Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A few photos of our last full night in Hawaii. Enjoy!!

Can you tell I took that one through my dirty windshield??

My girlfriends gave me a little farewell party last night. This was my cake :)

I saw this as we went back to the harbor to drop off our second car. I hope none of my stuff ends up in a container like this one.

We had dinner here. We love the cheeseburgers here and have been enjoying them for almost 4 years.

Callie and me in front of the Tiki outside of Cheeseburger Waikiki. No one in our family is a great photographer. Notice my honey cut off the top of the Tiki.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Start of the Transition

Two days ago we moved from our house to the Hale Koa hotel right on Waikiki beach. After two weeks on a cheap double bed, we were thrilled to be on a hotel bed. I have slept so well and have taken naps two days in a row. It’s a shame naps are wasted on the very young who don’t appreciate them.
Friday night we wandered down to the Barefoot Bar right here at the hotel on the beach. There is live entertainment, lots of waitresses walking around making sure you don’t get thirsty, and the hotel next door shoots off fireworks on Friday nights. We went to bed shortly after that. We were exhausted! Even the kid had her pajamas on around 8:30.
Saturday, Nick and I went back to the house to do the final clean up. I’m so glad to have that behind me. We are scheduled to clear housing completely on Monday morning.
Saturday night Callie hung out with friends so Nick and I just started wandering down the strip. We ended up at Rum Fire bar at the Sheraton. I had been there before, when Nick was gone, so I was anxious to share it with him. They have great live music and fantastic drinks and appetizers. We sat through two drinks each and lots of music. You could see Diamond Head from this place and the setting was beyond beautiful. Here is a photo of our view.

Today we decided we’d be pool bums. We left Callie sleeping and headed down to the snack bar on our way to the pool. We grabbed a breakfast sandwich and had it poolside. We stayed for several hours, had another snack and ended back upstairs for our afternoon nap.
This evening we walked over to Buffalo Wild Wings, one of our favorite places to eat and play trivia. Here's a photo of me with the kid:

Here are a few photos I've taken as we've walked around and enjoyed the last few days.

The view from our room.

Beautiful ginger.

I'll miss the fragrance of the Plummeria.

The Hale Koa Mai Tai ::::sigh::::

Friday, June 25, 2010

Aloha to the Little Grass Shack

We're leaving our house and hitting the town. We have a few errands to run and then we're checking into the Hale Koa Hotel.
I may be off the grid for a while.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

A Proud Day

As we wind things down here in Hawaii, there are farewells and good-byes.
This morning, my husband finished up at his "temporary" job. He was assigned a job for a few months as we awaited our move date this summer after he left command. It was a job that even he calls "outside his comfort zone" but he's done very well. The commanding general himself pulled me aside one day and told me how valuable Nick has been and how he's turned the whole staff around in a few short months. I'm very proud.
After putting in his final couple of hours this morning, Nick received his award. The CG (Commanding General) was gone, so the deputy commander gave it to him. Here are a couple of photos.

This evening was my daughter's last night at work. She works right here on post at the bowling alley, in the snack bar. She's worked there since she was barely 16 years old.. that was 3 and a half years ago. How many 19 year old girls can say they've held one job and it was for 3 and a half years? Her co-workers threw a going away party for her tonight. They cooked for her. In case you missed my earlier posts this week, these ladies are mostly Thai ladies and let me tell you, they can cook. They made some amazing food, gave her some beautiful hand made leis and cards with money as well as gifts.
More than one person came over to us as we were eating and hugged her and told her how much they would miss her. These were not only co-workers but customers as well. So many of them hugged Nick and me and told us what a good girl she is, what a hard worker, and that she was always so polite. I'm not sure there is a greater compliment to a parent than to brag on their kid. She is a good girl. She overcame a lot of hardships and rough times when we moved to Hawaii. It's made her stronger and more independent. I don't worry nearly as much about her as I did the other two when they left home. She can take care of herself. I will miss her terribly though.
Here is a photo of her starting through the food line with some of her co-workers. Notice all the lovely food!

Here is a close up of the one of the plates at our table. We used chopsticks. That's what they do in Hawaii. I will miss the food here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Week in Pictures

We've been busy this week. I have taken a few photos to show what all has been happening.

Nick about to open his Father's Day gift.

Clearly, he likes his gift.

My car. We shipped it on Monday. It is, by far, the nicest vehicle I've ever had. It has leather seats and it has a USB port that I can plug my iPod into to play music. It has that sync system where the nice lady talks to me. She plays my music and calls my kids all at my voice command. I love her.

Here we are at the harbor dropping off the car. The Army ships one, we pay for the other.

Monday night I was cleaning out the pantry for dinner. I found these three partial packages of pasta. I had grilled chicken in the fridge along with salad and frozen rolls. I bought a jar of alfredo sauce and made dinner. No one even noticed it was three different bags of pasta. Why do I only cook half at a time? I don't know.

I took this about an hour ago as Nick finished the job of taking down the blinds (I couldn't get those little square boxes off the wall that holds the mini-blinds. He then took the air conditioner out. I'm sleeping with windows open the next two nights. I hope it's not terribly humid.
Notice how nice and tall he is. I, however, am not. I am 5'2". When I took the blinds down I stood on that small side table there. Yes...I did. Until it almost tilted and the lamp rocked. I thought I was going to hit the ground. I saved myself from the fall and figured he could do the rest. I'm a little jealous he needs nothing to stand on.
Tonight we're eating the last of the leftovers. I had one potato left and I'm baking it. The ham and potato soup is in the refrigerator to be heated if someone desires. Tomorrow I throw the rest out. There's really not much left.
Tomorrow night, the snack bar at the bowling alley here on post (where my daughter works) is having a going away party for her. The ladies she works with are all Thai. They are cooking. Need I say more? I'm going down there to enjoy her party and partake in some authentic Thai food. YUM!
This morning I made phone calls and came away from it in a very positive mood. I called the movers who informed me my stuff.. that left my house just a little more than two weeks ago, should hit San Diego harbor ....TOMORROW! It will then get on a truck and trek across the country to Rhode Island. It will beat me there! I'm so excited about this because it means when I get there, I can get my stuff moved right in and unpack. YES! Then I called the local cable company there and had my cable, internet and phone scheduled to be connected two days after our arrival. I have an address AND a phone number! I didn't have that when I left Texas to come to Hawaii. I arrived here four years ago and stayed in 5 different hotels over a 5 week period. It was hell and I don't ever want to do that again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Can you O.D. on Bleach?

I'm cleaning an old house and as I've mentioned, it's dirty and mildewy. Therefore, bleach is my friend. Well, not really my friend, but a must.
I am finding that a dirty bathroom floor covered in hairspray is not easy to clean. Spraying with a bleach cleanser and letting it set seems to do the trick. It does require, however, me on my hands and knees scrubbing and inhaling the lovely fumes.
My nose may be damaged for life. I have a bleach headache and my manicure is shot. Does anyone deserve spending the last few days in Hawaii in a Waikiki hotel more than me?  Maybe, but I'm right up there in the most deserving.
The other thing I'm finding is that girls are pigs. At least my girl is. I haven't deep cleaned her room in the four years she's been here. Big mistake. Did you know baseboards can be so dirty they require that same bleach cleanser and the same method of letting it sit for a while? What toxic waste was in the air that caked the dirt and dog hair on every surface? I thought my teenage boy was a pig when he was home, but she gives him a run for his money.
I'm finishing up cleaning out the fridge and pantry by throwing things together. Tonight it's ham and potato soup. It's Paula Deen's recipe and you KNOW that's good. That's a woman after my own heart. It got rid of the leftover ham, sour cream, butter and half and half. All I had to buy was a couple of potatoes.
My husband is pulling more and more air conditioners out of the house. No AC along with my forty something hormones does not equal happiness. After he pulls the next one, I may be finished cooking until we are in Rhode Island.
So, can you O.D. on bleach? I'm not sure; I'll let you know if I recover from the sinus burn and headache.
For now, I'm off to eat potato and ham soup with sour cream and butter in it. It cures what ails you.

The Lady & Sons, Too! Potato and Ham Soup

5 lbs baking potaotes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 thick slide of cooked ham, cut into small pieces (not country ham, which is too salty)
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter
Salt and Pepper
1 Cup half and half
1/2 Cup sour cream

Place the potaotes in a large pot and add enough water to just cover the potatoes (too much water will make the soup too thin). Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the ham and butter. Season wtih salt and pepper to taste. Over low heat, add the half and half and sour cream; keep warm over low heat until serving time.

I had to cut the recipe down because I only kept one small pot. I miss my dutch oven. It's still yummy.

Monday, June 21, 2010


It's been a full weekend of getting more stuff done to prepare for our move. 
Even though all our stuff is gone, there is still a lot to do. This house has five window air conditioning units in it that we have to remove and dispose of. There are still crappy blinds hanging in both bedrooms that need to come down and a few old things I refused to move that need to be disassembled and taken to the curb. Tomorrow is our last trash pick up before we clear housing. That's always fun..trying to get rid of your garbage and you have to leave the dumpster in your garage empty.

I had to plan Father's Day last week without the usual tools I would normally have. I'm scattered and I'm afraid I didn't do well with our dads. I ordered gifts off Amazon to be shipped directly to both our fathers, but forgot to attach gift messages. I'm guessing they figured it out.
I ordered my own husband some small things off his Amazon wish list (it's three pages now) and had them shipped here. One gift is delayed..hopefully it arrives before I stop the mail on Thursday. The other gift arrived and I realized I have no wrapping paper. I think I did a creative thing. You know the brown paper that is padding the object in the box...?

It became my wrapping paper.
Here is the gift before and after wrapping:

I was even able to use the scraps to decorate the package.

My husband is a Trekkie. He loves all things Star Trek. The kids love to play Monopoly with him so I figured this was a win-win gift. He loved the wrapping.
Last night we took him to the Yardhouse for dinner. We had a great time. It's starting to hit me that in a few short weeks my daughter won't be living with me anymore. I'm sad about that. I think even she's sad. I'm going to miss that girl.
Today we ship my car. I'll write more about that later. I've been instructed to go start the car and let it idle because we have too much gasoline in it. That's craziness.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Today I honor two of the most important men in my life.

My Dad:

This is my dad on his last visit to Hawaii over a year and a half ago. Nick took him to the Pacific Aviation museum.

My husband:

My husband here with my youngest daughter getting her scholarship. This man isn't the biological father of my children but he's been the best thing that ever happened to them. They finally know what it's like to be part of a real family and have a role model. He has done more to mold these children and make them his own than their real father has done in over 20 years.

Happy Father's Day!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Review

As I've mentioned before, I am participating in the Entertainment Weekly Reading Challenge that I read about on Booking Mama's Blog.
I just finished my first book on this list.

The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer.
This is not a book I would have chosen for myself. I read a lot of fluff, a lot of chick literature.
I don't read many books where the main character is a man. I read this book and followed this story through his eyes.
Andras Levi is a young Jewish man from Hungary who leaves home to study architecture in France. The year is 1937 and the war in Europe is building.  I followed Andras through two years of school, going home to Hungary, starting a family and finally being shipped off to represent a side in the war that despises his kind. It is a heart wrenching story that made me laugh, cry and scared for his future as well as the future of his family.
From the start of this book, I was engrossed. I couldn't wait to have time to read more. I remember thinking several times... "this can't end well" 
It's a great book. I highly recommend it and I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where we are now....

It's been a few days since I've blogged because I'm overwhelmed with DEEP cleaning this house.
I pride myself in keeping a fairly clean house. It may be cluttered at times, but as far as dirt, I think I do pretty well. Little did I know...that once all my stuff was gone... I'd find out I'm a real pig.
This house is old. It has windows that don't seal. It has window air conditioning units. I hate window A/C. I open our windows when I can which brings dust.
We have dogs. Their hair gets under beds and other furniture.
So, I've been cleaning and trying to figure creative ways to eat the food that's left in our refrigerator and the opened stuff that was in our pantry. I'm pretty proud of some of my inventions! Yesterday, for lunch, I cooked half a box of pasta, let it cool, poured the remainder of my lite Italian dressing over it, the last of the olives and pepperoni, and cut up some purple onion. I called it pasta salad. My husband was proud of my genius idea, but didn't offer to eat any of it.
Remember the Aloha furniture I mentioned? When you're overseas, the Army loans you furniture while you're in transition. It's a very nice thing. The furniture, however, ...not so nice.
Here is the current state of our living room:

My Dining Room:

Our bedroom:

The kid's room:

Please notice the mattresses directly on the floor. That is because my darling husband neglected to check the box that said "bed frame" when he ordered the pieces  we needed. When I asked him about it...after the fact...he said, "Oh, I thought boxed springs were the frame."  Bless his heart. Please also note the plastic on the boxed springs. Yes, I have to leave the plastic on the mattress too. Oy!
Our bed is a double and it's about as cheap a mattress that you could buy. I can't wait to be in the hotel. Ask me how I feel about that after I've spent 3 weeks traveling!!
Those stray pieces of stuff lying on Callie's floor are what's left of her cheap desk. I just took it apart so we can throw it away. The stuff on her bed is her clean clothes I just put in there. She's a little spoiled.
On a bright note, the lamps are made of solid wood. If we were to have an intruder, I have a weapon right by the bed. I could club someone with that.
On another bright note, they provided me with a washer and dryer. That's almost as important as a bed and a TV.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Creative Husband

Remember this picture?
That picture is the TV we kept back from our other household goods for our enjoyment as we camp out in this house for around three weeks. The lovely cardboard box was my genius, engineer husband's idea of a TV stand. It was working. About an hour after I posted the update about this TV, it died. I was watching it, and it just went off. I was sitting in an empty house awaiting loaner furniture, the water was off because of a leak in the neighborhood and the TV went dead. We are a TV family. The day before this photo was taken, we had sent 5...count 'em, FIVE TVs to our next duty station. We had one in all three bedrooms, the lanai/family room, and the kitchen. This particular one had been in our bedroom. I couldn't help but laugh that the ONE TV we kept behind, went kaput less than 24 hours after the others had been packed and shipped.
We had discussed getting a new TV for the bedroom, so this was a good time to do it. As we left the house, we loaded up a few boxes of things to donate to the thrift shop here on the Army post. We get to the donation area of the thrift shop, unload our stuff, and I get back in the car. My husband walks around the building and comes back in a little bit with a TV. I was shocked! I asked him what in the world was he thinking taking a TV someone had donated to the shop. He says to me, "There are four back there, we'll bring it back when we're done."  He loads it up, walks back around the building and comes back with some kind of stand. He loads that and I'm looking around for the MPs. (Military Police) Now, the thrift shop was closed.  But I had seen the manager lurking around the other side of the building when we pulled up. I know the manager. He's the husband of one of the female officer's in Nick's office. When the manager walks around and sees us, Nick is forced to tell him what we'd done. Lucky for us the guy knew us and didn't really care. He was actually laughing at us.  We assured him we'd bring it back when we were finished.

We get it home, and a 10.00 cable later, we have it hooked up and are enjoying it. It has a big crack in the plastic around the screen and has a less than perfect picture. But it works for us!
Here is the new set-up:

Lovely, isn't it? I'm not sure you can tell, but the stand is very flimsy and leans a little toward the left. I hope it all hangs on until the 25th when we can move out of here and into a hotel.
One more note that proves the creativity of my husband.
He likes to drink rum with club soda. I don't know why, but it's his drink of choice. He will add fruit juice sometimes or a cherry, orange slices, etc if he feels like living on the edge. The other night, I see this drink:

What is the blue substance? It's an ice pop. When we were packing out we found half a box of unfrozen ice pops. Nick threw them in the freezer thinking we shouldn't waste them. That blue in the drink is an ice pop. See below:

He is nothing if not entertaining. There's never a dull moment around here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More Patriotic Pride

I had another one of those moments today that brought a proud tear to my eye. My husband and I were at the small PX (post exchange, which is like a little grocery store/convenience store) picking up a gift to take to dinner at a friend's house. As we were walking back to the car, we hear the bugle. For my non-military friends, on the Army post you hear the bugle in the morning playing Reveille as the flag is raised, to start the day. At 5:00 PM, Retreat is played as the flag is lowered for the day. At 10:00 PM, Taps is played for quiet time. Protocol states that when you hear the bugle you stop where you are and face the flag.
As we were walking across the parking lot, we hear Retreat. My husband steps over to a ledge around a tree, puts the package down he was carrying, and stands at attention with a salute. I stood behind him and faced the flag too. These things make me tear up.
I was reminded of an FRG (Family Readiness Group) meeting I attended shortly after our Soldiers deployed to Iraq. It was held at one of the families' homes on post and was a potluck. We stood in the front yard of her home, visited and waited to eat. There was a big tree in the yard that a few of the little boys were playing in. At 5:00, we heard the bugle. Retreat was being played. Those little boys jumped down from that tree, faced the direction of the flag and popped off their own salute. Now THAT will bring a tear. A little later, those same boys playing in the tree were speaking of their fathers. I heard one say, "My dad is an engineer, is yours?"  The other boy answered, "yes, he's an engineer Soldier too."  They had no idea their daddies were serving in the same unit across the world.
When you remember our Heroes serving this country, remember the children who stand proudly at the bugle call and show their pride and patriotism. Remember the wives and husbands left to be single parents and manage to juggle it all and raise beautiful, respectful children. It does my heart good.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What I'm Reading

Recently, I wrote about participating in a Summer Reading Challenge. I haven't been able to start yet, because I got involved in this book:

I mentioned that I was reading this a few weeks ago. I also mentioned how much I've always admired this first lady. I was really excited to read her biography. Normally, it doesn't take me 3 weeks to read a book, even one as long as this one. I'm one of those obsessive types. Once I get started, I really get into it and I read A LOT. I had a little trouble with this one for some reason. It's a great book, don't get me wrong, but it's deep. She goes into great detail the projects she worked on as first lady, her feelings as she watched her husband struggle with the challenges his presidency faced and the joy they experienced in so many different circumstances. I loved the book. I had originally thought I would keep it to re-read one day, but I've decided to donate it to the very small library we have here on our Army post. I want to share it.
Now I've officially started the reading challenge. I went to the library a week or so ago so I'd have a book to start when I finished this one. I checked out three books on the list. I may have over extended myself. Even for a quick reader like me, these three will probably take a while.
I started with:

I just started this yesterday and am already very deeply involved. It's about a young Jewish man trying to get an education in the Nazi era of Europe. I can't wait to turn the next page! I will write more about this book and link it to the original challenge at The Booking Mama's blog.
If you're interested in joining this challenge, please check out the Booking Mama's page to see what to do. I figure with the traveling I'll be doing, I can take advantage of plane and car trips to catch up on reading.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hawaiian Style!

My stuff is gone. I'm not sure where it is right now, but it's not here. I'm hoping it gets on a ship quickly and gets on its why. My hope is that my stuff gets there and is waiting for me when I get to Rhode Island.

On the upside, I had movers that were so much fun. They were respectful, fast (finished everything in TWO days) and FUN.  They had music on, were singing, joking and laughing as they worked. They even put a few personal touches on our packing that will make me smile when I get to the other side.
My husband has a wooden rocking chair that he had when he was a small child. It is fragile and could fall apart very easily. When he told the boy packing it that it was old and special, he wrapped it, put it in a large box with pillows all around it. He wrote on top of the box "Rocking chair, very special" and drew a smiley face. That's just sweet.
I have a grandfather clock. It's not terribly special or expensive, but it's mine. It's hard to pack and move so the movers built a special crate for it, which, in all honesty, I expected. Before crating it, they wrapped it in this brown paper with cushiony stuff inside that they wrapped everything in. I happened to walk by it later and saw it. Here's what it looked like just before going into the crate:

I may have to keep that paper and have it framed!
Here is a picture of the crates on the truck as they were being loaded:

The crate lying on it's side in the middle crate is the one that was specially built for my clock. It kind of looks like a casket, huh?
Today I'm home awaiting my loaner furniture, aka "Aloha Furniture".  It's cheap, very used rattan furniture. But hey, it's free and it gives me a bed to sleep on, a table to have a meal and a couch to watch my tiny TV.
Right now the house is empty. Here is where I'm hanging out.
Notice the lovely TV stand my engineer husband rigged up yesterday. Yes, that's a cable box under the TV. We must have our 1000 channels while we camp out. To the left, on the floor are my iPod speakers/radio. To the right is my laptop. There in front of the TV are the two remotes. Yes, my friends, I'm sitting on the floor, watching TV and blogging. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Life as I Know It....

Is almost completely packed up in boxes.
Yesterday was a whirlwind. I had my doubts when ONE young man showed up around 9:00 AM to start packing our house. I thought we would be here for days. Then, around 1:00 PM, a crew of four more showed up. Those guys busted a move! One in the garage, one in my kitchen, one in the dining room and the first guy still in the living room. Wow, did they move.
Here is my house this morning as I wait for them to finish packing and start loading the crates.

This is the view from my front door.

This is my kitchen.

This is the corner I've blocked off with our personal stuff we need to hang on to for another 2 and a half weeks while we camp out in the house. I'm guarding it with my life.

This is my bedroom. I blocked it off yesterday so we could sleep there last night. This morning it awaits in its nakedness for the packers. I will miss that comfy bed for the next month and a few days. Hopefully it makes it to the other side in one piece. It is one of the few pieces I bought all on my own after my divorce. No man had any say in that bed.
My sheets are in the dryer. I washed them as soon as I got up. I don't know why, because as soon as I unpack them in Rhode Island...I will wash them again. OCD much?
Here is a photo of the poor dog before she got carted off to the airport on Sunday.

Clearly, she's ticked off.
The dogs made it to Texas and are having a vacay of their own with our son. He will hang on to them while we travel and secure a house in Rhode Island. It has made the move much smoother not having the dogs under foot.
Tomorrow we receive our "Aloha Furniture" which is the cheap crap housing loans to us while our stuff sails across the Pacific Ocean. Pray for my stuff. It's not great stuff, but it's mine.
We will stay in temporary lodging tonight so we have a bed. I'm ready for some order again.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

One Hot Mess

My house, that is. It is uncomfortable for me at this point.
I have taken all curtains down, everything down from the walls, and have a pile of stuff in the corner of the living room that I need to keep back from the movers so we can camp out here for a few weeks.
Yesterday, Nick and I cleaned out the garage, and I do mean clean. We pulled everything we own out onto the driveway, power washed it and laid it out to dry. Then we dragged it all back into the garage in a neat pile for the movers.
Let me clarify how the day went. I dragged stuff out, Nick washed it, I hauled it out to the lawn to dry, then hauled it back to the garage. He helped with the heavier items, but I found myself doing a LOT of the heavy work. I asked him about this later, and he said "would you like to use the power washer?"  but didn't give it up. The good news is, I got some kind of work out.
We rewarded ourselves by going to Hooters for beer and fried pickles. Afterwards, we came home, lit our last fire in the fire pit and enjoyed the Hawaiian evening.
Today the dogs fly to Texas. It's emotional around here because they're so innocent. I will worry about them until our son calls tomorrow and tells us he picked them up and they are ok. We can even track them online, how cool is that?
I took photos, but can't bring myself to make the effort to download them to the computer. Maybe later.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Closets, Oh How I'll Miss You

I live in Army quarters, I think I've mentioned this before. Our house is nothing special, is kind of old, but has more than adequate storage for a house this size. We have three bedrooms and two baths. Actually, the master bath is so small (only a shower stall) that it almost doesn't count. It doesn't have ANY storage whatsoever. We have a free standing cabinet that we bought as well as a very small cabinet that we hung over the toilet.
My bedroom has always been a hard one to arrange furniture in because there is no full wall. Two walls are windows. When I say windows, I mean all the way across the wall, for the most part. Another wall is a closet and the fourth wall has two closets and the door into the bedroom. It's been a challenge.
The closets in this house have been wonderful, all things considering. Not ideal, but pretty nice.
I have this closet just for my stuff in the bedroom:

I have all my clothes (except winter clothes which we don't need here) shoes, bags, etc in this closet. Not to mention the safe that you see sitting in the floor and what you can't see, a three shelf book case stuck in there too. It's been a good closet.
I have this closet where I keep bathroom overflow. You know, extra shampoo, towels, linens, and stuff we don't use often. It's fairly clear now, because I have purged LOTS of stuff.

Then there is this closet that my husband uses. As you can see, only one door opens because we have his chest in front of the other one and the TV on top of it. He really doesn't need much room. The man wears a uniform every day. It cuts way down on wardrobe.

I've seen the floor plan of our new quarters. There is ONE closet in the bedroom. It appears to be a walk-in, but I'm not positive about that. The good news is that we have a four bedroom house. Nick will use one as his office since he'll be attending school for a year and will need a place to study. Alex will have one, and the fourth with be a guest room. That gives me TWO extra bedroom closets to put stuff in.
We currently have two closets in the hall as well. I'll miss those. I have a HUGE closet off my kitchen now that I store extra serving dishes, small appliances, dog food, the small beer refrigerator (that could go in the office...what do you think?) and huge book case that I have cookbooks, bins of cookie cutters, etc. I will definitely miss that one.
My girlfriend recently bought these risers to put under the legs of her bed to create more storage underneath. I may have to invest in those for the guest room and the boy's room.
Anyone have creative ideas for storage? I have a feeling I'll need it. We won't have a garage either, but a very small storage building in back. Woe is me!

Lessons Learned

This will be my final post on my weekend with the kids and ex-wife. I have given her too much attention and that was not my intent. I wrote this at the airport as we were waiting to come back to Honolulu.
As I reflect on my weekend, I realized that in spite of the drama and dread, I did come away with something.
After the gathering at the ex’s house on Saturday, and dinner out with the crowd, I saw her for what she is. She is an insecure, bitter woman. She was trying so hard to impress everyone that she came across as loud and crazed. She made a few comments to my husband and in-laws to prove to everyone that she knew them all so well. It couldn’t have a comfortable thing for her boyfriend and it certainly didn’t make me happy.
I had spent so much time and energy dreading the weekend and worrying about looking better than her that I missed the point of the whole thing. I saw my husband’s daughter soak up the attention we gave her like a sponge. For the first time in a very long time she looked truly happy. She tends to shrink in the company of my daughter because my kid is so outgoing and has such personality that it intimidates the other kid. I know now why she cowers under that kind of behavior. Her mother steals the show all the time. The girl never has the full attention when mom is around because she demands all of it.
I also walked away knowing how blessed I am. I have the wonderful husband this woman was too stupid to keep. I have the life that so many would love to have. Her loss is definitely my gain.
The biggest revelation I walked away with was that I am better than her. I didn’t care anymore who looked better in a dress or who had nicer shoes. I looked around her house and at her pitiful attempt to entertain with her pre-packaged food on simple plates instead of the home cooked food on lovely serving dishes that I would have provided. I watched her serve slices of a cookie monster cake she picked up as an afterthought on coffee cup saucers instead of desert plates and knew I had it better. I know those things are petty but they made me feel good.
I don’t have to compete with her, I already beat her. I’m happy, I make her ex-husband happy and that truly is the best revenge.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby Soldiers

It's a strange title for any kind of blog post, but that's what I tend to call some of the boys I see walking around post here.
This morning, I was taking my husband to work and on my way home, I see a young Soldier walking back to his barracks from either the gym or his run. He was in PT (Physical Training) clothes so I know he was just finishing that up. He was looking up in a tree and upon looking closer, I could see that he was picking mangoes and piling them on the ground. This made me cry.
I'm a sentimental slob. I cry at the drop of a hat. Something about this young Soldier picking up mangoes made me cry! I thought of the young boys who go to their first duty stations, sometimes leaving home for the very first time in their lives. I think of Soldiers who are my son's age (26) and realize that some of them have deployed to war 3 or even 4 times. That makes me cry. I move back and forth between sadness and pride. I recognize that some of these young men, and women, join the Army because they wanted to try to make something of themselves and had very few options at home. That makes me proud.
I am reminded of a young Soldier sitting on the curb with his newly issued rifle as my husband's battalion was about to load busses to catch their flight to Iraq. He looked so scared it touched me. I sent Nick over to talk to him.
He was afraid....of flying. He had only flown once in his life, to Hawaii and his first duty station. He wasn't afraid to go to war, but to get on a plane.
Here's a photo of my husband talking to this young man.

I call them baby Soldiers. My husband fusses at me and tells me they are Warriors. I think probably they are both.