Then in 2001 the phone company tanked. Theo and I were both without a job. We had just bought a house, but because of the money we were making and unemployment we were financially secure for a few months. We lived it up that summer! We went to the beach, the gym and spent every moment together just being bums.
When money started to get tight Theo got him a job at a car dealership. He showed real promise and was the top seller of the new guys his first month. In 3 short months he would get put on Insurance and we thought things were starting to look up for us again.
A month before Theo was eligible for insurance I got pregnant.
We thought, "What great timing! You have a good job, and soon we'll be covered.". But the dealership had other ideas. Apparently they have a system that once their new employees reach 3 months they fire them instead of paying for their insurance coverage.
I was pregnant and now we were both jobless with no means of insurance. Theo had mentioned several times since we had been dating that he was really interested in the Coast Guard. I always put an end to that dream because I was not going to be a military wife whose husband was gone all the time. But now with a kid on the way the security of the Coast Guard was looking really good.
We went to a recruiter and talked to them, they assured me that Theo could get stationed in plenty of places without having to go on a boat. His word cinched the deal and Theo signed his life away to the United States Coast Guard. Before I knew it he was heading out to boot camp for 4 months.
They say that Coast Guard boot camp is "mentally" the hardest boot camp you could go through. This is Theo after a week of hardly any sleep and working through a bug he caught while there. He just looks drained to me. But he did it, and I had no doubt that he would make it through. He's really calm and laid back, but he's also really competitive, especially with himself.
It was a long 4 months, but it was the last few hours during the graduation ceremony that was the hardest. I hadn't seen him for months and he had to stay at attention in line and couldn't speak or move. I spotted him in line, but even though he was just a few feet away from me I couldn't go to him. Our friend Mark Romesburg, who also was a Master Chief in the CG took this picture of our first embrace after 4 long months!
So that is the story of our Coast Guard conversion. Other than having some deployment time when we were stationed in CA, which wasn't at sea, Theo hasn't been on a boat. 10 years of land billets. I know my luck has to be running out and that it is only a matter of time before he might be forced to do some sea time, but it sure has been a fun 10 years traveling the country and having kids all along the way. The security the Coast Guard gives has more than made this military life worth it. I hope I'll still be saying that after the next 10.