Thursday, October 29, 2009

Homeless Anxiety

Today we cleared the housing office on base and now we are officially homeless and are currently staying in the TLF (Temporary Lodging Facility) on base.  Our dogs are living at the kennel this week and our cats are going to be staying with my parents until they come to visit us in a few months. We are a family separated and divided up temporarily.  During all this planning, packing, donating, and being prepared to move I was diligent in my efforts to not face the reality of being homeless, separated from my furry children, taking my older daughter from her friends, and moving from all our family. While I knew that all those things would happen I had plenty to do to keep me busy and not thinking about it in terms of reality.

My husband has been nice enough to point out to us lately, this is the last time we'll (fill in the blank) every time we do something for the last time. This morning I was nice enough to point out to him that while it doesn't really matter to him if we leave Tucson and this base because he is not from here it is very hard for those of us in this family that have lived here most or all our lives. He was then nice enough to remind me when we left our home for the last time, that it was indeed the last time we would be there. I guess my comments to him didn't make the impact that I had hoped it would. Perhaps some of that has to do with the fact that I myself was avoiding the reality on an emotional level. Either way I am now faced with it head on and I want to embrace the move but the next 4 days that I have left in my "hometown" are going to be full of lasts and that is going to be the hardest part.

While I am confident that Germany will be full of very nice people and that we will make new friends, none of those people will be able to replace the ones we are being separated from. The people we know the best and love the most. The places that we love to go, restaurants that we love to eat at and the comfort of familiarity in your surroundings. I know that we are very luck in this age of technology that I will be able to keep in touch with the people we care about the most with the internet, webcams, instant messaging, cell phones, and email. I'm trying to keep a positive outlook on this move and I was REALLY excited to find a Subway restaurant on Google Earth the other day. Now if they just had a Starbucks this move would be so much easier.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moving Day 1

Yesterday was day 1 of the movers being here and packing our stuff. Due to the hectic day and running around since 5 am sorting and putting the things aside I wanted to make sure didn't get packed I didn't have the energy to even think about posting pictures from the day, so here are a few from yesterday.

This is the truck the movers came in, they brought tons of boxes and brown paper that they have wrapped all the furniture in.

Here is a sample of the brown paper and the boxes that they are using. I'm just hoping that the paper is recyclable because those crazy Germans are REALLY into recycling and I don't want any trouble.

Here are some of the boxes from the kitchen. This does not include any of my serving dishes, those weren't packed up when I took this picture. It also does not include most of my pans and other cooking items because those were sent in the 1000 lb load. Yes...I admit I do have a lot of kitchen stuff, it's my weakness lol.

These boxes were under the island on next to the ones in the picture above....I know, I have a lot. But I LOVE it all so I don't see it going any where any time soon....except to Germany! lol

So far the week hasn't been very stressful for me at all, mostly because the movers are doing all the work. I will admit that the few days before they got here were super stressful, just getting ready so we didn't forget anything we needed. But of course as usual there were a few things I forgot to set aside the air bed that my husband and I were going to sleep on. I guess we'll be buying a new one, we needed to get one for our daughter to use anyway so I guess we'll just get 2 new air beds lol. A lesson learned the hard way. If that's the only lesson we learn the hard way on our first overseas move then I'll be really happy!

Keep an eye out later tonight for the pictures and an update from today. We have some loading planned for the day!

Top 10 Things I love about Tucson, AZ - #1

It's not hard to find a list of things to not like about Tucson, as a matter of fact I can think of several just off the top of my head; heat, heat, heat and a ton of other things. But, as much as I like to complain about the heat, anyone that lives here loves to complain about the heat on a regular basis yet very few people actually move from here, there are still things about Tucson that I love and I will miss greatly when we move in 6 weeks. Here is the first in the series:

The Heat - Ok, ok, ok I know I was just saying how much I love to complain about the heat but let me elaborate on that. July and August are a total downer in Arizona. It's so hot that you can hardly go out in the middle of the day. The "cold" water comes out of the faucet already warm enough to melt the ice in your cup because the ground is so hot and the water just never gets cold. If you want to do anything outside you have to do it before 8 am or it's just too hot to enjoy it.

Given all that is bad and evil about the scorching heat in Arizona, I have to say that it's also something that can be wonderful. Example: This summer we took the kids to Lake Havasu for a few days. While it was 118 that day when we got in to the lake the water was like a nice warm bath. I couldn't believe how great it felt to be floating in warm water getting a tan!

We have more sunny days in a month than some states have all year, how lucky are we? While there are a few months that it it hard to get out and enjoy the sunny days for the most part its a good thing because the rest of the year it's wonderful to be able to get outside and do something.

Friday, September 18, 2009

1000 lbs and No Carrier

The Travel Management Office (TMO) briefed us on all the things that we needed to do to be ready for the movers next week. Like I said before we have two shipments, one that is 1000 lbs of stuff we need right away and the rest will arrive shortly after we get to Germany. As of today we have only met with the carrier that is taking the larger load. They came out and estimated the weight last week and it looks like we are good to go on that.

Now things get interesting....some time its the same carrier for both loads, and sometime not. I guess we fell into the net category, just my luck! As of today we still have not heard from the carrier that is supposed to be picking up the smaller shipment. Why is this a HUGE deal?! Because if we don't have a smaller shipment we wont have anything we own until at least December 8th! All we will have is the stuff we can take in our luggage, we will not be able to have anything there waiting for us....

I'm hoping that we can get this worked out, if not it's going to be a very stressful day.

Update: We DO have a carrier! We were able to confirm the carrier on Friday afternoon for tomorrow morning. So now I can rest easy that I do not have to pack absolutely everything that I have for the winter and fall into 1 suitcase (which btw is technically IMPOSSIBLE). So now we are working on the gigantic tasking of sorting into 3 piles....pack, 30 day shipment, or regular shipment....oh yeah and a 4th pile DONATE. I'm working on donating a ton of stuff that we no longer use/ want for the 3rd time this year. At the rate I'm going I wont have much to ship when they get here next week.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

6 days

I have 6 days to get together anything that I want to ship to Germany that I want to arrive in 30-40 days. Starting to freak out a little bit. I have to plan everything that we will need for the next couple months and set it aside so that I don't accidentally send it! Then I have to decide what to send and what can wait to arrive in the middle of December. Seriously, how am I supposed to know everything that I will possibly need for the next 60 days?! Here's the best all has to be able to fit into our luggage! I feel a headache coming on already....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Travel Plan

This week we got our actual flight information! I'm really excited because I've had to tell everyone that asks me, and just about everyone that I know has asked me several times, when we are leaving that we are leaving "around the 1st of November". Well, now I know for sure that we are leaving on the 2nd of November. The rest of the details of course I will not share for security reasons, BUT I am happy to say that I have official flight information! I feel really excited and a little nervous about it. It was hard not knowing when we were leaving but now that I do know for sure I'm a little nervous because it's so REAL now.

Now I have really have to kick it into high gear with the packing and sorting and donating. The movers will be here soon and I still feel a million years from being ready. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 9 - TMO Appointment

The packing and moving saga continues....

For our move we are authorized to send 1000 lbs in a smaller shipment that will go "express" via air to Germany. This shipment takes about 30-40 days to arrive at its destination, hence the "express" part. At first I was really excited about this because I thought I would be able to send things like beds and linens and stuff that we will need to be comfortable until the rest of our HHG (Household Goods) arrive. I had a great plan!

Well, it turns out I was wrong and all my planning was for nothing. You can't even send furniture!!...I was like whoa, whoa...w ...h...o....a, what do you mean I can't send beds? The girl, yes I said girl because she was like 14, told me that furniture is a huge no no and it's more for things like seasonal clothing and small stuff like toys or a tv maybe some pans and dishes. All that will be fantastic while we are sleeping on the floor! Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic. I know the AF has a loaner program so we can use their stuff until we get ours, but it's not the same as sleeping on your own bed with your own sheets.

So now I have to go back to the drawing board and start my plan of what will ship in two weeks and what we will have till the following week. I also have to catalog all my DVD's, cd's, electronic equipment, condition of the furniture, sorting out what clothes will stay with us and what can ship, etc. So if anyone is wondering what I will be doing for the next two you know!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Official Move Timeline

Ok, so here is the latest news on the "Official Move Timeline"...

September 9 - Meeting at TMO to get the details on the movers and what we can and what we can not take with us. This is when it's going to get really busy around here. We've already donated a TON of stuff to Goodwill and we've tossed the rest that was, well...lets just say junk that even Goodwill wouldn't want. Even with all this we still have so much to go through and I'm *hoping* to get rid of a lot more of it.

September 21 - The movers will be here to pick up 1000 lbs of my "stuff". This shipment will take about 30 days to get to Germany which means it will be there waiting for us when we arrive. So it will consist of important items that we will want right away when we get there like our beds. That also means that anything we send in this shipment we will no longer have here. So for about 6 weeks we'll be sleeping on air beds. I think our 10 year old will love it because it will be like camping in the house, the rest of us....not so much in the excitement department. lol

September 28 to October 1- The movers will be back to pack the rest of our "stuff" for several day and then they will take it all away. This is when its really going to start sucking big time. This shipment will take 60-75 days to get to Germany so it will arrive just after we get there. Sound great because we should have a house by then and we will be ready to unpack. The part that sucks means that the rest of the stuff that we were using after our 1000 lbs left will now also be gone. We'll basically be living in a very empty house. My husband even suggested that we should just all "live" in the living room and that we only need to go upstairs to shower....sadly I was thinking the same thing. I mean we wont have a couch, so we'll need something to sleep on i.e. our air beds!

November 1 (approximately) - We leave for Germany!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Arizona Science Center, Phoenix AZ

If you are in Phoenix and looking for a great place to take your kids where they can run free and touch everything they see, the Arizona Science Center in downtown is the place for you! I visited the center today with my daughter and aged 10 and my infant that is 1 along with my Aunt K and Uncle M and their 1 year old also. I was worried at first that the babies wouldn't have anything to do and that they would be seriously bored, but it turned out to be just the opposite. With over 300 exhibits, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium there is definitely something for kids of all ages and those that are just a big kid at heart like.
One of the newest attractions is the SkyCycle. It's a bike that has a large counter weight below it and the bike balances on a cable. You ride this bike suspended about 15 feet in the air along the cable for an incredible physics lesson. My 10 year old did it and loved every minute of it, but beware there is an extra fee of $3 for members and $5 for non-members for this exhibit.

A free exhibit that you do not want to miss up on the third level is Forces of Nature. It is a platform that you stand on that shows a video every few minutes and it discusses forces found in nature such as earth quakes and lightening. The exhibit is totally interactive with a moving floor, real rain, heat waves and tornadoes!

In addition to the regular exhibits the center features special event exhibits that change regularly. Currently the feature exhibit is Lego Castel Adventure. There are costumes the kids can borrow while they enjoy the Lego Castle, slide and hands on building tables. There are also displays of detailed castles, gardens, and life size statues of armor and a dragon! This is a great place for the bigger kids but there is little for the smaller kids to do in this area. Runs until September 7, 2009.

The next exhibit that the center will feature is Robots The Interactive Exhibit based on the 20th Century Fox movie. The exhibit is all about robotics and shows what a world totally inhabited by mechanical beings might be like. Runs September 27, 2009 to February 14, 2010.

My overall impression of the center was very positive and there isn't much to say that is a negative. The elevator nearest to the SkyCycle is very slow, so you'll want to use the one at the other end of the hall which just happens to be right at the main entrance to the center anyway. Admission to the center is $12 for adults and $10 for kids 3-17 and for seniors. There is an additional fee for both the IMAX and the planetarium and they average about $8 per person. I did not visit the IMAX or the planetarium but Aunt K and Uncle M have and they tell me it’s fantastic and definitely worth a visit. There is a small cafe to get a snack at but I would skip it and enjoy one of the many other restaurants in downtown Phoenix for a much better meal and at a better price.

I need to come up with a cute rating system for the places that we visit, but since I haven't done that yet I'll just tell you that its a great place and definitely worth your trip!

Friday, August 28, 2009

...and the "fun" begins!

Hello all my peeps out there in blogger land! If you do not know already my husband is in the Air Force and we have received orders overseas to Germany. This is my new blog that will be totally dedicated to our journey of moving and living overseas in fabulous and luxurious military style....YEAH RIGHT! While there is A LOT to do, and an incredible amount of change for all of us involved in this move we are still excited to be able to live and travel and experience cultures in so many new places. The move to Germany will allow us to travel Europe and see all the places that we've dreamed of. The first thing that my daughter asked me, was, "Can we go to Paris?!" lol. She's really excited about traveling and can't wait to go to Paris.

We aren't leaving Tucson until approximately November 1, but everyone keeps asking me about the move. So I wanted to start the blog before that so everyone can see some of the things that we are going through to get ready. At this point we've had to apply for new passports and we've sold a lot of stuff that we aren't taking with us. Example: We didn't want to take our old heavy and ugly bedroom set so we sold it and now all our clothes that were in the dressers are now in suitcases in my room. It's hard living this glamorous life! We are going to get a new set but we just haven't decided on one yet. I am making a trip to Ikea this weekend, so I just might come home with a whole new house of furniture!

So the next step for us is having our house packed up and moved. Now, this wouldn't normally be a big deal but since our stuff is moving to Germany and a slow boat to Europe takes about 60-75 days to get there so our stuff is leaving before us. If we didn't have our household goods picked up and shipped until we leave, we would be waiting in Germany for it for about 2 months so having it leave a few weeks before us is the lesser of two evils. We will be in temporary housing for a few weeks, aka a tiny hotel room at the base hotel, before we go anyway. Before that we will be without most of our household goods, other than what we are keeping to put into storage, for about 6 weeks. That means we'll be air mattress sleeping, paper plate eating, and tiny TV watching for a long time before we go. Did I mention how glamorous the military life really is?

While I am excited about this move there is a ton of stuff to do still. Over the next few months I'll be posting regularly on the blog about the move and yes I will be posting lots of pictures too. We'll be visiting family, packing, selling more stuff we don't want to take, taking our car to San Diego to be shipping overseas, and so much more fun! If you have ever wondered what it takes to move to another country you aren't going to want to miss these posts so stay tuned!

Make sure you follow the blog, top of my page, click on FOLLOW, so that you can have the latest and greatest updates as they happen!