After several days of tormenting ourselves with what to do about our mounting hotel bill and lack of housing, we think we finally have an answer today. We already have some of our stuff over in a temporary housing unit, but it's a ways away on Robinson Barracks. Today we have to deal with all the paperwork side of everything and then it's so long Millenium Hotel & Spa. We love you ol' Millenium but we've been your tenant for far too long so it's time for us to go. I must show you pictures of this place once we get our own computer. It was it's own city, awesome at first but very annoying right at this moment. Hopefully tonight we can actually have a home cooked meal in our own apartment on Robinson. It is so nice and roomy. After living in a hotel for almost 3 weeks, I almost forgot what it's like to have multiple rooms in your living quarters. :) Even though it's government housing and not the most up-to-date housing available, I absolutely do not care. I am just ready to get in there. Here's the kicker...it's on the 4th floor of a stairwell building...with no elevator. **sigh** No big grocery buying for a while.
Hopefully the cost agreement (i.e., re-bid) for our floors in permanent quarters is moving right along so they can get that taken care of. I think I wrote before how there are gaps in our hardwoods so they are going to throw down some laminant. Whatever! I could live with a dirt floor if I had to. :)
Cannons are being shot right this very moment, causing all of us to jump. I'm at the library right now and Neeley is in her day camp. Scooter/bicycle day today and a little gardening later.
Ronnie's here to pick me up so we can take care of some business. Will get back to you later!
1) Apparently it rains nonstop in Germany. Well, at least in Stuttgart anyway. It has been in the 50's and 60's for days now. Brrr....
2) The sun doesn't set until about 10:30 pm and rises again at 4 am. I swear on it!
3) I am sick of living in a hotel. Now I know why our government spending is out of control. There is tons of housing sitting empty right now and the government is paying a few thousand dollars for us to sit in this fancy-schmancy hotel. I have an appointment to yell at the housing people here in a bit. Will let you know how that one goes.
4) Believe it or not, I am sick of eating out all the time. I really am...don't laugh.
5) I found out our pre-pack stuff is here. Except we don't have a place to live yet.
6) We finally have permanent plates on our car. No more scary inspections every time we want to go on post.
7) My baby turns 8 on Thursday. :(
8) Trying to be a big girl and wear my big girl pants is proving very difficult. I really am trying to take care of as much as I can but I may just have to suck it up and learn to drive. Haven't even hardly looked at the test book yet but I am tired of relying on the bus system in these subzero temperatures.
9) I feel lost/disconnected without my own computer and my stuff. And where are my winter clothes? Probably somewhere in China...
10) I am grateful for friendly people who are nice and patient enough to help us poor confused looking Americans whenever we need it. :) I'm really trying to learn, I promise...
11) Please send Diet Coke stat. It's "Diet Coke Light" here and it's TERRIBLE!
12) Who knew that a Burger King cheeseburger would cost $1.55 in Germany!
13) Ronnie is getting ready to go to the field for a few days so that means eating dinner even later than 10 pm. Yes, you read that right! Ugh...
14) I'm very excited for all the opportunities we will have living on post. I just hate that everything is spread out among 4 different posts that aren't so close to each other. Neeley is going to a camp next week. I hear there's a big trip planned to Legoland and maybe some water involved one of those days. Wait, water in these frigid temps? Hhmmm..... Will let you know how the week goes. I am very thankful for CYS and all of their services. There's even a Parents Night Out coming up soon and I better have a train ride promised to me so I can see a castle or two. :)
15) It was kind of neato to get to see Ronnie's work area yesterday at our "inform the spouses" session. Unfortunately, with the good also comes the bad but it was a positive experience overall. We all laughed, we cried, we were scared and then uplifted. You know, all in a day's work in the Army.
And those are my ramblings for now. Neeley and I are sitting in the USO taking advantage of the free internet. Do you know how difficult it is to read your news in German? :) So I am very glad to be in a place that feels (somewhat) comfortable if only for a few minutes. Tomorrow we'll be back here at the USO for the free lunch they are providing. Burgers and hot dogs and all the fixin's. Yum! Food I know and love! We did find a neat little Italian place last night but it was just so-so.
Let us know what's going on in your world. I miss my news! :)
Last night we braved our first train ride. It did nothing for my anxiety. I tend to be a bit claustrophobic and taking a train through underground tunnels really didn't help it any. But it was fun to get downtown and see the shops and restaurants. And the people just sitting down everywhere. But can I mention once again that it is hot here? Yes, hot. What's with this no air conditioning thing? I'm not sure I can do this for long. :)
It's raining here again. It rains about every other day and it is cold out when it does. We will probably never be able to put away our winter clothes.
We have also discovered a mall close to us. It is an interesting place to say the least. We did find a place like a Dillard's and I found some things we will need for our house so I'm anxious to get in and get settled. Speaking of getting in and getting settled, we did find out that we will have to get rid of all of our things that plug in and buy all new things that have the european plugs. So there goes all of my small kitchen appliances, alarm clocks, phones, curling iron, straightener, hair dryers, etc. Bummer! Guess that's a small price to pay to experience Europe.
We had to go get Neeley a car seat. Did I tell you that she has to be in a booster seat until she's either 4'11" or 12 years old? She is no not happy about that. But that's okay.
Anyway, better end here for now. We've got to go get the stuff to get the tint off our car so we can pass inspection. We have temp. plates until we do and they request our registration and everything every time we try to get on post because of it. Oh well...one day it won't be so complicated.
Oh yeah, and to make this even crazier we did get it confirmed that if we do not do the OCS thing soon, we will be moving to Italy in about 2 years or so. Will keep you posted on that part!
Still promise to post pics soon! Where's our personal computer again? :(
Hi y'all! :) I miss being able to say that. Our friends here from Ohio laugh at us for saying that. Everything to them is "You guys" or "Dude!" as their 7 y.o. little girl says. :)
We're back in the library killing some time. Ronnie is off today so we've been running around like crazy getting some business taken care of. We got Neeley signed up for VBS here in a couple of weeks and who knew that she would get to do Crocodile Dock here too. She is ecstatic since she only got to do a day of it there in Arkansas. They have hundreds of kids who attend and almost all of the parents volunteer to help so that's several hundred helpers too. I was going to register as a volunteer but here's the kicker-you have to have a background check, and a physical, and some other things and have a few government forms filled out since it's provided by a government agency. Sad to say but I just decided that was a bit too much for me to deal with during our first month here.
Wanna hear something else that has created a huge stink?? Well, we were originally told our stuff would be here this week and that our housing would be ready this week too. Apparently that's not the case. Due to a backlog, our stuff won't be here until early August and the new hardwood floors are messed up in our new quarters so we can't move in to them for several weeks as well. So, we are still in a very expensive hotel for now which we hate. We applied today for temporary housing that will come furnished with government furniture and hopefully we can get that. But here' the next thing-we will have to wait a few weeks for even that to be ready. And the contractor had to put new locks on our permanent unit so we can't even get in to look at it because the housing office doesn't even have a key to it. What? We are all so frustrated! This is happening to everyone in the unit who has arrived here in the last month or so. We have been promised all the sunshine in the world by the housing clerk and when we arrive in person to speak with the director it all changes. So that's our biggest frustration. We are so sick of being in the hotel. Neeley and I ride the bus to post every day just to get out of the hotel. We have also been walking around some in our immediate area but we are ready to have our part of a yard with Neeley's playground and to be near post since we have to go there pretty much every day anyway.
At least we're in Germany though right? Well...I guess so. :) I do feel that way until I find out all this about housing. Oh, and the fact that Ronnie gets to go to Paris in August without us. Nope, we're not allowed to go. BUMMER! And the fact that he will be in the field for the few days around Neeley's birthday. He says he will be coming back every day but well, we'll just have to see about that.
We've got to move Ronnie's stuff out of the barracks by the end of the day tomorrow so our hotel room will look even more like a tornado by that time. Y'all say a little prayer for us that we can get in to some kind of housing soon before we kill each other. That other family staying in our same hotel has two kids and I think they are driving their parents crazy too! :)
Good Morning from Germany! Well, actually I just looked and it's now afternoon. I still have no idea what day it is or what time it is. :) Neeley and I are now back at Patch and taking some time on the library. We just barely missed the 11:17 am bus from Kelley to Patch so this nice gentleman offered to take us. It's customary for military families, if they have any extra seats in their vehicle when travelling from post to post, to stop and offer a ride to anyone waiting at any of the bus stops. That was a HUGE step for me since I seem to be so distrusting of everyone here. But I must say this is a very clean country and most of the people are very helpful and friendly.
We had our first German burgers last night and I do not recommend them. Grated pickles mixed with something or other (not sure exactly what it was) are not something I want but at least we can say we tried them. And most burger joints around here don't come with chairs to sit in. Odd! Poor Neeley had to eat her food off of a table taller than her.
Another thing I love about this country is their recycling efforts. Wow! I thought parts of the U.S. were doing well with this but we are way behind. We even have to separate our colors of glass and plastic and paper. Interesting!
I've learned I'll never be able to read the street signs. Just kidding. I am still so confused though.
And I've learned which bus driver drives the craziest but takes the scenic routes so that we get to see more of our area.
We have been out walking around some to see some of the local places. Most of those near our hotel are hair and nail salons, chocolate places, restaurants and sports bars.
We've also discovered that everything definitely does close up at 5 or 6 pm like we had been warned. Neeley and I have been waiting to eat dinner with Ronnie when he gets off work so we've been eating dinner at 9 pm or after on those nights. Yuck! And so far it's had to be fast food or expensive fries with the ketchup/mayo mixture since nothing is open that late. At least I can say I should be losing weight due to all this walking. We have to walk back and forth from our hotel to Kelley Barracks which is a good little ways and I'm definitely feeling it now.
I still have a ton of pics to show you but I will have to get my flash drive (or find it I might say instead) so I can use it. We are not allowed to post anything personal on the hard drive of these computers so I've got to do some thinking on that one. I am so ready to have my own stuff!
Today we are going to go get the schedule to the fitness center so I can start working out. I've just gotta try that Spin Class. But I'm sure I won't be loving it as much the next day. :) But I've got to get busy doing something good for myself. And they have tons of classes for Neeley so that will be good.
In a bit I am taking Neeley to our Multi-Craft Center (Arts & Crafts Center). They are doing craft classes today for kids to make something for Father's Day. We will have to display her handiwork here with yet another pic. I think she and Ronnie are still getting sick of my snapping shots all the time.
I got a schedule of the events this month in the local area so I think we are going to try and make it to some of the festivals later this week. Ronnie is working today but has the next 3 days off and tomorrow should be pretty busy for us still taking care of some move business and getting Neeley registered for some things but hopefully we can have some fun on Wednesday and/or Thursday.
Neeley has been invited to her first birthday party. One of the guys Ronnie works with has a son turning 4 y.o. so we are going to his Backyardigans party on Saturday. I really think it's just a reason for all the guys to get together since they have Rock Band at their house. :)
Anyone read the book Revolutionary Road? I just picked it up from the library two days ago and have already finished it. It was okay but not my fave. It was off the "Free-Take Me Home" shelf but I'm going to bring it back to share with others. Our post library is great and that makes me happy. Neeley loves it! They do story times several times per week and they are divided up by ages which is good so Neeley and I are going to try those. They do crafts during that time, and read a story, and they have tons of things planned for them during that 1.5 hours.
Did I tell you I got to try my terrible math skills and use Euro by myself yesterday? Yeah...so right now I hate that part but it's all good. I'm learning and that's about all I can say about it. :)
We should have our household goods here by the end of this week and can hopefully move in to our housing by the end of this week or early next week even. I would love to be able to move this weekend and I hope it does fall during the few days that Ronnie will have off. I know it will be up to me to get everything in its place but I plan to paint some of our furniture and do some revamping and that part is well...sort of...exciting except I'm just ready to be settled.
Does anyone know where we can go to just get some good ol' Southern comfort food around here? We're craving some but everything is full of butter and cream and grease over here. I need spaghetti and pork chops and...and...and... :) Oh yeah, and for my birthday and Christmas please send me some good ol' Diet Coke because this "Coca-Cola Light" stuff they call it over here is terrible. That's what they have in the Commissary too. And I prefer it in a bottle please. :)
And who didn't warn me that it is so dry over here? I can't even begin to tell you how much lotion we have gone through. And you pay extra for ice in your drinks over here so I don't have that to help keep me hydrated anymore. We are always so glad to get on post to get some "free" ice. We have been so thirsty and our skin is feeling so dry. Neeley's eczema has gone crazy here. One of her arms is just covered. And my eyes have been burning and acting crazy so I've had to resort to my glasses. Good thing our luggage got here quickly or I wouldn't have them.
And why didn't I know that they don't have air conditioning over here? I had to make a special request for a fan in our room and they had to go somewhere and get one. And now I am getting ready to run over to the Thrift Store to see if they have any other fans that anyone has left so we can use them in our apartment. It gets hot in the room at night even though it is pretty chilly at night. And our windows do not open. Interesting...
Well, it's Neeley's turn on the computer now so I better end this rambling chapter now and give her a turn while I go get some more books. Will share more as we can. May not be tomorrow but surely in a day or two.
Thank you, thank you, thank you all for the coupons already! We SO appreciate it! Really we do! Everything costs an arm and a leg over here, even some places on post, so we are very appreciative of any help we can get.
What time is it? Where am I? Is it time for dinner or breakfast or an in-between snack? Am I supposed to be asleep now?
Oh wait...I was just thinking out loud. :)
Yes, we are here. Alive and well, well almost I suppose. Our flight was disastrous! So many hangups getting out of Little Rock; bad weather in Atlanta diverting us to Birmingham, Alabama; miss our flight out of Atlanta by two hours; 10 minutes to make a decision to fly to Paris, France or spend 24 hours in the Atlanta airport to fly out again the next day. Let's just say Neeley and I elected to just go to Paris. I boo-hooed the whole way. Note to self-never fly when tired...or with a dog...or with a 7-year-old who has never flown before...or ever again for that matter. LOL Really, I'm just kidding but O.M.G.!
Today is the first day Neeley and I have been so exhausted. Today is Ronnie's first day to work while we have been here so Neeley and I are sitting in the post library reading and catching up on the computer. The weather is cool and breezy here. Only in the low 70's during the day and very chilly at night. Everyone is super friendly and helpful here, even the locals which has made it very pleasant so far. We are staying in a hotel since our housing won't be ready for about another week or so. We are slowly but surely learning our way around this place. Neeley and I hopped our first bus today to get from each post to do different things on each. You know that's brave for me. I'm terrified of this public transit system! But good news...I learned it's only a 1.5 hour flight to Paris or via train it's only 5 hours! :) Our car is here but I haven't taken my driving test yet so I can't drive until I do that which is fine with me for now!
We got to attend our first Hail & Farewell for Ronnie's unit last night and Neeley has already met the cutest little girl named Jordan and they have become the best of friends! She will also be in the third grade this next year which we are excited about. She will just be attending a different elementary since their housing will be in a different area. That part we don't especially like but it looks like they are going to get to have lots of time to play and have fun anyway. I am so thankful she makes friends so easily and has been able to find someone who is so much like her! :)
We are playing tourist as much as we can for now. My only frustration is not knowing the language. I have been spoken to in so many different languages already and I just kind of nod my head and wave and go about my business. :) We have also had a ton of business to take care of and still have tons to do. I have a million pictures already to share with you but will have to upload them at another time and get them posted. We are capped at 1 hours of internet time here in the library to be fair to everyone and I tend to be long-winded in my emails and blogs sometimes so that hour goes by quickly. And my lil diva girl is now requesting to check her email so I will sign off here for now and will keep filling you all in as we go about our journey here in Stuttgart.
So long, Arkadelphia, hello Stuttgart! :) Still cannot believe we will be on that plane tomorrow! Wow! Where has the time gone? Oh I am so grateful to just be getting there. I'm not sure if I will get to give any updates tomorrow so this may be our last update from good ol' Arkansas. The next time you hear from us, we may be coming at ya live from Stuttgart!
Will keep you posted...so very bittersweet here today so better end here. Will definitely be a ROUGH night!
Yes, it's another Manic Monday and hopefully our last for a while. Today, while Neeley is at a local VBS with one of her besties, I have been changing our address on a ton of things, paying bills, cancelling cell phones, etc., etc., etc. I think I'm about finished. Not saying that I don't still have 1,493 errands to run and things to do but have accomplished quite a bit so far today and for that I'm thankful. Because I have another ever-so-important date at the nail spa either today or tomorrow. That's my last gift to me for a while.
Gotta run as usual. We're outta here in 2 days! :)
We are taking our last lazy day here in Arkansas. I refuse to do much today. :) The next two days will be spent packing up and running a few last errands before our big flight out of here on Wednesday. So today we are simply laying around watching tv, playing Nintendo DS, eating good food, reading, and just being lazy. And it feels wonderful! I know I won't get too many more of these for a while since we will be setting up our new living place so I am making myself enjoy it.
I have so many fun artsy projects planned in my head to overhaul some of our furniture when I get there. Now, I'm sure I may have very different ideas by the time we touch down in Stuttgart, but for right now I have it all planned out. Can't wait to finally get there and get things done and be able to reveal our new living space.
Boy, are we pooped. Thank you to everyone who made it over to our Birthday/Going Away Carnival. I did shed a few tears at the end. **tear** Neeley received so many very special memories. We cannot wait to get to Germany and start on our scrapbooking. Y'all continue to pray that I will have the patience to actually scrapbook with her. I've never really tried it before. I have no patience to have stuff everywhere nor do I have the space to put that stuff. And I'm sure our 2 bedroom apartment in Germany won't allow much of that either but we'll just make it happen. I think that was by far the best party she has ever had. All of those hours and dollars spent to make it happen are so worth the time, effort and money. Those memories are priceless and we will cherish them forever. We had a ton of fun looking back through old pictures from friends from back when the girls were just babies! I know they are only around 7 or 8 years old but now they are changing so much. No more sweet pudgy baby cheeks to smooch on! These are big kids now and they will let you know it too. Neeley said that was one of the best days she has ever had!
Now we've had our baths and it's time to retire for the night. And I think we may stay in hiding tomorrow just to recover. :) Oh, and before I am asked, I did get tons of pictures promised to me from family and friends. I am always TERRIBLE about taking pictures because I am always way too involved in the parties to ever get any good shots. I will share all that I get later. I did promise Neeley this may have been her last birthday party. Bad mama or what? That may have just been the tired feet doing the talking. :)
Y'all have a great rest of your weekend. Will share more as I can. We fly in 4 days! Aaaaahhhhh........
What a day already! T.G.I.F. is all I can say, except now we fly in 5 days. **GASP** Oh my!
We had an emotional goodbye with one of our little friends yesterday. Neeley's good friend C. can't make it to the big shabang tomorrow because her family is headed out of town to the beach (SO JEALOUS!) so she came over for a bit yesterday evening to say goodbye. The girls got to play for a bit while we moms talked about important stuff-like how 2nd grade girls are so sassy, and the cute shoes they wear and stuff like that-and then we all had to say goodbye. We held up on our end but C was clearly upset. We love you C and will miss you dearly. We will always cherish your friendship and promise to keep in touch and will get that Flat Stanley to you! :)
Good News! As of today, we now have a place to live in Germany. Yay! Ronnie had to inquire about our eligibility date or something like that (feel free to explain more, hon!) so we were moved up on the list to #6 because of an error and once that happened we were immediately placed in to a unit in the area for the senior enlisted which is a good thing. They generally keep those units in better shape-repairs are made quickly and they keep them pristine on the outside-and we should be able to move in in about a week or so. Very exciting! The building will look much like the one I posted in a previous post-an apartment building that isn't exactly glamorous but will serve it's purpose. And I won't have to mess with a yard! Even better! :)
So now I'm off to run about 3,495 errands. These should be about all that I have left to do here in town except for a little bit of clean up I will have to do next week before we fly. And I am thankful. Calgon is definitely calling my name once I arrive in Germany!
Y'all have a great day and come see us at the big Blowout Shabang tomorrow!
Today I find myself homeless, without my own vehicle, and now jobless. So many mixed emotions. I'm still not 100% sure how I feel. Of course we are very excited but I am also overwhelmed, sad, tired, happy, glad, stressed, terribly tired, anxious, with very little time to do anything about any of that. Oh, and did I mention that I'm tired? :) I did get to have the bed all to myself last night though since Neeley had a lil sleepover at a friend's house. Yay for that! Now we're off to sign papers to rent the house, get our hair and toesies done, mail some of our stuff to us over in Germany (yes AGAIN!!), and take care of some other errands that I have not had a chance to do yet.
Better end here for now and go get the day started. I have had a morning here at the house all to myself. That scalding hot shower in silence was so worth it! And now that I've had a breakfast of cappucccino and Diet Dr Pepper I can get my day started.
Today is my last day of work and Neeley's last day of school. Her principal started crying this morning when she was helping her out of the vehicle. I had to shed my first move-related tears. Very bittersweet!
I also learned today that my plans of being proactive with the party on Saturday and getting in there on Friday to get it all ready are no longer due to a wedding in the same place Friday night. So now I get to get up at 6 am on Saturday to do all the decorating and getting ready. So.Not.Fun! :( So if I have even bigger bags under my eyes and a large Andy's coffee in my hand during the party please don't think anything of it.
And before I forget, our other email addresses won't work after today so please use this one for our family email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We LOVE receiving email! :)
And that's our day. Working and a little later we will play. Neeley has an "American Idol" bday party to go to tonight. So fun! They are supposed to dress up and they will sit and have dinner and then the entertainment begins.
And maybe, just maybe, a Tired Tuesday! We're still not sleeping well at all. Today I'm feeling weepy from it but so far have managed to control myself. :) Cannot wait to get in our own place again with my new bedding. And I have so many crafty plans for our new place that I can't even stand it. If only we had a place...no, we don't have a clue where we will live yet. I'll leave that for another post entirely...
Y'all be sure and bring your kiddos out to SBC-Arkadelphia this Saturday from 1 to 4 for our Birthday/Going Away Carnival. It's gonna be tons of fun! And we do hope you'll come! We're excited about it but we have a ton of other things going on this week even before that big day. Extra caffeine, anyone? :)
Before I forget, I have received several inquiries for our address for coupons, keeping in touch, sending us our lottery winnings (KIDDING!) so here ya go. It's not our physical address so I'm not worried about just putting it out there like this. :) We hope to hear from you all!
CMR 423 Box 1407
APO AE 09107
And if you have some time on June 10th and can get out and about, we would love to see you at the airport. We will be on Delta flight #5458 departing Little Rock at 1:50 pm that day. So y'all come see us!
We're off for now to get the rest of the day going. Neeley's end of the year reward party is this afternoon and I have been told that I better be there for some big surprise. I have no idea what that is but I will share more later.
Ok, here's more on the riot at the water park for your entertainment... :)
We were there for about 4 1/2 hours and then things started getting pretty heated between a group of people. They looked to be junior high and high school age. They were hollering back and forth for quite a while and then the profanity came out. The lifeguard had been getting on to them for about 2 hours and then he called the Assistant Manager over just to help monitor the situation. Well, it all apparently got too heated and about 7:15 pm these two girls were bashing each other's heads in to the concrete. They broke the chair next to mine. I jumped up and ran as fast as I could away from it all. There were a few other mothers and myself frantically looking for our children to jet out of there as fast as we could. I turn around to get my stuff and I see an earring ripped out of a girl's ear, one girl's weave being ripped out of her hair taking part of her scalp with it, a couple of guys acting very inappropriately. What a mess! I manage to get all of my stuff together and turn back around to look again for Neeley and this very nice couple was standing there and they went and got all of our kiddos for us so we could hightail it out of there. While they were getting our kids, I happened to look again and they had one girl by the swimsuit which then ripped and exposed everything and then some so they threw her in the pool to calm her down and get her to where she wouldn't be exposed to the whole world and they whisked the other girl off because they police and ambulance was there by that time. In the meantime, the entire rest of the groups had started fighting. I find Neeley and the next thing we hear over the loud speaker was "we ask for your safety, caucasians please exit the park immediately. we will then ask for everyone else to leave once we have the incident reports filled out. thank you for your cooperation and understanding."
Needless to say, I didn't stay around to see the rest. I felt like I was having a heart attack by the time I got in to the vehicle. I was about to tear up several times but I just wanted to find Neeley and get out. We started to go back again yesterday but Neeley said she never ever wants to go back there.