As I've mentioned before we live 3.5 hours away from the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Stations) as well as the Headquarters. MEPS is were the the Poolees actually contract to join the Marine Corps. Their paperwork is screened and verified and they receive their physical and such. (For more info click here). It is also where the applicants go to ship to boot camp. The headquarters is where Mike's command is. He goes there for training, meetings, events, etc.
Because the MEPS station is so far away, Mike's office has a shuttle service. Most stations do not, however the recruiters only drive an hour or two. He has to drive almost four hours to drop off Poolees and then 4 hours back. Because applicants stay overnight, this means that the recruiter must be on the road for 2 days. He must either drive up there on one day and drive back and return the next day, or drive up and stay over night. This process may need to be repeated more than once a week. Overall it is very time consuming for the recruiters who have many other tasks they need to accomplish rather than driving for two or three days. This is why the shuttle service was established in the first place.
His station is odd in that it can use two different MEPS. I am confused on the whole process, but some Poolees can qualify and contract at one location but must ship out from another. Like I said, I don't understand the whole process, but it does mean that Mike has to drive up to one location to pick up the records and contracts and then drive home. The following day he must drive in the opposite direction and drop them off at the other location. This is 2 more days out of his schedule and there is no shuttle service for this task. I'm not sure why they don't use one location or the other and why they must use both, but again, I'm not the recruiter. Just the spouse.
Today is Thursday. On Monday Mike was home by 8:30pm which was a nice change of pace. He's been working very late these last few weeks. He arrived home just in time to tell the kids good night. On Tuesday his XO came down from Headquarters. Usually this means he has to go to dinner with them. Anytime someone comes down from Headquarters they generally go out to dinner that night. This time they did not do dinner, however he still did not arrive home before 8:00pm. Wednesday he drove up to MEPS to take his applicants to contract. He had to wait for other Poolees to bring them back. They didn't finish until late, so for his own safety he stayed there overnight.
Today he is suppose to be driving back when the remainder of the applicants are finished. I don't expect him before 9pm tonight. Tomorrow is Friday and he has to drive for training, which can be to any recruiting station in the area. The closest being 1.5 hours away. He's home this weekend, but that only means that he will be in town. Saturday he has a pool function. He'll probably leave the house around 8am and won't return again until 1pm. Sunday we'll go to church in the morning and from there he'll go to work. He has a Poolee shipping to boot camp and he'll be there to send him off and meet with the family. Another Recruiter will be driving him to MEPS this time, so Mike will be able to spend some time with us.
Monday he'll be back to work, running around again. It's hard to be without him so often. I never know when he'll be home and when he'll be away. Last night the plan was for him to come back home and he wasn't able to. We've been on Marine Corps Recruiting duty for a year, and I'm still not used to it. It's hard to plan things when I never know when he'll be here. Maybe the week is just wearing down on me, but it's been a long week.
Maybe the weekend will be better. We have plans to visit friends on Sunday, so that should be fun.