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!

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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!

Meltdown

I’m having a meltdown of sorts.

Yep, that’s right. Me. Not my daughter or my son. (Although had happened today, too.) It’s all just hitting me.

It’s hitting all of us.

We’ve driven by a few houses and we’ve been less than impressed. I’ve been reading reviews on the various schools and I’m trying to sort out where the best fit for my son might be. We are trying to find a place to live, while simultaneously navigating around a city we know nothing about. Meanwhile it’s 189 degrees outside, the kids are cranky, we are all tired of the car and I get flipped off not once, but twice in the last two days. We aren’t allowed to go the speed limit here; it’s 10 over – minimum. There is much to do, but we are all just feeling the PCS blues.

I’m having a meltdown. And that’s okay.

Relocating is hard, civilian or military, no question. But after a few years in the military, it’s as if we are just supposed to know everything about a new duty station before we arrive. It can be a sort of city-whiplash. In our case, we went from a slower paced, island lifestyle to what appears to be a bustling tourist city. (Have I mentioned that Texans drive CRAZY fast?!) We are in our current Navy lodge digs and while I market this experience to the kids as a “fun adventure”, they are beginning to see through my brave face. We are all having a meltdown.

It’s going to all work out, because it always does. We will find a place to live. We will get our household goods, and we won’t be living in the lodge forever. We will start to feel settled. We’ll meet new people, make new friends, and Jake will start school this fall. It will all work out.

But for now, I’m having a meltdown.

And that’s okay. It’s part of the process.

This 5k Across the Country “Thing”

It started out as just an idea to help keep me motivated to workout and run while traveling across country to our new duty station. I’ve been on enough road trips to know how lethargic being in a car all day makes me, and how the substantial lack of decent food options tends to make it worse. (It’s not impossible, but it is harder when you aren’t cooking your own food.)

Every morning I go through the same b.s. in my head, usually along these lines:
“Ugh. Damn Facebook! I should have never said anything about this stupid idea, then I could just lay here and sleep.”
“If I don’t go, I’m gonna look at those clothes I laid out and feel like crap cause I didn’t get it in.”
“It will give me some alone time.”
“We are in an airport business park. The running is gonna suck. There won’t be anything to look at.”
“I’ll just go to the fitness room in the hotel.”
“I loathe the dreadmill!”
“Ugh. Just go already!”
“Okay, I’ll go get dressed and grab some hotel breakfast and see how I feel.”

***Run***

“All is right with the world.”
“OMG! I love everyone!”
“I feel fantastic!”
“Nothing can’t stop me!”
“I did it!”
“Why the hell can’t I remember THIS feeling when I’m laying in bed arguing with myself!?”
“I’ve yet to regret a run!”

In my head, I live with two people: a sloth who would prefer sleep, massages, facials, and reading novels in a hot bath, and a fighter who keeps pushing, keeps redirecting, continues to set goals and persevere no matter what. Today the fighter needed some back up. After snoozing my alarm, the hubs rolled over and said,”You know you’ll feel better if you just go.”

Damn, I hate it when he’s right! But I kind of like it, too.

If I had given in to my inner sloth, I would have missed out on this:

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In the middle of a business park, by the Kansas City International Airport, I run out of our hotel down a sidewalk that was so beat up it felt more like a trail run I saw a couple of other runners heading this way. I’m so glad I decided to run outside.

Here’s to ignoring the sloth and listening to the fighter inside!

Loving and Loathing the Mall

While on our adventure from there to here, we made a stop at the Mall of America. We usually do when we are visiting the hubby’s family in Minnesota. This thing is huge. When we pulled up, there was construction and I wondered aloud if they were fixing something. Eric mentioned that they were actually expanding.

If you are unfamiliar, the Mall of America, or MOA as locals refer to it, is one of the largest malls in the country. It boasts an indoor theme park, 520+ stores (many multileveled), an aquarium, and a bazillion places to eat. With over 4 miles of store front space, why the need for expansion? Isn’t it enough?

Whenever I enter a mall, I notice every time how no one smiles. No one ever seems to be truly happy. No one is content. The mall seems to be a place that only fosters “never-enough-itis”. It’s a constant comparing of oneself to 1000 different messages of “look better, feel better, be more, be fabulous, be envied, be the Joneses” etc. etc. etc. Watch women (and girls) walk by Victoria Secret with the larger than life layouts of beautiful women modeling bras and underwear and you can almost hear the negative internal dialogs. (Some words just gross me out! I just hate, and refuse to use the word “panties”. **Shudder**)

Music in the mall as you wander from store to store is usually blaring and obnoxious, depending on the type of store. It makes it difficult to think. (There is research to show that various types of music makes people make impulsive purchases, spend more, etc.) I must be getting older because the louder they play the music, the farther away from the store I go. It drives me crazy! Perhaps I’m also getting crotchety, but as a parent of a kiddo who gets sensory overloaded, a place like a mall (a big one or not) can be entirely too much. Even as an adult, I can tend to shut down after being in a place like this.

Recently, I saw a BuzzFeed article about mall properties that had been abandoned. Not only creepy and apocalyptic, these photos convey such emptiness that I see even in still-thriving malls. These photos convey the story of our consumer culture as a pursuit of emptiness. How completely accurate.

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Facebook: UrbanExplorationUS / Via architecturalafterlife.com

About the only thing I DO like about a mall, is if I have more than one store to go to, I can do it in one trip. I’m just not a mall person I guess. It’s just too much; too much noise, too many people, too much distraction, chaos and loud.

(Just don’t tell my 14-year-old-gum-smacking-side-ponytail-wearing-grew-up-in-the-80s-self, because she LOVES the mall. Like totally.)

Red Roads and Rhythm

When traveling or PCSing pre-minions, the hubby and I traveled well together. We could be up at the crack of dawn, drive most of the day, see random roadside oddities and be happily on our way. We easily found a rhythm to long drives.

My dear husband has a love of taking the road less traveled. Or any road. Or gravel path. Or blaze his own trail. Before the GPS we always kept an atlas in the car, and we joked about the “red roads”. Red roads in an atlas may *seem* like a good idea because they are often a more direct route from one location to another, but they are usually of the 35 mph variety, or hilly with hairpin turns, or under construction and down to one lane. He LOVES these adventures. Me? Not so much.

The day started with a good run in Cody, Wyoming although a bit hard due to the unaccustomed altitude. After that we just couldn’t get out of town for coffee runs, checking out of the hotel, potty breaks, time changes, fuel, and by that time it was almost lunch. We drove out of town around noon and since we started this epic journey we have yet to find any sort of rhythm that came so naturally sans kids.

Late start, led to late lunch, and even later dinner. Partly due to traversing this monstrosity (and yes, the road was both literally and figuratively red):

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The tallest peak of these mountains is over 13,000 ft, and this road crests at 10,620. Let me just say that for someone who does not enjoy heights, this was very difficult. 8% grade, switchback turns, and some panicky vertigo made for a long climb and descent.

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After eating, more potty breaks, etc, we were headed to our campsite just outside of Mt. Rushmore. This is another one those “red road” adventures!

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Construction, gravel road, one lane only entrance to the Black Hills.

We arrived at 9:30pm and proceeded to set up our tent in the dark. I am actually typing this from the inside of my cozy sleeping bag.

Here’s to better rhythm and fewer red roads in the future!

(But I won’t hold my breath!)

I Don’t Think This Counts

Last night we stayed in Montana in a little tiny place that, as I mentioned, was a little sketchy. I walked into this “establishment”:

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…and took one look into a washing machine and promptly walked back out. Nuh Uh. Not happening. Laundry waited until the next stop where the machines were:

a. clean

b. not outside

c. in proper working order.

Yes, you read that right. There were some indoor and outdoor washing machines. Time to move on out!

I love to travel. I love camping. I can rough it when needed. Bugs, nasty laundromats, etc I cannot do. Call me spoiled, but I like my clothes to come out cleaner than when they went in. I like showers without critter visitors.  I would like to also clarify that moving shouldn’t be classified as, or coupled with a vacation. It isn’t a vacation when I’m in a laundry room doing load after load of clothes in Cody, Wyoming is it? I didn’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, Cody is nice! Cute little western town and even home of the “Rodeo Capital of the World”.

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But I am now sitting at a leaning table (yes, it’s really leaning) typing this waiting for the laundry to finish so I can switch loads and enjoy all the wonderment of folding. (Man, I miss being on vacation as a kid when my mom took care of all this stuff!) While I’m on the topic of laundry, why is it that when you take the clean clothes out of a dryer, one sock or something has to fall on a dirty floor in transit to the dryer? The clean clothes never escape the hidden dirty floor magnet!

What DOES count as a vacation is Yellowstone and It did not disappoint! (Military peeps get into national parks free, by the way!) Here are the minions estimating the height of the trees earlier today. They came up with a million inches. (Inches is the only measurement they currently know. Time to work on that!)

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We also walked right up, waited about 3 minutes and watched Old Faithful strut her stuff!

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The scenery here is breathtaking. These pictures don’t do it justice.

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All in all, I’ll count it as a good day. We saw some great sights and we’ll shortly all have clean clothes! And tomorrow? Tomorrow I run.

I can’t wait!