Monday, January 30, 2012

A rainbow a day...

I'm in paradise. Now, don't hate 'cause it's not all perfect, but the weather is absolutely fabulous. Everytime I walk outside, there's a small part of me that braces for the rush of cold air because it IS January everywhere else in the world. Here though, on this beautiful island, it's an average high of 75 right now with average lows around 68. So, I am always surprised when the cold doesn't hit my skin, but rather a relaxing, balmy breeze. I don't think I'll ever take it for granted, even though I've heard people say "after three years you'll be ready to get off the island." Let's give it three years and I'll let you know. For now, I'm happy to wake up, walk outside, and more mornings than not, see a rainbow off our back patio.

It's been crazy since we've been here. Some days are lazy and relaxing, some are rushing around trying to get so many things done. Because of Bruce working during the days, and us only having one car (it's a rental) we can't really spread things out. This past weekend we were driving around trying to check out a lot of houses, even though we didn't want to move into any of them. We're choosing to live on base, but we still had to "aggressively" search out housing until we actually signed the paperwork saying we would accept the house they offered us. We did that today. I was a little hesitant because we agreed to take the house sight-unseen, but I'm trusting that it's the right thing for us. We have seen a clip on youtube, though,  where someone gave a tour of a house with basically the same floor plan, in the same area. It's new. Not brand new, but only one family has lived there before us. We should be ready to move in at the end of February. I just hope our household goods arriving coincide with the home being ready.

Our miniature tiger is with my girlfriend in Atlanta... AKA, the Hotlanta Hottie. She's a bleeding heart for animals, which definitely worked to my advantage. Not only is she just the most wonderful, sweet person you could imagine, but she also convienently lives very near a major airport. Sometimes things just work out, y'know... and in this case it couldn't have worked out better. Ginger (the mini-tiger) is having a blast with her new friend, Melvin, too. He's a long-haired tabby with the same coloring as her, and even though they didn't exactly mesh for the first two weeks, they are now napping together side-by-side. I was told today that Ginger is even allowing Melvin to clean her coat. Yep, that's my cat... she knows how to get things done. Speaking of getting things done, she had her FAVN bloodwork done today. EXPENSIVE, let me tell you. Since I chose to have to bloodwork overnighted to KSU, that was an extra forty bucks on top of everything. I hope that cat, at some level, knows how lucky she is! I am honestly having some slight panic attacks as I watch our savings drop at a drastic speed. It should, and I pray it does, be all reimbursed within the next month. I'm not gonna relax until that happens, though.

Well, it's time to go wake up Alyssa. Quiet time is over, with a capital O. Just as soon as I wake her up, it'll be a mile a minute of toddler talk. Ahhhh....well, it's not that bad, though. As a matter of fact, I really can't wait to hear what she has to say. I never had a clue as to how funny a three year old could be. She says things that literally make me laugh out loud. It's refreshing. Her topics of choice lately are giants and dragons. Let's hope she's not feeling like a dragon when I wake her up. Ta Ta for now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's been a week

We've been here a full week now. Due to the Army's schedule of when they start in-processing and the fact there was a federal holiday yesterday, we were lucky enough to have Bruce all week. He's back to work today, but it sure was fun. We rented a car from last Wednesday through today and proceeded to drive around the entire island. I've already decided that my favorite beaches are in the south around Honolulu. Northshore was pretty too, but a little rocky. I've taken tons of pictures that I'm sure are going to start boring all my friends and family on Facebook. I'm thinking one set of waves is not going to look much different from another, at some point.

We had beautiful weather the entire week up until yesterday. It's been raining off and on. What's funny is that when we left here yesterday it was gloomy and sprinkling. By the time we reached the shore it was beautiful. I even got to see two rainbows! We stopped by a macadamia plantation and I picked up a few items by myself. Bruce wasn't as thrilled as I was to go in, so I just told him to wait with Alyssa in the car. Secretly, I was kind of relieved to go in by myself. My child has the tendency to be the bull in the china shop.... bless her heart. And it was nice to get 10 minutes to myself that didn't take place in a bathroom. So, anyway, I bought some black lava sea salt (it's black!), some cinnamon macadamia nuts, and a box of dark chocolate macadamia clusters.

I've been eating a lot of fish here. I'd never tried fish tacos before, but I've had them twice already. I've also tried poke, which is raw fish mixed with onions and greens. I loved it. I bought some real sushi yesterday and I plan on eating it for lunch today. When I say "real", I mean it's different than the stuff I used to buy at Publix with the imitation crab and shrimp. This stuff has real big chunks of raw fish. There's no denying it's SU-SHAY. Oh **sigh** I'm going to love eating over here.

Which makes me think of weight. Since Bruce has been home, I've been eating more than ever. It's been constant eating out, succumbing to desserts, and not always healthy options to pick from. I have no clue what the difference is from when he was not here to now, but what would've made me gain 10 pounds is having the opposite effect. I've actually lost three. Maybe it's all the happiness endorphins from having my husband under the same roof or being in such a beautiful environment. Either way, I was shocked when we bought a scale and I stepped on to see I'd lost. Normally, I wouldn't trust a new scale, but my jeans are loose and Bruce has gained two pounds. lol...

I am now the proud parent of a child who will not shut up. **rolling eyes** Speech delay? Well, let me tell you... delay over. She has, within a month, mastered the English language. OK, so maybe not "mastered" the entire thing, but with the attitude of her delivery, we understand 100%. Her words, about 80%. Also, I can't help but think "All right people, where the hell did this kid learn to roll her eyes at three years of age!" Oh, I bet it was from Cruella the drunk, off-duty, Delta flight attendant. Yeah, I forgot about that evil, eye-rolling chick. ;)~

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If yesterday had only been caught on video, it may have even seemed humorous with a replay.

Let me start out by telling you that flying should be a reasonably pleasant experience. Barring the screaming child with ears that won’t pop, or having a person of larger size in the seat next to me and yet taking up my space, too…. I enjoy flying. Even after 30 or so flights, the novelty had not worn off. Take note of the past tense “had”.
I wrote the flight to South Korea off as a situational purgatory. I mean, really, who wants to fly non-stop fifteen hours with a two year old? Only a sadist, I say. But an eleven hour day of flying, which included two stops, and also a husband to help with the now three year old, I thought it would be fun. Um, not so much. Amazingly, my child was an angel throughout almost all of the day. We started our journey in the Augusta airport, which is tiny. All the people there were so nice. I guess it’s because they don’t seem deluged with crazy travelers, yet that’s where the first mistake occurred. They didn’t give my husband his boarding pass, just a small slip of paper that I guess they let passengers board with there. Not so in San Fransisco, as we were to find out later. So after I went through the security checkpoint with a family we had been chatting with on the flight, with Bruce following and holding Alyssa, he was re-ject-ed.  Oh! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me first tell you about Atlanta. In case you don’t know they board passengers with small children first, then the rest follow by section. We were the first to get on, along with the family I mentioned before. Even though all tickets were bought at the same time, they wouldn’t give Bruce a seat until we checked in. Go figure, but as I’m sure you can imagine where this is going, we had to do some charming, followed by threatening the passenger who was seated beside Alyssa and I. Now before you think I got all redneck with him, I didn’t. I just batted my eyelashes and asked if he was traveling by himself (yes) and if he would mind greatly switching seats with my husband so that we could all sit together. He was a big whiner. After listening to a two minute spiel about how he was flying ALL the way to Hawaii and didn’t feel like sitting anywhere else, I simply said “Oh, bless your heart… then I should forewarn you that my daughter is three and her ears have trouble popping, on top of being in that “three” stage, so if you’re looking for a calm flight, it might be to your advantage to switch… she’ll probably get a little ornery.” More whining from grown middle-aged man. Thankfully, there was a gentleman sitting in the row across from us who said “Sir, I had a window seat in row 35 that I am not using, please feel free to take it.” STILL more whining, but he moved. Seriously, he got to move to a window seat, NINE rows away from ALL the small children on the flight. I’d call that a generous offer. But you know…. Some people can really whine. Now stay with me here, I’m not done whining myself, lol. You see that wasn’t all that was going on during those first moments of boarding. All four families, including a total of six children had the opportunity to  hear this: “All children should be drowned at birth”. This came from the lovely, possibly drunk hag, that was an off-duty Delta flight attendant. I kid you not. Several of us just stood there in disbelief. The woman in the row behind me asked her for her name, to which she responded “WHY?” When asked if she was a flight attendant she said yes, but that she was off duty. Finally, she gave the name “Margaret”. Surprise, surprise... that wasn’t her real name. She gave her real name to a lovely young childless woman named Nadia, who took offense to what she said but buttered her up during conversation throughout the flight to get details about her…. Which when the plane landed in San Fransisco, she promptly approached us with and asked us to write Delta about her, too.
 At this point, we’ve had two connecting flights, had been told we’d were supposed to get a meal on the flight from Atlanta to Hawaii, but had yet to see anything other than seven mini pretzels, and been forced to listen to Cruella De Ville, the off-duty flight attendant rant about methods of killing the offspring of us "breeders."
This is where I need to refer to the San Francisco security checkpoint and the incident of being separated from my husband and child. Now, the TSA agents were only doing their job, which I think is necessary, and I applaud them for being thorough, it’s just hard to look at it like that when it’s happening to you or someone you’re with, and you have twenty minutes until take-off. Enter the charming TSA gentleman who saw me still standing in the check point area perplexed. The other military family we were sitting with stayed with me, which was really nice, and he approached us and asked if I had Bruce’s boarding pass by mistake, which I did not, but as soon as I mentioned he was military, the gentleman said he’d take care of it immediately and would return with my husband and child. About four minutes later, Bruce and Alyssa walked through the security checkpoint escorted by him. He was such a sweetheart.

OK, still not done getting out the poison here. On the final leg of our flight, thinking we were going to get a meal, we did not buy any food during the short layover, before boarding the same plane. The flight attendant had told me my daughter’s stuff would be fine left in the seat, so I left her bottle of water in the seat. Gone, when we got back. That is, of course, when Alyssa started begging for something to drink. That’s all I’d had! So, no big deal, I thought I’d just ask the flight attendant for some water, right? I pushed the button for the flight attendant. At that point we had 5 hours and 35 minutes remaining in the flight. When she came to ask us what we needed there was 3 hours and 5 minutes left in the flight. Yep, over a two hour wait. Thank goodness Alyssa had fallen asleep across our laps, because I can’t believe that Delta would consider that a reasonable amount of time before getting back to a passenger. Seriously people! I know the cost of gas is high, but when the tickets for three people cost around three thousand dollars, is it unreasonable to think you could get some damn water? Not to mention, this attendant was rude, deaf, and huge! She hit every single person going down the aisle. Every time I looked at her I couldn’t help but think of the stereotypical mean German nurse named Helga. She was so rude, I’m just going to leave it at that, but let me tell you, by the time we were asked if we wanted something to eat, they were all out of sandwiches and snack boxes. We got a fruit plate with two apple slices, three cheese slices, one strawberry, ten grapes, and two crackers. Alyssa ate most of that, and Bruce and I split an expensive “snack box” between the two of us. What I don’t understand is what the hell is the airline thinking? Are they trying to push people to the point of aggression by depriving them of water, while waiting for their blood sugar levels to plummet? I think it might be a ploy to garner public sympathy from those who do not fly, by creating these situations and then putting a PR spin on it as if “look how badly our attendants are treated.” I kept my mouth shut, kept a smile on my face, but inside I was cussing every attendant out with some of the dirtiest words of any known language. I know if my father knew what I was thinking he would still ground me even though I'm pushin’ forty.
Some positive points… I met two great Sara’s who are staying at the same military hotel as we are, with their families. We are now fifth on the housing list, which is a huge plus. A gallon of milk is only $4.81, which is actually good because I was scared it would be $6-7 a gallon. And finally, it's a beautiful day here in Hawaii, and I have a strong feeling I'm going to be saying that quite a lot over the next few years. I have more to write but this has been enough for one day, and the hotel's internet is about to literally drive me to the point of insanity. Maybe I need a nap.

Monday, January 2, 2012

You think you're busy? Read this....

It's wilder than a spider monkey jacked up on mountain dew here. There's a three year old running around who has discovered how to speak in full sentences. (And why was I rushing that? I forgot.) There's about seventeen half-finished lists in various spots throughout the house, and it's just getting started! Anyway, it's been a lot of fun and a lot of work. We drove to TN to visit some family the day after Christmas. That was the shortest trip we've ever made there. Drove down on Monday, left on Wednesday morning. My favorite part of the trip was Monday and Tuesday... lol. It was bittersweet though knowing that we aren't going to see our family and friends for a while... possible a very looong while.

To backtrack, Christmas was fantastic. Alyssa loved all her gifts from Santy Claus, and all her birthday gifts too. When I looked at everything under the tree, I thought "Wow... that's spoiling a kid." BUT, when I reminded myself that it was her birthday too, then it seemed reasonable. Also, this was a special Christmas since Bruce wasn't here last year. It was just a big celebration all the way 'round. He made her the most precious little "princess castle" birthday cake. It was a non-stop, but fun day.

New Year's was very relaxing and low-key. Oh, well... 34 minutes of the evening was at least until we crashed at 10pm. It was the anniversary of the night we met, too. I'm so pig-in-the-mud-happpy with this man that I don't even miss a big date night to celebrate. I'm just over the moon to have him home. Back to the business at hand...  We signed a contract with a rental manager to take care of renting out our home. The woman we decided to go with is a hoot. I think she's going to take good care of us. We also sold the Jeep Wrangler. All this in a six hour time span. And I mean from posting the car ad to it being loaded on a trailer, and signing all our paperwork and having a "For Lease" sign put in the front yard.

Yesterday we realized we needed some more luggage for our move to Hawaii. I checked online and decided we'd start with Kohl's and Target. Kohl's ended up having the best deals for the best luggage. It was BOGO free for all Samsonite luggage, plus I had a 20%  off coupon. It was an investment, but when it was all said and done, we paid about 40% of the original price for two large and two medium pieces of luggage. They're so nice. Four wheels, ultra-light, effortless movement. I don't know why, but it just thrills me that we now own some really, really good luggage. They've got a bluish sheen to them too. Just real purty, I tell ya.

The fun doesn't stop there! Today we're taking down all our Christmas decorations. Bruce is out now having the oil changed in our one remaining Jeep. **sniff, sniff**  Then tomorrow morning we're picking up a rental SUV and we're off to Atlanta! Ginger, the miniature tiger, is going to be roommates with my girlfriend Kimberly until she can be flown over to Hawaii, and we're dropping the Jeep off to be shipped overseas. Then turning around and driving back.

AND THEN... the packers will be here the next morning! Three days of watching them put everything in boxes, not to be seen for at least another month. I've got a hotel for us starting on the second day just in case they finish up early. Lord have mercy, this is a whirlwind. Somehow I have to work in three haircuts, highlighting my hair, picking up medical records, getting an extra insurance policy on the home, and not least of all... keeping little tater tot entertained through it all. Our final thing here will be to hop on a plane and hurry up and wait til we get there. I can already smell the breezes and taste the Mai Tai's.

So, 2011 is over.... thank you little baby Jesus... and we're on the brink of our next adventure.