Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's definitely been different

It's safe to say that this underway has been not only one of the most stressfull(definitely top 3) and different underways to date! That's a pretty remarkable statistic considering I've gone through DOZENS of underways in over 13yrs(and counting). LOL So you'd think after all that time we'd run out of "firsts"(eww not THOSE kind, get your head out of the gutter! lol). I'm talking about the first time he's gone longer than 30/60/90 days, the first time he's visited/called from a foreign port, the first time he deploys-for you non Navy/sub folk--fast attack boat sailors like B consider a true 'deployment' one that is 6 months or longer, anything else is called an underway.
Well we have accomplished another first....while AT sea(not in port) I received an actual phone call from my hubby! At first I was SURE it was just a case of the boat breaking and they had ported...that wasn't the case. I could DEFINITELY hear the wind and boat 'chatter' in background. Tho I don't know which was cooler hearing all the chatter--I had to 'wait one' a few times for him to converse with others as he was actually working lol OR knowing he was looking at a pod of whales! So friggin cool! Gotta love 4G technology..more bars in more places is QUITE an understatement!!!
My prayers were answered! It was so incredibly wonderful to talk to him. He was able to let me know where things stood with the deployment extension and I also let him know what was going on here with L and all of THAT drama. Hearing his voice was just the boost I needed to get me through that hellish week!! And since then I've even been lucky enough to have had a few conversations with him to know that they are indeed keeping his shore duty open for him, which is a huge relief! They still aren't sure of just when he'll report but they will work all of those details out once B get's back! He is pretty confident that he won't be gone for the entire deployment. WOOHOO!! There was just no way he had it in him to do what he does(which on any other boat is a 2 Chief job AND a Senior Chief's job mind you! ;-) BUT he was SOOO worried with them having a brand NEW Nav(with VERY little sea time on board) a new Nav Div Chief, and new ANav/Chief for the deployment. This is like the perfect compromise for all involved! The boat keeps B and his experience for the bulk of the deployment. B gets to deploy with ONLY having to handle the navigation side of things as the new Div Chief reports VERY soon. Not only will I be able to meet B at a port visit during deployment sans children(thanks Mom!) but I also scored an outer island trip in March!!
In other news, the kids got their report cards for the second quarter this week. More of the same from last quarter. L got mostly MP's(meets proficiency) with one or two EP's(exceeds prof.) thrown in there. J got mostly MP's with a few less DP's(developing prof) than last quarter. In case you missed last quarter's grades this school doesn't actually hand out REAL letter grades or percentages. Like many weak willed, we don't want to offend student's- or give them low self esteem schools, the schools give out SUPER VAGUE description of just how your child is doing. Now I can understand having this sort of system in place for kindergarteners like L's did. But actual grades should be given out after that, IMO. We've had other schools go by an always, most of the time, some of the time, never does [insert learning/behavior task] but would give an overall grade for each subject.
And as if getting great marks wasn't good enough L was chosen as one of her class'
Student of the Quarter!!
Which IMMEDIATELY sent J into a tizzy! He stormed off in a huff, slamming doors in anger. After what seemed an eternity(15 minutes) I was able to get him to tell me just why he was angry. I guess he was bit angry/jealous that HE wasn't chosen! ;0( Even after talking about it it still upsets him to talk about. Poor little guy!
Well time for me to do some more research for our trip to either Kaua'i or Maui. (tho I'm leaning towards Kaua'i) B was supposed to take his 30 days of transfer leave in March, but with us transferring LATER we will more than likely not get the full 30. So the CO is letting him take it as we previously planned. Tho we might take a few weeks in March and a few later. All I know for SURE is he's taking the week off while the kids are off during their Spring break/Grammy's visit and a few days for our outer island trip. ;-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A calm end to a craAZY week!!

If I EVER have to through THAT KIND of week again, I may need to be medicated!! LOL WOW!! This week was definitely for the books. As some of you may know via Facebook, L was beaten up/threatened/intimidated by a boy from her school last week and it all came to ahead on Monday when I confronted the mom for a SECOND time about her son threatening to beat up L. Sadly this boy/family wasn't going to "get" that it is NOT in the least bit acceptable to put your hands on another person EVER! So I did what I had to and call the police to have the incidents documented. L tells me that the police did show up to the boy's house and at the school(tho I don't know if they came to school on their own or the school called them as well.??) and that the school has(yet again) talked to the boy about his behavior and the seriousness of situation. I'm HOPING this will fix him of his need to pick on her, though IF it occurs again we'll most likely up the ante and file a TPO and/or press charges...which as it stands now would be Assault 3. Unfortunately she will come in contact with the boy as they are in the same school, so far we've not had an issue! I pray this is the last of it!!!

As if THAT wasn't enough for me to handle by myself, I get a lovely email(the first one!) from my husband that surprise, surprise ...doesn't answer ANY of the questions I had asked in my email to him. GRR-gotta love one sided conversations! ;-) In said email he asks about the possibility to extend on the boat so he can deploy with them! HUH??? Deja Vu, we've already had this conversation...I guess the new guy hasn't quite finished all the training he needs and because of that won't be able to report on time as planned. At best B would have to stay a couple of months....but then they have this inspection thing, deployment work ups, ya-da ya-da.... So now of course everybody's resolution is just to have B stay on for the deployment, which is what the command has wanted all along!! DAMN, why is it when we get sooooo close, something ALWAYS comes up!!??? Suddenly I'm brought back to 2007 when after B spent 10 months up in Maine without us, he was asked to ride another boat to 'help' them and subsequently deploy after being home a few months. AAAAHHHHH!!! Cursing soon followed, along with tears. It has been such a LONG and HARD 5 yrs...I cannot believe that I have to wait MORE!!! UGH!! Since being underway he's actually been getting sleep and because of the new NAV he's once again ENJOYING his job. I've always been so incredibly proud of him and could hear a renewed sense of passion in his voice. I knew he had made the decision that he wanted to stay on and was making sure I wouldn't hate him for doing so!! Any time he's been up for orders etc it's always been a decision we make TOGETHER, tho in the end it's all his. THE ONLY things I've EVER said "no" to was transferring to WA state(I need sunshine 24/7!!) and orders to Italy back in 2002. Thankfully the former will most likely NEVER be a possibility for us based on B's rating ;0) and the latter I'm sort of kicking my self for because with the base closures we'll most likely never get a chance to live there ever, but at the time L was VERY little and the idea of being SOOO far away from our families was just too much for me.

So right now B's current command is talking with the command he was supposed to transfer to in April to see just how long B can stay on. It's looking like they(the new command) will be able to hold the position open for him AND he most likely will NOT have go the entire deployment!! WOOHOO!! It's really a win-win for ALL of us, I'll even score a couple of trips out of the whole thing too....even a trip for just me and B!!! ..and of course a little extra dough is nice too$$$

The finishing touch to my uber rough/crazy week came in the form of phone call I got earlier tonight. It was from good friends of ours to say that they had just arrived on the island! ;0) We've been waiting for a year to hear that, I'm so glad it worked out they could transfer out here too!! Tomorrow will be the first of MAAAAANNNY get togethers with our families!!

So I guess you could say that my week started out with me hating our lifestyle...B always gone and me having to deal with crap on my own to loving it and the fact that we have friends that sort of "move" with us! <3

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year, New Beginnings

2011 will bring a wind of change to the Rowland household. We started off the New Year by de-cluttering and re-organizing ALL of our bedrooms. I think we got rid of 2 bags from J's room, close to 4 from L's and 1 from ours. We then headed to what I deem the happiest place on earth(second to Disney! LOL), the organization store! I was SUPER bummed to find out that the Container Store(like SOO many others) doesn't ship to Hawaii, so it was a God-send to find Simply Organized in Kapolei! There we got some under bed storage to prevent the kids from shoving crap under their bed and to give us a little bit more storage since our closet is about half the size it was previously. We've had them for about a week and it makes SUCH a difference in the kid's rooms!! Not to mention that they've kept their rooms clean all week. The proverbial foot will be coming down on the picking-up-after-yourself too. It seems they have forgotten about this or rather I have let it slide way too many times.... it is oh so exhausting to be THE ONLY one CONSTANTLY telling them to pick up this and that. BUT I have made a concerted effort on getting them to take care of stuff like, shoes, book bags, lunch bags AS SOON as they walk in the door. They have moaned and groaned but I remind them that if they spend the 30 seconds it takes NOW, they will be able to get outside that much quicker! AND they won't have to spend ALL day(or a large part of it) tidying up. It seems to be working and makes me feel less like a maid!

With New Year's come and gone, that means only one thing...B heading out for his LAST underway on the boat. It's bittersweet for both of us. He's SO ready to just be done with boat life for a while and everything that comes with it. He's incredibly proud of how far his newbies have come! He's tempted to go on deployment with them, but he's burn out and knows it's time to hand them over. The new div chief and ANAV will have it sooo much better than he did and that utterly pisses him off, but I guess it comes with the territory! He jokes with everyone at work how it takes 2 guys to replace him! LOL It's really insane to know just how much responsibility B has. He's definitely a master juggler. I know he'll miss being at sea, so thankfully he'll get an opportunity here and there to ride a boat for a few days to wet his sea legs. :0) He's also ready to be able to have the opportunity to work out with guilt. Sounds crazy considering one of his 'jobs' is to stay fit, but when there's a ton of work and all of his guys are on the boat too he has a real hard time leaving them just to go work out. There are have been many PT days where I have tried to guilt him IN to going to work out and he tells me "there's just too much work and I'm not baggin' my guys with it all". I'm just ready to share the burden of raising the kids and taking care of the house. I'm also ready for us to start hanging out with friends more. It seems every time we've tried to B's stuck at work! Not to mention getting out and seeing more of what the island/islands have to offer. It's been a loooong time since I've had a fully rested lets go do everything NOW husband!!

PS..As nothing is ever really set in stone with the Navy, we very well may NOT be heading to shore duty as originally planned. Just today I learned that they need to keep B a wee bit longer, with the possibility of keeping through the end of the year. I will update as soon as I know more!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Where has the time gone!!??

Apparently it's gone right out the damn window!! Seriously! It seems like it wasn't that long ago that B arrived from deployment not to mention the fact that SOME HOW the first 9yrs of L's life have just skated right past us. AND with each passing day it seems harder to wrap my brain around the fact that VERY soon she will be graduating high school, college, marriage AAAAAAH!!! I'm soooo not ready for her to grow up. But we all enjoyed her birthday party! She celebrated with a few girls from school at the Ice Palace, it's the only ice skating rink on the island. Who would have thought they'd have one, but apparently it's ALWAYS busy no matter time of day or year! AND they do book up fast for events. Even though it was still quite warm outside, the cool temps inside made us feel like we were back on the mainland where during this time of year where we've previously lived it's normally pretty chilly!

Similarly, having your daughter strut around in basically a bathing suit on Halloween and not be the slightest bit chilly was another one for the books! NO WHERE but Hawaii, would she have been able to pull it off. Even last year when we were in Florida for Halloween it was a wee bit chilly! LOL But both of the kid's costumes were a huge hit! I finished J's costume just in time for us to head to our first University of Hawaii game on the 30th. Next year I will NOT procrastinate and get them both done early!!

Thanksgiving was a nice quiet low key day; we did share it with 2 single guys from the boat that didn't have family on the island. Even tho I'm open for new traditions, Thanksgiving is the one we don't mess with! So we had all the traditional fixin's and the luckily we had left overs to munch on for the next few days.

We are fortunate enough that we live comfortably enough on B's salary that we don't HAVE to go Black Friday shopping in order to get what we need. We 'could' buy them at regular price if need be, but why not save a few bucks even if it means getting up before the sun!? We shake our heads as we walk buy people with their cart or carts overflowing with toys/games/clothes knowing that they are racking up $100's if not $1000's in credit card debt...and the novelty of the new Christmas presents lasts a few weeks but the debt will remain for MONTHS, but not for us! Really we just love finding awesome deals; the time we get to spend with each other is just a bonus!! ;-)

And as an unofficial tradition, B missed my birthday yet again and just as last year by only a few days! UGH!! He did take me out to dinner once he got back tho!! :0)

As the days got closer to Christmas, our excitement grew each day knowing the kids would LOVE all of their awesome presents. So much so that we decided to start a new tradition...we would be able to open ONE present on Christmas Eve...the present would be of OUR choosing though! Both the kids and B were off which would have been an excellent opportunity to get and do stuff together except for the fact that Mother Nature thought it'd be a great opportunity to have HUGE front stall over the island where it would RAIN nearly EVERY day for close to two weeks. And that meant that J wouldn't have baseball practice, nor would both kids be able to play out with their friends. BLEH! Thankfully we kept them distracted with getting the house/their rooms for Christmas and the influx of new stuff. We and Santa of course ;0) chose some excellent gifts for the kids this year. Santa gave them a Wii and the look on L's face was PRICELESS. J has been DYING to go fishing, so he was very thankful to get a pole...tho he was VERY EAGER to THAT day!! LOL

Christmas IS one of those holidays that we do mix it up a bit as far as the meal is concerned...tho ONLY for lunch/dinner as we ALWAYS have cinnamon rolls for breakfast!!! LOL This year it was all about fresh and fast. I didn't have to get up a the butt crack of dawn to put something in the oven nor did I have to spend half the day slaving away on the meal. I think in total it took about just over an hour. I made Warm Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad(Pampered Chef), REAL risotto(I have the carpal tunnel pain to prove it!) and shrimp scampi. For dessert, I was GOING to attempt a fresh fruit tart, but chickened out and bought one at Whole Foods instead! lol We weren't having any company over(all of B's youngin's flew home), so it was a nice relaxing day with no time restraints what-so-ever...something we don't usually have, but definitely embrace when the occasion does arise!!

So the week in between Christmas and New Years was largely spent inside, tho in between the pockets of rain we quickly shoved the kids outside to expel all of that pent up energy. We were even able to fit in a game of Nerf Dart Tag. Tho that was quickly busted due to hurt/jealous feelings. We tried to explain how to be a gracious winner/loser but that fell on deaf ears, so a few melt downs and some 30 minutes later we headed in to eat dinner.

New Year's Eve was a busy fun filled day and night for all! B had to run in to the boat for just a quick thing early in am before the fun began. The boys dropped L and I off downtown to catch the musical Cats! She ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!! We of course had to buy an official Cats! program and tshirt to complete the experience! ;0) B is headed to shore duty in just a few weeks, so I plan on taking her to any and all shows that come to town!! While we were at the theater the boys went to play a few games of bowling and grabbed a quick bite to eat. We're not sure why but J LOVES to go bowling he asks to go ALL the time, unfortunately we're not always able to meet his demands. LOL We headed home to prepare our New Year's Eve feast: kalbi(it's like a beef rib w/ teriyaki style sauce), rice, lumpia(similar to an egg roll) and crab rangoon...the kids munched on popcorn chicken. With full bellies we sent the kids upstairs to watch a movie and hopefully squeeze in a quick nap so they would be awake to watch the entire valley light up with fireworks later. B and I were able to watch a movie in peace and quiet...and if you haven't seen it already we both HIGHLY recommend The Other Guys with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. We laughed our butts off the ENTIRE time!! Finally it was "time" to head up the hill and watch the fireworks from the Army hospital. What an amazing view. There were fireworks going off in every direction! Hawaiian's LOOOOVE their fireworks!! The HUGE smoke plume and smell of sulfur in air would be a small hint. LOL They are so crazy they let them off not just at the end of their driveway but IN the middle of the street!! And of COURSE that is the kid's FAVORITE part. So of course we couldn't merely just drive home, we'd have to take the long way home through town exposing my beloved Journey to live exploding fireworks! I guess it wasn't enough to experience it last year when we had NO CLUE or just 3 nights prior dodging a fury of fireworks that were literally thrown RIGHT in front of the car as we passed by. GRRR

And that is how we ended 2010!!
Pictures have been uploaded to Facebook ;0)

2011 is shaping up to be another FANTASTIC year!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finally, some down time and stability!!

HOLY COW!! Just where did the month of September go!?!?

Well I WISH I could tell you of several more exciting things that B and I did while he was on stand down, that was not the case. CPO induction season was in full swing, so he was gone at least half of the day playing the "reindeer games" with the Selectees and fellow CPO's. He did at least enjoy himself and as with each year took note of what/what not to do for next year. He's already told me that he plans on taking a more active roll next year at his shore command.

This past week the kids were home from school on their fall break. The first weekend started out as any other. B and L went to coach soccer while J and I had some quality time at home. Then B had duty, so it was a low key day for the kiddos and I. We had planned on going to a birthday party that day, but J spiked a fever out the blue and wasn't feeling good. So we stayed home and rested. The following day I had woken up feeling pretty bleh myself, but thought it was due to not getting enough sleep which is pretty normal whenever B has duty or is out to sea. Then as the day progressed the rug was pulled out from me...I WAS coming down with something! Sure enough I woke up the next day with a sore throat and feeling like my body had just been run over by a Mack truck!! Luckily the kiddos were behaving themselves and even worked on their homework with out being told. B was nice enough to get me throat lozenges since I hadn't felt well enough to get them on my own! ;-) THREE days later I finally felt well enough to leave the house..and just in time. The command was having a beach picnic/award ceremony. The timing was great as far as being well enough to go the picnic but crummy for trying to get the house back in order. B always wants to cram as much fun etc when he has long weekends off...this was no exception. Saturday he finished making the bench for all his Batman/GI Joe collectibles and wehad movie night with the kids. The new Karate Kid movie is REALLY good. Tho it just wasn't the same without Mr. Miyagi! ;-( Sunday we drove up the North Shore and headed up to Waimea Falls Park. It was simply GORGEOUS! It does have a paved path up to the falls, but there are SEVERAL off the beaten foot paths that meander and make their way up to the falls too. So it was really the best of both worlds...rugged and jungle-y enough for the the kids, but paved and several shaded spots for me! It's a fairly short hike up to the falls, 3/4 of a mile, but was perfect since we'd had a late start. There was no way we were going to be able to even see half of the park in just the few short hours we were there, so we went ahead and bought an annual pass!! With B heading to shore duty in a few months we'll DEFINITELY get use out of it!!

Now with October in full swing I REALLY need to kick into high gear and get working on J's Halloween costume. L's is done...we just have a few odds and ends to pick up. This year even tho B will be home, he and I decided not to dress up. We couldn't really find anything to get excited over plus we're not going to a party that weekend, so we didn't see the need...why spend the money, ya know? Tho what we don't spend on costumes will surely be spent on candy. We only plan to be home to pass out candy for half of the trick or treating time, but we KNOW we will run out QUICKLY!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Official!!

Our orders for shore duty are FINALLY up and we'll be spending 3 more years in paradise!! It was definitely a "too good to be true" scenario and there was no way I would just take it on faith..but there it was in black and white. ;-)
SO B will leave the boat around the beginning of March, go on transfer leave for 30 days, attend a quick training school and then officially report in mid April.
We are so friggin' excited!! It's bittersweet for him though..the guys in his division are just outstanding young men and they have worked hard for B. As a whole his division has come along way from when he first took over that its going to be really hard to hand over everything to the new guy...but he says it's time to move on.
And it's funny for me to hear that kinda talk from him. In the early days our duty station decisions were career this a good career move? Now why he is certainly career minded, he has become bit of a family man! The kids ARE getting older and have a greater need for stability. Not to mention the fact that we haven't even BEGUN to experience the island or even some of the other islands!
BUT that will all change with him being on shore duty! Gone will be the days of late or even missed dinners and communications via email. He'll have genuine/dependable working hours with an occasional duty day thrown in every now and then. And he'll be able to make a difference in his rating!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Our first 'lost' adventure

They say the best way to find your way around in a new area is to get lost on purpose. We technically were never lost as we had a GPS...

B left it up to me to decide on what we were going to do for the day...our 2nd whole day(out of 8) spent PT in the morning and then he'd be all mine...he was mine from sunrise to sunset!! ;)

I chose for us to drive up to Haleiwa and spend the day...visit the marketplace there and have lunch too. Even though B had just driven through the area on his motorcycle the day before with some friends, he was game for going back since they didn't really do much more than grab lunch. Instead of heading up H2, I wanted to drive along the western coast of the island. So we hopped on H1 and headed towards Kapolei....and there the adventure began..we just didn't know it.

So being a good co-pilot I pulled up the map and monitored our location. B asked me if we needed to turn soon. Puzzled by this I just looked at the map and said nope. We continued past Waianae and Makaha. He asks again if he needs to turn and again my answer is not yet. We trek on past the 'homeless beach' and then we literally come to the end of the road. Apparently my better half failed to inform me that there wasn't a road that went ALL the way around the western coast as I had assumed. We did contemplate taking the crude "road", but opted to leave that adventure for another day!! LOL

Out of paved roads, we turned around and searched the GPS for an alternate route. Having thought we'd found one we continued onward. According to the GPS it was a state highway...though apparently they have a different idea of what a "state highway" is here! ..barely wide enough for 2 cars and was basically a dirt road. Oh and not one, but 2 of our supposed turns were blocked off. Utterly aggravated and frustrated we turned around and headed back looking for ONE road that would lead us somewhere that wasn't a dead end!!

The final option showed promise, it had to or else the entire day would have been a bust. It was paved, had signs, and lane markings!! We were glad to at least feel like we were headed towards civilization again....and then the rug was pulled out from underneath of us for the THIRD time. THIS time it was in the form of gate and guard! Thank GOD for having DOD stickers and a military ID!! ..otherwise we would have turned around AGAIN! Cautiously checking the GPS, it did show that our new road would lead us to the main road into Haleiwa. Being the troopers we are or just plain crazy, we continued on. We'd just have to travel through the back way of a satellite Navy base and an Army base to get to it!

There were several hair pin turns that reminded me of my trip to Europe; traveling through the mountains in Italy and being car sick from HOURS on the hair pin turns. By now we'd been driving for 2 hours and we were starting to get hungry...those hair pin turns certainly didn't help either! LOL

Trekking through the Army base was admittedly a bit scary. We saw several units that were training and they of course had their weapons drawn! SCARY!!!

By the time we FINALLY made it up to Haleiwa, we really only had time to grab a quick bite to eat and look through one or two little shops, before we started to head back home in time to get the kiddos from school. So our trip wasn't a total bust, just a bit of a let down! But I was promised that we will make the trek again soon!!

Our crazy day didn't end there. We still had to take the kids to swim lessons. We hopped onto Nimitz, then Kam and BAM right into bumper to bumper traffic! Apparently it was the first home game for the University of Hawaii game at the stadium. So with there being NO other alternate route, we missed the kid's swim lesson. Not wanting our entire day to be a bust, we ended up taking them to the community pool for a bit; and because it was nearly 5pm it was empty so the kids had the pool to themselves.

It wasn't the day that any of us had planned for, but it was the kind of day that made you appreciate the little things. For instance, our trip to Haleiwa took so long that we didn't get to see all that we wanted to, but me and B were at least spending time together; even though 90% of the time was spent in the car! LOL And the kids did miss their swim lesson, but they did get to go swimming! ;0)

We are ALL looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend, spent at home!!