Thursday, April 24, 2014

An out of body experience...

... I seriously had one of those today.  You know, those moments when things get so crazy that you temporarily step outside of yourself to take things in as an innocent observer?  There have been many moments in my life where I would have preferred to have been a fly on a wall, and today was not an exception.

This week has been slightly intense, but we can handle it with grace, as we always try to do.  Big R has been working his tail off in a rape trial.  I often find myself feeling insuperior to his legal world knowing how exhausting his extremely long days are, and yet how important it is for him to be on top of his every word.  Enter me and my madness that only the talents of little kids can bring you. Haha.  I have found that this week I am feeling conflicted emotionally about our impending move from Germany.  Tears are flowing as I take a much needed jog through the Bavarian countryside and work in my "office" on our porch in the beautiful weather, meanwhile my blood is boiling when a seemingly simple task such as printing a document to sign and scan back to an office is nearly impossible here.  We live in a rural and incredibly beautiful town, but the neighborhood, and let's face it, the entire region, isn't exactly office friendly.  When our printer decided to go on the fritz this week, the timing was terrible.  Yes, we have an amazing Army post here, but the hours are not exactly friendly to mom's with most places opening after 11 a.m. (including the library - seriously, who has reading hour for kids at noon?!).

Ok, so these issues are minor, and not really the source of my out of body experience.  That particular moment happened when I took little r into the clinic for a check up.  The cyst behind his knee has been causing him some discomfort.  I'm a mom, so the natural thing to do is want him to NOT experience pain.  Coincidentally, we also needed to find out why during his four-year wellness exam when he received (what seemed like) a million shots, they somehow missed one that the Child Development Center, or CDC, needed to allow my boys into childcare on Saturday during our "JAG Prom" (it's a Regimental Ball, but it's so much more fun to refer to it as a prom, isn't it?).

Although he has been complaining about his cyst hurting on a nearly daily basis for over a month, miraculously he was cured today when I told him that's why we were seeing a doctor.  I don't suppose it's much of a surprise to tell you that when he found out during the visit that he might also need to get another shot he completely freaked out.  Anyone that knows my little monster can understand what this means.  It's purely a sight to behold, and today was classic.  By the time the doctor made it to the exam room to talk with us, baby c was also coming unglued.  He's cutting teeth, he was hungry (as always), and I forgot the baby carrier.  My normally very calm and subdued little man was out of control, and screaming his head off.  Meanwhile, little r was literally acting like a wild animal on the exam table ripping the paper cover to shreds.  It sounded like a war was going on in our room as I was trying to have a conversation with our doctor.  She was very understanding, but the raucous sounds coming from our room alarmed the Sargent down the hall so much that he open the door without knocking to make sure everything was ok.  At that point I think I became about two inches tall.  I got little r off of the table and asked him to get dressed wherein he proceeded to climb through the blinds on the window and make sounds like an animal.  It felt like I was in some sort of twilight zone.  This doctor knows us pretty well (thankfully), and I think even she was shocked at the madness occurring in the exam room.  At this point I flew out of my body and hovered where I laughed uncontrollably at the situation.  What else can you possibly do?

The afternoon got better as we headed to the post office to mail gifts I'm convinced will never get mailed because I can't figure out how to mail them (likely symptomatic of a post office that opens at 11:30 a.m. meaning it can only be visited with crazy animals in tow).  The gifts again did not get mailed, and instead we collected 5 packages and a mailbox full of letters.  The balancing act to the car was a sight to be seen.  I stood proud, when what I probably should have done was ask for help.

My next task was to dive into the U.S.O., a place that is promising to help even the most weary housewife, and yet I have only been inside once because it doesn't open until after 11 a.m.  The fabulous volunteer printed documents and even scanned them for me, handling several needed tasks in one fail swoop.  I then got on the phone in an attempt to explain to the CDC rep (also helpful and fabulous) why little r didn't need a vaccination her regulations are claiming he must have.  It was multi-tasking at its finest, and two screaming kids, 5 phone calls, 4 emails, and an additional scan at home, and I checked off a few more items from my list.

This is just going to be one of those weeks that we will look back on (or hopefully forget altogether) and sigh at the hilarity of it all.  Big R's week has been successful, my checklist is being tackled, baby c has two new teeth, and little r can carry on for a good six months more (hopefully) without worrying about his cyst.  We have nearly survived another week. We did just return from a vacation, right?  I think we are ready for another one! haha.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When life gets crazy just make more lists...

My head is seriously spinning.  When I last wrote you I mentioned that we were leaving for a week of pure bliss and would return to a world of madness.  I promise to tell you all of the fun details and share Big R's amazing photos from our week of wonder, but right now I'm swimming in the madness.  The good news is that despite it being an insanely crazy time, everything is coming together relatively well.  It's so nice when that happens.  When you can check things off of your list and feel a sense of relief instead of running into more closed doors or huge obstacles, it definitely reduces stress in a big way.

We got back from our cruise on Sunday (after a crazy adventure of recovering Big R's missing iPhone from the cruise boat - an experience I hope to never have to repeat), and prepared ourselves for the weeks that lie ahead.  Big R immediately went into the office to do prep work for a trial he is in all week, and I feverishly unpacked and did laundry so that I could focus the next day on other tasks (i.e., getting a new military ID because I had lost mine (seriously bad timing)), and making phone calls to banks, DMVs, shipping ports for the cars, etc.

Big R and I hit the ground running first thing Monday morning.  Good thing we found his iPhone because we have definitely given it a workout in the last 48 hours.  My ID was found, and Big R managed to get all the paperwork together that I needed to make this a productive week of PCS planning.  Any of my military friends know that PCS planning often means making lists of lists to not forget other lists.  There are so many pieces you have no choice but to find some way to organize and keep track of things.  Add to the mix that life doesn't stop while you are PCSing, and you really learn to stay organized or you'll otherwise lose your sanity.

Today was a fantastic day where I was able to get many questions answered and big dates scheduled for our PCS.  We now have flights (with pets reserved), our household goods pick up date is on the books, and we have an appointment to drop off the car for stateside shipping.  The pets were really a point of major stress for our move to Germany, but this time around things are coming together well in that regard (thank goodness), and the much bigger headache has been dealing with our cars.  Despite the headaches though, those pieces of the puzzle are working themselves out as well (I'm just buried in mountains of paperwork and I want to cry at the sticker shock from the costs associated with shipping our car).

Our new duty station will be Fort Campbell, and we have heard pretty good things about this assignment from an army perspective.  We'll be living in Clarksville, Tennessee, in a cute little house we are renting in a seemingly great neighborhood.   Big R's "race car" will meet us in Atlanta when we land there (that's as far as the pets can go because flights into Nashville can't fit our furry buddies), and our storage shipment we left in the US should be delivered to us at some point that first week we are there.  I'm a little terrified to see what we've been storing for the past 3 years.

So, for the next few weeks we'll be filling out paperwork and preparing our house for the pick up of our goods.  Big R will finish his trial this week just in time for our big "JAG prom" over the weekend, and my final thesis is then due on Tuesday.  We seem to finally have working internet and phone, which is a variable we've been fighting with for awhile now, so hopefully that means I'll get my blog posts written to share stories about our cruise adventure. I really can't wait to tell you all about it!



Saturday, April 12, 2014

And the ship sets sail...

We are hitting all sorts of milestones this week, or that's how it seems. In T minus 24 hours we are walking onto a huge and beautiful boat (ahem, ship) to spend a week sailing the Mediterranean. Am I excited? Words don't describe the level of excitement, especially after the insane past few months we've had and the even more chaotic couple of months ahead.

First things first, school is going incredibly well. I submitted a draft of my thesis this week, which feels so huge, the week before I completed a draft project for publication with the University folks I met with in Leipzig last month, and I have a potential job prospect starting later this year that I'm really hoping comes to fruition.

Phew... Busy month! Our next exciting news is that we finished the half marathon in Prague. We had a fantastic time with our friends and I somehow managed to have a really good race, so all around happy trip. I promise to write more about it when we return from our big boat excursion.

And finally, the most awesome news of all is that Big R finally got his orders AND we secured housing yesterday, so we have a place to live at our new assignment. It's a cute house in an amazing neighborhood with the best school district, a gym (with daycare) just down the street, a nearby playground, and a babysitter literally next door. Seriously pinch me. Having housing is a HUGE deal in the otherwise mess of confusion that PCS season creates, so we are instantly feeling better about things. With orders in hand we are one step closer to knowing more definitive plans about our return back to the US this summer. Hope to tell you a little more about that soon.

For this week though, I'm taking my amazingly sweet and hard-headed little man, and my talkative little mover, on a cruise of one of the most beautiful areas in the world, and I can't wait. Little r should finally get to have fun on one of our trips, and I have no doubt baby c will make us many new friends and adopt several Greek and Italian grandmothers in the next 7 days.

Enjoy your week, happy Easter, and much love to you all! See you when we get back from our sail!