Update on Dad

Well.

Been a hell of a month… Since my last update, Dad has been poked, prodded, scanned, biopsied, evaluated and things are still going on. Today he is having a cardiac-stress test  and I think his brain MRI.  So far, we know: Malignant melanoma stage T4b on his upper back (where your tshirt label hits). This is Ground Zero. Primary Site.  In the course of evals, it has also been found that there are 11 more little friends (sarcoma) hiding in his lymph nodes. So, surgery is being scheduled for his lymph nodes to be removed, as well as the ‘Ground Zero’ tumour. Since this will be a 7-8 hour surgery, they want to be sure his body can handle the stress of it all– so today’s stress test/cardio eval is for that. Also since it has decided to met out (metastasize) to his lymphs, the brain scan is necessary. The location of his primary tumour, being right on the spine at the base of his neck/back means this beast- if it so chooses– can migrate north just as easily as south. Since the south (lymphs) are popping positive, it’s time to find out if this thing has headed north. Please– cross your fingers, pray, send well wishes, good karma, light, whatever you’ve got..We’re looking for miracles right now, and I’m pretty sure all those things pave the way for them to happen.

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Time for a SITREP

So, Friday was a SeaMonkeyMobile Marathon. My morning began at 7, with a hot date at Safe-Lite Glass to have some chips filled in his windshield. Windshield repair went smoothly (though, stepping ankle deep in a puddle afterward, sure made me shake my head!) Next up was getting his car cleaned and detailed. I ended up finding a place to get his car done, but oh wow. It was pretty funny… Keep in mind, I chose it because of it’s close proximity to the VPC…So it HAD to be CLOSE. Car could NOT get dirty between there and VPC. (Hawaiian import rules: no dirt ANYWHERE on or in your stuff) Of course.. it was pouring out. :-/ Of course. So I went to this place. This is the ‘waiting room.’
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It was– a dive. It was a hole in the wall front, and a single bay garage in the back The garage looked like a personal garage (crap EVERYWHERE), I was greeted by Mr/Ms. AlexA. (you figure that one out). I will say– his makeup was MUCH better than mine… He (She?) reminded me, 100% of LaFayette from True Blood. Seriously!!! Do-Rag, scarf, makeup and all!!) Detailing the car took almost 2 hours, in which time I got to listen to Mister Sister wailing along with Whitney, Beyonce, and Mariah. Trust me– you had to be there. End result was good though, car was clean, and I had PLENTY of time to get to the VPC which was only just on the other side of the same plaza I was in! 😀 WIN! (Finally!)

The VPC process…

Oh man. VPC is supposed to be for ‘Vehicle Processing Center’ though I think “Vast Paperwork Created” works too. When you go to VPC, plan to carve out 2-3 hours for that process (no joke) and double check your paperwork before you go!! Fleet and Family had given me a couple papers on what was needed (a hitlist, if you will). However, QUESTION EVERYTHING. GO TO THE SOURCE. Go to the Whereismypov.com (it will redirect you to a more secure site) and make sure you have everything listed on it’s website. Navy tells you ‘bring 4-5 copies of orders’– VPC asks for *7* copies of orders. (See how your day could be ruined by not taking time to double check??), proof of his windshield repair (since chips were still visible), registration, inspection, etc…OH! And– here’s where I almost got screwed: a SPECIAL POA for the vehicle!!! I have a General POA (General, as in ‘All encompassing’. General as in “I could sell him to the Sandanistas or enlist him in the Foreign Legion” but apparently NOT General as in “I can ship his %^^&* car to his next duty station…”) for the Sea Monkey, but that isn’t good enough. This POA must also have his VIN number specified, my name on there, etc. Anyhow, car gets inspected (as does driver…groan! “Are those contacts or are your eyes naturally that gorgeous..?” ) Inspector spent most of his time hitting on me– though that ended when he got to the trunk. Inside the trunk of the Toaster (our name for the SeaMonkey Mobile– it’s a Scion XB) was the weirdest damn assortment of things. In his trunk, was a cargo net, 2 glow sticks, a roll of duct tape,  and a Marlin Spike. Of course. A Marlin Spike. NATURALLY. All inappropriate comments ended then and there. 😉
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Car was immaculate, my paperwork was in order (and I had even made 6 copies of EVERYTHING, so that was good!), inspection was done and I finally got out the door. Sea Monkey Mobile is now en route to it’s new home in HI, and they tell me it “should arrive @ April 11” — a few days before I arrive, which would save me the trouble (and expense!) of a rental vehicle. Sweeeeeeet…..

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Lightweight…

Today I got the note from the movers who came and took our UB Packout– official weigh in for my ridiculous crap was 358 lbs. Remember: You are allowed up to 1000 lbs. :-/  I packed like I’m planning on being homeless on the beach. A cabana, lots of towels and a plethora of lawn chairs. (Oh! And dog beds and a griddle!) WTF. All I can do is laugh…If you lose your sense of humour along the way, the ride will be miserable indeed…

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Division of Me and MrsUSN

Well, it was never my original intention for this to be one of those blogs where I use it as a personal journal. That’s why no names, no rate, no rank, none of that have been used.  But– life happens.  Anyone who has been  a military spouse knows, life (and Murphy’s Law) tend to ‘happen’ at the worst possible times. Or so we think at the time– somehow they always end up being blessings in disguise. Heavy disguise. Invisible Man levels of disguise…

Anyhow– Initially, I wanted this blog to chronicle our move to Hawaii and all the chaos involved in that. I had no idea life would toss us a curve ball like this one. My dad was diagnosed this week with a Metastatic Malignant Melanoma, I mentioned it yesterday. Well, obviously this has really screwed with my chi. To put it mildly. But part of this crazy life (Mil or Civ) is adapting, improvising adn overcoming. This is one of those moments where ones’ tuck n’ roll skills are really important.

Since SeaMonkey is away, adn I am handling this move and now this, a sick parent– I’m going to need this blog to pull double duty for me. I understand, not everyone wants to read about my personal life, and admittedly- I don’t expect it will be anything thrilling. But it’s a vent. It’s a place for me to keep sane during this craziness. So, I’ve added a page to this blog– the division of me adn MrsUSN. When you go to mrsusn.com you will find my moving info. If you want to know how I (personally) am doing– I’ve added a page.. In the menu on the right just click ‘Brain Salad’ and you can see whats in my head lately. Hopefully this will keep my blog relevant to strangers looking for moving advice, or friends/family wondering how I’m doing.

****03/10/14  EDIT: I had to remove the ‘Personal’ Page–simply because I coudln’t find a way to send my updated posts directly to it. Everything defaults to the main page. SO, buckle up or get off the ride, because it looks like anyone who stays is in for both the personal and more public sides of my life. **** ❤ Mrs.USN ****

In the meantime, please enjoy this pitiful look at how my packout went the other day. 2 Days into dads diagnoses, I just couldn’t think straight. As is evident by this shipping manifesto… (go ahead, count how many folding chairs and coffeemakers I packed! ) It truly is ridiculous.  (FYI: the bins marked ‘clothing’ were actually just beach towels. Yeah, beach towels. No clothes were packed…)

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I need more time…

Holy hell what a week…

So, this week (from Wednesday on) will go down in the books as the WORST week of my life, thus far. Wednesday, I got a text from my mom “Dr’s office called, bad news, both gotta go in. Uh oh.”  So, needless to say, THAT was on my mind. That evening I found out just how bad the news could be… My healthy as a horse dad, was just diagnosed with Malignant Nodular Melanoma, Stage t4b.  I hate that I didn’t have to ask what that meant. For the uninitiated, cancer runs on a scaling system of 0-4. t4b means tumours, stage 4, and the b indicates a likely spread to organs. My folks walked into the office expecting to hear ‘you need to have surgery’ and walked out with my dad only having 4 months to live.  4. Months. 4  months.

I don’t think I have to tell you, I went to pieces. Still am. We all are.

How am I supposed to move halfway around the world away from them right now?! I just want to go down there and be there for them, and help them in any way I possibly can. But I can’t, not yet. I have to move my house, ship his car, hire the property manager, rent my house, and give my notice at work.

So, after 2 days of pretty much non-stop sobbing I came up with my tentative plan. I need to save my dad. I’m not ready for goodbye. I called HR for my school district today and got my leave balance: 35 days. I asked the hardest question: “Can I use my sick leave for a terminally ill parent?”  The answer lifted a weight: YES.  I know right about now you are probably thinking ‘What about FMLA?’– well, FMLA goes into effect AFTER you have used up your own leave. It also is unpaid and really just exists to protect employees jobs, should they need extended leave. I’m not coming back here. I don’t need it. What that 35 days WILL allow me however, (with a doctors note explaining this) is to leave as soon as the packers move me out. I’ll head straight for my parents home, down in FL. I will use my last 3 weeks stateside to be with them. I need to be there.  Additionally, what I will be able to do is give my “last day” as May 1, so I can still be on payroll, but use my sick leave for the month of April and still get a paycheck. That last paycheck is how I will be able to afford to fly home if dad loses this battle. Which he can’t. He just can’t.

I spoke to my sister and brother (Seattle and Rome,Italy) and we’ve decided to spend “St.Paddy’s with Daddy.” So we will all be converging on them at the same time, flying in from our various points on the globe. He will be one month past diagnoses and should be already following whatever agreed upon protocols it takes to fix this. I’m guessing he’ll be feeling it by then, so having all 3 of us home to help should be good for both him and mom. The part I’m dreading though, is going to be when I have to get in the car and leave. At some point, I will have to leave for my cross country trek and then board the plane that takes me so far away from him. I hate it so much. This move that I was excited about, is suddenly weighing so heavily on me. SO much is depending on how his treatments go and how he responds to them. I’ve found cases of Stage 4b’s actually recovering! I HAVE! It’s not a big percentage, but it’s big enough for me to have faith. And pray. Not gonna lie– right now, I’m taking prayers, wishes, karma, light and love, and anything else anyone is willing to give to keep my dad.

Meantime– today was my UB packout. You’ll forgive me if this wasn’t a priority?

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In a nutshell: I didn’t pack. I haven’t slept since Tuesday night. I’m a hot mess. Packing did not happen. Since sleep didn’t go so well either though, I was up early and tried again to pack. I grabbed some of the Rubbermaid tubs I have saved from so many moves, and started throwing things in them. Now, mind you, the UB packout is supposed to be things you need to set up your new home. The vitals. What did I consider vital this morning? Sigh… yeah. Not much. As a result, when this shipment arrives in HI — opening these boxes will be like Christmas in the Alzheimer’s ward.  I say that not as any kind of insult to anyone with Alzheimers, but simply a commentary on how random my packing was this morning. Example: one box, labeled by the movers: “Dog beds and Griddle.” Because, you know, I TOTALLY kept those items together.  (What?!)

Sigh.

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Sigh.

Sigh.

I already warned the SeaMonkey– I’m pretty sure I packed a coffeepot, linens, a beach cabana, and about 65 folding chairs. Don’t ask. I was (and am) distracted.

Oh, I failed to mention the part where I fell apart on the movers. Yeah, that was magical. One of the movers was about to remove a strip of blue painters tape from one of my rubbermaids and I flipped out. On the tape, in my dads neat-but skritchy handwriting were the words “Muffin Pans”. I flipped out. “NO! Don’t take that off!! My dad wrote it…” and I fell apart , before managing to squeak out “…he’s stage 4.”  He understood immediately, and bless that man, he took clear packing tape and covered the painters tape. “We’ll protect it. It will be there when you get to Hawaii. And I’m sorry about your dad.”

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One thing I am always amazed by— when confronted with cancer, even in a stranger, people are compassionate and want to help. This man had been in my house for 30 minutes, I blew up on him over a piece of tape, and he was still so kind and took measures to protect what was so important to me at hte moment.

A little kindness and understanding really do go a long way. ❤

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Comin’ up quick…!

So, this week.

OH, this week.

This week? Oh NO!

Whats on this weeks agenda…? Well, I’ll be interviewing potential property managers, packing out another load of stuff for goodwill, getting the info on shipping the SeaMonkeyMobile, getting said SMMObile ready to ship (oil change, nearly empty tank, replace windshield, deliver to port…), waiting for the call that says when the movers are coming, pay for the pet movers and car shipping, do our taxes,  and —oh yeah!— packout on Friday!!!

Wait…what?

Yup. First Packout (UB) goes out on Friday. What that means is, all the urgently needed crap goes first. (Urgently needed in HI but somehow not here for the remaining  6 weeks..?) Wait.. 6 weeks?!?!?

OMG. Shit’s gettin’ real folks. I am moving to a tropical island in the South Pacific in a few weeks time. I had a feeling this was going to happen fast, even when it seemed like it was forever away. I think that has something to do with SeaMonkey being gone. Deployments, schools, underways, field-ex’s, whatever the reason he’s gone– we dread them and hate all the lost time, but somehow, they always go SO fast.  I might be an anomaly. I seem to always be hearing or bumping into wives who are CONSTANTLY bemoaning their husbands absences. Don’t get me wrong, I hate that he’s gone, but I understand it’s not personal. He’s off to work. I’m pretty sure this is what it must have been like for Lois Lane and Superman. She understood, when he took his glasses off and put on his spandex (er…SuperSuit?) he was off to do his job. She just hoped at the end of the day, he would be home, take off his cape and put on his Clark Kent flannel PJ’s. That was their time.

This doesn’t mean, I don’t wish he were here to handle some of this…He is going to owe me SO big for this….

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Cancerversary

I wasn’t going to do it, but I’m gonna. Double-post today!

If you are reading this blog (hi!) chances are you are looking for info regarding a PCS move overseas or OCONUS. Rest assured, you’re in the right place, however today I’m giving a commercial interruption. Or- if you grew up in the 80’s- cue the spinning block letters on the black screen: SPECIAL . This is a very special episode… lol! (Anyone remember those? Anyone?) Usually they were indicators that a tv show was going to take on an ‘edgy’ topic such as anorexia, suicide, drugs, or abuse and it would announce that it was a “VERY SPECIAL EPISODE” and encourage parents to open the gates of discussion with their kids. Which they never really did, beyond “Psh. Drugs. You know better.”

Todays VERY SPECIAL EPISODE is about Cancer.

Today is my one year Cancerversary. I am one year past the point of hearing the words “Cancer Free.” and it’s AMAZING. It’s easy to think of what cancer takes, but it’s more important to think about what it GIVES. Yeah, seriously- it gives! I swear!

It’s given me an amazing sense of perspective. I have learned how to brush off A LOT of things that just aren’t important to me. People get worked up over the dumbest of things, and thanks to cancer- I really don’t anymore. I guess you could say my ‘give-a-damn’ is broken. Don’t get me wrong- you don’t lose your passion for things that matter to you, you just become more selective about what you LET matter to you. Traffic? Care not. Rude people? Whatevski. Changed plans? Please. Get Cancer and you will write the book on changing plans… You learn how to tuck and roll, whether you are ready or not. Believe it or not, you are readier than you think and more capable than you would imagine. Cancer reveals things– inner strength, acceptance, fight, determination, and yes, hardest of all– vulnerability. None of those are positives or negatives, they are just truths. Things you find when you’re digging for … well… you don’t know exactly what. You’re looking for a reserve that you aren’t sure you have, of a supply of something that you can’t put your finger on. Strength? Focus? Trust? I have no idea. Even after walking across those coals, I can’t tell you much about it. I know that cancer strengthened me. I know that it strengthened my marriage. How weird does that sound? Cancer is THE Destroyer to end all destroyers (agreed!) but it’s also rather Phoenix like. Out of the ash, comes something stronger, and more amazing than you could ever think possible.

I am a NavyWife. Nav.Wif. MilSpouse. Dependant. OTHER.  I’m used to tucking and rolling. I know when a fight just isn’t worth having, and how to accept what is out of my hands. I know how to make the most of a bad situation. I know I am stronger than I’ve ever given myself credit for. But what I didn’t know- was sometimes, you have to let yourself be weak. Sometimes, no matter how much you value your independence, you have to let others help you. Take care of you. Let them show you that they are there for you. My SeaMonkey does not do ‘powerless’ very well. He rages against it. No matter the situation, he is going to do SOMETHING dammit!! But Cancer? He couldn’t rescue me.  That fight was being waged at the surgical and cellular level and was just completely out of his big monkey hands. So instead, Cancer taught him how to be gentle. How to be understanding. How to nurture. How to take care of me when I was sick. He was my knight who rode into CVS ready to battle to the end, the pharmacist that took too long giving me the meds I needed. He learned that nausea is a game changer and deal breaker for any and all scheduled plans. He learned that Ginger chews should be kept in every vehicle, end table, coat pocket and location in the house.

My folks? Also amazing. They supported me through it, flying up to be with me when I would have otherwise been alone (ship was out) or when they knew SeaMonkey needed a little help. For them though, I think it was *slightly* easier. I say slightly, because Cancer isn’t easy on ANYONE. But for parents? From the day their child is born, they nurture them. They take them through every childhood illness and injury, and it becomes instinctive to them to take care of their kids. Now, they don’t usually expect to still be doing it when their adult-child is sick– but they somehow still know what to do, say and how to do it.

Now? Cancer is now one year in the distance of my rear-view mirror. I can still glance back and remember my visit to that town, but I sure as hell have no plans of returning. I have my scars. They tell my story better than any blog post could. I learned my lessons and I’m keeping my car in drive…

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HOW could I have done this…?

Really. HOW? HOW in the world could I have crossed off SO much stuff on my January/February to-do list for this move, if it weren’t for the last 2 weeks of Snow Days?! 😀

Seriously. In the last 2 weeks, I have only been to work twice- and both were half days due to the weather. It’s been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. With a capital ZING.  In the last 2 weeks, I have managed to firm up our move (Both DD1299 and DD1787 have been submitted and confirmed), set our HHG packout, our UB Packout, double checked and confirmed flight info for me and the 2 pups, confirmed hotel reservation in Honolulu (finding Pet Friendly accommodations means PLAN AHEAD!!! We are using Navy Lodge on Ford Island), visited Fleet & Family for some more ‘heads up’ info (regarding pack out, unpacking, assessing our movers, etc), hired the Pet Mover (FYI: Island Pet Movers), and called San Diego about ‘Opportune Sea Lift’ for my vehicle. After speaking with the gentleman I reached, I decided against using it. OSL is a VERY cheap way of getting your car to the island, BUT (and it’s a big But–heh heh..) there is NO way of knowing when your vehicle will arrive. HUH? Yeah. So, imagine paying $250 to ship your car (such a deal!) but then the car may not show up for 6 mos. How much would a rental vehicle cost you in that interim?? Penny wise-Pound foolish. Scrimping on one end, willl end up costing you more on the other end. So, I’m looking at hiring Pasha (based on reviews I’ve read) to ship my car from San Diego to HI. It will run me about $2100 BUT (another big but! lol) it will be on island within a week. Which means… only a week of a rental vehicle. Since I want to (need to…) find a job on the island, I need my car. So- $2100 it is.  (**reminder: SAVE RECEIPTS!!! What the Navy won’t reimburse, you can claim on your taxes as moving-related expenses!)

Next up on my hitlist: Continue trashing/donating everything that is striking me as clutter or less-than-vital. EVERYTHING.  Scrub my house down and make it look nice, because I have a hot date with a Property Manager on Friday. He’s coming out to have a look at the house, tell me what he can offer me, answer my questions, etc. If all goes well, I may have him on Payroll by the end of the day. Which then means, I have crossed off: Movers, Flights, Pet Movers, HI Accommodations, Vehicle shipping arrangements, and House off my list. Pretty much, anyway… 😉  What still needs to happen of course- is I have to get his car ready to go in the next week or two, and get it gone. I have to have everything ready for the UB Packout on Valentines Day. (*Prior to that is getting both bikes re-conditioned so they are RTG with the UB, so we can ride our bikes in HI while waiting for our HHG to arrive) Whew!

So, there’s that. This is where I’m at. Sitting at the computer, instead of hurricaning through my house and tossing stuff in the trash/donate bags.  This WILL happen today.

But for now? I’m indulging a bit in some procrastination. Today is my one year Cancerversary. I have made it one year cancer free, and honestly? I kinda just want to take it all in and enjoy that simple life-changing fact. 🙂

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Snow Day! Er…Week…?

Well this has been, quite possibly, THE most productive pre-PCS week EVER! I’m talking ‘history-of-the-Navy-world-forever’ here! 😀

Last weekend was a long weekend (MLK day was Monday), Tuesday we were released early due to the pending storm. Wednesday: Snow Day. Thursday: Snow Day. Friday: ‘Work from home PD Day’. SCORE!  This has been a HUGE boost to my morale and productivity, I have to say. I emptied out my pantry and kitchen (donated all food-stuffs to the UJC Food Pantry) and filled my freezer with Lean Cuisines. (Moving to the Year-round Swimsuit Zone…remember?!)  I moved all  my cake/biscotti baking stuff to the now-empty pantry so that all kitchen related stuff will pack out together. WIN! Since I finished that up, I moved into my art studio, where I have started sorting (toss/donate/pack) stuff out and pre-packing stuff (putting them in bins and bankers boxes, unsealed). The plan for today is to finish that, and move on upstairs… I need to start prepping our Unaccompanied Baggage room.

The UB room, is where I am storing our 1000 permitted pounds of ‘express shipment’ items. These items will pack out on Valentines Day (a full month before our Household Goods (HHG) leave).  UB Items include such things as you would need for that weird little window of time between hotel and getting a new place and waiting for your HHG to arrive. However, thanks to a little foresight– by planning early, I will arrive on Island in mid-April. UB will arrive the day after Ryan (while we are still in the hotel). HHG will actually arrive the following week, and (hopefully!) our new place will be ready to move in on the 1st of May.  Anyhow- so the UB packout should include such stuff as is needed to run your day-to-day at minimum. (Imagine an empty apartment: what is vital until your stuff arrives?)  Ours is going to include an air-mattress & sheets, laundry basket full of beach towels (can also be used as bath towels), shower curtain liner & rings, empty spray bottle (I use natural cleaners- so I can buy vinegar when I get there),  we have a little ‘breakfast nook’ gate-leg table with 2 stools that fit underneath, our toaster /convection oven, food steamer, a picnic basket (with full service for 4: plates, bowls, silverware, acrylic glasses, napkins), a set of go-mugs (insulated w//covers), Keurig & cups, some lunchbox bento-boxes (for leftover food storage in fridge!), a couple rolls of quarters (laundromat), microwavable Corning ware soup-mug/bowls & shallow dishes, a binder of DVD’s (can be watched on our laptops), bikes, first aid kits (human & canine), dog beds, a few dog toys… etc.  I’ve seen lists that include a LOT more, but honestly, it seemed unnecessary. Toiletries can be bought on island. Clothes for immediate use will be in our luggage on our flights (the rest will be with HHG). We are packing what we need for sleep, showering, laundry, basic food prep & eating, the pups, daytime activities (bikes, swim gear), and evening unwind (movies). Really– we don’t need much more than that. I have a feeling we will come in WAY under the 1000 lbs we’re allotted, but that’s okay.  Since we will be living in the hotel until we get our new place (and our HHG are slated to arrive before move in day) I’m not too worried about this.

Tomorrow– I’m meeting w/Chris at Fleet & Family/Relocation to go over ALL the crap in my mighty PCS Binder. He will be able to access the move.mil site with me and double check on details of the UB, HHG, packout. He will also be able to help me get more info on a little known thing called Operation Sea Lift… OSL (apparently) is a program that allows spouses to ship their vehicle on a Navy ship out of San Diego (not sure if that’s the only location) to HI (or wherever you are going). From what I understand, you are at the mercy of the ships schedule, but the savings is HUGE. Example: VA to HI @ $5500, could take anywhere from 1-3 mos. CA to HI (private shipper): $2500 typical time is about 2 weeks (**keep in mind, if hubby’s car is going with the Navy from East Coast– you want to cut your rental car time (CO$$$$T) down as much as possible!) Now, from what I’ve been told (*which will all be verified or denied tomorrow..) if I can get my car on board a USN CA-HI ride, it’s less than $500. HMM. So if I pay less to get it to me, that’s money I can use for the rental vehicle until one of our cars arrives! NOW. Being that SeaMonkey is off at a school (and will meet me on island a few days after I arrive)– I’m shipping his car early. As in– @ mid Feb. That’s 2 mos ahead of our arrival. HOPEFULLY- this will get his car on the island just before we arrive or very soon after. Our goal is clearly to minimize our time in a rental vehicle!! Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how all of that pans out…

Once the UB packout is done, I still need to interview and hire a property manager to pimp out my house. :-/ I’m waiting until the UB packout is done, simply because that one room is full of ‘stuff’ waiting to leave. Once it’s gone, I can make it look like a room again– so it will be photo-ready. But yeah… one more thing on the hit list for the next 3 weeks…

Saturday–The Pups.

Oh my sweet puppies… I say puppies, but they will be 5 and 9 at time of move! In the course of moving to a foreign country (or tropical island State…  let’s just say OCONUS) there are customs/quarantine requirements that need to be met.  For Hawaii, that means making sure you have OIE/FAVN blood test submitted (by a vet) NO LESS THAN 120 days before you arrive on island. For us, this was the 1st week of December. Done. I would STRONGLY suggest you get this big-deal test done by a military vet, since they are used to doing them and (as I found out) use the correct colored ink (yeah- THAT is a thing!), and overnight it to the lab. Once the blood work lands in the labs hot little hands, your pup is now “quarantined.” WTH does that mean? Well, nobody ever really tells you… BUT, logically, it means you keep your pups at home and away from other animals from now until you land in HI. Being that we own 2 cocker spaniels that require regular grooming– this worried me. I’m a terrible groomer. I send them both out to the doggy-drycleaners every month.  How we are handling that– is we let our groomer know the situation. Instead of our pups being allowed to play with the other dogs (as they usually do!) they, unfortunately, must be in solitary confinement. The 2 of them are crated right up until grooming, then stuffed back in their crate until I pick them up. This makes me sad. However– it absolutely keeps them within quarantine standard, as they are not exposed to any other animal that may be sick or rabid.

Anyhow. Quarantine. Here’s what I’m learning. If you don’t play by the OIE/FAVN rules, your sweet babies will be in quarantine on island (think animal jail, but on your dime) for the full 120 Days. In that time, you are paying for their daily stay, you must come to feed them, play with them, take care of their needs, and deal with the sad looks on their faces when you leave. All because you weren’t paying attention to the details. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS!!! Your fuzzies are 100% counting on you to look out for them in the course of this giant mahonkin’ move! (end rant).

Insert–Helpful Link: http://hawaiimilitarypets.com/2012/05/moving-to-hawaii-with-pets/

So, OIE/FAVN out of the way, you also have to prove your animals are microchipped. (What? They aren’t already? Have you been living under a rock?! Get it DONE!) In our household- both pups got ‘chipped the same day they each got fixed. It’s like a right of passage in our house: Welcome to the family, we’re taking your nuts, but here’s a microchip… 😉  Now- regarding the OIE/FAVN– you will never hear the results of this thing. Seriously. They only call you if there is a problem. However, being a skeptical-neurotic-overprotective dog owner- I questioned this. I got a wild hair across my ass, so to speak, and managed to find the Hawaiian database of approved microchip numbers (also shows earliest date the animal is welcome on the island based on the 120 rule). Pup #1: on the list (sigh of relief) Pup#2: Absent. WHAT?!?!?!  So now I line-by-lined it. All 127 pages…and there, on the last page, 7 up from the bottom was her chip number. Mostly. (cue the jaw drop). MOSTLY? Yup. Somebody on the other end had turned the 4 at the beginning of her number into an A. Not a tough transformation, but one that would have landed my poor pup in the puppy-brig for 4 months! So, cages are being rattled. I’m busting my ass to get this unfucked ASAP. I have a hot date with the military vet who scanned and confirmed her chip (and submitted the paperwork!) on Saturday. They WILL be re-scanning, re-confirming and contacting the main quarantine office in Honolulu via fax with the error and correction. Me? I’ve already contacted the MQO in Honolulu to be sure of what they need… Sigh. Trust NOTHING in this process, nothing but your gut…

You will also need proof of their rabies vaccines that must be more than 90 days apart. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have kept your pups shots up to date. Now, all of this paperwork is pretty daunting. It seems like I know what I’m doing, I THINK I know what I’m doing… but I’m still hiring someone to double check on it all. Yup. I’m hiring a pet mover. ESPECIALLY after that hat-trick with the microchip! That wouldn’t have been discovered until we were on island, and she was being denied entry. NOT COOL. The purpose of the pet mover, is to take care of & follow up on the paperwork (even though I already started it– it’s the peace of mind!) involved in the pre-flight status, the customs and shipping documents, and then the (on island) paperwork at the receiving end of things. I am also paying them to escort my pups through the process, make sure both pups are exercised/cleaned/watered after the flight, and delivered to me at our hotel. Being in a hotel, and after their first flight, I have a feeling the crates will be gross. So- one of the perks I’m paying for is to deliver both pups & their crates CLEAN. Yes, this is worth it to me. 100%.

Anyhow.. that’s enough for now. I need to get back in that studio and keep ‘pre-packing’…  Trash trucks just came, so those cans are empty again! All the better for me to re-fill, as I continue this pack/toss/donate cyle… 😉 (*Rule of thumb: If you don’t LOVE it, LEAVE it. )

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Oh IZ…. you sing it, big guy!

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