Friday, October 10

Rules for enjoying your California duty station.

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

July 2013, rooftop patio in North-of-Malibu, California
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.

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