Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Last Drive

Hopefully I won't have to be making this drive every week anymore. If we do finish the process tomorrow, I intend to stay in the house, furniture or no furniture. Dave has to vacate the barracks as soon as possible if we want our rent allowance to kick in on time. There's a whole process involved there, but at least I'll be around to help move his stuff. In the meantime, I'm not sure when I'll next be online. There is a Starbucks five minutes away which should suffice for emergency email checking until we can get our own connection.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mostly Successful

So ends an extremely interesting (and expensive) extended weekend.

My drive down on Friday was thankfully uneventful. I was too keyed up to handle much excitement at that point. A great deal of traffic was negotiated at high speeds, gravity was defied (coming up that darn hill), ID cards were flashed, official paperwork was acquired, ownership of the vehicle and possession of insurance were proven, a great deal of navigating was done on the fly, speed bumps were conquered, and then I had finally . . . driven onto base and found the hotel. I knew it was going to be a long day.

David met me there after class, looking incredibly spiffy in his black and khaki everyday uniform. We checked in, dropped our stuff, then immediately drove off base and back down that hill in search of the housing office. Getting there proved chaotic at best; the right lane has a bad habit of turning into an exit with little to no warning around here. But the GPS saved the day once again, at least three times actually, before we finally found the place. The staff were very friendly and straightforward once we got there, but they declared it to be too late to do any touring of the vacant houses. We thought the hour and a half left before closing would have been plenty of time, but nobody asked us. They printed a list of possibles for us, encouraged us to poke around a bit (but not too much), and then closed for the weekend.

Waiting out the weekend for normal business hours in our situation was rather like being put on terminal hold on a prepaid phone; our minutes were burning rapidly. The budget didn't really allow an extended stay, but we decided to bite the bullet and keep me there through Sunday night in the hope that we could tag-team it Monday and just get the job done. We used Saturday to run errands, peak in some vacant windows, and spend some of our Target cards on survival gear like an air mattress and all it's accessories. David is plagued with exams this week, so he spent most of Sunday studying. Sarah probably should have been studying, too, but we had some time to catch up.

Monday dawned bright and early at 5AM. I dropped David off at his building and then went back to pack up the room. I put the TV on out of sheer boredom and was informed that the rain was in route once again. Serious rain. No one told me this was the rainy season over here. The clouds would be rolling in today, and Tuesday would be all about thunderstorms. It did not bode well for driving the length of the bay back and forth over the mountains, and the sleepover money had run out.

Breakfast was prepackaged bagels and muffins, courtesy of the hotel. I called the housing office and scheduled a tour for 10:30. I checked out at 9:45 and was then officially homeless for the duration. I drove back out to the office, with only one wrong turn this time. A nice representative took me for a tour of the four possible homes we were interested in (i.e., the ones that were ready NOW). Five minutes per location, twenty minutes and we were done. The guy actually made the comment that he had never finished a tour that fast. Really, there wasn't much to inspect. They were all exactly alike, except for a few obvious details. The first had nice cabinets and new carpet, but we would be requred to have it professionally cleaned before we left; the second was hardwood with nice new floors in the kitchen and bathroom; the third was hardwood, with ugly tile floors in the kitchen and bathroom; the fourth had a nice kitchen, an ugly bathroom, and smelled like toxically fresh paint. I liked the second one, no contest. I promised to return with the husband later that afternoon.

For the rest of the day, I was essentially living out of the car. I wandered around and did some bargain hunting at Ross, did some necessary shopping at Target, topped off the gas tank, drove back to base, wandered around the PX, sat in the food court, then returned to the car and rummaged through my collection of paperwork, said a rosary, munched on granola bars, cleaned the rear-view mirrors, and did whatever else I could to pass the next two and a half hours. David turned up as soon as class let out, and off we went once again. By this time, I had that drive pretty much figured out. They were ready for us, and got him to sign the line where he was supposed to. However, there is apparently a third phase of paperwork we hadn't counted on, and (lo and behold) it was too late to do it today. They were very willing to do it tomorrow, but David had a horrible exam scheduled, I had no place to stay the night, and I certainly wasn't going to drive anywhere through the thunderstorms. It was raining already, and there was some doubt that I would outrun the storm at all. We scheduled our last meeting for Wednesday, I dropped David back on base, and took advantage of a sudden break in the clouds to make my escape.

On the whole, much quality time was had, and I'm glad this was all arranged as quickly and efficiently as it has been. It was still quite an adventure, though. I am back in Cupertino now, at least for one more day. Then we can do it all again. ^_^

Friday, January 22, 2010

Our Grand Exploit

Several hours later, we seem to have solved several of our perceived problems. We do have to get everything done Friday, but we have more time to do it than we thought we did. Maybe we won't have to drive like maniacs after all.

And speaking of driving, this will be my first major solo commute in California. A combination of mediums have been employed in an effort to get me and my directionally-challenged mind safely to my destination without too many turn-arounds. I have been very thoughtfully provided with ye olde fashioned paper folding maps in addition to MapQuest (which can't seem to route its way through the correct highway) and the GPS (which produces an "Error" each time it approaches a certain town along the way, and doesn't seem to know about the particular gate through which I'm supposed to enter the base). Patchworking all three together, I think I can find my way down. I'm leaving plenty early, though, just in case.

Navigating to what remains of Fort Ord, however, is entirely upon David; neither MapQuest nor the GPS seems to know of its existence. He's produced a few miracles of organization already, so I expect it will be all right.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Still Homeless

We had another lovely and productive weekend lined up. I was supposed to drive down on Friday, meet David that evening after class, spend Saturday making a leisurely trip out to look at apartments, meet with the authority figures, sign paperwork, etc., and then possibly have an address of our own.

But apparently the office in question is not open on Saturday.

How they expect to cater to a student population with a schedule like that I have no idea. The poor guy is trying to choreograph all of this today WHILE attending class. We don't even have a phone number for the office in question yet because the officers are busy elsewhere and everyone else who knows is apparently unreachable at the moment. If we fail in scheduling a special appointment on Saturday, we're going to have to see if we can get in on Friday, which would mean getting me down earlier, grabbing him as soon as he sets foot out of class and rocketing away like a bat out of hell to try getting in before they close for the weekend.

There are also some small snags to consider, like getting the car on base without the appropriate stickers, which would require getting a temporary pass on the spot, which apparently I can get even though all I have is an ID card with the wrong name on it because we haven't been able to visit Social Security because we don't have an address. Here's hoping there aren't any horrible flooded roads or other unaccounted for obstacles after this 20-year storm we've been having all week. Yes, it's still raining. Hopefully it should be enough to keep the state from burning down this summer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Save the Car!

Hailstorms? Really? I hope the little car didn't manage to come all this way just to sit on the street and get hail damage. Apparently they almost never have weather like this around here. Go figure. Flash floods and mud slides. Making that possible trip to Monterey this weekend could be very interesting.

Even the experts say this is a record-setting storm front. Everyone here can just thank me, I guess. Whoopdeedo.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Family Curse

The family curse strikes again, bringing freak weather patterns and seismic anomalies whenever we move to a new place. In 2002 we brought drought, flash floods, a minor earthquake, and Hurricane Isabel to Virginia. This time I brought thunder, lightning, and rain storms the like of which California hasn't seen for a good while. The swimming pool is about to overflow. Perhaps I should have warned the locals that I was coming. They seem to appreciate the water, but I just hope my car doesn't float away in the night.

The car did arrive yesterday, by the way, in one piece and (as far as I can tell) undamaged. Today we had it checked out and changed the oil, so it should be completely road worthy. There seems to be a good deal of driving in our future this weekend.

Now that I have all the free time, I have indeed reopened the files of my neglected novel. It's still a slow process, but everyone is gradually coming to life. I owe it to Sarah at least to have something more than half a chapter before she leaves us.

Monday, January 18, 2010

One Step Closer

Today we're supposed to have the car back. The movers called on Saturday and set up a tentative delivery schedule for this morning. I'm still waiting to hear from them on that point, but it's been raining quite a lot and I suppose they're running late. It will be great to finally have an independent set of wheels so we can work our own problems without bothering all our friends in the region. However, everything I hear about driving in California seems to promise no end of on-road adventures, mostly caused by insane drivers and senseless obstacles like big trees planted in the middle of the street. I've seen the latter for myself, and I have to admit it looks like a design from the mind of a crazed landscaper who never owned a car in his life. There is some doubt that the movers will be able to negotiate their way into this neighborhood with a transport trailer on account of these trees in the road. Hopefully they'll just bring the car by itself.

David and I had a very nice weekend to ourselves on the base, and took the grand walking tour of Monterey. It's a great vacation spot, but I wouldn't want to live here permanently. We even managed to take care of some official business while we were there. I'm still stuck with my maiden name for the foreseeable future, however, until we can actually get the wheels turning with all the other office drones concerned.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Phase Two

After a mind-numbing day of traveling, I arrived safely on the west coast (with all my baggage) yesterday afternoon. I had never seen that much of the country all at once before, but unfortunately I was never quite sure what I was looking down at. It was basically one big brown patchwork of fields and cities, with the occasional bunch of mountains.

For the moment we're just waiting for the delivery of several very important items, notably the car and a lot of official paperwork. The current plan is to spend the weekend with the husband, service the car when it gets here, and then look at potential domiciles on base next week.

The blog is also due for a makeover now that the wedding is old news. If there is a demand, I will create a photobucket for wedding pictures. They're on Facebook at the moment, but if anyone wants to access them and can't, just say so. :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Done!

The wedding was perfect in all the most important ways. It's a huge relief to have it done, but still hard to see him leave again. He arrived safely and in good time on the other coast, and I hope to join him some time before the end of the month. I'm stuck behind fielding paperwork. Further details will be forthcoming when I'm not so tired, and I'll post my favorite pictures when they come back to me. :)