Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hawaii's Tribute to Our Veterans

I'm going to take a little blogging license here and skip past the luau we went to on Thursday night in order to post about our visit to Pearl Harbor (because there's very little I love more than a theme, especially a Memorial Day theme).

And I just want to take a second to thank all of the bloggers I follow for not blogging about the oil spill. I'm so consumed with sadness and frustration at all of it, that I just can't bear to read about it, too. Although I know it's there, and oil-drenched pelicans are dying by the minute...I just need a little laughter in my life or I will dissolve into a puddle of tears and that's not beneficial to anyone.

Pearl Harbor is, understandably, a very busy tourist destination in O'ahu. We were told by several people, including Princess Pomtini, that we should hit it early. So, we arrived as early as our relaxed schedule would allow...which was about 9 AM. Even then, there was about a 90 minute wait to enter (not meaning we stood in line for 90 minutes, we just couldn't use our timed ticket until 10:30). But fear not, fellow travelers, they have much to keep you entertained. Pearl Harbor is undergoing an extensive renovation, which should be finished by the end of the year. Thus far, they have redesigned the layout of the park and you no longer have to watch the movie before boarding the boat. It's an option. Americans like options, y'know. And there is fancy schmancy new bookstore that offers everything from $2.00 water to Rosie the Riveter Barbie (which I kind of really wanted because...Yes, We Can!...but yes it would be one more thing to move every 3 years). And we ended up doing the audio tour because, obviously, Neal and I can dig on some history. If there's a tour to be purchased, we're on it. (Unfortunately, the renovation included many of the talking points on the audio tour, so they created a pamphlet with pictures of the exhibits. Not exactly like the real thing, but I guess they at least tried to still provide you with the full experience. Yay for the federal government!)

So, we hit the bookstore. We hit the bathrooms. We hit the hotdog stand.


What is it about the smell of roasting mystery meat that appeals at any time of the day? And a big kudos to Princess Pomtini who is about 20 weeks pregnant and still wanted a hotdog! (Although I do remember craving them during my first trimester and Neal saying "THAT'S not healthy!" Whatever, dude. You grow a human and then we'll talk.)

By the time we had consumed, watched, peed, shopped, and listened, it was time to board the boat.

Princess Pomtini informed us that the sailors were usually in their all-white uniform (*swoooon*) and that she had never seen them in the brown ones. We saw on the news that night that a recently deceased survivor of Pearl Harbor was interred there that morning. Obviously, they needed everyone in white for that ceremony, the others donned brown.

(Notice the flag here because Neal took a wickedawesome shot of the flag from within the memorial that will make no sense if you don't see the big picture first.)

Here's a view from the sky that I borrowed from a blogger named Blonde Champagne (which I stumbled across when doing a Google Images search...but seriously...could they have a cooler blog name? I think I'll follow based solely on blog title alone).

I have the worst time keeping "bow" and "stern" straight (read: I can't remember which part this is, except that it's the part that sticks out of the water).

These underwater shots are hard to see, but that's part of the ship that is visible from within the memorial.

Inside is the wall of names, listing everyone who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. To the left was a shorter wall that listed those who survived the attack but chose to be buried here.

A picture of where the Arizona was moored on that dark day, and where it is moored still. husband, the artistic photographer.

It's hard to see in this picture (and you can click on it to make it larger), but in the center of the photo, there are 2 tiny drops of oil. According to the audio tour, the USS Arizona continues to seep oil at the rate of about 2 liters per day (and some will argue that this is not true, that it's all a publicity stunt). Although the environmental groups have pushed for capping the leak, many veteran organizations believe it would be tantamount to desecrating a burial site. They refer to these drops of oil that float to the top and then quickly dissipate as "tears of the fallen." Of course, in the wake of the BP disaster, 2 liters a day seems inconsequential. Perspective is a gift and a weapon.

And then there's the wind. Always the wind.

This is looking at the memorial from the museum side. Call us history snobs, but having been on all of the ships in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, we passed on seeing the USS Missouri, docked to the left of the memorial....

And we passed on the Bowfin, a submarine (not to evoke the phrase, "if you've been on one war ship, you've been on them all," but...)

A Japanese suicide torpedo. They were suicide bombers before it was "cool" to be a suicide bomber.

Stationed at the ticket counter until lunch time were 2 survivors of Pearl Harbor who were volunteering their time, stories, and signatures. And maybe they were selling their books? I can't remember now. But more than anything, it made me miss my Papa and wish he was here to tell me war stories, served with Neopolitan ice cream.

Hawaii, being on that side of the world, gets a lot of Japanese visitors. I asked Princess Pomtini how the Americans in Hawaii, and specifically those working at Pearl Harbor, handle that. She said she thinks it's OK, that we don't hold a grudge and know that the visitors here today are not the same who attacked us yesterday. She thinks there is an attitude of forgiveness and acceptance, even though we, as Americans, can be very stubborn and bitter. It's a hopeful thing to believe, even if it may not be true for everyone.

December 7, 1941 was a bleak day in our nation's history, but the memorial that stands over the USS Arizona is a stark and breathtakingly beautiful way to remember and honor those who sacrificed it all for our country and the freedoms that we take for granted.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Champagne Friday in the Punchbowl

Happy Champagne Friday from Punchbowl Crater!

Our last stop on Day One was Punchbowl, the site of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Perhaps made even more eerie is the fact that we were the only ones there. Yes, it was a Wednesday afternoon, late in the day, but there were only 2 other people in the entire park - an employee cruising the grounds on a golf cart and a lady reading a book at the overlook. Spooooky! Like we missed the rapture or something.

To give you a little background* on Punchbowl, it was formed approximately 80,000 years ago during one of Hawaii's periods of volcanic activity. Lava pushed right up through the coral reefs to form the crater. As I mentioned yesterday, the Hawaiian name translates to "Hill of Sacrifice"...even though that name was not chosen specifically for this memorial. Originally, it was used by the Hawaiians as an alter to sacrifice humans to pagan gods and execute those who had violated taboos. (I'm sort of glad I didn't know this part as we were walking around. I would be getting the same heebie jeebies that I got from touring the Coliseum.) But during the reign of Kamehameha (Remember him? He lost 400 soldiers off the side of a cliff in a very unfortunate chess move...), 2 canons were mounted at the rim and fired to announce the arrival of dignitaries and to signify important occasions. In the 1930's, the slopes became available for lease and they were then rented by the Hawaiian National Guard for range practice. It has also been used as a bunker to protect Honolulu and the south edge of Pearl Harbor during the tail end of WWII.

The idea for the cemetery came in the 1890's when Honolulu's population began to grow (I guess they realized that putting that many gravestones thatclosetogether was a bad idea). It was initially rejected for fear of polluting the water supply (people in Kentucky would have never thought about that. I'm talking to you, lady who put her well below her outhouse) and they were also not crazy about the idea of a city of the dead suspended above a city of the living. But by the 1940's, Congress was authorizing a small fund to establish a national memorial in Honolulu, providing it was acceptable to the War Department and that the site was donated instead of purchased. The governor of Hawaii agreed to donate the land. It was not until the late 40's, though, after a good deal of prodding on the part of Congress and veteran organizations, that the idea came about to use it for the permanent burial of those fallen, prisoners of war, and missing in action during WWII and in Guam.

When you visit, it just looks like a very large park with a concrete memorial at the front and flowers dotting the landscape. The headstones are flat, which creates a very cohesive visual, not disrupted by headstones of varying shapes and sizes. As a Virgo with a generous dose of OCD running through my veins, I really enjoyed this. Artificial flowers are not allowed, but the real ones found in Hawaii naturally are so much more beautiful. Many grave sites have a vase of Birds of Paradise, which is simply the most unreal flower found occurring in nature. We first encountered them in San Francisco and I've been gooey over these flowers ever since.

Another cultural norm found in cemeteries is the placement of the deceased person's favorite food and/or drink...sort of like pour out a forty for my homey. But it's an assortment of food and drinks. You see packages of snack foods, open cans of beer or Diet Coke or even drinks purchased from, say, McDonald's, and just left the paper cup with the straw and everything. So, just to cannot leave fake flowers, but you can leave an open can of beer or a McDonald's cup sitting on the grave site. As you can imagine, OCDAllyson twitched a little at this. Princess Pomtini told us, though, that they do come around every few days to pick it up and dispose of it...I guess it just takes too long for a spirit to drink a Pabst and eat a Ding Dong. Plus, if I were homeless, this is where I would go for my 3 meals a day.

But back to Punchbowl....words really can't describe the awesome and the overpowering, so let's do it in a photo gallery, shall we?

This is looking away from the memorial, back toward Honolulu. There are graves on either side of the grassy center.

When you walk up to the memorial at the top of the hill, you see this. give you some direction, if you looked to your right at this moment, you would see the view from the first picture.
At the front...if you were standing at the end of that grassy strip and looking toward the memorial, you would see this 3D sculpture of a lady in the very center of the memorial. Her inscription says

The solemn pride
that must be yours
to have laid
so costly a sacrifice
upon the alter
of freedom

And the people say..."Amen."

As you enter the memorial, there are huge maps, made of chipped and colored glass of all of the wars, battles, and even skirmishes in the Pacific. They show routes frequently traveled and methods of attack.
This is one of the maps...depicting the Liberation of the Philippines in 1945.

Inside is a very simple alter, with candles and a cross and the American flag. There are also a few rows of pews for those who would like to stop for a moment or several. If you notice the glass reliefs built into the alter, they are also carried through to the gates of the memorial:

Outside, in front of the mounted lady, are these very tall walls, on either side of the walkway:
Each white wall has thousands of names inscribed of those POW or MIA military service members from each battle or war in the Pacific. And see the tree?
They purposely hollow out the center of each one. I wish I knew why. Wikipedia has really let me down on that one.

And the view from the crater really does give you the most amazing views of Honolulu and Diamond Head (to the left).
And you don't even have to hike it to the top. You can drive. And it's free. And it is truly a beautiful and serene place that creates the most perfect environment for honoring our missing in action, prisoners of war, and fallen.

So, from the Captain and the Mrs., we want to wish you all a very Happy Memorial Day weekend. Be safe in however you choose to celebrate. I will be hitting the pool and the driving range on base with my favorite veteran before he jets off for a month of training in CA. And I think I'll give Army Dad a call, too. Whatever you do, try to hug a veteran...or at least shake one's hand this weekend. They deserve so much more, but they are most pleased with your show of appreciation for their sacrifice. And it's easy. And it's free.

Happy Champagne Friday and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

*Again...I'm relying heavily on Wikipedia for this information. If it's wrong, don't write to me, write to Wikipedia. OKThanks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hawaii: More Than Just Spam

I intended to start this on Monday, but something happened...most likely I couldn't find some vital document and spent the day unpacking boxes in a desperate search to find it. At any rate, I'm assuming that most of us will not be spending Memorial Day weekend on sandy shores, dipping our toes in emerald waters. So, let me at least provide the pictures. You all can supply the fantasy. Feel free to include your fantasy in the comments section...unless it involves clowns or Richard Simmons. Those 2 things scare me beyond all reason and I'm in no mood for nightmares.

So, just to recap...this is what we left....
And this is what we woke up to 48 hours later:

Princess Pomtini and Host Husband live on the 35th floor of a high-rise condominium building in Honolulu...obvis. I could so get used to living in the sky. Sitting on the balcony is somewhat unnerving, but getting a bird's eye view of the island could become addicting. And when I put the long lens on our Rebel, I saw these guys:

Oh wait...maybe you can't see them. There are 3 guys, doing that stand and paddle thing that is so popular in the islands. These diehards were at it at 7:30 that morning. We didn't see them again...maybe they were still on Eastern Standard Time, as we were.

For the first day, Princess Pomtini (named so due to her unbelievable mixing capabilities) drove us around O'ahu to get a feel for the place and its residents....both living near the beach it. Not surprising once I thought about it, Hawaii has a bit of a homeless problem, which is really most visible during the day. They are allowed to build their tent cities during the the parks and on the beaches...y'know, just to serve as a visual teaching aid to the children: "if you skip school in favor of surfing all day, this could be you." (And before I get slammed with hate mail, I'm not poking fun at the plight of being homeless. I realize it's a dire situation for many. However, I have a little less sympathy for the ones who are living off fresh coconuts and sleeping in tropical temperatures year-round. The homeless in Nebraska have my undying sympathy.) At night, the Honolulu Police drive through the parks and beach areas, evicting the stragglers. They're serious about clean beaches and parks at night. Because, y'know...that's important.

Anycrazy, Princess Pomtini greeted us at the Honolulu airport with these beautiful and real leis. The next morning, mine had started to wilt a little so we snapped a quick pic before it shriveled and browned.
Neal only brought 3 shirts with him. They were all loud button-downs with screen-printed palm trees. My only consolation is that everyone dresses like that there...even the locals. For the first time ever on a vacation, Neal blended.

Our driving tour kicked off with several stops along scenic lookouts that provided amazing views of the ocean. But all of that beauty will create quite the appetite, so we soon stopped for lunch at Kona Brewing Company.
Oh yes, Kona do provide Liquid Aloha...specifically in the form of Wailua Wheat Ale, which I couldn't find anywhere else except in the restaurant. Needless to say, we had to go back later in the week. Plus, the patio tables present this view:
This is not with the long lens. I simply turned 45 degrees and snapped it. The Kentucky River does not look like this.

Next stop was the Halona blowhole on the south shore. Every time the waves roll in, it spouts a geyser of water that, apparently, does not photograph well...but was phenomenal to see in-person.
Before we headed out, Princess Pomtini got a picture of us...which was nice, considering Neal's arms are growing shorter and keep re-appearing in the bottom corners of our self-portraits.
And speaking of arms, I seem to have grown a third one. Queen Elizabeth had to study this one for a couple of minutes to determine where my arms were and where Neal's were. Isn't that the sign of a solid marriage, though? All intertwined and whatnot? Even if it does end up on Awkward Family Photos.

This is Manana Island, aka Rabbit Island. While it does bear an uncanny resemblance to a rabbit's head, it is actually named so because rabbits were raised here until 1994. Unfortunately, the rabbits got booted because they were destroying the native ecosystem of the island, which is an important seabird breeding area. And as we all know, rabbits can multiply like...well, rabbits.

Our next stop was along Pali Highway, where the Battle of Nu'uanu took place. I am borrowing most of my info from Wikipedia, so keep that in mind (although it is reinforced by the educational plaques at the overlook). And the pictures aren't fantastic...but it can't be sunny in paradise all the time. Otherwise, it would be a desert.
This is the northeast coast of the island, also considered the "windward side." It is known for the battle and the trade winds that whip through. As evidenced by this:
You can actually lean into the wind and it will almost hold you up. Unless you've had one too many cans of Spam...and then the only thing propping you up is a concrete barrier.

The story goes that this is the site of one of Hawaii's bloodiest battles. Kamehameha I came to O'ahu after conquering Maui and Moloka'i in 1795. The defenders of O'ahu, led by Kalanikupule, were driven up into the valley and trapped above the cliff. More than 400 O'ahu defenders were driven off the edge of the cliff and fell to their death, 1000 feet below. (I guess my first question would be: if you were defending the island, wouldn't you be a native of it? And if you were a native of it, wouldn't you know that the cliffs existed and are not where you would want to be in times of war? Just sayin'....) While some doubted the story, Princess Pomtini told us that during excavating for a construction project, they did find the skulls and skeletons of, what they believe to be, Kalanikupule's soldiers.

But perhaps more famous to mainlanders than the Battle of Nu'uanu, is Gilligan's Island...which was filmed here:
The roads that lead here actually cut through the mountain and are steep and narrow. My hats off to all of those who drive it during their daily commute. I consider it the same as riding into the depths of the Grand Canyon on a mule.

We made a quick stop by Queen Emma's Summer Palace to pee and because it was on the way down the mountain. Shortly after we arrived, a group of schoolchildren rolled in. Being Hawaiian schoolchildren, they sang (in Hawaiian) for permission to enter the home. The docent answered their request with a song of her own. It was beautiful and moving and like nothing I've ever seen back at the ranch.

Last stop for today is at this random cemetery. I haven't a clue what it is...I was just shocked that you can fit that many gravestones into one small space.
Talk about a tight squeeze....

Our last stop for the day was actually Punchbowl Crater, home to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The Punchbowl's Hawaiian name, "Puowaina," literally means "Hill of Sacrifice." And I, being very hooah hooah about our military, feel like that deserves a post all of its own. So, I'll save it for Champagne Friday and the start of Memorial Day Weekend. What better way to remember the men and women in uniform who sacrificed ultimately than with a post about Punchbowl?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Try a New Food Tuesday

First of all, let me just say that one reason why I heart you all so is because when I say, "I have these really nasty, flying, prehistoric pests taking over my humble abode," you all say, "oh GUH-ROSS!!! Good luck. You may want to try Borax/getting a cat/living on the moon." The point is, you get it. And I love that. And you don't judge me for wearing pink everyday and having a meltdown over something with antennae and 6 legs. So, thanks for that because the lady at Lowe's yesterday just looked at me like I had 7 heads and then suggested that I should try living in Florida sometime. And then she proceeded to tell me about how she remembered growing up and seeing them scurry up the roof when it rained. Shockingly, that did not actually make me feel any better. And then she informed me that there is absolutely nothing you can do about them....they've been around for millions of years and the best I can do is learn to hold hands with their antennae and sing "Ring around the roachy." What I want to sing is...

"When there's something strange,
Crawling up your drain,
Who ya gonna call?

Although Kelly liked cockbusters better, but then decided that would attract a whole different species of animal.

Anyway, I have all of the sink stoppers pulled and hair traps over all of the bathtub drains. And towels under the doors. I refuse to make it easy for them. If they can stroll in here with 10 of their best friends and a watermelon under each arm, then I'm doing it wrong.

On a different note, I was in the commissary today and noticed the rather extensive international aisle they have...and specifically everything from Germany and Asia. And then I looked around and noticed that I was one of the few young, American women in the store. The others were either brushing grave dirt off of one foot or hailed from across a very large pond. And they were all shopping the international aisle and buying things that started with 2 consonants. My next thought was that these were all military personnel and family members who had lived abroad for some time and had grown accustomed to certain liquer cake (which, I too, could become accustomed to without much prodding, I think).

So, this brings me to Try a New Food Tuesday, where I will buy a new food at the commissary (since the commissary is not open on Mondays, my new shopping day is Tuesday morning), give it a test run and either blog about it after I've finished the box or finished puking it all back up again in the guest bathroom. Either way, it's a new experience and experiences with food are sometimes too wonderful not to share.

This week's new food actually comes from our trip to of pineapple...and Spam. Yeah. Spam. Who knew? Spam is not foreign to me. I've had it a couple of times at my grandparent's house (although their preferred redneck meat of choice was vienna sausages...which, I'm almost certain, did not come from Vienna). But the Hawaiians can throw back on some Spam and they will put it on or in almost anything...including sushi. Our last dinner in Hawaii was at one of those sushi places where the food cruises past on a conveyor belt and you grab whatever looks good to you. The plates are color-coded by price and when you are stuffed to the gills, the waitress tallies up your plates and gives you the bill. (For the record, I think this is a GENIUS way of serving the American public and if I could eat like this at all restaurants, I would). Even though I didn't snap a picture of this, I did not have any problem finding one on Google:

Except that mine had a slab of egg under it. But otherwise, exactly the same.

And this is a pretty good representation of what Host Husband had while I was eating Spam:

That is not spicy tuna, salmon or even eel wrapped in's hotdog...which, in some ways, is even scarier.

And that's our Try a New Food Tuesday for today. Remember...when in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiians and take your blood pressure pill because there is definite sodium chloride in your future.

Because even 25% less sodium is 458% more than your cardiologist deems acceptable.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Champagne Friday with a Helping of Come-Apart

Happy Champagne Friday, y'all!

Judging by the status updates on Facebook, we have all been working for Champagne Friday...some since Sunday night...before the work week even started. We won't actually get to drink champagne tonight since we are driving back to Bluegrass Country as soon as Neal gets off work this afternoon. But that's not to say we can't pop a cork tomorrow night! And while we were perusing our local Publix on Tuesday night, we stumbled across these:

Someone...(Jessalyn maybe??) was telling me about these 4-packs of champagne, but I had never actually seen one until this week. So, if you are the only champagne drinker in your house and the idea of downing a whole bottle of champagne in one evening doesn't appeal to you (which, I hear, happens after the age of 35), here's your Choice B. Of course, if Jessalyn would just bless us all with those champagne stoppers she was giving away, we wouldn't have that problem, now would we?

So, I know I usually do a top 5, but I can't find our new tags for the Pathfinder and if I don't find them before 30 May, we can't drive the car off base because they won't let us back on. So, just one quick story for today.

Oh, and this is about bugs...specifically palmetto bugs. If you are eating breakfast/lunch/brunch/dinner/4th meal, you may want to come back later. Heaven knows I couldn't nosh on a hamburger and even tell this story, much less read it.

So, in my Georgian fantasy, there were palm trees, balmy January days, and day trips to the beach (notice the Air Force fantasy can actually stand alone, completely unlinked to the Georgian fantasy...meaning I do not have to be in Georgia to have the Air Force fantasy. I'm a planner like that.) Anyhawt, there were not big, nasty, flying cockroaches in my Georgian fantasy. Actually, they would probably fall under "4th dimension of Hell" for me. But dead, non-flying, 8-legs up and antennas splayed cockroaches are less craptastic...even though I still refuse to remove them from the house. That is listed in Neal's job description under "Duties of Tenant with a Penis." (Well, until he deploys and then I'll have to start wearing baggier jeans. Army wives have to grow some sort of attachment to house all of the courage we need for the next 13 months).

We went out with one of Neal's co-workers and his wife last night to celebrate her birthday. Beer flowed, stories were told, jokes were made. We rolled into the Brady Bungalow all jovial and relaxed (read: guard down). The cats spotted a millipede (or something long, skinny, and with about 4830285 legs). I beckoned for Neal. He came, he saw, and then he said, "well, what you should really be concerned about is that" and then he pointed to a living, breathing, crawling palmetto bug. Not sure what that looks like? Let me help you out.
And this one has covertly tucked his wings in beside no indication that he can just take flight and hurl his body toward your face at any time (which is exactly what happened to me last night as I stood on the couch and watched him inch across the ceiling). I think someone probably warned me that they can fly, but having never seen one do that, I just assumed they were talking about a different species. Nope. Same one. Wings and all.

Neal was retrieving the millipede when the giant, flying cockroach decided to dive-bomb me, so neither one of us saw where he ended up (because all I saw was the back bedroom, where I was running to...the furthest point away from the living room). This means that there is a palmetto bug roaming our house. Somewhere. We have looked under every piece of furniture (which, at this stage of the game, is not that difficult considering we have none), around doors, windows, and in bathtubs. No luck. Just the thought that I'm going to pull a chair out to sit and have lunch some day, only to find him laying there, waiting to be found, makes me want to puke. I spent about an hour researching exterminating solutions, even though the rental agency sprays every quarter. So far, I've found that bowls of beer, placed around doors and windows will attract and then drown them. And the maintenance guy just told me that he uses cedar bark around his house. I would prefer not to douse my house in Raid, as the girls are sensitive to chemicals (read: Poppy doesn't have a lick of common sense and will lick just about anything...including Lulu's Exit Only spot). So, I'm looking for alternative methods. I would also not wish to give birth to a 3-legged baby someday just because I had created a Chernobyl situation around the exterior of our home. But I also did not sign up to live in the same house as roaches. Just sayin'.

If any of you southern state-dwellers have suggestions, I am all ears. I will try pretty much anything and everything, short of fumigating every 5 days.

Sorry if I grossed anyone out to the point that they will not enjoy any food for the next 7-10 days. Welcome to my hell, though.
Cheers and Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In the Danger Zone

If you aren't banging out a drum beat on your desk right now as you read this and screeching highway to the danger zone!!...then you are probably not my people. And you are probably not going to appreciate my stories for the next 3 years. If, however, you like to watch a flight suit walk by and you dream of driving past a volleyball court full of half-naked, tanned, and sweaty may want to keep reading. (Although the volleyball thing has yet to happen, it's still only mid-May and I have high hopes for July.) Also, it may help if you fantasize over Tom Skerritt just slightly more than Tom Cruise. But then again...maybe that's just me. I'm OK with that. More Skerritt for me!

All of this to say that....I'm baaaaack!!! And good golly Miss Molly, WHATARIDE!

Just to tell you where I've been for the past 4 weeks or so (and why I did miss a couple of Champagne Fridays, which was most unfortunate), here it is, bullet point-style:

  • I think I left off with "OMG...Neal just got a job offer in Macon and we have to go to Hawaii, pack, move, unpack in a state that is 7 hours away, then prep the house, and sell it. Before that was "hmm...I think I might be pregnant. Oh no, sorry. Not this month. Bartender, could you slide that peach bellini down this way? Thanks. And one to go, please."
  • Then there was 8 days in what I will now refer to as B & J's Romantic Hideaway in Paradise. Travel pictures to post soon! And again, our many, MANY thanks to our friends for hosting such a terrific vacay that I actually did not think about the daunting task that was waiting for me back in Bluegrass Country.
  • We were home from Paradise for approximately 8 hours before the Atlas 18-wheeler pulled up in front of our house (on a cul-de-sac, mind you. I cannot even tell you how surreal it was to see an 18-wheeler on our street. I should have taken a picture. Bad blogger.)
  • Packing was pretty painless. And Queenie were so, so, so right. But thus far, everything made it one piece and I have yet to unpack a single broken item. But due to my Type A/OCD complex, we had both cars loaded to the gills with stuff I didn't trust them with. So...yeah...that could have had something to do with it.
  • The girls made the trip OK. The first 45 minutes were rough and it took us 9 hours to make a 7-hour drive so the last 45 were equally as difficult. Maybe kitties don't like free-ranging in the car? All I know is that to all of you who drive with your pets in your car on a regular basis: my hat is off to you. That shiznit is hard!
  • We left a decent amount of furniture in the house in Lex to stage it, which will then be moving on to the condo when we sell the house. So, we had to buy beds, an entertainment center, and a dresser when we got here....which won't be delivered until Monday. And we bought it on Monday. So, you have to use two hands to count the number of days we would have had to sleep on an air mattress...except that we are driving back to Bluegrass Country tomorrow for a party and to retrieve our vacuum cleaner and my underwear (which Neal accidentally packed in the attic). And our air mattress has a tiny hole that we can't see but were well aware of around 1:30 AM. So, I actually have a task on my to-do list for today.
I can't believe we did it. As the morning sun starts to warm the patio with all of the furniture I'm used to seeing back home and the cats bat a ball around a kitchen that has sticky notes reminding me of what is where, I simply cannot believe we made it. But as someone said (and I don't remember who, but a loyal reader and that's why I took it to heart), "you're going to just do it because you have to." Amen, sister! And we did!

I have so many stories to tell over the next few weeks that I'm practically busting at my pretty blonde seams. And I've missed you all terribly. So, time to load up Google Reader and do a little reading. Because you guys? You can be my wingman anytime!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

High on Paint Fumes and Life

I am a disgraceful Kentuckian. I completely missed the Kentucky Derby this evening. That hasn't happened since...well, since I got so drunk on mimosas in college that I had already passed out by the time 6:00 rolled around. Unfortch, that was not the case today.

Since Champagne Friday last Friday, we have:
  • secured a Very Brady bungalow on Robins Air Force base (it screams 1975...but I'm thinking...since I've never seen that year, perhaps it will be like new to me. It's a rental so I refuse to paint, but I think I can decorate around brass lighting fixtures. Maybe.)
  • met and had a "power dinner" with the colonel and most of the officers of the new unit. The colonel's wife makes a mean Butterfinger Pie and has already scouted out the best Urgent Treatment Center in the area. I wish they weren't moving, too.
  • been to Macon, back to Warner Robins, back to Macon, back to Warner Robins, and back to Macon...and finally back to Bluegrass Country
  • put about 1100 miles on Patty the Prius (who continues to brake without fail).
  • chased down the mailman from 10 houses up because I thought the last piece of paperwork that we needed to finalize Neal's orders was in that day's mail. It was. I have no regrets. Except that maybe I should have put on a bra first.
  • finally received orders for the move which means....yeah...we're stuck like peanut butter in the roof of your mouth. Another way to look at it: it's official. Official means money in the bank and a moving date. For sure. For sure is hard to get in the Army.
  • met with our Realtor who is honest about the ivy sitting on the kitchen cabinets and loves our house...but maybe with a mulch bed.
  • planted a mulch bed.
  • painted the master bedroom (complete with 12' cathedral ceilings). Twice. (Today we realized that we will never again use dark tan for a wall color...perfect for beer, bad for 1-coat painting. Also? Cathedral ceilings are meant for cathedrals. Not for suburb cookie-cutter houses. We are so done with anything over 9'.)
  • separated out what is staying here in the condo (...the most rockin' awesome condo we're going to buy after Chez Miller sells. I picked it out last week. If we lived downtown I would be doing daily drive-bys. But that's far and I don't even have time to shower regularly right now.) Having to divide everything out...this pot stays, this pan goes...this drinking board game stays, this Monopoly game goes...makes me realize I never want to get divorced. I do not want to have to do this again.
  • packed every spice, spatula, and saute pan we have so that cooking is now an impossibility. I'm going to weigh 4938 lbs by the time we get to Georgia.
  • pushed our departure date for vacation back. Twice. We will get on that plane.
So...yeah...the Derby didn't even occur to us until the radio DJ (who is actually one of my sorority sisters) said "did your horse win today?" Horse? What horse? That's where we are right now. We forgot to pick a horse for the Kentucky Derby. We live in 90 miles from the Derby. I blame the paint fumes.

Time to Google "how to stage a house for maximum selling potential" but I'll check back in soon. And post pics of the new digs. If, at first glance, you don't break out into the theme song for My Three Sons, you're a better person than I am. But it's 4 bedrooms and won't suck up our entire housing allowance. So, what's not to love?

And please go check out my girl Cher @ The Only Girl. She reviewed a necklace she bought from me last month (the very fun, very funky Not Your Mama's Pearls) and she stumbled across some celebrities wearing the same piece! If"find" doesn't make you giggle and squeal with delight, then you just don't get it and there's not enough hours in the day for me to explain it.

Just remember...I'm not dead. Just moving, selling a house, obtaining a Georgia business license, and generally only sleeping about 4 hours each night. But Neal's got a job (that he's wicked excited about so that makes me wicked excited) and we are leaving all of our winter clothes here. Life is a Buffet song.