Sandie Simply Says

August 24, 2009

A Bee and A Lime Meet

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 6:00 am

Finally!

To understand my title, you’d have to know a little background. Debbie from A Tired Wife and I “met” on an online message board 7 or 8 years. We’d both come to the board because we were having issues with our stepfamilies. Through this board, we’d forged many friendships (that’s also were I “met” Tina, Ginger, and Patty). We all had a common bond: somehow, someway, we tried to make our blended families work. On that board, Debbie was known as “QueenBee” (we often called her “Buzzie” for short) and I was known as “GotLime” ( or “Limey”).

Over the years, Buzzie and I have tried to meet. First there was the QBBBQ (QueenBee Bar-B-Que). Several members of the board travelled to Buzzie’s house to meet and have fun. I forget what happened that kept me from being able to attend. Though my friends did their best to make me be there (they glued some moss, eyes, and who knows what else to a lime to make it look like me. They then took many hilarious pictures of “my” adventures in DC and posted them on the board). Next there was the QBBBQ2, which was actually hosted at Snowy’s house. I think I’d either just had Angelina or was about ready to have her. Either way, I wasn’t up to travelling. Then there was my trip to Norfolk, Virginia. I’d planned to drive up to DC to meet up with her and THAT didn’t work (Amber was only an infant at the time and screamed every time we put her in the car…didn’t think I could handle that for 2 hours!).

So, when Debbie heard that I’d be flying through Baltimore AND that I had an overnight stop, she jumped at the chance to make the 40 minute drive so we could meet. At first, I didn’t think it would actually happen. We’d talked about meeting Wednesday night for dinner or some drinks, but our flight ended up arriving in Baltimore a few hours after it was originally scheduled. Lucky for us, Debbie already had the next day off, so we decided to meet for lunch instead.

It was great finally getting to meet Debbie face-to-face. I only wish my kids hadn’t monopolized so much of her time so she and I could actually TALK. That’s OK. If I ever find myself in the Baltimore/DC area again, I plan to look her up. This time we’ll go out without the kids!

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August 23, 2009

Why two?

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 1:38 pm

That’s the question I’ve asked myself a few times over the last few days. I barely have time to post to one blog, why in the world would I decide to do two? Why not just shut this one down and put everything on the other one. Then the answer came to me: I still need the occasional outlet this blog gives me. THAT blog will be about our adventures in Italy. THIS blog will be the place I say things I can’t say over there.

As you can tell, we arrived safely. Nobody was injured or killed on the flight over. I’ll spare you the gory details. If you want to read them, go here . We have no internet access in our room. It’s been down for over a month and gives us our first taste of what life in Italy will be like: nothing is done quickly here (at least that’s what I’m told).

In the Baltimore Airport, I met a woman in the bathroom. She was also headed to Aviano. She’d already been here for 3 ½ years and was only in the States to get her US citizenship. She was trying to “hop” back to Aviano (she was flying Space Available…to read more about what that means, go here) and was unsuccessful. She was also the first person I’ve run into who didn’t tell me, “You’re going to love it there.” It was refreshing. Made me feel I wasn’t alone. Because I know everything she was saying she didn’t like about this place, I’m not going to like either.

Our first night here was a long one. We were exhausted, so we all fell into bed sometime around 8 or 9. We were all up again around 1:30am, after our “nap.” Tony and I watched a little TV until the rainstorm we were having knocked out the satellite. Then we decided to try to sleep. It was then that I cried.

I miss home.

August 18, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: OMGosh! We leave in TWO days!

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 7:59 am

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I’ve been cursed blessed with early risers. I don’t remember ever getting up early like these kids do. Amber was up at 6:30 this morning. After going to sleep after 9 last night. She then woke up her sisters. Which means I was up shortly after that. Of course, all this early rising flies out the window when they HAVE to be up. If it’s a work/school day, it’s like pulling teeth to get them out of bed!

We came up to Atlanta yesterday. Our original plan was to find something to do today, like the aquarium or zoo. But I think we’ve decided just to hang at the hotel. We’ve had way too much going on the last couple weeks and I think it’ll be nice to relax for a day before it starts all over again.

Speaking of hotels, we’re staying at the Homewood Suites. We’ve stayed at Homewood before and generally have good luck with Hilton-branded hotels. We’re also staying in one of the more affluent areas of Atlanta, so I figured we’d be OK staying here. While this hotel isn’t bad, it’s not what I’d expect for $200 a night! One of the things I like about Homewood is they do a nightly manager’s reception and then a morning breakfast. The last time we stayed at a Homewood, we just about had a full buffet! We were able to feed the whole family breakfast and dinner for free! Well, this hotel left a little something to be desired. Last night’s menu was hot wings and fries. So, we ended up ordering some food for the kids. I tried out the breakfast this morning and it was gross. If we ever find ourselves in Atlanta, this place will definitely be crossed off our list of places to stay.

I think getting to the airport tomorrow is going to be an adventure in itself. We rented a car yesterday and were supposed to be given a “standard SUV” which the website says was a Chevy Trailblazer or similar. They gave us a Jeep Liberty, which I would not put in the same class as a Trailblazer, but beggars can’t be choosers and it was the only SUV they had. So, we’ll have to load our two humongous suitcases, one medium-sized suitcase, one itty bitty suitcase, garment bag, and three kids (with two carseats) into this thing. Should be fun.

I had to make some stops on my way through Macon yesterday. One of them took me on some backroads I hadn’t been on previously. I passed by Goette’s Tax and Accounting Service and Farm. They also had a small sign advertising they had goats for sale. I wish I’d had a camera handy! It would have made a great picture (the sign was even in the shape of a goat!)! Only in The South would you find a tax and accounting service and farm!

My kids have suddenly gotten very quiet. I’m afraid to go check on them (we’re in a two bedroom suite). Last time they were this quiet, I caught Angelina and Amber writing all over themselves with markers.

I’ve started a new blog. Since I have so many posts I can’t fit them all on this blog, I figured it was time. 🙂 OK, so that’s not true. The real reason is I want to chronical our time in Italy for my family, but I don’t want them to know about this blog. So, for any of you wanting to follow our new adventures, my new blog is here. Don’t expect to see anything just yet though. Thus far all I’ve done is create it. 🙂

This post was brought to you by Keely at The Un Mom. You want more? Go check her out!

August 11, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Moving Day (for real this time!)

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 12:50 pm

Yep, that’s right. The packers are here today. Most of our stuff has made its way into a box of some sort. Tomorrow, they’ll come pick everything up and it’ll start it’s journey to Italy. Thursday and Friday they’ll come get everything that we’ll be storing for the next 3 years. There’s no turning back now!

I’ve been sitting all morning watching the packers do their thing. I feel a little guilty just watching them, but then I figure that’s what they’re paid to do, right? Plus, I’ve been up late every night the past couple days trying to get everything ready for their arrival. Oh and we bought them lunch. So the guilt subsides (well that and knowing that I’ll be the one doing the hard work on the other end: unpacking).

There’s a show on the History Channel called Life After People. Tony loves this show. I find it kinda morbid. We watched one this morning that was about what would happen to amusement parks, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City. The do life-like computer generated images so you can see what some scientist thinks it will look like. It was strange seeing all the lights of Vegas covered in dust. Perhaps the neatest thing was watching the Stratosphere Tower topple.

Speaking of shows Tony loves, I think reality TV has really gone too far. It’s like they find a topic, any topic and decide to make a show about it. Some of Tony’s finds: Pawn Stars (all about a guy who owns a pawn shop), Operation Repo (all about a crew riding around doing reposessions), and a couple of shows about various types of cops (like a show all about beach cops…they patrol around arresting people for acting like idiots on the beach). One thing is for certain watching these shows: we definitely do NOT have a shortage of village idiots in this country. And apparently, they make good TV.

Alyssa and Angelina’s last day of school in Georgia is Friday. I signed the withdrawal paperwork yesterday. Then I cried. I’m going to miss this school. Everyone there has been wonderful. I’m sure the school will be nice over there, but I think I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the school here.

Well, the packers are done and Tony wants his computer back. So, I guess I’m done randomizing for the day. Now, head over to keely’s place and get your fill of randomness today.

August 4, 2009

RTT: Do random thoughts spoil?

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 12:19 am

Tony and I went to lunch at Olive Garden the other day (in uniform, of course!). The couple at the table next to us, stopped by our table as they were leaving. The gentleman thanks us for our service to the country. Not a completely foreign thing to happen here. We ARE in a military town, after all. I always feel strange when people do it though. I never quite no how to answer them. I usually just smile and say, “Thank you.” Which seems weird…thanking somebody for a thank you. But “You’re welcome” doesn’t seem like an appropriate response either. Anyway, the real surprise came at the end of our lunch. The server asked us if we wanted any dessert and we said no (it’s amazing how filling soup, salad and breadsticks can be!), she then told us our lunch was covered and we were free to leave whenever we wanted. The couple was gone, so we couldn’t even thank them in person! So, to whoever you were: “Thank you for the lunch!”

Angelina sucks her fingers. She has since she was a baby. It used to be cute, but now we’re at the point where we need to get her to stop. The dentist has already told us she has a pretty severe crossbite, but if we get her to stop now it’ll probably correct itself as her permanent teeth come in. So, now we have to figure out how to break an almost 5 year habit. Right now we’re constantly telling her to take her fingers out of her mouth. Anyone have tried and true ideas to stop a finger-sucking habit?

Angelina was watching Handy Manny the other day and I found it odd that all the tools seem to just float in the air. They never touch the ground. The fact that the tools talk, bounce around and have eyes isn’t odd to me, but the fact that they float is. Apparently, I watch too much Disney!

Speaking of Handy Manny, I love the way they do bilingual. Every time he says a Spanish phrase, he immediately follows it with the English translation. He’s much less annoying than Dora.

I started this post last week and forgot to post it. So everything above this paragraph are week old, stale random thoughts. Everything after this paragraph are new, fresh random thoughts from this week.

Today is the first day of school here. We decided to put the girls in school the two weeks before we left. Well, I decided. Because I’m a mean mom. Actually it’s because I’m still working this week and next week the movers are coming. We don’t have back up child care and I don’t want them underfoot while the movers are here, so school it is!

Angelina is sooo excited to be starting school. Back-to-school night was last night. She talked at length with her teacher. And the parapro. And her sister’s teacher. And anyone else who would listen. When it was time to go, she declared she was staying the night. At the school. With her teacher. Luckily we were able to convince her to come home.

I was supposed to post a HASAY update last night. Obviously, I didn’t. Mainly because I have no update. I’m at the exact same spot I was last month. So, Casey? I know you’re reading this…consider THAT my update. :p

And to my two faithful readers: this may be the last time you hear from me for awhile. This is my last week at work. Next week the movers come. The week after that we head over to Italy. I have no idea when we’ll find a place to live. Or when we’ll have internet after that (according to my sources, this can take 2-3 months!). Wish me luck!

That’s my randomness for this week. Go see keely to get more randomness.

July 26, 2009

“Suicide is painless”? I don’t think so…

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 6:51 am

Disclaimer: This post is a bit heavy for a Sunday morning and I apologize, but the topic has been weighing heavy on my mind the last couple days and I’m hoping typing it out will help provide some release for me.

“Sergeant Debari shot himself last night.”

Those were the words that rocked me to my core 14 years ago. Many of the events from that day are still tattooed in my memory.

The phone call from a mutual acquaintance, distraught because she couldn’t get ahold of Dominic. He’d called her the night before and told him of his plans. She tried desperately to talk him down and thought she had (she lived about 2,000 miles away or I’m sure she would have been on his doorstep). I often wonder how she revovered. Does she still think about it? Wonder what she could have done differently? Wonder if her words that night had any effect on him? I hated that I was the one to tell her (and I shouldn’t have…I broke some rules by telling her, but I knew they were good friends and when she told me she’d been on the phone with him the night before, I really only confirmed what she already in her heart knew).

The multiple phone calls from his wife. These were probably the worst. No these WERE the worst. She called, sobbing. Only wanting to talk to our commander, who refused to take her phone calls (he had the lamest ass reason: claimed he was only “following rules” and he couldn’t talk to her until the next of kin notifications had been made. So he leaves me, the 24-year-old kid, to answer her calls and deal with her. Prick.). After the fourth tear-filled phone call from her and my fourth trip into my commander’s office, only to hear him say, “Tell her I’ll call her back,” I spoke the boldest words of my young career: “YOU tell her you’ll call her back! I’M not getting on that phone and telling her once again that you are too busy to talk with her. She’s sobbing on the phone and just needs to speak with you.” He was picking up the phone as I walked out of the office, so I guess it worked.

And then there was the way the commander broke it to the squadron. He called all of us together in a small grassy area between two of our buildings and said, “You all know Dominic Debari? He’s dead.” And that was that. Left those that didn’t know in a state of shock. He did go on to say counselors would be available and the chaplain was already there, blah, blah, blah. But I’m sure many people missed all that, reeling with the shock of what he had just said (I know I was and I already KNEW Dominic was dead).

I think the most shocking part of all of this: nobody saw it coming. Dominic was seemingly such a happy person. Always had a smile on his face and a joke to tell. For months after he killed himself, I kept expecting him to bounce into my office with a big ole smile on his face and throw one of his one-liners at us (it only stopped because I moved a few months after it happened). Only a select few knew the demons he was fighting. It was until later that I learned that his wife and 6 kids has moved to Oregon and that one of his stepdaughters had accused him of molesting her (I don’t know enough about the circumstances to form an opinion one way or another on if this actually happened or if it was a teenager crying out for help. Part of me finds it incredibly hard to believe that Dominic would ever do something like that, but another part of me thinks you never know what goes on behind someone else’s closed doors). I think the only person who wasn’t shocked at the news was our first sergeant (who knew all about his legal problems). He told me that once they told him Dominic hadn’t shown up for work, he knew what had happened. I’m not sure he was prepared for what he saw (the first sergeant, along with some of the base cops, were the ones who found him. They’d gone to his house to find out why he hadn’t shown for work. Dominic’s weapon of choice was a shotgun and I’m told half his head was gone).

I have a friend dealing with the aftermath of a suicide right now. One of the members of his squadron killed himself a week after my friend arrived in Korea. While he didn’t know the young troop personally, he is left to help others pick up the peices and try to answer all the whys. Of course, anyone who’s ever dealt with a suicide knows that you never get a good answer to all the whys.

July 21, 2009

Random Thoughts: Moving Day!

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 10:10 am

I always look forward to Random Tuesdays. All week long I think of things that aren’t quite enough to be an entiere blog post, but I want to blog about them. Unfortunately, every time Tuesday rolls around, I forget all those thoughts! So, y’all always end up with just the thoughts I can remember. I think I need to walk around with a notebook so I can take notes.

The packers come today. Not The Packers. And not even the ones that will be taking ALL our stuff. This was just the small stuff that we’ll need shortly after we arrive in country (bedding, some clothes, dishes, etc.). The real movers come in a month. We’re sooooo not ready for that! We’re still trying to figure out what needs to go into storage and what we need to take with us. Guess I better figure it out…quickly!

We dropped my van off yesterday. It is currently on it’s way to Italy. One less stress is finally off my shoulders and I will never finance another vehicle through American Honda Finance Corp. I don’t care what kind of rate they’re offering. It took me TWO WEEKS to get a clearance letter from them (after they said it would only be a few days). After all that hassle, I was expecting a huge hassel at the vehicle processing center. I was pleasantly surprised there: it took them 36 minutes to process my vehicle. This included completing all the paperwork and a fairly intense inspection (they wrote down every little nick, scratch, dent, whatever).

All that above means there’s no turning back now. And I finally figured out why I’ve been dreading this assignment so much. I know half the blogosphere (OK, maybe 95% of you) will think I’m nuts for this, but I have never in my life had a desire to go to Italy. Not to visit. Not to drive through on my way to somewhere else. And certainly not to live there. I would rather live just about anywhere else in the world. I don’t even know why that is. It just is. Don’t get me wrong…this little revalation doesn’t mean I won’t take full advantage of everything Italy has to offer. And definitely plan to visit other European countries (we’ll be about 5 hours away from Germany!).

The day before the girls left, I was driving around with Ashley talking to her about whatever came to our minds when she told me she pissed her mom off (her mom called that morning). I asked her why and she said because she refused to talk to her stepfather on the phone. I find that sad and funny all at the same time. The girls do not like their stepfather. I don’t know why and even they can’t give you a reason…they just don’t like him. Early on, their mom didn’t do much to help cultivate a relationship between the girls and her husband (I think this was mainly due to HER mom (the girls’ grandmother) as she felt stepfather should have nothing to do with the girls). In the last couple years, she’s tried to turn that around (coincidentally, her change in attitude coincided with her getting to see my interactions with the girls “up close and personal” while planning Ashley’s Quince. Up until that point, she knew the girls and I got along, but I don’t think she realized how well we interacted with each other), but I fear it’s too little too late. I find it sad because the stepfather is missing out on having a good relationship with two smart, beautiful, thoughtful, and sweet girls. And they’re missing out on a relationship with him (I don’t know him well, but he seems nice enough and anyone that can put up with the girls’ mom AND grandmother for 8 years is nearly saint-worthy in my books).

Amber has started refusing to sleep in her bed. I think because it’s not “her” house. She’s asked me a couple times when we’re going to go home. When I tell her we ARE home, she says, “No the other home.” 😦 The other night, she started sobbing uncontrollably screaming “I’m going to trow up! I’m going to trow up!” when I put her in bed. She ended up sleeping with us that night. The next night, we let her sleep on the couch (she woke up sometime during the night and ended up in our bed again). I hope she has an easier adjustment period when we get to Italy.

Well, that’s all I can remember. *SIGH* You can get even more randomness by visiting Keely at http://www.theunmom.com. What are you still doing here? Shoo! Go check her out!

July 19, 2009

I hate you! Don’t go!

Filed under: Step Life — by Sandie @ 6:29 pm

Ashley and Amanda left today. They should actually be on the ground in Texas as I type this. The end of this year’s visit was especially sad since we don’t know when we’ll see them again. The plan is for them to visit us next summer, but they could always decide they don’t want to come (and they are well past the age we can “force” them to come).

As always, I’m amazed at the relationship between Ashley and Alyssa. Both of them are strong personalities and both are “the oldest” (though Alyssa has to relinquish this title during the few weeks the girls are with us during the summer). I don’t think I’ve ever seen two siblings fight as much as these two do. All summer long they were at each other’s throats, occasionally taking a break to have fun with each other.

Too many times to count this summer, I heard, “I don’t like Ashley!” “When are they going home?” They fought all day yesterday (seriously, I often wonder exactly what a 16 year old and an 8 year old have to fight about, but they seem to never have an issue finding something to disagree on).

Then comes today: the minute I said, “It’s time for the girls to go to the airport! Everyone give them a hug!” Alyssa wraps herself around Ashley’s legs and won’t let go. It ended up with all of us going to the airport (the original plan was for me to stay with the younger kids at the hotel, while Tony took the older two to the airport. They used to let us all go back to the gate, but now they MAY let one of the kids go back, but it usually ends up in me hanging out in the USO lounge with 3 kids while Tony waits for the plane to take off). Alyssa was pretty much glued to Ashley’s side the whole time we were there.

And once they left, Alyssa slipped into her “I wish they didn’t have to go” depression, forgetting all about all the times she wished Ashley was gone.

This is truly the worst part about step family life. *SIGH*

July 17, 2009

Fun at the beach

Filed under: General — by Sandie @ 9:33 pm

For the last few months, we’ve been trying to squeeze in all the places we’ve wanted to visit, but hadn’t. I’ve done this at just about every one of my assignments…I want to do something in the area, but never get around to doing it and before I know it, I’m moving again. One of the things I’ve wanted to do was go to the Atlantic coast. We went to Florida and visited the beach at the gulf, so I kept putting off a trip the Georgia/South Carolina beaches.

In May, we finally did it and took a trip to Hilton Head Island. I think I’d put it off so long because I wasn’t fond of the beaches in Florida. Correction…I was fond of the area. The beach was nice, but the area was way too crowded (disclaimer: the only Florida beaches I’ve visited have all been in the panhandle, so I have no idea what they might be like outside of there) I expected more of the same at Hilton Head. It wasn’t even close and I almost immediately fell in love. Our weekend getaway was much too short, so when Ashley and Amanda said they wanted to go to the beach, I immediately started to look for a place to stay. Last weekend we took our second trip to Hilton Head (if I were ever going to buy a timeshare, Hilton Head is where I’d buy one, for sure!).

I wish we’d had more than a weekend. We declared it a technology free weekend, only bringing Tony’s laptop (and we only brought that so he could charge his phone) and locking the cell phones in the hotel safe. The whole weekend was so relaxing…I actual wish we would have gone there for a week rather than Disney! We rode bikes around the island (and let me tell you…riding bikes around the island ALWAYS sounds good in theory, but about an hour or two into the ride you start to think it wasn’t such a great idea (especially when YOUR the one stuck pulling the trailer with the younger two kids) and by then you’re in the middle of the island with no choice but to bike back!), we rode bikes on the beach, we played in the pools and the ocean, and at night we played games. I hated coming home. Can you blame me?

Our hotel:
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Sunrise on the beach:
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This is what I pulled behind my bike:
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Playing in the sand:
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Our morning bike ride (only four of us went out on this one. Amanda wanted to sleep in, so we left her with the younger two):
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July 15, 2009

“Mommy, we’re going to have another baby!”

Filed under: General,HAYSAY,Weight Loss — by Sandie @ 9:22 pm

“No, honey, Mommy’s just fat.”

That was the conversation between my 4 year old and I while we were sitting next to the hotel pool on Hilton Head Island. And my big smack in the face that it’s time for me to regain control of myself. I need to drop the excuses and do what I need to do.

In February of this year, I *only* needed to lose 5 pounds to get to my “happy” weight. As of this morning, I need to lose almost 20. Even worse, according to my scale I weigh just 3 pounds less than I did when I first joined Weight Watchers in 2001.

I tell myself I’ve been under a ton of stress. I have too much to do. The excuses are endless, but that’s really all they are: excuses.

So, today I’m going to drop the excuses. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to start tracking again.

Part of my plan is to get back into HASAY. No more dropping out. So, here’s my post. A week and a half late, but it’s here!

Want to more about HASAY? Visit Casey here and she’ll hook you up!

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