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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The house that came a close second. (Not really.)

I promised this one to you yesterday, and I will not fail you!  I'm going to tell you about the second house we looked at.  We knew from the pictures online that it was in a really rural part of Kaneohe.  We also knew that it was the "back house" on the property.  So the people who owned the house lived in the "front house".  The info online also told us that there were bananas, mangoes, guavas and some other fruit on the property.

So we figured we'd check it out.

We drove up to this.

Not that bad, right?  I mean, it's old, but most houses in Kaneohe are.  It looks a little bit like it might be a trailer, but it's not. 

This is the view from the front porch:

Gorgeous, eh?  Yeah, that's pretty much the view that every house in Kaneohe has.  It's amazing here.

Anyway, speaking of the front porch:

It was huge!  That was a big perk for us.  We really wanted somewhere to hang out and grill.  Know what else we could do on this front porch??

Take a shower.

You read correctly.  What you see there is a bamboo fence around an outdoor shower that's situated just at the end of the front porch.  There is lovely flora all about for you to view as you shower.  Outdoors.  The water runs both hot and cold, just in case you were curious.

We got that little bit of water information from the landlord.  This guy was amazing.  I've met some hippies in my day, but he took the cake.  He was so slow to answer our questions, but not in a way that diminishes his intellect.  No, he was slow in a way that said, "I smoke a lot of marijuana."  He and his wife built the outdoor shower, you see.  

They also did the painting in the kitchen.

That's the kitchen cupboard.  Not that I have a problem with Magenta, Teal and dark blue all used together, but how on earth does that match the Robin's Egg Blue that was the kitchen cabinets??  Sadly, I didn't get a picture of them.  

I did, however, get a picture of the hall bath.

I believe that shade is called Sea Foam.  It matched the Master bath.

Which matched the Master bedroom walls.

Oh wait.  No, it didn't.

So not only are the walls a nice shade of Magenta.. or, wait.. is that Fuschia?  Anyway, not only are the walls ridiculously bright, but the beautiful wood floor is framed with white paint!  And the closet is.....

You guessed it:  Orange.  As much as I adored this house so far, I was slightly put off by the fact that there weren't closet doors.  Or curtains.  Or Japanese walls.

For some odd reason, Jason and I were still interested in this house.  Maybe not so much interested as intrigued, but we were something.  The other two bedrooms were, I kid not, a shade that was a mix of Lime and Kelly green.  Grass green, maybe?  As much as it pained me to do so, I asked the landlord if we would be allowed to paint.  His response:  "WHY would you want to??"  This man was serious!  The look on his face was genuine!  "The last renters just loved it!"

Sadly enough, we had to pass.  Even though it had an outdoor shower.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our new home, sweet home.

Jason is gone, so I am not constantly distracted by my hot husband.  So now I have time to sit and write.  The last three weeks have been a blur.  I'll tell all about the flight over here at another time.. for now I want to talk about our lovely home.  We got here on Wednesday night.  We saw two places on Thursday, and neither were for us.  Pictures of them to follow at the end..  You'll be glad I did!

We set up an appointment to see this house in Kaneohe for early Friday morning.  We were driving up the street and this guy was waving like crazy from a driveway.  That's our stop!

It looks like it's part of a duplex or something, but it's not.  It's technically just one house and you see our whole front from the street.  Here you can see the kitchen window on the right and the office window on the left.  There is a garage to the right of the kitchen.  What you don't see is that the house is built up on a hill.  The other part of the house, where our neighbors/landlords/housemates live, is technically under us.  But the house is totally separated and only shares a garage.  It used to be a 7 bedroom, 4 bathroom house!  The landlady separated the top chunk of the house, built a kitchen in the bottom chunk, and there we are.  They use the garage even though we do have a doorway access to it.  We park on the street and have access to the front door and they don't.  

There is a huge, steep stair way on the far right of the house that goes down to R's (our landlady's husband) Man Cave.  It's really a patio down there, but it's gorgeous.  He is growing some Hawaiian greens down there in a garden, he has his grill set up down there, and a little fridge and such.  The coolest part of the Man Cave is that it backs up to the Pali (mountain).  We have our very own waterfall coming down off the mountain!

So we have 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths.  The selling point for us was definitely the kitchen.  There is so much counter and cabinet space, I almost cried.  After our tiny kitchen in Guam, this was definitely enough for us to say we loved the house!

And oh my, the pot hanger!  I've always wanted one of these bad boys, so it was a done deal for me.

We did look at the rest of the house, even though we were so in love with the kitchen that it didn't really matter.  The living room is huge and the bedrooms are good sized.  

There are a few cons, however.  Number one, there is no such thing as a laundry room.  There is a laundry closet to the side of the kitchen.  It's tiny, and I've already knocked my head a few times doing laundry.  I concede laundry for kitchen!  I also have to concede random storage space.  Well, I take that back.  I think we just got spoiled by the ridiculous amount of closet space we had in Guam.  We could have never filled it with just the 3 of us.  The problem is that now we don't know what to do with random things like Jason's drills.  They are in the hall closet for now, which has become our stuff closet.  Both bathrooms have huge linen closets, so everything linen-ish has gone in them, and all junk has gone in the hall closet.

So yes.  We fell in love.  We fell in love with the landlady and her husband, too.  We really just seemed to click with them.  By the time we were ready to go, Katie Beth was happy in the arms of H, the landlady, and she was giving flirty smiles to R.  They told us that they had 2 other families to show the house to, but they had a really good feeling with us, and they would call us soon.  

We went to look at another house, and loved it, too.  It was technically nicer than this house, but it was $300 more a month, plus utilities.  H and R were including electric with their rent!  So, I just couldn't do it.. I asked the second landlord if he had any one else who was interested, and he said that there was a family who wanted to sign a lease the next day.  It totally worked.  We had the house we knew we wanted, and he had renters.  We were about to leave when I realized I had left my purse inside.  Jason went back to get it for me, and the landlord offered to come down on the rent by $200 because he liked us more than the family he was going to sign a contract with the next day.  Man, that felt good!  I'd like to think that we were desirable renters, but now I know for sure!  Jason told him it was still a bit out of our price range, so probably not, but we would call him if we changed our minds.

Shortly after we left the second house, H called.  She said they had showed the house to the second family, and they still had a better feeling about us.  They had called to cancel the next showing, and were offering the house to us.  She said they had prayed about it, and the Lord really put it on their hearts to rent to us.  She felt like they could be there for me while Jason is gone, and while he is gone on duty nights.  R is on the Kailua police force.  He's been a police officer for 28 years, and it really does make me feel better knowing he's just a few floors below me.  H said they preferred to rent to young military couples because they sort of adopt the people they rent to.  She said we can expect to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with them if we don't have other plans.  They are so nice, and Jason and I felt so comfortable with them.

So we're all moved in and very happy.  The move-in went so well!  Our only big problem is that our huge desk is broken.  We've already reported it and someone is supposed to be coming out to see if it can be repaired.  If not, the Navy definitely owes us like, $600 for that sucker.  It's kind of sad, because it was the first piece of furniture Jason and I bought together.  Why couldn't they have broken the bedroom suit????  

Now that this is incredibly long, the pictures of the crazy house we saw will have to wait.. but they're coming, I promise!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

30 Before 30

  1. Become Mommy to another one or two Baby Freds
  2. Visit South Africa
  3. Visit Australia
  4. Go sky diving
  5. Take a cooking class
  6. Tour Europe with my love
  7. Live in Hawaii (Squee!!)
  8. Run a 5k
  9. Run a 10k
  10. Take a cruise to Alaska
  11. Go snow-mobiling in Idaho ;)
  12. Actually meet all of my in-laws.  That's no easy feat when they are literally spread across the country.
  13. Fit into a pair of jeans that come in a single digit size.. I'm close!
  14. Spend the night in a castle
  15. Buy a house
  16. Become debt free, except for said house
  17. Go on a Submarine port call, preferably somewhere awesome
  18. Tour wine country in California
  19. See an opera in the Sydney Opera House
  20. Take my kiddos to the Bronx Zoo. (This one has special meaning to me, because the Bronx Zoo may actually suck.. but Jason and I drove past it before we were engaged, and he wouldn't stop for me.  I've wanted to go back ever since!)
  21. Take Jason on his first ever trip to New Orleans!
  22. Become an Ole Miss Football season ticket holder
  23. Hike Koko Head
  24. Make it to OPA National Convention as an Alumna
  25. Take a helicopter tour of somewhere really pretty
  26. Become a classroom volunteer at KB's school, wherever that may be
  27. Go on a honeymoon!
  28. Go whale watching
  29. Visit Ireland (maybe I can knock this and the castles out together??)
  30. Get a photo of my entire family together
Sunday, March 13, 2011

All (correction: almost) Packed Up!

Here I sit in my living room, anxiously awaiting the movers who will take the last of our stuff away.  In the corner waiting are such things as KB's bathtub, my shower curtain, some jumper cables, one of Jason's tool boxes, a few books - random stuff that we needed for the last 6 weeks.

Helping Mommy pack

Duffle bags hold more than any suitcase you've ever seen.  I highly recommend getting one!
It's so strange to me that my time on Guam is coming to an end.  I keep hearing people say that they are sort of sad to be leaving, but I can't say the same.  Sure, there have been days where I've loved Guam.  The sunrises and sunsets absolutely can't be beat; The mountains are beautiful; The ocean is breathtaking; I've never seen something so majestic in my life!  The people here are also wonderful.  I usually wind up getting annoyed with the 'Hafa Adai' attitude, though.  For those unfamiliar, "Hafa Adai" is basically Guam's "Aloha".  It actually means "Hello, how are you?" but I swear Hafa Adai must really translate to "Life is easy, why rush?".  Because, let me tell ya: Locals do NOT rush.  They don't get in a hurry for ANYbody.  But, the positive side to that complaint is that they are some of the nicest and most polite people I've ever met in my life.  Customer service in Mississippi could take a lesson or two from the Chamorro people.  This blog isn't meant as a complaint, though.. so I'll stop with that.

The first truly beautiful sunset I got to see on Guam

What I mean to say is that I am so excited about the next chapter in our lives that I can't focus on the fact that we are closing this one.  This house was my first home with Jason.. so that's special.  We planted the flowers in the front yard together while I was pregnant with Katie Beth.  In fact, I found out I was pregnant while sitting in this very living room.  So there will always be some very happy memories attached to Guam - the little island I didn't even know existed until Jason told me he was going there.

My hand-drawn (in case you couldn't tell) version of the Guam flag
We've been acting silly all week, saying things like "Awww.. this is the very last meal we'll ever cook in this kitchen!"  and "Awww.. this is KB's very last bath in this bathroom!"  There are so many more things we've used the "very last" phrase with.. it's been a bit ridiculous.  We've had fun getting ready to go, and I can't wait until we're there!

Gorgeous view of Talofofo Bay
So.. Here's what comes next.  The movers will take our unaccompanied baggage shipment today.  It will be put on a plane at some point, and will hopefully only take a few weeks to get to us.  Then Housing will come and pick up the loaner furniture we've been using for the past 6 weeks.  After that, Housing will come do one last inspection of the house to make sure that I haven't punched holes in the walls or something.  Then we give them our keys and we are officially homeless!  We hang out in the hotel for the next 2 days, turn in the rental car Wednesday night, and then get on a plane bright and early Thursday (March 17) morning!

We will actually cross the International Date Line (read as: travel back in time) so we'll arrive in Hawaii around 6 pm on Wednesday, March 16 local time.  Our rental car and hotel are booked there.  We'll settle in, and then Thursday morning (again..) we start getting checked in at Pearl Harbor.  Jason will have to check us in at Squadron.  Then we have to go to the Personnel office (PSD) and get all of our information updated to say Hawaii.  We'll get checked in to TriCare (health insurance office) and get assigned doctors (for me and KB, anyway.. not for Jason).

Then!!  We have a meeting at the Housing office at noon.  They'll get our housing allowance (BAH) set up, and we can start house hunting!  We know for sure that we want to live on the Windward (North) side of the island.  I fell in love with Kailua while we are there, so that's where we're headed.  Kaneohe is another option.  There is a Marine Corps base there, so we'll still have easy access to things like an Exchange, the Commissary and a gym.  We've seen tons of gorgeous houses all over that area.  Say a little prayer that we can still find one in 4 days!

Kailua Beach
So once we get there, we have about 13 days to get signed in, get our car out of storage, find a house, schedule our stuff to be delivered, get utilities turned on, and finally move in.  It's going to be a mad dash!  I'll consider myself lucky if Jason is able to be there to help me get things hung on the wall.

So, for all who were curious, that is how a military COH (Change of Homeport) move works.  If it were a regular PCS (Permanent Change of Station), Jason would be able to stay with me and might even be able to take a few weeks' leave in between one command and the next.  We'll get to do one of those next year!  Ah, the life of a Navy wife!
Thursday, March 10, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

  1. During military separations (whether short or long) how do you keep yourself positive and motivated? submitted byMarried/Single Parent  -  By thinking of homecoming, obviously!  Isn't that cheesy?  It's so true, though.  I think about the first time he's going to see me when he walks across the brow of that big ole boat.  I want him to like what he sees, so I keep working on it.
  2. What is your favorite concert you have ever been to? submitted by Young but Not (Completely) Dumb  -  John Mayer, opened by Maroon 5, hands down.  My favorite part was actually when John started covering the Maroon 5 songs.  It was so much fun!
  1. What do you miss most about your "hometown"?  submitted by A Florida Girl and Her Soldier  -  Uh.  I don't miss my hometown at all.  I miss my family that lives there..  I do, however, miss the quick-serve cafes that abound in the South.  I miss Newk's and McAlister's like crazy.  There simply aren't sandwich shops like that on Guam, and I don't know why.  I didn't find any the last time I was in HI, but I may not have looked in the right places.
  2. If you could run in any race, which charity would you choose to support? submitted by Wookie & Co.  -  Definitely March of Dimes.  I don't think I really need to go into why I choose March of Dimes, since their whole platform is premature births and infant health.  I learned a LOT while we were in the NICU. Katie Beth was blessed in that she didn't have any health problems, but I've made friends with numerous  mommies whose babies did.  March of Dimes provides so much education for parents!
  3. You find out Willy Wonka is your father, what 3 course meal do you INSIST he create in that stick of gum?  submitted byA{muse}ing Mommy on a Pink Park Bench  -  Ok, this is pathetic, but I honestly can't answer this question.  There are so many different foods that I absolutely love.  Yes, I love food.  I really, really love food.  I'm a foodie.  My husband is a foodie.  We love to cook, eat, and even watch television shows about food.  It's our thing.  Having said that, I am very sad that I can't narrow down one meal that I would love more than any other.  It's so sad!
    Friday, March 4, 2011

    MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

    1.  Do you or your {spouse} ever wish your {spouse} was in a different branch of the military?  Submitted by The Turner Family

    I know he definitely doesn't.  He grew up a Navy brat, and it's pretty much the only way of life he's ever known.  I grew up with family in the Air Force, so those customs are still more familiar to me.  It took me months to fully understand Navy rank, and I'll never ever understand rates.  I am thankful that he's not a Soldier or Marine.  Though weeks without an email is hard, I'd prefer it to him being in the Sandbox or the Mountains being shot at.

    2.  What duty station(s) are on your "No Way, Hell No, Not Going, Have Fun Unaccompanied" list and why?  submitted by Every Branch

    I will never allow geo-bachelor tour.  Will. Not.  He's my husband and where he goes, I go.  I mean, MY GOD, I've handled GUAM!  Having said that, there are a few places that I will fight hard to keep away from.  I do not want to go to Bangor.  Lord in Heaven, please keep us out of Washington!  My body was not made for drizzly weather.  I need sunshine to survive.  I also have no desire to be in San Diego.  I really don't think I'm suited for West Coast living.. I'm an East Coast kind of girl, no matter how far North I have to go to be there.  I was born to be a WASP matriarch.

    3.  If you could be one age forever, what age would you choose to be and why?  submitted byThree Krakens

    My 24 was amazing.  When I turned 24 I was living with one of my best friends, and by far the best roommate I've ever had.  3 months into 24, I got back in touch with Jason and we all know how wonderfully that went.  3 weeks after that I landed a job that I really liked, even though I only worked there for 6 months.  I got engaged and married to the love of my life.. If Jason had been able to stay with me in Mississippi, 24 would have been perfect.  But as it was, it was still amazing.
    4.  If you were a breakfast cereal, which one would you be?  submitted by the C.W.

    Lucky Charms.  There are the little oat bits that are good for you, but the rest is sweet little marshmallows.  They are colorful, sweet, and make you feel like a kid again. 

    5.  What is your morning beverage of choice and why?  submitted by NH Girl Displaced

    Iced water.  I'm always thirsty first thing, and I basically chug a full glass first thing.  It's so refreshing after a long night!  As soon as I finish with it, though, I go for my coffee.  1 Splenda and lots of cream, please. 

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    We have a Taotaomona!

    One of the strongest traditions on Guam is of the Taotaomona, or the Ancient Ones.  They protect the jungle and the ancient village sites.  There are a bunch of traditions that go along with the idea of the Taotaomonas.  For instance, whenever entering the jungle, you should ask the Taotaomonas for permission.  You should also ask for permission when passing a Banyan tree.  You should never take anything from the jungle without asking permission.  Also, when passing through ancestral burial grounds, you should always whistle so as not to startle the Taotaomona.

    In doing my research, I found this article that I really liked:

    Taotaomona are tricksters.  They will pinch and leave marks on your body.  If the mark is a bruise that doesn't hurt, it means the Taotaomona likes you.  *I got unexplained bruises all the time while I was pregnant, but I haven't since*  If the mark is a big red mark that hurts, you've done something to make the Taotaomona angry.  Taotaomona also cause headaches that can't be explained or cured by contemporary medicine.  To rid oneself of an illness caused by a Taotaomona, one must visit a village witch doctor.  Apparently we actually have those here, which I didn't know until doing a little research.

    So, weird stuff started happening a few weeks ago.  I woke up a few times thinking there was an earthquake going on because my bed was shaking.  I asked my friends, and they hadn't felt it, and it never got reported online.  Well, whatever.. I still thought it was an earthquake.  Then the first really creepy thing happened.  Every night when I go to bed, I turn off the cable box, but not the tv.  The tv goes blank, but doesn't turn off all the way.  So one night, KB woke up, so I went in her room to help her back to sleep.  I glanced into the living room like I always do, and everything was fine.  On the way back to my room, though, I heard voices!  I freaked out, and then I realized that it was the tv.  I thought, maybe a power surge had caused the cable box to turn back on.  I went in the living room, and sure enough, the tv was on a cable channel.  But the cable box was still off!  I turned off the tv and went back to bed and tried hard not to think about it.

    The night Jason came home, I slept horribly.  I woke up a bunch of times, and one of those times I thought I saw a shadow right in front of me.  I blinked and it was gone, but it still creeped me out.  I thought maybe I slept so badly because Jason and I had switched sides of the bed because I needed to be closer to the fan.  I made sure we switched back the next night, though.

    Then two nights ago, more really weirdness.  Katie Beth woke up at 11 pm, which she hadn't done since the time the tv came on.  I walked to her room, still half asleep, and helped her back to sleep.  Then I realized the stinking tv was on again!  Same thing - on a cable channel but the cable box was off.  I turned it off, and went back to bed.  I was almost asleep when something bumped the bed really hard.  Almost as if you accidentally bumped into it in the dark or something.. that hard.  I jerked straight up and tried not to flip out.  I calmed down, and closed my eyes and laid there trying to force myself back to sleep.  Then something put pressure on top of the blanket beside my feet.  Blah.  I turned on the lamp and read for about an hour and a half before I could finally fall back to sleep.

    So yesterday I told Jason about it, and God bless him, he didn't laugh.  I don't think he believes me, but at least he didn't laugh.  Last night we went to bed, and of course Jason was asleep within seconds of hitting the pillow.  I was almost asleep when the bed started shaking.  At this point, I just resigned myself to the fact that something lives with us now.  The bed shook without me or Jason moving two more times last night.

    The more I think about it and talk about it, the less scared I get.  Obviously whatever is hanging out in our house with us likes us.  From what I've read about Taotaomona, you would know if one didn't like you.  I really, truly think that whatever/whoever is in our house doesn't want us to move!  Stuff didn't start happening until we started packing out.  I think it likes us!  I even found these webpages that have other ghost stories, and they sound so similar to what has been going on around here.

    So yeah.. I know a bunch of y'all reading this are going to think I'm absolutely crazy.  That's cool, I would think that too if I wasn't living the weirdness.  But just so y'all know, I'm going to start being a lot more respectful when I talk about Guam.  Don't want to make my Taotaomona angry!

    Grab my button...

    The Sub Wife Life