Doctor! Doctor!

Think about, for a moment, all of the things or people in your life that you rely on for services.  Do you have a regular person you go to for a haircut?  One who knows just how you like it cut?  Do you have a great doctor who knows your medical history?  How about maybe a chiropractor, who knows why your neck is literally bent the wrong way, and also knows just how to adjust you to relieve that chronic ache you get?

Back home, I had a gal who knew never to cut my hair too short, because if I asked for it short she knew I’d end up crying and feeling like I looked like a boy.  I had an OB who delivered my daughter, and who knew exactly how much damage that wreaked “down there” (she should, she stitched me up after all); she also knew the ins and outs of my pregnancy experience, and brought my daughter into this world (one day I’ll tell you her birth story, and why I think my doctor is literally an angel).  And yes, I had a chiropractor because of my bent neck and he knew just where to adjust me that gave me instant relief.  I also had a dental hygienist who knew why I have gum issues (its genetic) and who did an AMAZING job cleaning my teeth.  I trusted her endlessly.  Really, she was my bff because she basically saved my teeth.  That sounds like I don’t brush or floss my teeth, but I promise you I take better care of my teeth than anyone I know, even you!

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I have been in Florida for almost four months (which I can NOT believe), and am just now starting to feel like I almost have all my ducks in a row.  I never gave much thought to how much a person relies on various services to keep them running healthfully… But I guess now that I’m 31 and actually need to see doctors every now and then, and have to pay extra attention to my teeth, etc., I am painfully (pun intended) aware of how hard it is to find people you can trust for all of these things when you are in a new city, all the way across the freakin’ country.  Here’s a little checklist of all the services I’ve had to locate since moving, just to give you an idea:

  • General practice doctor
  • Gynecologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Hair stylist
  • Pediatrician
  • Pediatric dentist
  • Gym/yoga studio

Not to mention a great place for a pedicure, which I have yet to find.  Or an eye doctor if you’re most people (I still have great vision but I’m sure that’ll be an issue one day too).  Or the perfect coffee shop or favorite restaurant.  We have found a Chinese takeout place that is better than anything in our little town in Washington, so I guess that’s a plus.

Anyway, up until this week, when I finally got an appointment with a general practice doctor, I felt like I was flying blind, listless in the wind because I didn’t know who to see to clean my teeth, or where to go for a pap smear, and so on.  I have slowly been finding all of these services since we moved, but only recently found an OB/GYN whom I LOVE (without any recommendation, too!  Score.), a good dentist (though I’m not yet convinced they are as good as my previous one) and a doctor for Claire.  And because you probably never thought much about all of the doctors and services you need in your life, you probably have never considered what it feels like to not know who to go see if you’re sick, or have a tooth ache, if your baby is sick, etc.  I know I never did.

(I know, I know: first world problems.  I promise I am not complaining- I am very aware that my family is so very lucky to have these services available to us through insurance and Sean’s job.  I would never complain about having these options or even paying for them.  I believe it is everyone’s right to have these types of services but that is a different discussion altogether.  I’m just trying to express that it’s difficult to constantly change everything every three years, just when you start to feel good about your choices.)

I can tell you, it makes you anxious.  Unrooted.  Like you have no support system, and you don’t know where to go if an emergency occurs, God forbid.  And it’s hard to find all of these people and trust them at the same time.  You’re new in a city, you don’t know a lot of people, how do you know you can trust all these doctors?  It takes a lot of work finding ones who seem to actually listen to you.

Luckily, I knew one gal from our time living in Hawaii, who lives here now with her husband and baby.  She has been a life saver- she pointed me in the direction of my chiropractor, Claire’s pediatrician, and told me about a great yoga studio.  She also connected me to some other Navy wives who have told me of other good places to go for various things.  I discovered a great park only ten minutes from our house thanks to her, and Claire absolutely LOVES it there.

As much as I like to call myself the anti-military wife, I have sure relied on her for help adjusting to this place… Hey, just admitting that is progress for someone like me, who thinks they can do everything themselves (and tries to).  Have you tried finding a doctor based solely off of a list on your insurance company’s website?  How are you supposed to choose from a random list of names??

So I guess my advice to you, the military spouse moving somewhere new and far away, is to think of anyone you might know from your past who might live in your new duty station.  And if you can’t think of anyone, search Facebook for a military spouse’s group in your new city (I guarantee you there is one).  Maybe you do know someone based off of that group’s members… And if you don’t, post on that page and ask for any recommendation for anything you need: daycare, groceries, the best fro-yo in town, whatever.  Even someone like me, who is fiercely independent and likes the challenge of figuring everything out on my won, reads every post on my local mil spouse groups, and has asked for numerous recommendations for things.  It can also go a long way in making you feel less isolated and alone.  Seeing new people join the groups, and others moving away reminds you that it is a constant cycle and there are many many other wives out there feeling everything you are feeling.

You might even make new friends that way- this gal I’m speaking of was only really an acquaintance in Hawaii, but now we’ve gotten together for several play dates with our little ones, have done a girls’ night and have another one coming up next week.  Without her I’d still be so lonely!  One friend is better than none!

In all my lamenting and indulging in loneliness, I will say I am thankful for the way in which military spouses are so willing to help each other out.  The more I live this life, the more I realize how important it is to lean on each other when you can.  And that folks, is hard for me to admit, but there you have it.

Now that I have a doctor, I can check all those things off my list.  I even found a hair stylist a month ago who gave me one of the BEST haircuts I’ve ever had!  I am feeling much more at ease, knowing I know who to take my daughter to if she gets sick, knowing I have a trustworthy chiropractor to help with my chronic neck pain, and where to get my annual physicals at a fantastic OB clinic.

I’m not ready to admit to liking it here yet (I’d still move home at the drop of a hat), but finding all these services definitely has me feeling more settled.

Progress.

It’s official: I’m a hermit.

I have a sneaking suspicion about my “new self” down here in the deep south… I think I’m becoming a recluse.  It’s January 20th.  Since arriving home on January 1st after a trip to Orlando with friends, my household (mainly me) has been sick on an off for three weeks.  I didn’t even want to talk about it, but yes, my husband and I are sick yet again.  It’s embarrassing at this point.  I heard that the cold and flu season this year is terrible, but now I can attest to it personally.  In all of the maladies I won’t describe here, I think I have left my house maybe 5 or 6 times in 20 days.  We are rapidly approaching recluse territory here.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but hear me out.  The scary part is I haven’t even really been that stir crazy.  Usually if I’m home too much I am scratching at the walls until I can escape, but not this time.  As I said before, where would I go?  Every time I leave my house I am reminded that I am in a new strange town, with little idea of where to go to just wander around, or when I do go outside, it stinks (literally).  I joked before I got here that I would just hole myself up inside my house and pretend I wasn’t living in Florida, and without consciously doing so, that’s what I’ve done!

In our old town (still and forever to be referred to as “home”), we had the most adorable downtown area that looked like a little European village.  It had antique shops, cute boutiques, cafes, and the best pastry shop you’ll ever visit.  And adjacent to the main street was a park, a marina and a little trail that led to a grassy park by the bay.  This grassy park had a baby swing that I would take Claire to very often when I was feeling the walls closing in on us at home.  Our routine was to put her in the stroller, stop at a cafe and grab a coffee for myself (even when money is tight, I figure if all I purchase that day is a cup of coffee then I’m still being frugal.  My logic is sound.), walk the main street and peek in the windows, then make our way through the park and to the baby swing.  Sometimes I would lay a blanket down and bring some toys and let Claire crawl around and discover the grass and the leaves, or I’d take her down to the water and dip her toes in the water.  It was the best way to spend an afternoon together, and the best part was this idyllic spot was less than ten minutes from our house.

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Downtown at home, yes it really is this quaint.
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Posting these just makes my heart hurt!
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I took this picture on a day downtown with Claire; this is the boardwalk to the park.
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One of my favorite days at the park with Claire, 9 months. I will never forget this day.

That might be one of the things I miss most about home.  There is a similar kind of place in this town, the “historical district” that does have some shops and cafes, but it is not as quaint, is about 20 minutes from our house, and let’s not forget it’s hot and muggy out.  I much prefer air conditioning to this humidity, and my hair hasn’t quite figured out how to deal with this new climate.

And so we hibernate.  Perhaps I would be more adventurous if I haven’t been continuously knocked down several pegs by being constantly sick this month.  But I feel like it’s more than my weakened immune system.  My spirit isn’t even eager to leave my house because it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself either yet.  At least at home we are around the things that make us comfortable and that feel familiar; every time we step outside, we are thrown out of our comfort zone and sense of familiarity, and we just aren’t sure what to do with that.

For all my whining, I do know it will get better with time.  I do know we will get used to things.  And I do know now that it’s ok to give in to these feelings I have right now.  If I just need to hibernate for a while until I figure out what to do with myself, then I will.  I will eventually brave the 20 minute drive to the shops and cafes that make me happy, and I will learn of some spots to take Claire to when we just need to leave the house.  And maybe the silver lining to dealing with this flu (aside from an iron clad immune system, I’m hoping), is that it has forced me to be home and to think, and rest, and recover for a while.  Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing.  My body needs to recover from illness, but I think my spirit was in need of recovery as well.  This move has been so hard on all of us.

I’m realizing that all of my posts so far have been like a weekly therapy session, when I really do have plans for projects, cooking and maybe even some weekly French lessons.  I hope anyone reading this stays tuned for those… Once I am fully recovered and have the energy, I have plans for this blog!  Aside from the free therapy sessions it offers me.  Do you have experience facing a big move in your life too?  How did you cope with it?  I would love some feedback!

Ch-ch-ch-changes 🎵

claire-beach
My little southern transplant, taking a walk along the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s a weird Tuesday.  Yesterday was a holiday so my husband had the day off, and we got some things done around the house.  We finally cleared out and organized the spare bedroom (which we have been calling ‘The Room of Requirement,’ as everything we didn’t want to deal with since the move had been haphazardly piled on top of the bed), because my mother-in-law is arriving tomorrow night (joy).  My husband moved more crap from the garage to the handy dandy attic we didn’t know we had when we bought the place, so we are a little bit closer to parking both cars in the garage.  We bought a couple potted plants to decorate the back porch with, and Sean has started getting the hot tub in working condition so we might be able to enjoy it in the coming weeks.  Progress.

All these little things add up to helping us feel just a bit more settled.  Emphasis on just a bit.  Despite my insistence on being miserable still, I have had some chances to be social, including today when I met some other moms at the park.  Everyone seemed perfectly nice, but I haven’t met anyone here that I just connect with.  My friend Amber back in Washington was my best pal from the day we met at a work barbecue, and though she lives in Japan now and I live in the South, we message each other back and forth almost every day.  Friends like her are special and don’t come around super often, but I still hope to make one or two girlfriends I can just be regular old me around, without having to try too hard.

amber
My bestie, Amber (left).  How I miss her!

I posted this chain post on Facebook yesterday when I came across it on my Newsfeed, and I thought I’d post it here too, because it really hit home for me right now.  Though I am blessed that my husband won’t be going anywhere while we live here, we did just come from what is considered “arduous sea duty,” meaning he was gone all. the. time.  So many of the other statements ring true: we sold the couch we had since we were first married because there was no place for it in this new house, I haven’t hung a lot of curtains because they just don’t “go” where they went in our old house, I have purchased a home, sold a car, fixed a toilet, and mowed the lawn while having an infant; I left so many good friends and a stable social life, and I basically did not want to move here, but I bucked myself up somehow and followed my husband because I love him and it was the right thing for our family.  And so here we are.  So many military wives have it so much harder than I do, and I have the utmost respect for them.  But I have to recognize that my situation is hard too, and though we are blessed with enough money and creature comforts, it’s so hard to move every three years and constantly reinvent yourself.  This move has been the hardest yet, I think because we have a baby now and I really feel the desire to be settled and to establish a real life, and also because I am 31 and no longer feel like moving all the freakin’ time is some “great big adventure” like they tell you it is.  I said in an older post that I am very aware that this move coincides with a new chapter of my life, and part of that means I am starting to really understand what I want in my life, what makes me happy, and what I truly need in order to have that happiness.  And while I continue to try and adapt to my new surroundings, I’m trying to justify with my inner self where my family needs to go from here.  Deep thoughts, I tell ya.

But without further ado, here is the sentiment that hits close to home right now.

“Lots of moving. Moving…moving…moving…far from home. Moving a car, a baby and a dog. Moving sofas to basements because they won’t go in THIS house. Moving curtains that won’t fit. Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours. Moving away from friends. Moving towards new friends. Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.
Often waiting. Waiting…waiting…waiting for housing. Waiting for orders. Waiting for deployments. Waiting for phone calls. Waiting for reunions. Waiting for the new curtains to arrive. Waiting for him to come home, for dinner…AGAIN!
They call her ‘Military Dependent’, but she knows better. She is fiercely in-dependent. She can balance a check book, handle the yard work, fix a noisy toilet, bury the family pet. She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts. She can file the taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move. All with ONE Power of Attorney.
She welcomes neighbors that don’t welcome her. She reinvents her career with every PCS; locates a house in the desert, the Arctic, or the deep south. She learns to call them all ‘home’. She MAKES them all home.
Military wives are somewhat hasty. They leap into: decorating, leadership, volunteering, career alternatives, churches, and friendships. They don’t have 15 years to get to know people. Their roots are short but flexible. They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.
Military wives quickly learn to value each other. They connect over coffee, rely on the spouse network, accept offers of friendship and favors, and record addresses in pencil.
Military wives have a common bond: she has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique. He doesn’t have a ‘JOB’ he has a ‘MISSION’ that he can’t just decide to quit. He’s on-call for his country 24/7. But for her, he’s the most unreliable guy in town! His language is foreign: TDY PCS OPR SOS ACC BDU ACU BAR CIB TAD EPR. And so, a military wife is a translator for her family and his. She is the long-distance link to keep them informed; the glue that holds them together.
A military wife has her moments. She wants to wring his neck and refuse to move to Japan, but she pulls herself together. Give her a few days, a travel brochure, a long hot bath, a pledge to the flag, a wedding picture, and she goes. She packs. She moves. She follows.
Why? What for? How come? You may think it is because she has lost her mind. But actually it is because she has lost her heart. It was stolen from her by a man who puts duty first, who longs to deploy, who salutes the flag, and whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her military husband, she will remain his military wife. And would have it no other way.”

 

1 step forward, 2 steps back

Well, I thought I was getting healthy… I even did a mini workout earlier this week to motivate me to get ready to do regular workouts again.  I got all of the Christmas decorations put away, I caught up on laundry, I cooked dinner for several nights in a row.

And then I woke up sick again.  ANOTHER stomach flu, worse than the first one.  I had to walk around bent in half, among other lovely symptoms I won’t scandalize you with.  My husband was at work and all I could do was lay on the living room floor while my daughter played around me in a tornado of toys I was too weak to pick up.  I managed to feed her and get her down for a nap, then hobbled to my bed and called my husband.  THANK GOD Claire decided it was a good day for a 3.5 hour nap, because I was immobile.  Sean still wan’t home when she woke so I had to hobble to her room, change her diaper and feed her again, still bent in half.

Anyway, before the evening was over I had thrown up and felt much better, but I still couldn’t quite make it out of bed.  I was so frustrated with being sick!  I only really get a bad cold about once per year, and in these last two weeks I had the stomach flu, a bad cold, and then another stomach flu!  Way to kick a girl when she’s down, world!  I blame Florida.

I’m just convinced it’s this shitty state’s fault.  It can sense that I’m miserable here, and now it’s twisting the knife in my side a bit more.  Yesterday when I was feeling much more myself, I told Sean I just had to get out of the house, so we decided to go walk on the beach… Immediately upon exiting our house to walk to the car, the putrid waft of the paper mill made its way to my senses, and I felt myself turning green again.  I don’t know what I’m going to do about that smell, it is simply disgusting.  I don’t understand how people just go about their lives when that smell comes around (which is often)!  Then again, I don’t know how people say they “love it here,” and call it “paradise.”  Psshhh.  Not to sound haughty, but I’ve lived in France, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.  If this is your “paradise,” you really need to get out more.

A fellow Navy wife I recently met, who is also new here, was posting on Facebook about how much she is enjoying Florida, after I had seen an earlier post of hers about how depressed she was due to the lack of Winter… The new post showed her playing in the sunshine talking about how much she “loved it here so far,” and all I could think was, someone is trying way too hard.  Not to be rude, because to a certain extent that means she has a better outlook than me.  At least she’s trying!  Fake it till you make it, amiright?

I just can’t fake it yet.  I’m the kind of person who needs to get out of the house most days, or I go stir crazy.  But lately I have had almost zero desire to go anywhere.  Mostly because I’ve been too sick to want to leave the house, but also because where would I go?  What can I do that’s entertaining yet free?  (We are on a strict budget this month.  Moving’s expensive.)  My pessimistic mind thinks that everything sucks or stinks (literally) around here, so why would I want to go anywhere?

Sorry to be such a Negative Nancy.  I’m actually feeling a lot better today: I went on a nice trip to Target with my little one, who was a good girl and let me shop in relative peace, came home and bleached the hell out of the bathroom and still had time to write this post while the baby naps.  I guess I just needed to vent my frustrations of the last week.  This blog is a journey that begins with my new journey in the South, and I need to be honest otherwise it’s not therapeutic.  So there’s my dish of honesty for ya: The South; not a fan so far.

And all I can think is, it’s 77 degrees today, in January, and it’s only going to get so much hotter and more humid.  Help.

Which is why I’m making plans to make my home an oasis from the South.  A place I can be among my things and my family and pretend I don’t live where I live, until I decide I’m ok with living here, if that happens.  I will be documenting these projects on this blog, so stay tuned, if you don’t mind the sarcastic anecdotes.

If it helps, I feel a little better after writing that.  Happy weekend!  Maybe we’ll finally get the Christmas lights down tomorrow…

 

New Year, New Life, New Blog.

New Years… Fresh start. For an organized life. A healthier life. A time to rethink your goals. Unless you’re in my household, because then all you’d have at New Years is a cold. And then the stomach flu. Or the stomach flu, and then the cold. We are a week into 2017 and I think I’ve left my house twice, out of a necessity to feed my daughter (neither my husband nor I have done much eating this week). We are experiencing that plight of parenthood in which both adults are miserably sick and yet have to keep our child alive and fed. The old saying “parenthood never gets a day off” is starting to make much more sense now. How I wish we weren’t 3,000 miles from the grandmas! Sending out the SOS, waving my white flag – HELP!

Anyway.

This New Year is more symbolic for me than most, being that we are still “new” to living in the South, don’t have many friends yet, everything is pretty much entirely different from anything familiar to me (even the butter sticks are shaped differently! I mean really… butter!), and, well, I’m kinda miserable. Have been since we left the familiarity and comfort of our little town in Washington. Our true home. I knew this transition would be difficult, and I knew I didn’t want to do it in the first place, but it has been even more difficult than I could have anticipated. Does anyone know how long it takes to “settle in” to a new home? To feel like you are a part of a new community? From my perspective it’s gonna be a while.

You guys, I’m a total fish out of water here.

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I talk funny down here – which, my good friend from Alabama just recently gave me some tips on how to help people better understand my Yankee accent in these parts. Next time I’m in the drive-thru I’m going to try this out, for science of course. I’ll report back. I dress funny – my casual Pacific Northwest wardrobe of blue jeans, cardigans, scarves and flats don’t exactly jive with hot and humid. And I apparently eat funny – I just recently learned what a hush puppy is, and I still haven’t tried cheese grits. Or any form of grits for that matter. Oh, and I was laughed at last week for having never been to a Cracker Barrel? Is that a thing?

There’s a lot more about living here that makes me feel out of my element, or just not “settled,” as I said (such as the GOD AWFUL smell of a paper mill somewhere nearby that enshrouds this town every other day and makes me want to throw up in the nearest trash can) but sooner or later I know I need to face the facts: I live here now, and I better get used to it.

I’m acutely aware of the fact that this move coincides with a new phase in my life – one of parenthood and establishing our family, of me being in my 30’s, and making some real decisions about our goals for the future. Translation: change change change. I never did like change.

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Yes, it’s November.  Where in the world am I??

I had a really great conversation with my mom last night about all of the thoughts and worries swirling around in my pretty little head, and (as usual) she gave me some perspective that I was really lacking. I told her how utterly exhausted I’ve been feeling lately. Just burnt out, no energy, no idea where to go from here, bone tired. Despite my exhaustion I’ve been trying so hard to meet people, establish a routine, get involved here and there, etc. etc. but the problem has been that my heart isn’t into it yet. I just want to miss my home right now, and be a little sad, and feel a little lost, and I didn’t realize that until talking with my mother. She told me to just slow down, take some time to rest and find my energy again, give into my exhaustion by embracing it and not asking so much of myself, until I feel ready to take on this new life. And you know what, I think that’s what I’m going to do. I’m usually always thinking of what to do next with my life, what my next goals are, what I should be doing, but right now I just can’t go there. So I’m not going to! I’m giving myself permission to heal from the last four months of chaos that my family has gone through, to focus on myself and my daughter and what makes us happy, and to not try so hard to be settled already. Maybe that means staying home more, taking on some projects around the house (it could use it anyway), or focusing on cooking even more. Maybe that means finger painting on the back porch and cuddling my little one while we watch “Sesame Street” together more often. Whatever it is that brings me small moments of happiness, that’s what I need for now, until my soul feels more rested and rejuvenated. And I hope eventually…the rest will come.

So while my New Years goals also include working out regularly again, and eating well (which isn’t exactly a resolution for me; I pretty much try to do these things on the regular, but my life has been Hell lately, so I’m using the New Year as a motivator to get my life as I know it back on track), they also include giving myself some permission to breathe for a while, and to do whatever the Hell I want until I figure out exactly what the Hell I want.

And I REALLY want to feel better now. (Sneeze).