The Sexy Side Of Hotel Living

Too much cr*p crammed into a small room.

Breakfast is provided every morning and dinner, which includes 2 FREE cocktails, is provided Monday - Thursday evening.  #Imayneverwanttoleave

We go to breakfast in our robes and PJs everyday.  We know every family staying here with pets!

We even eat ice cream in bed and watch cr*p TV at night.  #shhhh #don'ttelldad #bestmomever

We swim in the hotel pool ... sometimes twice a day. 
It's always fun taking your son into the girls bathroom where he notoriously belts out a LOUD question or three.  Today's were, "Hey mom, what is a tampon for?"  Followed up with, "I can't reach the paper towels, but I see a napkin here.  Hey mom, do you have money for a napkin?"

Gotta love a 5 year old who is excited to have his own bed.  Thankfully he doesn't care that it's just a couch in the sitting area in between the two bedrooms ... and he can sleep through all the commotion of us out and about.

Got passports?  We sure do ... and in 3 weeks I know we'll be ready to use them!


Going ... Going ... GONE!

On January 15, 2011, we signed on the dotted line and became Virginia State homeowners.  On June 13, 2014, we signed on the dotted line and became homeless vagabonds once again.

So many emotionsSo bittersweet.  So much to say, that is better left unsaid.

Many people have asked how we could sell the house that we custom built ... adding on a beautiful deck, putting in a sprinkler system, picking out a kitchen backsplash, and deciding the perfect colors for each of the rooms.  Honestly?  It was easy, as we've never been tied to a physical structure but rather appreciate the memories we made.  Sure, it was exciting to let the kids pick out their furniture, choose their own bedding, decide what they want to hang on their walls.  But that's superficial.  They've moved around enough to know that wherever we are as a family, wherever we can hang our Mezuzah on the front door, will be our address.  Our "home" will always be where the five of us reside and start a new set of adventures.

The timing was perfect for us to sell and to move on.  We acknowledge Virginia for what it was to us ... the right house .... at the right time ... in the right community. 

But like everything in the Foreign Service, you know when it's time to move on.  And ... It. Was. Time.


My Heart Is Full

After three wonderful years, on June 13th we said goodbye to our amazing elementary school.  Creighton's Corner El has been our home away from home, where Grady could run free, where Matt volunteered, where I was a substitute teacher, and where "everybody knew our name."  One should be so lucky to attend a school where the teachers and more importantly, the administrators, truly care about you and your family. 

We attended Riley's 5th grade promotion ceremony on her last day of school, though unlike Grady's preschool class, it wasn't filled with pomp and circumstance, instead it was far more sentimental. 
They had videos of the kids, diplomas to hand out, and of course, a few special awards.  Riley received one of them ... The President's Award for Educational Excellence.  

We. Are. Proud!

On top of Riley's excellent achievement, I also received a wonderful note and gift (wrapped in my favorite Little Blue Box) from the principal at our school.  While I had a tumultuous year as the PTA President, it warms my heart to know that my dedication to the school did not go unnoticed.  The school's mascot was a Colt, thus the sterling silver horseshoe that he gave me was truly a heartfelt gift. 
Though we've said goodbye for the last time to Creighton's Corner Elementary School, I know our family's legacy will live on.


Moving Sucks ...

Don't get me wrong, the anticipation of every move is exciting and the purging is cathartic.  I should know ... after nine Foreign Service moves, I've become a self-appointed expert.  But holy shmoly ... the organizing, separating, donating, selling, labeling, packing, and months of preparation before the big days really takes its toll on ones sanity.

This pack out, spanning 3 full days from June 9th - 11th, was no different. 

Over the winter holidays we went through every box in the basement, in every closet and every drawer in every room in the house.  We labeled.  We sold.  We donated.  We trashed.

We used our biggest luxury, time and knowledge, to our advantage.  We knew how things would fare (or not) after being in storage for long periods of time.  Since we aren't sure where we'll be heading after San Salvador, and after communicating with our sponsors, we decided to bring more of our personal items to San Salvador than we have brought to previous posts.

Preparing for this overseas move was my full-time job, on top of my almost-full-time subbing job at the elementary school.  It was time consuming, overwhelming, and caused many sleepless nights.  Thus my stress began.  AND continued.  Until the moving company called me with the total weight of our shipments.

For those of you who have followed along from previous pack outs, you'll remember that the State Department allows us 18,000 pounds of storage or shipments broken down in three ways.  It includes 7200 pounds of Household Effects (HHE - calculated as net weight ) to travel via sea to post, 800 pounds of Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB - calculated as gross weight) to be sent via air, and the remaining balance of 10,000 pounds to go to storage.  Anything we ship that is above and beyond this allotted weight limit costs us $5 per pound!

As a refresher, we left India with 695 lbs of UAB and 6231 HHE.  We left Israel with 7 crates going to India, 1 crate going to Storage, and a total of 7028 pounds shipped. 

But this pack out?  THE PINNACLE of our nine moves ...  Our UAB came in at EXACTLY 800 pounds.  Our HHE came in at 7194 pounds.  For a total weight of 7994 (out of the allotted 8000) pounds shipped to San Salvador.

I.  Am.  Good.

I'm just pissed about wasting those extra 6 pounds ... though I now have a goal for my next pack out in 2017.    


Now You See Them ...

... Now you don't!

Her entire treatment lasted from 9/6/2011 - 6/4/2014.  My what a difference those few years made!


Now Presenting ... The Graduating Class of 2014

Were you expecting something different?

Apparently, when you move into Kindergarten you need a cap and gown ceremony.  Which is fine by me.  Because when you "graduate" with your besties, there is cuteness ... OH.  THE.  CUTENESS!


Kindergarten here he comes.  Along with his 3rd grade reading level ... oye!


All This For ONE Night Of Camping ...

Can you fit this much cr*p in your Land Yacht?  We BARELY could either ...

 What?  You Don't Bring YOUR Bedside Lamp Camping With You?  Amateurs.

How many DS agents does it take to start a fire?  Apparently none ... all you need is a DS wife giving instructions over your shoulder.   Oh, and you also need a shop vac.  Wait.  Don't tell me you don't bring a shop vac with you ...

Don't forget to bring your kiddos.  And your bug spray.  With 150% Deet.  Because the second you get out of the car you'll be bit.  But you can leave behind your wine.  Your coffee.  Your sanity.  Because you're on a 10 day cleanse, and today is only day six.  Don't even ask ...

After freezing your bippy off in the tent all night, that you couldn't take a picture of because your phone died, (despite having a 30 foot extension cord ... that you *ahem* had your daughter's bedside table lamp plugged into), you don't even attempt to start another fire and make breakfast around the campfire.  You just pack up your stuff.  Thanking your lucky stars it wasn't YOUR tent resting ever so gently on top of the three snakes all night ...

... and head over to Cracker Barrel.  For breakfast.

Camping.  Done the Perlman way.  At least it wasn't the Dude Ranch.


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