30 July 2009
And my cute shoes! They are ruined! These are the only shoes I have that go with my favorite dress. The one I am planning on wearing to pick up Swiss for R&R in. Now I have no shoes. And now that I want classic but sexy tobacco colored leather pumps with a stacked heel... I will not be able to find a single stinking pair. Gah!
Oh, and my Lab Director (aka: my boss's boss) whom I told yesterday that I was leaving in November, came by my desk today and asked me if I wanted to be called Tucker A or Tucker T. I said it depended on what the A and the T stood for. His response? A=Abandoner and T=Traitor. Nice right? So I chose T just to be spiteful.
But in other news, someone is looking at the house again today. Fingers crossed that there is an offer on the way, but I doubt it. Selling houses is no fun I tell you! My parents are coming up for the weekend, so that will be interesting. That is a lot of dogs in one house. And a lot of people. And there is a dinner tonight with the in-laws too. But that isn't anything a little (okay, a lot) of wine can't fix!
Okay, well I guess I should go work or something. I hope y'all are having a better Thursday than me!
29 July 2009
Jason Garn checks on his goats, which the Utah Army National Guard is using to create a firebreak on Camp Williams, near Salt Lake City, Utah. The goats have proven their worth during more than one fire season by consuming brush that would fuel wildfires. Photo credit Lt. Col. Hank McIntire
28 July 2009
26 July 2009
See, when we were dating, we relied on a lot of phone calls to get through the weeks, to maintain the normal progression of our relationship and, well, to get our fix of each other. We always talked about anything and everything, hour long conversations about how I paint or how you would go about painting something, politics, evolution, being silly, or intent discussions about where we would live, how our house would be, trips we planned to take. It was wonderful and made all of our time apart less unbearable. Funny, that is exactly what we have been doing for the past twenty some odd weeks.
Lately our conversations have been flying by just like old times, the content varied and engaging, the smiles and laughs plentiful. It is good and we are good. But man, it makes me miss the real life version. You know, the one where we are sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine or lounging outside by the fire pit with spiked cocoa or walking around the neighborhood having these conversations in person (dude, we totally sound like lushes!). It is odd feeling like you are back to the dating phase with the man you married. I feel like we are stuck back where we were a year ago... like we haven't made any forward progress. Obviously I know this isn't the case, but still. It feels weird.
I suppose you can chalk all of this up to just being ready to be DONE with this deployment. I mean, things are going fine, I am doing fine, Swiss is doing fine. But yeah, I'm ready for him to come home. He's the most awesomest person I've ever met and dammit, I miss him! Well, only twentysomething more weeks to go...
24 July 2009
We are on the housing list. And that is one step closer to this thing being done! Now, I just need to remember to call the nice lady around 45 days before I want to move in! Happy Friday everyone!!!
*this totally depends on your definiton of sweet.
23 July 2009
"I've been inspired by the tenacity of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. His recent reflections in Newsweek make clear that social justice must be the underlying principle for healthcare reform, an idea LIVESTRONG seeks to embody, just as he has throughout his career. And there's a lot of reform that needs to happen. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more than any other industrialized country on health care, we do not achieve better outcomes on leading health indicators like infant mortality and average life span. Too many Americans live without health insurance (and I was once a member of that club). Too many people don't have access to care. It's simply inexcusable.
I know mountain climbs pretty well. What President Obama and others are encouraging in the United States with healthcare is a tough climb – no doubt. To Senator Kennedy's point, though, we have a chance right now to initiate a major shift in our healthcare system. If we succeed in making a significant and substantial change, it will be the first in three generations. It is the common expectation in many countries that every citizen should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, part of a moral investment in social justice. Why not in the United States as well?"
22 July 2009
Once we decided we were for sure leaving this place permanently (i.e. not coming back here after retirement) I chose my last day at work and have, ever since, been in varying degrees of checked out. I'm still here enough to do my job and do it well, but the long term implications of plans or future goals in the workplace hold no weight or concern for me now. I'm in the moment, and for now, it is working.
We also decided to just stick with on-post housing once we get down to Fort X. We've lived there before and if given the opportunity, we will choose the same community we were in before. All of the homes consist of a small galley style kitchen, large living room, 4 bedrooms and 2 baths in a ranch style duplex. I have already mentally started moving our furniture in. Which room will be the guest room? Which one will be our office/studio? Where will I put the sofa? Will the dining room set fit? It is a task I enjoy, like a giant puzzle where I get to rediscover all of the great items we have, the functionality of our furniture and mostly, because it means a new start for Swiss and I. One were we actually live together. What a novel concept!
Lately, I have been taking this mental moving on to new levels... I'm planning and researching how I want to decorate our home after retirement. Which is sort of hilarious given that we have no idea where we will be, let alone what type, size or style of home we will have. Apartment? House? Will we buy or will be build? No idea! But I do find that this process, the sorting out rooms that I love the look & feel of, finding colors or fabrics that I find inspiring, trying to imagine us in the rooms in magazines, figuring out what things I just can't live without, so relaxing and energizing at the same time. I get to use the right side of my brain (side note: take this test sometime, I am 47% Left, 53% Right, which I find fascinating as I am a scientist by trade and all that Right brained business has no place in a lab.) and think abstractly about spaces and color and feel. Which is so not what I do here at work. It is beyond refreshing.
Anyway, I totally beefed up my Daily Goodness Blogroll over to the right (down just over half way) with a ton of beautiful sites that are chock full of inspiration. All this planning and right brained thinking has me feeling much more settled and content, less anxious and uncertain. Maybe it is because this is a tangible thing I can work on, something that I can actually DO without input from an Army office, fill out forms for or cross my fingers to accomplish. Funny what a little paint and design can do for the soul.
21 July 2009
By my Stay-back-100-meters-or-you-will-be-shot Army Neighbor no less.
Beer belly? Check. Random quasi-tribal large tattoos? Check. Giant white socks with black high-tops? Check. Excessively baggy/long shorts? Check. It was like a perfect storm of suburban pseudo-fit white-guy faux pas.
Now, to be fair, I have a sub-set of situations in which public shirtlessness is okay. Doing physical activity in 90+ degree heat? Sure. If you are either one of these men: Exhibit A and Exhibit B? Yes please. Swimming? Employed as a life guard? Totally appropriate. But pruning the hedges in front of your house at 4:30 on a cloudy 77 degree day? Not so much.
Gaw, I wouldn't even 'let' Swiss run around in public without a shirt on. Besides the extra effort of batting away women on my part (wink), I just can't think of that many situations in which it is truly called for. Furthermore, (not to get all feministy on y'all) but it certainly isn't acceptable for me to roll on out my front door shirtless, braless and prune my hedges. Wait, that just sounded like a euphemism for something dirrrrty. Never mind. Would the neighbor dudes like it? Probably (because it involves BOOBIES!), but let me assure you, I am no Angelina Jolie, no one wants to see my belly or love handles and I am sure that the neighbor ladies would sneer and cackle until I was shamed into a shirt. So why does Mr. Check-out-my-guns-but-please-ignore-my-beer-belly get to do it? Someone please answer this for me!
Anyway, that is my random rant for today. I am interested to see what weird things you all take issue with... do any of you share my dislike for male public quasi-nudity? Please share and make me feel less like a prude. Thanks.
Rest is Peace Sgt 1st Class John C. Beale
Riverdale, Georgia, Georgia Army National Guard 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
May we never forget you or the sacrifice you made for us.
WARNING: This video is long, about 12:35, but worth every second. And it WILL make you weep openly, if it doesn't you are a lost cause. It is also worth noting that all of these people came out to honor this soldier after only a small notice was posted in the local newspaper listing the route and approximate time. It makes me so hopeful and thankful that people do still care. Especially when it counts the most.
18 July 2009
17 July 2009
Then I realized that at around $3.95 a pop (if not more), it would take more to $100 to fill up a box, plus postage. We aren't poor, but that's a lot of loot! So I sat and stewed on this. How could I procure reading materials at little to no cost without having to run around town and beg grocery stores/bookstores/etc for their unsold wares? I was loathe to ask folks I know for help, please don't ask me why because surely I don't have a good reason. But finally I sent out the only slightly begging e-mail to some select co-workers. I asked if they had any old Dude Magazines (remember: Infantry) that they would be willing to give up, so that I could send them to Swiss and his fellow soldiers.
I was nervous about sending this e-mail. I didn't want to sound like I couldn't fix this myself. I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. I didn't want to sound like I, or the guys, needed pity. Lame, I know.
But happily, 6 folks (only 2 of which have actually met Swiss), brought in armloads of magazines to share... everything from Bowhunter (Swiss will LOVE these) to National Geographic to Men's Health to Outside to Sports Illustrated. I got enough to fill two flat rate (the big kind!) boxes, both of which I am sending out today with big bags of Starbursts and Twizzlers. And it made me all fuzzy and warm inside, I might have even teared up a little. I also brought in a card, thinking that perhaps the folks who donated these magazines would want to say something to the guys. Then I thought better of it, what if they thought that was lame? What if they were only doing it because they knew me and felt obligated? What if they didn't have anything to say? But again, I was so wrong. They wrote the kindest, sweetest most grateful comments. And once again, I got all warm and fuzzy inside.
I am SO glad I asked for help, because they helped me accomplish something that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own. And together, we fixed a simple problem, we made life a tiny bit better for the guys over there. It feels good.
So the moral of the story is that, while we assume folks don't care because they don't talk about it or don't act as advocates/supporters of our troops, when push comes to shove... some of them do. Some of them will lug 5 pounds of magazines to work so that your husband and his co-workers have something to read. They will write kind sentiments that you never knew they felt, and they will help when you need it, as long as you are willing to ask.
That, my friends, is a wonderful thing.
16 July 2009
And this story will help the memory and life of Lt. Brian Bradshaw live on, with honor, dignity and grace.
It is good to know that, while the rest of the world was more concerned with the life and death of a pop star, our armed forces were focused on a man that mattered, a man that made a difference, and a man who made this world a better place. Whether the masses knew him or not.
Rest in Peace Lt. Brian Bradshaw. We won't forget you.
15 July 2009
This video had me choking back tears at work this morning. LAW blogged about it today, go check out her post.
This is how our heroes should be honored, this is how we should show our appreciation, gratitude, respect and reverence. No protests, no disrespect, no mad media dash. Just solemn respect and grace. After all, these men gave their lives for the most noble of reasons, they did what so few had to courage to do, they gave everything so that others could be free. May we never forget them...
14 July 2009
Anyway, there are two scheduled showings today and a Realtor-Only Open House. My fingers are still crossed and I am still waiting to talk to someone from PPSO who has actual clout to get the skinny on how much time I really need to get the ball moving. And Swiss, being the wonderful husband and miracle worker he is, managed to get a shiny new Power of Attorney for us, so that we can legally sell this house without risk of me ending up in jail for forgery. (Even though his name isn't on the title or deed, our state makes him half owner since we are now married. The old POA we had didn't go into selling property since we didn't think he counted as an owner- mistake!)
I say Onward and Upward. Hopefully some of the activity over at Casa de Tucker y Swiss will result in new offers and we can get this mess over with. Though the prices of extended stay hotels is, in a word, INSANE. I fear that I will end up living with my in-laws. Not sure how I feel about that one yet. Blargh.
Okay, back to work. Next agenda item is to insert toothpicks in my eyes so that they stay open. And try to mainline more Diet Cokes without my coworkers noticing.
13 July 2009
Okay, okay, I had to take a deep breath too, because it was almost insultingly low for the house not even being on the market 24 hours. And they MUST move in by the 4th of August. Ha! The PPSO folks at our nearest base recommended at least 3 weeks to get things moving. That would be today. Ha hahahahahah. I'm thinking this one ain't gonna pan out.
We have counter offered twice, the last one will be my final offer. We are right around the "magic number" that will possibly prevent us from having to pay that $3000 at closing and with all the hoops I'd have to jump through to close and get moved and get organized with the PPSO folks I think our counter offer is reasonable. I'm just taking all of this as a good sign that there is interest in the house. My realtor is hosting a realtor only open house tomorrow, so fingers crossed that there is more interest coming. Or that this buyer comes to his senses and accepts our counter.
Now, I'm off to find out what the monthly rates will be at the extended stay hotels around here! Have a great Monday everyone!
10 July 2009
So, this wedding weekend means I will be out of the blogosphere, twitterverse and interwebz for the next couple of days. I intend to imbibe plenty of libations, eat well, sleep in and celebrate with a purpose. Because it isn't every day your best friend gets married, right? Plus my date is Beth's teenage sister who loves Project Runway, Sex and the City and high heels... me thinks we will get along splendidly!
Enjoy your weekend, soak up the good weather and relax. Y'all have earned it! And if you have some spare good thoughts, throw them out into the great wide universe for good real estate karma (for us!) and a wonderful happily ever after to Beth and Ethan.
09 July 2009
Dan Carlin isn't a historian. But he is a creative thinker, a great speaker, and an awesome story teller. He made the Punic Wars exciting and fascinating for crying out loud. Really! The Punic Wars... do you even remember learning about it in school? Anyway, he does most of his podcast with a story teller vibe, which I think is the best part. He tries to tell the stories from the viewpoints of the people who lived through it, not as a cold, unfeeling outsider. Which makes these tales completely engaging... so yeah, if you are down with history and dig podcasts (FYI, they are great for driving/road trips) go download some of his podcasty goodness!
Go check out the archives... the topics are both varied and extensive... and awesome! NERD ALERT! (And if you need/want recommendations from this nerd, I particularly like the ones about the Plague (Bubonic Nukes), the first Blitz episode (History Under the Influence) and the Punic Nightmare series 1-3). Fascinating stuff I tell you!
Okay, this PSA is now over. Proceed with your day!
08 July 2009
07 July 2009
Isn't this just so military of us?
Not that it is a big deal, but with 2 summers of Warrior Forge for his ROTC assignment and now the deployment, you can see why we've never gone to see fireworks together, host BBQ's or relax in lawn chairs by a lake. Not til next year I guess. But then we are going to make up for it in style... even though I'm not quite sure what that would entail! But I do know this, you are all invited!
06 July 2009
My Mom and my Almost Mom Carolyn came up this weekend and for just the cost of a nice dinner and drinks, they helped me scour, clean, touch-up, organize and stage the house. We did everything from mulching, painting, shampooing carpets, to buying pretty plants, framing pictures and cleaning windows. The place looks 84 kinds of sharp and hopefully I will be meeting with the Realtor on Thursday to get this thing rolling. Phew! Now, all we need is a buyer! Cross your fingers all- with any luck I will be living in an extended stay hotel suite by late August/September!
I think the best pieces of advice I can offer anyone doing this are the following:
1.) DON'T BUY A HOUSE. I'm not kidding. Just don't do it if you have any inclination that you will be moving soon. ... Okay, I am sort of kidding. Owning a house has been awesome, but the stress of selling one with a PCS looming and a deployed spouse has been, well, not fun. So I say avoid it unless you are lucky enough to homestead at a particular post or have no real intentions of leaving even if PCS orders do come down.
2.) Get some help when you go to clean/detail it for sale... not only is it a lot of work, but it helps to have an outside perspective to edit/purge your personal items and stage the rooms you have done your way. I can't stress this one enough... my Mom and Carolyn were able to help out tremendously by telling me to can certain items, bring out others and rearrange furniture. It looks SO much better and I wouldn't have been able to do that all on my own!
3.) Buy lots of cleaning products and paper towels... I went through more Shaklee Basic H (LOVE THIS STUFF) this weekend than I have in the last year, but I didn't get high on chemical fumes and with the concentrate on hand, I was able to make more and more and more as we needed it. Is this a shameless plug for a great safe and green product? Sort of, but seriously, you are going to need about 4 times more cleaning products/tools/implements than you think you will. No matter how clean you keep your house!
4.) If and when you do paint, be sure to keep all the extras well labeled and on hand. We did a ton of tiny touch ups to the trim and the walls, it looks freshly painted and it was easy peasy because not only did I know where everything was, it was all clearly labeled. Even the stuff from the previous owners! Score!
5.) Keep all of your owner's manuals, warranties, paperwork and brochures pertaining to the house in one central location. Mine is all in one binder clearly labeled by room. It came to me all in one folder, which was awesome, but Mom organized it even better and it looks fantastic. Nothing says "I was a good homeowner! Buy this house!" like these little touches.
Now to get on the housing list at Fort X. Do you think they will let me simply reactivate our previous housing application with only date changes to be made? STOP LAUGHING! It could happen!!! Wish me luck folks! *Okay, y'all were right to laugh. No beans on reactivating applications... must go home and fill out 926 questions with answers. AWESOME.
04 July 2009
02 July 2009
They are not out. Decidedly not. Anyone who knows anything knows this. So why the charade? Why the lip service? Are we afraid to say we were wrong and they aren't ready? Do we not want to hurt feelings or relationships so we just go along with the plan anyway? Or are we just not ready to give up control, so we just say we are? In word but not in spirit? Or worse yet, are we still there because we didn't have a good place to move these guys to? Ask around and you might be surprised by the answers you find...
Somehow our guys went from soldiers to "Advisers" overnight, and somehow this means they are no longer "troops"? Wha? And what's worse is that somewhere the truth got lost in the translation and it seems that folks think the war in Iraq is now over. If only... Gaw, lately it seems like it is just beginning again, albeit in a new format. Violence is up. Attacks are up. Security is uneven at best.
And this major offensive in Afghanistan (with one KIA already) and the DUSTWUN soldier too... it all makes me nervous. It makes me edgy. It makes me realize that even though things seemed 'easy' and 'safe' for a little while, they aren't. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Troops are still dying, losing their legs, anything else you can (or can't) imagine. There are still mortar attacks, IEDs, the works... This isn't easy, this isn't over and the danger isn't gone. And all of this brings the fact that Swiss isn't safe, none of our loved ones over there are, into sharp focus. And that scares the crap out of me.
So I guess the nerves, the angst, the antsyness... all just par for the course. This is what it feels like when your loved ones are at war. It ain't a fun place to be. But then again, most of you know that. And you know this feeling. Maybe you are feeling it right now too...
At the risk of sounding hokey, the only thing I can think to do is keep these guys and gals in your thoughts (or prayers if that is your bag). And don't let the folks around you forget. It isn't over yet and we all need to remember that. Do it for them, for their families, or even for me... just one in the endless sea of worried, nervous and angsty spouses. Until they all come home. Okay?
I know it isn't much, but it is something. And right now I'll take anything that will help me feel even a little bit better about this.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Jeff Goldblum Will Be Missed|
Very, very funny. And also, my love for Stephen Colbert only grows with each passing day. And the buzz cut is still hawt. (but no need to worry Swiss, he's no you!)