We are in a hold pattern. Circling the tarmac. Anxiously awaiting permission to land. Our fuel is getting low. Today marks 90 days since retirement. At midnight we officially turned into pumpkins. Luckily we have Plan A + Plan B (and Plan C, D, E and more!) but it doesn’t relieve the stress. Waiting is hard.

Usually when a soldier retires, he keeps many of his military benefits like access to the commissary, px (post exchange), fuel and more. However, we are in Germany. In Germany those things are tied to our SOFA or work visa. It’s an agreement between the governments to regulate what Americans can, and can’t, do in Germany. For us this means we can get on base, see our friends, but we can’t shop, fill up the car, use the mail room or even workout in the gym.

At midnight even our guest access to base almost went away. Earlier this week we saw Star Wars, and driving onto post the gate guard wished us a good trip home and we realized, our IDs were set to expire completely. Yesterday Dave & I drove back to extend our access. Dave just spent 50+ days in the states, extending his 90 days here. I’m a Dutch citizen, not here under SOFA but as an EU citizen.

Extending our base access was easy. We’re not pumpkins! And while in the queue to update the IDs, Dave’s email beeped. The final touches are being put on the offer. All we still need are the official salary & benefits package and then onboarding can begin. Onboarding that includes new SOFA status, new permission to remain in Germany. Until then, after the holidays, he’ll need to be back in America, working with Papa, printing those alien t-shirts, while we wait.

I’ve got fingers + toes crossed. Candles lit. Hopes high. I’m praying the paperwork comes through before I’m once again a single parent without my partner in crime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly capable of doing it all on my own. I just don’t like it. I really don’t like it in winter.

Especially in a winter where light rain looks like this: