Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Leave aka Vacation days

Leave can be a complicated thing. Mainly because you want to maximize your time off and so you really need to think wisely how and when you want to use it.

You have what they call 'Leave' aka vacation days and you have what they call 'Pass' days. Pass days or Comp days are given to you occasionally. They are days you get to take off that you don't have to use any of your leave for. For example, Top Gun's commander was pleased with his office for doing really well on an inspection so he gave them all a Comp day.

You are the property of the Air Force. Therefore, weekends are not "off" like any other normal job. However, each weekend your are essentially given 'pass' days and don't have to go to work. You may be asking why I am mentioning this. Well it's because I'm hoping it will help you better understand the following.

If you want to take a vacation from say Thursday to a Tuesday. You would think you would only need to take 4 days of leave, Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. Wrong. You would have to take 6 days leave and count the weekend. If you are away from your base X amount of miles you must take leave. I think this is stupid, for a lack of a better word. Because you can however
go out of town X amount of miles away from base on a Saturday morning and as long as you return by Monday morning at 7:30 to report to work then you don't need to take leave.

This works for holiday's as well. If you leave the 23rd of December and say it's on a Friday and come back the 26th, a Monday. You'd think cool, I only need to take 1 day leave, the 23rd. Wrong, you'd have to count the whole weekend as leave if you went X amount of miles away from your base. The point is why use your leave for holidays you get off anyways. You might as well stay around base for the holidays and then fly somewhere later so you get more days off in the end with less leave used. Does this make since???? I told you it was complicated.

*****AGAIN EACH BASE HANDLES LEAVE DIFFERENTLY. Larger bases will generally be more strict and smaller bases vice verse. This post is just to give you a general idea about leave. Mainly that weekend's count!***********

Tax Season

Attorney's can do taxes and let's just say Top Gun could become an accountant with all the tax knowledge he's learned. The Air Force offers a great service to it's military members and retirees. If they qualify, people can take their taxes to the legal office to be completed and filed. You have to stay there while they do it but nonetheless this means that the legal office sets up a temporary tax center for the months of January-April. Top Gun was the attorney assigned this year to run and be in charge of the tax center. The base asks for volunteers, some are civilians and others are military members who choose to help and take a break from their normal duties during these months. Top Gun also uses paralegals from the legal office to complete the taxes.

I gave Top Gun an ultimatum. I said if you don't complete our taxes by the first of March, I'm going to embarrass you and show up at work with our w-2's and wait in the line like everyone else. So last night he did them. ALL, and I do mean ALL my friends have kept saying to me, "We are getting more back in taxes this year than we ever have." I was just crossing my fingers hoping that Top Gun and I wouldn't have to owe any money. Well this year we are getting twice as much as we ever have back. YAY!!!! I guess all the hard work of Top Gun preparing the law center has paid off for us too ;)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can family move before JASOC graduation?

Short answer YES.

Mon, you are in the same time table as we were. Top Gun started COT at the end of May, had a 2 week break and then went back to Alabama for JASOC until September 11th. During that 2 week break Top Gun first went to his base here in TX. Where your hubby is stationed that is the place where the AF will pay for him to return to after COT, not wherever it is you currently live. Top Gun then flew from TX to CA on our own dime and helped load up our moving truck, hung out for 10 days and then went to JASOC. The girls and I then moved during the second week he was at JASOC. We did so for the exact same reasons you are contemplating...school for our kids. I just didn't want to enroll my girls in one school for literally 2 weeks and then up and move and throw them right into another school. I moved in late July so we had a few weeks to get settled before even starting school in our new town. I am SO happy I did that. Remember the school year starts at different times throughout the country. Schools here started a few weeks earlier than in California so if we had waited til after JASOC, my daughter would have missed a month of school here.

As an additional note, if your spouse does decide to come home to wherever you currently are (assuming that it's not at the base he'll be permanently stationed at) those weeks/days in between that he is not at his base he must count as leave aka vacation days. We didn't know this but I wanted Top Gun there to help us move so we took the leave anyhow. Which means when he got here in September he was already in the hole 10 days of leave. Which meant he didn't take any leave at Christmas or Thanksgiving because he only had by that time 1 or 2 vacation days accrued. It's a bummer but good thing there are a lot of holidays quickly following September that he got off anyhow. Oh and weekends are counted as leave if you are so many miles away from your base...which really stinks!! How leave works deserves a post all in it's own!!