February Back To Books

This was a slow month. I keep meaning to go to the library here, but I haven’t had a chance yet. Maybe this weekend!

Thinking of You by Jill Mansell
I did mention I like British chick lit, right? I used to read a lot of hers back in the day. I always liked that there were a couple  story lines going on, but it never got confusing. This one was the same way. The story revolved around one woman, but there were also plots for her best friend and college daughter. It was a good, mindless read.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Yes!! That’s it. Just yes. Read it. I was introduced to Hannah through her new book The Nightingale. This one takes place today, but there are stories and flashbacks to Russia during WWII. I love that she writes these from angles that aren’t usually taken. I can’t say I’ve read much about what the Russians endured during the war or what their government put them through. I definitely recommend this one!

Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkindale
This was an easy read. It was cute, but I wouldn’t call it a memoir like it was billed. It was more a collection of stories or essays. I liked the way she wrote, but did you know she used to work at Family Circle? She seemed to squeeze that in wherever she could. It’s a big magazine and all, but it’s Family Circle, not Vogue. Overall, an quick, entertaining read.

Marcy Catches Up by Rosamind du Jardin
I read this book and a couple other by the author in maybe sixth or seventh grade. I remember by mom telling me at the time that she had read it which is entirely feasible since the copyright date is 1952. Parts of her other books would come to me from time to time, but I could never remember the book titles or the author names. I did remember the boyfriend’s name in one book, so one intense googling session led me to them. This is a cute book. A 16 year old and her friend go to Colorado to a family member’s ranch for a month. They leave boys behind, but meet new boys, and teenage drama ensues. This is 50’s era teenage drama, so it’s tame, but the story still holds up.

 

Don’t Get Wax Happy, It’s Never Good

We moved out of our house on a Friday. The management company met us at 10 for the walk through, we finished up in less than an hour and I was left with 50 minutes until I had to pick the youngest up from school. 50 minutes with nothing to do. I no longer had a house, so I couldn’t act like I was cleaning or aimlessly troll social media. So, what does one do? I went to get my eyebrows waxed. 

Since moving to California, I didn’t get my brows waxed on a regular occasion, so I didn’t have a regular place. Instead, I went to the place I always got pedicures from. They were Asian, but always really nice and I didn’t feel like they were talking about me while they were scrubbing the ick off my feet. Maybe they were, but I didn’t feel like they were and that’s what matters. I walked in, told them what I wanted, and they took me straight back to the waxing room. She laid me down in the chair and said “Eyebrows and upper lip?”. I said “Nope, just eyebrows”. But wait. I’ve never had my upper lip waxed. The hair is blonde and more peach fuzz than anything. I have, on multiple occasions, sat in front of the mirror and thoroughly examined my upper lip and chin to determine if it needed to be waxed. No one had ever mentioned it and no one ever really gets that close to my face, but you know how it goes. The more you think about it, the worse it gets in your mind. So I asked her if my upper lip needed it. She got that close and declared it did. 

She finished my brows and my upper lip, while proceeding to drop a hunk of wax in my hair and take off part of my left eyebrow (there’s a scar there and it’s not hard to take off part of it if you aren’t careful), then started looking at the rest of my face. She wanted to do my chin next. I let her. I get a couple coarse hairs that always need to be plucked from my chin. I’m assuming I’m not alone in that or I wouldn’t have admitted it. Then she wanted to do back by my ears and under my jaw. Seriously lady? At this point though, I didn’t want to look weird with hair on certain parts of my face and not others, so I let her. It wasn’t bad pain wise and it only cost $30. 

As I was leaving, the husband called, wondering where I was. I went to meet him and when I got out of the car, I asked him if my face was red. He said I looked like I had a sunburn. Okkaaaaay. As the day went on, my face started itching. Not the itching that needs to be scratched, but rubbed. You know? The bad part was that we were going to some friend’s house that afternoon, as they were so gracious to let us camp out for a couple days. I felt the need to explain my red face, so I told a bunch of guys why it was red. Guys don’t get it. The husband, who is brutally honest, said he has never once looked at me and thought I should wax my face. I was starting to worry. Would it grow back in as peach fuzz again? Would it grow in blond again? How long was my freaking face going to itch? How much oil did she put on my face cause I couldn’t get the dang crap off and I hate feeling oily. The next couple days sucked. 

Thankfully, it’s been a few weeks and all is good. It’s nice to not automatically do the face that requires your bottom lip and chin going as high as possible so you can see all the ickys under there, because there are no ickys! Pretty sure I’m also never going to do that again. I’m all for waxing. I’ll wax my legs, my bikini line, get a full on Brazilian, no problem. I’m not comfortable with the face though. Never again. 

The Pros Of Your Friends PCSing Before You

We’ve all been there. You finally make friends at your new location. Really good friends. The ones who will watch your kids no questions asked, help you out during deployments when you didn’t even know you needed help, and your husband’s are even great friends. Those kind of friends are hard to make and when we finally have them, it makes your world that much better. 

Then comes the day when they get orders. She is leaving you! How dare she. After the initial upset and possibly a few tears shed, don’t think of how sad you’ll be when she’s gone, think positive! It may be the only way to make it.

– You’ll get to go grocery shopping, in her kitchen! She won’t be able to take the contents of her fridge and if she’s going overseas, she won’t be able to take the contents of her pantry either. Those last few weeks when they are dealing with movers and clearing housing, help her out by cleaning out her kitchen! Maybe feed them a couple times with all that food too.

– It’s a great excuse to eat out all the time. You know all those restaurants you’ve talked about eating at, but have never gotten around to? Now’s your chance! Lunches out together and dinners out as couples. What better way to convince your husband than to tell him if you don’t go now, they’ll never get to go because they’re leaving (insert sad face and tear)!

– With her gone, you have reasons to buy all those cute cards and that fun stationary. You can send her happy mail! Right? Go crazy at the stationary store. It’s ok.

– With her going through a PCS from your location first, she’ll help you understand the process, what needs to be done, and where to go to do it. 

– As time goes on and you and your friends move away, you’ll soon have friends all over the world. It’s always fun to go see someone in a new city, where lodging is covered and they can show you around. During a cross country PCS, you get to the point where you could stop every night and stay with old friends. 

What would you consider a positive about your friends PCSing before you?

 

Ricardo Breceda Sculpture Garden and Gallery

Last year, we took a trip out to the desert. In the area around Borrego Springs, artist Ricardo Breceda had placed around 130 of his sculptures. The metal sculptures ranged from wild horses, to giant insects, to what I believed to be the monster from Tremors. We had fun driving around and looking for the sculptures. We didn’t even begin to see all of them and I had a map. I’m a big fan of the slightly obscure, so this was right up  my alley! I don’t know how I didn’t know this was here earlier, but Nicole filled me in with enough time for us to make a stop before we left the area.

When you are headed south on Highway 79 out of Temecula, you’ll pass some horses jumping over the highway. If you’ve been down that road, you know what I mean. Turn around and head back  to the entrance to the sculpture garden. You can’t miss it. It’s actually an RV park, but you can get in free if you tell them you are going to the sculpture garden. This is also his gallery, so there are pieces for sale, and we found a few pieces in need of repair, but it’s fun to look at and good for pictures. It’s not a huge area and not what many would consider a sculpture garden, but it was fine for us!

 

Rockin’ The PCS Road Trips

A couple weeks ago, we road tripped/moved/PCSed from Southern California to San Antonio. 1,317 miles and over 18 hours of driving spread over 2 days. Some people may not consider that fun, but for me, it’s a blast! Road trips are the ultimate adventure. You never know what fun, must see locale is at the next exit or who you will meet over lunch at a truck stop. U-Haul

Preparation for our trip started the Friday before. That morning, we were at the U-Haul location bright and early. We had 2 hours to get the trailer, go get it weighted empty for our partial DITY move, get back to the house, and get it all loaded up before the management company showed up at 10 for the walk through. If you’ve got a stressful move coming up, just call us. We’ve got it down. While we were there, we started looking over all the boxes and packing supplies U-Haul sells. They sell special boxes just for flat screen TV’s. Who knew? We bought one, got the trailer hooked up, and were set. We ended up getting a 6′ x 12′ trailer. I originally told my husband we didn’t need one that big, but he insisted we did and he was right. The only things we took ourselves were 3 mattresses, 2 desks, 2 computers, and maybe a dozen boxes. It barely fit. 

We set out at around 6 on Sunday morning. Our goal that day was to make it to El Paso. 4 states in 1 day. Totally easy, right? Our first stop was in the Eastern part of California. Car rides make our dog have to do his business, so we stopped for him. The next stop wasn’t until lunch in Phoenix. We filled the truck and the car up and were both amazed at the cheap gas. We were definitely no longer in California! We had walkie talkies to make it easier for the husband and I to talk, so every time I saw a sign for something that looked neat, I’d point it out. For the most part, he shot me down. He has tunnel vision when it comes to road trips, while I like to stop every time I see a sign advertising the world’s biggest something or other. Somewhere in Arizona, we did stop at The Thing. I’m not sure what The Thing actually was because you had to pay to see it, but they had a Dairy Queen, so we all got blizzards. We stopped again in Las Cruces for a potty break, where we found the huge roadrunner made of trash, then on to El Paso for the night.

The next morning was even earlier. As much as I hate getting up that early, I’m glad we did. Around 10 am, I was driving behind the husband and got on the walkie talkie to tell him his back passenger trailer tire looked low. About a minute after that, it started smoking, then it blew. We were in the middle of nowhere West Texas, but thankfully, I remembered Ernie pointing out the roadside assistance information when we rented the trailer. I called them up, told her the issue, she sent me a text so they could get my GPS coordinates and told me she’d send me a text within a half hour with an ETA on a repair truck. I got a text less than 5 minutes later saying he’d be there in an hour. Nothing like hanging out with your family on the side of the interstate! It wasn’t too hot and traffic was thin, so it really wasn’t bad. The truck showed up within a half hour. He had the tire changed and we were on our way in no time. That’s not something I had ever thought about, but I’m really glad it’s a service U-Haul has!U-Haul U-Haul

The rest of the day was uneventful and we pulled into Lackland AFB around 3 p.m. to get checked into lodging. The goal from there was to find a house, so that’s what we started on as soon as we got to the room. We had the U-Haul trailer for 5 days, so the husband parked his truck with all the other trucks and trailers for the time being. Wednesday morning rolled around and we weren’t anywhere close to getting a house, but we had to turn the trailer back in. When you rent a trailer, you get 30 days of free storage at a U-Haul facility, so I called to find one that had available space. They found us one and reserved a spot for us. The rest of the morning was then spent unloading the trailer into storage. As much as I’d much rather sit back and watch guys do that, I’m glad we had somewhere to put everything. We only had it in there for a week, but it was a blessing. 

It wasn’t the best road trip ever, but we also weren’t on vacation so I can’t really complain. 

Disclosure: I was provided a U-Haul trailer in exchange for my honest review. Hey, moving is already expensive, don’t fault me. Everything is factual and all opinions are mine alone.