I never thought I’d say this: I miss the commissary

Today was my first day grocery shopping some place other than the commissary. For the past FOUR YEARS I have made a list, searched online for coupons, and planned out my meals according to what was sold/not sold at the commissary. But with the commissaries closed right now, I had to find another place to shop.

Wal-Mart.

J loves Wal-Mart. I’m not kidding you when I say it is by far his favorite store. I, on the other hand, hate it. And love it. Basically I have a high school relationship with this store.

Obviously I love the pricing. Besides the Dollar Store, which I also frequent, it has the best prices on things out side of groceries. They are cheaper than Target *gasp* and they usually have a McDonald’s inside. Winning.

Obviously I hate it because its always crowded, its gigantic, and they don’t have a million cute things to look at like Target. And no Starbucks. Losing.

But, with the commissaries being closed it was my only choice for grocery shopping. I could have gone to a “regular” grocery store but no matter how many coupons I clip I always spend way too much there. It just wasn’t an option for us. I’m cheap, remember?

I knew I had to brace myself.  I stopped at Starbucks (not inside a Target because then I’d be sucked into the web of I NEED ALL THINGS and never leave) and got a nice iced beverage to hold me over. Snacks for the kid were full of sugar and deliciousness. I was armed with my list, coupons, and general attitude of “this is going to blow.”

Guess what?  I was right.

Duh.

It was so stressful. I didn’t know where anything was, everything was so much more expensive, and I was shaking (mostly because of the coffee, but let’s just say it was stress). I ended up walking out of there with $120 less in my *husband’s* pocket. AND THAT WAS ONLY FOR 4 MEALS. For comparison, I usually spend about $80-$90/week at the commissary so I literally felt like someone stabbed me with a shiv made out of a credit card.

I’ll be honest with you here- a few days ago I was thinking, “Eh, no big deal.” For the past 4 years I have been married to my husband, I’ve thought it was kind of silly that state-side military had “special” grocery stores. I thought that with budget cuts, that should be one of the first things to go. Yes, I shopped there every week but mostly because I’m cheap and I’ll shop anywhere if it will save me a few dolla dolla bills ya’ll.

I guess at the end of the day I still don’t think commissaries are totally necessary. I think we’d all survive shopping at Wal-Mart or other grocery stores. But I do understand for those young couples how beneficial they can be, and now I can see with new perspective how drastic the difference in cost can be if you had to shop out in town.

But I miss it. I miss you, commissary. I miss you so damn much.

 

Advertisements

Homefront United: Atheism in the Military

Heyyyyy ya’ll.

My latest article with Homefront United is up. It is about atheism in the military, and whether non-God fearing chaplains should be allowed to serve our troops. Damn heathens (I kid, I kid).

Check it out, yo and let me know what you think either here or there. Thanks!

Atheism in the Military

Remembering the Day

Please take a few minutes today to remember all of those who lost their lives today, and our first responders. Today is a day no American will ever forget and that our children will learn about in history class. Honor those who fell, but also remember how it brought our country back together.

Guest Blog Spot: Career Transition in the Military

Guise, I’m like super popular apparently. Because someone actually emailed ME and asked if they could guest blog on MY blog. What?! That’s insane. And totally flattering *hair flip*

I’m super excited to have my first guest blog spot. Emma Banks is a “civilian,” aka not a military spouse or dependent, but she has a special place in her heart for service members, especially those looking for work after service. If you are interested in guest blogging, check out my contact page or shoot me a quick email.

Now, drum roll please……………………..dun dun na DUN!

———————————-

Tips for a Successful Post-Military Job Search

Regardless of how much time you have spent in the military, a transition into the private sector will come with some challenges. Often times, the myths and rumors military personnel have heard about finding non-military employment can cause unnecessary anxiety that only makes the transition more difficult. It might help to take a look at some common myths and learn the truth about what awaits you.

Image courtesy of Google

Myth: The types of jobs available to you as a military veteran are limited and difficult to find.

Truth: Within the military, there are hundreds of different job descriptions, pay grades and skill sets. This is the same in the private sector job market. Programs such as 100,000 Jobs Mission can help you throughout this transition. 100,000 Jobs Mission, composed of dozens of today’s top companies, provides a list of open positions available for veterans as well as information about many of today’s best areas of employment.

Myth: Employers simply don’t care about job seekers.

Truth: Actually, finding the right talent to fill open positions is vitally important to the health and future of any company. Today’s employers understand the importance of attracting top talent, and many of them have taken steps to do so. Job seekers can now use electronic mobile recruiting platforms, like JIBE, to upload resumes and other pertinent documents directly to companies that are hiring. Additionally, many companies now offer perks such as work-from-home options in order to attract quality workers.

Myth: Because you took orders in the military, you shouldn’t try to start your own business.

Truth: If you have the drive and want to start a business, go for it! Military personnel gain a unique set of skills during their time in service, all of which can be extremely useful if you choose to start your own company. If you’re looking for a bit of guidance and support, the U.S. Small Business Administration launched a program that can help you achieve your dream of entrepreneurship.

Myth: A good education and positive work experience will guarantee you a job.

Truth: You certainly shouldn’t minimize the importance of a quality education and relevant work experience either on your resume or in an interview, but those two things alone won’t get you a job. Most employers make their final hiring decisions based on less tangible qualities such as personality and their assessment of how you will fit into the company’s business culture. Don’t get lazy. Be sure to put your best foot forward when job searching even if you have all the right ingredients on your resume.

My Photo

Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world!

Check out Emma’s blog at http://smileasithappens.blogspot.com/

Rule #1 of Homeownership: Don’t let the toddler near the paint.

In case you weren’t aware, trying to paint a room with a toddler around is not a good idea. But little old me thought, “Psh, no big deal. I’m just spot painting. I’ll be done in two seconds. Here, I’ll put the paint on top of her dresser and she’ll never reach it.”

Then I hear, “AHHHHH, MOMMMMMMYYYYY! PAINT!”

Sure enough, half a pint of purple paint was all over E and our carpet. Thankfully, most of it landed on the carpet and not all over her face. Poor thing was so upset that she made a mess, and for three days after the “Paint Incident of 2013,” she was still saying, “Paint. Messy.” Yes, E, very messy.

So I bet you’re wondering what we did to clean it up. Well, first we had to soak up all the paint. That was fun. If you’ve ever washed a paint roller you know how much paint can soak into fabric like that. Then we used hot water and blue Dawn soap (that sh*t cleans everything) to get up the majority of the paint. THEN we used hot water and Oxi-Clean. The stain was still visible. Oxi-Clean is supposed to get the tough stains out! WTH.

Paint 2After all the paint was initially cleaned up. This picture is blurry so its alot worse than it looks!

Then we decided we needed to try something else, so off to Wal-Mart J went. He came back with this product called Krud Kutter, and guess what? IT WORKED. Case in point below:

Paint 1At least its more…pink now. Now that its totally dry you barely see it. I hope.

Or maybe my eyes are just shielding me from what I don’t want to see. 

Ok, so its still not perfect but it’s a hell of a lot better than when we started. I’m still going to be putting some sort of accent rug in front of her dresser to cover it, and one day we will have to replace the carpet but as the saying goes- fake it ‘til you make it.

We have been slowly getting more and more of the house done. Most of the major projects are done (like the driveway…finally!!!) and now we are just getting some odds and ends to help make the house more “ours.” I have some great ideas for our laundry room and guest bathroom, but some of those things will have to wait for a little bit.

063This white edging is all along the entire driveway. J dug every centimeter and placed every piece of black edging along the sides, along with all the white decor rocks. It was a pain in the a** (so he says) but it look amazing. Great job babe!

One of my favorite rooms in the house so far is our mudroom. When we moved in, the space was just one giant walk-in closet. It had a bunch of open shelves and it was super messy looking. I hated it and I knew we had to change it somehow.

031

 Before. Total chaos and mess. Like I need more of that in my life.

I wanted the mudroom to be functional yet really cute to look at when you walked in. It sits right outside our kitchen and goes into the garage, so it’s used a lot since we park in the garage for the most part. Or I do because J’s truck is ginormous.

First I had J take down all the shelves on one wall, and then all the shelves but the top two on the other wall. I decided on a light blue color for the walls because to me it gives a happy, clean feeling when you first walk in. We kept the white lining from the shelves along the entire room for two reasons: 1. We thought it give it a unique, nautical look and 2. We wanted to give new homeowners (if we ever sell) the option to put the shelves back up- they are stored in our basement right now.

037

041

Shelves gone!

 056

Let the painting begin! We first had to sand and touch up with putty any

damage done when taking down the shelves. Blah.

 063

Painting complete!

Once the painting was all done I had to decide how I wanted to organize it. I knew I needed a place to keep my vacuums and cleaning supplies but I didn’t want them just sitting out, so we got a organization cabinet from Lowe’s to keep everything in the room but hidden. I also wanted a place for E’s diapers so I got a two-tier wicker laundry basket from World Market. Obviously, the mudroom also needed a shoe bench, so I got one from Target that had a matching tan pad on the top. E is eventually going to go to school, so I added some hooks to the wall at “kid height” for her backpack and coats.

IMG_5019

IMG_5021

Lowe’s cabinet and World Market wicker basket

 _MG_5140

_MG_5142

_MG_5143

Mudroom complete!

All in all, the project cost about $335. Here is the price breakdown:

  • Lowe’s cabinet: $200
  • World Market laundry basket: $40
  • Target three-tier organization: $15
  • Target shoe bench: $60
  • Paint (Wal-Mart): $20

I seriously love this room. J does too because it was our first “together” project in the house. It took a few days to do the gutting and painting, and then a few more to figure out how I wanted to decorate it and get everything built and organized, but now I’m really happy with it!

In the next couple of weeks we should have our office, dining room, and family room complete. Once all rooms are totally done I will post before and after pictures. Stay tuned for next week’s post about the best places to buy furniture online while getting CASH BACK for each purchase. Seriously. We’ve made almost $200 back!

Also, check out this week’s meal plan. There is a new pasta I tried from a friend that is delish!

PCS = Piece of Cake…and Stuff

Its been about a month and a half since we left our last duty station. THAT’S IT. I feel like it was forever ago, so mayhaps that’s why I feel like packing, moving, organizing, driving across country, and unpacking was so easy. Its like having a baby- after a while you forget how much the pregnancy and the beginning stages of that new little life SUCKED, so then you have another baby and then you’re like, “Oh yea, THIS SUCKS.” So right now I’m thinking PCSing was easy, but I know the next time we PCS I’m going to be cursing like a sailor on the USS PCS Blows.

Given this was my first “real” PCS- where they come and pack up your stuff, move your stuff, and then put it all in the new place- I learned some things. Maybe to those more “seasoned” spouses you’re like, “What a newb…” but that’s ok because maybe the things I learned will help some of the other spouses out there getting ready to move.  Below are listed some things that I found useful as I look back on our PCS experience. These aren’t your typical “watch your movers and record what they damage/lose” but rather things that you kind of find out just from experience.

  • Get to know your movers-  I don’t mean take them out on a date first, but learn their names and talk to them for a few minutes. They will be more careful with your stuff and more likely to help you out when you need it.
  • FEED THEM- I think this is one of the biggest things for anyone who comes to do a long-term (a whole 8 hours or days/weeks project at your house). People get cranky when they’re hungry so offer to get the guys some lunch and have some drinks and snacks ready. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive- Walmart sells 2 liters for a $1 each, and a pack of cookies for $2 from their bakery. Get some pizzas for lunch and you’re all set for both the movers and yourself to eat something during the long day.
  • Organize before they arrive- Get things placed together that you want to go in the same boxes. Talk to the movers and let them know that you piled things specifically to go together. They will be really grateful for any extra help they can get if you’ve already done some of the “packing” for them. And if you’ve talked to them and fed them, chances are they will help you out.
  • Color code for the unpackers- I actually learned this tip from a friend who is getting ready to PCS, and she found it on USMClife.com. Color code your boxes  according to room after the packers have packed but before they load everything onto the truck. Colored tape seems like the best option because its bright and easy to spot. When you and your stuff get to your location, you can let the unpackers know which room is which color. You can even add a little piece of tape to the entryway of each room so they can easily find it. Be sure whoever organizes the house (usually the wife- let’s be honest here) does this because there is nothing more annoying than to find out that your husband told the unpackers to put any “linen” boxes in the downstairs living room and then you have to move everything upstairs after they leave….just sayin’
  • Set apart a room for non-packed items- You usually hear this through the grapevine, but whatever items you are taking with you- whether it be paper work (TAKE YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS INCLUDING BIRTH CERTIFICATES, PASSPORTS, AND ORDERS WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!) or luggage, set it in a closet or emptied room before the movers get there and let them know the room is not to be packed. Even put a little sign up on the door if you can.
  • Pre-package and soaps or liquids- Now, most moving companies will tell you they won’t take any soaps, liquids, etc. BUT I pre-packaged everything I had that was liquid, whether it be cooking oils or shampoo by taping the top shut, wrapping it in bubble wrap, and then putting them in plastic bags, and the movers actually took them that way, probably because they didn’t have to do as much work to pack it. This might not work for you, but its worth a try if its important enough.
  • Hanging clothes don’t travel well- Anything that is hung up in a closet goes into a wardrobe box where it is literally just hung back up on a metal rod in a standing box. What usually happens is that through the travel, all those clothes fall off the hangers and end up on the bottom of the box. So then you have dirty clothes that you have to not only rehang, but also wash first on top of unpacking everything else in the house. To prevent this from happening, place your hanging items in trash bags like the picture below, and when you unpack you will have clean clothes still on the hangers! I did this and it WORKS. All I had to do was grab the bagged clothes, hang them up, and take the bags off. It literally took me 15 minutes to do our whole closet.

Image courtesy of The Wicker House

  • Wrap it up- The worst part of unpacking “loose items” is just that- they end up everywhere inside the box and it takes forever to reorganize. So anything that is loose- like silverware, cooking utensils, and your junk drawer items- pack into Ziploc bags. It will save you a ton of headache on the otherside.
  • Don’t leave a screw lose- If you have particular wall fasteners (like for curtains), screws, picture hangers, etc that belong with certain items, put them in a baggie and tape them to the item they go with. Otherwise you will never EVER find them.

Of course, make sure you do the typical things like video tape or take pictures of all your items to be sure that if anything gets damaged you have proof that they weren’t like that when they were packed. Watch your movers closely and don’t be shy to ask them to do things a certain way- ITS YOUR STUFF.

I have pinned quite a few blog articles on Pinterest that have some other moving and PCS tips, so click on the Pinterest button on the right to follow me and look under the board  titled “MilSpouse” for more moving tricks.

Do you have any PCS/moving tips? If so, leave a comment below! All of us military spouses stick together so help a sista out and give me some more inside scoop.

If you need some tips about traveling with kids in the car, or just in general, check out my board on Pinterest labeled “Traveling. With Kids.” Most of the tips/games are for toddlers because, well, that’s what I have. Plus, the older ones just watch movies so they’re easy and if you have a baby….well, good luck because you are at the mercy of your offspring. If you need some tips on flying with a toddler, click here. Baby? Click here.

Be sure to check out my meal plans from last week and this coming week (it will be up Wednesday!). If you have any recipes you’d like to share, leave a comment on the page or email me at barefootandboots at gmail dot com.

Peace out homeslice.

WE BOUGHT A ZOO!

Ok no, we didn’t buy a zoo. But I think of that movie every time I tell someone we just bought a house. And sometimes it feels like a zoo here. Things are crazy and chaotic, and out of the ONE MONTH we have been here we have spent exactly ONE WHOLE DAY in the house without leaving once to go to some store or run some errand. Oh, and there are animals. Lots of animals. Deer, turtles, beavers, rabbits, snakes, spiders, squirrels, and CICADAS. Those freaking things are so loud that there is a constant humming all day. But you don’t really notice it after awhile so its ok.

IMG_4860 IMG_4861

TURTLE!

In all serious honesty, that’s why I haven’t been here to post at, like, all. I have barely had time to check Facebook. I have missed writing though, so while my husband is busting his tail making a cabinet for me, I am sitting here on my new recliner typing away. Plus, I want to brag about our new house.

IMG_4420

Here’s a little backstory to get you started: We are now living on the East Coast. We live in what some might call “the boonies.” It’s six miles to the closest gas station and/or grocery store, we have a constant buzz of cicadas outside our door, and we have well water, a septic system, and NO INTERNET. That’s right people. Even Verizon was like, “Uh, we can’t get a line out that way so you have to get a mobile hotspot.” Thank God on high for technology because this house may have gone right back up on the market if there was no internet here. Just kidding. No, but seriously.

Anyways, we sit atop 4.4 acres of land, some woods and lots to mow. So we now have a riding lawn mower. And so does everyone else in our neighborhood. In fact, its so country out here that the other day while J and I were refinishing our rocking chairs (kind of country), our neighbor drove by on her John Deere pulling her daughter in a trailer behind it (super country). Yep, boonies. And we love it.

IMG_4756

Of course with a new house comes a learning process for all things inside of it and outside of it. We had to figure out phones and internet because nothing works out here (5+ hours at Verizon and we finally got it worked out). We had to learn how our water system worked and how to get that gross egg smell out of our well-water. We had to learn where the best place to put things was going to be and what our new routine was going to be. But most importantly, we had to decorate.

Ok, so maybe that is what is most important to me. And perhaps you’re sitting there thinking, “Oh wow, decorating a new house must be so much fun! Lucky her!” WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong. If you’re a MilSpouse and you’re thinking that then you’ve been at your current duty station way too long, so pull out your moving boxes sister. Heck, on the drive across country I was thinking about how much fun it would be shopping and picking out new stuff. But its not. Its stressful and frustrating and flipping expensive. Those first days after our stuff was all unpacked I was so worked up about where to put what, what colors to use in each room, and how much it would all cost that it was keeping me up at night. Its all I thought about and I wanted to get it done NOW. 

All in all, the first few weeks sucked. More for J than for me because the grass was about waist high and he had to cut it all. It literally took him a week straight just to get the yard somewhat maintained. He got bitten by so many bugs his whole body looked swollen. It was hot, sticky, humid, and gross out. He did this all while having deck builders at our house for two weeks and with us running around from every store in the state trying to find the items we needed whether it be for the yard or for the inside of the house.

We are finally getting to the point in our house-setting-up process where its starting to slow down. We have completed most of our big outdoor projects (see pics below! Yay!) and we have decided on how we are going to decorate the inside of the house. We are just about done with our first major indoor project- the mudroom- and we have started planning out the ones which are the laundry room and the office.

I have put some pictures below of our before and after of the projects we have done so far. I will be posting pictures as the projects come along. For now, here are some pictures from our road-trip as promised.

Road-Trip Across Country. Sans Baby = Awesome

DSCF1981

Moving day. So sad.

DSCF2011 DSCF2016

This is really how E got across country. 

DSCF2050 DSCF2029

First stop- Utah! Maybe. I don’t remember.

IMG_4695 IMG_4691 IMG_4674 IMG_4697

Colorado was flipping cold. Good thing I was prepared with the proper footwear. P looks pretty regal though.

IMG_4725

Visiting family in Oklahoma!

That’s the last of the roadtrip pictures because after Oklahoma we just booked it back to my parents house to get back to E. Not that it mattered to her; she didn’t even know we were gone!

HOUSE PROJECTS

Deck Project

IMG_4772

Before. No deck. Boo.

014 015

New deck! YAY!

Front Yard Maintanence

IMG_4728

Notice the overgrown grass, huge leaning trees, and unkempt bushes. Gross!

IMG_4765

Trees gone, grass cut, hedges trimmed!

Soon to come- our new driveway and indoor projects! That is if my child ever takes a decent nap. I will also be talking about tips for moving out, moving in, and getting DIY projects done with kid(s) in tow.

PS- Be sure to check out my weekly meal plans….they’re back! WITH NOTES. You’re welcome.

Good news: no one died on our cross-country trip.

I’m not going to lie- I thought about it. Especially in Utah where there was no Starbucks at ALL because there was like a million miles between exits. But we survived. And so did the surrounding motorists. Winning.

This was not the first time J and I drove across country. Ohhhh no, this was the third. AND WE ARE STILL MARRIED. Amazing, I know. The first time we drove across, we took a northern route from Virginia to Washington and then down to Southern California. The second time, we took the typical I-40 route through the south. This time, however, we went straight across the middle through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma (to visit family), and then back on to the I-4o through Arkansas, Tennessee, and then Virginia.

It took us about 4.5 days to drive the whole thing. We stopped in Oklahoma for a day and a half, too. You’re probably thinking we are crazy for driving that fast through but we had sent E with my mom so we wanted to get back to her as fast as possible. Which ended up being pointless because I don’t think she even noticed we were gone. Perfect.

I did, however, do what any famous and awesome blogger would do in a situation such as this- I thought of a bunch of awesome tips for a road trip that probably a thousand other people thought of but I’m going to undoubtedly think I’m the only person EVER to think of these things.

I know all you really care about are pictures from our trip. But I haven’t uploaded onto the computer yet because I’m still stuck in between paper and boxes and more paper and more boxes. I’ll put them up soon…ish. If you still care, read the tips below.

  • Have kids younger than 5? Don’t bring them. I know this isn’t an option for everyone but if you can work it out, send your offspring to the relative closest to your destination. Maybe I sound cold-hearted but you will thank me during those long stretches of no-mans-land when your three year old just wants OUTTTTTT for five minutes but there is no exit for 52 miles. We sent E with my mom and I bawled for the first hour after we dropped them off at the airport and I was super anxious the entire trip, but J and I got to actually have some what comfortable trip (ie, sleep) and spend some time together not talking about the baby. It was like a long date night. Perfect.
  • Don’t overpack the car. I know you’re probably like…duh…but its easy to say, “Well, let’s just bring this. And this. And this would be good too.” But if you cover every square inch besides your seats with stuff, you’re more likely to kill each other because you will be uncomfortable as all get out. Leave spaces for your feet, make sure you can recline (another reason to ditch the kids), and try and keep the important things like food and phones in arms reach.
  • Have a dog? Bring soft treats and a yoga mat. If your dog is anything like ours, he/she/they won’t each much during the trip because the are nervous. They are like kids though, so they always seem to be able to munch down a treat or twelve. My suggestion is to bring soft ones, like these, because they don’t put a million tiny crumbs all over your back seat that you find 8 years later. The other thing we found to be awesome for this trip was a yoga mat. We have leather seats and every time Pendleton would sit in the back I would cringe with the thought of her nails digging into seats. Blankets don’t work because they slide. So, being the genius that he is, J discovered I forgot to give the packers my yoga mat and put it on the back seat to hold the blankets. Worked like a charm. We could have bought one of those dog blankets for the car, but you know, we’re cheap.
  • Take pictures OF EACH OTHER. Despite this being our third road trip together, we are still really bad at taking pictures of each other. We probably have thousands of scenery but honestly, who cares about that stuff? A few of the general area are nice but no one is going to remember/care if that tree was in Colorado or Kansas or your backyard. So take pictures of each other at the different stops and in the pretty scenery.
  • Have a to-go bag. When you PCS, you have to remember that you may get to your destination before your boxes do. That means you have to be prepared with clothes and toiletries for the road trip AND up to a week after you arrive. If you’re like me, that means almost your whole wardrobe which means a big heavy bag. However, if you are stopping at hotels at night, you’re not going to want to dig out and bring that big ass bag inside with you every night. So pack a t0-go bag- a bag with a few outfit changes, travel toiletries, and a bathing suit. Why a bathing suit? Indoor pools people. Especially if you are sans kids. They are wonderful after a long day in the car.
  • Everything has a place. This was the end-all-be-all for our trip. When you’re spending day after day in the car, its easy to lose track of where you put the camera, your phone, the extra set of keys, etc. So designate a place for every thing. Even if its going into a purse or bag, make sure it goes in the same place every.single.time. Believe me, it will save you from a lot of “WHERE DID YOU PUT IT?! DID YOU LEAVE IT INSIDE THE MCDONALDS BATHROOM?! Oh no, here it is…” type arguments.

Road trips can be really fun or they can really suck. It just depends on you make of it. Make sure everyone is comfortable, everyone is FED (hungry people are cranky), and don’t get to stuck on a time line (unless your orders depend on it!). Taking your time and being comfortable will make everyone feel better about being in such close quarters together.

Right now, we are at our destination and in our new house. Our goods have already arrived and the house is unpacked. Nothing is in place yet, but its all out of boxes. J has been working fervently on the yard while I’ve been honing it out on the inside. I’ll have pictures for you of our road trip, some tips for packing and unpacking, and pictures of the new house (yay!) soon. We do, however, live in the boondocks so we are JUST getting internet and I barely have time to write right now. But I’m really excited about all the work we are doing (and the shopping!) so stay tuned!

If you are making a PCS drive soon, good luck. The drive ends, I promise. Please feel free to post any tips/tricks you may have for long road trips below!

I now know why everyone hates PCSing.

Dudes, I’ve been enlightened. I have seen the other side. I have drank the cool kids juice.

We have officially done our first PCS pack-out.

See, even though I am a seasoned milspouse (ha), I have never done a “real” PCS. When I first moved out here, J and I weren’t married (gasp!) so we packed everything ourselves in a U-Haul towing our hand-me-down Ford Explorer behind us. Then he deployed and I went home, so we packed everything ourselves and had a few of his Marine friends come help us put it in storage. And then I hired people to take it out. So needless to say, before this day I thought to myself, “What’s the big deal? People come, they pack you, they move sh!t, end of story.” No, no, no. Not the end of story. Just beginning of story.

First of all, there is the prep. OH MY GOD. I am an organization freak so I like things in certain places in certain boxes in certain piles. And then the moving people come and they basically throw your stuff you worked days and nights to organize into one giant pile. Cool.

Then there is the other kind of prep. Housing prep. We live on base so every wall we painted (read: my mom and I painted) had to be painted back. Ugh. Side note though: I didn’t have to paint this time. My mom and J did it. Which basically means I am the most awesome getter outter of stuff to ever live. Someone had to watch the baby, right?

Of course, once you have it all painted and things perfectly organized so that any sane person walking into your house would understand that that thing goes with these things and they all go in this box, the movers come and basically don’t give a rat’s azz. They will pack it at lightning speed and after the first hour you just don’t care anymore because there is no stopping them.

After the movers leave, you have to clean. You haven’t moved your bed or couches in years so there are dust bunnies the size of actual bunnies, Goldfish crackers, and that long-lost DVD now crushed in a million pieces scattered all over your floor. Gross.

If you have kids, get rid of them. No, I’m just kidding. Just find a special place for them to hang out. THANK GOD ON HIGH my mom was here. She watched E allllll during the prep days, all during the pack/move day, and every other time in between. I seriously don’t know what in God’s name I would have done if I would have had to watch packers and watch her. It would not have been pretty.

I have learned so much stuff while gearing up and going through this first PCS. I will talk about some of that stuff and some helpful hints at some point. Later. In a few weeks, since we are moving and all.

However, the worst part of this particular PCS is leaving my neighbors. My friends. They were my first “military” friends. I have never lived on a military base and they showed me so much love, support, and compassion over the past two years. I am going to miss them more than they will ever know. No neighborhood will EVER compare to these people. Ever.

To my neighbor to my left: You and your family are amazing. There is no other word to describe it. You helped our family in more ways that I would have expected any neighbor to ever do. You are motivating and you always brightened my day in talking with you- from you no bullshit attitude to your unending willingness to watch E, lend me your stuff, or take my dog for extreme extended periods of time. I will never forget you coming over with your entire family and singing me “Happy Birthday” and presenting me with a cupcake and massage gift card while J was deployed. I’m tearing up thinking about all you have done for us. I don’t think I will ever have enough words to describe what you mean to us. Any person will be lucky to live next to you.

To my neighbor to the right: Not only will our family miss you guys and your generosity in letting us use your mower and other various appliances, I know both E and Pendleton will miss your dog. We had amazing neighbors on both sides of us. I wish we had more time to spend together. We hope to see you on our side soon enough.

To my neighbor with the cat and the huge car that she looks funny driving in because she is the smallest person ever: We will miss her little paw prints on our windshield! But seriously, you are THE strongest woman I know. From your multiple deployments, to taking care of G, and dealing with your own personal things, I am inspired by you. I am so happy for you that things are working out and I will continue to pray that things go well. You are so sweet, so kind, and such a great friend. I hope the Corps brings us back together.

To my neighbor with the girls/all the cool toys E wants to steal: What can I say (as I type this from YOUR computer)- you and your family are beyond generous for letting us stay in your home while ours gets packed away. Your beautiful daughters will be missed by E (she keeps asking for them) and I will miss seeing your bright shining face in the col-de-sac. You were there for me when I was worried about E’s health and J was gone. You have been a listening ear. I will miss you terribly but I CANNOT WAIT to come visit you!!!

I have made some of the most amazing friends while I have lived here. I hate that we have to move away, but I am excited for everyone’s new adventures. The Marine Corps is small and I hope it brings us back together at some point. We love you all and we will miss you so dearly.

PS- We left this picture in a frame for all of you to remember us by. We aren’t vain or anything, we just figured you’d miss us.

527

Just kidding (but feel free to print it out and frame it in a, say, 20×24 frame? Cool.)

HUN: A Conflict of Interest

My latest article with HUN.  Please click the HUN button below to view the article in its enterity. Enjoy!

HUNbutton

————————

When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, I didn’t think much of it. Then, at our Marine Corps Ball, my husband pointed out a Marine who had brought his boyfriend. I thought it was awesome. I thought how excited this Marine must be to finally be able to bring the person he loved to a wonderful night such as this instead of having to go alone. I also thought how brave he and his partner were for standing up for what they believed in when they undoubtedly knew people would be staring and whispering.

Marriage Equality