Thursday, September 28, 2006

60% Through

WOOHOO over the hump. Things are still as crazy as they can possibly be. I honestly have to say that I am glad that I am not working right now. I wouldn’t have time to fit in all this crazy stuff if I were still working. Let me see if I can recall everything that has happened in the last month.
I am scrap booking like crazy which has been very educational. If you honestly think that after school you still don’t learn about other countries and their history or just learn anything outside US history then you are crazy. Nathan’s military history has brought me to some great places without leaving my couch.
A letter received from housing about a mandatory meeting to sign a new lease for the home. We officially switch over to PPV (Public/Private Ventures) effective October 1st. Let me note that I get this letter in the mail 24 hours before the mandatory meeting. I also found out at the meeting that for some odd reason my letter was different from everyone else’s.
I spend 6 hours at this lease signing event having to take a class, fill out a rental application, sign the lease, sign a pet addendum and about 4 other addendums varying from lead paint to mold and mildew for this house. I also end up making a trip back to the house because I needed information that I don’t have with me every day; vehicle tags, a picture of Angel and stupid me should have known better to bring an LES (Leave and Earning Statement). I was glad that I had no problems with the POA (Power of Attorney).
One of the weeks in September we were without power when I got up. This happened three days in a row.
I receive a letter in the mail stating that we are scheduled to move in mid October to a brand new home a couple of blocks over. Wonderful, now PPV finally listens to me when I tell them what is going on with Nathan and our unknown situation at the moment.
Nathan receives word that he is accepted into the IP (Information Professional) community. WOOT WOOT finally some news. Congrats hubby!
Nathan receives word that orders will be cut ASAP since we are in a complicated situation with having to move out because the house will be demolished January 1 of 2007. Nathan is told that he would hear from the IP detailer the following week and that we were looking at a move to either Norfolk or DC. Okay some more news but of course I can’t jump up and down until I see the orders because with the military nothing is set until you have orders and even then I have heard that orders can change at last minute.
Nathan was supposed to hear from the IP detailer the week of the 25th but no news, no surprise at this point. So we wait some more.
Monday the 25th wake up to no power in the morning again.
The 27th I head to the PPV housing office for another meeting. I wait 45 minutes and spend the next 15 minutes explaining our situation. I am told we can stay in the house and don’t have to move since we are due for orders by November (this is my goal at this point). We aren’t even assigned a new home anyway; we were Red Listed on our community housing list. They haven’t decided where they want to put the JOs (Junior Officer). If we don’t have orders and don’t know anything new come November I will have to move.
The power surges in the house are ridiculous. I have had to replace 4 bulbs this month and the replacements happen in the same two ceiling fixtures.
The lawn mower air filter was purchased and replaced. Thank you Reid! He even left me with the receipt so I know what type of air filter to buy and what the part number is 
The kitchen “junk drawer,” as we call it, broke. The track is fine but the cheap plastic roller on the back of the drawer itself cracked and split. I can’t find a replacement and should call housing to fix it but since they are just tearing this home down I don’t think they are going to care.
Angel is definitely spoiled. She has made me laugh with her crazy hyper active attitude. She has scared me a couple of times with her middle of the night barking sitting up on the bed. We play with bad kitties and play when I need to take a break from scrap booking. She gets treats not just from mom but from mom for dad too.
Oh did I mention that we are over the hump? WOOT WOOT! The sad part is I haven’t treated myself yet. I wanted to get out shopping but ended up busy with the housing stuff or at home not wanting to go out because my allergies are horrible.
The in-laws sent me a great mid way through celebration package; chocolate, soaps and lotions and a book. I finished the book last night.
I did get out one morning to the Ward Center to head to Borders to buy some books. I had gift certificates for Borders. I will get out to the mall eventually. I have a gift certificate for one mall.
Next week I have appointments for the car and truck. The truck needs an oil change and the car needs the annual safety inspection and oil change.
Well I think that is it for right now. Again thank you to all of those that keep checking in on me and to all those that are being so supportive. To my husband thank you for all the cards that bring me to tears and for dealing with my constant complaining. I love you always.
I hope that all is going well for all of you out there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nearly Half Way

Okay since I last posted things were pretty bad. I wasn’t doing well at all. The middle of August I called and started seeing a counselor. I finally said I need help. The big sign for help was when Nathan called and I had a really hard time from holding back the tears and wanting to throw a fit on the phone for 15 minutes. That is all that we have with where he is located right now; two 15 minute phone calls. Wonderful!
Some of the other wonderful things that have happened since I last complained:
My last paycheck from the security firm was wrong. I wasn’t paid for all those tests that I did when mom was here in July. That was an honest mistake. Then I sat down and wrote all the things that I thought that I deserved as a loyal employee of the company. I sent an e-mail to HR and said I would like the check cut as soon as possible and sent to me. LOL, of course I am not getting any of it. I didn’t even get paid for the three days of vacation I took when my mom was here. I only got paid for two. You ask why and I was told because I didn’t accrue them. Thanks company! The company had me down as starting as a full time employee in April and I was full time in March. But I was too upset to argue with them so whatever. I asked for them to send me the check for the shopping ASAP and hung up the phone. I mentioned before no severance pay either.
I called to get Nathan’s truck in due to recall on parts. It took me the morning on the phone to get this taken care of. However it only took 45 minutes with an appointment to get the parts replaced. I wasn’t even charged for the mechanics time. WOOHOO!! Finally some good customer service.
The AC died on me after we had three power failures in a week. I thought that it died because of the power failures. The AC clogged with allergens. Thank goodness maintenance could come out the next morning and take care of it because I was off to the airport to pick up family later that afternoon.
The lawn mower had a cranky moment. I learned about spark plugs and I found out that our lawn mower has an air filter. The lawn mower stopped. Reid checked the spark plug for me after we checked the fluids. We cleaned it off and then put in back in. There was nothing wrong with it. When playing or looking at some of the other parts I noticed an air filter. Like I said I didn’t even know the lawn mower had one. No wonder why the lawn mower stopped working. I wouldn’t want to work either if I had something that nasty on me. Reid whacked all the dirt out of it and then put it back on and BAM the lawn mower worked. Reid finished the lawn for me and then took the air filter back off. He was going to try to find a replacement for me.
Nathan received word that he probably won’t be sent IA but that he will be redesignated. Not really what we wanted but honestly better than this P3 pilot stuff. It just isn’t right to live you day, without knowing at the end of the day, what your schedule will be for tomorrow. That just isn’t even civil. Nathan put in his requests for which communities he would like to be assigned to.
We received word that Nathan may be sent to Information Professional.
Okay outside from all of that my Aunt and cousin were here for 10 days. We did some shopping, went to shows, ate out and walked around. It went pretty well. I drove down to Waikiki a lot but it was good for me to get out. I am glad that they had fun.
I had a party here for all the shoppers. Things went well. We hung out and talked. It was just for the afternoon but we had lupper (lunch/supper), gave out awards and gave out party favors per say. We took some pictures too. It was just a bummer that only half of us could get together 
I am scrap booking, crocheting, reading and spending time watching HBO and DVDs. I haven’t gotten too much into a routine since I have had family in and a party to plan.
We are now just about at half way. I am hoping that the second half of deployment will be easier and quieter than the first half.
Thank you to all of those that have been supportive, especially when I needed to go to counseling. Thank you to my wonderful husband for all those wonderful cards and for dealing with me through this. Thank you to all those that continue to check on me on a regular basis and help me find something to laugh about. I hope that all of you are doing well.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Switch to Dvorak

I have been standing a 12 hour watch 6 days a week for the past month (I am supposed to have one day off a week). While it is generally busy I have been on the night shift so there is some free time. Since I sit in front of a computer all night I decided to teach myself a new keyboard format. Everyone knows the QWERTY format “asdfjkl;” but few people know the more efficient Dvorak layout “aoeuhtns.” It alternates vowels on the left with common letters on the right. Letters are arranged by how often they are used and are placed to use alternate hands every letter to increase speed. This website explains most of the benefits. I really did it to prevent Carpal Tunnel and Arthritis. I spend a lot of time on the computer and the QWERTY layout was designed without ergonomics in mind and to be slow and inefficient to prevent typewriter keys from striking each other.

I could type over 100 wpm on the QWERTY keyboard (90 wpm minus errors) and I must say it was extremely aggravating starting over. To go from that to 10 wpm is painful and retraining your muscle memory isn’t easy. It takes a lot of concentration and repetition.

I tried the switch cold turkey and couldn’t do it. So I began practicing Dvorak using the Stamina Typing Tutor (which is a great program). August 1 while using QWERTY when I was doing any serious typing. I practiced 15-60 minutes a day and by week two I was up to 20 wpm. I began using it more at work and by week 3 I was at 30 wpm. At that point I stopped using qwerty completely. Now on week 4 I am barely at 40 wpm and starting to level off, I expect to plateau for a bit and not break 100 wpm for a very long time. I have almost completely forgotten the qwerty layout.

Is it worth it? Like many other things you can’t prove a negative. I don’t know if I ever would have had problems from typing too much on qwerty. I did notice my hands would become tired and cramp if I did too much typing, I haven’t noticed it since switching to Dvorak (but I haven’t been typing as much either). I am hoping it will be worth it in the long run, but I would not have done this if I hadn’t been deployed with free time on my hands (get it?).

I also found an online typing test that was useful.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bird Dog

I am very proud of my dog back home. Rikki witnessed her killer instincts while getting the mail. In the past I have found two dead birds in the yard and assumed Angel got them but I wasn’t sure. She is a natural bird dog (Jack Russell’s were bred for this actually) and she will point whenever she is indoors and sees a bird outside. She knows the words: birdie, squirrel, and duck (when we lived in Jax). Rikki was pretty upset about it, even more so when Angel proudly took her prize back to her. At least we know if she ever gets lost she could probably survive on her own. We also have a mongoose that is living under a junction box that Angel likes to chase. This could be a problem if it ever turns on Angel and fights back. Those things are unbelievably fast, you can search on the Internet for video on how those things kill poisonous snakes.