Save Silver Shampoo
(this purple shampoo is actually making my hair whiter the more I use it as it's taking more and more of the yellow out. SCORE! I only shampoo about twice a week)

Deep Condition weekly

And say it with me: youtube is our FRIEND!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Join the Navy, Own a Home!

Moving all around the world definitely has it's perks; living in an exotic locations like Hawaii or sunny southern California. Civilians see this as a feat that they would never be able to afford and get the chance to do- which is why many sailors join the navy in the first place.
What's that motto? Join the Navy, SEE THE WORLD!

Well, those civilians would be correct: they probably can't afford to live in some of these locations and a military family's ability to do so may seem... frivolous as the Navy PAYS you to live there. Many understand it as we receive FREE housing. Hmmmm. Free rent? This MUST be a perk, right? Military families don't have to pay rent out of pocket? Wellllllllll, not so fast there, Kemo Sabe. There's a reason the government pays this and many of us don't take the time to understand exactly WHY.

Well, lets break it down, shall we?


Houses cost more in areas like Hawaii verses Oklahoma, right? Yes, MUCH more. So if "free" housing wasn't available to the military, how could they afford to live in homes in that exotic Hawaii location that cost in excess of $1 Million Dollars (for a two bedroom, non A/C, carport home) when they only make, say, $40,000 a year?

Short answer: They would be living in a tent.

What's that brah'? Need another tarp? Mahalo!

That "free" housing is just a housing development that is adequate enough to provide suitable living arrangements and a safe living environment so no one is living in a tent or in a shady neighborhood where their family would be in danger.

The housing development takes all of a members Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) as listed in item "B" below. So, in essence, we are paying for housing.


A- Service Member gets paid a base pay rate that is determined by his number of years and his rank (advancement, like moving up in the corporate world).

B- Service Member gets paid a housing allowance that is determined by his rank (that advancement thing again), whether or not he/she has dependents (scoff! I LOATHE this word!) also known as a spouse and/or children AND by the location where the service member is living. Yes, this rate changes depending on where the military member is living as it's based off the economy of that area.

 A+B= C (final amount of paycheck)

Let's take a sailor who has been in the Navy for 10 years, at the position of an E-6 and lives in Hawaii.

A (base pay)= $3,331 a month (annual salary $39,972 before taxes)  pay chart found here
B (housing allowance)= $2,952 a month (annual allowance $35,424)  Allowance chart found here
C (total amount)= $75,396 annual salary or a family of 4 to live in Hawaii (before taxes).

Yes, $75,396 annually to live like kings in Hawaii. This includes housing, utilities, food... the works!

The only crown I could afford in Hawaii

Wait, you can't live like kings on that amount? WHAT THE EFF?
Oh, you mean I should live in the "free" housing that the military provides so I can afford to eat and not live in a tent? That means you receive your "free" house but now your paycheck is once again down to...

$39,972 annually (before taxes)

You just paid $35,424 to live in base housing.

BUT you have adequate housing that is safe and in some cases, very nice. I currently reside in one of those nice areas and am soooo happy! In other cases, your washer/dryer hookups are outside in a carport, you don't have A/C and the lead paint is chipping of the wall (but don't worry, just don't let your toddler crawl on the floor then put their hands in their mouth....TRUE STORY!)


Let's throw a few scenarios out there to explain why this housing is available and why military often cannot afford to own a home where they are residing:

Housing allowance numbers are based on the Base Pay Annual Salary (A) of:
E-3 payrate (working in the military for 3 years): $2,034.90 = $24,418.80 annually before taxes
E-7 payrate (working in the miliary for 18 years): $4,323.90 = $51,886.80 annually before taxes


Median Home value: $477,400
Mortgage calculator says monthly payment would be: $3,060.08

E-3  with a spouse/child receives $1,800  (single/no kids $1,350
E-7 with a spouse/child receives $2,388  (single/no kids $1,809)


So that means...

 The E-3 with family makes a total of $46,018 a year total in California. CALIFORNIA! If they decide to live in base housing, their annual pay goes back down to $24,418.80 and they paid $21,600 for their "free" housing.

The E-7 with a family makes $80,542.80 annually in California. If they live in "free housing" then they pay $28,656 and their annual pay is now back down to $57,886.80. 


Median home value: $700,633  (home prices Kailua, Kaneohe and Honolulu averaged)
Mortgage calculator says monthly payment would be: $4,490.98

E-3 with a spouse/child receives $2,607  (single/no kids $1,956)
E-7 with a spouse/child receives $3,189  (single/no kids $2,613)


So that means: 
The  E-3 with 3 years in and has a family makes a total of $55,702.80 a year total in Hawaii. HAWAII! If they decide to live in base housing, their annual pay goes back down to $24,418.80 and they paid $31,284 for their "free" housing.

The E-7 with 18 years in and has a family makes $96,154.8 annually. If they live in "free housing" then they pay $38,268 and their annual pay is now back down to $57,886.80. 


Median home value: $250,229
Mortgage calculator says monthly payment would be: $1,603.94

E-3 with a spouse/child receives $1,380  (single/no kids $1,077)
E-7 with a spouse/child receives $1,815  (single/no kids $1,389)


So that means: 
The  E-3 with 3 years in and has a family makes a total of $40,978.80 a year total in Virginia. If they decide to live in base housing, their annual pay goes back down to $24,418.80 and they paid $16,560 for their "free" housing.

The E-7 with 18 years in and has a family makes $79,666.80 annually in Virginia. If they live in "free housing" then they pay $21,780 and their annual pay is now back down to $57,886.80. 


Bam! What? Wasn't what you were expecting? How's that "free" housing that you pay for treating you now? And do NOT get me started on how much it costs for utilities/food/gas in that area!!!

I wonder if civilians truly realize how much military members make? I know some who think that we have a sweet deal (in other ways we do!) and believe we make fist fulls of money, to which they have said and I quote: "WHY DO YOU NEED A MILITARY DISCOUNT TO THE THEME PARK AND I HAVE TO PAY FULL PRICE? YOU GET FREE HOUSING!" (again, true story!)
Which prompted me to do my research.

Sound off and let me know your own experiences! Mahalo!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Welcome to The Misadventures of a Military Spouse!

I hope that you find my rants entertaining AND truthful, yet deeply thought provoking, but definitely relatable.

I guarantee, that at any given time, you will be offended by something that you read here. Please be advised that you take risk when your greedy little eyes consume the honest truths of the world of Military Spouses. I'll make fun of some things, I'll throw the bullshit flag on others and I will NOT apologize for it- for this is my viewpoint and my experience. I encourage you to share your own expertise to allow us to exercise our critical thinking skills.

If you'd like to proceed, then let's cast away that anchor and FULL SPEED AHEAD!