A little late (lot late) posting this but I just love this comparison.
Mckenna’s first day of 4th grade and last day of 4th grade.
Love this girl!
One of the ships participating in the RIMPAC exercises. I just loved all of the flags fluttering in the breeze on the ships.
(My daughter is yelling at me in the background, “MOM STOP TAKING PICTURES, IT SAYS NO PICTURES” as an officer is walking by.)
Friday was a reminder of just how much I hate moving. I know, I know my husband is in the wrong job field if I have a problem with moving. And I know I shouldn’t even be complaining because I didn’t even have to do the work of packing and boxing everything up, but it was still a really long day!
It actually went pretty quickly as moves go, they got there at 8am and we walked out the door of an empty house at 6pm. It wasn’t too bad until they packed up the chairs! Also by the end of the day my hands reeked of bleach. Nothing like scrubbing a house that is just going to sit vacant!
Leaving there we dropped off a whole boatload of cleaning supplies at our animal shelter on base, had to swing by the store for a leash since they packed the one I set aside (and then all of the backup ones as well) and then off to get settled in our new home (for the next few days) the Navy Lodge. Time to get used to living out of suitcases! The room is decent sized; it has a kitchenette which is good because the dining out options are pretty limited on base.
We did run over to La Plaza for dinner, grabbed some pizza and ran into a bunch of friends. They were doing an alcohol free happy hour so I got a booze free mai tai; which incidentally is just juice. It would have been much improved with some alcohol in it! So we had another round of goodbyes which suck.
Back to the hotel with poor Bowser who doesn’t know what to do with himself. He can’t get settled and he is the worst to try to get to go to the bathroom on a walk, he NEVER goes when we are on a walk. He always waits until we are back into our yard to pee. He is such a weird dog. So needless to say we’ve been walking him and walking him to try and get him used to peeing in new places. He’s going to have to get over it or he is going to have a VERY long flight!
Saturday was off to a disappointing start as we woke up early to catch breakfast at the galley but got there a half hour after it closed. Really? Saturday breakfast from 6:30am to 8 am? What a bummer when I was really in the mood for some eggs, back to the hotel for a breakfast of cold cereal. The lobby promised coffee and pastries in the morning but the coffee was some of the worst I have ever had (and I’m really not that picky) and the pastry was a little cake thing about the size of a pat of butter! Yes I am complaining and I really shouldn’t be at $75/night. Plus we did have a kitchenette so at least we had breakfast stuff on hand.
Hung around the rest of the day and even spent some time on the tennis courts, let’s just say it was a miracle if we could manage to volley more than three times! The kids had fun running after the ball and Bowser was happy to be out of the hotel room and able to stretch his legs.
Saturday night we were invited over to my friend LaDonna’s house for dinner. Omar and her husband Joe have been taking classes together so they know each other as well…. Plus she has two kids and a pool so my kids were happily entertained for hours. And her house. Oh my goodness, her house. It is my Spanish dream home! Three levels, an open courtyard in the middle, beautiful yard and tiles. I had to shut myself up because I was gushing. But seriously, if we ever move back to Spain, base housing can suck it.
July is here! Can’t believe that tomorrow we will be flying to Hawaii! Insane. Nothing on the agenda for the day, although we did actually manage to grab brunch at the galley. Much better hours on Sunday! Of course the kids don’t know how to behave at a buffet and fill their plates with way too much food. Of course we saw some friends there to say goodbye to, I hate all this goodbying!
(and yes my husband mocked me mercilessly for taking pictures at the galley)
After breakfast we had to return our rental car, the tiny little Chevy Spark. Luckily we just had to return it to the air terminal so it wasn’t a far walk to the Exchange. As we are walking from place to place we are reminded of doing the exact same thing 4 years ago when we first got here. It is amazing how quickly the time has gone. Of course I was getting all sentimental on our walk, taking pictures of EVERYTHING, saying over and over, this is the last time I’ll see the post office, or my work, or the fire station. Being absolutely ridiculous about everything of course.
(Navy Lodge, random base photo, water tower)
Meandered our way over to the Exchange where the boys got haircuts (LAST haircuts in Rota!) Did some last minute shopping for things (last time in the mini mart!) then back to the hotel. Squeezed in another tennis game (if you could call it that) even though it was hot as heck out. Spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and repacking the suitcases.
We did get to watch the final Euro 2012 game between Spain and Italy with Spain coming out on top. While it didn’t get quite as crazy as when Spain won the World Cup two years ago but it was pretty fun to hear all of the fireworks and car horns going off every time Spain scored. I will say that we were all rooting for Italy a bit, that Mario Barotelli has a great story and is quite a character.
Final night in Spain was sad, it’s hard to let go even though there isn’t anything left here. No house, no job, it’s time to move on. Spain was just such a wonderful time for our family.
July 2, 2012
Oh 4:30am is butt ass early in the morning. Amazingly we all managed to wake up okay and get everything together and out of the hotel. The only small blip was me letting Bowser out off-leash and he decided to go running off trying to find cats. I’m sure all of the other residents loved me yelling for my stupid dog at 5:30 in the morning.
To the airport at a little after 6 and the line is already insane. The first flight out is the one we are on, the 7am to Madrid, but the check in process doesn’t even start until 6. So there is a huge line of people that they have to try and get processed in 45 minutes. We are close to the end of the line, big cart full of luggage PLUS the huge dog kennel on another cart. We have to wait to check in ourselves before they will check in the dog (who is whining like CRAZY in his kennel, poor baby!). The process is just crazy, they send the kennel through a scanner then I had to walk the dog through security (thankfully he was being really good at this point) and then put him back in his kennel on the other side. At this point they are rushing us because the plane is getting ready to take off so they rush the dog out there and we are speed walking to the plane. Luckily our airport is tiny and we pretty much just walk through security out the gate, then over the tarmac to the plane.
*Two things with the dog: we were quoted 150euro and then they charged us 300euro and of course we had no time to argue. I’m planning on contacting Iberia not that I know if it will make a difference it was just irritating to be surprised like that. Second, they didn’t want me to leave his leash with the kennel. Oh and third, they did check him all the way through to LAX so we didn’t have to transfer him ourselves when we pulled into Madrid.*
First flight over, just an hour, the easy one was out of the way. Getting to Madrid wasn’t too bad. They’ve remodeled since the last time we were here and it was much easier to navigate. Grabbed breakfast at McDonald’s (Egg McMuffin’s for the win!) then tried to figure out where to ask if our dog was okay. No one really knew too much about him, thankfully they said he should get on the next plane no problem. Of course me being a worry wart am asking if anyone would be giving him water or letting him out of his kennel. No one knew. So my poor baby is probably in the kennel crossing his legs right now, I did put down layers of puppy pads and blankets and towels.
So now, right now, I am smack dab in the middle of a 13 hour flight from Madrid to Los Angeles. Almost perfectly in the middle, we’ve been on the plane for almost 7 hours. So far so good. I’ve got my Kindle and my iPad and we are currently watching “A Thousand Words” on the plane (yes it is as bad as all of his other movies, so glad I didn’t pay for it)
The plane ride can’t last forever (even though it is kindof starting to feel like it) really looking forward to landing in LAX and getting to stretch my legs and see how my puppy is doing!
LAX was super crazy. We landed a few minutes late, the line for customs was insane, grabbed our luggage and waited for the dog to come down in the oversize elevator. Elevator arrives, no one will give us our dog! They said a representative from the airline had to do it! Say what! We have 1.5 hours to get out of baggage claim walk a million miles to the new gate and go through security for our next flight. Finally one of the baggage guys starts pulling stuff off and we get our baby. He was whining and whimpering to get out. Sorry baby! We go through customs and start rushing toward the United check in. Stop for 30 seconds at a pet relief area for Bowser but he was more interested in sniffing everything than peeing. Get to the check in counter, where of COURSE the lady has an issue with us sending our dog as excess baggage. She wants us to take him to cargo. Oh no lady. I’ve googled my ass off and talked to your pet coordinator, this dog is getting on this plane. (Military exemption suckers!) She calls someone gets told to stick the dog on the plane, and off we go. But not before realizing that we forgot to pick up my husbands seabag from the baggage terminal. A half mile away. That we can’t get to. Oh. Shit.
His seabag has ALL of his uniforms. Uniforms which he is required to be wearing in three days. We are panicking but have no choice but to get in line and get through security so we can catch our flight. We barely had time to use the bathroom before we had to board the flight. And hooray, we are sitting in the back row of the airplane. Worst flight ever. Big guy next to me kept stealing my armrest, I had people’s butts in my face for 5 hours as they waited in line for the bathroom. Couldn’t sleep, just miserable.
Land in Hawaii, go to baggage to tell them about our bag, they say it should make it’s way here so we don’t need to file a claim.
Omar’s sponsor and chief meet us and give us a ride to the hotel, so happy we didn’t have to try cramming in a cab. Oh, and also after I had them swing by the quarantine holding area so I could drop off some food for the dog. If you fly in after 3pm you have to pick up the next morning.
Get the kids to sleep around 1am, just for a nap I tell them. I sleep for about 3-4 hours and am up and awake at 5am. We did it. We are actually in Hawaii! And I am claiming beach front view from our hotel because I can see a sliver of water between the two hotels in front of us!
I am officially over living out of a hotel room. One week, that’s all it took. Plus we’ve been lucky because I’ve been dropping Omar off at work then running around with the kids so we aren’t stuck in here all day. But man, it sure didn’t take long for me to miss cooking. And dressers. And a bedroom door between me and my children. We moved from our hotel right smack dab in the middle of Waikiki to one right near the base. Our temporary housing allowance was getting cut off because we refused a house to wait for the house we really wanted, and that means we have to start paying out of pocket for a hotel. So goodbye beach hotel, hello cheap hotel. I’m not complaining, it’s clean, has wifi in the rooms, a pool and is SUPER close to the base.
We did have some delicious Chinese food for dinner tonight. Let me just tell you that Chinese food in Europe? Is not what you are used to, we got used to it over there but man was it so good to have our unauthentic American Chinese food again!
Also Cinnabon for breakfast (yes I know I will soon be 200lbs). Little Omar said to me “Mom, you need to learn how to make cinnamon rolls like these!” Honey I am sorry, the closest you will get will be from the tube. I haven’t had the patience to make yeast breads in forever.
It’s been pretty fun taking Omar out to eat everywhere, it’s all a first for him. First Cinnabon, first Taco Bell, second time at Popeye’s (the first was in Germany of all places!) Although I did almost disown him for saying he didn’t like the cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster (and yes we are planning on hitting up EVERY SINGLE chain restaurant on island!)
Found out which school my kids are going to. Not 100% happy with it. I can change it to another school but I am not sure how much of a pain in the butt that will be or even if they will approve it. I hate the way they draw district lines. We end up going to a school that is across a highway instead of the one that my daughter could ride her bike to.
I think we are going to explore the beach on Hickam tomorrow since it’s just up the road. I’ve heard that it’s nice. I’m still kicking myself for not packing my snorkel stuff. I’m trying not to buy more but I don’t know if I can wait until our stuff gets here in September!
The end of the month can not get here soon enough, I am ready for a house!