Aren’t I Too Old For This?

I was a military brat growing up, so this is nothing new for me.  It really doesn’t even matter if were or not though.  The big thing with the military and kids is the “trauma” of leaving/making friends.  It’s what everyone asks about.  It’s the huge question that I think every mil brat has gotten asked a hundred times.

But who is worrying about the adults?   I have met some amazing women here who I plan on keeping as life long friends.  They are fantastic, interesting, intelligent, funny people.  They have helped me in ways that they will never fully understand.

And they are moving.

Summer is moving season for most people, and I knew this day would come, but it suuuuucks.  It’s a small Army, they say.  We can write and visit, they say.  Technology makes the world so accessible, they say.  They can shove it because it does not get easier and you don’t outgrow the suckiness that is saying goodbye to friends.  I met one of my best friends two weeks ago, and she’s moving next month.  We’re already planning trips to visit each other later this year because our time together has just been way too short.

This season is playing emotional havoc with me right now.  I don’t know what I’m going to do here by myself without my battle buddies.  Wouldn’t it be easier to sort of age out of the making friends shit cycle?  Or maybe it’d be easier to stay young and be forced to make friends at school forever?  Military issued friends anyone???  I’m open for ideas.

Local Culture

I’ve lived a lot of places, and I always try to learn about if not assimilate into the local culture.  I think for military families, being seen as an outsider is really high up on the list of horrible things.  We know that to some extent we’re always going to be outsiders.  We move a lot.  We have a lot of weird military habits that don’t usually fit in.  But we do try and appear to be as local as possible, and for the most part, we’re pretty good at it.  I don’t want to brag, but I’ve seen if not lived in so many different cultures that I can usually pick out what region a person is from no matter where in the world it is.  I know what you’re thinking…super power?  Maybe.

My new community, however, has some really weird idiosyncracies.  People here are super impatient.  They are so impatient that many people won’t wait for red lights.  They get tired of waiting for the light to change and just go.  I’m flabbergasted.  Doesn’t this seem weird since I’m in the South where life moves a little slower?  And of all things, traffic laws seem like a biggie to follow.  You’re putting everyone else at that intersection at risk when you do that.  They don’t even run it a little after it’s turned from yellow.  They do it after they’ve been sitting at a red light for a few minutes and then decide to go before  it turns to green.  How odd.  It’s so prevalent that it’s included in the post safety briefing.  I think this is one custom that I’m going to be avoiding.

My Stuff

DH and I’s last house (not counting the hotel room during his training) was a one bedroom apartment.  It would be a stretch to call it 600 square feet.  It had one closet in the living room, one bathroom in the kitchen, and one bedroom with no windows or heat vents.  We lived an hour from Canada.  The heat vents were critical.  I had four different piece of linoleum and bright orange countertops in the kitchen.  We lived above the pharmacy, and the view from our living room was of the Chinese restaurant in town.  Clearly, we weren’t living in style, but the little place was ours.  It was the first place we got together after we got married, and we could afford it all on our own.  I’ll always think of it fondly because we both did a lot of learning in that little home.

The place was so snug, though, that we needed very little furniture.  We knew we were going to be entering military life soon, so we opted for cheap, semi-disposable pieces rather than decent furniture that we couldn’t get into the little place anyway.  The result was that DH and I are closing in on anniversary #3, and we don’t have much “stuff.”  This house is so empty.  We had to do a lot of our big, just-married purchasing now, and we don’t really have the funds to fully furnish a house this size.  We got the basics, but many things will have to wait.  We’re fine with this, but it does feel like our home is more than a little bare.

Coincidentally, my parents are downsizing right now.  They’re moving into a condo to reduce their yard responsibilities and to be able to travel more before they’re oldies.  They want to get rid of some things and (bless them) are willing to haul it all down to us when they come at Christmas.  We’re acquiring a grill, living room chair, dresser, bookcase, lawn mower, fake Christmas tree, and dog among other things.

This is a huge help to us and our budget because we don’t have to buy so many things right now but our home feels more lived in.  I’m worried that our home is going to feel hodge-podged though.  I want it to feel like it’s all meant to be in our home and not picked up from a garage sale.  Some things need serious painting, but I want to paint a few other things anyway.  I also worry that DH won’t feel like it’s his stuff.  I’m kind of looking forward to having some comforting furniture around me.  Some of these pieces have moved with me since I was a tiny kid.  When it’s the only consistency you have, seeing the same bookcase or dining room hutch no matter where you live means a lot.  These things don’t hold the same feelings for DH though.  I don’t want him to look at them and see my parents’ home.  I want him to see our home.

Do men even care, or are these just worries of a crazy woman?  I’m just thankful that we’re collecting furniture for our home cheaply, and that this stuff can continue being used by someone who loves it.

Feeling Unsettled As I Settle In

So we’re settling in.  The furniture is ordered even if it’s not here.  A washer and dryer will show up someday.  My kitchen cabinet doors won’t be missing forever.  All my stuff is under one roof.  DH has in processed even if he isn’t officially assigned to a unit quite yet.  My moving in and adjusting to a new location ball has more than officially begun rolling.  It’s coasting nicely down the hill on its own power at this point.  But I’m feeling like that might be part of the problem.  It’s out of my hands at this point.  Life is moving forward at a brisk pace, but I’m still feeling unsettled and disjointed.  I’m not keeping up.

There are so many little things cluttering up my to do list that I’m feeling overwhelmed at the jumbled mess it’s become.  I really need to sweep and mop all the floors.  The repair guys and movers tracked in so much dirt over the first few days.  My back porch was missing a screen until a few days ago so the leaves and dust piles have taken over.  I want to give it a cursory mopping before the dog gets here and tracks it back into the house.  My kitchen counters have become a catch-all for everything but food and cooking items.  It’s bugging the heck out of me.  I need stamps for Christmas cards.  I need to run to the laundromat one afternoon.  All these things aren’t big.  I just haven’t gotten to them.  It’s the fact that they’re still on the list that’s making me upset.  I don’t want to forget them.  I’m afraid that in the mix of so many bigger things that those are going to fall through the cracks.

The big things.  Ugh, the big things.  I don’t even want to look at the big things right now.

And then there’s another list entirely of things I want to do.  I want to get a library card.  I haven’t even visited the library here on post, and I was thinking of joining the book club once DH is gone.  He never wants to talk about what I’m reading anyway, and I might meet some nice people.  I want to subscribe to Netflix because I don’t think there’s a place to rent movies on post.  I want to buy a rug for the hallway.  I want to make it down to the riverfront and check it out.  I have two volunteer opportunities that look interesting that I want to investigate and get started with.  My cross stitching has been woefully neglected, as has my pleasure reading.  I don’t want to do any of my fun stuff though until my chores are finished.  It’s making me frantic that I might forget about something I want to do while I’m waiting to have time.

This manifested itself the other night.  I flipped out and had a wee bit of a panic problem because it was raining out.  I was so worried that something bad was going to happen.  I just knew that I was going to wake up and the basement was going to be flooded or that the roof would have leaked while I was sleeping.  This is my first big place.  It’s a lot of responsibility even though the post housing people take care of a lot of the maintenance.  I couldn’t sleep knowing that if I did no one would be watching for anything bad that could come along.  Those scared thoughts automatically spiraled down to bigger ones.  Am I always going to freak when it rains?  If I’m scared of the rain, how am I going to handle real issues that come up while I’m alone for a year?  It was a miserable night.

Since I haven’t made it to therapy yet (another thing on the list of undone chores), I’m not going to vent and list out my problems without suggesting a solution.  No one else is going to help me formulate a plan, so I have to proactive.  I’m getting overwhelmed, anxious, and scared by the amount of things I both need and want to do.  Many of those things I am unduly wanting done before my self-imposed deadline of Christmas.  My parents neither expect nor care if many of those things, like a hallway rug, are in place before they arrive.  I can let some of those things fall to another list that can wait.  I need to get up and actually DO some of those things on the list.  Crossing some things off will lessen the pressure that I’m feeling.  I need to chill.  Christmas is three weeks away.  My Christmas shopping is practically done, most things are ordered and will be delivered, and without a unit DH has plenty of time to help with the running around.  Prioritize.  Calm down.  Implement.

New Home

I’m sitting here waiting for the fridge repair guy to show up at my MIL’s, so I figured I had time to finish some of those posts that I had waiting on me.

The PCS has been sucking my time away from me, but DH and I are busy but happy right now. The drive to our new duty station was uneventful. We walked in and got a house the very next day, and two days later our household goods arrived. We’ve been so lucky that the Army machine has cooperated so far!

I’m totally in love with out new home. It was built in the mid-1930s, so as a history nut I’m swooning over the old charm that our house has. DH…not so much. The hot and humid climate we’re in encourages bugs and mold even in the winter, both of which creep him out. I’ve been designated the official bug slaughterer. The closets are interesting at best, but the kitchen and bathrooms are new. We have a screened-in porch on the back with a little yard. It has hardwood floors everywhere with a gorgeous staircase. I’ll try and post pictures of the inside sometime. Right now I don’t know where my camera is, so it’ll have to wait. Maybe around the holidays some will sneak out. Granted I came from the tiniest one bedroom apartment and a bedroom in my parents’ house, but this house is perfect. I can’t wait to start hanging curtains and getting real non-college furniture to fill it up.

So far I’ve gotten my kitchen mostly put together. All my dishes have been washed and put away, although my counters aren’t even close to being useable yet. Our clothes did not make it out of boxes before we left to visit family. I think they’ve multiplied while in storage. Somehow DH and I made due with one decent-sized closet and one dresser in the apartment, but I don’t know how separate closets and the same dresser are going to work now. After making a suitcase work for so long, do I even need that many shirts? Most everything else is out of boxes but not necessarily put anywhere. We are missing two very vital pieces to our futon…the only main piece of furniture in our living room. You always lose something I guess.

Before we left for the family visit, I got the washer and dryer ordered. They only deliver to the post on certain days so I have to wait until the 17th to get them. Ugh. I got permission from the housing people to put in a fence for the dog that will be joining us at Christmas. I also put in a work order for the porch light that I yanked off the side of the house trying to change the light bulb. Oops.

I picked up a catalog for curtains…my grammy’s Christmas gift to me. I’ve been perusing it when I have the time. I’m thinking pale green for the living/dining room. I’m a freak for anything blue, so it may be the only non-blue room in the house. Before my family shows up for Christmas, I have to get some kind of furniture to eat and sit on downstairs and a guest bed upstairs. The fence has to go in and a doggie door installed on the porch. The mountain of clothes has to be put away too, but that’s just a personal goal.

I don’t think we realized how much it was feeling like home already until we left. We’re both missing our mostly empty house so much. DH is talking about heading back on Monday. He has to show up and report for duty, so our month of sleeping in, running errands, and working on the house has to come to an end. It went by so fast!

Status: T Minus…Go Time!!

It’s down to the holy-cow-I’m-about-to-lose-it time. DH will be here any time, and the driving, unpacking, and ACTUALLY MOVING will commence. I am about to lose it, but not all in a bad way. There’s a lot to do, and I’m more afraid I’m going to forget something that has to get done once we’re there. I’m also just super, super excited that I’m going to get DH back, even if it’s for a short time. Squeezing, cuddling, smooching, and giggling will all occur. (You have been warned.) I’m thrilled that I’m going to get a house that’s all my own. I can’t wait to get to know my new city and learn the layout of the commissary and finally get back into the workforce. I’ve done it. A whole year of being displaced and waiting is finally over.

That being said, I have to get my bum in gear. No packing has occurred. None. I haven’t even washed my clothes. I have collected all the important paperwork and made an important stuff folder. Any PCSing spouse will tell you that the important stuff folder is their ticket anywhere. Lose it and you might as well give up. Nothing will keep me from getting a house in a few days. This folder will be glued to me at all times.

Thrown into the mix is this Super Rad’s deployment is ending, and he’ll be back stateside in the next few weeks. I made my hotel reservations for a chunk of time since I don’t know the exact day he’ll be here. Hopefully DH and I’ll be able to make it. We have no idea how this PCS is going to go, so it all depends on what we find when we get there.

I’m so incredibly happy that my brother will be home finally. It’s been a bit difficult too because DH is probably deploying shortly. That gripping fear is ending for my parents, but for me it’s really not. It makes me feel so alone in this process. A spouse is different than a sibling or a child. My mom has been trying to prep me for being down there, like her mentioning the aloneness now is going to help me from losing ground and returning to that weirdo who never leaves their home. Honestly, I can’t stand her trying to help. She didn’t even know about all the bad stuff when it was going on, and now she’s talking like she has expert knowledge on what happened. Ugh. I’d rather be alone than be surrounded by people who in trying to be nice actually make it worse.

I went to look at curtains tonight! I know I don’t even have windows yet, but I am so freaking excited to be getting a house!! Target has a really nice selection. I was thinking green and maybe brown for the living room, but they have gorgeous plum curtains. I could be persuaded. I have zero purple things, but I have a odd mixture of dorm furniture for a one room apartment so my things aren’t finding a good place in my daydreams of a beautifully decorated new home.

Which brings me to my next worry—moolah. I don’t know how we’re going to afford all the stuff that we have to get. DH thinks we need a new car. My curtains are going to get place way, way on the back burner. I’ve made tentative plans to have my family down to my new house for Christmas this year, and I want so badly for my house to look like it’s somewhat put together. I know they don’t care, but I do. First things first I guess.

I’ve been applying for a few jobs too. Some I’d love to get and others that I could tolerate because the salary is decent. No bites yet, but I’m not discouraged. I’ve got lots to do, and not having to worry about starting work the first week I’m there is making it a tad easier. Not helping with money worries, but oh well. I’ll get there eventually. I think some people are turned off because my address is not a local one. I don’t blame them for not wanting to hire someone so far away, especially for just a normal job. Once I get a local address hopefully my resumes won’t look so scary.

Did I mention we’re thinking about driving back to DH’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving? Yeah, let’s just squeeze that into the mix! But I’ve got stuff in their garage that I want, so I’m not complaining. ALL my stuff may potentially be under one roof, MINE, within the month. Don’t want to jinx it quite yet, but oh my gosh I could cry.

Sigh, this is going to be one heck of a roller coaster, but I can’t wait.

Status: T Minus Single Digits

I think every soldier or their family has muttered at some point, “Ugh…civilians.”  And it’s not that we dislike them.  I myself am one.  But for working on a military installation only for soldiers and their families, they can at times be really irritating.  It’s the curtness.  The you’re-wasting-my-time attitude.  The apparent lack of understanding for how the military works–when they are there solely to help military personnel.  Can I just get a straight answer to my question please?

Since I am down to single digits, I was finishing up all my calls and preparations for PCS things I started over a month ago.  Yes, they’ve taken that long.  We finally know what day exactly we’re getting to the new base, so I called the temporary living facility (TLF) to make reservations until we get our house.  Not only did the lady on the phone act completely bored with my questions, she told me they were unavailable, and I needed to fill out some mumble-mumble form that I didn’t catch.  Of course I do.  When I asked if there weren’t rooms available for the entire time or just part of the time I got a big pause and a repeat of “you need some mumble-mumble form.”  Since the lady sounded exasperated, I kindly hung up.  So now after a 14 hour drive, I get to look forward to filling out still unknown forms when I get there late at night only to be redirected to another hotel off base.

Next I called storage.  I submitted my extension for storage form a month in advance like the nice (truly) man told me to do back in July.  I called to check on it two weeks later to find out that it had been denied.  They didn’t want to pay.  Well, I don’t want to be without my household goods, but I don’t have a choice in the matter.  I got the form resubmitted and the nice guy told me he’d call me.  He didn’t call.  Do they ever call?  I called him–everyday for two weeks.  Either no one answered the phone or no one could find my file because the nice man was gone.  Sigh.  My storage expired.  I finally got ahold of the nice man today.  After tracking down my file again, he said my storage had been redenied.  Apparently the orders that I submitted with my storage extension form were too small to read.  Silence.  They’re military orders.  They all look the same.  I have no control how they are given to me, what they say, or when I get them.  Wouldn’t civilians who work with such orders everyday know this?  The nice man walked my re-resubmitted extension form up for re-reapproval.  He called me back.  I got until January.  This man should be knighted.

My last call was to housing.  I called months ago to check on the status of a waiting list.  I was told there was a short one, about a week long, and that I should call back about a week before arriving to check.  On my call today, I could get from no one a definitive status of the waiting list.  Housing on base goes by mostly rank, marital status, and number of kids, so there may be a wait list for some ranks and not for others.  I was told they have some keys (what ranks was still kept classified), but that I should fill out an application.  That way I could be called if housing wasn’t available when I show up.  I don’t want to be called.  I want a house, and if I have to wait for one, I want to make that wait as short as possible.  Sigh.  I hung up with an appointment to see a very perky lady once I get down there.  Maybe then the secrets of the wait list will be revealed.

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