Wednesday, July 28, 2010
When I got to base the first thing that I needed to do was to get a military id. This enables me to do things like go shopping at the PX (which is like an all in one store on base with clothes and a drug store and home stuff), and to go to the pool - in 110 degree weather this was a big incentive, to register my car so that I didn't have to continue to get a visitors pass, and to start the process for many of the other things I needed to get done. This was almost impossible to get because I needed Jake to get it done. He goes to work at 5am every day and has an hour for lunch and usually gets off at 4:30. That one hour window at lunch was our only chance and the first 4 days we could go we went and failed. Finally on the 5th day we tried and success!!! It was really only a 15 minute process but the wait to get it done was what the kicker was.
Next, we needed to go to TMO. This is the office that will move all our stuff out here and put it into storage until we get on-base housing. We went and of course, Jake was missing a key piece of paper that he needed so then we had to go to IPAC (i have no idea what that stands for) and get the paper. That took forever but we finally got it and by the time we did the TMO office was closed...
Then we had to go to travel claims. I'm still not certain that we got this done right but we shall see. We are suppose to get a large sum of money for the trouble of getting out here that would cover gas and hotel stay and it is going to just magically show up in our account - or at least I hope :)
Then we had to go and apply for on-base housing. When you are in the military they give you the choice to live on or off base. They give you a certain amount of money (which depends on rank and location) to cover the costs of off base housing or you can move on-base where you don't have to pay any utilities. Since Jake's rank is lower and everything we really need is on-base anyway we wanted to get on-base which is a 3-6 month wait. (Don't worry, we found a tiny place that rents month to month until we get on base.) We filled out the paperwork and guess what! We got moved up 3 months because they back-dated it from the day he got out of boot camp! Less than 3 months and we should have a place on base :)
And finally, we enrolled me in Tri-Care which is the insurance on base and was the easiest thing to do thus far.
To top it off - my beautiful sister-in-law is in the beginning stages of labor! She went to the hospital and she is having contractions but since she wasn't dilated enough they sent her home. As she put it, hopefully the contractions stop or get worse so that she can either get comfortable or baby Adison can get here soon!
Thank you God for all the many blessings you have given to me. I know that I do not give you the glory that you deserve and that my frustrations get in my way. I am working on that and it is such an amazing feeling to get all of these things done and the stress is off my shoulders.
Now, i just need to find airline tickets home for Justin and Erica's wedding but i don't quite know when Jake is getting off...good luck to me!
Monday, July 26, 2010
I am describing the bad first so that you can better understand the good when it comes along...
- Twentynine Palms is hot. I don't mean at "high noon", "when the sun is out", or just once in a while. it is hot all the time. I'm not talking in the high 90's people,I'm talking on average 110 or higher. Last week it hit 120 almost every day at some point! It is a dry heat so that is a little helpful but still - low 110's!
- Twentynine Palms is green-less. There are exactly 29 palm trees as you drive into base and there are a few throughout the town but there are no trees! There is no grass! "Landscaped yards" include rocks being placed in specific areas of your yard. We found a rental and it in the lease it stated we needed to take care weeds. I asked what consisted of weeds and their response was e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!! Our yard consists of dirt.
- Twentynine Palms is made for the average Marine. The town consists mainly of barber shops (for military haircuts), thai massage (i don't quite know why), tattoo parlors (i know exactly why), and liquor stores (again...a given).
- Twentynine Palms is full of bugs a weird wild life. The ant hills are gigantic! I could fit my fist in the holes. I have also seen 2 coyotes that have become roadkill, these little things that look like the belong on meerkat manor, and a road runner.
- Twentynine Palms is secluded. Granted, Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree are not to far away but if you wanted to go somewhere that has a Target or Super Walmart you need to go to Palm Springs which is over an hour away.
- Twentynine Palms has some odd people who live here. I have concluded that the only people who really live here are either a.) military family, b.) to old and lazy to move or c.) just crazy...unfortunately, there are quite a few of "c" that I have run into.
- Twentynine Palms has a beautiful view. 3 sides are surrounded by mountains that no matter what time of day, they are beautiful! Jake and I are also considering taking up hiking :) Joshua Tree National Park is literally in our back yard!
- Twentynine Palms has a really nice base. I guess since I have not been on any other base I am somewhat nieve but it has a community center with computers (which I am taking advantage of right now), the PX is pretty nice and so is the commissary, there is a golf course (if I ever wanted pick it up), a dog park, and a nice family pool!
- Twentynine Palms has friends! I am beginning to meet new people who are so nice and fun and I can't wait to get to know them better :)
- Twentynine palms is near other stuff. As I have specified in an earlier post, there are quite a few things that close by that do offer some fun things to do which is better then being near absolutely nothing.
- Twentynine Palms has a church! We love the church. It is small but is full of really nice caring people and we are looking forward to getting to know everyone better.
I guess what I am trying to prove to no only you but to myself as well that the next four years here won't be that bad. It will be even better once I have everything done that I need to do in order to get our stuff moved out here and to get a house on base...it is all over a little overwhelming but I think I can get it all done here shortly.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Although I picked my mother up in Indiana I have officially traveled and hit 7 states in this journey. Starting in Michigan, I said good-bye to family and friends, packed up the car and headed out. I then hit Indiana were I said good-bye to even more family and friends. On the first day of travel with my mom we headed through Illinois (where we had a slight incident with a toll booth) and on to Wisconsin where I was fortunate to see my brother perform in Beauty And The Beast - he was amazing by the way - where we hit another bump in the road with Cooper in our hotel room. The next day there was even more good-byes to family and friends and we went through Iowa and most of Nebraska. Today we managed to hit Colorado and Utah - both of which there were spurts of absolute beauty and absolutely nothing. When you pass a sign that says "no services offered for the next 99 miles" a slight bit of panic goes through you as you realize it would take forever for any help to arrive if you needed it - which we didn't (again, thank you Lord).
Tomorrow we are hoping to get up bright and early and head through Nevada, a tiny piece of Arizona and on to California which will come to about 5 hours before we hit our final destination of Twentynine Palms, Ca.
As mentioned earlier our incident with a toll booth came when the dumb ez-pass didn't read and the arm of the toll booth wouldn't come up. Did I mention this happened right outside Chicago so needless to say it was busy which resulted in a quick pile up of cars behind me and it all being my fault...
Also, we attempted to leave Cooper in the hotel room while we went to Tanner's production of Beauty And The Beast. Before intermission even hit I had received a phone call with complaints that my crazy dog was barking and disrupting the other patrons of the hotel. Not wanting to miss any of the musical mom and I managed to get Tanner's room key, run to the car, drive to the hotel, get the dog and cage in the car, drive to tanner's room, lock Cooper in Tanner's room with the hope and a prayer that no one found out, and get back to the theater before the 10 minute intermission ended - whew! As winded as you were reading that on-going sentence, try and just imagine how winded we were when we finally took our seats!
I guess the most overlooked part of this adventure is that even though we are only 5 hours away from our final destination we still don't have anywhere to stay...literally - no where. We can't find a hotel that allows dogs that has an opening while we find a more long term place to stay while we wait for on base housing...this could be a blessing in disguise or a really bad fiasco. I guess we shall see :)
Monday, July 12, 2010
I also had the pleasure (most of the time) of managing the building as well, which is just another thing I am able to add to my resume. It defiantly taught me patience but gave me the chance to meet and make friends with some very amazing people. Granted, it did have it's difficult times but I wouldn't have traded this chance for anything.
Living here for the past 2 years has been one of the best things that has happened to me. This place, and the people that were brought into my life because of it, is something I will never forget.
As I sit here on my last night at Woodard, it is hard for me to imagine a life where I can't just walk downstairs and have a coffee at Guido's Coffee Lounge and see some of my amazing friends, or be stopped by a neighbor for a chat. I will miss the workers and the regulars who are always in the building. I will miss getting pampered by the talented ladies at Hair Peace and seeing the amazing images that Maureen Hartson has on display. I know that things have to change and believe me, I have accepted that, but I am really going to miss the way it was.
To anyone that reads this, and is in my life because of Woodard Station I would like to say thank you for being a smiling face that I could see on a regular basis. I am glad that this great place brought us together and I know I will be back to visit every time I'm in the area. I wish all of you the best of luck in the changes that come your way and will keeping everyone in my thoughts and prayers as time passes.
Monday, July 5, 2010
The reason I named this blog "you are who I am" is because, like God wants us to, Jake and I have realized more than ever that we are everything to each other. The amount of time we have spent together is less than it has ever been, however, since we have kept our focus where it should be (on Him) and on marriage we have managed to strengthen our relationship tenfold. We make sure to thank God for what we do have like letters and phone calls and have kept looking forward to when we get to be together again...
Which will be in 2 weeks!!!
Granted, I do have a lot of stuff to do, places to be, and people to see between now and then but I am looking forward to keeping busy and finally getting this stage of the process over with. I know there will be other times that we will be separated but at this point, I don't know when those times will be and I can not focus on that or I will miss what I am given. I will not be taking for granted big things like dates for granted or small things like holding hands. No one thing will be overlooked and it is refreshing to know that our marriage will never get old because we both know what it is like to not have one another therefore we appreciate each other more than before.
I am also looking forward to the road trip I'll get to take with my mom on the way out west and I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot about our wonderful adventure.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Just so everyone (including myself) knows how long this list is, here it goes:
Paint Guido's sign (it is going to be awesome at 3' x 24' but I can't wait to see the final product!!)
Paint the rest of the floor numbers that I started in the building.
Paint the wedding direction signs for the wonderful soon to be Mr. & Mrs. Sloan.
Edit the photos from the shoot I did yesterday (although, I am going to work on that tonight)
Laundry (another thing I'm working on tonight too)
Cleaning e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. When these movers come I don't want to them to find dog hair on anything which means I have to hold off until the last minute for this (Cooper sheds like a maniac)
Clean and get the oil changed in my car for our long trip
Load the car
Make sure Jake goes to the housing office once he checks in at Twentynine Palms
Make sure Jake goes to the TMO office (the people who are in charge of moving us) and gets all that set up...that part makes me kind of nervous because this is the first time and what if it goes wrong? (prayers please)
Find a place off base that we can stay at while we wait for a house on base
And last but not least say good-bye to everyone.
Whew! I told you it was some what long. This whole experience is teaching me to be flexible and patient, neither quality of which the military it's self consists of, and be prepared for everything. I am so antsy to get out there to be with Jake and finally be together but there are still things that I want to do while I'm here and not take them for granted. Yes, it has been 6 months since I have spent longer than 2 weeks with my counterpart but at the same time I think it will be even longer until I get a chance to do some of the things here at home.
If there is one thing that I feel I am going to take from this it is to not rush things. Yes, I want to be there but I can't be happy out there knowing that I didn't get to do or see some of the most amazing people in my life here in Michigan, the place I've called home for 6 years and a place that has been so good to me. I know I will be back but this is the last time I will consider this place 'home'. I think taking the time to say goodbye will help me say hello to our new (desert) home a little easier.
Friday, July 2, 2010
For those of you who don't know me or don't know much about me here are the highlights: I am a Christian wife to a wonderful husband, Jake. He is the love of my life and we have been married since July 2006. We don't have children yet but we have the next best thing, Cooper, our 3 year old Jack-Russell mix. When we began this marriage he was an electrician and I was a student but since then he has recently become a United States Marine and I have no idea what to do with my degree in design. When I got my degree my plan was to do residential design for anyone who needed it on a budget (for those of you who don't know me i am one serious bargain hunter) since the economy was so bad. For the past 6 months my husband has been through boot camp and school of infantry training (neither of which I can be with him) and I have been home trying to wrap up the loose ends and have been oh so very anxious to find out where we are going to get stationed. Some of our options were North Carolina, California, Hawaii, or Japan. I had also planned on living on the coast somewhere since, hello, he is in the Marines, and finding someway to use my God given talents. We got the call last night and we got California but what I haven't mentioned is this...
Twentynine Palms, California. If you don't know where that is, look it up. It's in the middle of no-mans-land in the only true desert the United States of America has. No ocean. No lake. No pond. No grass. Little to no trees. All of these things are what usually pop into someones head when they think California! 2.5 hours from Los Angeles. 3 hours from San Diego. The closest thing to a metropolitan area is Palm Springs which is still over an 1 hour away! Needless to say, I was devastated. I cried myself to sleep and slept in until 10:30 this morning. I think I deserved to give myself a pitty party don't you think? I mean come on! The worst luck of the draw and we got it.
Another thing you should know about me: I always look at the bright side. Granted, I might pout for a moment but what good does that actually do? Nothing. I am going there whether I like it or not so I might as well get over it (hence the new blog) and look at the bright side. No ocean, no lake, no pond means that once I do get these things I will appreciate them even more. No grass means no lawn to mow and no allergies. No trees means nothing blocking my view from a beautiful sunrise or sunset. 2.5 hours to Los Angeles and 3 hours to San Diego is 30+ hours closer than I was when I lived in Michigan. Being so far away from everything means that Jake and I will have to rely on each other now more than ever. Being alone for 6 months makes you tough but God wants us to depend on each other and in a place like this how can we not? We're secluded. Another bright side: even though we are in the desert there is still a Church of Christ! Can you believe it? If we were to live on the coast the closest Church of Christ was like an hour away! What an amazing blessing.
The whole point of this blog is to put my thoughts out there, get support and advice from those who are willing to give it (positive only please) and to keep all our family and friends informed without being one of those people who are updating their Facebook status every hour on the hour.