Continued from my earlier post Welcome Home: Guam 2002 (part 2). These were e-mails to the family back in the States.
“12/12/02: Hi, I just wanted to let you all know that we just survived a super typhoon here in Guam. I know that Guam is not national news, so I thought I’d send out this quick e-mail. Because we are out in the middle of the Pacific, the recovery period could take a long time. This is supposed to have been the worst typhoon in a really long time. We have no electricity and may not for 1 to 2 months. But I think more things are up here at G8r’s office because they have military lines. We have low water pressure and it may be contaminated, so we are drinking bottled water. G8r and I sat at the gas station for a total of 8 1/2 hours to get 15 gallons of gas for our generator which may not last long. We were the 5th to the last in line to get gas, and now the stations are all closed on the island to anyone except emergency vehicles. We are not sure about the phone lines. We keep hearing that it could be 2 years without phones (does that sound insane, or what?!), but then I just heard they may be back up. So…Santa may also be late this year at our house. We had some big presents in mind, so we were waiting a bit before getting those. I wanted to send out an e-mail to you all if you don’t hear from us in a while. I have boxes all ready to send out for Christmas, but there is not mail service right now, so they may be a bit. Well, I should get off G8rs’computer now so he can get back to work. I really miss you guys (and electricity right now). But we are actually not doing too badly right now. It’s one big camping trip – woo hoo! Love you all! ~SR”
We ended up being without electricity for about 2 weeks, so it wasn’t too awful. The military had strong back-up generators, so I went to my husband’s office a couple of times to check e-mail on his work computer. We had a window air conditioning unit that we installed in the master bedroom, and the 5 of us slept in there a lot of nights. The kids were very excited because Christmas break started early and ended up lasting a month.
“12/31/02: Well, we are on the count-down here. Just a few more hours and it will be 2003. I hope 2002 was good to each of you. We had a new girl cousin join us early in the year. I don’t think Lulu will ever forgive me for not trying for another girl to give her a little sister, but now she has A! I got my dream of living in Coronado, California for a majority of the year. I also got to see my mom for the summer; that was such a wonderful, special treat! Then in October we headed to this tropical island in the Pacific. Little did we know what surprises this tiny place had in store for us. But you know, I think it made all 5 of us appreciate things a little more too. And we found we can do without all of the conveniences (well, maybe for just a little while) without going too wacky. I am extremely grateful that we have each of you in our lives. It would be so much nicer if we could just live a bit closer together. Well, I guess that is a little bit our fault. It’s been great seeing the world with the Navy, but we’ll be ready to settle down in a few years when G8r retires. Travelling is wonderful, but it’s always great to go home. I wanted to tell you I finally got to the post office today with your Christmas packages. Just be on the lookout for them in the next couple of weeks. I hope 2003 is good to each of you. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers for us – I can always feel them. Love, SR”
I thought I’d be sore this morning after getting back on the treadmill yesterday. Not so much, though I am tired. After my walk/run, I started taking down the Christmas decorations in the house. Up and down the stairs and in and out of the attic, that was my workout. By the time everyone got home, I was pooped. My husband was sad to see that Christmas is officially over when he walked in and the tree was gone. Today I had planned to take down the lights outside, but Mother Nature decided to cry on us and give me a horrid sinus headache, so the lights and the white spiral tree and the 3-foot tall candy canes will remain outside for one more day. I guess the family could sit on the front porch this evening if they want to take in the bright lights one last time this season.
My husband just called from work and said we need to schedule our final military packout. Just over five months now. I began getting ready for that over the holiday break by tackling closets throughout the house and discovered we need to have a huge yard sale in the spring. The closets look good now, but the stuff that didn’t go back in them is still sitting outside their doors. So, while the Christmas decorations wait, I’ll guess I’ll work on packing up those things today.
But first – the treadmill.
Well, the cold weather left as fast as it came. It’s close to 70 degrees today. I guess we won’t see a white Christmas here (which is just jolly with me :)! But the rest of the house would probably love to see some of the white stuff. I think the boys may make their way west towards the mountains before the week’s end to play. If there is shopping or other indoor activities in the vacinity, the girls may go as well. Otherwise, we’ll stay here, and I’m sure we’ll find something to do.
The shopping is finished, the stockings are hung, the goodies are ready for Santa and his reindeer, and the kids are outside playing off the excitement and sugar rush. My youngest told me at breakfast that he just wants to skip today. I’m enjoying the day, sitting and talking and enjoying the calmness…before the storm of tomorrow.
We plan to go on a drive about in an hour to look at the Christmas lights around town. Then we’ll head over to a neighbor’s Christmas Eve get-together for a little holiday cheer and caroling. Afterwards, I hope that the kids can get to sleep at a decent time so that Santa can arrive and do his thing, then return home to get to bed at a decent hour as well.
It’s finally our Friday before Christmas break. The kids get out about lunch time. My youngest’s class had a holiday brunch to which the parents were invited (along with their baked goods) for an hour this morning. I was asked to bring a cake and/or bread, so I decided to make a loaf of my kids’ favorite (banana bread) and a loaf of my favorite (strawberry bread).
My mil arrives this evening and will stay for Christmas and a few days after. I’ve always looked forward to visits from my in-laws. They have always been wonderful to the kids and me. I have fond memories of my fil and miss him very much. We have visited Florida for many Christmases, and they have visited us when we’ve been overseas as well. But this year we decided to wake up in our own beds since we travelled south less than two months ago.
I am sure by the time the kids get home today, even only having been at school for a few hours, all three will be high not only on the thoughts of 12 days off from school, but on lots of candy and cookies. I hope the weather is good this afternoon so that I can send them outside to run off those sugary calories and energy.
We woke up to…cold once again. No snow this time, but it’s feeling like Christmas this first day of winter. We often travel at this time of the year, usually to Florida to see the rest of the family. I love sharing the time with all the cousins and in-laws, but this year we decided it would be nice to wake up in our own beds Christmas morning.
Today I have a little last minute shopping to do, stocking stuffers and groceries. I haven’t decided what to make for Christmas dinner yet. We usually end up eating candy and cookies for the better part of the day and are not hungry for a big meal, so I may make it a light meal this year. The kids have school today and half a day tomorrow, so I better make the best of the time I have today.
I Christmas shop all year long. When I see something I think someone would like, I get it and stash it in my closet. It doesn’t fail, however, that when December rolls around that I still have quite a bit of shopping to do. I have been running around all week from store to mall and am still stumped on a few people. I need to get packages in the mail this weekend, or I’m afraid our gifts will arrive after Chirstmas. That actually wouldn’t bother me too much. Receiving presents after the holiday or a birthday makes the occasion last longer.
I’m taking a break from the shopping right now but will be back at it in a little bit to hopefully wrap it all up. I’ve been reading some of my blog friends’ posts on my break. They are all so excited; it’s the Friday that begins Christmas break…in their worlds. It’s just another Friday night here at our house. Our “Friday” will be next Tuesday. We’ll have our regular activities this weekend, basketball practice, a swim meet, etc.
But for now, our Friday night activities are beginning. I’m off to drop off two of the kids to holiday parties. And then back to the shopping. Merry, merry.
We could not live without our family calendar. It helps me keep all of our schedules together in one place so that we can adjust when activities overlap. I just added a couple more holiday parties and basketball practices and realized I will miss our oldests’ first swim meet Thursday. Our daughter has a choral concert the same night, and I missed her last one because of my surgery. So my husband will watch him splash his way up and down the pool while I listen to Christmas carols and take pictures for the school’s chorus’ scrapbook.
The kids, of course, are counting down the days (and probably the hours) until Christmas break begins. Here the schools don’t start the vacation until December 24, and it’ll last 12 days. A lot of the kids’ friends aren’t attending the 22nd and 23rd so that they can have that extra weekend before Christmas that we have always enjoyed with other schools. Because of their short break, my husband didn’t take too many days off from work this year. He’ll end up with 5 or 6 days coinciding with theirs. I know he’ll want to see snow (more than the flurries we may get here), so a few of those days may be spent in colder regions.
It’s been five weeks since my surgery, and I am feeling much better but know that I’ve lost some muscle. I went Christmas shopping this weekend, and my legs felt like I’d run a 10-K afterward. I need to start walking some this next week and then maybe I can start running again by the new year. I’m hoping to start a new workout routine and get back to the pace I was on in Guam a few years ago.
As I look at the calendar for next year, I know that we are going to be busy, with some of the same things and, at the same time, some new things as we prepare to move. I hope that we can all hold it together, especially me. I have been feeling the stress of the coming June since we got here last summer. I try to use occasions like the holidays and birthdays as distractions, so that we are not constantly talking about what, when, how, and where. I have dreamed of the day that we finally move back to Florida, but now I am letting the uncertain things like jobs and houses squelch the excitement I wanted to feel. I’ve got to think more about all the positives: the family that is going to envelope us when we get there, living closer to some of my relatives, the warmer weather, and just a 4 1/2-hour drive to Pensacola.
For now, I want to enjoy the last 6 months in Virginia. As much as we cannot wait until we get to Florida, we still have swim meets and basketball practices and Girl Scout meetings. And 8 days and 12 hours until Christmas!