Thursday, February 25, 2010

Biting the bullet and crossing the bridge... we're so daring!

All training aspects of Chris's position fall far from the standard guidelines of 90% of the Foreign Service. His job has a lot of different training locations (and acronyms) that come along with it. The mass majority of his classmates are young with no baggage. We are... well... old---er with baggage. Getting all the specifics on what is allowed or not allowed, or should I say paid or not paid, takes some research and re-verification.

After much deliberation, we have decided to reside together again come (around) April 1st. By the time we take into account preschool, flights home every 6-8 weeks and extra expenses we are both incurring, it just really doesn't make sense to be apart for the minute amount of money we might save if I keep working in IL. And though the house is not yet sold, we are biting the bullet and packing up our lives. It would happen by late May anyway, so we might as well jump in now.

It didn't make good sense to join Chris before now really, as he's been hopping from place to place. And honestly, though it's hard to be apart, he needs this time to concentrate on the job at hand.  It' a big job. But in a few weeks, things will have settled a little. We are all looking forward to getting back to "living". In our lives, there are only really 3 necessary components. The rest works itself out.

And I'd also like to learn my way around Washington D.C. a little bit. In years to come our path will likely cross through there again. The idea of the occasional FS related playdate or draining seasoned trailing spouses for knowledge is also enticing.

Lots of specifics to work out with HR and Logistics, but we'll wade through. And after giving notice to work (officially this time), I'll have about 2 hopefully uninterupted weeks to package our world and ship it off, not to likely be seen for another few months. Hopefully the house and everything else will fall into place. If not, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I know we'll all be a happier bunch just being under the same roof.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fill 'er up

Why does the fuel light only come on when the temperature is "freeze your butt off" ?
And why is it always the coldest and most windy days when I need to put gas in my car?!

Thanks to Myth Busters proving your car will not blow up from static buildup during reentry , I can feel comfortable getting back in my car while pumping. HA! I know you can see me shivering, rushing to jump back inside the car followed by one last full body shiver and a single choice curse word (when Ceiba's not in the car). DAMN and SHIT are the two most frequent explatives of choice. (Chris, I'm sure you can hear me). You people in tropical locales don't know what fun you're missing! Even more so on those special days when your nostrils feel like they've frozen shut upon exiting your vehicle. Or on days where you get out to find your tiny gas door frozen shut.

Ahh, good times!

Yesterday was beautiful, for an IL February day. Today... way below freezing! The wind chill was about zero when I stopped at Quiktrip this morning. Half of the trash I pulled out of my door pockets lept into the air and poofed away before I could catch it, except for the animal crackers and goldfish, which I could barely get out with my freezing hands to dump into the trashcan.

It also never fails that I have to get gas in the morning in IL on days that I'll be in MO in the afternoon, where gas is always $.10-$.15 cheaper per gallon. I'm just afraid to push my luck and get stuck on the bridge. That would not be good.

A few more months and we'll be able to happily get gas under palm trees with sea breezes blowing by. Knowing me, I'll wait until high noon and complain that it's hot as Hades and that M&Ms bound for the trash have turned to soup :) And again, will likely resort to the classic single choice curse word.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yep, I'm still in here

Like every living thing, I've metamorphasized over time. As my profile reads, I am very happily a wife, mama, gardener, adventurer, sea lover, tree hugger. I haven't always been all of these people. I've become them over time. Along the way I've added other traits: smile lines, knowledge, experiences are but a few.

But sometimes I forget me. The spirit of me. The self underneath the daily work, duties, bills, and chores. The person that makes me smile and makes others smile. Genuinely.

I vividly remember the Andamen Sea breeze blowing the curtains of our paneless bungalow window several years ago. We hadn't been awake long on Ko Muk when I smiled and said to Chris, "This is the real me. This is who I want to be and how I want to feel everyday."

I wanted to be that alive every day. To not nag or complain or ever be verbally short or ugly in tone. To not rush or settle or miss out on the greatness of life.

Though we wouldn't ever trade being a mother or father or daughter or son or caretaker or friend, it sometimes overtakes us.

Sometimes I forget me.

The me that I am which no one else affects... a gardener, a fisherman, a sea lover, a photographer and a nature lover.

Today I had a few hours alone. I walked in our woods with the sun on my face, and I resurrected me.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

3 Plates... for 3 days... bliss

All day Friday I was reading about flights in the southeast being cancelled due to unusual weather. Chris's flights stayed ontime and unchanged even until beyond check-in time. No such luck to be so smooth.

While we were on the phone Friday night, the telecom at the airport broadcasted his flight cancellation. He jumped off the phone to get details. I broke down for about 30 seconds. After being up the night before for Vday misc, several weeks of interrupted sleep, leaving work early to pick up a sick kiddo (who missed the Vday party requiring previous night's legwork), going to the pediatrician for the 4th time in 2 weeks (now an ear infection, last week strep), to the pharmacy for more meds (only to drive around for 30 minutes while she slept and pharmacist filled), this news was now the wind being poofed out of my sail. My "moment" lasted less than a minute before needing to resume comforting said sick kiddo and feeding her dinner, reconnect with my delayed spouse and begin travel agent mode to search for alternative flight options. And although I would have liked to wallow in my own self pity, Chris too was going through his own anguish due to the delay, but he had to do it alone. 

We remind each other often how we realize the sacrifice the other has to endure during this phase of the "dream job"and will likely be required to endure throughout his career. It's a lifestyle we have both whole heartedly chosen, but must work together to attain. It will forever be a balancing act to keep harmony. And we are dedicated to continue to sing!

Sorry, I stray. Long story short, after rescheduling his flight, we received the good news that he was due to arrive before noon on Saturday. Crisis averted and super pleasant family weekend filled with relaxing, eating and playing with our favorite guy.

(above) Ceiba and Papa opening Valentine's presents 
(btm left) "hiding", (btm center) making chicken & dumplings while they napped, (btm rt) packing

You'll notice of trend of Ceiba not letting Chris get more than an arm's length away all weekend. So much so, that I got to play chaffuere to Papa and "Miss Daisy" all weekend. He hangs the moon in her eyes and it was nice to hear the house filled with giggles.

And it was nice to set out 3 plates... for 3 days. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Guess who's stuck at the airport

Yep, my Valentine. Apparently Atlanta doesn't know how to handle 2 inches of snow. Rookies.
Hopefully, he'll be home tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just clone me

Really, I should learn to clone myself. They do it with sheep and orchids, why not me? Could be dangerous... but man could I use the extra help sometimes. And I already know exactly how I like things done :)

So I spent the night baking Valentine's Day cookies, nursing a sick kiddo, cutting up fruit into 2 year old person sizes (in fridge, not shown) and boycotting Valentine's cards. Ok, not all Valentine's cards. Ceiba's school is having their Valentine's Day party tomorrow. When I dropped her off yesterday, one of the moms was stuffing those little kid Valentine's cards into her kid's cubby. Seriously, we have to do these at 2 1/2 year olds? Call me a fuddy dud, but really?

So in the spirit of Valentine's (and upcoming Mardi Gras and hey let's just say Lunar New Year too), Ceiba will be handing out beads instead. We have a bazillion in the basement anyway and thought the kiddos would have some fun with these (and I asked the teacher if it was ok). Call me a rebel!

And this time tomorrow, we'll be picking up our Valentine from the airport!!
Happy early Valentine's Day, as am sure we'll be offline until next week.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Recent happenings

Quick lazy weekend pics.

(above) Friday was stay at home and make a pizza night. We made it fun with some Valentine's spirit.
(below) Saturday was pretend cooking and clean out the toy closet day.

(below) Last night we headed over to see Uncle John, Aunt Carrie, Samantha (Deeta) & Jake.
Ceiba woke up yesterday morning and said "John Carrie, see 'em?". Not that that's unusual.

And tonight Mama got a way overdue haircut from my always-make-me feel-good stylist 
while Ceiba played with Sam & Jake for a second night in a row. She was tuckered out!

And now Mama feels human again :)

Only to come home to more of the white stuff... 2 days in a row.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where are all the freakin' clovers?

If it wasn't a frozen tundra around here, I could walk out and pick a flower. Hold that flower and pull each petal off with a "we move"... "we move not"... "we move!".  Or I could sit in the yard and sift through clovers until I found one with 4 leaves. Then wish on it or eat it or smoke it or just carry it in my bra like Grandma's kleenex until it made the phone ring with an offer on our house.

Ug, could there have been a worse time to try to sell our house?  Thanks State Department (well, really thanks for the cool job, just not the timing). You get the - you're on the Register, but don't quit your job or change your lifestyle. Then it's, "Report to Washington in 2 weeks."

Ok, so it's only been 4 months and maybe good breezes will blow up our nose soon. But let me be the first to admit, I am NOT a good waiter! Waitress yes, waiter no. You are dealing with a full out planner here. A person who makes lists until the cows come home. Someone who planned itineraries on little squares on a December calendar almost 2 years before going to Thailand for the first time. Now granted, I was not a mama then, which has definately slowed me down. But I will be a die hard planner until my last breath. It pains me to not have a departure date, a packout date, a resign from work date, a use the last of the milk date.

So I guess we do have a worst case date, May 19th - Chris's graduation date. If the house hasn't sold, we may as well be together since we'll have 2 houses (one in IL and one in FL) to pay for anyway.

Nope... I don't like that date. Too long from now.

Did I mention that in addition to being a planning nutcase, I'm also stubborn? Cripes!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Country Roads take me Home

Driving to work today I was thinking of how well I know the roads in our area. If there's a jam on the interstate, we can comfortably get off, snaking and skirting our way through backroads to reach our destination. Someone needs directions? No problem, I've got this. If rains come, we know which creeks might flood and roads to avoid. At night, we know which roads to go slow and watch for animals who are out and about. And in the spring, I can tell you which houses have the prettiest flowers blooming in their yards.

We've both grown up here, and though we left for about 5 years, it seems we've travelled these roads forever. Chris's time as a sheriff's deputy made him even more geographically familiar with the area.

In high school, we knew where the road parties were, the fastest way home before curfew or the quietest places to park on a date :) When going to the city (St. Louis), we know which bridge over the Mighty Mississippi to take depending on the time of day, where to jump off to avoid congestion or just a back route with a more scenic view or a great little diner. I can still remember where Chris hit a tree on a foggy road when he shouldn't have come to see me, where my dad taught me to shift gears or where my Grandpa K and I picked wild plums in the summertime. Each Friday my mom and I took the same curvy roads to town to fix Grandma K's hair, run errands and bring feed home to the farm.

These roads make me feel at home.

But what person doesn't want the excitement of a new road, a new city, a new adventure? Isn't it great to learn where there is a great park, a yummy bakery or just a beautiful drive? It's exhilerating and eye opening. It makes your mind feel alive!

I'll always know the roads here like the back of my hand, but look forward to driving (or better yet, being driven) on those new and unknown.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Taxidermy in our UAB?

Wow, does that sound like we're from the Midwest or what? And no, we didn't catch these exact fish. They are resin casts. We ate the real ones, so I feel good they didn't go to waste. And yes, we usually catch and release. Ok, enough of the environmental self justificaton.

Unaccompanied Air  Baggage? Ahh, nope. A little large.

Just a suggestion to anyone joining the Foreign Service - should you find yourself going on any fishing trips in the near future. Probably would suggest against mounting that 10 foot marlin which "would look so great on the wall"...

Oh and you know, while we're talking about it... skip mounting that 4' cobia too.

We definately have limitations on the transportation of household goods shipments, an entire manual in fact.
These will not pack well, but hey - at least they're lightweight!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Missing Photo

You may recall  my early birthday post of home photos taken before Chris left for training. Well, the photographer posted some edits in December, which I just got around to downloading. Why did it take you so long?, you might ask. Well, the plate is pretty full these days :)

But here is a pic, which I'd never seen until last night. It's become a contender in my favorites, so had to post it.
Now the leaves have all fallen, the creek is frozen and Papa is 864 miles away.

Good news though... we all get a 3 day visit over Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day, whatever day!
Can not wait!