29 September 2009


Okay peeps. I am going offline for a few days while we get this move taken care of. Wish us luck, we need it bad. There is a long story here about our Special POA and its location in Iraq that I can't bear to tell right now. Needless to say this move/sale/whatever needs to be done NOW. Later folks!

28 September 2009

Let the chaos ensue. (wasn't I LiveBlogging this PCS once?)

Okay, so yeah, that was a helluva few weeks there. Life feels pretty surreal right now... somehow it hasn't completely sunk in that at the end of this week I will no longer have a home. Holy stinking heck. I AM GOING TO BE HOMELESS LIVING OUT OF OUR TRUCK AND FREELOADING OFF OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS!

Hmm. Still hasn't sunk in. Ah well.

What has sunk in, however, is that the movers are showing up on Wednesday(!). (Please don't ask how one has sunk in and the other hasn't- this is just one of my many oddities that Swiss has to put up with on a daily basis.) See, when you live out of your truck for 3 months, there is some pretty strategic packing that needs to happen before the Army Approved packers come and wrap everything in bubble wrap, load it up on a big ol' truck and ship it south. Like clothes. How does one pack for both fall and winter for 3 months? Answer: With a lot of luggage. Oh yeah, and Swiss needs clothes for R&R too. Did I mention A LOT of luggage? And of course, since Mother Army loves her some paperwork, there is the bag dedicated solely to "important" documents. I put that in quotes because naturally I put what I thought to be important and necessary in there. Of course we all know that once everything is in temporary storage 1,200 miles away I will discover some truly important paperwork I need and cannot get to. And then there are all the little things that I just plain don't trust the movers with... the family heirlooms, jewelery, Fletcher (ha!). Oh yeah, and I need to cancel, transfer and whatever else you do with all your household utilities/services. And then there is the ProGear. I need to separate that out. And I need to sell my car. And I need to get my stuff out of my cubicle at work. And I need to empty the fridge/freezer. And I need to have a garage sale. And the computer and the XBox and the crafty stuff I will need to avoid boredom and my winter jacket and the potted orange tree and the urns in the back yard and... and... and...

And I need to calm down so my head doesn't essplode.

Also, I could use a husband. You know, the kind with a strong back, big burly muscles and intimate knowledge (keep it clean folks) of where all of our crap resides in this house. Anyone have one of those I can borrow? Mine's in Iraq and the pesky Army won't let him come home to help me move. The nerve!

So, here I am chomping at the bit here at work, anxiously waiting for the minutes to go by and get home so I can get on with the business of living out of our truck (down by the river) for which I am very, very excited. There will be a large pot of coffee, bubble wrap (seriously, keep it clean folks!), packing tape, storage crates, Sharpies and the aforementioned boatloads of luggage. With any luck, there will also be a lot of things crossed off the massive list I made for myself this weekend... is this where I say Hooah?

P.S.: Did I mention that Swiss comes home in less than a month? I KNOW! AWESOME!!!

27 September 2009

PS- I wrote something of actual use!

Check it out... I wrote a (not so little) piece on the GI Bill/VA woes that are surfacing now. Nothing groundbreaking, but I'd like to think it is pretty informative and at least tells the sordid tale of what really happened to cause all this. Check it out if you are interested or curious!

Also, as an update: The VA is agreeing to give out "emergency" $3,000 payments to Vets who haven't yet received their checks to cover rent. Go VA!

23 September 2009

Keep on truckin'.

Or something like that. After my spectacular meltdown yesterday on the phone with Swiss and on my blog I've moved on to self-preservation mode, also known as Auto Pilot, and started doing what I feel is the only option: Put my head down and just keep going. Push through it, be a hard ass when needed, take time for myself when needed and do whatever it is I need to do to get through this. Though to be fair, this is easier said than done. I'm still feeling totally overwhelmed and a little bit lost, but I'm getting better in large part to amazing friends and family and Swiss.

I'm not 100% sure what all of that entails... the doing what I need to get through this part... but I'm guessing I'll figure it out as I go. Lots of deep breathing, knitting (which I find oddly soothing and calming), packing like the scheduled move on Wednesday (!!!!) is still going to happen and preparing myself for the funeral on Saturday... oh and the pile of dirty laundry that needs to be done.

Tonight we are having a face to face sit down regarding the sale of the house with my agents, the buyer, his (crazy) agent and me. This will seal the deal no matter how it shakes down... either they will understand the math and the sale will move on as planned or they won't and I will cancel the Purchase Agreement. Pretty simple stuff... though the implications of canceling the PA sort of makes me want to vomit (read: cancel movers & reschedule for after R&R, get the house ready to show by tonight as I am leaving for home tomorrow, and the inherent risk of not getting another offer for a very, very long time). But whatever happens, I will deal with it and make it work. Because, hey, that is what we do... what other choice is there?

With any luck, next week at this time I will be preparing for the packer's & mover's arrival and moving forward with the sale of the house, feeling relieved, less stressed, calmer and finally, FINALLY, getting excited about R&R and seeing the man on the other end of my phone for the first time in 8 1/2 months. I'm not going to pray for this or hope my Karma comes through... I'm going to be dogged in my determination to make it work and beat this ridiculousness into submission through sheer will & persistence. Tom Petty told me not to back down, and I ain't gonna. So there.

Anyway, I wanted to say one more Thank You to all of you who have called, e-mailed, texted, IM'd, twittered and commented. Thank You for being so awesomely supportive, kind and caring. It has made this ridiculous roller coaster ride a bit easier to stomach and the graciousness of practical strangers will never cease to amaze me. So thanks for being so wonderful, thanks for still reading, and thanks for your kindness. Now, wish me luck and send more chocolate.

22 September 2009

Crisis of...

Take your pick...

It feels like I should be either irate or inconsolable with all that has happened, all that is going on, all the utter crap that has been raining down on this little life of ours/mine. Instead, I feel nothing. I am catatonic. I feel like I am just stumbling forward to some theoretical end-date where magically everything will be okay and Swiss will be home and all of this will be behind us. I know that day is out there, I know it is coming, but damn if it doesn't feel like it won't ever get here. Oh, and I don't actually know how to get there. Minor detail.

This weekend's events have left me with a crisis of faith. I can't understand why it was him, why he had to leave like that. I can't fathom why a man that made this world a better place would be taken away prematurely, be he 91 or 19. Pair that along side my pre-existing issues with religion, war, fairness and why nothing is the way it aught to be and I can't tell up from down anymore. I want to pray for Swiss' safe return, I want to pray for the safety of my friend's husbands at war. I want to pray for my loved ones who are struggling with the twists and turns of life. I want to pray to lessen whatever burdens I am lugging around. But I don't think (s)he is listening. I don't think my issues are big enough to register on the radar. I feel small and tossed about and insignificant. I don't know what to do when nothing is going right. I used to pray, but now, it feels like an empty ritual and nothing more. It feels like I am talking to air.

I am in the midst of a crisis of confidence the likes of which I have never before experienced because nothing I am doing is working out, nothing is even close to going as planned. I used to think I could do anything. Now I feel like no matter what I do, its destined for failure. I looked at this deployment as something I could tackle relatively easily. Now I look around and see a house deal that just won't go smoothly, a potential emergency mission to abort our move, a looming mortgage and unemployment amidst family drama and personal loss... not to mention 8 months without my husband. My best laid plans are, currently, a house of cards and it is getting windy in here. For so long there was no doubt in my mind that I could take care of all this alone... no doubt that everything would work out. Now, I just feel like I want to give up. What's the point in trying?

I used to believe in Karma. I always thought that if you did good, if you did the right thing, if you were kind and patient and generous that it would all come back to you. I'm fucking nice all the damned time. I always do the right thing even when it doesn't always benefit me. I don't know where all my Karma went. Maybe I blew the whole lot when I met Swiss. All I know is that it isn't here and I need it. Something fierce.

And I still can't understand why, in the middle of a deployment, I was lucky enough to get stuck with a buyer with the batshit insane agent who doesn't understand basic math and has less than zero personal skills with a side of irrationality. She has magically convinced herself and the buyer that there is a phantom $3000 missing and we are trying to get him to pay it. Which would be true if we had all agreed to sell/buy the house for $3000 more than we did. Also, please check my math:
$159,900-$3,000=$156,900. Yes? So then $156,900-$150,000=$6,900. Okay. Then $6,900/2=$3450. Correct? So if we are paying $3000 closing plus $3450 that means we are bringing (this makes me sick to write) $6450 to the table (less 'profit'). The remaining cost is $3450 that the buyer has to come up with. Correct? So how, pray tell, is the buyer getting the unfair end of it all? I CANNOT TELL YOU BECAUSE IT ISN'T TRUE. But she thinks it is gospel and has now convinced him that we are big mean bullies who are trying to take him for all he's worth. Never mind the insane deal (plus the $8000 from the government that they clearly think we don't know about) he is getting on our house and the $6450 we are paying OUT OF POCKET SO HE CAN HAVE OUR HOUSE. Gah. I give up. Really, I do. Done.

Someone please wake me up when this is all over because I'm pretty sure I can't handle it anymore.

At peace.

My Grandpa passed away this morning... he went quickly and did not linger... his breathing became labored and shortly after it stopped and then he was gone. I think we are all relieved that he won't have to go slowly at hospice. He is with his beloved wife Ethel now and we can all start the healing process. You will be missed Grandpa... maybe more than you will ever know.

7 January 1918 - 22 September 2009

Christmas at Home!

21 September 2009

Saying Goodbye.

Well, this has been one of the most difficult weekends I've ever experienced. I called my parents just before boarding my flight back home from San Francisco... that is when my Dad told me that my Grandpa suffered a catastrophic stroke the night before. I drove home from the airport, rounded up the dog, clean clothes and drove to my parent's home in the middle of the night.

We arrived at the hospital early Saturday morning and he looked so peaceful. But when the doctor came in, the reality of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks. He suffered a catastrophic stroke when a clot that had formed in his heart dislodged and stuck itself in his carotid artery. His entire left hemisphere was injured; speech recognition, the ability to form words, and the control of the right side of his body. Gone... or at least greatly diminished. The man I had grown up with, admired, respected and adored was a shell of his usually vibrant self. And the odds were not in his favor.

After 72 hours of waiting and hoping, we got the final word today... he will not improve... he can't. The damage was too much and the risks for complications were too high. Thankfully he was "awake" a bit more today and I got to see him try to smile. He tried to mumble 'I love you' back to me after I said it to him. He and I had a good 4 minutes together... I didn't say goodbye, I couldn't bring myself to say those words, but I told him how much I loved him, how he was always my favorite, and I held his hand tight. Then I left. And I cried most of the way home.

We, as a family, along with his advance directive have made the exceedingly hard decision to let him die quietly, peacefully, painlessly in hospice. As horrible as that sounds, letting him die, the alternative of a gastric feeding tube and a non-existent "life" in a nursing home, unable to speak, write, or move was never an option for us or him. He deserves better and he went out on top, which is both a blessing and a curse... it is comforting to know he was living a great life and never had to suffer through loosing his faculties, but it is beyond hard to comprehend and stomach that he is so suddenly gone, with no warning and no rhyme or reason. He was Wii bowling with his friends Thursday hours before the stroke... he was loving life and having fun and he knew how much he was loved by all of us. This is the last gift we can give to him, honor his wishes and let him go peacefully, no matter how hard it is and no matter how unready we were to say goodbye.

I feel such a great sense of loss and shock that he will no longer be there for family Sunday dinners, that his joyful demeanor and contagious laughs won't be present at holiday gatherings, that I won't get to play cards with him and playfully scold him when he tried to cheat. I will miss our Friday phone calls and I will miss his kind smile. I am still utterly gobsmacked that all of this has happened... he was the picture of health, 91 years old still living on his own, active, alert, no hints of ill health. And the next day he was, essentially, gone.

Thankfully I have an abundance of wonderful memories, I had the blessing of having him in my life for almost 31 years, I was able to form a unique and special relationship with him... and I secretly think I was his favorite (because he was totally mine!). I remember him letting me do his hair up with ribbons and curlers when I was little. I remember him putting me up on his 6'4" shoulders to take me out to the sandbars on Lake Winnebago. I remember him acting out his clue of "Madonna" one year at Christmas playing charades... that memory is priceless. Mostly, I remember a man who was dedicated to his family, madly in love with his wife, and the kind of fellow who no one could dislike if they tried. I remember his patience, his charm and his good nature. He was a gem, one of a kind, and I was blessed to call him my Grandfather for so, so many wonderful years.

I will miss you like no other Grandpa... you'll always be my favorite and I'll always love you! Go be with your Beloved Ethel and know that we will never, ever forget what a wonderful person you have been, what a kind and generous grandparent you were, and what a strong, loving, parent you were... we will never forget the times we shared and we will never forget you. You will always, always be missed.

Also, Thank You everyone for your kind thoughts, prayers and for those of you who reached out for the first time... you all have no idea how much your kindness has meant to my family and me.

NOTE: Please understand this was a very hard decision for our family and while you may not agree with us, I do not have any desire to hear those opinions, concerns or condemnations now, or ever. Please respect this decision our family has made as a whole and only comment if you have something positive or kind to say. Thanks.

19 September 2009


Grandpa, originally uploaded by Tucker&Swiss.

Just so you all know why I am MIA. My Grandfather, who is one of the most wonderful creatures this world has ever played host to, had a catastrophic stroke and the prognosis is not good. We won't know more until Monday but are preparing for the worst. I am home with my family, where I should be, but feeling utterly helpless and tremendously sad. This was completely out of the blue and I am just not ready to say goodbye to him yet. Please send your prayers our way. Thank you.

14 September 2009

On Vacation...

The Bridge, originally uploaded by Tucker&Swiss.

This is different from the hiatus... more fun and in a cooler locale! I'm off to San Francisco and will be out of the loop until Friday. Have a super week everyone and keep sending your good real estate juju our way... we still need it in spades (and send some to LAW too, we're all gettin' cozy in this boat). Take care all!

And the saga continues...

So, how did I spend my weekend? With the flu. Awesome, right? On the plus side, all the nausea and inability to eat without feeling miserable acted as a makeshift diet pre R&R and I dropped 3 pounds. Woo hoo. Also, I got to watch 7.5 consecutive hours of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. God bless you TBS.

The saga that is the selling of our house continues. We have been *ahem* "blessed" to have not only an inexperienced buyer (which is okay because I was inexperienced too when I bought my first house and would hardly consider myself an expert of any kind these days) but also, apparently, an inexperienced agent. No, not mine. She's been mostly great. But the buyer's agent apparently has no idea what do to in this situation and has been sending pointless and unreasonable requests via e-mail (aka: not in the formal response of an offer, etc). So we had been treading water, getting closer and closer to the closing date with a buyer who would not look for a new bank or submit an official request for a change to the offer. Ugh. So despite my last post, and in the hopes of either coming to a concrete decision or having more time back on the market, we put out our final (and very reasonable) offer to the buyer yesterday. It was in no uncertain terms. Take it or leave it. He has until the end of business today to decide.

So... I'll either be sprucing up the house tonight to have it ready to be shown again this week or finally able to breathe a sigh of relief that this ordeal is 'behind' us. At this rate? Either one is okay by me. Tomorrow I leave for San Francisco to hang out with Beth and hopefully get to meet up with Burn my Biscuits. The camera is back and in working order so I'll have plenty of quality times with the sights of the city by the bay and my trusty DSLR. Now, on to the business to getting well enough to eat my body weight in sushi... Happy Monday all!

10 September 2009


REVELATION: In regards to the current situation we are in with the buyer... if this were a game of tennis (wherein I would be a Rafa Nadal type and he would be the 114th Ranked player who eeked into the tournament) the ball would be in his court. Any move on my part would a) make me look like a moron and b) upset the balance of the game. Hunh?

To this I say: WHO KNEW? (Answer: me, obviously!)

Somehow I have contorted the situation into being my issue (something about my house not appraising high enough so I had to do something to remedy the situation) and not his which resulted in much gnashing of teeth and near-ulcer inducing stress. So, per the recommendation of our Agent... we are proceeding as dictated by our signed and legally binding Purchase Agreement and heading towards our closing date of October 5th. Until we hear differently from them, its business as usual. And that thud you heard? It was the massive weight on my shoulders falling to the floor, through it and into the basement.

In the interest of full disclosure, this whole thing could fall apart like a house of cards, but we are prepared to put it back on the market (begrudgingly) to hopefully snag a less batshitcrazinsane buyer if need be. Our Agent is confident it will sell just fine, especially if we lower the price a bit ('round about the number where we would still break even).

So, color me relieved. As hokey as it sounds, I feel like someone has breathed life back into me... like I can finally focus on something, anything else. It is good to be back. Let's just hope its a nice long stay...

Thanks for your patience and kind words and support through all of this. Y'all are rock stars!

08 September 2009

Twitterfied update.

Apparently I can only formulate thoughts that are 140 characters or less. Twitter has corroded my brain. But I digress... here's the update in 140 characters or less:

Glee! Maybe dead camera? Appraiser is the devil. Moving date set. Trip to SanFran next week. Going to loose lotsa $ on house. Wine is good.

There. Now you've been updated. In 140 characters or less. Twitter FTW!

04 September 2009


Hey all.
Don't worry... it won't be long. I just need to take a break. I'm feeling rather threadbare and need some time to either refocus or regroup, I can't tell which one yet. Maybe both. I just feel like I don't have the energy or the spirit or the gumption to turn all this stuff into coherent thoughts that are either humorous, informative, or worthwhile to read. So I'm just going to hold off on the posting for a bit.

Then again, maybe y'all are my therapy and I won't be able to go more than the weekend without blogging. We'll see. But for now... I just need a breather. I need to focus on me and get over the funk I've been in and find a better way to deal with all the stuff that has been going on. I'll still be around, reading y'all's blogs and stuff. Just not posting here.

Hope y'all understand. I promise I won't be long.
Take care and have a great weekend.

Weekend intentions.

So, this has been a week. We still don't know anything about the house/appraiser/offer/sold-not-sold situation. It is sort of killing me to not know, but also, if they are still working on it, then what is there to report? No resolution yet. And so far, (knock on wood) the buyer is still all in. Seeing as how it took the appraiser almost a week to do his thing last time, I'm guessing next week is as good as we can hope for. I'm proceeding with the PCS steps in a leap of blind faith. So the moving company is coming through next week for a walk-through. I am continuing my cataloguing of what comes with me, what goes, what is too precious to trust to a random stranger. I think all of this is in the hopes that if I just keep going, things will work out. I'm not stressing out, just, you know, plodding along with the hopes that things won't go horribly awry in the near (or distant) future. Y'all, I'm gonna need you to keep your fingers crossed for us!

But that brings me to this weekend. My intentions? So far, tonight I plan to talk to Swiss, go get some pumpkin beer and supplies for White Russians, snag some dinner and tuck in to watch Marie Antoinette and Pan's Labyrinth in the hopes of getting inspired to do some artwork (think sketches, pen & ink stuff). Tomorrow I get to haul all of Swiss's hunting gear up from the basement and into the truck for transport and storage at the in-law's house. The perk? Helga will feed me a hearty, cream & butter filled, German dinner. Yum. Then Sunday I am making baked beans for a get-together with friends. These baked beans. Bacon! Monday... nothing. Blissful, sweet nothing. All in all, it should be a good, relaxing weekend for me to chill out, decompress and gear up for the next 6-ish weeks of madness until R&R comes.

What are y'all up to? Either way, I hope each of you have a wonderful long weekend!

02 September 2009

Ah ha! New Army Math, explained.

So, my lovely Transportation Officer Cinnamon (yes, that is really her name, but she is nice and patient and I really do like the spice so I'm going with it) called me up this morning to explain why a move that is 110 miles closer will in fact cost us $765. Are you ready for this?

Apparently, the Government sets a nation-wide rate for all moving companies, what they will get paid when they do these Government moves. And, apparently many of the movers from the different states don't think that rate is enough. So each of them have these supplemental rates to get each individual state's movers up to the rate that they are comfortable with. Aaaand, apparently the state we currently live in has a rate that is 25% higher than the state Swiss used to live in. Even though they are right next door and, yeah, this is bullshit and makes no sense to me and I hate this state for so, so many reasons now!

However, my annoyance being vented, I am not upset with the Transportation Office... it isn't their fault and Cinnamon was super nice about it. I just think this is lame. The state we live in is lame. The movers from this state are lame. And I think it is lame how everyone and their cat has their hands (er... paws?) in my pockets. Can you tell I've reached maximum density? At this point I just want to be down at Fort X with all this ridiculousness behind me, my husband home and no more drama. Bwahahahahaha. Not for another 5 months Sucker!

Anyway, we are waiting to hear back about all the appraisal/offer/real estate madness. Swiss and I are both just SO over it. We just want to make this deal work, take our lumps and move on. So what if we loose a bunch of money. I just won't get the new car I've been eyeing up and researching for the past year. No big deal. This is how life works... but I just want it to be OVER already. I'll keep y'all posted but in the mean time, please send us all the good juju you can muster! Thanks everyone!

01 September 2009

Army math?

So would someone please tell me how this "new" Army math works? Obviously I haven't been an Army Wife long enough to understand Army Math... So here's your homework folks:

Let's assume that the distance from our current home to Fort X is exactly 1,103 miles.
And, the distance from Swiss's old duty station to Fort X is exactly 1,213 miles.
Then, how does the cost of a PCS from here cost us (out of pocket) $756.00 more than a PSC from the previous duty station that is, in fact, 110 miles further from our final destination?

According to my civilian math, the cost of driving a moving truck down 110 LESS miles of Interstate A from our house to Fort X is $6.78 per mile. You know, as opposed to driving Highway B for an extra 110 miles only to join up with the same Interstate A? Hmm. I'm confused. Now clearly my civilian brand of math is lacking a certain je nes sais quoi that Army math because those numbers of mine just don't add up. I'm hoping some of you have some insight into how this Army math works, because math wasn't ever my strong suit, so I'm purrty confused about this here PPSO stuff.

Needless to say this discrepancy has been, tactfully, brought to the attention of our PSC officer. I'm tres interested to see what she has to say about this Army math business...


In a turn of events that is making me question the status of my cosmic Karma, our appraisal has failed. (Seriously- What DID I do???) And by failed, I mean the dude sent by the (EVIL) bank appraised our house at the same value it was appraised at 2 years ago (which is about $10,000 less than the sale price). Even though we remodeled the kitchen and everyone & their mom thinks the price is right. So... the accepted offer? In jeopardy. The calmness and serenity of being done with the house drama? Poof. GONE. The anxiety, worry and stress of getting this fixed, sold and done with once and for all? Back with a vengeance.

Our realtor claims it isn't time to panic yet (HA! She didn't just submit her PPSO forms requesting to be moved out of said house on the 1st of October and signed papers formally resigning her position at work on the 16th of October.). She found the comps we based our price on, she submitted paperwork detailing the work that has been done on the house and apparently the buyer's agent is working to fix this too. All hands are on deck to try and right this ship. But honestly, my outlook is grim. (Oh, and let's NOT get into the fact that this whole mess is happening solely because the EVIL banks offered sub-prime lending which caused this housing crash and now they are screwing ME and everyone else over by under-appraising houses in order to cover their own asses. Color me LIVID.)

I do not know what to do now. Save cry, knit, drink, cry some more, and pray to anyone upstairs who is listening for a teensey bit of help on this one. I know Swiss, bless his heart, will just say to do whatever we have to do in order to get the sale done with... even if it means loosing more money. I can honestly say that at this point, I'm in total agreement with him. Anyway, if you have some spare time, throw out some good financial juju my way. And if you know what I did to mess up my Karma so spectacularly, drop me a line because I'd really like to know...

PS- As an added bonus, the PPSO office just called to inform me that our move will cost us $1,000 out of pocket because he was single and living in another state when he got his PCS orders, even though he didn't report to his new duty station until after we got married. Our current home is further away from our new duty station than his last duty station was so yep, we get to absorb that cost. Wheeee! LOOK AT ME! I AM MADE OF MONEY!!!