Sunday, August 05, 2018

He is Home!

It is Sunday.  Nathan has been home for a couple of days.  I am ecstatic to have him back home!  These three pictures below are of Nathan leaving back in March.


The below images are of his return home August 1st.


The day before he came home that last lily opened up.

We both had the day off from work the day after he got back.  Then we both worked on Friday.  Nathan brought home some cute gifts for me for our Anniversary and my birthday.  Meet my new friends.

Vacation next week.  I am looking forward to that.  How is the end of your summer?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Homecoming this week

I have one lily with one bud on it that is just getting ready to bloom.  If it is still on the stem on Wednesday that will be a wonderful gift.  Nathan says, saving the best for last :)

I sent to Nathan earlier this month for our Anniversary a large flat rate box filled with things that he likes; Oreo Thin Mints, KitKats, dark chocolate, chocolate covered blueberries, beef jerky, granola and some other items I can't remember and an anniversary card of course.  Nathan sent me the cutest card with stick people wearing conveniently, the same color clothes as our wedding outfits.  Plus Nathan gave me a call and we were able to talk for half an hour.  Communication has been mostly email with a once a month phone call.

My birthday was very nice.  Lots of messages, calls, texts from friends and family.  Nathan sent a card 2 weeks ago but it still hasn't arrived.  He also called.  There was a full moon that night and I snapped some pictures just before I went to bed.

 

Yesterday was a lunar eclipse for part of the world.  Unfortunately it wasn't visible here in the states but I did watch it online for a good portion of the afternoon.  It was unbelievable!  It will be interesting to see how the Lunar Eclipse in January compares to this one.  The eclipse in January will be visible to those here in the states.  Nathan was lucky enough to be in a location to see this one.  I will let him talk about that when he gets home. 

I usually go cleaning crazy before Nathan comes home.  I am cleaning but not to my extreme OCD like previous deployments.  You know I am starting to think that self cleaning ovens are a good and bad thing.  It is 83 degrees in here right now.  The smell and the slight watering of the eyes is not fun.  But even with those annoyances I am grateful because I can never seem to self-clean an oven properly where we aren't charged for it and I honestly don't have the time nor the energy for it anymore.

I have grocery shopping and dusting that I will do tomorrow.  I will change the sheets on the bed and vacuum on Tuesday.  It really isn't too bad in here.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer!  My understanding is that some kids go back to school around the end of August.  Be safe and appreciate each other.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Almost at the one month point

until deployment is over.  I wanted to give you an update on some things.

Miss Angel had her vet appointment.  The vet facility here on post is very nice.  The staff is friendly.  Angel had her annual checkup, three-year rabies vaccination, and distemper shot.  She is 17lbs and needs to lose a little bit of weight.  So no human food and I am reducing down how much I feed her for the two meals.

I have finished reading the third book.  The first book was The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle.  I liked this book very much because I felt like it put into words what a male or how a male thinks in a relationship.  The second book, Stories around the Table by Elva Resa.  This book is a collection of stories that both military spouses and Veteran spouses share in regards to their experience as a military or Veteran family.  The third book, Dinner with the Smileys by Sarah Smiley is a book about an active duty family and the dinner guests they have once a week, while a US Sailor is deployed for 13 months.

Work has kept me busy with new tasks.  As Budget Manager I am responsible for tracking expenses and revenue from projects.  I am using the University financing system to become as familiar with that as possible and learning how to pull reports.

I have started some planning for Nathan's homecoming as well as doing a little research on a possible vacation.

I put together and sent off the last package to Nathan before he comes home.  I have called it the Anniversary Package.  I am hoping he gets it for our Anniversary.

The lilies are finally blooming and I don't think Nathan and I could have literally planned that any better.  The lilies opening up so close to our Anniversary.  The banana trees/plants are also rather tall.
All the lilies
First lily plant blooming


I see you!
The banana plant

An insurance quote did come in for the modular home, $1800 to $2000.  Have you had any luck with insurance for a modular home over 30 years old?

How was the rest of your spring start to the summer?


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Half Way

Over the holiday weekend, we hit the halfway point for deployment.  Now, this is when I start to get antsy.  I get impatient and just want him to be home and for the separation to be over.  I am trying to fill up my calendar with exciting things to do or at least things to do so I can occupy my mind.  I know I sound ridiculous considering this deployment is 4.5 months.  However, that is 4.5 months of stuff he has missed out on.  There isn't anything that can be done to make up for that loss of time.

I believe this is officially deployment number 4 for us.  I was asked yesterday about how many deployments we have been through and I said 6.  I was incorrect however he has been gone for month-long trainings and various length TDYs that added up can be grouped into deployments.

My way to celebrate the halfway point was to go get a haircut and make myself a chocolate chip gluten-free, almond flour, waffle.  Really living on the edge folks.  They are things that I know get me out of the house for a little bit and make me feel happy.

I was asked yesterday if deployments get easier and a wonderful comment was made that "I am a pro at the deployments." The answer to all of that is no.  I think the deployments get harder.  The situation, location, job Nathan has is not the same for every deployment.  They change which puts various stressors on communication, filling up each other's love tank, and being there for each other on bad days.  Nathan and I are both introverts so we really rely on each other.  There are pros and cons to this.  Unfortunately, deployments are a con for introverts.  Then there are the other factors that don't help with deployments like age, living arrangements, community resources available and contact with family/friends.  This deployment is fairly quick after a move here to NC.  I have already seen three neighbors move out in the 6 months we have been here.  All of these have been while Nathan has been gone.

I have a job which is a great help in passing the time!  I have been so grateful!

Okay rambling over.  If you all can help me stay on track and provide some words of encouragement to help me get through the rest of this I would be appreciative!


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Modular Home Insurance

At the end of April, while in a different country, Nathan applied for homeowners insurance for the home in FL.  Our usual insurance company sent us to a third party company for insurance.  We had to submit the deed to the house and try to determine the original manufacturer.  I was able to pull the deed online but the original manufacturer of the mobile home no longer existed.  I emailed the information requested and assumed that everything was okay and insurance was set up.

My grandmother-in-law contacted me after she moved out to discuss her paperwork.  She inquired about stopping the insurance on the home.  I called our insurance company to verify that insurance was set up and would be effective June 1st.  What I thought would be a short simple call turned into a two and a half hour process.  I was transferred to 4 different companies and that doesn't include some back and forth between those companies.  The very short answer to the problem with insurance is this; we purchased a modular home in FL that is over 30 years old and doesn't fall into the HUD rules.

You are wondering what does one do if they own a modular home in FL that is over 30 years old?  You register with Florida Market Assistance Plan and hope to hear from someone within 7 business days.  I heard from a representative that evening but haven't heard anything once I provided the requested information.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.

The good news is that we have tenants who signed a one year lease this week :)  Thank you!

Do you have any tips or tricks you would be willing to share on modular home insurance in FL?

Monday, May 21, 2018

President's Executive Order

The President issued an Executive Order on May, 9th, just a couple of days before Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  The Executive Order is to assist in alleviating some challenges that Military Spouses face with unemployment.

In reading the Executive Order you can see that OPM will connect with employers to help explain Military Spouse Preference.

Over the weekend of Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother's Day, some information went out about registering to be a part of a Conference Call with the President's office to learn more about the Executive Order.  I registered/applied and honestly didn't think that I would be accepted.  I assumed that there were a significant amount of spouses that would register and I would be too late.  I was wrong and received confirmation of acceptance with information on how to call into the conference call.  The call was only to last 45 minutes.

On Monday the 14th at 2pm I called in.  Jennifer Korn, Special Assistant to POTUS led the call.  She is a Marine Corps spouse of 21 years.  She was a substitute teacher.  I was excited that a fellow military spouse was charged with helping the President with this order.  During the call we also heard from U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes, two military spouses that each talked about the challenges and the victories they have had with employment, and I learned of a new resource, Military Spouse Professional Network.  Military Spouse Professional Network wasn't really new however when I looked up the program.  It is a project that started from the partnership of InGear Career and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes.

It was iterated a couple of times on the conference call that this Executive Order is to make Military Spouse Preference a "more effective use of non-competitive hiring authority." It is not made to change the current Spousal Preference program just to enhance it and get more word out about it to employers.  There will also be a tracking mechanism for the order.

When I logged onto the call I was told that there were approximately 86 people in conference to include military spouses and companies/organizations that want to hire military spouses.  I hope that I may be able to join other calls in the future as there was mention that there were more calls to come.

I would love to hear from you on your knowledge of military spouses in your workplace.  Do you work alongside a military spouse?!  Do you know if your company hires military spouses?!  If not what could be changed at your organization/company/business to help promote the hiring of a military spouse?!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spring

It is May 20th and the bushes, shrubs, and plants around our house are finally blooming.  I think it is a little strange because a majority of the other neighbors' bushes and plants have already flowered and are wilting.  When we looked at this house during house hunting leave there were banana plants that were dying.  They finally died and the plants fell over in December/January.  Before Nathan started to travel he cut down the plant for me.
Banana plant in Early January
Banana plant cut down started to grow back in Early April







Banana plant mid May
I didn't take a single photo of the other side of the house so you could see just how bad the pine needles were packed/piled.  Here is a picture of when I was 3/4 of the way done with cleaning up to the fence line.
The pine needles buried the AC unit and it took 2 weekends just to clean that out.  I did finish cleaning up the pine needles to the fence line this weekend.

Some pictures of my lilies and the bushes on the same side of the house that are flowering.



I believe the bushes are a possible form of an azalea but I am not sure.

Next weekend I will tackle the leaves along the outside of the fence.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

House #3

In February, while Nathan was away for school in Florida for the month, he took his one four day weekend, to go see his grandmother near Orlando.  Gram mentioned last year that she wanted to sell her home in Florida and move back to Vermont permanently.  See Gram was a snowbird.  She would spend the winters in Florida and then spring, summer and most of the fall in Vermont.  Anyway, Nathan thought it might be a good idea for us to buy it.  This would help with our claimed ties to the state as our domicile.  You all know about MSRRA's signing into law.  We do have driver's license, wills, and Voter Registration cards in Florida but this will help further the connection.

Upon our discussion and some conversations with Gram she was happy to sell the house to us.  In February, the purpose of Nathan's trip was for payment of the house in full, gathering paperwork and information, and having a meeting with the property management company.  At the end of January/early February, I did some research and actually connected with a Veteran who owns a property management company that handles the area Gram lives in.

Earlier this month I was able to obtain the official deed with our names on it from the county website.

Nathan and I are very grateful for Gram and her comfort in us buying the home!

I know what you are wondering, have we ever lived in it?  The answer is no we have never lived in it but Nathan and I have stayed at the house when visiting Gram.  It was the first time that we purchased a home from the owner.  It was faster in comparison to our other two home purchases.

I don't have pictures to share at this time but hopefully soon.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

2018 Deployment - One Month

Nathan left for deployment not too long after St. Patrick's Day.  I am very grateful for my job!  I had focused my attention this last month on helping the team prepare for a big meeting that happened this weekend, that I really didn't have time to think about Nathan being gone.  It made this first month go by rather quickly.

Friday was a slower day at work however and I had some time to process things and didn't have the best day.  I was not very mindful.  It was a day where I let things bother me.  I learned that in order to cash a check on post, if your not a member of one of the post banks, that you need to go to the Exchange.  While at the Exchange waiting to cash a check there was a couple practically making out.  It took a lot for me to not say something stupid like "go get a room."

I learned that there really is a difference between living on post or base vs. off.  I think living off base I got used to things being a little more convenient and/or less of a hassle.  Banks for example are opened on the weekend even if for limited hours.  No banks, well I should say the bank on post that is close to the house, is not open on the weekends at all.  Off post I enjoyed the pleasure of having a CSA deliver to the house.  When on post there isn't that luxury.  There is access to a CSA but you have to drive off to pick it up.

I try not to stress over these differences and appreciate what we have.  The commissary does sell local produce and they do have some organic items.  I was grateful that the Exchange could cash a check when I didn't want to drive into town.

If you saw the previous post Angel had some difficulty dealing with Nathan being gone and a new food.  I am happy to say that Angel is better.  Her system adjusted to the new food and she is getting a little better about letting the whole world know I am letting her outside.

Nathan called at the one month mark.  It was nice to hear his voice.  He sounded good, not tired and in good spirit.  We talked for almost half an hour.  Yes, we do email each other every day as long as it is possible.  I try to keep emails short and sweet but that is hard.

These last two weekends I have had a chance to do some yard work.  I don't really need to do anything but it is a good excuse for me to get outside and get some Vitamin D.  There were some things that were annoying me too.  The Lily bulbs Nathan and I planted before he left are also starting to come up.

Before
After

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Adventures with Angel

I am thinking that we should start a series to this blog called the Adventures with Angel.  Tonight would more specifically be, The Things Angel Gets Into.  I fed Angel her dinner at 4p.m. today.  She actually ate all of it before I sat down to eat my dinner at 5:30p.m.  I wash the dishes, clean up the dining room, and put everything away.  I head into my "office" to check social media and respond to some work emails.  As I am sitting here I suddenly hear Angel digging at something.  At first, I thought okay maybe she found her treat puzzle.  Then I realized that is on top of her kennel and I would have heard it fall first if that is indeed what she is playing with.

I walk to the sound and I find her in the corner with her dog food container.  It is a container that originally contained Nathan's workout protein powder but was cleaned out for Angel's food.  We keep it in the corner next to her dog food dish and water container.  She is scratching, digging at it and trying to chew through it.  This morning I refilled that container with "newer" dog food.  Nathan and I bought a 15.5lb bag of Science Diet Small and Toy Breed Age Defying for dogs 11+, about 1.5 weeks ago.  She has been on Science Diet Active Longevity Small Bites for dogs 7+ for a little while now because we honestly thought that was the only dog food for older dogs.  Hence we realized we were wrong.

I am not sure what is so different and mouthwatering to Angel about this newer dog food but I have now moved the dog food container off the floor and onto the sink counter.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy 2018

It is January 1st 2018!  I hope that you all had a Wonderful Holiday!  I have to say, baby it is cold out there, everywhere!  Please stay warm!

Okay now that we are done with the weather I know I have been horrible.  I haven't posted to the blog in a long time.  It is not that there aren't things to write about because there always are, it is just that I haven't had the time or the opposite I have had time but sitting at home moping and stewing don't help my frame of mind.  When I think or ponder over things I almost always lead to negative or bad thoughts which spirals into looking through a black hole.  It wasn't healthy and it wasn't helping me.

The last year and a half Nathan and I resided in Norfolk, VA.  Funny to think that 12-15 years ago we were in Norfolk.  Things have changed.  We lived out in town this last time instead of on or in base housing.  I think it was the best decision for us.  It was great for me.  I got to connect with the local community and I loved my neighbors.  Nathan was home for the most part for the last two years which was nice.

I got off my butt and volunteered at the Norfolk, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society office (NMCRS).  Like all things new I was nervous but getting out of the house was important and necessary.  I beat myself up whenever I make mistakes and that was clear in my volunteer work too.  I put a lot of pressure on myself to be and do the best.  Not a bad thing but I learned that I might take it to the extreme.  While volunteering with the society I became a Level II Caseworker.  Pretty proud of myself for that.  After volunteering for a couple of months with the Society an opportunity came up to be an AmeriCorps member.  You all know what the Peace Corps is?  Volunteer overseas for a year or so in a certain field or area.  AmeriCorps is the same thing only you volunteer here in the states.  As an AmeriCorps member I "worked" at the NMCRS Norfolk office to provide financial support and education to military, Veterans and their families.  The minimum requirement for me for the year of service was 900 hours.  I completed that and then negotiated a second contract in my year term and completed an additional 450 hours.  In total for the year, I completed 1416.5 hours of service.  Below is a picture of Nathan helping out with an AmeriCorps community project.  The first picture in the next row was of opening ceremonies for the year kickoff event of AmeriCorps 2016-2017.  In the picture on the screen, you will see the AmeriCorps oath.  The folks in the photo themselves are the directors for each of the AmeriCorps branches.  My director is the last one from L-R.  In the last picture are some certificates and goodies I received at the end of the year of service.


Right after my contract was over with AmeriCorps I obtained a remote job.  On August 1st I was the Administrative Assistant for a new department/division at Norwich University.  I worked part-time which meant I was still able to volunteer at the NMCRS Norfolk office.  On November 12th, just three and a half months after I started the job, I was promoted to Project Manager for the same department/division.  I officially for the first time since marrying my sailor have a salary and a possible career!

In September 2017 Nathan received orders and was promoted to Commander (CDR).  We did have a little party to celebrate at our favorite local pizza spot.
 
 


Orders are to Fayetteville, NC at Fort Bragg.  This is our first time on an Army post.  We thought about buying and we even looked at homes.  However we decided that it would be best to live on base and reside in base housing.  Our logic was that yes, a mortgage for a house out in town is cheaper than renting on base.  However, we thought about after we move and what we would obtain for rent and since we know that rent out in town is so low we wouldn't make anything after paying the property management company and the taxes.  So we chose to live on base.

In mid-November, I said goodbye to NMCRS Norfolk and by the end of the month, we were moving.  We made the trip to Vermont during the move.  It was for my job and worked out to be perfect timing.  I assisted in planning a conference for the new division/department at Norwich and it was a two-day event.  I can't give enough props to Best-Western Plus Waterbury Stowe for what they did.  Outstanding service for the conference and outstanding rooms!  Nathan and I were able to visit with his family while in VT and we also saw my sister for an evening.  After 5 days we turned around and headed back down south.  We moved into our 13th home on December 5th, 2017.

Below are some pictures of me at NMCRS through the year and a half I volunteered.  October 2016 Halloween, December 2016 a farewell, March 2017 I believe Nathan and I at a baseball game with NMCRS, August 2017 receiving my pin for over 1500 hours volunteered with NMCRS and the final picture is of the Chesapeake Knitting Guild group in November 2017.
 


 



On Christmas Day Nathan and I learned that we are going to be Auntie and Uncle to the first Tyner niece or nephew.  Very exciting!

Here is to a wonderful 2018!  Live more in the moment and appreciate what we have.  Those are my New Years Resolutions.