Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Down Eleven To Go

Well, I guess I am not off to a great start, but hopefully things will pick up.  Scott left a month ago today, and it seems like forever ago.  Just as predicted, the kids have settled into a routine.  They were crazy busy this fall with the different musical groups the girls were involved in plus marching band for Aidan (a horse of a way different color from where I grew up) and scouting and soccer.  

Aidan decided to drop soccer for the fall (wish he would have decided that before I spent $60), but was still managed to rack up 8-9 hours of marching practice outside of school hours.  Top that off with all pre-ap classes,  German club (yes he is treasurer, yikes!) and Boy Scouts, and you have one busy kiddo.  Marching band is starting to slow down, so I think it is giving him a little more breathing space.  You can actually see his stress level coming down.  Not to mention, he is starting to feel a little more comfortable in his skin.  Good thing, since he now towers over me even when I am in my heels.  I think he is about at 5'10", but I don't think he is done yet either.

Mackenzie is finally starting to feel better about school again.  She went from such a good student in Kentucky, to having so many problems here.  She is a very bright child, but yet, she can be very "Dori-esque".   She loves to sing and is doing well on the French Horn.  It is good seeing her work hard again in school.  Now if I can get her to be more organized and understand that if she forgets to turn something in, it does affect her grade, we will really be doing well.  She is in soccer, Girl Scouts, show choir, Honor Band, and District Honor Choir.  The DHC has been cast in the Wizard of Oz that the High School is performing, so she gets to be a munchkin and part of the Lullaby League.  Kind of funny since she is pushing 5 foot, and is almost as tall as both of the Dorothy's.  Mackenzie has adjusted to Dad being gone for the most part.  I think it helps her that she can skype with him and see him in the morning before she goes to school.

Brigid is doing okay - she has a tongue that can cut like a razor.  She can be very sweet and get along with her sister quite well one minute, and the next thing you know, the evil Brigid shows up.  It's kind of like the weather in Germany - wait 5 minutes and it will change.  She is not sure she wants to do band (doesn't want to have to carry and instrument).  She is in choir, and in Orff (because that was by invitation only!) and is in soccer and gymnastics as well as Girl Scouts.  She also made DHC, and is enjoying being on stage.  

This past week was financially painful for me.  Two weeks ago, I had new tires put on the Jeep, they were looking pretty bad, and since I was having issues with the other door on the van, knew that I might be without a vehicle for a while.  I took the van in, and they said the one door was working fine now (maybe a rock got stuck in the track), but the other door would need a new motor.  If I knew that it would open and close manually, I would be fine with that, but as it was, it was only opening partway, and of course that is the door that I need for picking up and dropping off kids at school!  A friend of mine had told me that when her door needed that done that it cost about $600.  Guess what - I beat her cost!  Mine was going to cost $1250, for 1 door!!!

Well they had to order the part, and I went back on Thursday and spent the day there working (I love my job!!!), while they replaced the motor.  I asked them to look at my squeaky fan belt, which they did and said it would need to be replaced (cha-ching). I also asked for them to change the oil (it needed it).  While they were changing the oil, they noticed that my rear brakes were down to 1 mm.  They suggest replacing at 3mm, so that means that I should get them done (cha-ching).  The Service rep was giving me a military discount of 10%, which almost paid for the tax.  I love going shopping, but it was not fun paying for that bill.  On the receipt, it says that it is suggested that I replace the other motor (ugh!)

One month down, eleven to go...hopefully I won't have anymore large expenses anytime soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Today, he left...

So by now, you pretty much know the early history of our Army life.  I haven't even gotten to the part about his deployment to Iraq in 2003, and already he left for Korea today.  We spent the last couple of days trying to fit in what we could.  

Friday night, Scott and I went out on a date to a Brazilian restaurant called Fogo De Chao.  That was a wonderful place with a great salad bar and the meat just keeps coming around.  It was nice to be out with Scott and not to be actually talking about the kids all the time.  We did talk about them some, but our whole dinner conversation did not revolve around them.

Saturday we went to the girl's soccer games.  They both played very well, and we got almost all the way home before the torrential downpour started.  The afternoon we spent getting laundry done and making sure everything was ready for him to pack.  Scott grilled a couple of whole chickens up, which would give us extra for sandwiches.  Yum!!  Saturday night, the realization that daddy was leaving started to sink in for Mackenzie.  Scott spent some time with her, and seemed to help her work through it.

Sunday we went to Mass as a family.  Even though Scott had become part of the choir for Knights of Columbus, he decided that he wanted to stay with us for Mass.  It was nice having all of us sit together.  Sunday afternoon between driving back and forth for RE and Youth Group, Scott took Mackenzie for one last ride on the bike and took Aidan to Garden Ridge for an impromptu driving lesson.  He won't get his permit till next summer, but Scott wanted to be able to take him out at least once.  We had a nice family dinner in the evening.  Scott said goodnight and goodbye to the kids, and finished packing.

This morning 4 am came way too early.  We spent some time together (both of us did our daily spin on bejeweled :) ) and I made the kids lunches while Scott got ready to go.  Aidan got up early to say goodbye to dad, and actually watched us from the front porch as we left to take Scott to the Airport.  I saw that same look in his eyes when he said goodbye to his dad way back in First Grade.  I know that he probably remembers all too well those feelings.  He is a good kid and covers it well, but I know it is hard on him.

The trip to the airport was uneventful, but it was really difficult saying goodbye to Scott.  I just didn't want to let him go, but as we were in a no parking zone, we kind of had to finish our goodbyes.  The drive back was very emotional for me.  I know that I will be okay.  Mom is here to help me, and I have plenty of friends.  In a way I am kind of relieved.  It was so long in coming, that the last week seemed like it was dragging by.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't want Scott to leave, but now we can start counting down until he comes home.  Of course I guess I should wait to start that countdown until her gets into country, which should be in a couple of hours. :)  

Day 1 done, only 364 more to go, but whose counting! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Countdown begins

Okay, so a week from today Scott leaves.  It has seemed like it was so far away for so long, that now I cannot believe that it is going to happen so soon.  This week will be chaotic, with movers coming to ship what he is going to take to Korea.  It shouldn't be much, it looks like he will be living in a furnished apartment.

Emotions are running high in the household.  I think the kids get that he is going to Korea, so we can stay here.  All the kids are loving the classes/schools this year, and we did not want to uproot them again.  This morning Aidan realized that if Scott wasn't going to Korea, that we would be moving again this fall.  Even Mackenzie, who has struggled (socially, not academically) at school since we moved to SA, is now liking her pod at school and would not want to move.  Still, she did say today that she wished the 20th would never come.  Brigid responded to her," then Dad would just have to leave on the 21st."  It was like the lightbulbs went on.

I relate the emotions of the kids to little thunderheads.  They seem to be floating along doing their thing, but when there is a clash, it explodes right away.  It is even true between them and us.  I think that once Scott does leave and the kids settle down into their normal routine, it should settle down.  I know it will also help when he is there and they see that we can skype on a regular basis with him it will help.  Scott will be 14 hours ahead, so it might be kind of challenging to set up times, but we will figure that out.

I know that Scott does not want to move to Korea, but that he knows it is what is best for the family.  He has been in the military for 21 years now, so he could retire to avoid the move, but with the economy the way it is, I know he was not looking forward to the prospect of trying to find a job.  It is quite a sacrifice that he is making for us, and I love him dearly for it.  It will be difficult for us, but I think more so for him.  I know that he is worried about leaving me here to take care of the household by myself, but I have Mom to help, and I know that there are many people that I can call if I need anything.

I just plan to take it one day at a time.  Thankfully, I know from Scott's deployment to Iraq in 2003 that the kids being involved in things is what kept me going.  I knew I had to get them to their activities, so I could not just sit around and withdraw from everything.  So now my kids are probably over-involved, and it is actually for my sanity, as odd as that sounds.

So, one more week.  We do have plans for a date night on Friday, and there is all the normal family stuff with a birthday added as well.  We had Brigid's kid birthday for her yesterday.  Also had friends over for a BBQ, which made for a fun evening.  Next weekend we will pull in ranks and spend as much time as a family before he leaves Monday. It will be fine! :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Orders for Korea

So I will go back to our history of being in the military soon, but the reason that I started this blog in the first place is to help me deal with the daily struggles, and the emotions that come with being separated for a long period of time.  I think understanding the history is important, but right now I am dealing with the current.

Scott had his final out yesterday from Fort Sam.  He was able to spend some time with his unit while waiting for BAMC to reopen so he could get a second signature on his profile.  One of the stops that he had before his final out was at ticketing where he got his tickets for his flight.  He leaves on the 20th, which is just 2.5 weeks away!!!  There are so many things that still need to happen before he leaves.  It seems like we knew about it for so long, that it was so far way, but now all of the sudden the date is coming at us like a freight train.  

I know that this is the best option for us, it allows us to stay here, and Scott will come back here for another 3 years, and then put in retirement paperwork.  That means that the kids will be able to stay in the same schools  for the remainder of their schooling.  Our other option would have been to wait until he came down on orders, and then move to where the military wants.  That would mean selling our house and uprooting our kids.  With Aidan being in High School, that isn't something that either one of us wants.  

So now we are preparing for him to be gone for a year.  It could be worse, he could be going to Iraq or Afghanistan.  I have dealt with him being gone before, I know I can do it again.  The kids are older, it should be easier, right?  I also have Mom, thank goodness, who will be here to help me and hopefully keep me sane.  I have tried to set up our schedule so that I don't have too many conflicts.  I want to be able to handle this without asking for a lot of help.  I know that I have several friends that will help out if I need them, but I hate to ask too much of anyone.  I mean really, it isn't their fault that my kids are overachievers or that I cannot tell my kids no that they cannot do an activity.  

So now the fun begins.  Scott is on leave, so he has time to spend with the kids, and for us to mentally prepare for this extended trip.  The movers come next week to get what he is shipping, but it will not be much as it seems they have fully furnished apartments. Hopefully the transition will go smoothly.  Only time will tell.  Follow along and see if I survive or wind up in a looney bin!!! LOL.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fort Drum - or Canada South

Fort Drum is located in upstate New York approximately 26 miles from the Canadian border.  The military base there is home to the 10th Mountain Division.  They are a light infantry division, meaning that they carry a big old rucksack on their backs and go for little walks!  Apparently in WWII, the soldiers of the 10th skied across the alps (I think).  The post is a mix of new and old, with most of the barracks still being old Temporary building (at least while we were there).  It is a beautiful area, and the housing was pretty nice, but as there are so many troops there, there is not enough space on post, and the off post housing can be as far as an hour away in Goveneur.  Scott had stayed in the barracks while we waited for on post housing, as we did not want to make that hour drive back to post in bad weather. 

Our apartment was a cute little garden style home on the second floor.  It was two bedrooms and one bathroom, with a living/dining room combo and an eat in area off of the kitchen which we used for a study, since the builder neglected to put an overhead light in that room. We had a huge laundry room which offered extra storage space.  Our garage was not attached, but the stairs were inside the garage with just the door to the landing being attached to the landing of our front door.  It was definitely nice in the winter.

Our first year there showed what it was truly like to live in upstate New York.  We saw flurries on Halloween, and it snowed so bad that by Thanksgiving, we had 5 feet on either side of the driveway.  Thankfully Scott took the snowblower safety course, so we could use the shared snowblower.  It continued to snow throughout the winter, and we were still seeing flurries on Mother's day.  It was warm in May, but it was only truly hot for about a month in July.  We learned the importance of having a good cable package.  There was not a whole lot to do in the winter.   

Of course, my thoughts on how hot it got might be slightly off, as the first year we were there I was pregnant with Aidan. Okay, so there we a couple of things to do in the winter....LOL.   I was very fortunate to be going through my first pregnancy with a good friend who was also pregnant with her first.  Our boys were born 6 days apart!  Aidan came into this world after 21 hours of labor  followed up by a C-section weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs 6 oz, and stretching out to be 24" long!  The doctors called him Moose in the delivery room and were taking bets that he was over 10 lbs.  His head circumference was 15.5 inches followed by a 15 inch chest.  Good thing he was a c-section, because it sure seemed like I gave birth to a toddler!!!  

Aidan was a great baby, and soon I found other moms to hang out with.  There was a group of us that got together on a regular basis for baby play dates.  Of course the kids were too young to play together, but it was great for us!  This is the wonderful group of babies that we had from left to right:
Kimberly, Evan, Aidan, Hannah.
They ranged in birthday from Hannah being born in March to Kimberly in September, with the boys in the middle in July.  These kids and their moms helped me make it through that first year at both Fort Drum and being a mom.
And so the first year of being at Fort Drum ended and we were still in the same location, and did not  look like we were moving anytime soon.  It was so nice feeling like we were going to be someplace for a little while.  I knew it was a hard assignment for Scott, physically, with all the road marches, but it was nice having a group of friends to rely on if you needed something.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Camping across the Country

Our next PCS move was from the Presidio of SF to Fort Drum in upstate NY.  We had just made the move cross country 9 months prior and as we looked back upon it decided that this time we wanted to do something a little different.  Travelling before, we would get up later each day which meant that we got on and off the road later each day.  By the end of the trip we were not getting off the road until almost 8 pm, and that wore on us.  So we decided that we would camp.  

Chaucer being a bulldog would need to be kept leashed at the campgrounds, so Scott devised a clever way (we thought) to keep him close.  He took an old metal office garbage can, strung some chain through a metal pipe and filled it with concrete.  We thought this would be a great idea.  It worked wonderfully until Chaucer learned that he could knock it over and it would roll!  Luckily, he usually would drag it and the lip of the can would dig into the ground.  It was definitely a sight to be seen.

We loaded the mustang and the truck with necessary items for camping and made our way north to Washington and then east towards Chicago camping along the way.  I had planned out a day's drive and we had the KOA guidebook.  Camping was actually very relaxing for us.  We woke up when the sun came up, on the road by about 8, off the road between 3:30 and 4:30, had time to relax, cook something, and get to bed early.  Chaucer loved it, the cats dealt with it, although Rhapsody did seem to figure out how to unzip the tent zipper a couple of times.  Luckily we were right there.  

We stopped in Montana to see Scott's friend, Paul and his family.  We visited Yellowstone, where it was in the 50's overnight.  That was a cold couple of evenings.  We spent the 4th of July with friends in Chicago, and then spent a week up at Scott's parents house.  After Scott's parents house we headed down to Florida as I would be staying there while we waited for housing.  We got as far as Kankakee, Illinois, when we were camping out and realized that it was so hot that even the cats were panting.  Unlike dogs, it is not healthy for cats to pant.  We packed everything up and went to a hotel.  That was the end of camping.  We made it to my parents house, Scott relaxed for a couple of days and then headed up to New York to sign in at Fort Drum.

I stayed with my parents from the end of July until the beginning of October.  I was there for about two weeks when it was decided that I needed to get a job.  I think I was driving my parents nuts!  I went to the local Kelly Services (love going to temp agencies) and got a job with a company called Brainchild.  They make educational software for their own handheld system similar to a large Nintendo DS.  It was geared towards home-school children.  I started with them just doing data entry.  They liked my work enough that they hired me on as an independent contractor authoring software when I finally moved up to NY.  I even got my mom a job there editing their software.  

Scott finally got housing in October, and Mom accompanied me up to New York since I was not to thrilled about the concept of driving up the eastern seaboard by myself with a dog and two cats.  It was pretty much an uneventful trip except for Chaucer locking himself in the bathroom when our pizza was delivered!  It took about 3 days to get there, and then Mom turned around and flew home the next day.  Finally I had finished the move and ready to start life at Fort Drum, which meant time to unpack.  

Oh yeah, when we were issued housing, they gave us a garbage can and a snow shovel in our garage.  Oh Joy!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Presidio of San Francisco

So we have now gone from living under the Verrazanno to under the Golden Gate bridge.  The Presidio was a beautiful post with the architecture in the Spanish style. It had been built on the rocky tip of San Francisco overlooking the bay and ocean.  The post had technically closed when we moved there, but was told that it would still be around for a while.  Ha!  That was a joke.  We refer to it as our extended vacation, as we only lived there from October of 94 to June of 95.  We had a decent apartment on the second floor, and if you looked through the trees out our patio, you could see the beach and water.  It was pretty post, even the Burger King had an awesome view of the bay.

Chaucer used to jump up
from the back of the
After arriving there and getting our household goods settled, it was time to start looking for a job.  Before leaving INS, I had spoke with an Agent there about getting in with the FBI.  I did go through the first application, initial round of testing and had passed it all.  At that point they explained to me that I needed to complete a 24 page booklet about me, my family, and extended family.  Oh yea, they also said that if I was accepted, I would have to agree to a minimum 3 or 5 year commitment (including no maternity leave during that time).   I asked about what would happen if we moved, and they said they could try and find something close, but there was no guarantee.  Well, that was the end of that!

My next option was to apply with a temp agency.  I had used them before, and it seemed like a good idea.  They help me rewrite my resume, and found me a position with a property management company.  I start working as a receptionist, but soon added additional duties.  It was definitely easier to drive around in SF than in NYC, but it cost a fortune to park.  I had mastered the subway system in NYC, so now it was onto the bus system in SF.  Luckily there was a bus stop not to far from the apartment, and I could take that to California street and transfer onto a bus that got me within a block or two from the office.  Going home, if I could get out on time, I could catch the express bus, but if not, it was the slow boat  to china getting home.  It always amazed me how it would be sunny and warm downtown, but by the time we got up to my connection to post it would wind up being chilly, foggy, and damp.

The food there was truly different for me.  A co-worker took me to a sushi place where for $5 you could get a box lunch including a drink. That was truly good eats!  Scott and I were part of a Sunday morning brunch club.  We went down to Spaghetti Western for breakfast a couple of times, among other places.  I remember Spaghetti Western by name mainly because that was the place where the staff truly scared me with all their piercings and tattoos.  Yes I was still naive at the time and was unaccustomed to the tattoos over the whole body, and the facial piercings.  Remember, this was 1994-95, and it was not as common back then.  The food was fabulous though.

 Crissy Field where we
could walk Chaucer.
Scott's job, while still being a bandsman, was somewhat limited there.  There were not a whole lot of city events that San Franciscans wanted Army at.  I do know that he did play taps at a cool biker rally.  They also did some TDY (another army acronym meaning Temporary DutY) assignments to Oregon.  Ususally he just had a regular duty day, and came home at 3 or 4, grabbed Chaucer and took him first for a car ride and then for a nice long walk at Crissy Field.

Okay, so one downside to working in SF, Monday Night Football had usually started by the time I was home from work!  Luckily, Scott had the beer cold and the wings cooking.  It did make me miss Monday night wings at Fitzpatrick's!

Solfeggio (black) and Rhapsody
"Vegg" developed FHE
Our cat developed to Feline Hyper-Estasia Disorder while we were there.  It basically means that his skin is overly sensitive.  The Doctor gave us a prescription that we had to get filled at the pharmacy.  That was a trip!   The technician asked for his name, address, age, insurance....All I could say is that it is for my cat!  She didn't even seem phased by that.  I got the prescription and it turned out to be Valium! I have never even had that.  Let me tell you, watching a cat on Valium is a hysterical experience. He would fall off the top of the back of the chair where he was laying (just out of the blue), eat leftovers off the table (which he never did before) and couldn't jump the gate we had between the front and back half of the house.  You could see him sitting there getting ready to try and jump, and he would be swaying. We think that it might have been caused by all the kitty spins Scott gave him on the asbestos tile floor.

We left the Presidio in June of 1995, and since the last cleaning fiasco, we decided to hire a cleaning team.  The cost was not that high, and it saved the stress of trying to get it done.  The band played a ceremony where they actually marched off post with the command as a symbolic leaving post.  We left the next day.  Our next PCS move was a camping one and would take us back across country to upstate NY with family visits in Michigan, Chicago and Florida.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


PCSing is one of many military acronyms.  It means Permanent Change of Station. Every 3 years, give or take, the military moves you.  Sometimes you get a choice, sometimes you don't. Even when you get a choice, sometimes, there could be a good choice, or sometimes, it is the lesser of the three evils.  Our first PCS move was interesting, to say the least. While most of the time they happen about every 3 years, that changes if you are closing down the post as what happened in October of 1994.  We had been married for just over a year, and had only had housing for a year, when it was time to move.

We were stationed in Brooklyn, NY and our new assignment was going to be at the Presidio of San Francisco.  That's roughly 2900 miles across the country. When you make a PCS move, several things have to happen.  First you have a moving crew come in like a plague of locusts and pack your household up.  On our fist move, they showed up at 7:30 am, and were gone by 5:00 pm.  You have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don't pack up garbage cans (with garbage in them).  Also, anything you don't want packed needs to be kept in a separate room.  Movers have gotten much better over the years, but we have also gotten better about what to expect.  I also did not know what to expect, so I was working that day, and left it all to Scott.  That's the last time we were not both on hand for a move!

So once the movers leave, you are left with an ugly apartment.  Even the best homemakers would be shocked  that first time at what it looks like.  I was not Suzy Homemaker back then (still aren't), but I have learned what needs to be done to keep it from winding up like that.  So the next step is to clean the apartment.  I don't mean just sweep and mop.  Back then it was white glove inspection.  Remember the closet doors that had the wood slots in them?  Yep, Scott spent a day cleaning those.  Did you know a stove can come apart into 13 pieces?  They all have to be cleaned.  Oh and that rubber thing-y that goes around the fridge?  Yep, inside all those crevices.  In the bathroom, lets just say, grout lines are a pain!  Oh yeah, and the best part about this, is that it doesn't matter if the place was clean when you got it or not.  The housing office had a great racket with local cleaning teams.  Most people failed the first time (us included), so then they hire a cleaning team.  We didn't.  Luckily, we had friends that were willing to help Scott during lunch so he could clear that afternoon.  

There is also like 10-15 different places on post that Scott has to go to in order for them to sign a paper saying that he has cleared their office.  Some of them are Medical, Dental, Provost Marshall, several in his unit, Commissary, PX (those were to make sure no outstanding checks were there).  You get the picture.  Last but not least is financial.  They give you the money to pay for the trip.  So Scott had his final out, and we loaded the cats and dog in the car with what we would need to make it 2900 miles, and said goodbye to Fort Hamilton.  

Scott also had a truck, but one of our friends offered to drive it as far as his next duty station of Fort Riley.  It made it easier for us to only have one vehicle to drive and he could do a Dity (Do IT Yourself) move, since he was still living in the barracks and only had a little bit of stuff.  We drove from NY to Chicago to see family and friends, side tripped it to the U.P. of Michigan to see Scott's parents, and then to Minneapolis to see Scott's Aunt and Uncle.  Then is was down I-35 to Kansas City and west to Ft. Riley to pick up the truck.  Of course, the truck had problems since it had been sitting there...4 hours and $500 later, it was okay to drive.  That truck was like a Timex...took a licking and kept on ticking.  

We continued south to Oklahoma City and started west to LA.  It was already the middle of October, and I did not want to risk getting caught in a snowstorm in the mountains going through Denver.  From LA we headed north to San Francisco.  We did take some time along the way for the Grand Canyon, painted desert and petrified forest.  I am sure there were other stops along the way, we usually traveled about 400 miles a day.  Trying to make reservations where they accepted animals was the main issue.  Luckily Chaucer was still a puppy, so he was under the 20-25 lb weight restriction that most hotels had at the time.  Since the animals were caged during the car rides, there was nothing funnier then seeing to cats hopping from bed to bed in the hotel room.  Except maybe seeing two cats jump from bed to bed followed by a Bulldog jumping from bed to bed! Talk about a dog with an identity crisis!

All in all, we made it to SF without to many issues.  It was another one of those introductions to the military.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life Under the Verrazano

The Bridge over the
Verrazano Narrows
Fort Hamilton is located at the tip of Brooklyn, New York.  Scott was stationed there from 1992-1994.  I thought it had totally closed down except for the MEPS station when we left, but apparently from looking around for a picture, it is still there and has some nice new housing.  We lived on the first floor of a 6 story apartment building.  It was close to the band hall, Scott being able to go out the back door, hop the fence, slide down the hill, and walk into the band hall in about 30 seconds.  The post was small and kind of reminded me of the college we attended.  We could actually look up and see the Verrazano above us.  It was the bridge that crossed from Brooklyn to Staten Island.  Yes, you had to pay to get out of Brooklyn!

Being a young married couple we were able to experience New York differently than if we had lived there after having children.  It was a neat experience being able to walk up to the subway station and go downtown for the day.  The USO in Times Square offered lots of things for us to do, and if you were there after 5 pm on a Saturday evening, they would pass out any free tickets they received.  It was mostly for off Broadway shows, but they were good none the less.  

McSorley's Pub in NYC
We tended to hang out in Greenwich Village, there were a couple of pubs that the guys liked, but we also hung out at McSorley's a couple of times.  That was a neat place.  Any place where you order your beers in twos has got to be interesting.  They also had a simple cheese and cracker plate that we always had to have.  They gave you a sleeve of saltines with cheese and onions and a mug of some spicy mustard that sent tears down your cheeks.  It was yummy!!!

While we were there, I worked first for Dollar Rent-A-Car, and then for INS before it became ICE.  Dollar was an interesting experience, driving all over Brooklyn (including some areas that I would not do again!).  I even remember being part of a convoy of vehicles that we were returning to NJ that had to drive through Manhattan.  That was an experience.  I got the job with INS in February, and started commuting on the subway.  I enjoyed working for INS, basically working as a clerk, but was tasked out to do some special projects.  

Scott's job while we were there mainly focused PR and supporting the recruiting brigade.  The band was able to play some neat venues including: The Ranger's ticker tape parade, NY Yankees home opener, NY Mets games, and NY St. Patrick's Day parade.  He was also part of an Army rock band that played in the schools supporting the recruiting command.  This was a big deal in the inner city schools.  Trying to get the kids to see there was more to the army than fighting and give them an option to get away from the gangs.  

We frequented a couple of Brooklyn bars Glen Roe and the Wicked Monk being the most popular.  Scott and Paul were on a dart team with some of the locals.  Sandy and I tried out to be part of the team the following year, and while we did well for ourselves, they did not want a co-ed team.  Oh well, their loss!  That just meant that we did not have to stay sober enough to hit the board! :)   It was a fun way to spend Tuesday evenings.  Mondays we were up at Fitzpatrick's for Monday night football with free wings. And of course, who could forget the Fort Hamilton softball team.  

While we were there, we did get a new addition to our family.  We adopted Chaucer, an English Bulldog,  in June of 1994.  He was a goofy dog, and spent many a day running the barracks seeing everyone, looking for treats, and farting at the most inopportune times.  I think the worst was probably when Paul and Sandy gave him leftover eggs with god only knows what, and he proceeded to hang out in Phil's room with Julie (Phil's fiancĂ©e at the time) and let one go that totally cleared the room and got him kicked out of there!!!  

We made some good friends there (as we did at all the posts we lived at), including 2 godparents for our kids.  It is always amazing to me how military friendships can be put on the back burner and reignited at a later time, and everyone still gets each other.  It is totally easy for me to go back to friends that I made along the way and pick up where we left off.  It is a little more difficult with my friends that are not used to the military, but I am thankful for them too!!!

We left Fort Hamilton in October of 1994.  At the time we were ready to leave and begin our next adventure.  Everyone joked as we were leaving, saying the best sight was going to be the Verrazanno in our rear view mirror!  I look back on our time at Fort Hamilton fondly, it was a great assignment, and I am thankful that we were able to be there.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Welcome to the Military!

Ahh...Fort Hamilton.  What an introduction to military life.  My husband secured housing (he he, army terms) about a month after he went back to New York.  Fort Hamilton was located in Brooklyn, New York.  I think it is still there as a MEPS station, but the band left there in October 1994.

So Scott flew back from NY to Chicago and we rented a UHaul to move me from Chicago to NY.  We got all loaded and began the drive with him in the truck and me following behind in the mustang with my two cats.  It was a long trip and took us a day in a half to get there.  We got in 12:30 in the morning, and Scott said that he had some guys lined up to help unload the truck.

The next day Scott was up and out the door for PT at 6:30 (welcome to the Military!!), so I got started , trying to  put the apartment together, when at 7:45 Scott shows back up.  After looking at my quizzical face, he told me that they now have time for breakfast and personal hygiene.  They had to be back in at 10:30.  Okay, I thought, makes sense, although seemed a bit long.  We went with some others out to breakfast, he dropped me off, and went to work.

I went back to work trying to start unpacking when he showed up at 11:30. Okay, now this is silly.  He said he was home for lunch.  I am thinking, whatever happened to the motto, "we do more before 9 am then you do all day"?  We had lunch, and then he went back to work at 1:00.  Now finally I could get some more work done.  Nope, at 3:00 he was back at the apartment.  Done for the day!!!

Some of the guys came over, and had the truck unloaded in about 45 minutes.  If I thought real hard about it, I could probably come up with some names, (Paul, Rob, Phil, Gordon, Steve, Scott W.), but I am sure there were others.  

This is not how it always goes, but what an interesting introduction to being an Army wife.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I guess maybe I should start with who I am and the true basics.  I am a 41 (almost) year old mother to three children.  I have been married to my husband for 17 years (again, almost), and currently live in Cibolo, Texas.  I work for a wonderful company part time, and am a full time soccer mom/chauffeur.  My mother lives with us, which will be a godsend this next year.  We also have 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 3 hermit crabs.    

I have decided to blog about the next year and what it will be like to be a single parent.  My husband is going to Korea for the year, and as my children are getting older, I know that there will be new challenges for me. We have been through a deployment before when the children were much younger, and Scott had one assignment that had him travelling three weeks out of the month, so I know what to expect.  I also know that each assignment is different.  I have approximately a month until Scott leaves for Korea, so I will start with our history.

Scott and I both attended the same high school, and while I would love to say that we were childhood sweethearts, we weren't, but that is okay.  We did date some while I was still in High School, and during college, but we were not committed to each other.  I am kind of glad because it allowed us to become adults independently before we married.  We got married on August 7, 1993 in Elburn, Illinois before a ton of friends and family.  

Scott was already in the military at the time and had already returned from Iraq as he was there during Desert Storm.  He had already returned from being stationed in Germany, and told me that we would get back to Germany. 

After our Honeymoon, Scott returned to Ft. Hamilton where he was currently stationed, and I stayed in the Chicago area working until we got housing.  Being in the military, you are always on a waiting list for housing. I think the only place we did not have to wait for housing was Presidio, but that is another blog.  Eventually we did get an apartment, and my life in the military began.