Army 101 / Coping mechanisms / Finances / PCS / Red White 'N' Bows

“Happy new year; you’re still homeless.” Love, The U.S. Army

On December 31, 2013, I was ready to spend my first New Year’s Eve with my husband. We were both in the same state, both in the same country, and neither of us were preoccupied with deployments or wedding plans or much else, really, other than finally being together, and being a few short days away from the final part of our month-long, accident-ridden move.

Then, nine hours before 2014, we got a phone call from our new military housing development, informing us that our home would not be ready upon the new year, as scheduled. Or in the week after that either. Which they may as well have followed with, “Now go to the front desk at your hotel and ask them for a third time if you can extend your stay. Go ahead and dump the contents of your wallet and 401k into the hotel’s cash register while you’re there. We wouldn’t want you to have to make another trip to the lobby.”

Happy 2014

So we spent New Year’s Eve in our hotel room with takeout pizza and a five-dollar bottle of champagne. Jonathan was very enthusiastic about it.

I already mentioned that our biggest PCS mistake so far was waiting to apply for military housing. It’s one we definitely won’t be repeating, but we’re experiencing real consequences for it this time around. Although it’s not our fault that the housing is delayed, technically it’s not the army’s fault either, so we’re footing the bill for everything after our first 10 nights at the hotel; again, this is a common PCS problem, and it’s one I’ve been keeping at the back of my mind through this process. So although I was not pleased about the news, at least I was not blindsided by it.

The delayed housing also means that, by the time we are able to move into our new home, Jonathan’s Defense Language Institute class will have started. Translation: I’m going to have to negotiate Household Goods and the move-in without his help. But probably with a lot of chocolate.

As the West Coast clock struck midnight to close out 2013, my friend Jacki reminded me that a bad rehearsal superstitiously means a good performance. So we’ll call the first part of our PCS the dress rehearsal, and hope that the 2014 portion is one of broken legs and standing ovations.

I mean that “broken legs” thing metaphorically. Don’t get any ideas, universe.

The blessing in disguise about being stuck in hotel-land is that I’ve had a lot of downtime. Which I’ve filled with yarn.

Crochet Santa hats

Merry Christmas from the Houstons.

The dog’s Santa hat was the most difficult to make, and he did not appreciate my hard work.

A realer reason for filling this gifted time with crochet is that I’ve been able to practice and perfect new patterns, which means lots of new items are up for sale on my Etsy shop, Red White ‘N’ Bows.

Though I opened my Etsy shop for many reasons, a dominating one was that, upon moving to Fort Campbell and marrying my army man, we became a one-income family. Surviving on a soldier’s salary (plus benefits) is not at all impossible; thousands of families do it every day, and we’ve been getting along with enough food on the table. However, back-to-back incidents like my car accident, our extended hotel stay, and the time I freaked out because our dog ate a whole avocado and he has to go to the emergency vet or he might die are not covered comfortably in that salary.

(Yes; avocados can be dangerous for dogs. But our dog was fine. He’s just a little asshole who has figured out how to climb onto the counter.)

And when we look at plans for our future (having a family, eventually owning a home, the rising price of chocolate, etc.), a second income is more and more appealing. But the chances of my holding down my pre-army-wife career now that I am, in fact, an army wife, are relatively slim.

Starting and building a business means a lot of work, and it often means many failures, big and small, before it means success or profit. Etsy is a great platform for military spouses because its tools allow shop owners to work from anywhere; many of the tools also help shop owners run their businesses more simply and easily than starting from scratch. I’ve been impressed so far with the Etsy community and support, and I have great hopes to watch my business grow.

That having been said, I’m working hard to create more products, and to always increase their quality. Here are some of the new items up for sale:

Infinity Scarves

Infinity Scarves

Beanies

Beanies

Scarf and Hat Sets

Harry Potter Scarf Set

Fingerless Gloves

Fingerless Gloves

Berets

Slouched Berets

…and last but not least…

POLAR BEAR & PENGUIN HATS!

Polar Bear Hats

Penguin hat

And more on the way.

Thanks to all of you who first commented with suggestions for products; the credit for much of what I’ve learned goes to you guys. And even more thanks to those of you who have purchased from my shop. It’s been a joy to create pieces for my friends.

Though winter is still going strong, what crochet or yarn products would you like to see up for sale that can be used in warmer weather?

To all my East Coast friends: I hope you’ve all stayed safe and warm through the storm. You could probably use a polar bear hat.

0 thoughts on ““Happy new year; you’re still homeless.” Love, The U.S. Army

    • That’s the first thing Jonathan said I should make for the summer. And my first thought was…how best could I crochet a bikini that doesn’t show too much nipple? Then I realized that if I crocheted a bikini that DID show too much nipple, I’d be a real innovator. Nipples are the new black.

    • YES. I just have to whip up a few more prototypes in bigger sizes, because if I don’t cater to giant sunglasses, I’ve lost who I am.

      P.S. I originally was trying to make a little wristlet to hold treats for when I go running with my dog, because he’s a little shit who won’t listen to me unless food is involved. Then I was like…maybe I just need to buy pants with some pockets. Because when you’re sitting on your couch on Saturday night crocheting a treat pouch for your dog, you need to stop and remember you’re in your 20s.

  1. Do you have any other animal patterns in your repertoire? I bike to & from work and my closet is sadly lacking in the hats-with-ear-flaps department. I would love to rock a Red White & Bows hat! Could you make a cow?

  2. I would like cinch sacks for jewelry so that they don’t get all lost in my gym bag! (rings, necklaces, earrings). I think other summer-time things would be narrower headbands, and beach bags.

    Happy new year, btw. Sorry you’re stuck in a hotel, but I’m glad you’re stuck with family :)

    • Hahah I wish I had a dollar for every one of my body parts I’ve measured since starting this shop!

      If you do have a seamstress ruler and can measure your head, I can create a perfect fit for you, but it’s definitely not necessary. When you place your order, just leave me a note saying your head runs a bit larger, and I’ll up the size a bit for you!

      P.S. I don’t fit into any of the “standard” hat and headband sizes either…my head is so small I can almost fit into the child size ones. It’s SUPER annoying trying to find hats that fit me, so I’m with you on this one.

  3. I would also love to see a bikini as my hubby and I will be living in Belize for several months. You could sew little patches of fabric in the cups and crotch to cover the private areas.

    Good luck to you guys on your adventures :)

    Silke

  4. You could do bags of all sorts, or baskets! These all look fantastic! Would you mind sharing your pattern for the beanies? I have been crocheting for so long but have just stared doing things fancy like. Yours work is wonderful! Also I am sorry to hear that the housing situation is happening! I hope things turn around soon.

  5. Pingback: Our biggest PCS mistakes, abridged | Army Pants and Flip Flops

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