June 2nd, 2010

On Pins And Needles

A few weeks ago, Micah received a phone call from his Lt. (for those of you who don't know, Micah is in the Coast Guard as a reservist) stating that due to this huge oil spill down in the Gulf, all reservists were being put on standby for the foreseeable future. What's more, reservists from Sector Anchorage would be sent down to help with the containment and cleanup efforts.

Now the way the CG works is that reservists do their monthly drills as well as a few weeks a year of active duty, usually at another base or somewhere out of the area. Normally, Micah either goes to the CG base in Kodiak, AK for training and/or goes to Bethel to conduct inspections at all the small villages along the Kuskokwim River. This year, they have him scheduled to go to Bethel for a week and a half, which he normally would look forward to, but wouldn't you know it? They have him scheduled to leave THE DAY camp begins. Figures. Oh well.

In addition to that, they're sending him down to Virgina to go to a three-week training school to get some additional qualifications signed off. That's scheduled for July-August.

All that looked to be on hold when he got the initial call.

You see, even though reservists are scheduled for drills, they have to always be ready to respond in case of an emergency. Once they receive the call to be activated, they are given 48 hours notice for departure.

Just for the record, 48 hours is not a lot of time.

I guess that's why the Coast Guard motto is "Semper Paratus", Latin for "Always Ready."

We held our breaths for the rest of that evening, requesting prayer for the situation during church service, and holding each other close as we went to sleep. Micah was scheduled to go in for a drill the next day so it was convenient timing as he was able to get some more information.

Turns out that he wouldn't be going... yet. Instead, the Coast Guard would be activating the reservists in waves, sending them doing for 60 days at a time. Micah wouldn't be going with the first wave, but he was to be on standby for the next 6 months to a year.

(Yes, the cleanup will be going on for that long. According to the CG, rough estimates show that each day that oil continues to spill adds AT LEAST another week to the clean up. That's a long time considering that it's been going on for six weeks already.)

This has had us on pins and needles for the last few weeks, and as of yesterday, we received another call.

After asking about what qualifications Micah already had, his Lt. informed him that more orders would be coming in and that he may be receiving a call in the near future.

Back to holding our breath.

Later that afternoon, Micah received another call from one of the yeoman, which are the paper pushers of the CG. She informed Micah that the orders had come in, but that the departure date wasn't as soon as they had anticipated. So the Lt. couldn't call until that 48 hour window hit. BUT, the preliminary list had been drawn up and Micah was near the top.

So now we're just waiting. Micah's 90% sure that he'll be sent out with this wave. I guess we'll find out in a bit. As it is, he's at the CG office right now turning in Caleb's birth certificate so he can get the increase in pay that comes with additional dependents.

If... or rather... when Micah gets called, he'll be stationed one of four places (but he can't remember what the names are) and will assist with the cleanup and containment of the oil spill for the next 60 days. I'm not sure what happens once he returns, if that will be it or if he'll be sent back after another period. I guess it all depends on how much of the spill is left.

Part of us is excited, because it means a HUGE financial benefit (which would be so nice with paying off bills and saving up for a house), as well as Micah actually being able to do what he is trained to do, instead of sitting at a desk doing paperwork, like most of his drills.

But at the same time, it means being away from Caleb and I- something he is not looking forward to. But if he has to be away from us, at least it's now, instead of later when he might miss one of the "firsts", like crawling, walking, or talking.

And as for the time frame, in the end, the summer is better, because Emily is here to help take care of Caleb, and Becky has the summer off from teaching as well, so she can watch him too.

On the other hand, summer is the most active part of the year for us, so it means missing camping trips, hiking, going clamming, not to mention the huge family reunion down in Montana come July.

Yet, it actually would be better for him to go in the summer because if he got sent any other time of year, then we'd have to find a babysitter or day care for Caleb, which get super expensive, not to mention that it would cause Micah to miss school, setting him back a whole semester, which would cause him to graduate late.

It's never convenient, is it?

Right now, Micah and I are simply praying, "Your will be done." We don't know what the future holds or even what we WANT the future to hold. I guess that's actually for the best- it's when our wants are out of the way that God can have complete control. After all, He knows best.

So now it's just sitting... waiting...

Pins and needles are very uncomfortable...

...I'm just saying.

m.