Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Space-A travels January 28, 2010

Filed under: Anecdotal,military — Addicted to Yarn @ 4:59 am
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It’s time. We started our journey to the States a week ago and it’s time that I sat down and chronicled them. But first some background for those of you who may not know what I’m talking about. My husband is in the US Air Force. As such, we, his dependents, are allowed to travel by something called “Space-A,” or “Space-Available.” What this means is that we are catching a military flight that happens to have extra seats in it. There are different categories and, because Israel is deployed, Jael and I are bumped up from the very last category to the next to the last category. Most flights out of Germany go to the East Coast of the US or from the East Coast to the West Coast with very few stopping over in the Midwest, where I was trying to get to.

Also, I am planning on staying in the States for quite some time. As such, I must make sure that my ducks in Germany are all in a row so that we don’t get screwed over big time by some loose end I forgot to tie up. So, there’s the background.

Wednesday night, I was packed and ready to go.

Thursday morning I stopped at Otto’s and took down the VIN of our little car that we are trying to sell. I need the VIN so that I can email it to Israel so he can go the legal office on his base and get me power of attorney. Then I need to take that power of attorney and give it to someone in Germany so that if Otto finds a buyer for it, it can be sold without me having to return to Germany. I then went on base and dropped off some large garbage at the “recycling” center. The recycling center is open from 9-3 and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten there at 3:15. From there we went to the post office to mail my computer to myself at my sister’s house, where I would be staying. Then we headed back home to load the car with our bags and head to Ramstein.

We got to Ramstein in time to sign up for the 1:30 roll call headed to Dover AFB. At 1:30 we were the only ones looking to get on that flight so we were manifested, checked our bags and took our long term parking pass out to the car. We waited upstairs outside the secure area for about an hour before we went through security. Then we waited by the gate for another hour. By this time we’ve been joined by two men. One is on leave, trying to get to Wichita, Kansas to visit his mom and the other is a Major, trying to get to Baltimore to catch a commercial flight home to Minnesota. A van comes to take us to the aircraft. We wait in the van for quite some time before getting onto the plane and waiting for another hour or so. Finally, at about 5:30, we get into the air.

I turned to Jael and said, “When we get off this plane, we are going to be in the States!” and gave her a big hug. We were on our way! Jael and I had supper (boxed lunch) and she settled down for a nap. I was dozing when I heard something over the loudspeaker that sounded like someone saying we were going to be landing in Ramstein in half an hour. One of the flight crew came back to tell us that there was a problem, they weren’t sure what, but that we were turning around and going back to Ramstein. So at about 8:30, we landed at Ramstein again. I had the pleasure of waking my daughter up to tell her that the last 8 hours had been a complete waste and we were back where we had begun.

Upon landing the four of us began figuring out what we were going to do for the night. The Ramstein Inn was full but there were rooms at the next base down the road, about 15 minutes away. There was a chance our plane would be fixed quickly and if we were too far away, we couldn’t get back in time to get on it. There was also a flight headed to Dover at 4:30 the next morning and one at 11:00. While trying to figure out what we were going to do, an Airman tells us that there will be a flight to Dover that night, roll call at 23:00 (11pm for you non-military time people). We all decide to do that.

Jael and I went to the USO Family Lounge for a couple of hours. She played, I repacked and tried to rest a big. At 23:00 we were all manifested on this new flight and we rechecked our bags. Then we waited upstairs for an hour, waited at the gate for an hour, waited in the van for 45 minutes and waited in the plane for 45 minutes, finally taking off at about 2:30 in the morning. Jael and I both slept for about 6 or 7 hours. She was air sick but got it all in the bag. I got to walk the length of the plane with a bag of puke. That was…odd.

We finally landed in Dover and the Major kindly offered to give us a ride to Baltimore as he was going to have to rent a car anyway. We had to wait at Dover for a couple of hours before the rental car company could get someone over to pick us up so Jael and I had some oatmeal, coffee for me, cocoa for Jael from the USO.

We got to the Baltimore airport and my sister-in-law picked us up. We spend the day with their family. My husband’s brother, his wife and their four children. They have two girls, 8 and 6, and two boys, 4 and 2 (I think 2 I could be wrong. I’ve a lot of neices and nephews and they are all the same ages). Jael had an absolute RIOT! They all hit it off wonderfully and that night the three girls slept in a little pop-up tent with Jael squeezed in the middle. I was surprised that she was able to fall asleep but I guess only sleeping 6 hours the night before made her tired enough.

Earlier that afternoon, I had been able to find commercial tickets from BWI (Baltimore airport) to Kansas City for a total price (taxes and three checked bags and a night in a hotel) of about $500. So the next morning, my sister-in-law dropped us off, we ate some spaghetti at an airport restaurant, we got on the plane to Atlanta, the plane to Kansas City, and whalaa! We were back in the Midwest where we belonged. I called a friend in KC, she picked us up at the airport and took us to Target. We needed a booster seat for Jael but I left with a bag full of clearance items. Target’s clearance section had better selection than our whole BX. Then we went to eat at On the Border. I LOVE On the Border. It is so amazing. I mean, it was always good but after a year and a half of German food, it was the most seasoned and wonderful experience. People in the restaurant talked and sounded like they were having fun. The couple sitting there not speaking was the exception and not the rule.

We went to bed, slept like babies and went swimming the next morning. Grandma and Grandpa came, we locked ourselves out the room (in the flurry of hugs, the people ended up in the hallway and the keys in the room-so sue me) and, after getting anther key from the front desk, loaded our bags and were on our way to sweet, sweet, Sioux City.

We got into town about 3:30 pm or so and, WOW, Iowa has gotten a lot of snow. I’ve never seen so much snow. Unfortunately, Sioux City has not done a great job of clearing snow this year so it’s worse than it has to be but it’s just a LOT of snow. It snowed the first two days we were here but yesterday the sun came out and it was the most beautiful sun I’ve ever seen. I stood in the laundry room (which used to be a sun porch) and folded laundry, feeling content and as peace with the world. It was a wonderful feeling. I don’t know that I’ve ever enjoyed folding towels quite so much as I did yesterday.

Life is good. Despite the few things that could be downers (I’ve a sore throat and headache, Jael seems to have pink-eye and a sore throat, Israel’s not here with us) life is really, really good. It’s amazing what sunlight and family can do.


Frankfurt Fears…no more February 23, 2009

Filed under: Anecdotal,art,germany,marriage — Addicted to Yarn @ 9:18 am
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I love it when I leave cliff hanger blogs and then don’t post for a couple of days. “Did they make it to Frankfurt and back?” “Did Israel’s plane make it to the States?” “Were there pastries involved?”

Friday night, my friend Sheri called and offered to ride to Frankfurt with us so I wouldn’t have to drive back alone. Bless her heart. She agreed to come with us at 5am. She has endeared herself to us forever. We all piled into our little Panda and headed to Frankfurt. It was a pretty good drive though my stomach was in knots. For some reason, this TDY scares me more. After much reflection and much talking about it with Israel, the conclusion I’ve reached is this: Israel has never been so far before. He’s across a frickin’ ocean! Seven time zones away! There is much more work involved in him getting back to us if the world screaches to a halt. When he was in California and we were in Kansas City, he could have walked to us. It would have taken a while but it was a physical possibility. This isn’t Civilazation III, he can’t just go down (or up) to the poles and walk around the world to Europe. And that’s scary. Worst case senario has to involve many more things.

But we got him to the airport fine and left him standing in a long line 2 hours before his flight. I cried, which I don’t think I’ve ever done when he was leaving before. Of course, I was much more naive then and had no idea what two weeks with no husband or father for my daughter was like. But we said our good-bye’s, kissed our good-byes, while scandalizing onlookers — hey, the course is an elective — and Jael and I and Sheri walked away.

We only got onto one wrong road. It was the right road, just heading the wrong direction. After getting turned around, we drove straight home…with many potty breaks. It’s about a 3 hour drive for us in our little car. We drove Sheri home, had pancakes at her house for lunch and hung out for about three hours. Then, as my yawns increased in frequency I figured Jael and I should head home. We drove to Speicher and as we neared the center of town, we saw a police car, blocking the road. Uh oh, I thought. Yup. Big uh oh. There was some sort of carnival in the middle of the road. I’m sure it was fun. I’m sure it was worth blocking of the MAIN road through town but my sleep deprived and husband deprived brain freaked out. Which of course means so did my thinking brain. So instead of cutting back to the roundabout that goes to Trier, taking the road that goes by the fancy kitchen store and the meat market we’ve never been to (yes, that’s really how directions are in Germany. I am a classic, road names only please, no landmarks, kind of girl and yet…this is what I’ve got to work with) and coming out on the other side of the carnival, I completely forgot that part of town exsisted and instead went all the way to Bitburg to  come in the back way past the train station. But of course, I didn’t do this in a straight shot. I tried two shortcuts, both brought me back to the wrong side of town. Then I got turned the wrong way on B51 in Bitburg and had to drive for some kilometers before finally pulling a U-turn on an empty stretch of highway. But then we got home fine.

And even though I was exhausted and had been up since 4am that morning, I was unable to convince myself that I should be in bed and instead, stayed up late perusing the Internet, making ATC’s, and various other things which I can’t even remember now. I will post pictures soon. Due to not having a USB to camera cable anymore (it broke), uploading pictures is…intersting. I have to take the card out of the camera and put it into the Ubuntu computer (a desktop model) or the Linux laptop (a tiny, tiny Acer running Limpus Light for it’s OS) and then upload the pictures to that computer. Then I have to load them onto a photo sharing site, usually Shutterfly now that I’ve figured out the gliches between Ubuntu and their upload software. Then I got into the living room and using the Mac, either download the pictures from Shutterfly onto the harddrive or I simply use the Mac to post pictures onto WordPress or whatever else it is I want to do with them. And if the desktop computer wasn’t sitting on an endtable in the hallway, with the safe in front as a seat and I didn’t have to balance the keyboard and mouse on my knees, I would do the whole thing from Ubuntu.

I love Ubuntu. We have had Windows and we hated it. We switched to Ubuntu and loved it but there were some issues. Then we got a Mac, and while we don’t hate it, we don’t love it. We love the hardware. I love not having to have a tower and a monitor and speakers and a subwoofer. The lack of wires spilling everywhere is wonderful but the Mac OS is not that great. I prefer Ubuntu. MUCH prefer Ubuntu. I think everyone should switch to Ubuntu. It’s absolutely wonderful. Of course, I totally depend on Israel to figure all the details out. Maybe I wouldn’t love it so much if I had to do that. But Israel loves it too so maybe it’s just that great.

Anywho…I’ll post pictures later today or tomorrow as I have class tonight and should really spend some time studying, seeing as how I missed the last class.


Frankfurt fears February 20, 2009

Filed under: Anecdotal,germany,marriage,military — Addicted to Yarn @ 8:53 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Israel leaves on Saturday. He flies out of Frankfurt Airport at about 11 in the morning. I don’t want him to go. It’s only for two weeks. It’s really not that bad. It’ll be the shortest TDY he’s ever had. But I don’t want him to go. I don’t want to be a single mom, even for two weeks. It’s just not as much fun without him here.

But there is a silver lining to many clouds and the silver linings to this one are several. Number one, Israel gets a two week break from 60 hour work weeks. I get a break from living with someone who’s working a 60 hour work week. Israel will have the opportunity to eat at Applebee’s, something he’s been surprised to miss. I will have no expectations of meals placed upon me, as Jael is perfectly content to eat Macoroni and Cheese at every meal. I will have more free time and will have a chance to catch up on some of my projects.

But all of the silver linings in the world will not grant me the motivation to use these two weeks wisely. My previous behavior during Israel’s absences has been to eat myself sick and stay up WAAAAAY to late. I’m hoping that a year and half of growth and maturity will have given me a bit more self discipline. I know the sleep thing will be an issue…it always is, even when Israel is simply working nights. But I’m hoping that since I have a class, which is very important to me, to be alert for and multiple homeschool related things, I will not abuse my body too much.

Also the shortness of the TDY should help with that. I’m not going to have two weeks to get back on track before Israel returns. If I spend two weeks making myself sick he’s going to come home to a sick wife and I don’t want that.

What’s really concerning me is driving to Frankfurt and moreso, driving back from Frankfurt by myself. I’m nervous. I’ve driven in Trier and gotten lost each time. I am not looking forward to driving in Frankfurt and getting lost when I don’t have a navigator sitting in the seat next to me. *sigh*

And you know what’s really frustrating? When it’s all said and done, I will be fine. I will be better for my Frankfurt adventure and I’ll be really glad it happened. I will have grown and learned and it will be a good experience, one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

*sigh* And now, I need to go put clothes in the laundry so that I can sew patches on tomorrow. I HATE sewing patches on and, no, I won’t grow from it or learn from it or look back and be glad I had the experience. It’s purely because of the highway robbery they practice at the alterations shop and the lengthy wait that I am sewing the patches on and not paying someone else to suffer through it.