• Sespi

    Right leaning libertarian. Navy wife. Russian linguist. Dog lover. Insatiable reader. Catholic. Country music fan. Baker. Southern girl at heart (but not by birth).

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The Storm and the Blackout

So two weeks later, I’m back to write up the next part of my story. In my defense, our hotel internet was spotty all week because of the storms and then when we moved into our apartment, it took a little over a week to get internet installed here. But let’s see, where was I?

Oh yes.

We left Georgia at about 3 in the afternoon to make what should have been an 8 or 9 hour drive. Everything was going smoothly until we approached Richmond – and then it started pouring, thunder, lightning, big gusting winds, and all that. We slowed down to a crawl and traffic backed up due to downed trees and low visibility. I don’t have any of my own pictures, but the Washington Post has a good gallery.

It looked like this – but this is not my picture. Credit goes to @RyHickey3 and the Washington Post gallery

My brother called to check in and mentioned – this is key for later in the story, so remember this! – that he was on my sister’s cell phone because his was dead, but hers was running low too.

We made it past the traffic and got on the 295 and things cleared up a little. Then Chris made a wrong turn (partly my fault, partly his fault, mostly the GPS’ fault) and we ended up driving through the middle of DC, where traffic signals and street lights were out, streets were closed with confusing detours, and cops were all over the place. Somehow, we got back on track and a little before 3 in the morning, we saw our exit.

Sort of. And by sort of, I mean that our exit was the one that had a complete black out. No lights at all, anywhere. We couldn’t see ANYTHING. And lucky us, our hotel was set off from the street, behind an office complex, so we just had to trust that would GPS tell us when to turn and be right. Eventually, we navigated to the front of the hotel and I ran in to check in. They had made the keys for us earlier when we’d called to request a late check in. Luckily we’d called before the power went down because otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to make us keys until the power came back and we’d have had to sleep in the car. She told me how to get around to our room and then offered me a glow stick to navigate because they were out of flashlights. In the meantime, Bones was outside scaring people by moving silently up to them, then putting her nose against them. She made at least 2 different staff members scream… glow sticks don’t provide much light ;)

Anyway. Chris, Bones, Shecky, and I took our one backpack [best tip I can give for a move: put one to two day's worth of clothes and toiletries in a bag you can grab easily, so you don't have to dig for your suitcase and all that in the back of your packed car] and laptops and navigated through the halls to our room, ready to get out of the nasty humidity and hot rain and into some cool A/C.

Except I’m sure you see where this is going right? The power was out, so there was no A/C. It was at least as humid and hot in our room as it was outside – probably in the upper 90s for both temp and humidity. Gross. At that point, I didn’t care. I was just tired and glad to be out of a car, so I flopped down on the bed and pulled out my phone to tell my dad we’d finally arrived safely.

A picture of my brother to help break up all this text. And it’s even relevant, because I think he took this at a random gas station somewhere on the drive!

Then it occurred to me that my brother and sister had been ahead of us and I hadn’t heard from them in a while. I knew they hadn’t take the wrong turn we did, so where were they? I tried to call them and it went straight to voicemail. Uh oh.

I wasn’t sure what to do, so I fell asleep.

Eventually, my sister called me. What happened to them? She’d been using her phone for GPS, so when it died, she lost that. They’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and in the process of trying to turn themselves around, had looped around the entire Beltway again and ended up back in Virginia. They didn’t have a map or any way to call me until they stopped at a gas station and picked up a car charger for her phone. When I talked to her, she said they finally had directions and were back on track, so I told them to call me when they got there.

She called me at 5:15 AM. We’d left the day before at 3 in the afternoon. Ugh. She was (understandably) unhappy and when she realized there was no A/C in the room, she was even less happy.

Happily, the A/C (and lights) came back on the next morning at about 9 and the room instantly cooled off. We were super lucky though, because I knew people nearby who were without power for almost a week!

If you made it through this, you deserve a prize. And that prize will come very soon in the form of a post about Bawlmer, Philly, and DC that will be mostly pictures :)

GA to DC: Getting Ready to Move!

Hello! I’m sure you’ve all missed me, but I forgot how much work a PCS entails. Especially when you actually have stuff and own a house.

We spent the week or so before we left Georgia fixing up all the little things in our house that needed repair, throwing out stuff that wasn’t coming with us, and replacing the hardwood floor in our house with ceramic tile that looks like hardwood – I saw it on Pinterest a while ago and thought it looked awesome, so when I saw it in the flooring store, I was all over it. But a word of advice? You don’t want people in the house ripping up your floors the day you’re trying to clean everything and leave. Also, I don’t care how much money it saves to do it yourself: let someone else clean your carpets.

My brother and sister flew in two days before we left and they were a huge help with cleaning and organizing everything to get ready for moving.

As for the movers? Well… that was an unpleasant experience.

They sent two packers the first day to pack up our five bedroom house. We had more than that to pack up our two bedroom apartment in Monterey. But they seemed to do a good — albeit very slow — job.

And then the people came two days later to pick up the shipment and asked why our bed was still assembled. Hmm? Apparently, the first people who came to pack everything were supposed to disassemble and wrap everything that needed disassembling. And since that was supposed to already be done, the second crew didn’t have any tools. So they left and came back two hours later. And then they realized that their dolly had a flat tire and that the lift on their truck didn’t work. Sigh.

At some point, the operations manager came by to check out the situation and we learned that we were supposed to have a lot more movers, but only two of them showed up at work for the day. And we also learned that the girl making the inventory of our furniture was marking everything as scratched or dented even when it wasn’t. Worst part about that? She was a milspouse – and not just any milspouse, she was a Navy sub wife. Nice.

Anyway, The ops manager made her start completely over and we assured him that we fully intended to inspect everything ourselves before we signed off on the paper. Eventually, they told us they needed to come back a second day – not because they were out of time, but because the truck they had wasn’t big enough for all our stuff. The guy assures us that he will be there around 7 am, and definitely no later than 8.

So at 9 the next morning (yep.) two guys showed up to finish the job, along with the ops manager, who wanted to go over the inventory with me. Within five seconds of looking at the list, we realized how much the girl had screwed it up the day before. Things were missing from the list (she listed our washer, but not dryer; the King bed frame, but not the mattress and so on), things were mislabeled (she skipped a sticker at some point), and she kept listing everything as damaged even after the ops manager told her to stop (she wrote that our GLASS tv stand was gouged – how is that even possible??). I spent the morning correcting her list with the ops manager and finally signed off on everything, but I’m still paranoid that we’re going to end up missing something big.

But finally, they loaded everything and our house was empty. We finished cleaning the next day, packed up and weighed our cars (we did a partial DITY), and finally hit the road at about 3 PM.

Next to come: Driving forever through a thunderstorm and checking into a hotel with no power, exploring Baltimore and Philadelphia, and DC on the Fourth!

Sunday Night Randoms

I just realized we only have 19 days left in Georgia and my head exploded. There’s no time to write coherent posts with all the stuff we have to do, so here’s some random updates:

1. Silicone caulk is the devil. We spent a good 5 hours removing it from around the shower so we could clean it and recaulk for the renters.

2. Someone else made an offer on the house we wanted in Maryland and the seller accepted :( Now we’re looking for a new house.

3. I got a job offer in DC!

4. We ate pizza for dinner four of the last six days. (Two nights of those were homemade and not entirely bad health wise. The other two days were Mellow Mushroom – terrible for you, but so so delicious.)

5. The hockey fan in me is loving that the Stanley Cup playoffs are still going on. The Kings fan in me gets a little more nervous the longer it drags out.

6. My brother and one of my sisters will be here in 17 days! They’re going to help us move and play tourist for a bit. I’m so excited to see them :)

7. We’re still trying to find a renter. If you know anyone heading to Fort Gordon and looking for a house, send ‘em my way!

8. As if getting our house ready to rent, moving a few states away, and starting a new job weren’t enough, I decided to resubmit for the next Navy Reserve board (I’m a glutton for punishment). So two weeks after we move up to DC, I get to drive back down to Atlanta for interviews. And then coordinate my package with my recruiter in South Carolina via email, phone, and fax. Fun times!

And now I need to go bake some cookies and go to sleep.

Milspouse First Friday Fill In #72

Thanks to Wife of a Sailor for hosting another fun-filled MFF! As always, head over to her site if you’re a milspouse or significant other who wants to link up!

1. What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?

Hmm. I think I would do a better job convincing Chris to take my car to DC instead of his (for those who don’t know — Chris went up to check out houses and his car broke down, which is what I was worried about and why I wanted him to take my car instead.) Even though we said we weren’t going to put any more money into it, the repair place said if we fix these two things, the car should run for a couple more years at least and that’s better for us right now than buying a new car so we’re fixing it. But it’s staying up in DC until we PCS up there, so we’re a one car family now. It’s terrible.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in May?

My BFF called me out of the blue and said she was going to come visit! We had a great time lazing around, eating junk food, watching TV, and going to Savannah – where we went to the Moon River Brewing Company (my favorite!) and Paula Deen’s restaurant (overrated). I miss her!

3. June includes the first day of summer… what are your plans for the summer?

PCSing to DC and getting settled up there! My brother and sister are coming out, and we’re planning to spend a day or two in Baltimore and a day in Philadelphia. I’d like to go up to Annapolis and look around again – I really liked it last time I was up there. And maybe this time I’ll be brave enough to try the soft shelled crab! And we’ll probably go somewhere for our anniversary… maybe NYC again? We’ve got enough airline miles for two tickets to Hawaii (and for two tickets to Europe… thanks direct support tour!) and I’d love to head that way, but I don’t see that happening this summer.

4. Do you use the services on base (gym, financial planning, family services, daycare)? And if so, what’s your favorite one? (thanks to Shanon at Modern Meets Traditional for this question!)

We don’t have kids, so no daycare, and Chris is one of the command financial counselors, so he does our financial planning. I used to use the gym all the time before I joined my MMA gym, but now I go to my other gym instead. I still use the track sometimes, because it’s a three mile track and it’s so much better than running 12 mind numbing laps around a 1/4 mile track, but since it’s warmed up, we’ve been running at the canal on weekends (which has miles markers). So now, pretty much the only time you can find me on basepost is when I’m at the commissary.

5. What are you looking forward to in June?

Moving! And hopefully getting renters and a job!

Close, but Not Close Enough

You may remember that we’re getting ready to PCS.

Stttrrrreeeesssssss.

We’re trying to buy a house in DC and we KNOW the house we want to make an offer on (and the price on it just dropped $24K yesterday!). Our Realtor in Maryland is ready to make an offer for us as soon as we give her the ok. We’re preapproved for a mortgage contingent on either having a signed lease for our house in GA or me having a nonconditional job offer.

If one of those conditions works out, the rest would fall into place – if I get a job, we don’t have to worry about renters (although they’d be nice) and we can still get a house. If we get can get renters, we’ll be ok even if I’m not working for a bit longer and we can get a house.

I’ve signed letters of intent with a company contingent on them getting a contract awarded to them, which they should find out soon. I’m also talking to another company that is very promising. But no firm offers yet.

We’re working with our property manager, prepping everything in our house, and showing our house to potential renters, but no lease signed yet.

I’m going crazy knowing that everything is so close to working out, but just not quite there. If some people would just sign a lease… if I could get just a job offer… if we could put the offer on the house… problems all solved.

No more stress.

But there’s nothing I can do about any of this.

So I’m just making my house as clean as I can, polishing up my resume, and hoping no one else likes the house we like.

And maybe I’ll magically get a job offer this week. Or renters.

Toss me some good luck if you’ve got any extra laying around please! We need all the luck we can get.

I Live at the Gym Now

So a month or so ago, I remembered UFC*. Some of the Gracies live in my hometown and I remember my dad watching UFC when it first started. I’ve watched a few fights since then, but never made any real effort to follow it until recently. And then I decided I wanted to start kickboxing, so I looked up local gyms.

I went to check out one, which was both hella intimidating and awesome at the same time. Intimidating in that it’s an MMA gym where people are actually training to be fighters. It’s completely no frills – there’s an area with mats for sparring, a ring for boxing, and an area with a bunch of punching bags and free weights. That’s it. And while I was touring and getting my free intro lesson, they decided to throw a little physical assessment at me – 1 minute of sit ups, 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of burpees. Yuck. We won’t talk about the overall results – though I will say that I did 37 real push ups!

Since then, I’ve been at the gym almost constantly (hence my lack of posting). I’m taking beginner’s boxing, beginner’s kickboxing, yoga, and a class called cardio kickboxing that incorporates circuit training with kickboxing (it is HARDCORE. So hardcore that I may have thrown up halfway through the first workout… but I still finished the workout!). I’m also considering taking the beginner’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, but I haven’t worked up the nerve for that yet. Plus, have you seen people do BJJ? They frequently end up with their heads near the crotch of their opponent. And that’s just awkward (especially since guys usually significantly outnumber the girls in the classes I go to).

Anyway, I haven’t lost any more pounds, but after only two weeks, I can see muscle definition in my arms and legs that wasn’t there before and I’ve lost half an inch off my waist. Unfortunately, we’re leaving Georgia in about 6 weeks, so I don’t have much time left to take classes here, but I’m interested to see how much more progress I can make before we leave here! And I’m hoping I can find a similar gym in DC and make a seamless transition.

Probably a stretch… but anyone out there have recs for a good MMA gym in the DC area?

*This, like so many things in my life, may have been linked to the reading of a romance novel.

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

We love pizza around here. And when Amber Herself posted about pizza last week, it made me really want to make pizza. We debated between BBQ chicken pizza, red skin potato pizza (inspired by Mellow Mushroom!), or buffalo chicken pizza. Buffalo chicken pizza won (read: it was the only one that didn’t require me to go to the grocery store). We’ve made buffalo chicken pizza a few times, but I think we hit on the winning version today.

For the crust, we use the pizza dough recipe from Simply Recipes. I use AP flour and add gluten. Oh, and some garlic powder, because I love garlic. I also prebake the crust at 450 for a few minutes before I add the toppings.

For the toppings:

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 T buffalo wing sauce (it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough!)
Olive oil to brush on the crust (I used a little over a tablespoon)
4 oz cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
1 cup shredded mozzarella

In the past, we’ve used either blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing as a base. Today, I chose to brush the crust with olive oil and sprinkle crumbled blue cheese over it – and then I wondered why I haven’t always made it that way!

Then I tossed on the chicken, drizzled buffalo wing sauce, and put on the mozzarella cheese (yes, I put the cheese on top of all the toppings – keeps the chicken from drying out too much while the pizza cooks). Put it in the oven at 450 for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and then wait impatiently for it to cool so you can eat it without burning the roof of your mouth.

Or just go ahead and burn your mouth. It’s probably worth it.

Oh, and for those counting calories? If you cut it into 8 pieces, each piece only has about 170 calories (according to My Fitness Pal). Not bad.

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