Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Playing catch up...
So it has been awhile since I have done this but I have been very busy. So we survived the fourteen hour plane ride with a lot of medication on my part. We arrived on the fourteenth and it was a beautiful but HOT day. I guess the one thing I can say with certainty is that the weather is always pleasant here. My in laws were kind enough to ship our truck to the airport parking lot and that made life a lot easier. My first impression of Phoenix was positive. The people at the airport were very friendly and helpful. We had to drive through the city to get to the base and while there are areas that are a little shady most of the city are very clean and well set up. We got to the base and they gave us a house to stay in instead of the traditional hotel room. It was a big relief to have our own space. Don’t get me wrong it is a small two bedroom house but it has a TV in the living room and master bedroom and the kid’s room has two beds so no one is sleeping on a couch. We also had a kitchen and washer and dryer.
I had a difficult and painful transition. The plane ride was really rough on my body and it took quite a while to recover. It took a few days for me to sober up enough to really look around but once I really did I was impressed. For the most part the area around the base is great. It is a little spread out but the road system is easy to understand and there are a lot of stores. One weird thing about here is that there aren’t a lot of malls. It is all strip malls where you walk outside from store to store
We had contacted a realtor prior to leaving Misawa and met with her the weekend after we arrived. We met at her office and did an area search with our criteria and came up with seven houses that met our standards and budget. We went house to house and each one had their good points but there was always something that I didn’t like. The last house we visited was IT. It is in a nice subdivision, a great layout, and a HUGE backyard. The flooring is mostly tile and it is about 2000 square feet. There is a formal living and dining room and then a big wall. On the other side of the wall are a small kitchen and a large family room. It has two bathrooms and the master bathroom and bedroom are nice and big. The backyard is enormous but mostly unfinished. In one corner it has a nice fenced in play pool that is in great condition and even has a nice waterfall feature. We are planning on developing an area for the kids to put up a trampoline and probably a swing set. As for the rest of the yard I don’t have any idea what we are going to do with it but there is a lot of space and a small shed. It was a foreclosure and we made an offer the next day. We expected to have to wait for quite a while to hear back and for them to counter because even though we offered full price we asked for closing costs, a two year warranty, and a lengthy closing date. We were surprised when they came back a few days later and accepted our offer. The only condition was they wanted an additional $1000 in earnest money and they wanted us to pay the HOA transfer fee. We accepted their conditions on the 25th of September and then wait for the signed contract to be returned so we could begin the process with the VA and our bank. I was so excited and ready but it took forever. We didn’t actually close until the middle of November.
We finally got a second vehicle this it is a nice Nissan Sentra with low miles. Until we got another vehicle we waited to get Gavin enrolled in school. We were worried about him being behind since he missed an entire quarter but he slid right in with no problems and has been making friends and annoying his teacher.
For the most part the kids have handled the transition well. Gavin enjoyed being out of school and spending some extra time with me. Alynna, on the other hand, keeps asking when we are going to go home. She seems okay for the most part but every now and then you can see how confusing all of this has been for her.
A good friend we hadn’t seen for several years had a layover at the airport here so we got a chance to go up and visit with him for awhile. I really missed him and I think Mark did too. He introduced me to someone here and she has been really sweet and helpful. We hope we can see them all again soon. Being me, I noticed one of our “neighbors” while we were in billeting had a son close in age to Alynna. I said hi and went over and interrogated them. They are both reserve and he works the border for four days and comes home for three. We have stayed in touch and they were our first visitors in the house. It has been lonely and challenging to make friends here because I don’t work. I agreed to be a key spouse but haven’t really followed up on it. I love the military but I am hoping we can stay here a long time and I can get to know some non-military families that won’t leave in three years. I have missed all of my friends in Japan so much! I don’t know if I realized how wonderful they were until I left.
My medical care here has been awesome. I have a case manager and my PCM is in internal medicine. All of my other doctors are off base. I am seeing a pain management specialist and we are trying to find the right combination of meds. To be honest I went through a pretty long period of depression right after we moved into the house and I am just now starting to come out of it. I guess between the stress, loneliness, pain, and tempo it was probably unavoidable. I was so excited to move into the house and get started making changes then I got here and became completely overwhelmed. Mark finally got irritated with me because I hadn't done anything. My mom is coming to visit tomorrow and I am really excited to have her here! She is so creative and we work well together so I am really hoping we can get the house painted, pictures hung, and get this place feeling like a real, warm, comfortable home.
Unfortunately, I am at the point where I know I couldn’t work so I think I am going to apply for disability. Between the pain, the lack of sleep, and the confusion between fibro fog and my medications it is just not possible for me to function in a professional environment right now. I haven’t ever used any kind of public assistance other than taking an SBA grant after hurricane Ivan. I don’t know, I still feel like I should be able to do something. I am trying to be realistic because I know if I did go back to work I would end up pushing myself way to hard and my family would be the ones that really suffered. Again, I just don't know...
Since we have gotten here it has definitely been a roller coaster ride but I think for the most part my family has their arms up and are all smiling.