Mel's Musings

12 March 2001

It is now about 6 weeks since we moved "state-side" and we appear to be nicely settled in. We have commenced the search for a new house, without a great deal of success at this point. There is nothing on the market, but it will all change in a month or so as all the military people receive their next postings. That's the realtors' stories anyway. I am not letting myself get depressed yet, although it is difficult after seeing the brown house on Saturday. It was all brown carpets, brown fittings in the kitchen, brown stripey bathrooms and brown walls. It probably had brown ceilings too but I couldn't bear to look. Needless to say we aren't that keen on it. Next house please.

The girls have been going to hourly care at the Child Development Center (CDC) on the base. I was very excited the first time they went as it meant I would have three blissful hours to myself to explore the shops. At the same time the girls would get to play with other children and new toys. Fantastic. Well, the reality was that the girls had a great time but didn't eat any of the lunch. I got to the mall to find that a snowstorm had started and after 15 minutes in the carpark my car was under an inch of snow. I decided to start back to base to collect the girls so as to avoid the storm. Two hours later, rather than twenty minutes, I arrived at the CDC. The storm was so intense and unexpected that people were driving off the road and having fender benders all over the place. There was a 128 car pileup on the motorway. I had never driven in these conditions in our new car and on the wrong side of the road. Surprisingly, I was somewhat stressed by the time I got to the CDC. However, I was not alone. Stressed parents from all over were turning up as Quantico had closed and everyone was sent home, including Nick who turned up in time to calm me down and see us on the road home. There was enough snow for snowmen which was pretty exciting and not too much ice. It had all melted in a couple of days, much to Beth's displeasure.

The next visit to the CDC for the girls also came with predicted snow (typical). However, this was only a smattering over night. All other visits have been snow free and quite successful although Jess now howls when I leave. Mind you, she howls when I put her to bed, when I don't pick her up, when I haven't got her food ready on time etc etc etc. Beth doesn't like the food they serve, but this could be to do with the fact that they have lunch at 11am. I don't know the logic of that, but my girls aren't keen - I will have to work on that. Meanwhile, I am enjoying my three hours of freedom.

We haven't done a lot of sightseeing yet (apart from the houses for rent!). We did make a trip down to Fredricksberg which is the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the civil war. Unfortunately we didn't get to see much as it was raining and the girls were not that interested in learning some local history. There is a lot to see around us and we clearly need to polish up our civil war knowledge (or in my case start from scratch). We did make it to Washington DC on the weekend, but we were visiting Nick's sister's half brother-in-law so didn't actually get to see the sights. It is, however, only half an hour's drive so we will definitely "do" DC.

I managed to lock the keys in the car on Saturday night which provided a bit of excitement. We didn't have a spare key to get into the house or a spare car key outside the house. However, Nick managed to break into the house, without damaging door or lock (the houses are so plastic here that the door-frame just gave and the door openned) and it all ended ok. Surprisingly, Nick didn't give me an earful as I would no doubt have done if it had been him. Mind you, I was the designated driver so maybe the alcohol subdued his initial reactions. We are now going to have spare keys all over the place!

Beth is now the proud owner of a 15 foot round trampoline. We picked up a second hand one on the weekend. However, it may be illegal as we don't have a permit from the local property owners association to have it (we discovered this after assembling it). It appears that you need a permit for anything in this area. Until we get arrested, Beth is having a great time on it. Jess hates it as much as she hates swings. She is a bit of a scaredy cat actually, except when it comes to climbing things. I expect she will climb out of her cot one of these days and we wont know anything about it until she climbs into our bed. Then we will have two terrors on the loose.

We are eagerly expecting our first houseguests shortly - the Fosters are plannning a visit in April. We also anticipate seeing a few more of the Lympstone marines as the Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK has stopped all training on Dartmoor and Exmoor. The current thinking is that training should take place here. Thatís an unexpected consequence of foot and mouth- one of the more pleasant ones. We dread to think how Fig Tree Farm and the surrounding area is being affected. Mind you, we don't get a lot of news about it here. The international news on television seems to be more interstate than international. But that is bad enough with the news of the latest school shootings.

On a more positive note, the sun is shining, the weather is warming up and both my girls are asleep together. Life is great! Hope it is for you too.

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