Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Decisions, Decisions!

The past couple of days have been nothing but decisions! Big and small...I've made them all!  Monday was the move of all the things we MIGHT need IF we find a place to live before our main shipment arrives...things like pots, pans, dishes, linens, clothes, shoes, etc.  I mean how do you prepare for something like that?  I tried to think outside the box and I thought of things like a cheese grater, some Tupperware and even a set of measuring cups and spoons.  But I must say, I had a moment of panic when I realized I didn't ship an ice cream scoop!  What will my family do without that???  Then you have to realize that you will be living without those items on THIS side of the move.  I hope my littlest doesn't have a potty accident in the night, because he'll have no spare sheets!  I'm even typing this blogpost on my Mother In Law's tiny mini computer that is slower than the Navy travel office!  :)

Then if that isn't stressful enough, Tuesday was the Long Term Storage shipment.  Yes, in 24 hours I had to decide what I can't live without to what I can live without.  Do I take all the kids artwork accumulated over 8 or so years because I think I will have time to put together crafty books with them?  Or do I store that extra bookcase - and what about all the tools in the garage?  Will I need a shovel in Italy?  We don't know if we will be in a 900 sq ft "flat" or  2000 sq ft "villa".  Will my very extensive (and expensive) cooking appliances even work with the power converters?  Will I have a garage or a yard?  It is almost impossible to plan for the unknowns!

I had to decide to take some things and store others.  Also, knowing that burglary is a real possibility, I chose to leave behind some very valuable items along the lines of silver flatware and china, and my irreplaceable Christmas dishes (sniff!).  Also most of my holiday decor I decided to leave behind.  So hard...but I think we made some good trade offs in order to stay flexible and not be tied down.  We want to be able to make the most of the experience and travel as much as possible.

I'm also running some odd errands...I decided to have my vacuum overhauled and tuned up, looking into some camera maintenance, and other things that may be difficult to do in Italy, at least right away.  I have so many things running through my mind that my brain has been hurting daily, my face is breaking out like a teenager, and my waistline is quickly outgrowing all my waistbands because I haven't been exercising or eating well. 

Speaking of eating, there are also decisions on how to eat down the fridge and the pantry.  I'm pretty much down to only having things to bake.  I think I could make a batch of cookies every night until the day we leave.  But I can't make much else...much of the good food is gone, and it seems a shame to buy much more.  Pasta is the meal of the week, as you can prepare it with so many pantry goods and meats from the freezer.  Tonight the kids made a dump cake (Can of cherries, box of cake mix and a stick of butter).  It's a wonderful cobbler and you eat it piping hot with ice cream on top.  Oh, that's one way to eat down the pantry!  Tomorrow night it's peanut butter kiss cookies. I have so much peanut butter to get rid of!  Any good recipes to share?

But in the midst of all my decisions, the doorbell rang this afternoon, and I received a much unexpected delivery.  Beautiful Mother's Day flowers from my Husband!  Now, you have to understand.  We've been married nearly 11 years, and I always receive flowers, and they always come to my office.  It was a tradition that early in the week of a celebratory event, my flowers would come to the lobby in the main building of my work, and I would have to walk to that building, collect my bounty and walk back to my building and my desk.  Everyone would ogle them along the way and I would explain that I had the best Husband in the world.  Especially when he's overseas or in the middle of the ocean, he never misses a holiday!  But this Mother's Day, for the first time, the flowers were delivered to my NEW office!  HOME!  He called them my Stay At Home Mother's Day flowers.  They sure brightened my day and helped me to put all the decisions into perspective, in that each decision may not be perfect, but in the end, it will be, as it's all part of our story!
Stay At Home Mother's Day Flowers!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Smell Chicken!

So we had quite a trying time getting our travel made for this PCS. First, an overseas PCS requires all your family to apply for No Fee Passports. Then when you are in a two month window of your travel date you must apply for visas to enter the country long term. We applied for the passports and received them in the expected timeframe. However when we applied for the visas, we were rejected because we have a child adopted from Russia and all his documents are in Russian. Our translation was not certified and therefore the Italian Embassy would not recognize it. They wanted the Russian embassy to translate the documents and certify them. Well, I don't know if you have ever dealt with Russians, but it just doesn't work that way. We called the Russian Embassy and their phone tree had three options. None of which fit our set of circumstances, however that didn't really matter because no matter what we selected, it just hung up on us!

We worked a few connections and got two translations, one from Russia and one from Washington DC. Finally with only days to spare for bookin travel plans, we received our visas. On to booking travel arrangements!

My husband comes to the travel office to book our flights. He gets informed that there is actually a twelve day window in which you must look for a flight and if in that window there is a military flight vs a commercial flight your family must fly the military flight. Well, wouldn't you know, DAY 12 there was a military flight! Darn! So my husband who is very savvy in these things says to the man and woman behind the desk, "Well, just move the travel up one day and then there isn't a military flight in the window!" We'd still be honoring the orders by flying in June and we'll be able to fly commercial!"

The man said, "Oh no! That's crazy talk! I'm not doing that #%^*.  No way! I'm not getting fired for that ^%#*."  The woman said, "Oh I'll do it. Transfer his case to me. I'll handle it."

Then, in a whisper, she leans across the counter and says to my husband, "You know, we work for FOOD up in here."

"Food?" my husband says. "Like doughnuts? Or bagels?"

"Or chicken!" she whispers.

"Chicken?" he says in disbelief.

"MmmmHummmm! Chicken, bagels, it's all good!"

So my husband leaves the travel office and heads a block down the street directly to Church's Chicken and picks up two Deluxe Family buckets with four large sides and brings it back into the travel office. He sets it down on the counter and the two come right up to assist him.

"Oh yeah, I got you this time." says the hungry woman. "He'll get you next time!" referring to her coworker who wanted nothing to do with this #%^*.  Later that day, Chris received a very nice email with all the details of our travel to Naples!

And that is how we got our travel booked!  You want good travel service?   Just show up with food the first time!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Turning the Page...

Today marked a new chapter in my life.  After nearly 15 years, I left my company to be a full-time wife and mommy!  I tell everyone I've accepted a promotion.  The pay isn't good, but the benefits are amazing!  After being home for about an hour, I was ready to go back to work!  It's not easy to turn this switch in my brain.  But I'm sure with time and God's good grace, I'll get the hang of things.

Many knew for a couple months I was leaving my job due to this upcoming PCS move.  So for weeks I was living a very surreal life - making decisions and laying lasting foundations that would outlive my term, but that I made as though I would be there to see them through.  I had to step back a few times and realize that what I did in these days would have to survive without me or fail.  It made each step a little more meaningful.

My program had a beautiful going away luncheon on Wednesday which gave me time to say all my goodbyes and slowly fade out today.  I came in very early, packed my boxes, said a few heartfelt final goodbyes and left.  Although I did have fun with my team in the LAST days...They would often here me say, "This is my last CCB meeting!"  "This my last staff meeting!"  "This is my last Customer Support Call"  "This is my last status report!"  They were so sweet to endure all my "LASTS" and constantly parallel them to my "FIRSTS".  Interestingly enough, when I started at this company, I started on the very same project!  During my career I moved around a lot, but came full circle, so some of these people were my very first friends and co-workers.  It's been a great way to end this chapter!

Thanks to all my work friends!  You are all so special to me and have each made a strong impression on who I am as a person, employee and friend.  I can only hope that the company got half as much out of me as I received from my brethren.