Thursday, April 30, 2009

Verse of the Now

Dude, the Bible is cool.

Philippians 4:4-7

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It certainly doesn't make sense that I would have peace. Thanks.

Another Reason Friends are Important

Could you imagine a day where all your earthly belongings get handled by random people and what was formerly your place of peace and happiness is now an ode to the color cardboard? THEN, on top of all that, one of your very favorite things in the entire world, your beautiful little convertible goes away forever? That is my day today.

Here is where my lovely little Bea used to sit.

I am very appreciative for my wonderful Florida friends because the movers had just left when the buyer calls and says he's ten minutes away. I breathe deeply and ask them to stay. They smile and do.

They watch my back as the potentially creepy buyer drives up. Turns out he's not creepy and a very nice man from Montreal. He and his fellow driver inspect the car, speak with a French accent, hand over the envelope full of cash (the girls count it, and maybe skim a little off the top...), and we sign the title and bill of sale. Then, the girls give me a sweet hug as the icon of my young single-girl carefree life drives away. Sigh.

Fortunately, I had already mourned my loss by wallowing in some ice cream last week, so my trauma is much dissipated. Plus, this big pile of cash helps too! HOLY COW!!!

How to Pack with the Military

Now, that I'm sitting in a house amid a world of boxes and brown-paper-wrapped everything else, I'm thinking back on my packing prep and mulling over what I would have done differently. Here goes:

Think about what you want to ship, carry with you, ship ahead, and get rid of... but not too much! I thought about it a lot and realize I wasted some brain space doing so. It all gets somewhere eventually. Still learning. Maybe you set it aside and remember to take something, maybe you don't. Chances are, it's not something you can't live without.

Don't prepare too far in advance. Rob kept holding me back, "No, McKay, you shouldn't put things in piles in the living room yet. You don't need to take the pictures off the walls the weekend before. Wait until closer to when the movers come." He is right. If I'd had my way, we'd be camping in our living room a week before and the movers would only be sealing already packed boxes. Rob keeps me saner than I would be. He is great.

Movers are FAST! Seriously, it is unbelievable! It's like you blink and your closets are empty and they've already moved to the next room! Shay packed half my kitchen before I could count to ten! (okay, maybe not THAT fast, but fast!)

Learn your movers' names. That way, if you have to ask them something or you want them to do something nice for you by repacking your shabbily-packed Christmas decorations, you can say, "Terrence" rather than "Hey You There, with the roll of tape."

Umm, they WILL pack your food. All of it. I had kind of planned on taking most of our food in the kitchen to the hotel on base and using it for the rest of our time here. I mean, it's open containers and the moving handouts say they'll only pack unopened non-perishable food. So, I didn't sort what I wanted to keep or anything... and now it's going to Japan and I shall be going to the grocery store. See above paragraph about how fast they are when you ask yourself - why didn't I just stop them. They are wicked fast! And now I have three huge boxes that read "small kitchen appliances, dishes, and dry goods". It's really very impressive.

Have friends come over on the day the packers come! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Katy, Heidi, Lynn, and Sarah!!!!! I would not have had nearly so nice a day without you!! Friends can help you watch the movers pack, urging more padding where needed, making sure they don't pack your "do not pack" piles, going to get everyone lunch, bringing waters through the house for refreshment, and basically just hanging out, making the house a happy place filled with conversation rather than saturated with sounds of packing tape and worry. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

me vs. the machine

Can I just say that those automatic phone systems are the WORST things ever!! I mean serisously!? Businesses think this is a good idea?!? Do they want me to FINALLY get to talk to a real person and have ALL my patience already spent when I arrive at their somewhat knowledgable, heavily accented, ill-trained customer service representative? Where is that a smart business solution?? Here's my most recent conversation:

"Thank you for calling... your call may be recorded... Please select from one of the following options..."

None of those.

"Please say reservations, other option, other option..."


"Please select reservations, other option, other option... if none of these are correct, you may select more options."

More options.

"Please say any of these further useless options... you may also say 'main menu'"

Main menu.

"Please select reservations..."


"Is this for award travel?"


"Please be advised there is a fee to talk to a real person, but if you stay on the phone with Mr. Tranquil Voice from 2001: A Space Odyssey, you will incur no fee."

What? Look, I just have a question and none of those options address it. I want to talk to a person!

"To look up your reservation, please say your milegae plus number."

I don't have a mileage plus number!

"You may also say 'I don't know it'"

I don't know it.

"To look up a reservation, please say your reservation number."

Listen you machine! I just have a question and I figure the quickest way to talk to a real person is to go through the reservations. Now, put me through to a real person!!

"You said, 'L R 8 9 A.' Is that correct?"


"My mistake. Please say your reservation number, or for more information say 'help'"


"Your reservation number is a combination of letters and numbers..."

Augh! I don't have a reservation number! Let me talk to a real person, you evil little machine!

"Sorry, I didn't get that"


Monday, April 27, 2009

Our Most Recent Beach Adventure

We went to the beach this weekend as it was PERFECT weather - clear blue skies, sunny, warm, and breezy!

Check out the FAB-ulous beach bag my mom gave me!
I'm actually getting tan living in Florida - you wouldn't actually call me "tan", but I know I'm a lot darker than my normal state!

Gus was the best dog ever, amusingly chasing the birds and coming back when we called him! We love him! One of the best parts was watching him leap into the water, trying to reach the shallower sand bar a little further out, but missing it and sinking to his head before bobbing up and swimming to chase the birds! Check out the video!

Bird Watching

Check out some of the birds in my Florida backyard!

There's this black and white one with the red chest.
This little greenish-yellow one, like a crayon

And even a red-wing blackbird!

Plus, a little blue one that reminds me of when Big Bird was dyed blue - see him on top of the bird feeder?

Loaf doesn't loaf around

So, even though Rob's call sign is Loaf (only for another month or so) he is not idle in his spare time. Recently, he noticed the fence around Mr. Bones' (squadron mascot) grave was falling apart... so he built him a new one. He just started sawing and painting and before you know it, viola! I know, my husband is amazing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day to Day

Here's a few of the ways Rob and I have been spending our time:

Watching friends' movers pack them, helping make sure packing is how it's supposed to be.

Attending briefings that tell us how to move.

Dining out with friends.

Making meals for friends who no longer have any food in their house due to moving.

Attending the Panama City Passion Play, put on by our church here - our friend played Jesus!

Going to zumba class to workout.

Watching more movers pack more friends.

Going on little date nights to the restaurants we like with patios overlooking the bay.

Walking in the March of Dimes walk on Saturday with the squadron.

Shopping for clothes before living in a country with petite people.

Gazing nostalgically through my boxes of memories as I try and whittle them down to just one box.

Making hotel reservations along our cross-country route, hoping that if we have to change them due to Rob not finishing on time, there are no fees.

It's pretty exciting and busy here, but enlaced with that slower pace of life that comes with living in a warm climate (love that!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Going In For Guns

Please allow me to take a moment to brag some more about my wonderful husband.

Recently, in his training, he was allowed to shoot the gun on the F-15! Shooting the gun is a big deal because you don't often get the chance - the Air Force has to have enough money, you have to have a need to shoot it, etc. So, anyway, Rob and a few of his classmates shot at a banner being pulled behind another plane to practice their gunning skills. Afterwards, someone collects the banner and brings it for everyone to see how it went.

Well, the guy who collects the banners said this was the most holes he'd ever seen in the banner - his remembered record was 36. Of course, they had to count them after that! WOW!! There were 400-something holes in this banner!! Holy cow! Plus, Rob actually shot OFF the bar that attaches the banner! As you can imagine, I'm very proud of my awesome husband.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fun Florida

This is what Florida looks like when it rains. It's not as fun as when it's sunny.

The azaleas I picked in our neighborhood.

Katy and Sarah making Easter eggs on Easter Sunday!
The ladies and their beautiful work!


This is the best sign I've ever seen. Ever. It's on the road returning to base. It reads "Horse Show & Music Festival" and in the bottom left, "Horses, Monkeys, Dogs, and Brahma Bulls." I know. It's awesome.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Things I Take for Granted on a Military Base

I like to take people not at all associated with the military to the Air Force base! Not only does it show them things they couldn't otherwise see, but it reminds me how cool it all is! These are some things I take for granted:

Having to pause a conversation because a fighter jet is flying directly over one's head.

Driving by the shooting range as they shoot super loud machine guns and not thinking it's weird.

No longer being a little scared of the gate guard in the uniform holding a big scary gun as he checks my ID.

Not thinking it's weird that there's a bar at my husband's workplace where he and his coworkers gather every Friday night.

Loving that people stop driving, pause walking, turn and respect the National Anthem.

That the National Anthem is played loudly all over the base every day at 5pm.

That there's a Giant Voice that speaks to me when the weather is bad.

Finding buildings not based on address, but on the little brown building number on its side.

That my husband FLIES A JET as his job!!

That my husband got to shoot the gun on the F-15 today at work.

People don't use my husband's given name anymore, but rather refer to him with his call sign. All the time.

That my husband FLIES A JET at work!

I love the Air Force!

Share your own...

Weekends are fun

On Saturday, we went SAILING!! It was one of the first sunny days in a while (no, Florida is not as fun when it's raining) and we took the boat out through the bay (blackened with rain-wash), pushed and pulled it across some ankle deep water over the sand bar, broke the waves (which was admittedly VERY scary), put the dagger boards in (much nicer now), and sailed the clear blue-green water of Florida's Gulf of Mexico! WHOOP!

Rob was master of his craft standing on the catamaran, angling the rudder just so to take the boat to faster speeds. I am slower at mastering the craft and feel a little like Peter on the rough waters of the sea going, "whoa! Can we not rock so much? I really don't want to tip over!" But I felt much better when I would look at Rob and see the calm and confidence on his face. Ah. Rob helps me practice trusting the Lord - "I really don't see what your plan is or how it's going to work... okay, let's do it. Oh! Look at that! It worked!" That's pretty much how it goes. :-)

It did become a little alarming when the wind picked up on our way back to the boat launch and the wind that we caught pushed us a little nearer the edge than I cared to sail. Rob was still enjoying himself immensely - right up until he lost his grip and fell very suddenly off the boat! Thankfully, he's a good swimmer and caught up by the time I had almost stopped the boat. Whew!

Sunday, we went to the beach again - this time to go fishing. Rob caught three! The first was a stingray! No stabbing here. It was neat to touch it though - they're so soft! Then Rob caught two saltwater catfish. We've heard they're not good to eat so we threw them back. However, Gus swam in after the first one and retrieved it back to shore!!! We wish we'd brought the camera because it was a hilarious sight - our ridgeback swimming back in the waves with a catfish in its jaws!