7.28.2011

6.5 years ago

I wrote this post. I just stumbled across it while looking for something else and I find myself laughing at my whining and yet completely understanding how I was feeling at that moment. I chuckled at the comment about a $5 gallon of milk. I was at the local grocery store earlier today and, without a club card, their milk was $7.89/gallon.


Let me just say "WOOHOO for COLA!".


I look at a lot of my concerns and they are quite similar to some of the concerns I have now about moving. It's nice to know some things never change. And I read how unhappy I was to be moving here (who, in their right mind, is UNHAPPY to be moving to Hawaii??? Eesh) and I contrast that with how unhappy I am to be leaving now and I pray that I settle in at our next location like I've settled in here. Well, maybe not quite so much. Or else I won't want to leave there either.


There are days when I wish MacGyver had never joined the Army. There are days when I wish that we had been like many of our friends back home and settled in our hometown. It's not like Los Angeles is a small town. We had plenty of options. And then I wouldn't have to have said goodbye to so many incredible people along the way. I wouldn't have to deal with the completely unrealistic desire to live in 4 different places at the same time. I could just stay in my Southern California bubble and be content. But then I think about all of the incredible opportunities and blessings military life has afforded us over the past 13 years and I cannot begrudge that. I know I'll miss it when it's gone.


Our time here is getting short and I find there's a war going on inside myself: the desire to withdraw from anyone and anything here because it will make leaving slightly easier and the desire to skip sleeping for the next 3 weeks so I can soak up as much as humanly possible of this place and the people I love.


Sleep is overrated. Highly overrated.




Pau.




- hfs

Adventures in Moving - Dominating the list

The "dominating the 'to do' list series" continues throughout the week. Today was somewhat of a down day as The Boy is sick. Probably just a virus but enough to throw a wrench into the works. And, after not having slept well for the past few days, I was dragging today as well. Not that I didn't get anything done...I just didn't do as much.


The list is much shorter now. Here's the bulk of what's left:

~ schedule shut off of water (everything else is done)
~ scan pics and important documents, burn 3 discs (1 in safe, 1 to my mom, 1 to MacGyver's parents) for safekeeping/backup purposes
~ pick up my medical records (kids are already in MacGyver's possession)
~ make copies of all medical records
~ pick up school records
~ mail homeschool materials ahead of us
~ call dentist to cancel fall appts.
~ call new dentist and set up fall appts
~ pull clothes out of kids' old dresser
~ fix old dresser, give to friend
~ start setting aside what goes in suitcases/on plane
~ finish taking down wall decor
~ finish spackling
~ touch up paint (hopefully we have the right color)
~ dump run
~ clean oven and stovetop
~ replace switchplates
~ wipe down all baseboards
~ clean upstairs windows and screens
~ box up things to which we still have original boxes
~ KIDS' ROOM


With regard to the kids' room, I've pretty much left that one alone. I didn't want to disrupt their space until the last minute. Everything else is a bit chaotic and out of sorts and they are both beginning to show signs of it getting to them. So I am doing my best to minimize the disruption in their space. Next week, I will begin, in earnest, to pack up and organize their room. The movers are set to start packing next Friday so I'm aiming to have their room pretty much done by Wednesday evening. That will give me Thursday to tie up loose ends and whatnot.


The majority of the pro gear is set aside and/or boxed up. I went ahead and boxed up the homeschooling stuff because I had the boxes to do so and it was pretty easy. So that's all sitting pretty in a corner of my living room.


Rental car reservations are made on both ends. MacGyver insists on taking full advantage of the fact that our airline allows us EACH 4 bags up to 70# a piece. That's 1,120# of luggage. So I rented a truck. a full-sized truck. On both ends. He doesn't think this is necessary ("We can make more than 1 trip!") but I do and I'm not budging. The last thing I want to do on my last day on this island is sit at the airport with luggage, waiting for him to go back and get the rest of it. No thanks. Not unless I have a mango mojito in my hand, thankyouverymuch. So I rented a full-sized truck. The BMX track and one of my favorite beaches is just a few short miles from the airport. I plan to watch the sunset at that beach and then meander my way to the terminal to drop off luggage and the rental car (truck). I plan to walk through security, trailing sand off my slippahs as I go. I'm being forced to leave this island against my wishes so I plan to go out MY way.


That being said, I'm already planning my trip back here. A few of my kids from church are graduating this coming school year so I will head back for that as well as a few other things that will be going on around that time of year. I already have dates planned and frequent flier miles are being accrued as I type. My hope is that I can manage to get back here for a few weeks at a time each year. I'm choosing to see our next duty station as though I were going away to college. I'll go, have a great time, make some friends, and then come home. Yep, sounds like a plan.




Pau.




- hfs

7.26.2011

Adventures in Moving - SNAKE!

While I was out pressure washing the lanai and pathways, I found a SNAKE! In Hawaii...the state that doesn't HAVE snakes!





It's a Hawaiian Blind Snake (Google it...go ahead). The name is ironic because they really aren't blind. We hung on to him (her?) long enough to take some pictures and a short video and then put him (her?) back where we found him (her?). Hawaii has had a rash of snakes - either found or turned in - recently. I think I read that there had been 14 since January. That's a lot for an island that doesn't have snakes!


The "TO DO" list was significantly diminished and dominated by the time I was done today. As was the pressure washer which gave up after about 3 hours of solid work. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to brush my teeth in the morning. All told, here was the tally:


- 6 loads of laundry run
- 4 folded and put away (last one is in the dryer and will be folded, along with load #5, in the AM)
- dishes washed
- both tubs scrubbed
- toilets scrubbed
- 75% of concrete pressure washed
- 75% of lower half of house exterior pressure washed
- exteriors of all lower level windows washed
- tracks and interiors of kitchen windows cleaned
- car washed (not very well but enough to get the dirt from the BMX track off)
- 1 load of give-away stuff dropped off
- car loaded for errands tomorrow
- landlord called regarding screen replacements
- children kept alive and fed
- sign language practiced
- touch-up paint purchased (needs to be returned - not the right shade...grr.)


Not too shabby. Tomorrow is errands and working on the rest of the downstairs windows as well as yanking things off the walls, pulling nails, spackling, etc. Then I can start on the upstairs windows. Yay.


And we have TICKETS! Finally. So now I get to start reserving rental cars and finalizing our itineraries as we ROAD TRIP!!!! MacGyver has already started clearing so that will be a big help too. Hopefully we can get as much out of the way as possible before the movers even get here. Hopefully.




Pau.




- hfs

7.24.2011

Adventures in moving...the "TO DO" list

So the "TO DO" list is still pretty long. And we're moving into crunch time - about 2 weeks until the movers come. So I've issued myself a challenge for tomorrow: get as many things done on the "TO DO" list as humanly possible before I go to sign language practice in the evening. Assuming I can roll my lazy butt out of bed when MacGyver heads off to PT, that will give me 12 hours to tackle the following (in no particular order of importance):


*** note to self...SUNSCREEN!!!***
- pressure wash the walkways, back lanai, driveway, lower half of house, trash and recycling bins
- run laundry
- fold and put away laundry
- wash exterior sides of windows
*** note to self...SUNSCREEN!!!***
- scrub both tubs
- wipe down/scrub out tracks of windows
- call to confirm screen repair dude
- call to set up appointment with dermatologist
*** note to self...SUNSCREEN!!!***
- pull clothes out of kids' dresser and box up/set aside for packing
- fix dress drawer pull and prep to give to friend
- scan important documents and burn copies of DVD for record-keeping purposes
- finish taking down pictures and wall decor
- dust pictures and wall decor
- wash all walls
- spackle all holes
- Home Depot: 1 pint touch up paint
- touch up paint
- bring in GINORMOUS extension ladder
- dust fan in living room
- box up remaining homeschool items and set aside as "professional gear"
- Post Office: ship boxes
- wash and wax car
- vacuum car
- take bulky items to dump
- clear out pantry - trash, give to friends, donate to foodbank
- call water company to set up shut off date


I'll post tomorrow night (if I'm not comatose) as to what all I get accomplished. *movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*
*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*movingisfun*


If I keep telling myself this, maybe I'll believe it at some point. Fake it till you make it, right? *sigh*




Pau.




- hfs

7.20.2011

Adventures in Moving - Doors and windows

I wallowed pretty good last night about the Perfect House falling through. And I'm kind of still wallowing. However, like my Godmother said yesterday, when one door closes a window opens. My friend who lives where we are headed found another house on Craigslist (what in the world did we DO before Craigslist?) and this one - while not "Perfect" in the built-in-1918-and-completely-remodeled-on-an-acre-of-land sense - is even better in that it is NOT surrounded by every pedophile and sex offender in the state and it's all of 3 blocks from said friend!


Still within our budget, a little smaller than we were looking for but not as small as the house we live in now. Not horribly far from post but not right outside the gate either. So we'll see. I dropped a note to the realtor that's managing it and I'm waiting to hear back from her. However, even if this house doesn't work out, we have the RV and there is a lake nearby that has RV slots and hookups so we can park there for as long as necessary until we find the right house.


In addition to planning this move, I'm also trying to plan our upcoming school year. Obviously, it's going to get off to an unorthodox start, given the fact that we'll be homeless and on a month-long road trip for the first few weeks of the school year. I currently have 5 Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes packed and ready to ship to SoCal ahead of us so that we have all of our school stuff with us on the road. Not sure how much of it all we'll get done but we can try. For science this year, I am piecing together a botany/horticulture/gardening/chemistry curriculum. This was originally centered around the Perfect House's existing vegetable garden and fruit trees but now we will include carpentry in there (building elevated beds for the garden) and our PE unit will include digging up grass, raking, hoeing, tilling, mulching, etc. I've ordered a few books including Apologia's Botany text (and notebook) so we'll see how this comes together. I'm looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor (pun intended)!


I should hit the sack as the "TO DO" list is still in existence and needs some more attention tomorrow. I was able to take down the decorative towel racks in preparation for Spackle Saturday and was also able to set up shut-off dates for our utilities. Two more things marked off. More tomorrow.




Pau.




- hfs

7.18.2011

Making headway

The domination of the "TO DO" list continues. The yard sale over the weekend was successful, if you don't count the two stashes of stuff I meant to put out to sell (not including the fake ficus tree)...whoops! Thankfully, I had a friend who wanted the Pampered Chef stoneware that I forgot about in the kitchen and most of what was in the box in the living room can either go to friends or church. It's amazing to me how much CRAP we've managed to accumulate over the past 6+ years (less, actually, because we've had 1 or 2 yard sales over the years).


When we moved here, we maxed out our weight limit (13,500# for a CW2). My goal is to get us to Kansas with less than what we came with. I'm not counting the motorcycle we're moving with because (much to my MIL's chagrin) it belongs to my father-in-law, not us. MacGyver managed to find a pristine 1979 Honda CBX. It's a 6-cylinder in a color that Honda did not actually offer on their initial line. He saw the ad on eBay, shot an email to his dad (he knew his dad had always been interested in them) and his dad wrote back immediately and said "SOLD!". The gentleman we bought it from was the original owner and the only thing wrong with it is that it needs the carbs cleaned. She's a beast - a good 600#. And she's loud...almost obnoxiously so. But the comments she garners are worth it ("Oh my goodness! Is that what I think it is?!?").


Anyway, she belongs to my FIL so that doesn't count. And last time we moved here, we didn't count MacGyver's tools as professional gear because he wasn't a maintainer nor was he yet a Maintenance Test Pilot. But he is now and therefore (because he does use his own tools for work) we get to count them. And all of our homeschooling materials (books, texts, school supplies, printer, laminator, computer, etc.) count as professional gear for me. That's a HUGE chunk of weight. I wish there was a bonus for coming in UNDER budget for weight! We've sold off the couch, a couple of bookcases, we're selling the dining table, a few other living room items, and a 2nd motorcycle.


Today we deposited the proceeds from the yard sale and cashed in all of our change. I paid the kids in dollars for the change in their piggy banks and, combined with our change stashes, we cashed in almost $200 in coinage! The CoinStar machine doesn't charge a fee if you opt for the Amazon.com gift card and, combined with my SwagBucks gift cards, we have enough in our Amazon account to cover the bulk of the kids' Christmas gifts this year. And, because we'll be back on the mainland, I can score free shipping, which is not usually available to me on The Rock. w00t


We're still wrangling with transportation and finance. If you live on the mainland (i.e. a CONUS location) and move to another CONUS location, you can get paid to drive two vehicles (you'll be paid less to drive the second vehicle but you'll still get paid). Not so if you're coming from an OCONUS location, even if that OCONUS location is still part of the United States. We were planning to ship our primary vehicle ahead to Kansas (well, to the nearest Vehicle Processing Center/VPC) and then drive another vehicle (which we were planning to pick up in California) to Kansas. But, if we ship the 1st vehicle to KS, we cannot be paid mileage and per diem to drive the 2nd vehicle. So, because we're coming from an OCONUS location, we're only "allowed" one vehicle. I could understand this if we were coming from Korea or Germany or another foreign country where the likelihood of bringing back a 2nd vehicle that would be legal on US roads would be less likely. But the policy as it pertains to Hawaii and Alaska is asinine.


In other news, it looks like the house we were hoping to rent when we get to Kansas might no longer be on the table. If you Google the words "registered sex offenders Junction City Kansas" you will understand why. Perfect house. Perfectly awful location. I cannot knowingly put my children in that kind of situation. It would be one thing if I had no other choice. But I do. So we're back to trolling the internet for possible rentals. I was so looking forward to driving right into the driveway of our new house when we got there. It was a great house too - 4BR, acre of land, completely remodeled, built in the early 1900s, allows dogs, garden and fruit trees, 2 car garage + workshop, etc. PERFECT. Not.


I don't "do" disappointment very well. Can you tell? Stop laughing at me. I'm incredibly bummed.


The mojo I had when I started writing this post early this afternoon was completely sapped by the information I found out about the house and the area in which we were looking to rent. So now, I think I'm going to take my disappointment and go to bed. Poo.




Pau.




- hfs

7.13.2011

Project ValOUR-IT





I have been remiss in highlighting the Project ValOUR-IT fundraising competition that is currently taking place. I apologize. This year, the fundraising campaign has been moved from November to July. Currently, as of this writing, Team Army has raised $13,000+ of the $25,000 it hopes to raise by July 14th. There are 136 wounded servicemembers waiting for a laptop - a laptop that your donation could provide. It's the least we can do.


There are some incredible posts out there. Every year, my fellow milbloggers completely knock my socks off with their eloquence, their honesty, their insight, and their wit. This year, my friend Chuck posted his mother's thoughts on her son's injuries and his subsequent recovery - a recovery that resulted in the existence of Project ValOUR-IT. Alice is AMAZING. I've met her once and I thought she was a saint simply for raising Chuck, let alone how she supported him during his recovery. Her story is humbling and inspiring. Go, read it, and then donate to this incredible cause.


I am.




Pau.




- hfs

7.12.2011

Feast or famine

Let me start this post off with the fact that I am NOT complaining.


We were waiting to hear back from Branch as to whether we'd be allowed to stick around a few extra days to make the whole pack-your-house-and-run-around-like-a-chicken-with-your-head-cut-off scenario just a little easier. We were hoping for 5-7 days.


They gave us 17. Apparently, when we asked for 8AUG, they saw 18AUG. So that's our new departure date. Works.For.Me. We now have 17 extra days to enjoy the island - hiking, beaches, water park, friends, food, church, trade winds, etc. We went ahead and bought season passes to the water park here. Odd, given the fact that we're leaving in 5 weeks. But the cost of a pass was barely more than a 1-day admission so it made sense. We've already been once this week. We'll be going again before the week is up. And again next week. And the week after. We are also revisiting some of our favorite hikes this week while MacGyver takes some time off. He has mass leave accrued and it made sense for him to take some time off to "play tourist" and get some work done on the garage before the movers come.


My OCD is in full-swing. You'd understand if you saw my little spiral-bound notebook. It has 3 tabbed sections and I am putting each to very good use. The first section is the "to do/pertinent info" section. In it, there are the following lists:

~ master "TO DO" list
~ "To Sell" list
~ freezer contents/meal list
~ monies (moving money, deposit refunds, BAH for here and there, estimated budget for KS, estimated expenses for KS)
~ Regulation/JFTR references, just in case anyone wants to argue Pro Gear definitions with me
~ day by day lists of things that need to be done
~ rental car info


The next section is a room by room account of what needs to be done or cleaned. Each room has a page. Eventually, I will print these out and post them in each room. Yep. I'm that anal.


Last one is our packing/travelling info:

~ what to pack in luggage (1 page for each person)
~ what to ship (instead of put in luggage)
~ items for our advance shipment
~ Homeschool curriculum to ship
~ day by day travel plans
~ rental car and lodging info for travel


There are also a few handy little pockets for holding receipts, print outs of the JFTR, etc.


Right now this pretty little spiral-bound notebook is ruling my life. But at least I know what it has planned for me! And I have more time in which to get it done. Seventeen more days, to be exact!




Pau.




- hfs

7.11.2011

When I grow up, I want to be...

...a paramedic. Seriously. When I was living in SoCal, I took the EMT-B course, LOVED IT, and then promtly moved to Colorado (never taking my NREMT exam) where they paid EMT-Bs a whopping $6.50/hour. I could make almost double that coaching so I never worked as an EMT.


Fast forward to the year 2000. I'm living in Alaska, working as a teacher, and I find that UAF has an EMT program during the summer. PERFECT! I get all signed up to redo the course and possibly put it to some actual USE (in addition to taking the NREMT exam) and I find myself pregnant. UAF prohibits (and rightfully so) women who are pregnant from taking the course. Phooey.


Fast forward to 2006. The city and county of Honolulu find themselves in a predicament. They are short on EMTs and paramedics. So they decide to start paying people to take the EMT courses. Sadly, that one didn't work out for me.


Fast forward again to 2009. I find that there is an EMT/Paramedic program at one of the community colleges but it's WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY downtown and it's a semester-long, 5 days/week, 8-10 hours per day program. Plus (at the time) it looked like MacGyver was deploying and that would mean my children would see their daycare providers more than they saw their parents. I couldn't do that, especially amidst the upheaval that a deployment brings. And then life came crashing down around me and all thoughts of taking the EMT course were set aside.


There's a glimmer of hope on the horizon in that there are several accredited EMT programs in the state of Kansas and I'm hoping and praying I can find one that works for me and my family. We'll see.


The reason I type all of this out is to illustrate what a NERD I am. I have a substantial first aid kit. Just because I never took the NREMT exam doesn't mean I've forgotten the things I've learned. In addition, I work with the youth at church and my family and I do a lot of outdoor activities, including BMX riding, (plus I am the parent of a 7 year old boy) so I find that I need a little more than your average first aid kit. So I took my cues from a PA friend of mine and put together my first aid kit. It's nothing too special...I don't have DermaBond or anything cool like that but I do have gauze pads, steri-strips, butterfly bandages, my CPR mask, a lot of gloves, a bunch of common meds (Motrin, Benadryl, Tylenol, etc), etc. If I really wanted to get adventurous, I could steal MacGyver's Combat Lifesaver kit and put that in there but I don't know how to start an IV yet so that's probably not going to do me a lot of good.


But that's not the nerdy part.


The nerdy part is this: I had to get a new bag for my kit this weekend. I had a chem ice pack blow on me in the bag and the chemicals destroyed the zipper of the toiletry bag that was my kit bag. So I found a new bag - ironically (no, not intentionally) it's a Swiss Army bag. Complete with pretty little red cross. It was all they had at Target that wasn't a big POS. So I spent the evening transferring all of my first aid stuff from the destroyed bag to the new bag. I checked all of the expiration dates, made sure I had restocked things from when The Boy split his head open, and added in a few things as well. It's all good to go and I am quite proud of myself.


Now, just to find a class I can take so I can put my nerdiness to work!




Pau.




- hfs

7.10.2011

Adventures in Moving Part...something

Evidently the process of chewing bark into wood pulp in order to make their own paper upon which to print MacGyver's orders has become more efficient and we now have orders in hand. And we have pack out dates. Two weeks from now, every one of my OCD tendencies will be assaulted and cardboard will, once again, rule my life. I hate cardboard. If it were up to me, the Army would use Rubbermaid Toughneck containers instead of cardboard.


But it's not up to me.


We're hoping the Army will take pity on us and extend out departure date by about a week, giving us time to take full advantage of TLA (Temporary Lodging Allowance...10 days of hotel expenses covered. Which is different than TLE - Temporary Lodging Expense - which is pretty much the same thing but on the mainland, not overseas. I have no idea WHY they can't call them the same thing when, really, they ARE the same thing. But whatever.). And actually, we're not taking advantage of it. We'll be staying with friends and SAVING the Army those 10 days of TLA. So it's actually in their best interest to let us stay here a few extra days. I can rationalize ANYTHING.


The real reason is that I am not ready to leave yet. Like the teenager that mumbles, sleepily, "just 5 more minutes, mom" when rousted for the morning, I'd like a few more days. There are hikes to be hiked, beaches to be sampled, a water park that hasn't had the pleasure of our presence in 2 years, restaurants to be enjoyed one last time. And I don't want to be *that person* that runs around like a chicken with my head cut off up until the last 2 hours of my time here on the island. I'd much rather stroll in to the airport, mai tai in hand (until we get to security and then I'll chug it in front of the TSA agent), sand sloughing off my feet and my suit still wet.


We're trolling Craigslist and ahrn.com for housing once we get to Kansas but only half-heartedly. Right now, we're all harboring thoughts of time in Grandma and Grandpa's pool, time at the cabin, In-N-Out, and a 2,500 mile road trip in the RV. MavGyver used the road trip (and his whole flying gig) as an excuse to buy a used iPad. Currently, The Boy and The Girl are involved in a deadly game of rock-paper-scissors to determine who gets to use it for the next 38 minutes. I forsee buying a referee's jersey and a whistle before this fun is up. Whee.


I should wrap this up and get back to weeding out, sorting, etc. Yard sale is next weekend. Then the countdown begins (as does MacGyver's clearing post). I feel like I'm forgetting something in the grand scheme of things and plans but, for the life of me, cannot figure it out. Oh, well. It will come to me.


As I'm sitting on the beach, sipping my mai tai.




Pau.




- hfs

7.06.2011

Bureaucratic ineptitude





My "Hurry Up and Wait" post from yesterday gets even better. After speaking with several people yesterday, all of whom were able to get their move scheduled through their respective Transportation Management Offices (TMO) with either their RFO or an "exception to policy" letter from their command, MacGyver went back into our TMO to see if they'd be willing to work with us.


He offered up his RFO. No dice.


He offered up the exception to policy letter from the Brigade Commander. No dice.


He offered up our firstborn. No dice.


He spoke to everyone's respective bosses. No dice.


So the TMO at Fort Campbell, the TMO at Fort Leavenworth, the TMO at Fort Bragg, and the TMO at Fort Lewis will all allow a move to be set up with either an RFO or the exception to policy letter but Schofield Barracks will not. I wonder if it's an OCONUS thing? I'd like to think that it is because the alternative - the fact that they just refuse to do so for no discernible reason (no, they could not give MacGyver a reason...just that it was their "policy". And no, they could not produce a reference to said "policy") - causes my blood pressure to rise to a completely unhealthy level.


We're down to 17 business days. I figure it's going to take 7-10 days for orders to arrive. Another day to get the move scheduled. When MacGyver talked to TMO yesterday, the earliest they could schedule the move was 19AUG. So, based on my best guess, the earliest we'll see the movers here is 25JUL and I think that's being optimistic. It's not completely undoable but it means that I'll be handling the packers pretty much on my own because MacGyver will be clearing post while they pack. Joy. I would definitely put this in the BOHICA category. Not a huge deal but annoying, nonetheless.


That being said, we do have room in our leave plans to accommodate a few extra days on island. I'm hoping to avoid the scenario in which we pack out in 2-3 days, run around like chickens with our heads cut off for a few days after that, trying to tie up loose ends, and run down the walkway to the plane in a panic at the last minute, exhausted. That's NOT how I intend to spend my last few days here on this island. So we may have to push our departure date back a few days. C'est la vie. Semper Gumby.


I swear, I am getting that tattooed on my butt cheek.




Pau.




- hfs

Hurry up...

...and wait.


The quickness with which everything happened last week has been replaced with the Army's typical absolute lack of efficiency. In the Army, before you get your actual paper orders and get the ball rolling with regard to movers, plane tickets, school records, breaking leases, and the like, you get an RFO: Request For Orders. MacGyver's RFO showed up with lightning speed and he had it in hand the day we found out we were moving. However, there's not much you can DO with an RFO other than plan.


And we all know how well that works out, don't we?


In direct contrast to the speed with which the RFO was received, the orders are slow in coming. In addition to the RFO, the soldier has to attend a levy brief, detailing the minutiae of said move (weight limits, travel expenses/reimbursements, timelines, etc.). MacGyver had his today and we expected (stop laughing) that he would receive his orders at that point, thereby starting the fun that is a PCS.


No dice. 1-2 weeks.


1-2 WEEKS before he has orders in hand. Keep in mind we're supposed to be off this island by 1AUG. Today is 5JUL. That means that we have 3 weeks and 6 days (5, actually, because today is pretty much over) to get this move put together. That includes:

* scheduling packers
* scheduling travel
* shipping a vehicle
* breaking our lease (I am sure my landlord is going to be THRILLED)
* wrangling school and medical records together
* getting rid of all of the crap we don't need
* cleaning the house
* saying goodbye to friends
* clearing (supposedly they give soldiers 10 days to do this...not sure where we're supposed to shoe-horn that in)


Of the 9 items listed above, only 3 can be done without those orders in hand. You do the math - it's not going to work. You cannot get blood from a turnip. And CIF is closed on weekends.


This is going to be FUN. Gotta love the Army.




Pau.




- hfs

7.02.2011

Pros and Cons

No, I'm not running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Yet. That will commence in about two weeks. For now, I am soaking up as much sun and sea air and sweet Hawaiian everything that I can get my hands on. Trust me, my lobster-red skin would prove it but I refuse to post pictures here for fear that my dermatologist might see them and read me the riot act. We are making quick work of both our hiking and beach bucket lists and plan to tick off two more next week. The kids are tired - they may very well sleep during our road trip from the Left Coast to Fort Riley!


That being said, I am rather bipolar at the moment - everything I do here makes me sad in a way because I know it will be the last time I'll get to do it for a while. For instance, this is our last 4th of July celebration with our local friends and family. We do the same thing each year and it's always a lot of fun. This year it will be quite bittersweet. Then again, each of the past three 4th of Julys have been bittersweet in their own way, given the fact that I expected each to be our last as a military family. This year, it is more sweet than bitter but it's still our last one here for a while.


However, that just motivates me to enjoy each experience more. I wonder if that's what it's like for people who find out they have X amount of days/weeks to live? Does it make each experience sweeter? Or sadder? Or both? I'm going to miss so much about this place...some obvious, some not so much. Here's a partial list:

* the beaches
* the hiking
* the food
* the people
* slippahs in December
* shorts in December
* thinking that 78* is cold
* beaches in December
* trade winds
* humidity
* the hole in the wall joints that we've discovered
* snorkeling/diving
* the pineapple
* the mangoes, papaya, lychee, and avocados from friends' yards
* pineapple
* Dole Whip
* malasadas
* sleeping with the window open 24/7/365
* no snakes!
* tropical storms
* how fascinating lightning is here (it doesn't happen often)



And yet, I find myself getting slowly excited about our time on the mainland. I am choosing to approach this as I would if I were fresh out of high school and headed to the mainland for college: excited about the adventure, sad to leave family and friends, and planning to return when I'm done. My list of things I am looking forward to grows each day. Here's some of it:


* ROAD TRIPS!!!!!!!
* SEASONS!
* snow (ask me again in January and I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune)
* fleece
* Colorado State football games!!
* flannel sheets
* sledding
* New Belgium beer (for MacGyver, not me)
* being an 8 hour drive from Colorado
* being close to several milblogging friends
* being closer to family
* Cherry Limeades
* arid climate (compared to HI...it will be so nice to not have frizzy hair!!!)


But the biggest - and best - blessing of all is that we remain a military family. God is so good.




Pau.




- hfs