Friday, October 10

Rules for enjoying your California duty station.

"Just living is not enough...one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower." -H. C. Anderson

July 2013, rooftop patio in North-of-Malibu, California
mid-deployment
missing him, but definitely not needing him
about 2 blocks to the ocean

Tonight our plans will include a 'winging party' (hello new pilots and NFOs with those beautiful wings and their designation to Mr. Wookie's old squadron in California) which starts at 8pm (ugh - seriously?? so late!) which is a stone's throw from our home. I'm seriously so excited. I'm exciting to meet the guys, meet their ladies, and wish them the BEST on their trek to California and the plans for work-ups early next year, and a deployment shortly after (go team, go!).

California is a dream location and one should embrace it. I know it started slow for us there, but dammit...I would give $1,000 away to move back. I left amazing friends, amazing weather, amazing happiness for the outdoorsing type (that we are), and a lackluster BAH since Uncle Sam thinks California is cheap (okay that part wasn't great). And Mr. Wookie is still very missed as the 'squadron gentleman' and keeper of the team's JOPA spirit.

But at our departure, the squadron was undergoing a solid adjustment to more family-oriented lifestyles. The new check-in couples were either pregnant or had children and choosing to live on base. We're not those people. While we're not going to bash your choice to procreate, but it's apparent we're going to have different social schedules. You want to have playdates at the park before naptime; we're going to be up before the crack of dawn to hike in a National Park. And the only base housing I would accept would be O-6 Housing in Bangor, Washington - Mr. Wookie's mom's home back in the day was BEAUTIFUL. Just beautiful.

Rule #1: Embrace the culture - whether the mountains, museums, scouting out the real vs fake boobs, the Mexican food, SkidRow, migrant workers outside Home Depot, limited military exposure, the celebrity stalkings, surfing, and SUNSHINE!

Rule #2: Embrace the local entertainment. Yes, there may be a raging wildfire that attacks the Santa Monica mountains - but don't fret. It's due for a burn. It was 20+ years since it had been cleared to the dirt and, of course, it'll happen during deployment. So that week I took my lunch out to the grass and enjoyed the scenery. It's been over 10 years since that was my occupation, and I have the utmost respect for all involved. It's definitely a 'no sissies, allowed.'

Rule #2.5: Don't live in the California mountains. Der.

Rule #3: Embrace the ebbing and flowing of your family. One day, it may decrease with the sudden passing of your pooch. But then 10 days later, it may (unexpectedly) expand with a homeless little gatita. Then the man of the house may go to live on a boat for months at a time. Then you'll stop showering. And then you have zero water bill. ;)

Rule #4: Embrace the beach. Don't live in suburbia nightmare-ville when you can get that anywhere in the country. Aim for the beach. Or golf course. Or anyplace with a high enough rent that you avoid the riff raff. How many times will you have this opportunity in life? And no, Virginia Beach is not the same.

It's unfortunate I already have 2 trips(!) scheduled to be back in the land of In 'N Out, high sales tax, outlet stores, and friendships; I'll be couch-shlumping and proud. I like to think of myself as Glenda, The Good Witch - I invade on my friends with wine, stories of the frigid East Coast, babysitting of little girls I actually like, and painting parties. And I try to recruit them back to the Navy's armpit. Misery loves company.

Tuesday, October 7

Hello 31. Nice to meet you.

"It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy." -Lucille Ball

This was the start to my morning. Or actually the sounds of footsteps slowly creeping upstairs as to not slosh coffee about while I slumbered into a slow wake-up at the refreshing age of 31. I registered the mug setting down on the stack of books loaded upon my nightstand. I lessened my partial sleep when I heard the shower water gush into the wall and the slink of the curtain rings across the railing. I'm warm in bed, I thought. Do I move? Well yes, Ginger, there's toasting coffee on your nightstand. Can't let that get warm. 

And while I may just embrace this age since 30 seems so young and juvenile (cue laughing - but not enough laughing to deepen any wrinkles on my face). When we were out at the concert on Saturday night, I embraced my life, "I'm going to be 31 on Monday." 

"No way. You look like 22."

Ummm, yes. I am. But I have the boobs, thighs and ass of a 31 year old. Trust me. And the mirror.

Thanks to my Ginger mama for the lack of pigment which forced me to slather with sunscreen since the age of 6 months while my chubby body enjoyed the Oregon summers. Sunscreen is your friend and helps you look far younger than the DH wives, XO wives, and CO wives you'll meet. This is a good thing. Life's about competition - they drive a minivan, I'm just now competing with crow's feet.

This weekend I also treated myself to an impromptu 'You want flowa?" shellac manicure at the salon.

"Bitch, throw the hairtie."

Eventually I crawled my ass out of bed and walked the 24 steps to my desk to begin 8 hours of countdown until I could get to presents and dinner. Because what's the point of growing a year older if I don't get cool shit to compensate for the decline in my skin's elasticity?

Mr. Wookie was exceptional this year as he was not only present for this event, but he strengthened the "happiness factor" that I felt was missing in my life. He's sensed and heard about my uncomfortable-ness with moving back here. My social circle is non-existent, minus the cat. The lack of sunshine, beaches, and In N Out is just cramping my style. So his sole effort was supplying a reason to "fall" for Virginia. I've also been complaining about the change in seasons.

So what did I get?!?!?

He bought me a new hammock - one that's not destroyed by the sun's rays after 3 years in SoCal beams. He also 'splurged' on the deluxe hammock pillow for that extreme laziness and relaxation. The best part? The hammock is navy and white...and my 'car blanket' is navy. [A car blanket is that shoddy/outside-okay blanket you keep in your trunk for baseball games, picnics, and galore that you don't mind getting dirty.] So my new challenge while being here is 'How long can I lounge in my hammock? At what degree will I force myself in?'

Stay tuned.

He bought me those shove-in-the-ground wine glass holders...and yes, I've already used them from my hammock's reach.

He bought me a new book...

(This trend is amazing!)

He bought me a stinking monthly trial subscription to Stumptown!! He mentioned that while it's crisp in the morning, we can warm up with fancy coffees to try - we're also buying a half-cord of wood, but that's not a birthday present...just a winter necessity.


And I'm still waiting on my finale gift, which is coming from overseas, and has to go through Customs. Damn. He's said it's the heaviest. Dun dun dun!

So after the pomp and circumstance of flowers on the table, wrapping paper on the floor, and a new Chilean Malbec in the decanter, we trekked the half-dozen or so blocks to a swanky little dinner joint over by the hospital. I had the duck; he had the tenderloin. We split the recommended wine for the evening. And we gawked at the amount of people still out at this hour (it was past 7pm - we're old, what can we say?).

So here I am, 31 and unbelievably happy. I never thought being this side of 30 would have been this great. Join me, will you? You bring the wine. I've got the wrinkle creams.

Sunday, October 5

Goodbye 30.

"Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life." -Laura Hutton

My thirtieth year in life was an event. Last night was too - we crushed The Legwarmers at the NORVA.

The 30's. It's definitely not a young person's game. You have to earn 30 (gag). And I've never been happier to accept another year into this decade that was built with an amazing round of 20's. Yesterday I honored my birthday with a trip to Ulta and picked up of a couple things:

It's my thing to pick up a new lip color on my birthday. And at $16, it was a dollar cheaper than advertised. Hello fall-esque deep pink!

I'll gladly accept wrinkles based on one condition - they were earned for laughter and smiles. Though I won't accept them without a fight. Thank goodness I've still got time for the Real Housewives of Hampton Roads amount of Botox, fillers, lifts, lasers, and such.

Friday, September 19

Friday's Fun Facts

Let's keep this light and cheery because I feel like I've been mopey, bloggy lately. LET'S DO IT!

1.) I just got my first Norfolk Shitty, Small, Smelly Van Wyck Branch library card last night. I've been stalking the needs yesterday. So when I literally waltzed in like royalty yesterday, "Hey, I just moved here - so excited - where's my card?", the lady thought I was high/drunk/not normal with my excitement level (I would have documented with pictures, but the phone wasn't cooperating). But hey - it's progress to making me a happier person as the shift to "sweatshirt weather" begins.

2.) The effin' hammock is up, bitches.

3.) Tonight's date night includes (hopefully getting off early and) going EYEWEAR SHOPPING!! I've been eyeballing this expensive pair of Prada glasses, but can't commit before Mr. Wookie confirms it's the perfect nerd-slash-naughty librarian-youwon'tvomitifIwearthese. :) And then we'll purchase them online where I can save $100+ from Lenscrafters via a BBB-accredited, great rating, online eyewear company.

4.) MY PARENTS ARE VISITING IN LESS THAN 72 HOURS.

5.) With the incoming Sheriff, and his love for tempranillos, there are TWO BOTTLES(!) that will be cracked, indulged, and celebrated as the mosquito zapper sings in the background during its murderous rampage of our backyard. Seriously, this Southern bug shit just sucks.

6.) The Sheriff gets the wine, Mama Ging gets the pedicure action. *cue Angels singing*

7.) I've already purchased Christmas decoration...because I can. Back the eff off, hombre.

Sometimes I still wish my inner Chola was celebrated. Sadly being 30 means that I have to be even more socially acceptable since I'm an "established and giving member of society." Blargh. Can't I just go back to Timberland boots, flannel shirt, and hooker hoop earrings?? Oh, and can't forget the crumping. Ugh....Naval Officer life!

8.) It's been 43 minutes at work so far and NO emails yet. :) Today is starting out great (and calm compared to last Friday - I about ripped my hair out, threw my phone out the window, and hit the vodka). :)

9.) I'm juuuuust about out of my favorite Dermalogica mask, so that means I have to go to Ulta. Baby Sister, sad you can't join and haul with me?? Oh darn, retail therapy.

10.) And if I'm making the trek to Ulta, I might as well hit up Trader Jose's in the VB area (so far to drive!). And if I'm there, I may as well go to the fabric store. Aaaaaand if I'm there, I might as well go furniture shopping for that half-moon table we need in our "coffee shop" (aka breakfast nook). And then I go to the police department, for the rape report on my debit card. Or maybe the NFL Commissioner is better, since they don't give a shit. ;)

Wednesday, September 17

My Weekday Morning Routine

It typically starts around 6:45-ish, when the roar of the coffee grinder infiltrates the house. Mr. Wookie is up earlier than usual as his schedule is full from 8am - 3pm. I sense the pending happiness after the water boils, the crushed beans soak for 3.5 minutes (exactly), and I wait for the trail of feet up the stairs (cat sometimes included, "Mom, you up yet???"). But then I stay in bed because my laziness is in full force.

I work from home - where do I really have to be?

Some mornings I up with the sun and can make oatmeal with my Property Brothers before traipsing into the office for my customers. Other mornings, I don't feel like doing a damn thing - I barely throw on shorts and a t-shirt before stumbling over to check voicemail. Though thank goodness I did last week as the neighbor was getting their roof repaired. Why hello Mr. Roof Person...thank God I'm dressed more than usual today.

Sometimes I make the bed. Mostly I don't shower. Sometimes I eat breakfast. Mostly I drink more coffee. Sometimes the mornings are full of business, dollars, projects, and cheery East Coast customers. Mostly it's a slow start to the day as only one timezone is up and I can organize my desk after terrorizingly busy days.

There are days I long out the window for the happier climate of California. Shit. No, I wish that everyday.

My ebbing and flowing continues here at this duty station. So far the social scene is eluding as we're "those that took California orders" (BECAUSE WHO WOULDN'T???). We didn't stay in Norfolk, we didn't build relationships through flight school to keep them through sea tour to have them for shore tour. Nope. We ventured off to the land of not-East-Coast-living because...well...it's amazing. And while I still remember how DAMN EXPENSIVE it is to live on the SoCal coastline, I would do it again and pay more to stay there forever. So finding those like-minded people has been entertaining. Thank goodness my cat is back, people. And apparently there are people who turn down West Coast orders because it's "too laid back."

I'm at a loss, people.

Damn, I'm also out of coffee now so I have to get up. Ugh. Why can't this duty station come with a personal coffee butler...one that's not in the shower so I can yell for more. I've still got 42 minutes until 8am - why ruin that by getting my own damn coffee?

Monday, August 25

Meow Monday: The latest in fashion.

"There's a fine line between genius and insanity. And I have erased this line." -Oscar Levant

It was a poopy day in the mental neighborhood last week when I forced myself into Target (a "level 3" in the ghetto to Stepford spectrum) and strolled around for anything that looked do-able in my cart. This cardigan was the bee's knees. And I also picked up a stylish mid-thigh trench for this season called "fall." I haven't heard of this season before. Is there a refresher course for it?

Saturday, August 23

The grass at the end of the tunnel.

"The grass is greener where you water it." -unknown

It's been over 10 days since the backyard went from a carefully orchestrated design of "This will be the grass," "Here's the turtles," "Brick pathway here," "You can plant things here," and "We'll figure out the Italian wedding lights later" into holyshitwe'rereadyforseed.

Now in this horrible Commonwealth with all four seasons, they don't believe in providing sod at any given time. No. You have to order it from sod farms, meet minimums, pay for delivery, and then WAIT until they harvest. Umm...what ever happened to 'the customer is always right?' I want sod, and I WANT IT NOW.

So after Mr. Wookie emailed the shocking, "It'll be over $500 for sod, (for 200sqft)" we agreed unanimously - grass seed it is, BITCHES.

Grass seed is totally the 'poor person' thing to do with the backyard. After living in California for almost 4 years, where sod is sold in literally all home improvement stores, we're very much spoiled. You could get liquor with your groceries, and sod with your power tools. Listen Virginia, you have a ways to go. In California you pay large amounts of money to live on the beach (thanks Uncle Sam), but you pay ZILCH for sod. And now I have to wait for my grass to come in like hairplugs on John Travolta. Patience really is a virtue that I didn't receive in my genetics.


So here's our baby blades in all their glory. It's been 10 days since their initial layer, and we've only fought one major rainstorm that slurried off a quarter of our coverage (thus the super sparseness). But now the damn leaves are falling. Virginia needs to get with the program. We're used to perpetual sunshine and don't believe in seasons (despite this article here). I just want to be able to mount my damn hammock on my tree and sway in the gentle breeze on a Saturday afternoon. I want sun tea a-brewin', Mr. Wookie in his shop tinkering with the latest "I'm a man with powertools" project, and Little Girl (in 8 days!) basking in her latest kill of choice. Oh wait, nope not in Kansas California anymore.

Tuesday, August 19

Oh, the Virginia storms

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Mr. Wookie saw this rainstorm coming before it ever hit our house. I just sat in my office working until the world grew dark, the wind whipped the trees, and then the rain threw itself down the house...washing the new grass seed from the back yard (so close, but still so far from having a lawn). And now we're at 100% humidity this morning and the clouds still lingering, like a blanket fort without circulation. So I hunker inside until I have to leave at 5:10pm for my Tuesday night yoga class. California would never treat us like this. How rude, Virginia, how rude. 

Monday, August 18

Meow Monday

"What I love most about my home is who I share it with." -unknown

It's slowly ticking down the days until the house becomes a bit closer to a "home." We say we're still 'balls deep' into making this place 100%, but we'll settle for 90% until we need to start serious renovations. We're launching into a solid schedule of house guests starting with Baby Sister (and her transitting of la gatita), then our fabulous college friends, my parents, his parents, and probably more.

I hope she doesn't hate this place too much. Yes, it rains...but there are squirrels to chase, birds to eat, and an outdoor turtle pond to Meerkat from the corner while the strange reptilian children swim about for food. And let's not forget the plan for 2014: my (puppy) ovaries are bursting.

Friday, August 15

The great ol' pajama commute.

“A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” -Arthur Golden

In my 100 days in Norfolk, I've had 100 days minus all weekends to adjust to what's known as the great "pajama commute." My day typically starts with the Jack Johnson alarm clock crooning in my ear. Of course I hit snooze a million few times because I like the indulgence of a warm bed and cozy sheets before I drag ass downstairs for the IV of Oregonian Happiness (coffee). There are times where I bound up instead and make the cups o' joe for Mr. Wookie and I; he's gracious in his 'thank you' as I plop the cup on his nightstand. Other times, he's the body who traipses downstairs for the coffee duty. Most mornings, we lounge in bed with coffee, discussing each other's schedules, time frames for him coming home, my schedule for the day (work, yoga, new Knives Group meetings, etc.), and hankerings for dinner.

Of course, I complain that "I have to go to work." It makes me feel like I still matter to the work force. Though sometimes I forget what it's like to be an applicable member of my office. I come in 3 hours ahead of California and have no contact with coworkers until 11am EST. Then it's full-force busy as I make things happen remotely to my customers, vendors, and team. And the worst part: 4pm EST is my I.WANT.TO.STAB.SOMEONE. time frame because everyone is back from lunch in California and they need everything done before I'm gone for the day. It's like a sample sale at Kleinfeld's. Watch out.

But who am I to complain? I have the incredibly lucky position to be able to work from home, in my pajamas, with my customers and contacts, while earning $__,000/year + commission. My 'complaints' are no different than anyone working in a conventional office. I just happen to get the perk of lunchtime laundry, meal planning, crockpot prep for dinner, and nahnahnahnah nahnahnahnah Batman HAMMOCK TIME!

Thursdays are turning into my favorite for multiple reasons though. 

a.) IT'S ALMOST THE END OF THE WORK WEEK. I love weekends just like the next working gal.

b.) There's an amazing, West Coast-born yoga instructor who kicks.ass.and.takes.names.

c.) I get excited for DATE NIGHT in the 757. There are sooo many great eateries in our douche-y little neighborhood and there's never a dull moment of bad food, poor drinks, shoddy people watching, a few homeless making their way from one ghetto to the other ghetto, and the sometimes run-in's with his new squadronmates.

So here's to showering every couple days and the debate to purchase more pajamas. Life is rough.

Monday, August 11

Meow Monday: Where is Mittens?

Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family. ~Anthony Brandt

It was a mopey day when Mittens, aka "Little Girl," was forced into the cage and onto a roadtrip of many hours to the Great State of Oregon. In our decision to live bi-coastally until Wookie & Co. Remote Office was up and running, and knowing we didn't have an 'end date,' we knew I couldn't keep her in California when I was couch-hopping like a homeless person; and Mr. Wookie couldn't make the drive/pit-stops for skiing with her in tow. It wasn't fair to shove her into a hotel room for 12 hours while he was skiing with friends. So Baby Sister was a SAINT and offered foster love for this furbaby. Who knows? Maybe this would spur her to want her own furbaby to love?

Poor thing. She's been a little 'what the f**k?' in terms of her location. She's sniffed out every nook and cranny of her new-to-her-but-temporary digs. She's been on plenty of cartrips between other houses for when Baby Sister needed to be away (Middle Sister + Husband watched a few times, and my parents watched a bit too). And while there's only been a few Skype sessions with both of them (Baby Sister and cat), we're FINALLY nearing the end of her displacement!

In a few short weeks, Norfolk will welcome the resident feline into the Wookie & Co. house. This future 'big sister' will have a solid 6 months (at least) before introducing the next four-legged furchild into the house, so she's gotta figure out her beans before learning where the high perchs are so she can stalk the flatulating new member from afar.


Thankfully it seems she assimilated well for the short 6 months she's been living with 'Auntie' Baby Sister. She's proved an excellent mouse-r in the semi-country living in Oregon. She's splayed her goodies onto the sidewalk to anyone walking by...'Wanna pet me, big fella?' And she's had a few meal choice changes. So in these last few weeks of solitude, I'll need to pick up the pace though. She's got neither meal dishes nor pooping box since we've arrived on the Other Coast. So we'll hook her up. And a mad ton of tuna fish. Bitch, be spoiled.

Thursday, August 7

Work, Covergirl

"If we could make our house a home, and then make it a sanctuary, I think we could truly find paradise on Earth." -Alexandra Stoddard

This backyard has gone through quite the transformation. At first it was a pile of rocks, pieced together in despair and lack of creativity by a S(urface)W(arfare)O(fficer) family with too many kids for the space. So layer by layer the pea gravel, rocks, and dirt have been excavated for the aerial drawings of peace and serenity. The weather has been a little lackluster here for progress the past few weeks, but the mud seems to be drying out (our luck, storms will hit tomorrow). But the modified basketweave of brick patchway is being laid by the best gorilla-slash-naval aviator-slash-Mexican gardener and mason. Don't worry - you'll get invited to the party. It'll be soon.
 
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