I just looked at the calendar and we leave in two weeks.
Two weeks. Yikes.
The last four weeks has flown by in a blur. Every day a new item is added to the moving to-do list while another item is crossed off. We're making progress, but there's always something else that we discover needs to be done. Mix that with my sine wave-like emotional state and it's been exhausting. I never seem to have the time I need to complete tasks but then I find myself occasionally paralyzed, trying to figure out why I have nothing to do in that moment. So forgive the disjointed ramblings. My brain is scattered.
Here are some things that have happened in the last four weeks.
--We sold the truck. When we moved out to Hawaii the Navy would only ship over one vehicle. Zac owns a F150 pickup (the true love of his life - which I'm ok with) and we also owned a Ford Escape hybrid. We decided that the Escape was the better choice for getting around the island. Of course we had been on the island for only a few months when both of us realized that we were going crazy only having one car. Me? I hated being stuck at home while Zac drove to and from work. True, I work from home so I didn't really need to leave but the idea that I couldn't go places whenever I wanted to irritated me. And Zac? He missed his truck. He went from driving a big, bad beast of a vehicle to a SUV that turns off while you drive around parking lots. He was a man without a country, er, truck. So he went out and bought another F150, which he promptly drove very little because he had gotten used to the fabulous gas mileage that the Escape gets. (Although we did drive the truck a lot when we went diving - it was nice to toss all that salty, sandy gear into the bed instead of inside the Escape.)
Like coming to Oahu, the Navy will only ship one vehicle leaving Oahu as well. It took a while and a couple of price drops, but we finally sold the truck about a month ago. We've been very lucky that a few of our friends have been off island for the last three weeks and have let us use/watch their cars so we've been able to maintain a two-car status for awhile. When we leave Oahu we'll ship our car to San Diego. Our moving travels will take us from Honolulu to Minneapolis to Nebraska where we'll pick up Zac's beloved truck and drive her back to San Diego. By that point, hopefully, the Escape will have arrived and we'll both be able to come and go as we need to.
--We've continued looking for a house but haven't put in any offers. We've resigned ourselves to the fact that we really want to see the neighborhoods and houses in person before we start making any decisions. To ensure that we weren't homeless upon our arrival in San Diego we signed up for military housing. We've been assigned a house already so we'll be able to move in as soon as we get there. Added bonus: there is no penalty for terminating the lease early if we buy a house. SD is a large, urban area and there seem to be houses popping up all the time that are in our price range and desired locations. The trick is trying to get to them quickly. It seems that a lot of houses are only on the market for a few days or a couple of weeks and they're gone. We're going to have to be fairly aggressive when we get there to purchase something.
--The movers came today to pack out our first shipment of goods. The Navy provides two shipments - a small shipment of about 600 lbs and a larger shipment of everything else. (Up to a certain weight limit based on rank and the number of dependents.) The idea is that the small shipment gets packed out first and is delivered "quickly" to your next duty station so you're not living in a vacant apartment/house for any length of time. You're supposed to send things like some pots and pans, dishes, linens and clothing in that first shipment. The larger household goods (HHG) shipment follows and sometimes takes a little longer to transit to the new duty station.
The Navy will allow one delivery of each type of shipment and will hold your goods for you for about 90 days before they start charging you for storage. For us that means that we will have our smaller shipment delivered when we get to our military housing assignment, but we're going to wait to have our larger HHG delivered when we buy a house. (Otherwise we'd be responsible for moving that smaller shipment and the larger shipment into the new house on our time and our dime. I don't want to un-pack and re-pack everything we own within a couple of months and frankly, with Zac being on sea duty, who knows if he'd be around to help.) The end result is Zac and I will have to live up to three months on the stuff we shipped out today. It's really quite amazing how much 600lbs is, but I'm sure it won't look like much when we move into military housing. I'm guessing that's going to be a pretty empty house while we're there.
--Zac re-enlisted in the Navy for three more years. I was excited that I was able to be there for it. Zac has re-enlisted once while we've been together, but that was while he was in El Salvador so I wasn't able to be there for it. Usually when a sailor re-enlists he picks where he wants the ceremony to take place. Sometimes sailors can be pretty creative. A lot of sailors out here re-enlist on the USS Missouri, which is always cool. Zac was debating where he wanted to do his and he finally settled on doing it out in Pearl Harbor, on a rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) in front of the sunken USS Utah memorial. (On the opposite side of Ford Island from the USS Arizona memorial.)
When Zac first mentioned it to me I thought, "That's awesome! What a cool place to do it!" But then it dawned on me that I probably wouldn't be able to go out with him on the RHIB due to safety issues or Navy regulations or some sort of protocol that would prohibit civilians such as myself from going with them. Luckily for me, Zac's Commanding Officer was more than generous and let me accompany them on the RHIB for the ceremony. I even got a certificate thanking me for being a supportive wife. That was really neat. I'm really grateful for the chance to be there. It's a short ceremony. Zac leaves the Navy, he's awarded a letter thanking him for his service, a couple of seconds pass and then they swear him back in. Lots of photos and handshakes. Once of Zac's favorite parts of his job is tooling around out there on the RHIBs, so it was only fitting that that's what chose for his location. And doing it in front of the USS Utah just added to the day.
--I resigned as Zac's command ombudsman earlier this week. While I was relieved to be taking that task off my plate, as I handed over the information and passwords to the newly appointed ombudsman I found myself sad to no longer be involved in Zac's command. I know some spouses like to be involved and some don't - everyone needs to do what's right for them and their family - but I enjoyed helping out. I like knowing what's going on and sharing that information with others. I understand that at Zac's command here in Hawaii that the ombudsman wasn't called upon to do much but I felt like I tried to be available to people so I'm chalking it up as a successful experience. Maybe I'll do it again someday.
--I also tried to volunteer with COMPASS in August and September. I say "tried" because while the volunteers showed for the class none of the participants did (save one lovely woman who showed up for the September session). The August session fell victim to some internet registration technical glitches and the September session was just a bust. I wish I could come up with another way of putting it, but it really was just a bust. We had something like nine people sign up and on the first day of class only one person showed, despite reminders the day before. Two people had people in their family fall ill so they couldn't attend, some people had other things come up, a few we couldn't get a hold of and two of them just plumb forgot. It was really frustrating for a number of us volunteers that had tried two months in a row to get the classes together only to have them fall apart the day of. I'll hopefully be able to volunteer with COMPASS in San Diego so I'll have other opportunities to contribute and meet people, but I really like the people I volunteered with out here and I was really quite sad that I didn't get do the class one more time with them.
I've been pretty good so far at keeping my stress level in check, but I think it's going to be increasingly difficult as more and more things become the "last" time I do things out here. The last time I drive over to the North Shore, the last time I go to the beach, the last time I go to our favorite Thai restaurant, the last time I see my friends. Only two weeks left. Eek.