1.31.2005

Adventures in moving - part 7

We're down to hours now. I'm too tired and not feeling well so I don't have the energy to figure out how many hours we have left before the chaos ensues. I like order. I like things neat, tidy, and in Rubbermaids if possible. The chaos that comes with strangers milling around in your house putting your belongings in boxes is enough to give me ulcers. I'm surprised I don't already have one. I do know that I am about to crack my lower canine teeth from clenching them at night. I carry my stress in my jaw and between my shoulder blades. Right now, my back feels like it is on fire.

I *KNOW* it will all be fine. It's just STUFF and our stuff will make it just fine to Hawaii. I *KNOW* this. At the same time, I just want it OVER. I want them to pack and be gone with it all. Then it is completely out of my control and I can let it go. But right now, my OCD is in overdrive and it is all I can do to make myself sit here and type as opposed to boxing stuff up. I was putting my scrapbooking pens and such in a ziploc bag (another company that I should own stock in) and The Husband comes in from the garage and says "This is what they PAY the MOVERS to do...stop packing stuff up!". But I can't. It's a control issue and I'm well aware of it. I come by it honestly. My Grama says my mom doesn't like to fly because she can't be in control of the plane. I believe it. I 'm not quite as bad (am I?) but I'm close.

I still have things to do - pack the kids' bags for day care, move all of their toys into their room, make cinnamon rolls for the movers, move the rest of the yard sale stuff into the "OFF LIMITS" zone, get the cats to their new home (the people that are taking them couldn't make it tonight...grr...), etc.

I really am going to miss this place - not only my actual HOUSE (which is awesome if you ask me!) but the people. Tonight was Princess Trouble's last dance class and the few moms (and dads) that I have begun to get to know will be missed. So will my friends in The Husband's unit. We were just beginning to get settled.

On the other hand, it's HAWAII!!! How can one complain about HAWAII??? I can't. And I'm not. I'm just sad to be leaving this place. The Husband really isn't. But I am. At the same time, I know we'll be back. It's pretty much inevitable.

I'm off to take some NyQuil and try to get some sleep. I may be MIA for a bit but I'll try to post as we make our way West. Disneyland, here we come! And then on to Paradise!

'night

1.29.2005

Adventures in moving - part 6...The TO DO list

Damn thing keeps getting longer and longer! Just to give you an idea of what all I'm trying to get done (and a glimpse into my OCD), here is my list. The items with a (*) have been checked off.

* sort throug kids' clothes
* put kids' old clothes away
* laundry
* clean master bath
* put Christmas dishes away
* put Christmas linens away
* put Christmas lights away
* get box for Easter decor and put away
* sort through baby blankets
* get box for baby blankets
* clean out junk drawer
* sweep front porchclean fridge
sort through craft stuff
* file paperwork
* clean kids' bath
* bleach bath toys
* mop
* clean exersaucer and give to friend who is pregnant
* prep and post final eBay auctions
* videotape household goods (good for substantiation in case an item is completely lost)
transfer 2004 kid footage to either CD ROM or VHS (can't do this right now because The Husband left The Videocamera in his parents' car during our trip to Georgia...)
pack suitcases
pack boxes to mail
laundry (again)
select classes for Spring 2005 term
pack suitcases
move toys to kids' room
move yard sale stuff to garage
*replace knobs in kids' bathroom
take down all curtains and rods
take down all pictures/artwork
tidy up office (mine. The Husband is on his own!)
take down chair rail in kids' room
repaint kids' room
print and mail baptism invitations?
* buy more Rubbermaid boxes (I swear, I should own Rubbermaid STOCK)
* buy small suitcase for Princess Trouble (she's in charge of the toys on this trip)
refill and pickup meds
spackle all holes
take all trash out
yard sale
separate "unaccompanied baggage" from rest of household goods
place cats :(
take out all lightbulbs, batteries, etc. that the movers won't ship
dispose of all of my candles (again, movers won't ship)
eat all of the food in the fridge (makes for some INTERESTING meals...)
write down serial numbers of all belongings
stock up on Tums

that's not everything but that's everything that is fit to print! Again, time to get cracking!

Adventures in moving - part 5

Let me see...we're down to T -3 days before the movers come to start packing our stuff up. They've allotted 3 days (2 to pack and 1 to load) for us but I'm really hoping it only takes them 2 days. We have a lot of stuff but I think it can be done in 2 days.

We had our preinspection last week. We live in "privatized housing" which means it's military housing run by civilians. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. We haven't had any bad experiences so far. During the preinspection, they tell you what all you will have to do to clear on your last day - what things need to be cleaned, replaced, fixed, etc. You have the option (here, at least) to hire a cleaning crew to do the dirty work for you. Part of the fee you pay them is to have them wax and buff the floors. This was not done for us when we moved in. The floors had not been waxed nor buffed and had barely been swept. Ok - fine. I made sure to write that down on our move-in sheet so that we would not be responsible for it upon move-out. Come to find out, the housing office is not willing (they say they aren't "able"...I say they aren't "willing") to refund us the $150 it costs to have the floors done. SO we are left paying $150 to do something that wasn't done for us. Grr...

Luckily the people moving IN to our house like the paint and wallpaper in the living and dining rooms so the only thing that needs to be painted is the kids' room. Works for me!

We were going to try to have a yard sale this weekend but Mother Nature is being a...well, you know...and we got rained out. So we'll do it next weekend. I'm a little worried that we will go over on our weight but we should be ok. I have purged a LOT of our stuff and will get rid of even more in this next yard sale. We haven't acquired any large pieces of furniture since our last move (just a few bookcases) so we should be ok.

And I'm taking the cats to be placed next week. I'm very sad about this. Intellectually I know it is the right thing to do but I'm so sad. I hope they wind up in a wonderful home with a little old lady who has NOTHING to do but pet the kitties.

Princess Trouble is excited about the prospect of going on an airplane, getting to go to Disneyland, and seeing Grama and Grampa. She's been spoiled rotten with family for the past few months which has just been WONDERFUL. That's the one BIG thing I am bummed about when it comes to moving to Hawaii. I've moved past everything else but the fact that we are SO centrally located to family and friends right now and we are now moving thousands of miles away from them all. But it will be ok and I know it.

My "TO DO" list is long - 3 pages and growing. So I suppose I should get up off my duff and get cracking. More to come!

1.23.2005

"I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight."

We will miss you Carnac. Thank you for the laughs.

Story

Adventures in Moving - Part 4...The CAR

Friday was THE dy to ship the car. The average ship time for a vehicle from our shipping location is a little over 30 days. So January 21 was the ship it now or rent a car when you get there and fork over piles of cash deadline.

So we spend the week getting the car ready to ship. There is a LIST - a long and detailed list - of things you have to bring with you, things that can and cannot be in the car when it is being shipped, etc. that you must follow when shipping a vehicle "overseas".

The day before I am to make the 5 hour drive to the port, I'm driving to Target with the kids and Little Man begins to fuss in the backseat. I turn to look at him for a split second and when I look back, the S-10 in front of me has come to a stop. I, on the other hand, did not. CRAP. Luckily, I was only going 15 miles per hour or less. The guy's truck really didn't have any damage. And (I'm assuming because he didn't have insurance, he was not interested in reporting the accident to either the police or the insurance company. THANK GOD.

MY car, however, has another dent and 2 broken lights on the front end to add to the list of THINGS THAT NEED TO BE FIXED OR REPLACED. The list is long (the car is 13 years old and has over 150,000 miles on it) and expensive. So we'll be adding a
front left fender
turn signal and fog lamp
and front bumper
to the list. Joy. Ah, well, it's been a while since I have had an accident so I suppose I was due. I just wish it hadn't happened THE DAY BEFORE I was to ship the car.

The drive down was uneventful. You're not supposed to have more than 1/4 tank of gas in the car when you drop it off so I had to drive around a little bit to burn off the last bit. When I got there, there was this poor, CLUELESS single LT (lieutentant) there who OBVIOUSLY had not paid attention at his "overseas brief". He didn't have a letter from his lender saying it was ok to ship his financed vehicle overseas. He didn't have the requisite FIVE copies of his orders that he needed. And his car had all SORTS of stuff in/on it that was not supposed to be there - a luggage rack in the back, a speaker box in the back, crap in the front seat, crap in the back seat, crap in the glove box. They wound up spending 2 HOURS unloading/disassembling this poor guy's car. When it was all said and done, on top of the 5 bags of luggage he had (he was flying out to Germany the next monrning), he had 4 more boxes PLUS the luggage rack. He had to scramble to find a storage unit to store it all. Poor guy.

During the inspection, we found out that Hawaii law will not allow us to pass a safety inspection or register our car in Hawaii with the windshield as it is. In Alaska, they look at you funny if you DON"T have a cracked windshield. In Hawaii, it is illegal. The guy at the VPC (Vehicle Processing Center - the Army LOVES acronyms...) told me it would run me about $1000 to get it replaced. Not going to be quite that much but it's going to be a chunk of change. Bummer. Time to call our insurance company and see what they cover.

So we are now a 1 car family for the next 2 weeks or so. The movers come in 8 days. Our preinspection is the day after tomorrow. ACK!!!

I just keep telling myself it will all work out. We'll see.

1.19.2005

Adventures in moving - part 3

So we had our "Overseas Briefing" today. Nothing new except the little tidbit of information that we managed to miss in the "SHIPPING YOUR POV" packet that The Husband brought home last week. We have to have a certified letter from the bank stating that we are allowed to ship our vehicle to Hawaii. Nevermind that Hawaii is PART OF THE FREAKING UNITED STATES. Nope - it's considered an "OCONUS" or overseas assignment (hence, the "Overseas Briefing") so we have to get the bank's permission to ship the car. By Friday morning. It's Wednesday afternoon. Hmm...and no, a fax won't do. Has to be original signature on original letterhead. Crap. I'm thinking that we're not shipping a vehicle Friday.

We'll see. The Husband is calling the bank today to see if they can overnight us the letter (gonna have to get it out in the mail TODAY so it makes it here by tomorrow) and fax us a copy just in case.

The other hitch in this plan is the requirement that the person dropping the car off must have a valid driver's license. Bit of a problem there too. My license expired back in June. I was under the impression that, because I am a military dependent, the expiration date didn't matter - that my military ID absolved me of that. Nope. Tried to renew the damn thing in Alaska while we were there in September but they wouldn't do so because we don't have an Alaska address, even though we are Alaska residents. SO I've been driving around on an expired license for 4 months. However, the "I'm a military dependent" line seems to work on the state troopers here. I was pulled over on my way back from visiting friends a few weeks ago and when he asked me about the expiration date, I used that line and not only did it work, it helped get me out of the ticket completely! Works for me! But I'm not sure if it will work with the people at the POV shipping depot. Guess we'll be finding out in a few days!


I could always sell the car. We only owe about $3000 on it and I could easily get above $4000 for it. But I like my car and I'd rather not sell it.


Such fun, such fun, such fun!

Adventures in moving - part 3

So we had our "Overseas Briefing" today. Nothing new except the little tidbit of information that we managed to miss in the "SHIPPING YOUR POV" packet that The Husband brought home last week. We have to have a certified letter from the bank stating that we are allowed to ship our vehicle to Hawaii. Nevermind that Hawaii is PART OF THE FREAKING UNITED STATES. Nope - it's considered an "OCONUS" or overseas assignment (hence, the "Overseas Briefing") so we have to get the bank's permission to ship the car. By Friday morning. It's Wednesday afternoon. Hmm...and no, a fax won't do. Has to be original signature on original letterhead. Crap. I'm thinking that we're not shipping a vehicle Friday.

We'll see. The Husband is calling the bank today to see if they can overnight us the letter (gonna have to get it out in the mail TODAY so it makes it here by tomorrow) and fax us a copy just in case.

The other hitch in this plan is the requirement that the person dropping the car off must have a valid driver's license. Bit of a problem there too. My license expired back in June. I was under the impression that, because I am a military dependent, the expiration date didn't matter - that my military ID absolved me of that. Nope. Tried to renew the damn thing in Alaska while we were there in September but they wouldn't do so because we don't have an Alaska address, even though we are Alaska residents. SO I've been driving around on an expired license for 4 months. However, the "I'm a military dependent" line seems to work on the state troopers here. I was pulled over on my way back from visiting friends a few weeks ago and when he asked me about the expiration date, I used that line and not only did it work, it helped get me out of the ticket completely! Works for me! But I'm not sure if it will work with the people at the POV shippign depot. Guess we'll be finding out in a few days!


I could always sell the car. We only owe about $3000 on it and I could easily get above $4000 for it. But I like my car and I'd rather not sell it.


Such fun, such fun, such fun!

1.18.2005

My son

My son is a wonderful boy - full of life, full of energy, always smiling, always moving. He is curious, persistent, and energetic. That being said, he is also EXHAUSTING. With the move coming up, I have a TO DO list a mile long. Can I get to it? No. I'm too busy picking up after Little Man. And he's right behind me, unloading everything I just put away.

Princess Trouble is pretty good about picking up - especially if you help her (social thing that she is!). But Little Man? His expertise lie in demolition.

It is noon here and I've been up since about 7. In those 5 hours, I have cleaned up the same toys at least 5 times. Those toys include the magnets on the fridge, the blocks in the bedroom, the books on the shelf, the toys in the baskets on the bookshelf, the Duplo blocks, the cars, and the Peek-a-Blocks. Have I been able to get to anything on my TO DO list? Hell no.

Princess Trouble was never like this and I love the fact that they are different but MAN, he's exhausting.

1.12.2005

Adventures in moving - Part 2

We are now at T-19 days. The movers have been scheduled, the plane tickets have been hammered out (I have to give kudos to the Travel Office here - they really went above and beyond the call of duty to get us these tickets). Temporary lodging is set up on this end and pending on the other end. We are heading to my parents' place this weekend to drop off a bunch of stuff we won't be needing in Hawaii (like winter clothing...). I'm not as orgainzed in the house as I would like to be but I should be able to get most of it taken care of before the movers come.

Our housing allowance went up a little while back. Once we move to Hawaii this will be to our benefit as the housing allowance for The Husband's rank went up a whopping $300+ per month. That puts us firmly in the market for a 4 bedroom house (hopefully WITH a garage since 10x10 foot storage spaces on Oahu go for $250 PER MONTH). YAY!!! We would have room for Little Man AND Princess Trouble to have their own rooms as well as an office for us. One less thing for me to worry about.

Now it's just a matter of spending time with friends we will be leaving behind, sorting through our belongings and deciding what to get rid of and what to keep, and waiting. Seems we do a lot of that in the military.

I went to a Pampered Chef party at a friend's house tonight and came home with a fresh appreciation for my children. Yes, they are rambunctious at times. But NOT like my friend's children. THANK GOD. I could not handle the chaos that permeates that house. They are good kids...just not as good as mine...

'night

1.11.2005

Prayers

Another ride on the roller coaster that is military life. The Husband's former unit in Alaska - Bravo Company, 4/123rd Aviation Regiment - is on their way to Iraq as I type. We still have a LOT of good friends in that unit. They were like family to us while we were there and we worry about them as though they were family.

The drawback of the Chinook community, or aviation in general, is that it is a small world. If a Chinook goes down, the joke is that there are 2 degrees of separation. We either know the people on the aircraft or we know someone who knows them. Obviously, I have no concept of what their families are going through right now but there will be a knot in my stomach for the next year or so until these friends of ours are back home, safe and sound.

Regardless of your stance on our presence in Iraq, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. I'm sure their families appreciate it.

Should you wish to send care packages or anything else, feel free to drop me a note and I'll set it up.

'night

My kitties

The time has come to find a home for my kitties. We can't take them with us to Hawaii. The state does not allow landlords to charge pet deposits and therefore most do not allow pets. The likelihood of us getting on-post housing right off the bat is slim. So it is likely that the kitties would spend a lot of time in a kennel. Expensive and stressful for everyone involved. Not to mention the quarantine.

I've asked family and friends if they could take them but no one can. So I'm sending The Husband to work with a flyer this week and if no one there can take them, I will have to Freecycle them. I hate to do this - I hate giving them to someone I don't know. But to take them with us would be too much for them and us.

So I'm asking one more time - if anyone knows anyone who would be interested in taking them, PLEASE let me know. Thanks!

1.08.2005

I must have missed the memo

I had to venture out to Target today. With the move coming up - in an attempt to minimize the movers' contact with our stuff - I'm trying to get everything organized. In my world, "organized" means RUBBERMAID. Specifically, Rubbermaid Roughneck totes. All of the kids' clothes, party supplies, paper plates and cups, our Christmas decorations, my teaching and coaching materials, The Husband's computer "stuff", and many other things are contained in Rubbermaid Roughneck totes.

I needed several more to help organize our Easter stuff, the few baby blankets we plan to hang on to (can't say we're going to need many of them in Hawaii...), our Christmas lights, Princess Trouble's princess gear, and a few other categories of "stuff".

So I ventured out to Target. I waited until it was later in the day to avoid the traffic that clogs the main road leading to the "shopping area" of the town. They are getting ready to start widening the road and if it goes anything like the widening project on the road to the highway, God help this town. I pray they hold off on starting the project until we have left. Odds are that they won't be done with the project even after we've done a full 3 years in Hawaii...

I must have missed the memo. Obviously, some sort of invitation was issued to all parents of over-tired, misbehaving, whiny, screaming children to bring them down to Target today. I should have turned around and gone home when I pulled into the parking lot and happened to park next to a minivan with (count them...I did...) 5 children under the age of 10 or so - ALL CRYING. No one was bleeding. No one was missing a limb. No one was sick. They were just ALL CRYING.

But I chose to ignore that warning sign and press on with my quest. As I walked in, I noticed that there were all of 5 carts left. NOT A GOOD SIGN. Did I heed it? Hell no. I drove all that way...I wasn't going to tuck tail and run home just because the store was crowded...with screaming, whining children. Brilliant move on my part. I went to reach for a cart and it was literally snatched out of my hand by a rude middle aged woman. She actually shot ME a dirty look. So I chose another cart and of course grabbed the one that didn't track straight. So here I am, wandering the aisles of Target, trying to avoid Rude Middle-Aged Woman, with a look of pain on my face from all of the screaming children throughout the store, and trying to wrestle my cart into submission. I bet it was quite the scene.

I get to the "Home Storage" section and it looks quite similar to the images of the tsunami devastation on TV. Debris is littered everywhere. Nothing looks as it should. I dodged 2 other Rude Middle-Aged people (1 man, 1 woman) and managed to scrounge up 2 of the 5 Rubbermaid Roughneck totes I needed. I compromised on the other 3 and bought different styles and made my way to the checkout. But to get there, I had to pass the toy section. Not a good idea. I would have been better off doubling back through housewares. THIS was where the bulk of the "screaming, crying, whiny, misbehaving" children were centered. I felt a migraine coming on. Not to mention the fact that I am sure I looked drunk trying to push my unwielding cart down the aisle while dodging the children lying in the middle of the aisle throwing fits because mom and dad wouldn't buy them ANOTHER toy. Didn't we JUST have Christmas??? MY kids won't get a new toy again until at least March or April - whenever Easter is. They haven't even played with the toys they recived over Christmas!

I managed to make it to the checkout with both the cart and my sanity in tact and the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. Except for the part where the clerk at Big Lots asked me what I plan to use the 20 small photo albums for...stupidity kills me.

1.07.2005

Adventures in moving - part 1

So we're down to T -24 days and counting. This will be the first time we have "allowed" the military to move ALL of our stuff. Usually we do what is called a "partial DITY (Do IT Yourself)" where we tow a trailer with the few things that we own that we don't trust the military to move and not destroy. Things like The Husband's motorcycle, our bed, our pictures, the fire safe and all of our "important papers", The Husband's tools (which weigh more than The Husband's motorcycle), etc.

Well, doing a partial DITY to Hawaii really isn't an option. They haven't quite finished the bridge...

So, one of my ulcers will come from the fact that government contracted movers will have sole posession and control of 99% of everything we own. *gulp* I have had nightmares that involve opening the crate with our stuff in it and finding only broken pieces of china and splinters of wood.

On the move from Alabama to here (we did a partial DITY and hauled about 5,000 pounds of our own stuff), we wound up with four PAGES worth of damage claim forms! I understand that it's pretty much inevitable that some things will be damaged during a move but that was a little excessive. Luckily it wasn't anything too terribly important.

But this time, they will have everything with the exception of what we can stuff in our suitcases and what we put in non-temporary storage. That prospect worries the crap out of me. Hence, the nightmares and ulcer.

Let me give you a run-down on what all is involved in a military move...


first, you have to get orders. Sometimes this isn't an issue. Sometimes, you get your orders 2 weeks prior to your move date. Because Hawaii is considered an OCONUS or "Outside Continental United States" move, there are hoops to be jumped through. We had to go to an EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) screening to make sure that none of us has any conditions that Hawaii does not have services available to address. We do not. I could have told them that but they do not trust the family members to be honest so they make you come in for this screening. There went 2 hours out of my day.

After you get orders, you have to make your appointments with transportation (to set up the pack and load dates as well as unaccompanied baggage pickup), SATO (military travel office - to schedule flights and such), housing (to schedule preinspection, so they can tell you what you what you need to do/fix before your final inspection, and your final inspection before clearing post and leaving), temporary lodging (so you have somewhere to sleep after they pack your bed), and because this is an overseas assignment, you also have to ship your car.

About the car...the military allows each family to ship ONE car at government expense. ONE. Assuming you sell the other car (and assuming we're talking about a 2 car family) prior to leaving, this leaves you with ZERO cars for the last few days/weeks that you are at your current assignment. Not to mention it makes it DIFFICULT to get to the AIRPORT on your departure day. OR your other option is to wait until the day you leave to ship your ONE vehicle and then you are left with ZERO vehicles in an area you are unfamiliar with and most likely know NO ONE. What a PITA. The military needs to fix that Charlie Foxtrot. But hey, what do I know? Oh, and did I mention it will take them 30-60 DAYS to ship your car? Don't ask how long it will take them to get us our household goods (HHG). You don't want to know.

So my calendar looks like this for the next month :

Jan 13 - housing brief
Jan 15 - yard sale (I'm worried that we are going to exceed our weight allotment)
Jan 18 - preclearance brief
Jan 19 - overseas brief
Jan 21 - ship car
Jan 25 - housing preinspection
Jan 30 - alternate date for yard sale
Feb 1 - movers pack
Feb 2 - movers pack (YES, it's going to take them TWO days to pack all of our crap...have I mentioned that we have too much stuff???)
Feb 3 - movers load
Feb 4 - unaccompanied baggage pickup/stay in temp lodging/pick up medical records
Feb 5 & 6 - clean house for final inspection
Feb 7 - final inspection/leave

Somewhere in there I have to find time to get to my folks' house to see them one more time as well as drop off boxes of stuff we aren't going to need or have room for (winter clothing, kids' clothes that they have grown out of but I'm not ready to get rid of), my teaching and coaching stuff, The Husband's snowboards, etc. Not sure when that is going to happen.

So that's it for now. I'll keep you all posted as we move along. I'm off to sort through the kids' room and start setting things aside for the yard sale. Pray for warm weather next weekend!!!

'night