MrsUSN Keeps a Blog, Take 2. Or 3.

So, it doesn’t take much to notice the HUGE gap between my posts… especially my last post and this. This says more about me than about my time here in HI so far..lol! I fail hard at addiction, by which I mean, I can’t develop a habit (addiction) to save my life: namely– Blogging. I apologize for my inconsistency, and will try to update this better. New year, new habits, blahblahblah. 😉

Well, since we last left off…(Cliff note version to catch you up!) We moved out of the hotel (after maxing out our allowed time there, due to our new place being renovated!). We found a rental house out in Ewa Beach at the “Waterfront At Puu’loa” … which then became the “Kapilina Beach Homes.”
We did a lot of research and despite the negative reviews, gave it a shot, mostly because, well … with 2 dogs it’s tough to find a place in Oahu! We are glad we did. WHen we first arrived, our orginal plan was to get a townhouse (more room), but when we drove out to actually SEE it– we felt cramped. Not in the house (which felt HUGE) but in the neighborhood layout. The townhouses are all located in cul de sacs, which gives a very claustrophobic feeling, to us anyway. We also found that the ‘fenced in yard’ that looked so big online and in the brochure- was SO.SMALL. Not even worth it. So, on a lark, we asked if there were any flats (single floor houses) available.
They let us look at a duplex and we really liked the floorplan, but were concerned with the shared wall (Oliver can get barky). SO, figuring we had nothing to lose- we pushed alittle harder : “Any SINGLE flats available?” (SO brass ring!) As luck (fate?) would have it: they had one that was JUST being vacated, and if we could wait a month for the renovation= it could be ours! BUT WAIT! IT GETS BETTER!!! The house in question? Only had a neighbor on one side (on the other side of the carport), a big gorgeous plumeria tree (that we later put our hammock under) and was only a few doors up from the dog-friendly beach! Yes, that’s right: we got a house close to the beach. Like, walk your dog every night or take your coffee there in the morning close. Seriously. THAT close. We were in love. (Still are!) 🙂

2015-09-19-06-52-30-320 2015-09-19-06-43-05-091  2015-09-19-06-55-40-295

2015-09-19-06-30-16-439-1 2015-09-19-06-25-49-423

2015-09-19-06-43-57-023 2015-09-19-06-34-23-236

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So far…

Okay, so my last few posts have been RIDICULOUSLY wordy. Sorry. As I said in my last post, at this point we have been in this hotel room for 54 days…Now, I’m sure you are wondering “What?! you’re in HI! Go kayaking, swimming, mountain climbing…!” But see, here’s the thing. All of that costs $$$. We are NOT on vacation, and until we get reimbursed for the PCS, every expense piles up. Every 10 days, another $1100 goes on our CC for the room. When you can’t bake, you spend a lot on microwave food. Blech. Or restaurants. Or pizza. (The only place that delivers to the island is Dominoes, FYI) All of these are pretty pricey options. Since our hotel room has a kitchenette, you only actually get HALF of your per diem– so for us, that’s $60 a day for food. It sounds like a lot, and on the mainland it would be. But here? Not so much. A trip to Teddys Bigger Burger (think 5 Guys) for 2 of us (2 fountain drinks, 2 burgers, 2 fries) = $26.95 Chili’s (mango tea, strawberry lemonade (no alcohol!), 2 Mexi-bowl salads and some guac = $43.51 (I have a stack of reciepts here that I’m looking at). So if we get $60 a day to eat– just by going to Chili’s and a burger joint- we’ve already gone over budget into the land of un-reimbursed spending. My advice? If you are on Ford Island? Head over to the Mini-NEX (I know – I warned against that earlier but this is the exception!) over across from the Air field and museum. Inside is a Subway. Go to Subway. It’s healthy, it’s (comparatively) cheaper and healthier as options go.  And it will keep you within budget. This will become important.

Now- as to activity time. Part of this is me. I feel guilty leaving my poor dogs in the hotel room for extended periods of time. I also dislike the idea of driving to a beach, looking for parking, cooking in the sun, and then riding all the way back to the lodge soggy or sandy or burnt. Ugh.. I’m actually just waiting until we are in our house. The reason for this? We signed the lease for a cute little house 9 houses up from the beach!! Yup! We are going to be living within walking distance to a beach! Which means: no parking issues, no staying any longer than you feel like it, no sitting in traffic coming and going… I can simply grab my towel, sunscreen, waterbottle and book and walk down the street. Best of all?? (Because, yeah, it gets better!!!) ‘Our’ beach is dog-friendly!! Say whaaaat?! YES. You read right. We scored a beach bungalow with a dog-friendly beach. THIS is why we have been in the hotel so long. We decided it was worth the wait.

100_3305 100_3304 100_3303 100_3302 100_3310 100_3313 100_3314 100_3315 100_3320 100_3319 100_3318 100_3317 100_3316 100_3321

Originally, we had looked at a townhouse in the same area. Well, we went to actually LOOK at it (the day we were going to sign the lease!) and it wasn’t sitting well with me. The house was great, and spacious by Hawaiian standards–but it was in a cul de sac that felt REALLY crowded to me (multiple car households?), and the fenced in yard (reason we chose the place!) was 110% burrs. Yeah. The same burrs that chased us out of the hotel dog-park.  It was unusable. So, on a whim, we went back to the leasing office and I asked the agent “Okay, it looks great,buuuuut…. do you by ANY chance at all have one of the single houses available for us to see?”  (When you have dogs- shared walls are less than ideal. If we took the townhouse, we were going to share a wall, but thought the yard made it worthwhile. Upon sight, we decided it wasn’t.) He just so happened to know of a house coming up… The lady was in her driveway (she was moving out that day!). He gave us the keys to a similar property (same floorplan, but attached unit) so we could ‘see’ the inside. We loved the layout… SO we scouted out the location that was going to be available: close to dog park, close to beach, close to office… Went back to the office and signed for that house. Only catch? It was going to need renovating… and wouldnt’ be available until June…  We decided it was worth the wait. So here we sit. Still inthe hotel. But we move into the Beach Bungalow on Saturday!!! Only catch– household goods, although already on island (here since April) can’tbe delivered until June 20. FFS…  So we will be camping in our house for 2 weeks. Near the beach. I think we’ll struggle through it somehow… 😉

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Polynesian Cultural Center

Oh Poly Cult. I am so conflicted on you. I love you. I hate you. I …

We went to the Polynesian Cultural Center and it was beautiful!!! It really is! We booked our tickets through MWR (do it- much cheaper!) and checked the pups into overnight boarding at the vets (since we knew we wouldn’t be back before late). The drive from here to there was beautiful. The layout of the center is beautiful, lots of tropical trees, flowers, a windy ‘river’ with boats, and it’s divvied up into several small Polynesian villages. Each village tells the story of typical life in a variety of different Polynesian islands. Example: Maori culture, Samoan, Tongan, Hawaiian, Fiji, Tahiti. You get to explore and learn about each culture through their storytelling (‘talkstory’), re-enactments, art, song, dance, architecture, life skills, etc. Each culture is presented by people FROM those cultures, so it’s a great way of learning! I would suggest however, skip the tour– I felt like we missed stuff. If you Self-guide your way through, you can spend more/less time as you see fit. For me? I was less interested in the dance and more interested in the Tapa making (visual arts)–which means, I of course drifted away from my group (dancing) to go check out the Tapa. 😉 Not necessarily an advisable tactic, but for what you pay, you should see what interests you! Next time– definitely self-guiding. Anyhow, as I was saying, I LOVED the layout, loved the presentations of the various cultures, loved the whole learning experience and really enjoyed the big show (HA: Breath of Life) at the end. Pay the extra and see the show– it is SO worth it! 🙂

Poly Cult Center 20140503_113101 20140503_132906 20140503_132940 100_3458 100_3483 100_3488 100_3487 100_3481 100_3480 100_3479 100_3478 100_3477 100_3482 100_3473 100_3471 100_3470 100_3469 100_3468 100_3467 100_3466 100_3447 100_3446 100_3486 100_3557 100_3516 100_3509 100_3500 100_3496 100_3493 100_3490 100_3489 100_3517 100_3561 100_3592 100_3591 100_3593 100_3582 100_3581 100_3580 100_3579 100_3583 100_3570 100_3569 100_3565 100_3564 100_3562 See what I mean? It’s beautiful!!

Now my problems with it…  The weird practice of selling $5 ice-cream before every performance. Seriously- it was like a commercial. They (performers) would wait 15 minutes for these people to shill the ice cream before anything would begin. It was like commercials. Nobody expects commercials when going to a museum (which, technically, this would fall under the category of Living Museum..). It was weird and annoying. Set up your stands and we’ll buy it -when we see it- if we want it. Enough already. 😛

 

Second- and this is purely personal. The Poly Cult Ctr is run by a religious group. A strange (unexpected) arrangement– but okay… How it works, is the employees of the center are all hired from their respective islands, and work in exchange for an education (fully funded!) at a well-known university here in HI. I DO think that’s a pretty good deal; a work study in exchange for your education? Cool. My concern however, is awkward to phrase, so bear with me. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the particular faith in this situation. You can sub ANY faith in that spot, the reasons for my discomfort are the same.

Historically speaking, almost every culture has been either wiped out or assimilated to the point of near non-existence by religious groups. Missionaries, although well-intentioned, in their effort to ‘save the souls’ of  indigenous people, succeeded in almost entirely erasing their very cultures by eroding or negating their native belief systems. In most indigenous cultures their art, their artifacts, their rituals are all centered around their belief system. Their native faiths. When missionaries visited these peoples and ‘gave them G-d’– they lost that which made them uniquely and culturally THEM. (*please note this is not directed at any particular faith’s missionaries)

Now, in the US, when we assimilated (nearly annihilated)  the Native population– it was systematic. It began with the missionaries, moved on to the taking of land and relegation to reservations, and moved into the ‘education phase.’ The education phase, was when the tribes children were taken and sent to boarding schools. These schools forbade the use of their languages, cut their hair (it was too native), dressed them like pioneer children, forced them to speak English, forced them to learn their christian prayers and not speak of their native life. It basically was designed to re-program the kids. To erase their cultural identity.

Now how does this relate…

Well, my concern is– when these students (high school age) are taken from their islands and accepted into BYU (with the promise of a free education!) what level of religious indoctrination is involved? For the duration of their time at school and employment at the PCC, they are expected to abide by the host organizations faith–including all restrictions. Upon completion of their education, the kids are then sent back to their islands. There is a never-ending stream of students from these islands, willing to take their place, due to the lure of free education in ‘America’ (Hawaii). But when the kids go home- how does that affect their culture? Are Maori kids returning to New Zealand with newly established religious views? Are all these island participants coming to work here and returning ‘washed’ of their indigenous faiths? I’m probably not explaining myself very well, but maybe you can understand my concern? My thought process? Imagine, if every generation of indigenous graduating high school seniors, went off to college and returned having converted to Judaism. How long would it take, before that cultures belief system was left behind and they (as a culture) shifted toward a Jewish belief system? Coconut shell Shabbat sets, Seashell shofars…?

As you can see, I am conflicted. I love Poly Cult, I hate Poly Cult. But I did enjoy my visit and would absolutely recommend it to anyone if you visit the island. Just don’t overthink it like I do. It’s a lot easier to enjoy a good time when you don’t think of tomorrow, right? :-/

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

E Komo Mai Hawaii!

E Komo mai Hawaii! (welcome to Hawaii!)

And if you want to really say it right, pronounce Hawaii correctly– “Hah-vy-ee” 😉

WOW. Wow. wow. This place…

So I flew here on Hawaiian Airlines, which was a wonderful experience. Despite the toddler in the row behind me who scream-cried the ENTIRE 6 hours (oh mylanta was that a long flight made longer…) the flight  was actually very calming. From the minute you get on, you hear the Hawaiian music playing softly, the flight attendants wear aloha shirts (‘Hawaiian shirts are actually called Aloha shirts– who knew?), the little tv screens at every seat were playing a loop of beautiful sunsets, swaying palm trees, hula dancers, etc. All in all- very pleasant. HA is one of the only airlines left that still provides a complimentary meal, with wine and SILVERWARE. Not plastic spork. Silverware. FYI. 😉 Here are a few pics from my first sight of Hawaii from the air…

20140414_160754 20140414_160733 20140414_160112 20140414_160158

(Left to right) Those are the Ko’Olina Lagoons on the Leeward side, 2 shots looking leeward, and a shot of cities-because why didn’t I expect such crowding??

20140414_161143 This is actually the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The beach on left, is Iroquois Point– where we will be living!

When I arrived, I was greeted with a magenta orchid lei (Confession: I arranged for that in advance when I booked my flight! It cost $20 but after the last few months of holy hell pcs-cancer- cross country driving- I totally felt like I deserved to be greeted as if on vacation! DO IT! Spring for it! It sets the pace for a new beginning!!) Now, when you accept a lei, there is actually a whole protocol for this… You bow your head and they (the giver– you NEVER put one on yourself!) drapes it around your head and over your shoulders. SO it doesn’t (initially) hang like a necklace, it drapes evenly front and back. Eventually it will end up hanging like a necklace (as you can see), but when giving a lei– it always goes on evenly. 😉  Now, this being my first time in Hawaii, first time getting lei’d (haha, see what I did there?) and being alone, I got even MORE Cheesy and started taking selfies. Yup. I was that chick.

20140414_135208 20140414_135202 Shameless. Just, Shameless.

Just got lei'd at the airport...OMG I"M REALLY HERE!!!

Just got lei’d at the airport…OMG I”M REALLY HERE!!!

2 Funny things about landing in Hawaii– you have to fill out a Customs Declaration (as if arriving in a foreign country) and the restroom signs. See for yourself…

.20140414_155248 20140414_133457 20140414_133509

I didn’t get a shot of the mens room sign. That just would’ve been awkward…

Sea Monkeys sponsor met me at the airport, so as soon as my stuff was loaded in his car– we were off to the car lot! He offered to take me to lunch, but honestly– I just wanted to get the MonkeyMobile (“Toaster”) so I could check that off my to-do list. So we went to Sand Island and I busted out my big mamma-jamma PCS binder with all the necessary paperwork in it and got his car. (side note: they were impressed by my organization/binder. Booyah.)

Once I signed for his car, inspected it and all, they gave me directions for registering it- but honestly, I ignored it. I got the car (and every other damn thing!) to the island, HE can take care of SOMETHING. (and he did–both cars.) From there, I followed the sponsor to the base so I could fill the Toaster (remember: it ships nearly empty!) and while at the gas station (a mini-NEX) I figured I would grab a few things to eat in the hotel, since it had a mini-fridge. This was easier said than done… recall, it was almost Pesach. Passover. No leavened grains. DOH. (actually, no dough…) I bought some grapes ($9.99 a lb!! WTF?!), salad, tuna, water… and Sam Adams. I figured Pesach didn’t begin until sundown, and dammit–I earned a beer. Or 2. Or 3. Afterwards, I  followed the sponsor to the lodge to check out out our new temporary home.   ****Side note: since then, I have learned: do NOT buy your food at the Nex Minimarts.. highway robbery. Seriously. I’m still shaking my damn head over those $10 grapes…

Now, Navy Lodge. Actually really nice! It’s out on Ford Island, and recall– I booked it back in January (so, 4 mos in advance!) since we have 2 pups with us. They put us up on the 3rd floor, all the way at the end (which is great, because we only have one other room on our balcony + housekeeping. Our balcony is closed off at one end (going into the hotel), so I’ve been able to let the pups run on the balcony (when nobody is home next door). 😉

The pups didn’t arrive until the next morning, delivered by Island Pet Movers in style…! (seriously- check this out!) 20140415_085742 20140415_085813 20140415_085810 20140415_085807 20140415_090023 Needless to say, they were happy to be back with their mama and adjusted to the hotel room very quickly…20140415_093745 20140415_093733 20140415_103705 20140415_095218 20140415_095216 20140415_095153 20140415_093828

 

FB_IMG_13976120668861541 FB_IMG_13977795021738584 FB_IMG_13976120456162567

I won’t lie though– early morning potty breaks are a PITA, running down 3 flights of stairs…(there is an elevator, but the stairs are closer and don’t involve me high-tailing it through the lobby in my pjs’ with 2 cross-legged spaniels!) The lodge does have ample dog walking space, including one fenced in dog park that my pups LOVED!!! We stopped using it though, due to the barbaric burrs in that park.

20140422_161406 There are about a gajillion burrs on each stem. Now, imagine picking THOSE out of your poor dogs toes and belly-fuzz!

They look like tiny anemone and stick in between toes and in fur badly. 😦

20140415_092007 20140415_091958 20140415_092321 OH!! And another thing!! RED DIRT! It stains EVERYTHING!  Miss Puppy (Sophie) who is usually my prissy pup– rolled in it and managed to stain her BLACK hair. Guess who got a bath that night..? Hint: THIS girl…20140415_092017

Use the dog-park (unfenced) that’s back beside the pool instead. No burrs. Or- if you are like my picky pups– they prefer to go under the plumeria trees near the playground. Just bring your baggies!! There are a lot of dog owners here, and I’ve noticed several don’t pick up after their dogs. Gross. Be responsible. (And if you DO catch one of them– offer them a baggie. It should give them a hint.)

20140417_065309 20140417_065325 20140417_064517 20140417_064437

20140417_064402 20140417_064219  20140417_06452620140416_190559 Happy puppies at the park. They didn’t even want to run around, they were so content to just sit and enjoy the breeze!

Our room (Sea Monkey, me, +2 pups) consists of a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette (like a little galley kitchen: fridge, microwave, cooktop—NO OVEN), and a second room that combines living room with office/dining space. It has a couch, table and chairs, and desk. Originally, we were going to be in the lodge for 2-3 weeks. We had to extend… At the time I am writing this, it has been 54 days. 54 DAYS. We leave on Saturday, thank goodness! It’s been a really wonderful place to stay, but we are itchy to get in our house!!! If you book at the Navy Lodge on Ford Island– just an FYI– it has 2 tvs, a dvd player, the kitchen is stocked with mixing bowls, colander, cutting board, silverware/dishes/cups for 4 and a mini coffeepot that takes pods. Housekeeping provides them. (It’s kona coffee though, so get 3 a day! 😉 )

20140414_155410 20140414_15535620140414_15535120140414_155339

 

 

20140414_155307 20140414_155256    20140414_155330 20140414_155322

Here you can see the living room/dining room/office, the pass through kitchenette (note fridge size!), the our room & the bath. The couch is also a pull out bed, FYI if you have kids. The 2 pics of outside are from the bedroom window– Pearl Harbor and an old bunker!

100_3379 100_3378 100_3377 100_3375 100_3373 100_3371 100_3370 100_3366 100_3365

Yeah… these are from our room. Seriously

20140416_072322 20140416_072031 20140416_161150 20140416_072210 20140416_072045 20140416_072231

The colorful ones are sunset– the silvery ones are sunrise! …Because, when you have two pups that need to go out, you sometimes see the sunrise…

So yeah… Welcome to Hawaii. E Komo Mai… 🙂  I think we’re gonna like it here…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catching up…

Been a minute since last I posted… When I last left off I was moving out of my house in VA, packing up my car and driving to my folks in FL. My dad had recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and the prognosis was pretty damn grim. Terminal, I believe is the word. Trust me when I say, a lot has happened since then…

Florida, in a nutshell- was about family. The day after I got there, my sister arrived from Italy, and my brother came in from Seattle. It has been over 10 years since the three of us have been ‘home’ at the same time. I say ‘home’ but, really- it is where our parents retired to. We never lived there. So really, it was the first time my parents had all of us in THEIR home. And it was wonderful.

My dad had his team assembled for a fun week prior to his surgery! He’s one of those guys who just loves having his kids all home. Mom does too, but she was still carrying dads diagnosis and pending surgery on her shoulders, and it was wearing her down. We all had a good time, to be sure, and his BP was the lowest it has been since this whole ordeal began.

His surgery was on April 4 at the Moffett Cancer Research Center in Tampa, FL. I can’t say enough good things about that place! I felt better after seeing the facilities and meeting the people who were taking care of my dad. Truthfully, it was a night and day difference between his cancer experience and my own. Obviously our prognoses were a big factor, but even just how it was handled was amazing. I had a form letter, with a date for “your cancer surgery.” That was how I found out I had cancer. A filled in form letter. Dad has an extensive team of brilliant, compassionate professionals and a hospital that offers both cutting edge trials, new advances and holistic approaches. They treat the whole patient, AND the family that is going through cancer with them. Amazing.

So, since his surgery… Dad had a radical lymphendectomy (sp.), tumours removed from his throat (near esophagus) and upper back (dead center on the spine). His back, (ground zero– the original tumour that raised the alarms) was originally going to require a skin graft, but instead they were able to do a wide excision. Good news!!! Dad has a large scar across his upper back, another under his arm, and a third that runs from below his ear down his clavicle.

His surgery was about 6 hours long, and he came through like a champ. Surgery was on Friday, and he came home Monday morning after I left for my cross country trek. He amazes me on a regular basis… His next check up will be Wednesday, but as of right now, the doctors seem confident that they got it all, and he may not even need chemo or radiation!! Seriously! Did I. Entire. His doctors are brilliant? Chairmen of the Sarcoma and Melanoma departments. He had the best of the best, and is healing beyond our wildest expectations. My dad IS beating the odds. My dad IS kicking cancers ass, one nap at a time right now… ❤

Categories: Personal | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Westward Expansion Part 2: Road Dawgs and Tails

So, back to the actual trip!
Snapshot:
4/7 @ 9am– vet visit for health cert.
@ 11 am– left The Villages, FL

20140407_162457

Oliver and Sophie, all packaged up in their ‘to-go’ gear! Let the Crash Course to Crating begin!

20140407_162436

Oliver? Apprehensive

20140407_162521

Sophie…was unimpressed.

20140407_162429
@ 7 pm — arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana stayed at La Quinta!
***La Quinta Baton Rouge was well appointed, clean, and didn’t feel like a dog hotel! 🙂 highly recommend!

 

20140407_200003

20140407_200000 The La Quinta Lobby in Baton Rouge was very modern, clean and gave the feeling you were staying somewhere fancier! 😉

20140407_200032

This was the breakfast room– they even had Belgian waffles!

20140407_195840

This is the face of a pup who was VERY glad to be out of the car…He spent most of the night bouncing from bed to bed– he enjoyed jumping on the beds immensely.

20140407_195756

As I said, it was a nice big room, and although there are no pics here, the bathroom was equally modern and clean.

20140407_195743

Not a bad first impression at all… ! Also, since I had notified them in advance that I was traveling with dogs, they put me in a room on the ground floor near the side exit where the ‘dog-park’ (complete with baggies) was located.

        >>> Sights seen along the way: a dead alligator (belly up, no less) and drove through a blinding road strangler of a storm, FL, MS, AL, LA

20140408_161227

Aligator heads, feet, hands/claws, teeth as decor and accessories…because we’re in the South!

4/8 @9am– left Baton Rouge
@ 5pm — arrived in Segovia, Texas (middle of NOWHERE!) Econo Lodge.

20140408_162027

Ok. You’ve surely heard how everything is big in Texas, right?? Well. Lemmetellya.. WHat you are looking at is not a mop. That long handle is on a squeegee. You know– the gas station staple for bathing the bugs on your windshield? Yup. In TX, apparently, even the squeegee handles are big. (* Side note: I saw one in use by a steretypical Texan: cowboy boots, hat, and satellite sized belt buckle, gassing up his beast of a pickup truck. The long handle suddenly made all the sense in the world…)

20140408_120129

“WATCH OUT FOR SNAKES”… I think that’s how Texans say “welcome?”

20140408_115427 - Copy

Welcome to the Lonestar state!

20140408_183627

Although this looks like a proper Texan lobby… the tv was blaring a Bollywood Dance sequence that was  most awesome…

20140409_081200

Allright, so what you are looking at here, is a lobby shrine. A shrine to what? Well hell, son, glad you asked! Anyone! Pick a deity! Mary? Check. Jesus? Check. Buddha? check. A Hindu god whose name escapes me? Check. A Firebird? Check. Light a candle, sweetgrass, incense and worship accordingly.

20140409_081232

Oops– also a Yogi. Namaste.

 

20140409_081132

So, this is the front desk at the Econo Lodge in Segovia/Junction Texas. I think the towns population was 25. This back wall was pure magic to this travelers eyes… Framed cowboys, a Velvet Indian, VFW paperwork for the owner (Thank you!) and –of course– framed Elvis. I died. This wall of wonders made my day.

20140408_190436

So, this was the view from the parkinglot. Not much out there… The friendly lady at the desk cautioned me to ‘keep my dogs on leashes, as there is wildlife out there. Coyotes, snakes, etc.’ That was enough for me to determine the pups would be peeing in the small grassy area under the motel sign…No way in hell was I going out there.

20140408_183930

“Whose bike is that?” “It’s not a bike, it’s a chopper.” “Whose chopper is that?” “Zed’s.” “Who’s Zed?” “Zed’s dead, baby… Zed’s Dead…” ALL I could think of was Pulp Fiction when I saw this lone bike in front of the motel. That vehicle in the distance? Yeah, that’s the NavWif-Mobile. My car.

20140408_190401

Cue the music from those old westerns: dudda-dudda-duhhh, wah-wah-waaaah…dudda-dudda-duhh, wah-wah-waaaaahhhhh…. Imagine a tumbleweed blowing by, as a lonely coyote howls inthe distance. Where in the world WAS I?!

20140408_190133

Remember the lady warning me about the ‘wildlife’? Well. No prob. My pups wanted NOTHING to do with that desert nature stuff. No way. NO how.

20140408_190126

Sweet Sophie. She wasn’t AT ALL interested in leaving the relative comfort of the room.

20140408_190103

Ah yes. The room. It was clean. It was functional. It was old. It was bed-bug free. (Believe me. I checked. Twice.)

20140408_190042

I said it was bed bug free. I make no such guarantees against spaniel infestations.

        
** Econo Lodge was dated, kinda dicey, with only a truckstop available for food! Not my first choice (LaQuinta Kerrville was booked up) but it worked. However– be Careful with your pups: coyotes, rattlesnakes and scorpions in the area!!
>>>sights seen along the way: a bunch of dead armadillos (they suck at road crossings), tumble weeds (they don’t stand a chance when you hit them at 75 mph), sand, long stretches of NOTHING, rest areas with rattlesnake and scorpion warnings, and our middle of nowhere motel: population 25…. The lobby was decorated in cowboy, paintings of  Natives on black velvet (not kidding!) , framed Elvis, a shrine to about 5 different religions, and the tv was blaring a Bollywood dance sequence. LA, and the first half of TX

4/9 @ 9am — left Segovia,TX
@ 5 pm — arrived in Deming, NM : LaQuinta (again, clean, comfy, well appointed and this one had a small fenced in dog park! Which made me feel better, after the previous nights coyote concerns…)

20140409_104610

This picture is important for two reasons: the intriguing rock formations (like tables or a mini-badlands) and the sheer amount of NOTHING in my rear view mirror.

20140409_083645(0)

Well now THAT is convenient. Here I am, driving through the middle of nowhere, and a giant truck of coffee pulls ahead of me. It was like hanging a carrot in front of the mule… (*Side note: although hydrationis super-important in the desert, restrooms are nearly non-existent and there is NOTHING to pee behind. Ration your liquids ladies, and download the restroom/rest area finder apps on your phones for reference!)

20140409_111232

That, right there, is a giant bronze Roadrunner. Apparently, it is the patron saint of Fort Stockton, Texas.

20140409_133912

These are Texas trees. I have no idea what they are..But their spiky-bushiness amused me.

20140409_133532

ALMOST done with Texas!!! And trust me.. I was way past done with Texas… No offense to Texans, but that is one giant state of nothing when driving through it on the highway. Friendly suggestion: you wanna shake that boring-borderline-hostile ride? Put in some restareas!! With restaurants, and gas stations! Holy Hannah, it’s a captive audience– there are NO turn offs, you WILL get business! Take a cue from the New York State Throughway! They have a bajillion rest areas, all with wonderful facilities along the way!

20140409_133406

heh heh heh… GO ahead. You know your first thought was Oregon Trail. I am happy to report, nobody had to go hunting, no wagon wheels were broken, no bodies of water (AT ALL) so no fording river accidents, and nobody died of dysentery. Thank g-d…

20140409_143741

Whole lotta nothing out there,,,

20140409_141402

This is great.. You can’t see it, but one of the buildings here actually said Truck Stop.

20140409_113847

This just cracked me up. Middle of nowhere, a strip bar. FFS. How’s a stripper supposed to work her way through college in a town of 7?! 😉

20140409_141401 20140409_141316 20140409_141308 20140409_133921 20140410_142611 20140409_104113 20140409_104201 Look at all that…Nothing…..
>>> sights seen: cacti, trains, sheriffs, tractor trailer with sheriff star on it, another with ‘Gold rush’ on it and a third with ‘stage coach’ on it!! More tumbleweeds, sand, some rocky hills, oil wells, trains

4/10 @ 9am — left Deming, NM

20140409_153510

Approaching Border Patrol

20140409_153450

Border patrol on the horizon!

20140410_093530

A few more of those friendly signs.. now it’s not just Snakes I’m looking out for, it’s scorpions too! YES! (groan, nooooo….)

20140410_093548   20140410_093542
@ 4 pm — arrived in San Diego,CA ( Motel 6 near airport) ** the room was huge, the location convenient, but the beds were awful! However, for just one night? Doable.
>>> sights seen: roadrunner sculpture, trailer parks, ghost town, Tombstone & Boot Hill, the border to Mexico, went through a couple of Border patrol pit-stops, saw seguaro cacti (seguaro natl forest, actually), drove through 5 reservations, several canyons, saw a sign for curly horned rams, and then finally the sun setting on the bay of San Diego.

But first… a few pics of Mexico,and New Mexico, and California…The ride started getting prettier from here on out…

20140410_142318 20140410_142611 20140410_142610 20140410_142353 20140410_142340 20140410_142333 20140410_142332

Here are a bunch of pics from when I dropped off the pups at cargo…

20140411_073406

Here are the crates with my babies inside… You can see the stickers on the crates, as well as the ziplock bags of food, taped to the tops.

20140411_072903

Here, you can see the little collapsible food (green) and water bowls (blue- behind the green) I attached with a carabiner to the cage door. That orange tag is actually a QR code, with all my contact info on it, as well as Sophies flgiht info, destination info and how to reach Island Pet Movers. I made sure both cages (and collars!) had these on them in case there was ANY question where these guys belonged and who to call to get them there! The two waterbowls in the crate are filled with ice. (Filled and froze the bowls the night before)

20140411_072900

Again, you can see the bowls carabiner’d (is that a word??) to the door, the orange QR code tag, and the LIVE ANIMAL stickers all over the crates. The cargo dudes put the leashes in a ziplock on each crate top, along with the ziplock of food. Also on top of crate (can’t see it here) is the 2 copies (one for airline, one for Hawaiian agriculture) of the vets Health Certs.

20140411_072850

Man… this was SO HARD. Putting my babies in crates, loading them on the thingy and watching them get rolled away for flight prep… However, the cargo dudes at Hawaiian/Delta (Hawaiian ships cargo out of the Delta cargo area) were excellent, and since the warehouse was dim and quiet, the pups were pretty damn calm.

20140411_072735

Through the fence… (not allowed to go through- this point forward is controlled access)

20140411_072717

Whimper. They did fine. I was a wreck.

20140411_072615

This dude, putting the airline zipties on the crates… (The airline has special re-usable ones, so they can get your animal out in an emergency). So, even though everything online says you have to ziptie the crate– call your airlines cargo peeps. They may tell you otherwise.

20140411_072132

Take care of my babies, Cargo Dudes… They’re all I have…

20140411_072120

Bye guys… I’ll see you in Hawaii… ❤ ❤

4/11 @ 7am– brought pups to cargo building at San Diego Airport (process took about 30 minutes!)
@ 8am — brought car to be detailed and washed (took an hour and a half, during which time I got breakfast with a Navy buddy of my folks!)
@ 10 am — brought car to Pasha to ship out! This took (I kid you not) about 10 minutes. Recall , shipping SeaMonkeys car took about 3 hours?! Amazing.
@11 am— returned to hotel with Navy Buddy to pick up other Navy Buddy (NavWif2) and luggage, and got dropped off at new hotel: Wyndham Bayside San Diego (not pet friendly, not cheap, but a view of the bay!)

20140411_115527

The view from our window…South tower, 2nd floor. (*If you stay here, I suggest requesting a higher floor– we were about level with the rooftop of the RuthsChris Steakhouse in front of us. Go up a few floors for a clear view of the bay!)

20140411_130635

DOwn the road a bit form our hotel… It reminded me of both the Verizon ad (how many bars..?) and a lesson on one point perspective I taught my 4th grade art class.

20140411_130626

Why didn’t I imagine there would be skyscrapers in San Diego? Huh. Who knew?

20140411_115538

View of the Midway from my room…

 

4/12 spent the day enjoying San Diego! Check out the Seaport Village and parks near the Midway! And NO. I did NOT go on board. I’ve been on enough damn Navy ships at this point…. 😉
>>> sights seen: d-day kiss statue, several military monuments, fantastic outdoor village (styled after a Hispanic marketplace)

20140411_131501

The Midway… hilariously (to me) it has a cafe on the fantail, complete with bistor tables and umbrellas…

20140411_132044

I’m a sucker for a sailors kiss… 😉

20140411_131838

Coolest damn trees!!!

20140411_131523

The little jetty of the park behind the sailor and nurse… which are beside the Midway

And now for a million pictures of that statue I love so much… 😉 20140411_132313(0) 20140411_132502 20140411_132440 20140411_132430 20140411_132418 20140411_132403 20140411_132359 20140411_132323 20140411_132313

Not far from here, was another statue/ monument to the armed forces (GO NAVY!) nearby: 20140411_133136 20140411_133249 20140411_133200 20140411_133155_1 20140411_133152 Forgive me for not remembering the exact nature of this monument.. it was beautiful though. His face is so expressive. ❤

20140411_133407 20140411_145344 20140411_134232 20140411_134224 20140411_134209 20140411_133443 Funny little sights along the way to (and including) the Seaport Village area (which was fabulous!!)

(**Side note: everybody raves about the Gaslamp District. Meh. I was unimpressed. Perhaps I am jaded from having grown up in/ spending so much time in cities, but really– Gaslamp was any restaurant/bar district in any city. Nothing exciting. I did enjoy a chili-pepper and mango margarita there, and was treated to the sight of a shirtless dude (not the kind you would want to see..) wearing one of those Mexican Wrestler masks, and workin’ a shake weight as he strolled along. Really. It made my trip to Gaslamp worth while. (as did the margarita!) Given a time limit– skip Gaslamp, and spend more time in Balboa Park! It houses the San Diego Zoo, Cultural centers, museums, gardens, parks, etc. MUCH cooler. Also– the Zoo is an ALL DAY affair. Plan for it.)

4/13 spent the day at San Diego Zoo, and enjoyed dinner at the hotel pub: The Elephant and Castle
>>> sights seen: peacocks, flamingos, parrots, monkeys, dewy, gazelles, oxen, pandas, gorillas, lions, tiger, cheetahs, bears, rhinos giraffes, hippos, pandas, and lots of “deer-goat like things” 😉

20140412_093356

This baby was presh. She was so serious about consulting her Zoo Map, while studying the peacock and flamingos! I loved the little ‘Uncle Traveling Matt’ hat as well… 🙂

20140412_093342

Well now, you’re just showing off…

20140412_102214

A meercat… could it be any cuter?

20140412_102339

Capuchin Monkey…. I had a student who owned one as a pet. Wretched little thing was cute as could be, but the kid was constantly being bitten by it!

20140412_102842

Polly

20140412_102812

Wanna

20140412_102251

Cracka?

20140412_103241

Okay. Seriously. I am 5ft tall, and this thing was on the damn ground. They ALL were in this particular restroom (the one near the parrots)!! It was a… squatty potty??

20140412_103510

FFS. My knees never stood a chance…

20140412_110121

Not being a zoologist, I was able to divvy up all zoo animals into my own version of phyllum and classes: monkey things, goat-deer things, and animals I could recognize. This was a goat-deer thing. Try not to be intimidated by my astounding knowledge… 😉

20140412_113053

Sleepy lioness… majestic queen… with her tongue sticking out.

20140412_114059-1

I have better shots somewhere…

20140412_115857

Yes. This is a camel.

20140412_121058-1

Red Pandas…? I think..? Lovable snuggabugs was what I dubbed them though.

20140412_121337-1

Snoozy Koala.

20140412_130007-1

A sassy giraffe, sticking out it’s tongue!

20140412_130623-1

Stripes. Vertical and horizontal!

20140412_130830

‘Mingoes!

20140412_131442-1

Just a lady out for a stroll… with her cheetah.

20140412_131437-1

So, the San Diego Zoo has a Buddy Program that pairs up jungle cats with a domesticated dog buddy. I’m not sure how this works exactly, but here comes a buddy pair…

20140412_132724-1

This bear…is apparently a vegetarian! (Okay, it’s not really,but here he is enjoying a salad)

20140412_133207-1

Dum de dum… just a bear…

20140412_140133-1

Oh Panda Gurrrrll…. I feel ya. My back end looks about the same. I don’t think they’re ready for this jelly! 😉

20140412_140216-1

I see you eating your bamboo vegetarian special … panda gurl on a diet? You go on and eat Boo.. you’re beautiful!

20140412_141841-1

So, here’s this little bamboo forest, with all these carved in names and initials .

20140412_141845

THIS is why we can’t have nice things!!!!

20140412_141919

…and then I found my and my husbands initials…womp womp…

20140412_141645-1

This is actually the view of MOST of the animals I saw at the zoo. They saw me and my camera, and promptly presented their asses. I edited most out for braggers rights (oh, these photos? The animals just came to me!) but for you, dear reader: the truth. I went to the zoo and saw a lot of Critter Booty and Zoo porn. Now you know.

20140412_141311

A side eye from a hippo!! WHAT!?

20140412_141331

I was fascinated by the whiskers. It reminded me of when you use those little Biore strips, and rip ’em off, and see all that pore-debris sticking off the strip like a scalped hedgehog…(Oh c’mon… you were thinking it too! …right?)

20140412_131552

Serious note– this guy made me sad. There are so few rhinos left in the world, and here’s the one I get to see. Looking sad and depressed in his little ‘habitat’ that no matter how you slice it , is still too small for this creature. My heart actually broke for this guy. 😦

4/14 explored SanDiego and it’s Gaslamp district, then got picked up by Navy Buddy for dinner with his family up in Cardiff. It was beautiful!! Sunset on the ocean dinner surrounded by new friends and surfboards, it was perfect. 🙂
>>> sights seen: Mango margarita with chili powder on the rim, dude walking down the street topless using a shake weight and wearing a Mexican wrestler mask (Lucha libre?) , sunset on the ocean signs for surfer crossings

20140413_131506

I loved this– it was covering up a construction site, but employed an artist! 🙂

20140413_131653

Pretty Mosaic obelisk

20140413_131707

The architecture here is pretty interesting

20140413_132437

This was in the gaslamp district– again, it’s nice enough, ut really? AnyCity USA

20140413_132848

Beautiful architecture on these old buildings!

20140413_133835

Yeah buddy….. Mango Margarita, on the rocks, no salt, sub salt with chili pepper and crushed red. FANTASTIC.

20140413_142744

House of Blues ceiling…

20140413_144846

I enjoy public art. 🙂

20140413_145353

Um. I heart this completely!

20140413_145404

This artwork made me smile! 😀

20140413_145448

I just love this!

20140413_145415

Dear Nan Coffey– I am now a huge fan of your artwork!

20140413_150855

I like the Spanish influences in this city

20140413_190335

Sunset from Cardiff by the Sea

20140413_190343

Cardiff by the Sea (Thanks to my folks Navy buddies Chuck & Wendy for taking me in for an evening!) 🙂

20140413_190404

I tried, multiple times, to get a good “Sunset Selfie”. but, typical me… I ended upwith a series of pictures that looked like Calvin and Hobbes on Picture Day at school. The only one I got, where you could really see my face was this one. Making a perplexed duckface, that I SWEAR to you was unintentional. I do not do duckface. I mock it. Here? It mocked me…

20140413_190449

Yeah. Hair and sunset. Naturally.

20140413_190508

This place is gorgeous…

20140413_190556

Seagrass AND sunset?! This could TOTALLY be an album cover form the 70’s!! Judy Collins maybe??

20140413_191801

“YB divided”… Y indeed, surfing philosopher… Y indeed…

20140413_190656

🙂

20140413_190706

A golden sunset… nice way to say see ya later Mainland USA! (By looking to the ocean..?)

20140413_131204

Out of sequence– but here’s the Gaslamp District again… :/

20140413_131447

…and again with the public art…

4/15: updating my blog while flying to Honolulu, as I write this!! 🙂

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Westward Expansion: Doggie Details

****PLEASE NOTE: these tips although solid and legit, are NOT all-emcompassing! There is a LOT involved in shipping your fuzzball to the island of Hawaii. Please be sure you get the complete ‘checklist for 5-day or less program’  from the military vet (civilian vets seldom have them) and cross check it with the Hawaiian Dept of Agriculture!! I’m jotting stuff down as I remember them in retrospect now, but will try to create a seperate post with a more thorough list later!****

 

Well, it took me 4 days to drive cross country. I left Florida @ 11 am Monday April 7, and pulled into SanDiego around 5 pm Thursday evening. The way I planned my route was simple: go straight. Stop after 9 hrs. I used a website called TravelMath, to help plot out my stopping points ahead of time. (Remember: I went from VA to FL in March, to be with my family first– so this part of thr trip was FL to CA) This way I was able to be sure I had a pet friendly reservation for every night. Nothing worse than hitting exhaustion point and having nowhere safe to sleep!! Courtesy of such sites as BringFido and PetFriendlyHotels— I had a safe and clean place to crash every night of my journey.

So anyway, I Left The Villages, FL @ 11 am. I had planned on an earlier start, but decided to get my pups pre-flight check /vet appt out of the way. This appointment, must be done within 10 days prior to flight. Now, obviously it is a better idea to leave a few days flex, just in case of flight delays! I had planned on the pups flying with me on the 14th, which put me at 7 days, with 3 to spare. Plans changed though, and they ended up flying out on Friday the 11th ahead of me! (Thank goodness I didn’t wait until San Diego to get that vet appt!! ) ***As a reminder, during this appointment you MUST get a certificate (or even a notation!) of acclimation, in addition to the health certificate and a note from the doctor stating that they applied a flea and tick preventative like Frontline or Advantix 2. Be sure you get seperate certs for EACH animal! The vet I went to tried to give me one cert with both pups info on it. No bueno. Each animal crate MUST have an original AND a copy of the form for each pup carried within the crate. Place the original (BLUE INK) in an envelope or page protector taped to the top of the crate and write on it “for Hawaiian Agriculture Use ONLY! DO NOT REMOVE” and a seperate envelope containing the xerox copy for the airlines. They will keep that copy for their records,so you don’t want them grabbing the wrong one! Be careful! Now, the Letter of Acclimation… That is actually just a line or two from the vet hat specifically states that your pet cannot be left on the Tarmac or in any space for longer than 15 minutes of it doesn’t register between certain temps. (**Actual wording, courtesy of our pet movers: “Pet can be transferred between cargo facility and aircraft for periods not longer than  15 minutes in temperatures between 20 and 85 degrees.”)

The crates also must have a gallon sized Ziplock baggie of food (in case of delays!). This will be taped by the cargo people to the top of the crate. I suggest writing your pets name and what brand/flavor food is contained therein, (esp. if your pup has any wheat allergies!!) as well as amount given. Just in case. Since my pups were being picked up by the pet movers early (again: Island Pet Movers, they are WONDERFUL!) and boarded for a few days (long weekend) I also bought 2 collapsible bowls each, attached them to the outside of the crate door with a carabiner and wrote their names and food instructions on the bottoms. Inside the crates, you need to have an absorbent thing (diaper pad type thing) and for their comfort, I also put in 2 crate pads (like dog beds) underneath the potty pad. I’m not optimistic that the potty pad served it’s purpose (my dogs love to shred paper, so really….expectations are not high). My theory was, if one crate cushion was soiled, it can be tossed and there would be a clean one underneath. I know they aren’t intended to be disposable, but we all know our pets… 😉 They cannot have any toys, but I spoke to the cargo dudes, and they let me tuck a little (no longer stuffed) bee in a Baggie on their crates for them to play with when they get to the boarding facility.

Now,the flight… My pups flew cargo. Believe it or not, there is NO difference between flying as excess baggage and as cargo. None. Same place on the plane! However, by flying them cargo, you check them in ahead of your flight– In a separate building all together. You aren’t stuck with 2 stressed puppies in crates, being dragged/wheeled/carried through a busy airport. I don’t know about your dogs– but mine would be barking and stressed by that. The way this worked out, I brought them to cargo, presented my paperwork, and held each pup as they checked the crates for contraband. Once that was done, they secured the crates with their own zip ties,added some hardware to Oliver’s crate (each crate must have 4 screws down each side!!) and they kept the crates side by side on a flat dolly type mover in their warehouse until flight time. It was relatively dark, cool, and quiet, so the pups both calmed right down! (***or maybe it was the Sentry calming collars the IPM people recommended?! ) Either way, when they were calm, I felt calmer…

Now… Back to my cross country trip

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lessons learned, observed or ignored in a Packout…

Yeah, it is exactly as it sounds. I learned a few lessons, observed a few things, and ignored a few more. Unavoidable,  I guess?

One thing I learned– anything you DON’T want packed: hide it. Stuff it in your car if it’s still there! Stuff it in your neighbors car, hide it at your friends house, put it in an emptied out bathroom and tape the door closed like a crime scene! Or… if you are me, be super-uber-vigilant about doing the above, and then forget your ditty bag on the bathroom counter. Only to have it get packed anyway, despite your best efforts. :-/  Another lesson learned, showers, although lovely, are seldom even possible during the packout days if you are doing it solo. (An ugly –and somewhat smelly– truth) The thing is, when you have packers arriving early in the morning, and you are staying up late every night trying to do move-related work– early wakeups for the sake of a shower, just don’t always happen. In fact, sometimes, you greet the packers in your PJ’s, throw a hoodie on top and call it dressed. Or maybe that was just me. 😉 (Highly possible!) 

Observation: for the safety and sanity of your family pets– send them to the groomers for the actual pack out day. Our move consisted of 2 days of packing UP (boxing, wrapping, etc) and one day of packing OUT (actually loading the truck). Do yourselves and your fuzzies a favor, and get them out of the house for actual pack out day. The front door will be wide open, people will be in and out of your house, and that is the PERFECT time for a firghtened or disoriented animal to runaway. Just in time to break your heart if they don’t make it back before you have to roll out of time. So be overly-cautious, it’s all right! Book them a hot date at the groomers or board them at your vet’s for the day. (*REMEMBER: they are supposed to be ‘quarantined’ so no ‘general population’ arrangements! Don’t drop them at a friends!)

Ignored? Let’s be honest. Everything and everyone will tell you to personally observe every item that is packed, every box that is sealed, every sticker inventoried and loaded. I’m just gonna go ahead and give you the reality check: it is IMPOSSIBLE to be in 3 rooms at the same time. And that is how you will get packed up. A team of 3 guys showed up, scattered to different rooms and went to work packing. I knew I wouldn’t be able to be everywhere at one time, so I ‘pre-packed’ a little before hand. Yeah, I know, I know, “But MrsUSN! THEY are supposed to pack you up!” That’s all well and good, but there are certain items I needed to ensure went together, were packed just right, or were packed by me. What I did was buy a bunch of book boxes (the kinds with removable lids). I packed up quite a bit of my personal items, work items,etc and just set the lids on top. The movers, happy to see their job made a little easier, pretty much just taped the boxes closed and loaded them as is.

Now, if you are of delicate sensibilities– stop reading now. Ok, you’ve been warned. For the sake of your dignity, if you have anything you don’t want them to find (AHEM)– get rid of it, or pack it yourself. One of the movers, was QUITE amused to find a triangular ‘Liberator Pillow’ in our bedroom closet… Now, you have to understand– The SeaMonkey and I went through fertility treatments, and all kinds of superhuman efforts to start our family. It never happened, but the (cough-cough) “accessories for the effort” were still present. Part of hte effort involved ‘elevating your hips’– hence the pillow. The Movers of course found it, and got a hell of a laugh out of that… I had to laugh along with them on that one though.. Instead of being subtle, or discreet and wrapping the pillow and labeling it ‘pillow’ or ‘misc’ or some such, they wrote on the paper wrapping in big black letters: LIBERATOR CUSHION!
image

Sigh. I’m telling ya. Somedays, I just look for the camera crew, because I SWEAR I can hear the laugh track in the background. Life is ridiculous, and PCS moves only highlight that fact. So either toss it, pack it, or hide it really well– or else you may as well pack up your dignity too. 😉 

Other things I would suggest: no matter WHO is packing you up and out, certain items need to be packed by you and on your person (or safely in your carry-on binder or whatever). Jewelry. Contents of safe. Marriage license/certificate. Passports. Birth certificates. Firearms. Paperwork for your home. Don’t let any of these items out of your sight… Also, equally as important: don’t pack any of your cleaning stuff. No, really!! You’re going to need it fi you are leaving your house clean! Also, if you pack it, there is no telling what it will pack WITH. One friend, arrived at her new station, only to find the toilet plunger wrapped in her bathroom towels. FFS…. Buy new stuff when you get where you’re going!!!! Don’t risk that nasty scenario!! UGH!

Final suggestion: 

Our Pack Up began on Wednesday. Thursday they continued packing. Thursday night, I made arrangements to stay (with my pups) at a friends house. Simply because your linens and lamps and whatnot will have been packed by then! Friday morning, I dropped the pups at the groomers, stopped for coffee on the way, and met the movers at the house first thing in the morning. Chaos. As the packers moved our stuff out to the truck, they emptied my house room by room, starting upstairs. As soon as they cleared a room, that was the time to get in there with your cleaning gear and scrub it down! Walls, doors, blinds, windows, baseboards, floors, double check closets, etc. If you work this way (a step behind them) you will leave a sparkling house. It’s worth the effort, especially if you are going to try to rent or sell your home after you leave!
image

image

image
image

Once the house was clean, HHG was gone, and pups had been picked up– it was time to go. Before you leave, take LOTS of pictures! This is especially important if you will be renting out your home. You want to document the condition you are leaving it in. Big shots of every room, front and back of house, yard, and any appliances you are leaving!! After I left, I made arrangements with a friend to make sure that last load of clean-up trash made it to thr curb on trash day. (Tough to rent a house with loaded trash cans! GROSS!) I crashed at a friends house again that night (desperately in need of a good nights sleep and shower!!). Next morning, got up, had my coffee and hit the road…On my way to Florida for the next few weeks, before continuing on to the cross country part of this Herculean journey.

image
(Last shot of my convoy, rolling out!)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I like to move it, move it…!

Just kidding. This sucks.
I’m sitting here under my magnolia tree with my mom, phone and a cup of coffee, just doing my best to stay out of the way. It’s been. Two steady days of these guys packing everything, and the guys out back are STILL working on putting up our new fence. Point of observation: these guys, have taken 2 days to pack up and inventory every damn thing we own. The guys in my backyard, have been here since Monday. So five days and still not done the friggin fence. For real. These movers are hauling ass. These fencers aren’t hauling anything. :-/
image
image

image

image

image

image

So, the movers are here. They got here around 9 am, and got right to stickering , inventorying and loading the trucks. Now, the trucks… The trucks that showed up are many and large…I suspect we are going to be over our weight allowance (please not by much…!) and seeing 3 trailers here is not helping to ease that suspicion. The trailers are soft sided, like a heavy canvas curtain that just slides back. Inside are 7 truck height (8′ High,4′ wide,12’deep)crates (so we are currently equipped with 21 crates. Let’s see how many we fill, hmm?
When I tell you this is overwhelming, take it as the understatement of the century.
image

image

image

Once the trucks leave, mom and I will begin the whole house scrubdown. At some point today we will be meeting with KK our property manager. Had a call from him last night, and I have to say– I really like him. He hustles. He called last tonight to tell us that he may have a renter for us, as soon as beginning of the month! This would be SUCH a weight off my mind, as it would take the burden of a mortgage off our shoulders. So, cross your fingers… Meantime? Dad is blowing up moms phone. He is so excited about us (sister, brother and I) coming home in the next few days…:-) ❤ Personally, I think he just misses the pups… 😉
image

image

image

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Regression

I don’t care how old you are. When shit hits the fan, and you feel like you have too much on your shoulders–having your mom swoop in feels like a rescue. Mind you, we may just be spending the next few days drinking wine and throwing stuff out, but somehow– that’s enough. Having another living, breathing, person under the same roof– who has done this before, who understands the stress of an overseas move, and sharing the stress of dad’s illness. It helps. I’m NOT losing my mind (appearances to the contrary). Or at least if I am, I have company along the way. 

Thus far, we have killed a couple cups of coffee, discussed daddy’s treatment plan (as of right now, subject to change–of course), and laughed at my students ‘We’ll miss you’ artwork. ❤  My kids made all these little cards and pictures, featuring lots of little pictures of them and me. I love every one of them… Other things accomplished– my car will be legal (or inspected anyway) today at 4, I received my GLB (Gov’t Bill of Lading, not Gay-Lesbian-Bi! lol!) today for this weeks move, and now have an estimated HHG (Household Goods) delivery date of May 5. Theoretically. We’ll see if that works out… 😉 Anyhow– there’s that. So, today is more of the same: tossing stuff I don’t need/want, packing things I don’t want broken, and making sure my important-keep-my-hands-on-it crap is in my car (not to be trifled with/lost by movers!). Onward through the fog…

20140311-115022.jpg

20140311-115044.jpg

20140311-115143.jpg

20140311-115752.jpg

20140311-115800.jpg

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.