Insomniac Ramblings

It’s 12:02 a.m. Day 42 of our PCS/nomad existence. I cannot sleep. When I can’t sleep, I write. My thoughts are all over the place tonight. I can’t promise this will turn out coherent. I can’t promise clarity, just some midnight ramblings…

Robin Williams

I wasn’t alive when Kennedy was shot, but everyone that was knows exactly where they were when it happened. Everyone knows where they were and what they were doing with vivid detail when the towers fell that Tuesday morning. I’m not comparing the magnitude of the death of a gifted man with these other events necessarily, but it does serve as a reminder when impactful things occur, time seems to slow down, or shift suddenly. I remember watching Happy Days with my mom when Mork landed and froze the Fonz. I remember watching his movies. We collectively remember him as a comedic and dramatic soundtrack to our lives. I never knew the man, but because of his gifts, I was able to witness a small portion of his work. I don’t know that I’ve ever been really affected or saddened by the passing of a celebrity before, but this seems different somehow. Perhaps because of the big “D” word everyone keeps rambling on about – telling everyone to “get help” and to call 1-800 numbers and such. I just keep thinking that if a man that had means, access, and capability to receive help, but couldn’t; what hope is there for the countless others of us who have experienced true depression? The D-word is an equalizer. It really doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or what side of town you call home.

Middle East Conflicts/Violence Here and Abroad

Being in a hotel (and camping) for 6 weeks, we’ve had more screen time than normal. In our current location, we actually have 2 televisions, one in a little living room, and one in the bedroom of our suite. (We usually only have 1 television and more often than not, Disney Jr. or PBS is the channel of choice.) Now that the option is there, we’ve been able to watch the news and view other non-animated, grown-up television.

I think I want to go back to not knowing.

I hate watching the news. It makes me feel helpless. I don’t like the world I see on my screen as I hear my kids chattering around the wall. It scares me. It drives me to my knees in prayer. I wonder what kind of world they will grow to inherit. The world has always had hate, murder, war, etc., but it sure feels like we are experiencing a rising tide of evil. Is it because of the 24 hour news cycle? Or is it a true rise? I don’t know.

Grief

It comes in all forms, in varying depths. Family tragedies, anniversaries, birthdays of loved ones no longer with us, or even diagnoses we didn’t want to face bring grief to the surface. It’s as if grief picks at the healing scab just to see if the underlying skin is tender. If it still feels the sting.

It does. It hurts. And it sucks.

Hope

I’ve complained of roaches, living out of suitcases, and other minor inconveniences experienced through a military transfer, but when I look at the bigger picture – I can do nothing but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I’m not on some mountaintop fearing for my life. I’m here. I have a family I would lay down my life for. I have no want for any material thing. And I get to move into a new home and own a small patch of dirt again in just a few days. Grief is real. Tragedy and death are real. But so is love. So is faith. And hope. If there isn’t hope, if there isn’t something good to come out of the dark, what really then is the point? I’m grateful for hope, despite the evidence that points to a lack of it.

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Fist Pumps!

I love days where you just want to pump your fist and say, “YEAH! It was a good day!” Today? Meh. We were all crabby today. The novelty of being in the same room (same car) with the same people for 5 weeks has worn off. Having space in our new joint will be a good thing, for all of us!

Having a few things on the agenda for the day, we started out with swim lesson number 2. The kids are doing great, becoming more comfortable in the water. Hannah is getting better and putting her face in the water and blowing bubbles. Jacob hollers at the instructor that he’s “NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN!” but then ends up going under water again. She’s amazing at pushing to the edge of his comfort zone, but then backing off and giving him something to do that builds his confidence again. She’s very gifted with kiddos. Unfortunately, the lesson got cut just a tad short as the thunderstorms rolled in.

Overall breakdown:

Hannah: Happy in the water.
Jacob: Crabby at the instructor, but his desire to learn is overcoming his disdain for her. Also dislikes being told to get out of the pool. Who cares if there’s lightening?
Me: I’m just happy that I’m not the bad guy! Yay!

From there we went to Target to pick up a couple things and an air mattress. (Jake’s popped from taking one too many jumps.) Target is always a good time and I found a lycra swim cap and goggles so I can swim some laps on the really hot days instead of running. (Running in this humidity feels like running into a hair dryer on the hottest setting. No bueno for this chick.) Note: If you have curly/large hair, lycra caps are SO the way to go! They don’t pull/snag/stick to your hair! And they are easier to put on!

Overall breakdown:

Hannah: Flibbertygibbet self. Happy to be. Although slow to buckle up and get into/out of the car.
Eric: Mildly irritated that Hannah is in her own world. He cannot comprehend why it takes her so long to get buckled every time we get into/out of the car.
Jacob: Happy to have his iPad back. Slightly irritated that the A/C doesn’t blow cold air as fast as he’d like.
Me: Sad I can’t be in Target solo. Happily dreaming of swimming laps at the pool in new goggles and swim cap. Solo, of course.

We stopped by the new house (which is near the Target! YES!) to check on progress. Looks like we should be moving in next week! Yahoo! Every time we go and check things out, it fuels the anticipation. (Or the impatience.) I cannot WAIT to live in this space.

Finally, we rounded out the day with a “Dive-In” at the base pool. We loved our local drive-in back in Whidbey. Sadly there are no drive-ins here, but the base pool opens up occasionally for an evening kid movie on a giant screen while we swim! It’s awesome! And the bonus was the kiddos got to practice their swim skills waiting for the Lego Movie to start!

While splashing and swimming around, Jacob thinks its fun to “kick off” of us. It would be fine, except we are given no warning. No heads up, nothing but a swift kick in the gut. Or the leg. Or other places. It was getting painful. One kick too many, stern words, etc., a meltdown ensued. Jacob and I both gave each other space for about 3 minutes. I played with Hannah on the other side and Eric hung out with Jacob. A moment later, Jacob swims up and says, “I’m ready to do the apology thing.”

Okay.

What followed was something that I have been working on with both kiddos, but I’ve had to lead them through it with them essentially repeating what I say. It’s a 4-part apology that teaches more than just saying “magic words” to get done with being in trouble:

*I’m sorry for…
*It was wrong because…
*In the future I will…
*Will you forgive me?

Jacob did it by himself. He apologized using all 4 components. No prompting. (I checked with Eric – he didn’t prompt at all!) It was purely Jacob’s initiative. He was thoughtful and logical with his reasoning. I was beyond astounded.

Overall breakdown:

Eric and Hannah: Swimming happily, waiting for the movie to start
Jacob: Apologizing to me. Of his own volition. Not necessarily enjoying it, but doing it without anger.
Me: Blubbering mess, fist pumping the day.

Welcome to My Nightmare

I took the minions to the base pool yesterday. It was sunny and wonderful and hot! The pool felt amazing!

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This kiddie pool was HUGE! The kids loved it!

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They even have a little tube slide that shoots them into the big pool. (You’ll forgive the lack of pictures as I was playing “catcher’ when they came flying down!) We swam the length of the pool, went down the slide, and floated, played motor boat, blew bubbles, and all the water fun we could come up with. Then they suggested “Humpty Dumpty”.  This is where they sit on the side of the pool and we sing, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great faaaaaaal!” and you pop the minion from the side and splash them down into the water. Okay. So off to the side I go, while they swim to the stairs leading out of the pool to sit on the side. I went to reach up to Hannah and I am nose to nose with a cockroach in the pool gutter.

I, of course, let out some kind of freakish terror-filled guttural moan followed by a scream to which the lifeguard looked at me questioningly. While running backward (read: stumbling and trying not to drown) in the water, I pointed and mouthed the word ‘cockroach’ as I pointed to the side of the pool where it walked along the edge, completely unfazed by my horror and outright panic.

The lady lifeguard took matters into her own hands. Well, she called someone over to take matters into someone’s hands. This big lifeguard dude came over, snapping on a surgical latex glove. He laid on the concrete, draped his burley arm over the side and karate-chopped the vermin. He then deftly scooped up the carcass, and carried it to it’s final resting place. While overwhelmed with gratitude, I may have clapped. I’m sure he thought I was a lunatic. My relief outweighed any sense of cool I had left.

I realize we live in Texas. I realize that bugs, like cockroaches, thrive in warmer climates. I also know that “everything is bigger in Texas”. The bugs are no exception.  I was stumbling in the dark to make some coffee this morning, I flipped on the microwave light to see a roach scurry across the kitchenette stove top. Again with the shudder, the moans, the general freakout as I hopped barefoot back on to the bed and scrambled to my phone to type a hasty text to Eric who had already left this morning: IMG_6892

I went to the front desk. As she said she would let housekeeping know, I think she was trying not to laugh at me.  I don’t care. You think I’m a pansy, a wimp, whatever who can’t deal with bugs? Okay. Yup. That’s me. Sue me. Just come kill my bugs first.

As I type this, I am cowering and trembling with dread sitting on the bed with the kiddos waiting for housekeeping to arrive. It’s been about an hour. I refuse to go back into the kitchen. I think I’ll be throwing on a ball cap and taking the kids OUT for breakfast. And perhaps lunch. This must be what it felt like for ocean swimmers after seeing Jaws.

I think I’m gonna need more than a bigger boat.

I Think It May Be Time

We’ve been living la vida lodge for almost 2 weeks (more if you count the camping and hotels to get here). We’ve done all sorts of things to pass the time; attempting to Positive Polly the situation, full on meltdowns (you know just for fun), playground time such as this one:

IMG_6793Taking selfies to send to friends, such as this (way over-tired) one here:

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We’ve played countless games of Sorry!, Crazy 8s, Old Maid, War, and of course Slap Jack.

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Nope, not strip Crazy 8s, just Crazy 8s with a Hawaiian baby who refuses to wear shirts. (Thanks Stef! ;))

We’ve gone bowling on base, which was actually pretty fun! Jacob is getting the hang of it, although we keep having to remind him that it’s bowling etiquette to allow the neighboring bowler to take his turn first, not race him up to the foul line and ensure your ball flies farther and louder!

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Of course there is coloring as an option. This lasted maybe an hour. It was a blissful, spa-like experience!

10401437_10202538549329406_7019367957096005623_nWe’ve also discovered the wonders of the local grocery store, HEB. They have a TON of pre chopped, prepped, sliced and diced foods. Perfect for living la vida kitchenette!  Here’s Vanna White eating some coleslaw!

1234714_10202540627221352_8779008168713196846_nThe Mrs. T.F. (tooth fairy for the uninitiated) even stopped by for a visit to pick up tooth #2!

10403512_10202547053902015_4413452592231776797_nAll of these have been fun. We are even headed to the pool today. (Can’t wait!) But what has me so excited, day after day, is the maid service. This is the one chance of the day to have an adult conversation with another female. I know that one of the ladies is having her first grandchild. I know the other one is a mil spouse of nearly 30 years. I look forward to chatting with these ladies. We had a maid we haven’t met yesterday, but she was quiet and didn’t feel like chatting apparently. Or I may have scared her. Come to think of it, she was very efficient and cleared out pretty quickly.

Maybe it’s my turn to be scared. Let’s just hope I don’t come across like Jesse in the ‘very special’ episode all hopped up on caffeine pills.

SoExcitedSoScared_QuickMeme_420x305I think it may be time to get outta the lodge!

Life in the Lodge

Well, my meltdown/culture shock phase of this move is winding down. We’ve spent the last week looking at houses and rentals and have decided to purchase this time around.

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EEEK! I am so excited! Can’t wait until move in day!

 

We have about 2 weeks until it’s all ready for us. We are also getting geared up for school registration! (Yeah, that sentence made me throw up a little!)  In the meantime, we are living in the interim at the Navy Lodge.

Ahh, life at the lodge.

There is much to be irritated about when you are living out of suitcases; most of your earthly belongings are in a warehouse somewhere, lodge kitchenettes are TINY,  etc. What I do love about this phase of a PCS move is that there isn’t a lot to do, and it’s okay to sort of just hang out and be.

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We’ve been playing lots of games such as Old Maid, War, Slap Jack, and we attempted Crazy 8s, but, to quote Jake, it was a bit “too long and too boring”. We are good with Sorry! and I have a few books we’ve read, not to mention the iPads have been lifesavers, especially while driving all around a new town trying to find a place to live.

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We’ve also discovered that with life in Texas, we have to get in our outside time either in small doses, first thing in the morning, or at dusk. It is HOT, and our Washington bodies need just a little while longer to acclimate. But this morning when I walked out at 86 degrees, I thought it felt good, so we may be getting there sooner rather than later!

We’ve also encountered some neighborhood kids, one of which was about Jacob’s age and they had a muscle inspection the other night. (Muscle inspection = each one flexing and asserting (read: SHOUTING!) that “I have HUGE muscles”!) Following the showing of their ‘guns’, they proceeded to have bike races and then a great game of hide and seek with Hannah. Poor girl hid in a great spot, but immediately discovered the wonder of fire ants. Welcome to Texas!

Until our new home is complete, I’m trying to savor the little things about this time. Things like:

  • I don’t have to clean! Maid service!
  • We cook here, but don’t dirty up too many dishes so meal time is a cinch!
  • I’m not tripping over toys in the hall, or in their bedrooms – cause they don’t have many and we are all in one room!
  • God bless the iPad. It’s been a lifesaver in so many ways.
  • Hooray for PBS Kids TV. Educational programming so they might actually learn something
  • Cheap story books for bedtime.
  • The Navy lodge is not fancy (by any means) but it is clean. I have yet to see any nasty critters.
  • We are within walking distance to 2 playgrounds
  • We went to Padre Island Seashore – it was LOVELY. I can’t wait to go back!
  • Teaching the minions fun card games that I played as a kid keeps the screen time down, but it’s been really fun, too. I love hearing my little girl say, “Go Fisssh!” or the way Jake dances around when he doesn’t get the Old Maid.
  • For now, just right now, I have nothing that NEEDS doing. And I’m enjoying it!