Tonight we're crashed out in a Days Inn near the San Diego airport. We're getting up tomorrow morning to meet with our realtor to go look at houses for a few hours in the morning and then tomorrow afternoon we're on a plane, heading to Minneapolis. We'll spend the weekend there and then my father, Lincoln, Zac and I will drive down to Nebraska. It will be good to see our families. Zac and I were talking about it and we think the last time we saw our families was last November/December. It doesn't seem like it has been a year, but it very well could be. Time seems to fly by.
I'm pretty much running on fumes at this point. It has been a week filled with restless sleep and poor eating habits. I've got a nagging headache, knots in my neck and shoulders, recurrent nausea and an over-all sense of being stressed to the max. (No, I'm not pregnant.) Tonight is the first night that I'm thinking that I might be able to get a decent night's sleep. The sleep deprivation really started on Sunday night, knowing that in the morning the moving company would be there to pack us out.
Monday morning the movers arrived around 8:30. There were four of them and the lead mover, "T", did a quick walk-through with us to see what he and his guys were working with. He was a little stunned to see that we didn't have a dining room set or a couch. Our dining room set had been deteriorating over the years to the point where there were only three remaining chairs and the legs were barely keeping the thing up. We decided that it was okay to get rid of it. We sold our couch to some friends of ours. We liked our couch, but in hindsight we would have picked something different. We got a few good years out of it and we know the new owners will enjoy falling asleep on it as much as we did.
After T did his walk-through he told that even though we were scheduled for a two-day pack out that his crew could easily pack us up in one day. We told him that we would like that as it would give us a little more time to clean the house and give our remaining food away. During the packing , there were a few closets in the house that I affixed "Please do not pack" signs to. Movers are notorious for packing everything they find. Everything. I have heard more than one story where they've packed up garbage cans - with the garbage still in them. That must have smelled terrific two months down the road when the families opened them up. I heard from another family that the movers started wrapping up a small dog kennel before they realized that the dog was actually inside of it. So in the interest of good communication, I made signs to protect our stuff. We had our packed luggage that needed to stay with us, plus some food in the pantry. Apparently my signs did the job as everything that I marked stayed put.
They started at 8:30 and they were done by 3:30, which was really quite remarkable. Then it was just Zac, me and the dogs left in a very naked house. We spent a couple of hours cleaning the upstairs and then borrowed an air mattress from a friend to sleep on. The Navy will actually pay for part of a hotel so those last few nights you have a place to stay, but almost all the hotels on Oahu are down in Waikiki and we didn't want to be driving back and forth getting the house cleaned out. Looking back, we would have checked out of housing a couple of days earlier and stayed in the hotel for a night or two before leaving. That would have meant our last couple of days in Hawaii would have been relaxing and enjoying paradise instead of vacuuming, mopping and running errands. Eh, live and learn. Monday night I was relieved that the pack out was done, but I knew we still had a lot to do.
Tuesday Zac and I cleaned the house some more and ran a few moving-out errands like turning in the cable box. We decided that we were going to do a walk-away, where we just pay the flat fee to the housing company to clean the place when we leave, but there were still some things that needed to be done to get it up to a walk-away standard. We also spent Tuesday distributing food from the pantry and fridge to our friends. Food is so expensive in Hawaii that you really don't want to waste anything. A pound of butter cost almost $3.50 at the commissary and it can be more than $5 at regular grocers. You don't waste $5 butter. We also had to pack all of the bags we were going to be taking with us on the plane. We were allowed four free bags per person since we were traveling on active duty PCS orders. Since we may be living out of these bags for a couple of months, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of stuff with us. A tired Zac
Wednesday morning we had to take the dogs over to our friend's house so we could have the house empty for the final inspection with the housing company. They said that they would be there at some point between 8-noon. It's really, really, really boring sitting in an empty house waiting for someone. Finally the inspector arrived at 9:45. We passed, headed over to the office to pay our final bill, and ran to the post office to mail some last packages back to the mainland. Then we headed up to a different friend's house to drop off all of our luggage. We were going to spend the night at her house so she could drive us to the airport the next morning. Next we went to the harbor to drop off the car for shipment. Then back to our friend's. *sigh* So much running around. We took showers and hung out at her house for a couple of hours, trying to unwind. We went to dinner with a group of friends one last time and crawled into bed, knowing that we'd have to be up at 4:15 the next morning to get to the airport on time.
Another was another restless, sleepless night but Thursday morning found us watching the sun rise as we took off from Honolulu International airport. I couldn't help it - tears spilled out as I watched the island get smaller. I loved my time on the island. Four years ago, I never would have thought I would live in a place like Hawaii. I never would have thought that I would have become a scuba diver and swim with manta rays and sea turtles. I never would have thought I'd look at the stars from the top of a volcano. I never would have thought I'd live close enough to Australia to make it a reasonable vacation destination. I never would have thought I'd eat sushi and like it. (Well, some of it.) I never would have thought I would love the beach as much as I do. As excited as I am about our new adventures, I was sad to be leaving.
I slept on and off on the flight to San Francisco, and then San Diego, but I'm still pretty wiped out. I'm relieved that most of the heavy lifting is done at this point. The purpose of the next three weeks is to relax and enjoy the company of our families. I'm going to try and take this opportunity to de-stress. Yes, I still have to get our dogs from Honolulu to San Diego, but I'm lucky that I've got great friends back on Oahu that are able to help me out with that. It was sad to say goodbye to the pooches yesterday, but I know that I'll get to deal with all their dog hair soon enough.
And now, even though it's only 7:40pm back "home", it's time for bed. Here's hoping for a restful night.