Friday, August 26, 2011

How Clean Can a Van Be?

As I type, we are waiting to have our van inspected. We have poured blood (I can't tell you how many scrapes, cuts, etc we both have), sweat, and tears over this thing. When we dropped the van off to ship here, my cousin went with us to bring us back to her home and eventually the airport. She looked in it, and said something like,"This isn't clean?!" We had no issues shipping the van here and passed with flying colors.

The day before yesterday, my hubby went into major OCD mood and we both spent about 4 hours in detailing the van. Everything looked great, but we were in for a shock. We brought the van over and just had them look at it to see if it would pass. The answer was no. They pulled back the rubber to see if there was dirt and dust, any tiny speck of anything in the carpet was flagged, and there was a lot more. The 5 hours we had put into the van hadn't really done much.

We came home yesterday and spent another 3 or 4 hours cleaning. We pulled back anything that could be, and we scrubbed like mad. We have been cleaning so much our battery died just from the dome lights. That's a lot of work!!

Now we sit waiting for someone to come look at the van and make sure it is zombie virus free. I've got my fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that they pass it because if they say no I really think I'm going to cry.

****Time elapsed****

So it is now bedtime, and I'm happy to report that we did in fact pass our inspection. It did take a long time, but it's over. We are now without a van or car of any type.

Thank goodness all that is over. Now we have to hustle to get our apartment ready for our check out. That's the last hurdle.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good Day Planned, Kids in Mood

Ever had one of those days? Yeah, my kids did today. Both of them. Thank goodness it wasn't at the same time. I've worried with all the craziness in our lives, that a fun day was in order. Oddly enough it really hasn't been hot over here this summer. Usually it only takes mid 80s to get us to the pool, and we have only been a handful of times. With the weather being crazy hot, we opted for the pool today.

Everything at the pool was fine. Both kids were having fun going down the curly slide (their name, not mine). They were even wanting to spend their day swimming in the "big" pool. Unless you have seen this place, it is hard to understand. There is a lot of grass and a few trees to relax. Over at the back of the complex, are two baby pools. One only comes up to just over my ankle and it slopes to that depth. The other is a bit deeper with a little slide. There is also a water trench for the kids to play in. Usually, this is where we spend 90% of our time.

There is another area to the complex. You have a lap pool, a deeper pool (probably around 4 feet to 5 feet), an area with diving platforms, the slide, and then another pool that maybe goes to 3 or 4 feet deep. This was where the kids wanted to play. It's nice for us because we can actually get in the water for real.

About lunch time, Samuel freaked out and didn't want to eat. About 20 mins of him having a cow, he ate his lunch and all was okay with the world again. We even got both kids to go down the fast slide, and Genevieve was going down it alone.

We decided to head out a little early so we could go eat at Pizza Hut (expensive in Euro, but worth it to us). After we ate, we stopped by the store, and it was Genevieve's turn for the meltdown. What triggered this? A Dora hairbrush. I finally calm her down to get her out to the van. One stop later, and it's all undone again. Who was at the store? The ice cream truck. When I told her no a few times, she started to cry again. By this time, I had just had my fill. So I did what any loving mom would do...I laughed.

This brought on a whole new wave of tears and the phrase, "You broke my heart so bad. It won't ever be happy ever, ever again." When this was said, I couldn't help but laugh again. She did finally calm down, but it took a lot of work.

Tomorrow is back to the pains of moving. We have to turn the van in to ship this week. They are really picky, so it has been crazy. We've already washed it twice, and it's nowhere near finished. It will all be over soon though. I just keep telling myself that.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nothing Like a Dead Animal in the Morning

I've decided that living out of a suitcase really blows. What's worse is all four of us living in suitcases and with the bare minimum. The good news with only having four plates, cups, etc is there is no reason to run the dishwasher. It's really easy just to hand wash and be done. I haven't done a luggage count, but I know it's got to be at least 8 bags, if not more.

So this morning started out really interesting. My hubby went out to take care of some business. Just a few seconds after he left, he called. All that was said was, "Come out here now." I was expecting to find the car in nonworking order. I was surprised to see a hedgehog dead right by his car. I haven't ever seen one of those over here.

The second weird thing was this afternoon. We are working on the van trying to get it ready to ship. When hubby popped the hood to put on the engine cleaner, I found what at first seemed to be a French fry. Now I wouldn't think twice if one of these turned up IN my van. Upon further inspection, it was not a fry, but it was a rib bone. How'd that get there?!

All in all it was just an odd day. I just can't wait to find my new normal.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trucks and Boxes (and an Award too)

So this is our life for at least the next day or two. The packers came this morning and have been at it full force. I really couldn't have asked for

better movers. They really have worked hard and have got most of our stuff put into boxes. It's amazing how when you move there is a period of time where it takes to really feel like you are moved in and home. For us it is alway at least a month or two after we get our stuff. We have to have a home for everything, and I have to know where it is without thinking.

Today I realized how quickly all that "at home" feeling can be packed up. By lunch time the movers had both kids rooms packed, most of our bedroom, and about 80% of the living room. If it were up to me, that would have taken a week (or more if I'm really being honest).

Yesterday was busy not only getting ready for our move, but also because my hubby got his award. It was a great day, and it is always great to hear that all his hard work didn't go unnoticed. To see his co-workers there wishing him luck with his next step was just great for me to see. It made the past two years with all the late nights and time away somehow okay. To know that the people who need him really did appreciate him was great to see.

So here goes a different busy for moving. Somehow today it officially feels real with all the boxes and stuff gone. I'm sure we will stay busy and have a lot to do. I'm hoping for a time out this weekend for a trip to the pool. I think it's well deserved. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

220V Craziness Around Here

So I thought I was doing pretty good at keeping the amount of 220V stuff to a low number. I knew we would only be here 3 years, and at the end most of the 200V stuff cannot return to the US with you. Well, it can, but it just won't work right, nor would I want to try.

As I have been trying to get ready for this next week, I have run into a lot of these items. One might think having the military move you is easy because you "don't do the work." However, I have argued with my Mom many times that I feel it is not easier. When you move yourself, you can do it over several weeks and go through everything while packing. You can decide that maybe you just don't want that any more. You also might find treasures you had been missing. This just doesn't happen with our moves. It is all done in two days. The packers show up bright and early. They enter a room, and they pack EVERYTHING no matter what. I know of people who have had trash cans with trash still in them, ash trays with ash and buttsnin them, etc. If it is there, it will be packed.

This type of situation makes for a lot of pre packing work. Everything has to be ready to go and separate so they won't pack whatever it is up. While unpacking my kitchen here in Germany, I found our garage door opener from our home in Oklahoma. Oops! I sent it back to them.

Anyway, tomorrow is our busy day. We have to get through both kid's rooms and get rid of toys, clothes, etc they don't need. Then I need to pack their bags so we are ready to go. I think my stuff will be a little easier, but I know my jewelry is going to be a nightmare.

I'll report back tomorrow and let you know how much actually happened. :p

Saturday, August 13, 2011

No Good Very Bad Day

Ever have one of those days were you wish you could just go back to bed and not get up? That's me today. It's was a hard night last night and a hard day today. I think it was a great candidate for a go back to bed and wake me when it's over.

Some of the stuff I'm not going to talk about on here. I'm just really discouraged right now. I felt like we were moving forward with this move, and now, I feel like we are right back at the start.

Not only do we have that, but Genevieve is also a mess. She is very emotional right now about just about everything. Today she was in tears about things as big as leaving friends behind and as small as her seat belt making her "hot."

I remember what it was like to have to move when I was a kid. I am very aware of how upside down and sideways her life is right now. It's a hard balancing act trying to keep her calm and just giving in because it is easy. I do know first hand what it is like to move as a child, and so I try to remember what I felt all those years ago.

I also have to deal with my own grief with the move. I have to deal with leaving all my friends behind. As I'm gearing up to fly out, they are all getting ready to start up my (and their) usual activities for the year. I got the evite for MOPS, and I was sad to have to respond no. I know that other activities are going to be starting up as well.

I know when we finally get there, get settled, and feel comfortable, it will all be okay. It's just getting there that's hard. So if you have any thoughts or prayers to spare, we could sure use a few.

Location:No Good Very Bad Day

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zombie Virus Free!!

It's been a couple days since my last blog. It's been a busy few days in our home. We are in full blown Operation Move the Family Across the Ocean. It's been appointment after appointment. The other day we had the movers here walking through our place to see what all we had that needed to be packed. Today we were visited by customs.

I usually don't worry to much about all these inspections, but I have heard that the inspections over here are a bit more on the difficult side to pass. If you are in the military or have talked with me about moving, you understand how picky they are about things. Silly things like when you move out, you need to make sure and clean out the light fixtures and my all time favorite is that you must clean the trash can...the outdoor trash can.

As I was saying, the customs guy came today to make sure everything was clean. They were mainly looking at outdoor things and tools. He came to the door, and the conversation was kind of funny.

Hello, I'm here to do your customs inspection.

Good morning. I'll get the keys.

Well, I need to look to see if you have any planters or potted plants, then look at your patio furniture.

We don't have any of that.

I still need to look on your patio.

We don't have one.

Well, I'm going to have to look to see if there is anything on it.

We don't have a patio at all. Nothing is back there.

Oh, okay. Let's go downstairs then.

I thought this was really funny. Like a balcony all of a sudden appeared. The inspection lasted all of 5 or 10 mins though. He said everything was great, and we were zombie virus free. :)

Things are coming together. We are one step closer to having a place to live when we get there. I have also gotten a lot of the information for Genevieve to start school. We just need to have our stuff picked up and get things headed that way. While it has been busy and will continue to be busy, things are happening, and we will be home before I know it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Potter, Vampires, and Games...Oh My!

Every now and then I find books worth reading and that I enjoy. I have had many over the years, but I just don't read as much as I'd like. I have a horrible time with reading comprehension. I can see the words. I can say the words. Somewhere between the eyes and the brain it scrambles though, and it makes it hard to retain the information in the book. Because of this, the books that people blaze through usually take me forever. If they are books that are what I call wordy, they can really do a number on me.

When I finally got an iPod, I discovered the world of audiobooks. I love them. When I take having to look at the words out of the equation, I retain the information a lot better. So, I have really been enjoying our library's huge audiobook selection here.

I usually come about popular book series late. I didn't want to read Harry Potter when it first came out. I wasn't ready for a book (again the whole I don't always like to read). It was about the time the first movie was due to come out. My sister had mailed me her paperback copy of the first book. I was living in Chicago at the time, and I had a long commute day. I was due to spend about 3 hours on busses and trains. I told myself if in those 3 hours I wasn't into the book, I'd just put it back in my boxes and be done with it. By the end of the day I was hooked. I read all 4 of the books that were out while I was living there. As each of the others came out, I would get them and read them. Most of my friends would get frustrated with me though because as the books got longer, so did the amount of time it took me to finish it.

I don't exactly know when the Twilight series came out, but I know that I missed that boat totally because all of the books (except Bree Tanner) were out when I started reading them. Again, I came to that series out of desperation. I had just moved to Germany, and I was suffering from the lack of TV channels. I read all those books in no time, and I have got several other friends to read them as well.

I guess that was a long way to go about telling you. All that I've finished another series. Well I did about a month ago. I had only heard of The Hunger Games in passing. People around me had been talking about them, and like normal, I resist. My best friend Lacy asked if I wanted to read them with her. I told her okay, and I set out to find them on audiobook.

I failed her because she finished them in about two seconds in April. I was finishing up a series still, and I didn't get started at the same time as she did. However, I did want to listen to them so I set off on the task to do so.

I will try and keep this as spoiler free as possible, but I am going to talk about the books now. I was taken in by these books right from the start. If you haven't read the books, the short version is that every year 2 children (ages 12 to 18) are chosen from each of the 12 districts to participate in the Hunger Games. These children are taken to the Capitol and they are then put into an arena. There is only one rule, you have to be the last one living to win. You must kill or be killed. The whole thing is televised for all of Panem to watch on TV.

What really has struck me about these books is the common lines in our world today. "Reality" TV is huge! I can't say anything because I'm an avid Big Brother fan. I wait for summer to watch 12 strangers get locked in a house. I tune in 3 times a week to see who wins power, and who is voted out of the house. I watch to see who has to eat slop all week long. While reading the books I wondered how could the world get to a place where they would watch children kill each other, but seeing how into this type of TV we are into, I don't think that it is hard to see how maybe if something were set into motion how it could happen.

The three book series takes you through horror after horror. There are twists, turns, and surprises around every page. The stories between the leading lady and her friends, those who are inspired by her, and those who want her dead are amazing. It's a wild ride that had me in tears more than once. And while I feel it has a "happy" ending, it isn't the same as most books I've read recently.

So, if you haven't read these books yet, I suggest you pick them up. They will take you on a wild and emotional ride. I don't think you will be sorry you picked them up!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Oh the Money You Save

Today was a busy day spent on the phone. I spent time calling the many departments of USAA (our bank) to see what all needs to happen before we move. I needed to also get some other information.

I remember when we moved here. I called to change our car insurance, and it was a good thing I was sitting down. Until today I didn't remember the price difference, but I knew it was shocking.

Like I said, today I called to check about a few things. We are going to be selling our hoopty, and I remembered that there was actually a storage rate. The man on the phone was very helpful letting me know what info I needed when calling after the sale, and when to call. He also made my day telling me that when we ship our van our bill will go down to 25.50 a month! While on the phone he said he would give me a quote for our new location. It looks like we will be saving about 80 dollars a month just in car insurance. We will save 136 dollars a year on our renters insurance. That is almost 1100 dollars a year!! It's not a ton of cash, but it's a nice bit back in our pocket.

There are many other things we pay for that we have gotten use to. I know that in Kansas, gas is much cheaper than the just about 4 dollars a gallon we pay here. I also know that the exchange rate isn't great, and I pay for Genevieve's school in Euro. She will start public school when we get back so that's a bit right there too.

I do know that we will have to adjust to life back in the US. I won't have to get use to turning right on red again, it being cheaper to eat out, and the parking spots being big enough for my van. Things that I will have to worry about...speed limits!

Anyway, just rambling about nothing really tonight :) Hope you are all having a great one!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

iTunes is for the Devil!!

So I said last night in my blog there are many reasons for me to get back into it. Mainly I think that blogging is a type of therapy for me, and right now I can use it. There are a lot of stressors in my life, and maybe with this new outlet, it will help me to just let go, relax, or whatever the situation calls for.

Today I'm bombarded with the millions of things on my calendar. It only came to be that way by chance. Last night my hubby was trying to sync his iPod. We have been trying to downsize our computer/tech stuff and this goes for laptops. He recently moved his iTunes to the computer we are consolidating to. I did this awhile ago when we bought the computer. I had zero problems with the change over.

Anyway, he has synced twice now and each time it has erased most of his apps and taken off music and added some. It just messes everything up. Again, I have no issues with my account for either my iPod or iPad. Watch though now that I say that, I'll do something wrong next sync. This removing/adding/whatever really gets to him. He says he hates his iPod (my old one) yet I think it's a front. I guess the software is just made for those of us who just don't question and just plug in and let it go. With him having a lot more knowledge of how things work, I think he over thinks it.

All this to get back to my original comment about being overwhelmed. In his frustration he said something about erasing my iPad and clearing all the data. I realized then that all those dates in my planner would be lost. Not only are there so many that I can't recall even half of them, I just don't even want to deal with that. I wonder if I have made a mistake not keeping a paper copy of a planner as well. However, I don't think I could go back to paper. This is just so much easier for me.

As I might, or might not have said last night, my saving grace is that come a month from now we will be back in the US, and the hard part will just about be over. I am really praying hard that the business class doesn't fill up because we are on the upgrade waiting list. With all of hubby's travels, he had enough miles for us all to fly home in business. If we do, it will make all those trips home alone with the kids well worth it.

If you came back to my blog, thank you! If no one did, I often talk to myself anyway, so it's nothing new.