Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Remembering 9/11..

Each generation has one major event that they can pin point exactly where they were and what they were doing when that event happend. The traumatic event that happend in my generation was 9/11. The only thing my generation and the generations after me know, is war.

September 11, 2001 started off like any other day. I was in seventh grade. Ms. Jankowski's english class. The final bell had just rung so we were all getting settled into our seats and talking amongst ourselves. The teacher goes to her podium to get her attendance sheet when the phone rings. We all watch because we're thinking "Oooh who got in trouble now!?" She takes her glasses off her face and puts her hand over her mouth. Just like something devastating just happend and she can't believe what she's hearing. She hangs up immediately and turns on the television to the news. There were two really tall buildings in New York City. One of them looks like a bomb had went off. Then they replayed a video. It was an airplane. Everyone in that class was in shock. We didn't speak, just sat there in awe. A few of us started to cry. I didn't because I still didn't fully understand what was happening or why it happend. I didn't even know what those buildings were. Throughout the day, other students were got picked up from their parents because there were "terrorists" all over the country crashing planes. After the first plane hit, another hit the second tower. After that one, a plane crashed in Pennsylvania. And after Pennsylvania, a plane or something hit the Pentagon. Were they really going to come to Michigan and try to kill us too? Who was doing this and why?? I got home from school that day and my mom is sitting on the couch with her phone in her hand and her face is all puffy likes she's been crying. I ask her, "Mom did you see what happen?" She just nods her head. My brother who was eight or nine at the time ran up to me and says "Amanda guess what!? Jon went to NYC to help!" Jon is my stepdad. But he raised me as his own, and he is my dad. I start remembering the images I saw earlier that day with all the dust, the smoke, the missing persons signs. "Yeah, right" was my first response. Then my mom chimes in.."No really, he's on his way right now". I just remember standing in the door way of the kitchen and living room crying my eyes out. People were dying in the rubble. So much was going on. The days after the 9/11 events were even more horrible. The death toll was over 3,000 and hundreds of people were missing. I remember the President going on TV and saying that we were going to war. That whole month of September was just sad. It affected everybody regardless if they knew someone in the attacks or not. We are a nation, and together we can do anything. Remember those who were lost. Take pride in your country. Live and Love each day like it were your last. And you can NEVER say I love you too much.

For those that still fight, and those who gave the ultimate sacrifices, you are NOT forgotten.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Eight plus long, exhausting hours later, we made it to Hawaii. It is absolutely gorgeous here! My husband and I are currently living in a hotel and have been for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Holy cabin fever batman. I never thought I would miss cooking so much. And I miss my couch. The first week here was probably the most fun but also the most difficult. Jeff and I were at each others throats almost everyday. I don't even remember why. I guess I can try the best of my ability to remember the first couple days...

Day before departure:

We drove out to Raliegh, NC. Car packed up to the window, dog on my lap. We stayed at a really nice hotel that was dog friendly right outside of the airport. Since I took care of most of Bella's stuff, the only thing I was worried about was if they were going to keep her on the same flight because it's been so hott. I decided to call the cargo people at American Airlines to find out information on Bella's flight so we could have a back up plan. They told us that if the temperatures in NC, TX, or HI are 85 or above she can not fly. I got off the phone, checked weather in all places. We were fine except when we would land in TX, it was 90 something degrees. So I called back, talked to this really awesome woman. At first she didn't know how to help. So since I was already worked up, I started balling my eyes out. To my advantage, it worked. The lady could schedule Bella on a flight that left a half hour after us and went to Chicago instead of TX. Score.


We woke up at about 4am. Got our things together and was out the door at 5. We had to take Bella straight to some cargo place. We filled out some paper work, paid her ticket, and then had to take her into this back room. Which actually ended up being a very VERY large backroom. It was picture a Home Depot minus everything in there. We had to put Bella in the kennel and then weigh her. The guy told us we could leave her there and they'd make sure she got on the plane. Jeff says "See ya Bella" and walks off. I sit there, start crying, Bella starts crying and I say, "It's ok baby girl, mama loves you. I'm so sorry you're scared. I'll see you in a little bit. Stay strong." Don't laugh, I freaking love my dog. It was depressing and I was an emotional wreck. We left cargo and Bella...and went to our terminal and got ready for the most excruciatingly longest flight of my life.


We arrived in Hawaii too many hours later. It was really neat flying over the mountains and the ocean. I was waiting for them to play the Jurassic Park theme song, but they never did. So Jeff and I sat in the middle of this aircraft and hummed it. Once we landed we got all of our baggage together and he had to go check in with his "Army Folk". After all that the hotel we were supposed to stay at apparently didn't have a room, even though I called months in advance to book it. So they gave us some other hotel in Honolulu. And by the way people. Honolulu is actually pretty ghetto. For my folks back home, picture Detroit with palm trees. Anyways, we unload all of our stuff, and head over to where we were supposed to pick up Bella. We pick her up, and holy crap...This place was like the pound. I am SO glad we did not quarantine her. Her kennel was filthy and she reeked of pee. Nothing is more embarrassing than having your new friends that you hardly know pick you up from the airport with your dog that smells like pee in a brand new scion. So we get to her house all the way on base because thats where Bella was going to stay. Then we get a call saying that the hotel on base DOES have a room for us. So Jeff had to drive all the way back to Honolulu reload our stuff, cancel that room and drive back. We didnt get to bed that night until after 11. It felt like I pulled an all nighter at this point. And then the next morning since I'm not used to the time difference, I woke up at 6am. I continued to do so for the whole week.

Day 1 up to now:

Things are going a lot more smooth now. I met a lot of awesome people. Jeff and I have a house. We move in at the end of September. Its very cute. Two story, two bedroom, one and a half bath, and a fenced back yard. We like going to the beach. I'm a little sketchy about going in the water, but I still love it. The scenery is amazing. The air smells clean and fresh. People here are happy. I can definatly call this place home for the next three years of my life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Are we there yet? Ultimate blog for your PCS move.

If you're a first time reader or if you don't know me at all, my husband and I are PCSing to Hawaii. For all you non military folk out there, PCS is a permanent change of station. Basically when you hear a soldier say "Oh, I'm stationed here." The process of getting to that station is a PCS. There are hundreds upon hundreds of duty stations for US soldiers all over the world. My husband and I were lucky enough to get Hawaii. You call it lucky, I'll call it headache. Dont get me wrong, I am excited, but the process of actually getting there is a lot more stressful than I had imagined. As I'm sitting here yet AGAIN, in an empty (for the most post) home, I'm going to take you through all the steps we've gone through to make this move possible.

Step 1: Get Orders.
My Husband found out we got Hawaii in January of this year. We were ECSTATIC. We started googling Hawaii, buying movies made in Hawaii, looking at fun things to do, etc. Daydreaming basically. The only thing I knew right away about things to get done was that if you have a pet, it has to be quarantined for 120 days. Thats like four months! Anyway, at this time we didn't have "orders" we just knew thats where we were going, we had no idea when. So we wanted to take care of Bella first.

Step 2: Take care of your pet.
Hawaii is a rabies free state/region whatever, so your animal has to be up to date on their vaccines. They also have a quarantine law. Your animal must be quarantined for 120 days. I called the vet right away. We scheduled an appointment for Bella to be seen. She needed her rabies shot, a micro-chip, and an overall exam. We had to wait I want to say 90 days (I may be wrong) to take her back. When we took her back again, they took some of her blood (FAVN test) and sent it to a lab in Kansas. The day the lab got her blood her quarantine started. Animals can do a quarantine here on the "main land" they just shouldn't really be around other animals. If you arrive in Hawaii before the quarantine is up, your pet has to stay at the Quarantine station (a kennel) for the remainder time. Also, before you leave you must get a copy of your dogs health certificate from a vet and a hundred copies of her rabies vaccine just to be sure.

Step 3: Levy briefing and other crap the soldier has to do.
I'm honestly not sure what a levy briefing is because I didn't go. Its mainly for the soldier but the spouse may go if they wish. Its basically a meeting where they talk to you and other soldiers that are PCSing overseas. They talk about what you have to do before the move, how you schedule the movers, etc.

Step 4: Your medical shiz.
Make sure that you have an up to date "annual exam" and you get a check up. I don't like going on post to the doctor because it makes me feel weird so I went to planned parenthood and got raped by a woman. Not really, but it sure didn't tickle. After you get that, make sure you schedule an appointment for EFMP. (Exceptional Family Member Program). EFMP is usually just for people who have medical conditions that need treatment so I really don't know why I had to do it. Also, the spouse gets put on the husbands orders. If you are NOT on his orders, you have to fly separately and you have to pay for your own plane ticket.

*******NOTICE!! If you live off post, be sure to give copies of orders to your landlord and give them 30 days notice!!*******

Step 5: Scheduling the movers.
I honestly don't know how we did this either because Jeff took care of it. We didnt get our movers until today. (Two days before we leave).

Step 6: Shipping your vehicle.
We had to drive all the way to Charleston, SC to drop off our car. From Fayetteville, that is like three hours. Talk about long drive. Make sure you know people that can go with you so you don't have to rent a car like us and pay $500 for three days. For this you need 4 copies of orders and some other junk. Side note: after you get orders, make sure you print off literally about 30 copies, just to be safe.

Step 7: Let it go.
About a week before the movers come, start going through your stuff. Start throwing away stuff you don't need. Remember that you can always buy more. Yesterday we were going through stuff and Jeff wanted to keep a box of q-tips. Don't be afraid to just let it go.

Thats all the steps I can think of at the moment, I'm sure I am forgetting something. It doesn't seem like a lot but it's a lot more stressful than what I wrote. When clearing post and trying to schedule things, you have to work around the army. We did everything last minute and I was ready to go on a rampage. Jeff and I were/are at each others throats. We just have to keep thinking that in two days we will be in paradise for three years. I'm really excited and things seem to be finally falling into place. The only thing I'm nervous about right now is getting the dog on the plane. I'm praying and praying that everything works out. So cross your fingers for me.

Words of wisdom:
When you feel like taking your wrath out on your husband, take it out on idiot drivers on your way back from shipping your vehicle.