Monday, March 22, 2010

The Grand Scheme of Things

We have finally arrived in San Diego. At the very least, this move has been an adventure.

I last left off when we were in Texas. No offense, but I don't care if I ever see that state again. It's HUGE and the western part is BORING. I liked San Antonio though and would like to go back and actually see some of it. Seeing our friends again would be nice too.

Our next stop was Tucson, AZ. A very good friend of ours lives there so we made dinner plans and met up with him, his girlfriend, and their three daughters for dinner. You know someone is a good friend when you haven't seen them for six years but when you finally do, you pick up right where you left off. We went to this place called Chuy's for dinner. Pretty decent food and they make really good, really cheap margaritas. After dinner, we went back to our friends' apartment for some more visiting. I hadn't laughed so hard in a long time. Josh, our friend, said it was his goal to see me laugh/cry which I did several times. Best of all, we woke up without a hangover, lmao.

We made it to San Diego on Thursday. The very first thing we did was drive around Lakeside and Santee which is our old stomping grounds from when we lived here the first time. Very little has changed in Lakeside. They gated our old base housing and there are some new shops and stuff but other than that, it looked exactly the same. Santee has a lot of new shopping but it's mostly the same too. After that, we drove downtown to our hotel.

I booked us into the Sheraton because the room rate was decent and they were pet friendly, not charging any pet deposit. I had no idea it was such a nice hotel. I didn't look at the pictures online, I just read the reviews. I was a bit intimidated walking in. This is the kind of hotel where they take your luggage to the room for you. We had never stayed in such place before. The hotel lobby is on the 12th floor and our room was on the 24th. Our view was pretty great. The youngest parked herself in a chair in front of the window most of the time and watched planes land at the airport. San Diego's airport has a unique approach route with planes landing over the downtown buildings. It's neat to watch them land.

Thursday night, we walked to a place called Brian's 24 for dinner. The Mister chose it out a magazine because there was a picture of fried chicken and waffles. Fried chicken and waffles was one of the things we laughed about with Josh so the Mister had to try it out. He said it was a unique combination but probably not something he'd want again. I had the meatloaf which was yummy. I also had a Ruby Screwed which is like a Screwdriver but with grapefruit juice. It was GOOD.

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel (I love big city living) and left the girls in the room while we went to the Sky Lobby Lounge in our hotel for a few drinks. I had this:

Ciroc Champagne Cosmo
Ciroc Vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and
fresh lime juice topped with champagne and gar-
nished with an orange twist.

It was so good. The bartender was really nice and made them really good if you know what I mean. This night resulted in a bit of a rough morning on Friday. Perfect for having to go to the housing office for our lease briefing, lol.

So Friday takes us to signing our lease, picking up our keys, and checking out the new digs. Sounds simple enough but it was a process. First we had to go to 32nd St Naval Base for our lease briefing. This consisted of reading this HUGE binder and then going to a conference room with a bunch of other people so that the binder could be read to us. Something unique to signing a lease for military housing that civilians will probably never encounter is the explosive ordinance addendum. We had to sign a paper acknowledging the fact that our housing was built on the site of a former base and finding unexploded ordinance is a possibility. Fun times. After all that, we had to go to our local housing management office to pick up our keys and a folder with a bunch of info for schools, utilities, a coupon for a free pizza, etc., etc. We drive to our house and the keys wouldn't work. By this time, our movers were waiting in the street to unload our stuff. We had to tell them to wait while we drove back to the housing office to get keys that would actually work.

Finally, we get to see the inside of our new house. What do I think? It's base housing. That's pretty much it. It has walls, ceilings, rooms, blah blah. Oh yeah. And it has bugs. FREAKING BUGS!!! The water pressure is non-existent. The kitchen in miniscule. It says it has four bedrooms but it's more like two bedrooms with two oversized closets. But, it has brand new carpet and the living room/dining room is very nice-sized and we're using it for a living room/reading area. The kitchen is an eat-in kitchen so I have no need for an additional dining area plus it's all carpeted and I don't like eating on carpet. The view from the backyard is nice. It opens into a canyon which overlooks the 163 so we're high up and we don't have any neighbors behind us. Other than the bugs, which someone is going to get an earful when I'm done here, I can live with everything else. It's base housing. IT'S BASE HOUSING!! I expected everything else. I can live with it. That's my mantra.

I hate our cable. Time Warner is confusing. We have so many channels (it goes up to 1000+) that I can't find anything. If there's an organizational schema to how the channels are arranged, I can't figure it out. I've had Cox, Charter, Suddenlink, and now Time Warner and Time Warner is by far the weirdest.

The packers broke the flat screen TV we recently purchased for our bedroom. It turns on but we have no red. Red is black and skin tone is green. They took several screws out of the back of it trying to take the base off to pack it. I don't know if that's what broke it or if it was the actual transporting it 2700 miles, but it's broke. We'll file a claim but it could be years before we're reimbursed if they decide to reimburse us at all. We're only about 1/2 way unpacked and that's the only broken/missing thing so far. I guess I should count myself lucky. We know someone who was moving from Japan to the U.S. and they dropped his entire shipment off the side of a transport ship to the bottom of the ocean. So, things could be worse. They managed to get my Grandma's Italian table here with no problem and that's one of the few things we own that's irreplaceable. Other than that, our movers suck butt and I hope they rot.

My car was delivered after much hassle from the company. NEVER use Car Go Autotransport to ship a car. They suck ass. Suck as in S-U-C-K. I won't go into all the details cuz it's really boring, but in the end, they delivered my car sans the antenna. They swear it's in the car but my car is very clean (at least on the inside) and there is no antenna in there. I have to figure out how to get a new one because only one radio station comes in without it.

I have now moved into the, "I'm sick of moving, unpacking, living out of boxes, being so sore I can barely move at the end of the day, being so tired that I fall into bed exhausted but can't sleep because my back hurts so bad, sick of eating out constantly because I can't find enough kitchen stuff to cook with" phase of life. I'm irritable and I want moving, school, and work to go the hell away. AWAY! I've missed several assignments in both my classes so that a good grade is now an unattainable goal. I'm so far behind with work that the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer visible. And I don't think we'll ever be done unpacking. CRY, WHINE, COMPLAIN!!!

To get some perspective, we're back in San Diego after longing to be here for the last six years. The only complaint our old landlord had was that we didn't pooper scoop the backyard. (Go cry to someone else about that because we paid almost $1000 getting YOUR house ready to rent to SOMEBODY else and if dog crap is your only complaint, count yourself damned lucky dude.) All the boxes will eventually go away. Logically, I know this. Base housing isn't choice, but it's in a pretty perfect location, it's free (basically) and we don't pay utilities. As long as they get an exterminator here to kill the bugs, I can be happy here. In the grand scheme of things, life is pretty good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Don't Mess with Texas

We’re a little over halfway done with our trip. We really spread it out so that the driving wouldn’t suck and so that we could see people along the way.

We spent our first night on the road in Atlanta. I’m sorry to say it, but we didn’t take the time to be tourists in Atlanta. We considered stopping by the Olympic park Saturday morning but decided not to because we wanted more time in Pensacola, which was our next destination.

In 1998, the Mister was in Pensacola for his MOS training. I moved down there, even though the Marine Corps frowns on family living with you while you’re in school, with the oldest child into a tiny apartment with nothing but what I could fit into two suitcases, my purse, and a diaper bag. Still, it was the best time. We made awesome friends there and despite being broke all the time, it was all fun and we have only good memories. I really wanted the kids to see PCola and where we used to live.

We drove by our old apartment first. Neither the Mister nor I remember it being so rundown, lol. The whole town seemed run down. I don’t know if it’s life experiences that changed our perspective or if the town really has gone downhill over the last 11 years, but if I had the choice of moving there, I wouldn’t.

Anyway, next we took them on base to NAS Pensacola. After driving around looking desperately for the NEX (Navy Exchange) cuz I had to pee baaaad, we drove to a sandy/grassy area so the dogs could stretch their legs. The base didn’t seem like it had changed all that much.

After the base, we drove out to PCola Beach. This has always been my favorite beach. Real, sugar-white sand beaches, warm, blue-green water, and a really nice boardwalk. I’ve always measured other beaches to Pensacola Beach. Not much had changed there either despite the hurricanes that have passed through since we lived there. It was collllld though. Some fool was laying out on the sand in a sleeping bag of all things. It was also really windy. Even so, it was packed with people on Spring Break.

After the beach, we drove to Gulfport, MS which is where I had made us a hotel reservation. FYI, we stayed at the Residence Inn at the airport. We had a king studio and it was NICE. Very nice. If you’re ever in need of a hotel there, I’d recommend that hotel. Anyway, we got in early enough that we had time to go shopping at the outlet mall. SO MUCH FUN!! We all made out pretty good. Lots of good loot.

The next day, we headed out to our next destination which was San Antonio. Somewhere between the Texas border and Houston, we got a flat tire on the I-10. Changing a tire on the side of the Interstate was very much NOT FUN. You hear news stories all the time of people getting hit on the side of the highway. In our family, we have a long line of bad luck when it comes to carjacks and I was pretty scared. Nevertheless, we got the tire changed and we were back on the road in about an hour. Luckily enough, I got the warranty on those tires so we’ll get reimbursed for the cost of a new tire.

We arrived in San Antonio late and exhausted but really glad to be there. Our very good friends that we’ve known since Vermont now live in San Antonio and we were very excited to see them again. We spent all of Monday at their house visiting. Again, we didn’t get to sight see in San Antonio. The only things we saw were a Super Target, Jack in the Box, Discount Tire, and an Italian restaurant that I can’t remember its name. No Alamo, no River Walk. And I could really care less. Catching up with old friends was wonderful. Now if only I could talk them into transferring out to San Diego…

Today, we drove to Van Horn, TX for the night. Um. Scary town. The only reason we decided to stay in this town is because San Antonio is too far from Tucson to drive in one day. This is a hole in the wall town. We’re staying at the Ramada, which is the nicest place in town…unfortunately. The water is cloudy. We bought bottled water to give to the dogs and to brush our teeth with and we’ll have to take showers in Tucson. Yeah.

We went for dinner at the Wendy’s which is inside of a truck stop. Some old, greasy-haired, truck driver was checking out the oldest. I pushed her behind me and he freaking leaned over to see her around me. The Mister had to give the guy the stink-eye so he would knock it off. I was close to making a scene. The pervert was old enough to be her grandfather. Sick. I can’t wait to leave in the morning.

Our next stop is Tucson. We’re going to meet up and have dinner with an old friend there. We’ve known him since PCola but haven’t seen him since our very last day in San Diego when we moved away six years ago. We’re all very excited to see him again.

Despite the hotel room, this part of Texas is very pretty. The view out of our hotel is a mountain. West of San Antonio though, it’s very desolate. At one point, we could only get in one radio station, lol. I bow down to Steve Jobs. If it weren’t for my iPod, we would have gone insane.

Now, since there is nothing better to do in this no horse town, I’m going to catch up on some work and schoolwork and read a book. We're going to bed early so that we can get up and leave early, lol.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finally...Some Down Time

After not getting to sleep until after 2 am last night, I finally have nothing to do. I figured I would take this time to update properly.

Monday, the packers were here, on time, bright and early. They seemed to be doing a good job. The Mister, Youngest, dogs, and I sat out back on our patio furniture while they were packing and they kept coming out constantly to ask questions. "Do you want this packed?" "Should we leave this out?" They told us to leave whatever we didn't want packed on the beds so we did. This is so that we can sleep on the beds one last night and then the actual movers box up the mattresses and linens the next day. Well, they left my bed alone but packed up the girls' and we didn't discover this until that night when we were trying to go to bed. The Mister had to run out and buy a blanket for the kids. Oh well.

Tuesday, the movers arrived, on time, bright and early. They very efficiently started moving boxes to the driveway and furniture onto the semi-truck. The company I hired to ship my car was supposed to be there around 9'ish in the morning but they got held up at a truck inspection site and were pretty late. What is irritating about that is that they weren't supposed to come until yesterday but asked if they could come early. Then, they told me that because they picked up the car early, they would be delivering it early, on the 16th, which is 2 days before we get there. I had to ask a "friend" to accept the delivery and this person made me feel pretty bad for asking. Thanks.

As the movers were loading the truck, I started noticing a LOT of stuff the packers didn't pack. I walked through the house the day before but I guess this stuff was behind boxes or something. They were also very "by the book" and didn't pack ANY of my candles which really pissed me off. Sorry, but it did. They also packed half-full bottles of some oils (for soap making) and left some of the others which I have no explanation for. They packed half-full bottles of lotions and body sprays, but left others. It was just very strange what they would pack and what they wouldn't pack. They packed four bottles of sodium hydroxide with no problem though. Explain that one to me. OH! And then this. I have this old toolbox that my dad gave me when I was 15 or 16. I used it to lock up letters from boyfriends, my diary, and other things that I didn't want my sister reading, lol. I haven't taken anything out of this toolbox since I got it. I mean, I would take out a letter or two to reread, but overall, it's never been emptied. The packing lady took everything out and dumped it into another box. I was pretty upset by this. It may seem dumb, but I felt really violated. They did that with a lot of stuff; unpacked boxes to put them into their own boxes. Whatever. They also wouldn't pack jewelry, savings bonds, or loose change. Whatever again. I think in the end, I don't like them very much. And to be totally bitchy, one guy spelled "board" "borad" on all our boxes. Like keyborad.

Wednesday, we spent most of the day picking up odds and ends in the house, touching up the paint (which I said I wouldn't do but did anyway) taking apart furniture that we threw away this morning, and stuff like that. Nothing too exciting. Well, I guess I had a bit of excitement turning in our cable boxes to the cable company. When we get there, the woman (who is ALWAYS rude) made us stand there while she chattered to herself, then asked what we wanted. I told her we needed to cancel our cable and she asked me for our address. I told her, "**** Sweet Briar Ct" then started to spell it for her. Since we've lived here, NOBODY has ever been able to spell our street name and always ask if it's one word or two. Well, she looks up at me with this disgusted, holier than thou look on her face not bothering to type as I spell, waits till I'm done then types our address in her computer. Sooorrry lady. I was just trying to be helpful. After that, I was all short answered with her just waiting for her to ask for our forwarding address. I so was not going to spell our street name for her. I was practically dancing waiting for her to ask. Finally, she asks where she can send our final bill and I say, "**** Bordelon St." She's like, "Say that again." And I do and she's like, "Borderlon?" And I'm like, "No. Bordelon." And she's like, "Okay. Borderlon." Like she's all correct and I just don't know how to talk. I didn't correct her. We'll see if we get our final bill in the mail or not. Regardless, I'll pay it online, but we'll see. Bitch, hehehe.

Today has been an adventure. We got up bright and early to finish picking up inside the house and moving all of our luggage into the garage. I had Merry Maids scheduled to come at 8:30 am which would give them plenty of time to clean and be gone before the carpet cleaners come at 4 pm. We also scheduled the dogs to go to the groomers from 9-11:30 so that they would be gone for at least some of the time. Well, 9:30 rolls around and there's no sign of the cleaners so I call to make sure I got the time right. The lady tells me that they had a scheduling issue and that they wouldn't be there until between 1 & 2. And they hadn't even bothered to call and tell me this!!! WTF?!?! I tell her that that won't work for me at all because of the carpet cleaners. She puts me on hold and calls an outside contractor to come and clean the house. This lady finally arrives at 10 BY HERSELF and says that there is no way she can be done by 4. I tell her either she's done by 4 or she's going to have to dance with the carpet cleaners because everything has to be done today. UGH!! So, she calls the Merry Maids people, explains the situation, and they agree to send her some help. On top of all that, because this lady wasn't scheduled to come, I had to walk her through the house and show/tell her what needs to be cleaned which is something I had already done with the other lady prior. The lady that is cleaning the house is real nice but I hate Merry Maids. I will never call them again. It's one thing to need to reschedule but it's another to not even bother to call. They can bite me. And it's not as if they didn't know this was a move out clean ahead of time either. Grr!

Anyway, right now we're sitting in the car while the house is being cleaned. I still have my cable internet and my wireless reaches the driveway, heheh. The dogs have been groomed and they're all pretty and smell good. I just hope there are no issues with the carpet cleaners. They've been here before so I think it should be all good, knock on wood. After all the cleaning is done, we're checking into a hotel for the night. Then we'll meet our landlord at the house in the morning, turn over our keys, and hit the road. First stop, Atlanta.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Still Alive

We're still in NC. Our stuff is not. We are sleeping on air mattresses but will be checking into a hotel tomorrow night. I'm having Merry Maids and the carpet cleaners come tomorrow. We still have some work to do around this house with taking stuff to the recycling center and to Goodwill. We're also taking the dogs to the dog groomers tomorrow in hopes that they won't stink up the car too bad.

Umm..We've been watching lots of Hulu on the laptop. It's just too darn quiet without the TV on in the house. We bought some pretty awesome air mattresses though.

We're exhausted but hanging in there. We'll be hitting the road first thing Friday morning.

I have lots more that I want to write about but I have to work now. Yep. 10:11 PM but this is the first opportunity that I've had all day to work. At least I can do so from my "bed".

Tomorrow is going to be a really hard day for the oldest child since it's her last day of school here. I'm dreading it. She could use some positive thoughts if you have any to spare. ;)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thursday Meme

Brought to you by Booking Through Thursday

In honor of National Grammar Day … it IS “March Fourth” after all … do you have any grammar books? Punctuation? Writing guidelines? Style books?

More importantly, have you read them?

How do you feel about grammar in general? Important? Vital? Unnecessary? Fussy?

I'm an English major. I have TONS of grammar and style books scattered throughout my house. Have I read them? Not cover to cover but I refer to them constantly. Loads. All the time.

I feel that grammar is very important. It is a foundation. However, I also think that it can be fussy at times. In particular, I think using whom in everyday language sounds pretentious, lol. Yeah, yeah. You're a grammar whiz that knows when to use who and whom, but is it really necessary to make the distinction all the time?

I also think, being the parent of a texting teenager, that we are raising a generation of grammatically impaired kids. IKR, IDK, OMG, thx, kk, sup, ur, and tons of other shortened and abbreviated words are becoming everyday terminology. I use them myself which makes me a bad example, lol. My daughter purposely misspells words in texts that she knows how to spell otherwise but does so because it's cool. I worry that it will become a habit. This generation of kids will be leading our country someday.