Monday, June 28, 2010

Last Night.

I'm not sure how to feel right now. Part of me is just plain tired. Part of me is worried that I'm forgetting to pack some things. Part of me is super excited that tomorrow is the day the movers come and we're a step closer to heading back to the lower 48.

And then there are the parts that are sad. Weirdly, oddly, unexpectedly, and unwelcome-ly (it's my blog, I can make up a word if I want) sad.

Tonight is our last night sleeping in this house. Our home. I put the baby to bed tonight for the last time in her first room. Unfortunately, she has to sleep in a pack 'n' play for the first night of the next month+. (We decided to take her crib apart ourselves so that we could be sure of where the parts are, and so that Jason could be sure of how to put it back together at the other end. I'm sure the directions are around somewhere, but who wants to look for them?) Even more unfortunately, she did NOT like the pack 'n' play and was VERY difficult to get down.

Well, it was either the lack of a crib, or it was her innate sense of her Mommy's sadness. Tonight is our last night in this house. Tomorrow, the movers will probably get the bulk of our worldly possessions (and there are a lot of them) packed up into boxes. They'll stack them high in the living room, or maybe the garage, and, little by little, this will become not our home anymore. And then tomorrow afternoon, we'll go to the title company and sign the paperwork, selling our first home to someone new.

Add to all that the fact that I suddenly have this strange sentimental attachment to Kodiak - the place I've wanted to leave desperately for the last year or so - and it's just a weird night. An odd, unexpected and strange night. I'm sure the exhaustion isn't helping. And I KNOW the worry about forgetting something isn't helping. But I really didn't expect these feelings.

Check back with me in a little over a month and I'll let you know if I'm still sad to not be in Kodiak anymore.

Friday, June 18, 2010

5 minutes to go, sir!!

(Note... I'm cross-posting this from another blog I contribute to, with the numbers changed slightly since it's a couple days after I originally posted it.)

I should probably start by explaining the title… At the CG Academy, at least way back in ancient days when I was there, a fourth class cadet (freshman) was assigned the task of being the “Clock Orderly.” The job of the Clock Orderly was to count down the minutes until a formation, so that all the upper class knew when they had to actually rush out and didn’t have to show up early. The Clock Orderly would stand under one of the clocks in the passageway (hallway for you non-nautical types) and start his or her schpiel with the words “5 minutes to go, sir!” (or “ma’am” if the Company Commander happened to be a woman). In the interim space between 5 minutes and 4 (and then 3 and 2), the Orderly would then spew all kinds of random information, called indoc, to keep people up to speed on things like the menu for the next three meals, what movies were playing at the local theater, the opponent for the football game that weekend, and finally, the days to go until major events like vacations, or federal holidays when cadets would get some time off.

All that said, this is my version of the Clock Orderly days to go count, as I near the end (at least temporarily) of my Coast Guard career. Back in September, it seemed so far away when I wrote my resignation letter and submitted it, which, at the time, seemed like the strangest thing I’d done to date in my Coast Guard career. Then Christmas rolled around, and I got my orders approving my temporary separation on Christmas Eve. THAT then took the place as the strangest thing to happen yet in my career. That was topped yet again the other day when I received the draft of my DD-214 (discharge certificate) for review. So far, that wins.

My departure doesn’t happen tomorrow, though. I still have a few more milestones to get through. So here we go!

Five minutes to go, sir! There are five minutes to go until this afternoon’s lunch formation. Lunch formation will be held at (well, it’s nice in Kodiak today…) FAIR weather parade! Uniform for lunch formation is ODU without parka.

Sir, there is 1 day to go until our pre-moveout yard sale!

There are 10 days to go until the movers show up at the house! (What!?! Who authorized that? I’m not ready for them yet!!)

There are 12 days to go until we move out of the house. The first house we ever purchased. A house I love. The house I’m proud to call my home and have welcomed so many friends into during our time in Kodiak when the only thing to do was to hang out in the house because the weather was so bad. The house I brought my baby home to. The house I hated to see in the middle of the night as I tried desperately to calm that baby when she was crying like nothing could ever make her stop. The house that I’m reminded every day is not child-proofed as my now-11 month old manages to find yet another thing she’s not supposed to be getting into. The house that has been home when “home” is 5000 miles away all the way on the other side of the country and then some. The house I hope the new owners will love as much as we have.

There are 21 days to go until my Change of Command. I’ll finish my dream CG job – the one thing I’ve wanted to do since I was a junior at the Academy. I’ll never have a job as good again, in the CG or out.

There are 22 days to go until we board the ferry, bound for the mainland and a 19-day cross-country adventure with 2 parents who haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep in almost a year, a 90-lb lab, and an almost one-year old who’s never been in a car for longer than 4 hours at a time – and that was only once.

There are 41 days to go until we arrive at our shiny, sparkly, brand-new, never-been-lived in house in Mobile, Alabama, where we’re likely to melt in the heat and hole ourselves up in the air conditioned comfort until sometime in January.

There are 58 days to go until my last day in the Coast Guard. I will officially become a civilian on 16Aug, after serving for 15 years, 1 month and 6 days (or 11 years, 2 months and 28 days if you don’t count my Academy time). The option will be open for me to return to the Coast Guard within two years, but I don’t know if that’s something the future holds for me. Juggling two active duty careers with a child (and maybe more one day) in the mix just seems a little more than we want to try to handle. We’ve done our time being separated by orders and it was hard enough on just the two of us, let alone bringing a child into that mix. So, although I may work again, I have my doubts that it will be as an active duty member of the Coast Guard. Instead, I’ll wake up on 16Aug, knowing that my only “paycheck” will be the time I get to spend with my daughter, the time I’ve missed by being at work this past year, and I think I’ll be more than happy to collect my pay.

As I type this, the reality of everything is washing over me. I have some major transitions on the horizon! Some exciting – like leaving Kodiak! – and some slightly terrifying – like being a stay at home mom! – but all of them just a few more steps in this adventure of Coast Guard life.

And I think we’re down to about 30 seconds to go until that formation. Seems my thoughts got away from me a little! I hope I don’t get in trouble for rambling and forgetting to tell people what’s for lunch!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Road trip!!!

Exactly one month from right now, we'll be hanging out at Brad and Christina's (minus Brad) house over in Seward. That will be night one (as long as you don't count the night on the ferry) of our big cross-country move (take 2). We have a fabulous trip planned, starting with an overnight on the ferry from here to Homer the day after my change of command, and ending 19 days later at our new home in Mobile. Yep, that's right. 19 days. In the truck. With the baby. And the dog. Did I mention 19 days? Oh, and the baby is still rear-facing in her carseat, so she gets to look at the back of the truck for 19 days.

So pretty much now I'm just hoping I don't get too car sick from the backseat of the truck while we're driving on the awesome-ness that is the ALCAN.

Doesn't this look like fun?

In case you're counting, that's something along the lines of 4800 miles. And 19 days.

We do have a few exciting stops planned, though. We're going to take a little time in Alaska on the way out, doing the stuff we said we'd do before we leave. Which, I guess we technically are, we just meant sooner than actually on the way out! So we'll stop in Seward to see Christina (and the SeaLife Center), and then we'll head north to Denali, a little further north to Fairbanks, and then we'll start making our way south again after first going through North Pole! Many Santa pictures will follow.

Reservations are made - this time without a stop in the armpit of the world - and we're the most excited about the extra time we'll be spending at the Grand Canyon! That'll be our one big stop this time around, rather than the 3-4 extra stops we made on the way out. We figured with the baby, the better part of valor was to truck along instead of taking too much time!

In the next 4 weeks (ACK!!! How did it get to be so soon!?!), we have to have a yard sale, decide what's coming with us in the trailer, deal with the movers, close on the house, move down the road to our temporary house (courtesy of our friend Rob), wrap things up at our jobs, host some family, have a change of command, throw the baby a birthday party, and about a bazillion other things. But, it'll all get done, I'm sure. If it doesn't, well, we'll still be on the road on time anyway!

Part of me can't believe that our time here in Kodiak is coming to an end so soon. The other part of me is jumping out of my skin to get out of here and move forward! We've got an enormous amount of changes coming and, even though change scares the poo outta me, I'm excited!

In 2 weeks, when the movers show up, I'll probably forget about the excitement under the huge weight of the stress, but, for now, I'll talk myself into the excitement!

So, anyone know of good places to stop along our route? If you squint really hard, you should be able to figure out where we're going!