Monday, December 9, 2013

The Nightmare

Our moves never go smoothly. Its a rule.

But nothing, in over 40 years of my life...military moves with daddy, civilian moves with my parents, military moves with Hubs...NOTHING has ever been this bad.

Thanks to some new changes with the military contracts, you now can have several different companies handle your belongings.

In our case it was 3.

One to pack us up.

One that stored our stuff for a year.

One to deliver and unload.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster right?  Well it gets better. You see, the last company to touch it gets to pay for the damages.

To begin with I did not want my stuff now. I wanted to finish painting before our stuff arrived. So the whole thing already started with a strike against it.  And I told the company if they couldn't deliver before my husband left again I didn't want it. So they declined. I was happy. Then they called back and said they would do it.

And they actually tried to be very accommodating. The guy showed up at the warehouse to get our stuff on a Monday a week out from when Hubs leaves.  But they said they couldn't get to our stuff -- come back Wednesday.  He returned Wednesday and they had piled it in a big pile in a room with no lights and had no workers to help load. Come back Friday.  So he shows up Friday and there is still no help. So the driver decided he would load it himself. And they said go ahead. But then he wanted inventory to check it off as he was seeing broken items already and wanted to note that. They said no, just put it on.  He refused. And stood in front of them and called me to let me know he was trying to pick up my belongings but the warehouse was making problems and he could already see many broken items.

So they left him to figure it out himself.  And it took him 12 hours to get it all loaded and inventoried. And there were lots of phone calls flying.  And in the end the warehouse people would not sign the inventory because they said they didn't break anything.  So the driver said to call him when they were ready to sign and he would come move his truck. LOL. So they signed.

And our belongings showed up the day before Hubs left.  Exactly what we did not want. But hey, it wasn't the fault of the guy delivering.

It gets better.  Once the poor guy gets here and makes the calls to have unpackers meet him at our house he finds no one has any workers.  In November. The slowest month for moves.  Right. So the guy had to call a day labor company and hire two guys that had never done this before to come move my belongings.  I did warn the driver that my walls and floors were new and I would file for any damages.  Him and his son did all the furniture and heavy stuff to ensure there was no damage.  And I must say they were the best I've ever had for that. More points for this guy.

What should have been done by noon took until 8 pm.  Day labor cut off at 4:45.  Not that they were much help to begin with.

The inventory sheets were a complete mess. Usually you might have two different colored sticker sets - one for large items and one for boxed.  No. Not this time. Three different colors. And they started and stopped at odd places.  So I'm trying to mark off three different sheets as things are being unloaded. It was a major pain and slowed things down.

Almost every antique furniture piece has been destroyed. The china cabinet -- the fold down desk has collapsed inside.  The corner china cabinet they busted out the glass and the frame and broke the woodwork. A dresser is pulled apart. The drawers are all collapsing and you can see daylight. A super solid brass floor lamp looks like a pretzel.  No they tried to tie it in a knot.  Broken things. Destroyed art. Missing boxes...and one missing support bar for Mouses the whole thing is worthless.

                       (Chinese Folk Art watercolor painting brought back from China for Mouse)

Each box must be gone through slowly and the damage cataloged. I think I'm up to the 6th damage sheet now.  And I'm not even doing Hubs stuff.

Slowest unpacking job I've ever done.

Please God let it be the last.

So that's how I'm spending my days.  A box at a time. New damaged items every day.

And I know it will actually get worse.  When they offer me next to nothing for what we turn in.

I actually think we might have to get an attorney on this one.

What a way to say goodbye to the military.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Work Crew Number Two

After debate back and forth over exactly what to pay for on the walls, we finally got a crew in to tear down the paper from 4 bathrooms, 2 halls, kitchen and a bedroom. Then to repair the walls, texture/finish the walls and then paint. We threw in painting the living and dining rooms also. Big money, but it still leaves half the house to be painted.

They began in the back side of the house. Remember Mouses bathroom?

It had two layers of wallpaper and two holes behind the mirror. Even though it was the smallest room it held us up a day with the sheet rock repair. A guy spent three days in here.
Mouse picked a color called Spa. Its really nice and soothing...kind of beachy. Now all the yellow trim in the room stands out like crazy though. I didn't pay for the trim to be done so that is on me. But after painting her room to match, I was done.  Not sure if I fractured a finger or just messed up the joint, but painting was excruciating. Plus every time I tried somebody else decided they had better use for my time.

Remember Songbirds room?

The crazy wallpaper that made me call it quits and hire a crew.  Even the light switch covers and outlet covers had this stuff on it. And it did not want to come off.
They came in and finished stripping the paper and had it textured in no time.  For days I would just go in there to look and see what real walls looked like. I think all the unfinished drywall scarred me. LOL.
She picked a color called Seacap for the room and parsnip (a shade lighter) for the bathroom. Its a very very light seafoam green. Now the off white trim in the room looks pink next to it. Not good.
Next was the very yellow living/dining area. This only required paint.
Yellow is one of my least favorite colors. And this was really yellow. See those paint splotches on the wall? Some of you know that story. The rest can make something up.

The new paint looks yellow when I shoot it. That is pretty funny. Its actually more of a sand color.
We used that color pretty much in the rest of the house that they did for me. Its called toasted pinenut. With all that big wallpaper down the kitchen looks bigger.
I really got cussed for my bathroom. It was that foil paper. They ended up just cutting it off with utility knives in many places and then just fixing the walls. All four of the guys were in here for a full day. I don't have an after shot. I just had them paint this room a white to match the bedroom as I havent decided what I'm doing back there and it will be the last rooms I do.

This stuff was only real bad on the border. They put it up with an adhesive of some kind -- not the wall kind. The border had to be cut off the wall. Unbelievable.
The toasted pinenut looks really good with all the wood and brass in here. It was a very nice surprise.
Believe it or not, this was the worst room in the house. It had a wallpaper that really didn't bother me and I was going to leave it, but then I got to thinking that if I ever did want to change it I would have to go through this same thing with the unfinished drywall. Forget it. I decided to do this mess ONCE. When they tried pulling down this paper, it was plastered on.  As in, put on with plaster.  Total mystery as to why anyone would do that. They had to chip this paper off.

Again, this hall looks great now as it has all the same wood as the bathroom. Its much lighter than before also. I didn't realize how dark the area was before.

It took 8 working days to complete all the work. We did find some pock marks in the wall of the small bathroom which is old termite damage. The house had been treated per the paperwork and now I know where. That was all fixed. The drywall holes in the same bathroom were fixed. Otherwise no new surprises on this job.

Glad its all done. Sorry I didn't get the painting done I needed to before the movers came. Now forget it. I'm not painting around all our stuff. It can stay a mess until I can afford to pay someone else to do it.

There is fine white powder all over the place from having all the texturing done. Most of it was cleaned up before our stuff arrived...but I still find it when the heater has run at night.

Oh - and just like most things we try to do here...these guys were the THIRD company I called. The first two were off of Angie's List. Neither called back.  Angie's list is a waste of money. The phone book got the job done.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 25, 2013


One of the best parts of returning to Texas, is being able to celebrate the holidays with my friends. It just doesn't get any better than that.  And while many of you are thinking "duh", you have to understand that as a military brat and then military wife, I don't live anywhere long enough to have any roots and most friends forget about you the minute you leave town. Actually, most friends cut you off before you even leave.

How I ended up with 10 ladies that did not cut me off before OR after I left -- well, its a God thing.

Anyways....the Fabulous Zumba Queen opens up her home for an annual dinner with our guys. She has an amazing home that was built for entertaining and its awesome.  This was the first year Hubs and I were here to attend.

It was awesome.

My husband informs me that he had a great time hanging out around the fire after dinner with these guys. He only knew one of them before we went but has now been pulled kicking and screaming into the craziness that we are.
We are all very thankful that the Fabulous Zumba Queen and her handsome husband open their homes up for us. It is the perfect setting.
Everyone brought something to share and we had a huge feast. Tables were shoved together so we could all be in one spot.
Cool shot A -- you need to show me how to do this.

There were games to be played (team captains...serious competetors). There was talking and laughing and joking and just cutting loose.
Yes I was on the losing team. Even having the most competitive person in the room on our side did not save us this time.

And now they now have proof that the mysterious and elusize Hubs actually exists.

Great night friends! So thankful for all of you and the craziness that is our friendship...around life, kids, family and all the other things that we could let interfere.  Thankful you ladies are willing to carve out time in your crazy schedules as you can to make us what we are.You don't hardly find that anywhere anymore in our fast paced world.

As Steph would say....Nuzzle, nuzzle, neigh, neigh.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Own Nightmare Before Christmas...And After...

I have a few medical issues I am finally getting taken care of.  See, military care? What care? They did not help me and did not want to be bothered.  What? Synthroid not working for you? Wow. Too bad. Guess you got a problem.

Anyways, now that I have real insurance (until the new rules kick in and we are taxed on it, at which point we will have to drop it and go back to the Tricare that no one accepts) I am getting answers.  Real doctors care. And never once am I asked if it could be a mental issue because my husband is deployed.

So there are 4 separate things we are working on. Most of them are just issues of finding the correct dosage, etc.

But there is one that is a bit of a problem. It keeps me busy - or at least it has for the last month. I finally feel like I have a handle on it though,

Part of my allergy problems and most of my migraine issues are food related. Military would not help. But that's ok cause all that testing is done now. And they ended up paying for part of it anyways.

So I have this list of foods I can't eat for 6 months in order to clear some of this up. Hopefully after the 6 month most of it can go back into my diet.  Some things like the wheat and diary will never be able to...I've known that for years, but now its officially in my records, not just a guess. (And no I am not a celiac.)

For now the list of no-nos include:
Black Pepper
Green Beans
Cayanne pepper
sweet potato
iceburg lettuce
butternut squash
cane sugar
egg yolk

Wheat, egg, soy, corn, milk, sugar, yeast - that about covers anything packaged thank you very much or anything with oil

Beef??? Kill me now

Black pepper and garlic??? How am I supposed to cook???

Iceberg lettuce? Huh?

So its been an interesting month. I have learned to substitute cardamom for black pepper. I also have an Indian spice coming that they use as a garlic or onion substitute.  I also carry a cardamom in my purse.  Hey - did you know cardamom is the third most expensive spice? Yep. Right after saffron and pure vanilla. Unfortunately I am intimately aware of this.

Yesterday I messed up and used butternut squash in some roasted veggies. Goes to show I don't have the whole list memorized yet.

I survived the Halloween candy, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon.

But its only 6 months. After that point I should be able to start adding things back in to find what I need to stay away from forever. I've known wheat for years. Same with milk. Those need to stay off limits.

I've only had one migraine since I started this...and it was because I had a diet Sprite. I know  better than to touch artificial sugars also. Have to stick to my pure juices watered down with club soda when I feel like having a "soda".

Already looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts NEXT year!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A New Scout Troop

We finally found a troop in our new town.  Funny thing is the town hasn't had one for 5 years and this troop is just being started by two ladies with no experience but 100% heart. We lucked out. Talk about perfect timing.
I'm a fan of scouting because of the social projects they do for their communities. More kids need to get their hands dirty helping others right where they live. This is how you teach empathy and social responsibility without it always being a "church thing".  I have seen kids that grow up in the church doing "good works" have a total disconnect on helping out for no other reason than because its your community.  Whoops...rabbit trail.
On a more personal level, Mouse has been helped tremendously by Scouts. With her separation anxiety I needed that place outside of school where I could take her and have her with other kids and off my leg. Ok, so I stayed in the building and ended up working with the older girls again...but that's besides the point.
Now here we are being our 5th year.  Mouse grew to where she would go on field trips and then overnights without me.  You would have to have known her as a scared little baby and toddler to full appreciate what a big deal that is.
Its so huge I even found a troop that would accept her for the 6 months in Arkansas. It is a staple in her life to date. She has been blessed with the first two troop leaders that are amazing leaders that grew up in scouts and knew their area and camping like the back of their hands.  These are women worthy of your girls.

Looking forward to getting to know our new troop and all our new adventures!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pinecone Meets Riding Mower

So with Hubs being gone a full month and having a solid week of rain....the yard got really really bad. Luckily that was everyone's story, not just mine.

I asked the electrician we had out to do some work (ungrounded sockets, shop wired for the RV, doorbell fixed -- all done!) if he could recommend someone that does yard work from our little town. And he knew someone and got the phone number for me.

To make a sorta long story much shorter, I finally got the guy out...more rain delays...and half way through the mowing I heard glass shatter.


Because the carpenter ants and unfinished walls under the wallpaper just wasn't enough?

So this is our disaster for this rotation.  You know every time Hubs is gone its something right? This time it was at least manageable with two mechanic visits, one gashed open brake line, one heater hose blowing at the doctors office (which Bones fixed and rescued his poor mom), one garage door disconnected by electrician which I couldn't reattach (just needed a man), one broken light fixture from trying to change a bulb, a total surrender to the wallpaper I could not get off the walls...and a hole the size of a basketball in the front picture window.

And being in a small town getting workers out is the most frustrating exercise every.  Took over a week to get the first person I called out. After I gave up on him and called someone else.  I would have rather given the quick company the job but in the end the slow poke was literally half the cost.
And two weeks later (no joke) I have a new window.  It is not an exact match but its pretty close. You can tell more from the inside than the outside. So curb appeal is still solid.

And yes, the mower guy did pay for the entire repair.  Mowing is just his day job. He has been a Baptist preacher here in town for 21 years.  I was not worried. LOL. (And yes I would use him again -- it was an accident.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Week With Nano

When you see stuff like this going know Nano is here for a visit. Because she is the master of crafts...I just ride her coat tails.

Mom came to watch the girls for me while I went on my beach weekend with Frymark family. There is no better babysitter than grandma.  Plus I needed someone to pick up the Hubs when he got back before I did.

And you know I have a cool mom when at 70 she comes and sleeps on a blow-up mattress in a house with little to no furniture. LOL.

Since the craft master was here I had her help me do a wreath for the front. The previous owners left a nice one out for us but it was very spring. Sorry for the crooked picture. And the remains of the mud dauber mess on the wall.
She also brought a vase and bulbs for some kind of flower (I forget) and put that together as a house warming gift.  She does try so hard to help me out.

She also helped me go to the paint store and mull over paint, buy samples and paint a bunch of splotches on the living room walls. (Which just messed with Hubs apparently.)

She was also here to help out by sticking around while the workmen were here and we were down to 1 car and four schedules to meet that had me running everyone everywhere.

I have picked her brains for ideals on how to set this place up and such.

And all too soon it was time for her to pack up and go.

Looking forward to the next visit already.


Its starting to feel more and more like home here. We are doing our best to integrate into our new community and get involved.

Our local grocery has a fantastic program where they put together a paper bag with the stuff to make a spaghetti or a tuna casserole or whatever. You buy the bag and they take it across the street to the local food pantry.  We have contributed to that a few times. Its so easy the way they do it and it costs about $7. Very smart way to market that.

Mouse took part in a weekend dance camp.
She didn't really know anyone but she wanted to participate.
She was the smallest girl in her age group. They say everything is bigger in Texas. LOL
The next Friday night the dance camper were part of the high school football game half time entertainment.
They also lined the field where the players ran out onto the field so they could scream and shout and jump up and down to show their support. Mouse stood there watching it all in complete awe and ignorance of what was going on. Football fail. 
And ended up in the local paper her first month in town. I understand everyone ends up in the local paper. Last week was a full spread of the truck stuck in the mud at the cemetery. Not kidding.
Mouse also decided she wanted to take part in the local fun run one weekend.  I was surprised as I never see the kid run. I was unsure what the outcome was going to be.
Once again much smaller than her peer group. But she wasn't intimidated. And she knew people at this point so it was all good.
She was not last but she was sweatier than I have ever seen her. Drove straight to the local ice cream place for a snow cone after that victory.

Daddy made it home in time for the community fall festival.
There were games and prizes and fun to be had. Plus I am starting to recognize a few people to say hello to.

Love being back in a small town with community activities. Love the bake sales by the main road. We stopped at one and there were people selling baby chicks, ducks and turkeys.  Mouse was amazed at the black chicken (aka turkey).  And then the next day at the vet she was impressed with the hippo (a big black hog) and the moose (deer).  City kids.  

Plenty to keep us busy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yet Another Beach Weekend

That makes three for me this year. Bet that never happens again.

This time I went on a family girls trip.

In June I was talking to my MIL and SIL and we were talking about my trip with my friends. MIL said she couldn't think of anything better than a girls trip.

So I said let's do it.

SIL has a friend with a beach house that would rent to us REAL cheap. Perfect.

We planned on asking all the family ladies but circumstances made that a problem - so in the end it was just the three of us...with plans to expand next year.

This year we headed down to Galveston just the three of us. And there was rocking on the porch....

Walking the downtown historic district and the seawall...

Walks on the beach in daylight

And after dark

And then more walks....

There was also great seafood and a trip out to the campus to spot the memorial brick of a well loved and missed Frymark...

There were fruity drinks, card games, books to read ..

And most importantly lots of laughs to be had.

It was a great start for the first annual Frymark's girls trip.

Looking forward to next year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone