1. What can break, will. Cars, diswashers, air conditioners, bones — you name it. The day you kiss your soldier goodbye you can consider all of this stuff as good as broken.

2. Who can hassle you, will. Sometimes it will even seem like people are seeking you out just to hassle you. At some point during the deployment I PROMISE YOU someone, probably even someone working for the military, will tell you that the service member has to be present in order for her to handle your problem. This person will look at your copy of his orders as if she’s never heard of such a thing. Power of Attorney will mean nothing to her. Which brings us to…

3. Whatever kind of Power of Attorney you have will not be the right one. Sure, go ahead, by all means get a general POA before he goes. (snicker, snicker) That won’t even work with the cell phone company, though they’ll never be able to explain why it’s not good enough. Your real estate POA won’t work for getting a car titled. Your vehicle POA won’t work to refinance the house. Whatever you have - it’s going to be wrong.

4. What documents can be needed, will. No matter how many documents you bring with you when leave for an extended stay with relatives in another state, you will not have *the document* you need. Feeling smug because you remembered to bring all the birth certificates, social security cards, shot records, DEERS enrollment forms, marriage license, TRICARE cards, orders, powers of attorney, mail forwarding confirmation, all of that? Ha! You forgot your passport, or the PADI card you got when you were 15, or your Sam’s Club membership card or who knows what else. Even if you haven’t needed it in 10 years, you will need it within weeks of arriving at your destination 1,000 miles away.

5. What children can get hurt, will. Your normally safety-conscious child will channel the spirit of Evel Knievel. Go ahead and figure out the quickest route to the ER. You’re going to be making lots of visits. Also,

6. What pets can get sick, will. And it won’t be anything cheap or easy. You will probably have to make some sort of quality-of-life decision. Ask your husband what he’d want you to do in that situation before he leaves because, odds are, when it does happen the phones and internet will be down where he is and you won’t get to ask for his input until it’s too late.

7. What natural disasters can happen, will. Assess what you’re at risk for (hurricanes, tornados, flooding, earthquakes, mudslides, snowstorms, etc.) based on where you live and prepare for it. Maybe it hasn’t happened in years, decades even, but chances are good that this will be the year. (Bonus: If your luck is as good as mine was this past year, you’ll go into labor in the middle of it. Prepare for that, too.)

8. What money can disappear, will. Maybe it’s because of all the extra repairs you’ll be paying for, or maybe the military pay people will screw up on the LES and decide that you only need to be paid $800 for the month of December (that really happened to us) or maybe you’re just spending too much. Whatever happens, you’ll be very happy later if you set some money aside in savings now.

9. Who can be stupid, will. Last summer I had a cable company employee tell me over the phone that I could mail my cable box in after I explained to her that the service rep I’d spoken to before told me I didn’t need to return it and that I had since left town and wouldn’t be back in my home for several months. I paused and then asked her if she usually travels with her cable box. “No,” she said, not getting where I was going with that. “Well, I don’t either,” I said. Expect lots of conversations like that.

10. What relationship drama can happen, will. Odds are, someone close to you will get divorced this year. Some wife in your FRG will probably catch her husband cheating, or vice versa. Two good friends will decide to become enemies and they’ll put you in the middle. Just be ready, it’s going to happen.

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