Friday, March 11, 2011

What to do when there is a really what do you do?

Aloha and I am sorry I have not been keeping up with our adventures.  I guess I felt it was really hard to update in a short blog on how everything has changed in our family, but after last night I feel like there will be questions coming from our friends and family on the mainland.

Yesterday was a completely normal Thursday for us.  Madelyn went to her weekly Gymboree class followed by our lunch date with some friends from class and our typical commissary stop at Pearl Harbor.  Andy was lucky with a short day at work, so spent spent his afternoon on the Ko Olina golf course.  We had a nice family dinner and put Madelyn to bed. It was finally our time to unwind and watch our favorite Thursday night shows.  Around 9 pm the stationed was interrupted with breaking news about the earthquakes in Japan followed by a Tsunami warning for Hawaii.

Now I have grown up with lots of tornado and snow storm warnings and Andy was use to hurricanes, but what do you do when there is a tsunami threat. We had no clue! Our first thought was our mom's and them waking up to the news there is a tsunami headed towards Hawaii, so we waited till the appropriate hour and called them since we had no idea what cell service we were going to have after the tsunami. Luckily it hadn't even crossed my mom's mind that tsunami might be a threat, but she did know about the earthquake in Japan and on the big island because she has an app for that. I could tell they thought we were crazy to ride it out in our house, especially since we are less than a mile from the beach, but we (Andy mainly) was sure this was not going to be as bad as they were predicting.

The news coverage was just like any extreme event.  They kept saying to check the evacuation zones and take appropriate actions and get to higher ground in Aloha style.  What is Aloha style? I am not exactly sure, but I hoped it was not the laid back leisure attitude, cause this was not the time for that.  We googled how to prepare your home for tsunami and there was nothing. We referenced the evacuation map and thought we really weren't in any danger so we prepped the house for the loss of water and power and moved what we really needed to higher ground just in case we could not access the bottom floor.

The pacific tsunami warning center issued a warning signal every hour, that sounds exactly like a tornado warning and would not make and predictions until the tsunami hit midway island. Our home is located 46 ft above sea level and they were predicting a 6ft increase, but after the horrific pictures from Japan I was not willing to risk it, so in the last 50 minutes before the wave, we packed the car and hit the road.

We headed towards schofield barracks, which is in the middle of the island, and stopped at the Walmart parking lot just outside of Waipahu hoping we could wait it out, but not be to far from our home. When we arrived it was camp city.  People we sleeping in their cars, tents, and on blowup mattresses on sidewalks. It was packed on the higher level parking lots so we took a spot in the lower parking lot and watched the clock waiting for 3:21 am. It began to rain around 3:19 am and we were all piled in the car, Madelyn watching a movie, me on facebook, and Andy with Zoe in the front seat waiting eagerly for the big hit. 3:21 came and went and there was nothing.  The radio personalities began joking on how there was no change and people were out on the beach watching the waves do...nothing!

After about 20 minutes Andy took our exhausted family back home and we all crawled back into bed.  The roads just north of our neighborhood stayed closed till 8 am until they finally made the "all clear sign" so all those that evacuated could return home.  I was very grateful it was not more than 2 ft swells and that none of the islands got anything near what they predicted. It was an experience I believe we will never forget and a story we will share with Madelyn when she is older. For now we return to our aloha way of life and are enjoying the sun and warm weather. Love to all our family and friends and Maholo for all the thoughts and prayers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The End of Waiting

I have always heard the saying "hurry up and wait" come from the mouth many of our friends who are in the military. It seems the entire military believes this to be the main concept for all procedures.  I knew this whole move to Hawaii was to good to be true and there where going to be alot of speed bumps along the way.  In June, Andy was the first to receive his RFO in his career course, but the last to receive his orders because of an unknown medical screening. Once the orders were cut, he was able to meet with transportation and secure the exact dates we wanted for our move. We waited then for confirmation and contact from the shippers. Weeks later we found out our orders were written incorrectly and transportation was only going to move us to Hilo, which is 250 miles of ocean from where we were going to live.  Once we contacted Hawaii and the Thanksgiving holiday past, things finally began to move quickly again.  In the matter of 24hrs we scheduled all our household goods for pick up, flights to Hawaii, ended our lease, and moved completely into my parents home. Next step, the shippers.

Only moving from Louisville to Savannah on my own and Savannah to Louisville, I never really have had much experience in military moves.  Our move to Ft. Knox was not extremely difficult, but it was just Andy and I and a 10 hr drive we had made many times.  This time it was an overseas move which required different procedures and requirements, also there was one more addition to the family and all of her belongings. Our packers and movers were extremely nice and quick.  6 hours, 9 crates and 24 donuts later they had packed our things and sent them on their way. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that they make it on the boat and across the ocean. It would just suck to see the boat go down.

So now we have reached the end of waiting for the Army to get their butts in gear and get us on our way. We are lucky to be able to stay here for the holidays and celebrate with both of our families.  We now are just waiting for the first of January to come and we will be sending Andy on his own to set us up in Hawaii.  I will say, Louisville is giving us a wonderful send off with 3 days of snow and temperatures in the teens...I am sure ready for the warm weather and island breezes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Aloha Hawaii

Well we finally received the news we have been waiting for and its official, Aloha Hawaii!!  Andy received the official orders about a week ago and ciaos has settled in.  If any of you are familiar with a military move you know the exactly what ciaos I speak of.  Briefing after briefing, Andy is scheduling packing, moving, and traveling days. We are currently moving into my parents home, packing 3 different shipments for the movers and making our holiday arrangements, all while working full time jobs.  "This is so much fun" I find myself saying alot lately and then Andy reminds that we are going on an all-expense paid vacation for 2 1/2 years.

The exact details of what Andy's new job is going to be is a little hairy.  We know he will be filling an ac/rc position training the Hawaiian National Guard in Hilo and that they run the unit on "Aloha Time", which seems to be the biggest perk.  We will be living on the island of Oahu near Barber's Point and I finally get to take my dream job as a SAHM.  We are researching and reading all we can about the area and the other islands and have discovered that this PCS really might be a dream come true.  I could not have asked for a better assignment and I think I am most grateful for the fact that I do not have to stress about another deployment.  Check out our soon to be home.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A hui hou kakou

"A hui hou kakou" a Hawaiian phrase for Until We Meet Again.  I thought this title was appropriate for our new family blog and described an on going theme for a military family and lifestyle.  I began this journey with my husband almost 5 yrs ago and every time we begin to plan and decide what we want to do in the future, the Army throws us into a whole new direction.  Once Andy returned home from Iraq in 2008, we knew he would attend class at Ft Knox and we only hoped and prayed we would get a chance to stay there for 2 yrs and enjoy time being close to my family and friends, which happen to work in my favor.

Since we have been stationed back to Kentucky, Andy has commanded a basic training troop, I took a job with GE Energy and we had a baby.  We have also spent 2 football seasons in South Bend, celebrated birthdays, weddings, and babies with family and friends, and made some drastic decisions on our future. We knew our time in Kentucky was going to be short lived since Andy took the signing bonus for 3 more years of active duty, but where the Army was going to send us was a big ?. We did the typical process that most Army families endure, making the list.  We talked with family and friends about what places we would like to live and jobs Andy would like to take. A bottle of wine and 3 hours later our list was made.  Andy went to the meeting and to our surprise, places we never considered were offered on the table.  In a short 5 minute phone call to me and all the decision making from the previous night out the door, we chose HAWAII. Yes, a vacationers paradise. We had no idea what the job was and where in Hawaii we would be located, but we said YES.

So here we are 2 months later after the decision waiting for orders....that's right, waiting for orders.  We had no idea moving to Hawaii was like moving to a foreign country, it is apart of the US, right?  We have been trying to plan anything we possibly can, but i have learned now to roll with the punches. It might be right before Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even Christmas before we get a our stuff packed up and on a boat headed toward the islands, but one thing is 98.999995% sure, we are moving to Hawaii.

I decided that maybe now was the time I became a blogger.  Since we are moving so far away from our family with their only grandchild and it seems to be a recurring theme amongst my family and friends, it was time I jumped on the bandwagon.  So as our journey begins to a new place, I want to say to all of our amazing friends and family UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN. We hope this blog will be the missing link between our family and friends and I will update soon on progress and when the Grand Opening of MAD's Bed and Breakfast will occur.