Adventures in Moving - Road Trip 2011 (part 1)

It's been a week since we left Paradise and the start of Road Trip 2011 is about here. For those that don't know the plan, we are taking MacGyver's parents' RV and hitting the road to Kansas, although it's the scenic route. We're heading north to see friends and family. Then we'll meander our way south and west, stopping off in Colorado to see more friends (and eat Beau Jo's pizza!!!) before heading to the Sunflower State.

Our week here in The Land of Fruits and Nuts has been...odd. I haven't lived here since MacGyver was at Basic/AIT in the late 90s and I feel like quite the foreigner in my own hometown. Not a fan of that feeling. We packed the kids' BMX bikes in our plane luggage so we have them with us and have been checking out the local BMX tracks. They are quite different from our home track on Oahu (where else can you ride BMX bikes by the OCEAN?) but different doesn't always mean bad. The people have been incredibly kind and welcoming, the tracks have been a lot of fun, and it has been great to experience BMX riders and their families outside of our paradise.

While we've been here, we've had the chance to hit LegoLand and spend some time up in Big Bear. I had forgotten how much I love the mountains. The smell of a Jeffrey Pine is probably one of my favorite smells on this planet.

Now we're back home and loading up the RV for our road trip. As we load our stuff on the RV, all I can envision is Cousin Eddie.

Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.

Just so you can get a visual, here's a picture of our tenement on wheels.

That's not actually a picture of ours - just one that is similar. We drove it to the BMX track last night to get a feel for it...well, MacGyver drove it. I did not. Driving something that big in Los Angeles traffic makes my stomach tie up in knots. I should be good on the open road but LA traffic in town is stupid nuts. Not to mention the fact that they are doing work on I-5 and the shoulders are all tore up so the lanes seem even more narrow. I was a basket case going out to the track last night. I keep reminding myself that I've driven a U-Haul truck in this traffic and that, if 65 year old men (and women) can drive these things, so can I but I might need a Xanax to do so.

Thankfully, MacGyver found the manual for the RV and it has a very helpful graphic on the front to help remind me of my role in this road trip.

You can't see her feet but I'm pretty sure she's barefoot. And that skirt hides the fact that she's pregnant too. Cracked me up.

I have pictures from our time in San Diego and Big Bear but I've not yet edited them. I'll get them up a little bit later. Right now, it's 110 degrees outside right now and the pool is calling my name.


- hfs


California dreamin'

Forgive the absence, if you will. We've been out and about. We loaded up the rent-a-dent and took off south. Hit a new (to us) BMX track in San Diego and had a blast. While it's not our usual (where else can you find a BMX track on the OCEAN? Nowhere.) it was a great ride. The track owner has done copious research into what materials make for the best track surface and it shows - hard packed, good drainage. minimal dust, even in SoCal.

The Girl managed to eek her way into the mains after the two front-runners managed to get tangled up a mere 5 feet from the finish line in moto 3. Herself being several feet back from said front-runners (both male) cruised on past them and into the main event. Her father and I appreciated the universe's reinforcement of our advice to never give up, even when you're in last place. She was thrilled to take home her 3rd place trophy.

The Boy, after taking first place in all 3 of his motos, took a header in the main event. It was a total point race so he walked away with a 2nd place trophy even though he finished last in the main event. His fingers are a little worse for the wear, given the fact that his gloves are shredded and he needs new ones. But he'll heal up. They both had a good time and ranked the track "the second-best track we've ever raced on!". Never mind that they've only ever raced at two tracks...

We hit LegoLand (second time for the kids, first time for MacGyver) and had a great time. My favorite is MiniLand and I especially adore the Star Wars area. I often wonder how one becomes a designer for LegoLand - I could do that all day long, even if they never paid me! It took us most of the day but we finally convinced The Boy to go on a roller coaster. He was quite hesitant at first but once we got him on, we couldn't get him OFF! I wish we had time to get him to Magic Mountain before we have to leave but I don't think we have the time. They each were able to select a set/toy from the gift shop before we left and that took longer than any of the rides! The Girl and her father spent a good 30 minutes trying to use Braille to figure out which minifigure was in each package - they each had specific ones they wanted.

Then it was off to the mountains for a few days. MacGyver's parents have a cabin up in the mountains and it was great to just crash for a bit. I had forgotten how much I love the smell of the mountains - the Jeffrey Pine tree's scent is amazing. MacGyver and I both agree that we could easily spend the rest of our lives in the mountains. And the number of foreclosures in the area is staggering - plenty of properties that we could turn into a home. We hiked up some trails, learned a little bit about the Gold Rush history of California, spotted 1,942 lizards, learned about the different kinds of pine trees in the area, examined an old log cabin, learned how gold ore was ground out, and saw some amazing scenery.

I would post pictures but my husband is hogging the cameras and all I'm left with is my cell phone, which takes decent pictures but getting them from my phone to this blog is a little more time-consuming than I care to mess with. He took lots of pictures so I'll upload some of them here once he gives up the flash card.


- hfs



We are spending a week in Southern California with family before heading off on our "National Lampoon PCS Vacation" tour. After a day to nap and catch our breaths, we're up and running (well, walking...no running). About 10 years ago, our hometown created a wildlife exploration center up in a canyon above the city. So we took off to explore it today. And we found that my children have lived a very sheltered existence in Hawaii.

The wildlife center has exhibits about all of the different wildlife in the area: snakes, coyotes, jackrabbits, mountain lions, bobcats, all sorts of birds and falcons, bugs, and spiders. The only critters we have really ever encountered in Hawaii were some birds and some spiders. And mosquitoes. But snakes? No snakes in Hawaii, other than the occasional Hawaiian Blind Snake. Coyotes? Not unless you count Wyle E. Coyote on TV. No mountain lions or bobcats except at the zoo. My children were...stunned. And a little scared. There were lots of questions about whether or not we'd encounter any of these animals and critters on our hike. Thankfully, the only thing we encountered that was out of the norm was a baby (tan) Praying Mantis.

The other adjustment is how DRY it is here. In addition to being a little dehydrated from the flight, it is much drier here than in Hawaii so they are both quite dehydrated. Thankfully they both like water and I don't have much trouble getting them to drink. It will be an adjustment for them though.

We are heading south to see some friends and hang out at LegoLand in a bit. Thus begins our Road Trip extravaganza.

More later.


- hfs


Final hours to aloha

Our bags are packed and the car is loaded. We've said goodbye to countless friends and I've held back more tears than I care to think about. It's about time to rip this bandaid off and get on with things. It hurts to leave so I'd rather just be done with it.

We hit the beach one last time in Kailua. After a short squall, the day was beautiful and I wish we had more time to enjoy the water. Such is life, isn't it? We were blessed to be able to stay with friends rather than in temp lodging (I think 81 days on the inbound portion of our time here was enough) and it was wonderful. They are like family and I am going to miss them terribly. We'll get to see them again in about 9 months when we come back for a visit but it's not going to be the same.

I'm already scoping out properties here to buy if and when we come back. I should be looking for houses in Kansas but instead I'm looking at houses in Hawaii. Denial anyone?

The rental market is not providing us with the options we'd like so we're looking at buying with the intention of renting the house out when we leave. We'll see how that pans out. Buying a house scares me more than having children did. Eesh. If anyone has advice on buying a house, feel free to impart that wisdom. I'm a rookie and clueless. Though we do seem to have a good realtor in the area - a friend of a friend. Buying seems so...permanent. Ick.

Never mind. Some things have changed which may possibly shorten our time in the Sunflower State. Therefore, buying is off the table as an option. We're back to scouring Craigslist and ahrn.com. Whee. Thanks for the advice though!

We are meeting up with friends for a last supper of sorts after dropping off our luggage. One last goodbye...er, aloha...and then we're off. I'll try not to cry.


- hfs


I hate this part

So the movers are here for their final day of packing and loading. They've been wonderful - quick, efficient, friendly, and they brought great music! - and I would recommend Precision Moving and Storage, Inc. to anyone. They did the living room, outside stuff, and garage (pack AND load) the first day, which was an impressive feat, especially given the fact that there are only 3 guys. Yesterday they hit the bedrooms, bathrooms, and office (as well as the linen and art closets). Today it's the kitchen and then they are done.

I got so busy yammering that I forgot to write about the part I hate. Even though the house is packed up, there's all that minutiae left to deal with - the things that need to be given to people, the trash that needs to be taken to the dump, the random things that the movers (and we) missed, luggage, etc. And no matter how hard you try to get rid of it all, it's never-ending. You'd think that, with less crap in the house, you'd have an easier time clearing it out. Nope. Annoying.

When we arrived on island, we had 13 crates of stuff. We came in at a gross weight of 13,795#. From that, they deduct 10% for packing materials as well as all of the "pro gear" weight. So we were under our allotted weight limit for MacGyver's rank. Usually people tend to accumulate stuff while they are settled and that's one of the upsides of moving frequently - you tend to purge frequently. We've been here 6 years so my concern was that we'd blow our weight limit. But it seems that, even before deducting for pro gear, we should be ok. Right now, I think we're actually going to leave here with fewer crates than we came with. THAT would be impressive, especially if you know my husband. Update: I was right. We came with 13 crates. We're leaving with 12.5 crates. Works for me!

The day that our HHGs (household goods) were delivered in 2005, I realized that I couldn't understand a word that the movers were speaking to each other. When they spoke to us, I could but I couldn't understand their conversations amongst themselves. They weren't speaking full Pidgin but it was close. Fast-forward 6 years and not only can I understand what they are saying, I could probably throw out a little Pidgin of my own if I weren't worried I'd look like an idiot. Amazing what you pick up. I can only imagine what it's like to live in a foreign country for 6 years and how much of the language you pick up when you're immersed in it. Makes me want to go live in Italy!

Even though the majority of our HHGs are in boxes, in crates, on a truck or in a warehouse, this house is FAR from empty. And I'm realizing my husband does not understand the concept of traveling lightly. The kids and I each have a suitcase. Just one. And their suitcases are not nearly full, even with their pillows in the suitcase. Mine is more full but nowhere near it's limit. MacGyver, on the other hand, has the following:
- a suitcase (full)
- a garment bag (full)
- a box of PTs and Army undergarments
- a box of electronic-y stuff (wireless router, hard drive with all of our backups, and other electronic-y stuff)
- another box of something else that I've since forgotten what it's contents are.

And that's in addition to the kids' BMX bikes (another box) and their race gear (helmets, armor, clothing, goggles, etc.) (another box). Oh, and we have a suitcase of shoes. I'm sure there another box or suitcase floating around here somewhere. We're going to look like the Clampitts getting to the airport. And people wonder why I rented a full-sized pick up truck...

The kids are each struggling with the move in their own way. The Girl, who had been SO anxious to get this show on the road a few weeks back, is now quite sad over the idea of having to say goodbye to everyone. I wondered when that reality would hit. The Boy is a typical 7-year old homebody. He burst into tears when the movers packed up his XBOX 360. He burst into tears again when he realized that there was nothing to eat in the fridge. He burst into tears again when the last apple was eaten. he burst into tears when he lost a game he was playing with his sister on the iPad. He's out of his element and he's not happy about it. And, as excited as he was to get going, he's also sad at the thought of having to say goodbye to his friends. He's only ever known Hawaii and I have a feeling that the excitement of snow is going to wear off quickly this winter. Moving is stressful and I don't envy them. I lived in the same house my entire life, only moving out at the age of 18 to go to college. And only because my parents forced me to because they were retiring and moving back east. If it were up to me, I wouldn't have moved out until I got married. Can you sense my intense dislike of change? A GREAT trait in a military spouse, isn't it?

We're cleaning as the movers clear a room so we're ahead on that part of the game plan. And we have a bunch of friends from church coming over in a few days to help us do the final clean. Then we'll hand the keys over and be on vacation! We have a list of places we want to eat before we leave as well as a few last "bucket list" items to take care of. And then we begin the next saga in our Adventures in Moving series: Road Trip 2011. Fun times.

Baseboards are calling my name to be wiped down so I am off.


- hfs


Because moving isn't fun...

...unless you're SICK. Breakfast today was Sudafed + Motrin + caffeine. The breakfast of champions. Keep in mind, I rarely get sick. Usually I get one cold per year - which blesses my family by taking away my voice - and that's about it. Occasionally throughout the year I might get the sniffles or a sore throat but rarely do they bother me and rarely do they require medicine or rest (beyond my normal).

Apparently, my immune system was boxed up somewhere along the line and now I am sick. Not enough to warrant staying in bed but enough to make me feel like poo and take pills. I can't hear out of my left ear. I am hacking like a life-long smoker, I can't take a deep breath without hacking like said smoker, I can barely breathe through my nose (I HATE mouth breathing), and my throat hurts. Fun times, I tell you. Fun times. So drugs it is.

The movers did their walk-through yesterday. YESTERDAY. They were supposed to start packing us out TODAY. Nothing like being on the ball, yeah? Amazingly they opted to start packing us out Monday. The guy estimates that we have (between the two of us) 4,000# of professional gear. Impressive. We'll see how that affects out total weight once all is said and done. Because of that, I have no fear that we will come in under weight. Yay for pro gear!

My house looks like a tornado hit it and it's driving me street-rat crazy. I avoid the living room like a cockroach avoids light. All of the major cleaning (pressure washing, washing the walls in the kitchen and bathrooms, cleaning windows and tracks, etc.) is done and we've done all of the move-out repairs that were on our list other than touch up paint. This place will be in better shape than it was when we moved in and that's how I like it. In the meantime, I stay in the kitchen (the one room that is still somewhat tidy and orderly) and pretend not to notice the rest of the house.

Fun times!


- hfs


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...