Friday, March 30, 2012

Moving Day!

It was about 4:30am when we left Schweinfurt Army Garrison for the last time. The sun wasn't even thinking about coming up yet. We walked our luggage off post to the taxi pick up area. They took us to the bus station where we left for Wurzberg and then switched trains to the Frankfurt Airport. We let Tubbles roam a bit once we got to the Airport so she could stretch her legs before the flight. It was a nine hour flight from Frankfurt to Chicago. Had a layover, then three hour flight to Philadelphia. The total trip was 23 hours. I slept for one hour during the whole trip. Steve slept for pretty much the whole flight on each flight and on the trains. We got to Philly at about 9pm Eastern time.
 
At the Schweinfurt train station

Our train to Wurzburg

Then we took the ICE train to Frankfurt Airport.. they are the really fast trains.

Just off the train. Frankfurt Airport.


Inside the Frankfurt Airport. How pretty.. and HUGE!

Tubbles after a two hour train ride and facing a nine hour flight. Poor girl.

Letting her roam a bit

Daddy comforting baby



Holding Tubbles, about to go through customs.

Flights and times

A plane leaving

views from the plane


A cool statue in the Chicago Airport.
 When my cousin Nicole picked us up and drove us to her house in Delaware, Steve and I were having such a culture shock. The high way signs were green instead of blue and actually had English on them. Even at the airport in Chicago, we were trying to find a restroom and we just stopped and said to each other, "what does a bathroom sign look like".. then we started laughing. How crazy! We couldn't remember.
  We have never been to the East Coast before, being back in America and on the other side of the United States from where we grew up at.. well, its just a whole new world. So many new experiences to be made. We are so excited. We are currently looking for an apartment. which is insane since we are not sure what is normal pricing when it comes to apartments and we have no idea where anything is. We are still getting used to the area.
  Well I guess that's it for now. We made it safe and Tubbles is adjusting fine. Thanks to everyone that was checking up on us and Tubbles safety during our move.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Army lodging

Our last night in Army housing was a little sad and crazy hectic. We were so far behind on getting everything done that Steve stayed up all night to get done what he could. Then I took over at 6 in the morning and got everything done just in time for the inspector to come at 10am. When it was all finally done, we called a cab and they took us to the Bradley Inn (hotel on post) which is also temporary Army lodging for incoming and outgoing families.   We didn't even get to say goodbye to our first home together because as soon as the inspector was done, we had to sign the papers, give him the keys and he pretty much shooed us and our luggage out. Its was pretty much all quick fast and in a hurry. We really didn't realize that we were officially out of the Army until we moved in to the Army lodging. We are just sitting here waiting to leave. 
  But, we are here now and it actually is a lot nicer then what I thought it was. It has a nice breakfast in the mornings with a really yummy cappuccino/Espresso/Mocha machine. We leave Germany on Sunday! Ahh! We are so excited. Everything is starting to hit us now and become real. We leave Germany in three days.
The last few moments in our first home together as a married couple.
Daddy comforting his baby in a stressful time

Goodbye Oak street


luggage and my husband in front of the Bradley Inn after the cab driver dropped us off

Outside the Bradley Inn
more of the outside
welcome mat

Throwing away all his combat uniforms.. He was pretty happy to do this.. FINALLY!

our room.

Breakfast room

Got to love free stuff

Soldiers doing PT outside the Hotel. Steve was pretty happy that he no longer has to get up before the Sun to work out and can do what he wants on his time.

Tubbles enjoying the view

showing me how to work a feature on my camera

LTC Runey and CSM Gordon are pretty much the celebrities on post but so are all post commanders on all Military installations.

Yep, they are everywhere. Going to be weird not seeing them anymore.
During that weekend, we also did a few social get together with Steve's good friends, SSGT Moore and Klender. Going to be weird to have to make new friends. Here is a photo of the boys. I know he will really miss them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Clearing

It has been so hectic lately. Steve is officially done with his daily life as an active duty soldier. He spends the days clearing. I usually go with him for half of the day. Since the car has been shipped, we walk around post and I just carry our drinks, paperwork and what not, in my backpack. I spend the other half of the day cleaning and getting ready for moving out and final housing inspection. Its pretty fun and we get to spend time together. Yesterday when we were walking around, we walked under a tree that is full of crow nests (Germany is over flowed with Crows) and we were just walking when all of a sudden we heard a "splat" right in between us. A bird almost went number two right on us.. literally inches away from us. It was crazy.
  As part of his clearing, he has to do a physical to see how much disability he is entitled to. Since he is Airborne he gets certain percentage right off the bat. Then, they did the full exam and he is 40% disabled (I think) somewhere around there. Being an Airborne Infantryman sure had its tole on him. He has a permanently crushed hip flexor, tendonitis, and some other very painful things wrong with him. It really hurts him to climb stairs or walk for more then short periods. If he stayed Airborne, he probably wouldn't be able to walk in a  few years. He is only 22 years old. That is just too young to be in such bad condition but that is what being an Airborne Infantryman does to you.  

  We are trying to soak in as much Germany as possible. Even though we can't wait to get back to America, their is a few things that we will miss about Germany such as the food and sights. I try and get a Doner every chance I get and the Greek salads.. so good.
Turning in his gear

Walking around clearing

You know you live on an Army post when you see these everywhere

Waiting at the bus stop

Adam Andrade and Steve. They went to Basic training together, deployed together, stationed together in the same unit and same troop. They have been together the whole time. They are brothers in arms.

Squadron on a beautiful morning

Goodbye Conn Barracks (where we were stationed)
Goodbye Ledward Barracks

Garrison Headquarters

I am going to miss Papperts, a German bakery. Best sandwiches I have had.

Yummy cold German coffee for on the go. SO good.

favorite Doner shop

Tubbs wrapped up in her Daddy's PT jacket



How you know your PCS/ETS date from Germany is fast approaching (or how to tell you *really* miss Germany!)

1. Ausfahrt isn't funny anymore, and roundabouts are second nature.
2. You no longer mind the person behind or next to you only giving you half an inch of space.
3. 2 hrs for dinner is "fast food".
4. You judge mustard by how well it opens your sinuses.
5. Jumping across the border to get away for the day is no big deal.
6. You reach for the J├Ągermeister instead of Pepto Bismol.
7. You think family pictures taken at a castle are "so cliche."
8. You forgot how to use round doorknobs.
9. You forget how to flush a toilet that doesn't have a push button.
10. 100 MPH seems like you're driving really, really slow.
11. You no longer think it is strange that beer and water are the same price.
12. Even at home you don't put ice in your drinks. You never go shopping off base without a shopping bag or VAT form.
13. You NEVER shop on payday or the day before a German holiday.
14. You never leave home without your keys, ID card, license, and passport.
15. You think anything with chocolate sounds like a good breakfast.
16. You think it is natural to pass Army tanks on the highway.
17. You answer the phone "Hallo" instead of Hello.
18. You need a power drill and sledgehammer to hang a picture on the wall.
19. You rig your lawnmower and vacuum cleaner to give you an electrical shock if you try to operate them on Sundays.
20. You no longer even want ketchup for your French Fries
21. Christmas is incomplete without Gluhwein at a castle.
22. You sing "Tsch├╝ss" instead of say Good Bye.
23. Your children no longer say please or thank you ... it is bitte and danke.
24. You wonder how you ever lived without Rouladens.
25. You wear a scarf every singe day .... even in the summer.
26. You plan your route around ESSO locations.
27. You believe AFN is quality programming.
28. You own shoes just for walking .... and know you will walk everywhere.
29. You no longer need Google translate at the grocery store
and last but but not least ....
30. You have said out loud at least once .... Stupid Americans!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Health Certificate Dilemma

What a NIGHTMARE!
Today has been emotionally draining. I paid to open a PO box in Delaware so we could ship some stuff to be waiting for us.. then, AFTER I paid to open it online, they want me to come in (in Delaware) and show two forms of ID. What is the point of allowing you to do it online of you have to come in? We tried to show the post master here to verify us but they wouldn't allow him to.
  Then, we went to a German Veterinarian to get Tubbles' Health Certificate to fly back to America and found out that her medical records are contradicting itself. Her record says she has two 1 year rabies shots and also has a sticker that says she has had her three year booster. So we gave her a three year booster today but if this really is her first booster, then she can't enter America for 30 days.. and we leave in 10 days! Going to the Vet on post tomorrow and figuring out what to do because they saw the three year booster sticker and said she will be fine to enter America, and the German vet said that is not fine. She could be quarantined for weeks if we take her out of Germany within 30 days. I am so scared.
THEN- she started having some sort of reaction to the booster/distemper/respiratory shots she got and vomiting foam and had bloody stools. So we took her back and they gave her another shot. She is feeling better now. Total visit cost us 91, Euros. I honestly don't know if she has had her three year booster, and her records contradict itself.. someone messed up on them in the past. I sure hope she has had her booster so she isn't quarantined.


The happy ending to a bad situation:  Yesterday, the German Vet couldn't find in her records that she had her booster, well I took it home and within five minutes, I had proof that she in fact did have her booster and we spent 91 Euros for a un-needed rabies booster. Oh well. I took it back to the German vet and we got is all taken care of. I know my way around a Veterinary medical record. Being a Veterinary Technology student has its benefits. Tubbles is ready to FLY!
The German Veterinary office


Oh, and as for PO Box dilemma, my cousin Nicole is letting us send our boxes there and as soon as we get there, then we are doing a change of address to the PO Box that we can finally open.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Second thoughts

I think it is safe to say I had my first break down. I realized that I am moving to the opposite side of America from where my Mom is. I tried and tried to talk Steve in to moving there instead.. but I was too late. HHG has already been shipped to Delaware, our plane tickets are already arranged, and his orders are already done. He can't get them amended so we are going to Delaware. I even went in to looking up how much it would be to U haul our HHG across country and we just don't have the money. Its not that we don't want to spend that much money, we really didn't save up enough to be able to do that.
  I talked with Steve and he made me feel a lot better about everything. We looked up plane tickets to Spokane from Delaware and they were really decent. So I will be taking a weekend trip there soon after we get settled in to our new home. I am wanting to do it before I start interning but planning and doing is two different things so we will have to see how everything turns out.

  Things have been so crazy. I am pretty sure I have attended so many army briefings, that I will not remember it all. Its for VA benefits for Steve, HHG and car shipment info, pre-separation brief, the smooth move class, ect. Their is just so much to do before we move, which by the way is in 7 days until we move out of our home and in to the Bradley Inn, and 10 days until we fly back to America. So this time next week, we will be living in a hotel and doing the final inspection of our Army housing.
  Today is the last day we have with the car so you know today will be hectic. We have Tubble's last vet appointment to get her health certificate so she can fly, we are trying to get a PO box opened so we can ship some boxes and have them waiting for us, Steve is clearing (getting signatures so the Army knows he doesn't own anything to anyone), trying to get rid of all the 220 stuff we have, Steve turning in all his gear to CIF, and also we are taking back our loan kitchen ware. We don't want to have to carry it on to the post bus and go to ACS to turn it in, so since we have the car for one more day before we ship it, we are going to turn it in and just use plastic plates and cups.
  We also have our microwave since it is 220V as well. We have been eating horribly unhealthy. It's all take out or microwaved but I guess that is better then what I was doing. I am pretty sure I was in innocent denial about moving and was buying my "bi-weekly load" of groceries from the commissary when we were two weeks from moving. We don't even have our toaster here anymore and I bought toaster strudels. Kicked myself once I got home. We dropped off all the food that we know we won't eat at the Bennehoffs.  We had a lot.
The situation made me feel like Roxy on Army Wives (season 6 episode 1) where she was days from PCSing and was still buying her weekly load of groceries and had nothing packed, she was in denial of her move. I so feel like her right now. Although she is a fictional character on my favorite TV show, that scenario is so right!
All the food we gave away. 

Trip to Edeka

Edeka is the first and only German grocery store that actually resembles a clean American grocery store. Most have nasty flies and bees swarming the fruit isles and very dirty floors and shelves, Edeka is very clean and we come to love this place and where we get our coffee and other German food items. It resembles a Rosauers. Thought I would take a few photos.

German coffee isle

Germany is known for their Wursts..

RED BULL

Kitty Isle

German cat treats. Tubbles got sick from the Jelly crap and wouldn't touch the cat sticks.

When you go to any store in Germany, you either bring your own bag or buy one. We never got used to this concept since we always shop on post (where they give free grocery bags like in America) so we always end up buying a 15 euro cent bag and we have to pack them in the bags ourselves. Germany doesn't do grocery packers.

At least Tubbles finds the bags worth it