to honorably separate from the Seagoing Military Force at my end of active obligated service (EAOS) on 18 May 2009. All other goals are either subordinate to this one or are set in order to support this one; most notably, this includes my current financial and relationship plans.In specifying that I desire an honorable separation at the end of my term, I want to emphasize that getting out of the Navy at any cost is not in consideration. For one, I'd like to avoid any black mark that would accompany an other-than-honorable discharge; for two, I don't actively dislike any of the people I closely work with. Jumping ship at this juncture would royally hose them, and they don't deserve that.
That having been said, if you haven't already figured it out, I am not re-enlisting in the Navy, and I'd advise anyone who wishes to convince me otherwise to spare their energies and not even open the argument. At some point in the future, I may clearly elucidate all the reasons for this stance in an entry. Check that - it'd be at least a three-part series. Tonight's focus is on the ways that this decision affects me now, specifically those "financial and relationship" plans.
When it comes to money, there are two major things I want to be able to do when I conclude my active-duty service. The first is to fully finance the Post-Navy Roadtrip without outside help. Being as I'm still over a year and a half from getting on the road, I may yet decide to bring one or more others along, but I don't want to be compelled to do so to make the trip a reality in financial terms. The second thing is to be able to live off my savings for at least six months without taking government assistance. I don't foresee being unemployed or otherwise idle for that long; after the PNR, I'll be looking for a full-time job, or possibly pulling a Chris Weinke and going back to school somewhere to finish my undergraduate studies. Hey, I've got the GI Bill; the government is squeezing me for all it can get; why shouldn't I return the favor? But if I end up not working, I want to be self-sufficient for a fair bit of time, which should be long enough to plot the course of the next phase of my life. To these ends, I'm currently saving fairly aggressively. About forty cents of every dollar of my take-home pay ends up in my money market savings account, which pulls an interest rate of better than four percent. Thus far, I've been able to live within these restrictions; it shouldn't be too hard to continue doing so. And when we get back to Groton, I'll be living out in town (I'm never going back into the barracks), but I intend to heavily curtail my social activities. That, combined with whatever underway time the ship's schedule gives us, should help keep expenses low. It also means the Minivan o' War isn't going anywhere, and I won't be making any other unnecessary large purchases. Unlike my roommate, I'm not going to "spend money to save money" (Ray bought and custom-built a tricked-out desktop computer, which serves to occupy gianormous chunks of his free time).
Deciding not to stay in the Navy also means that a long-term relationship is on the back burner, at least until I get out - and marriage and children are completely off the table. I'm no doubt applying a broad generalization here, but I can't think of a single thing that will drain my bank account more quickly than a girlfriend for whom I'm constantly buying things. I'm also concerned about the possibility of a woman falling for the uniform (vice the man wearing it), and since the uniform has a guaranteed expiration date, that would either completely blow up in my face, or subject me to a nagging pressure to re-up. Knowing that I'll be moving out of this area in about five months also works against me, to say nothing of where I might want to go after I get out. Preserving that freedom of mobility in the post-Navy era is very important. One of my friends (if you're on the Submersible Death Trap, you'll know who I'm talking about) has a spouse who so adores southeastern Connecticut that they bought a house there earlier this year. This essentially locked him into not only re-enlisting, but taking crappy orders just to stay in Groton - because he loses money if he sells his house so soon after buying it. Don't get me wrong, I'm still trying (and failing repeatedly) to rid myself of the nagging one-word, six-letter descriptor in the upper left box of this blog. But in that realm, there's a bright line that I'm not willing to cross - no matter how I might feel about any given woman, I will not, will not, WILL NOT re-enlist for one.
Briefly on baseball, since I have duty tomorrow: Congrats to the Red Sox on their second World Series win of the decade, and I'm in full agreement with those members of their Nation present in Denver last night, who chanted "don't sign A-Rod!" The team that picks up the most expensive player never to appear in the Fall Classic can virtually assure itself of not reaching the World Series with him on the roster. A-Rod's persona looms over everything, and by opting out of the final three years of his deal, it's clear that he's more concerned with the number of American dollars in his bank account than the number of championship rings in his trophy case. And both men showed bad form by vetting word of the move just minutes prior to the Sox closing out the Rockies. Quite understandably, Major League Baseball was not pleased. And as much as it pains me to praise the Yankees, big up to them for refusing to jump into the sweepstakes. The fact that he wouldn't even sit down with the Bombers and let them make their case is more than enough evidence that this is someone the Yanks don't need going forward.