Normally, running your gas tank down is a fairly easy thing to do, right? Most of the time it’s a matter of looking down and realizing “Oh, crap, I need gas.” That’s the Way, right?

So I need to actually run my tank down until it’s no more than one-quarter full (yet no less than one-eighth), so that it’ll be where the auto shipper people want it to be when they pick it up tomorrow. I’ve been fairly judicious in driving it lately, and it was just a squoosh above a quarter tank this morning. Yep, a squoosh. That’s a scientific term; look it up.

Problem. My ten year old car, yeah the one that has cost us loads in repairs, gets 23-25 miles to the gallon. Normally I enjoy that fact. But today, I’m driving around, trying to run it down, and after 20+ miles, it’s still a squoosh above a quarter tank. Who’da thunk it? Maybe I have the Magical Ragtop, the one that will Never Ever Ever run out of gas…

I also cleaned it out. Holy crap, how did I wind up with 5 sweatshirts and 4 towels in the trunk? Why did I have 5 sweatshirts in the trunk? One is enough. I can only wear one at a time. And why are they all gray? Did I really buy myself more than 5 gray sweatshirts? There have to be more than 5, because I have 2 or 3 upstairs in a closet. Is there some significance to gray?

The towels, that I can understand. Leak protection while driving.

So, anyone need anything from the store? Because I do need to go out and burn a little more gas…


Ok. My head asplode.

Ok. We did not move here by choice; the USAF, in all its infinite wisdom, decided that with just 2 years left to serve before retirement, in spite of all the really good reasons we had for staying at Travis AFB (including the fact that that was where we intended to stay, thus saving them the expense of moving us elsewhere, and including the fact that the Spouse Thingy’s CO agreed we had valid reasons for staying at Travis, and should be allowed to), we were going to Ohio.

Ok. Fine. We did not want to come here, but figured since it was supposed to be a really good assignment we’d make the best of it. And it has been a really nice place to live. Seriously nice. Great people here. But you gotta figure it cost the taxpayers close to 8-10 grand to get us here, and now they have to pay to send us back. The taxpayers have my sincere apologies.

Ok. Usually as part of a move, the military member gets what’s know as DLA; that’s military speak for “dislocation allowance.” It’s basically 2 months worth of a housing allowance, to help the family with uncovered moving expenses, and to put down a deposit, etc, on a new place to live at the new duty station. It’s very helpful, and removes the out of pocket expenses the military members used to incur with every transfer.

Ok. Now, all this time we were lead to believe we would get DLA for this retirement move. It wasn’t in any of the paperwork, but it was told to the Spouse Thingy more than once. Yes, you get DLA. He was warned he would not get funds for temporary housing (10 days worth, to be used on either end of a move, or both) so we were prepared for that. We were not prepared to find out that we would not be getting the DLA, which for us is roughly $2400.

That’s a lot of money to suddenly find out you won’t have to make a cross-country move (oh…I forgot to start the new paragraph with OK. So…ok.) We were decidedly not happy about it, but it’s not a retirement entitlement, and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just one more, final, bend-over-and-smile-while-you-get-screwed thing. Without lubricant. I can only think that they wanted us to get here, but don’t care if we get home and can afford to rent some place to live. Sure, give the military 20 years…then goodbye, and go live in a box for all we care.

Ok. So we’re going home without DLA. Fine. But today the housing office calls and says our rent was not paid. The rent that is supposed to be automatic, coming directly out of the Spouse Thingy’s pay. They want it by Friday. But guess what! It’s not in our bank account either! I don’t think it’s showing up on his October 1 pay, either! Yay!

Ok. So they’re claiming our rent is paid in arrears. Really now. When we moved in—the middle of August—we had to write them a check to cover the rest of August. And then September 1 of that year the housing allotment hadn’t kicked in, so we had to go in and pay them the rent for September…obviously we were paying ahead, not in arrears. And to clear the final inspection, we have to have a check in hand to cover rent from Oct 1-11.

Ok. We understood that. What I don’t understand is why we now have to have—by Friday—around $1200 to cover rent that should have already been paid. I can’t see anywhere where our rent has ever been paid in arrears. But ya know what? Unless we cough it up, we can’t leave. So Friday we have to hand over $1200 and then on the 12th another almost-$500. And we don’t get DLA to help out on the other end.

Ok. This is math I can do. $2400 in DLA we’re not getting plus $1200 in rent we shouldn’t have to pay equals $3600.


edit, 20 minutes later...

Ok. Color me red. I found the checkbook register from the time period in question, and I'll be damned, but we paid the September rent in October. I hate being wrong. Really really really hate it. That doesn't mean I want to pay it, but cripes...

I still have righteous indignation over not getting the DLA!!! Yeah! Power to the people!

:::wanders off, muttering to self:::


For some reason, when you live in base housing, they expect you to leave it nicely clean when you move out…as if the next residents won’t appreciate all the time and effort it takes to grow science projects in 5 different areas of the house. To facilitate the cleaning process, they have what’s known as the “pre-inspection” about 2 weeks (or as long as 30 days) before you move out.

Now, in the past this pre-inspection has consisted of someone from the housing office coming to our residence, where upon they poke their nose into all the rooms and closets and bathrooms, look in the oven and fridge and dishwasher. When they’re done, they tell me what an awful housekeeper I am, and recite a list of things I need to pay particular attention to before we can even think of passing the final inspection.

This never makes me feel too bad, because just about everyone I know is made to feel like they don’t have a clue about House Cleaning 101.

When we cleared housing at Travis AFB the last time, we didn’t have to work too hard because the house was slated to be torn down.

This time, the housing isn’t owned by the military. Wright Patterson AFB has made the move towards privatized base housing; a civilian contractor owns and is responsible for repairs and maintenance at what not to the housing that a great many military members live in here. It’s noticeably different from getting repairs and the like from civil engineering: for the most part they come out the day you call for a repair, or the day after. I’ve never had to wait more than a day and a half, even when they said they technically had 15 days to come out. Call their housing office and you don’t typically feel like they think they’re doing you a favor by being allowed to breathe the air in their houses; they get your housing allowance—rent—and they know it.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised by yesterday’s pre-inspection of our house. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned for it, but the guy came in, we stepped into the living room, and he basically said to clean it as well as we’d like it to be if we were moving in; don’t hire a contract cleaner, it’s a waste of money; if you break a sweat, you’re working too hard. Damp mop the floors, don’t wash the windows.


However…I did clean and clean and clean and clean for this pre-inspection, and a majority of that cleaning was upstairs, in one particular bathroom only used by someone we Shall Not Name. And the guy never went upstairs.

My efforts were not admired.
My efforts were not even noticed.

I am happy, though, that my efforts to clean out the closets were worth it; the guy from the moving company also stopped by to look at our stuff—to gauge how many boxes and manpower would be needed to get the job done—and he peeked into all the closets. He did not scream in terror, nor did he mutter “Oh Holy Crap.” Just “not too much here.”

He should have seen it before…


Roughly three weeks before we left Illinois for North Dakota, I threw my neck out (reaching for the freaking computer mouse no less), necessitating a trip to the ER, followed by several trips to the new base chiropractor. He twisted and turned and jerked, leaving me at one point thinking, “Holy crap, this is how we learned to break necks,” as he grabbed my head and twisted.

About 3 months before we left North Dakota, I have the fibro-flare from hell. It wrapped itself around my knees, and then my quads, making walking a near impossibility. I arrived in CA needing to borrow a wheelchair—I had to give back the one I’d been using in Grand Forks—and I used it for another two or three months.

Before we left CA for OH, it was the brain tumor. First the thirst, then the massive peeing…then the surgery.

You see a pattern here?

Two days ago the Spouse Thingy wanted me to look out the front window, and as I stood up, pain exploded through my left knee. It came in a wicked flash and then was gone, but it was enough to knock me back on my ass, and has poked at me since then. Last night I tried standing up a few times and wound up with my butt back in the chair. And now my right hip has decided to chime in, letting me know that it’s still here, and not willing to let the left knee get all the attention.

I should have expected this, really.

Since it doesn’t hurt all the time it’s not interfering in getting things ready for the move, but looming next Tuesday is Boot Camp. This would likely be my last week…but since I really don’t want to blow out the entire knee—I was warned a few years back that it was headed in that direction, pretty much just a matter of time—I think I may have to skip it this week.

And honestly, I don’t want to miss it. But I also don’t want to wind up with emergency surgery just a couple of weeks before we leave, and I don’t want to make a 5 day drive with my leg all wrapped up and immobile.

So…I guess I’m done with it. I’m going to try to walk the track tomorrow—not run—and see how that feels. I figure the track is better than trying to walk the bike trail behind the housing area. If I get two miles out on the bike trail and start to hurt, I have to turn around and try to make it back two miles. If I manage two miles on the track, I can crawl to my car if I have to.

It’s not that bad, I swear. I just don’t want to risk it getting that bad.

But really, maybe it’s a good thing the Spouse Thingy is retiring. Any more moves and I might have body parts dropping off in a trail behind me…


I'm not sure how, but for some reason I can clean and clean and clean and clean and leave an even bigger mess behind me...


The countdown is on…just about everything is in motion to get us out of here and back to CA. The Spouse Thingy has a huge list of places to go and things to do on base so that he can officially leave here the day we want to, and he’s gone to a great many of those places and done a great deal of the things on the list.

Arrangements have been made for someone to pick up my car and take it to CA for us, dropping it off at the in-laws, so they can play with it before we get there (um, yeah, it’ll need gas before really going anywhere…) Yes, when it came right down to it, I really didn’t want to get rid of my little red toy. We had decided to sell it, but then a couple of weeks later realized we’d done nothing to sell it and took that as a sign that we really didn’t want to.

The packers are set to come the 6th and 7th and the truck to carry off everything we own gets here on the 8th. I’ve heard horror stories about peoples’ entire household goods falling off the side of a ship before, but since ours isn’t going over water, I suppose we only need to worry about it toppling over the side of a mountain. Since there’s nothing really irreplaceable and it’s insured, I don’t think I’d go ballistic if that happened. Hey, I could buy new stuff!

Well… I wouldn’t want the truck driver to go over the edge with all our crap. That would kinda ruin everyone’s week, I think.

We clean the house (yes, hear me crying at the thought…though it’s not too bad thistime around) on the 9th and 10th, sign out on the 11th, but can’t leave until the 12th because Monday the 11th is a holiday, and for some reason they’re giving people the day off and no one will be there to officially sign the Spouse Thingy out. Like, what’s more important? Columbus day off, or letting us leave??? Don’t answer that.

We bought a spiffy plug-in-the-lighter-socket cooler for the trip…we can take a few sodas with us, but mostly it’s for keeping my meds that need to stay cool…well, cool. Would be funny if we get slammed for a random car search somewhere, and here I have all these nifty drugs. Including some very expired pain medication left over from my surgery two years ago that I never even opened. I figure we better take that with us instead of tempting the packers.

We found (thanks to Teahater) a new carrier for the PsychoKitty, it should arrive before we leave (I hope, anyway.)

Spouse Thingy has a job lined up.

About the only thing not arranged is a place to live when we get out there. And with our luck, everything will so smoothly until we get there, and we won’t be able to find anything to rent. In that case, we’ll move in with the Boy. He’ll be thrilled.


Just 3 more weeks!


You know those t-shirts that are all over the place (or used to be)... My parents went to Hawaii and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!

Welp, my neighbor went to Korea and I got this:

The picture doesn't do it justice. It's hand made--the little guy is all puffy and 3D-like--and in a really nice frame.

Way better than the t-shirts and jelly beans I'm usually pestering people for...and I didn't even have to beg (tho, if you're going somewhere, I still REALLY LIKE t-shirts...=ahem=) This was just a super nice surprise and I was so tickled and had to show it to everyone that I'm not sure I really thanked him for it... (:::hangs head guiltily:::)

Right now it's on a shelf in the hallway in front of one of the swords I've picked up recently (yep, the Spouse Thingy's hobby is can kind of see the sheath behind it in the picture) and it looks pretty spiffy there.

Oh, and it was wrapped in bubble never outgrow bubble wrap.
No, I will not share it.



In case you don't read the comments, Teahater found the spiffy pet carrier!

It's available through Feline Fantasies in 3 colors, for $79.99 plus $6.00 shipping (UPS Ground). That's only about $10 more than what we paid for one about 10 years ago.

Yep, I was verrrrry happy.
I immediately placed an order to be sure we'd have it before we leave here.

We'll keep the old one, too, so that Max can have one always available to snooze in. He won't admit it publically, I'm sure, but he loves it (well, we'll see how much he loves if later...)



There are some things you just don’t question.

For instance…my weight has not really changed. My measurements have not really changed (well, my boobs are smaller. Go figure.) Yet I tried on a pair of jeans that I’ve had hanging in the closet for about 4 years (yep, in two different states) that I couldn’t get into before (brand new, not sure why I bought them), and now they fit. Comfortably. So I’m going to wear them until they’re so dirty them walk away all by themselves, because after I wash them they may not fit anymore.

And there’s the running thing. I have friends who run. They do 5K and 10K races, and the occasional marathon. I’ve always thought they were nuts. I mean, running? Without someone chasing them? To what purpose? But here I am, walking the track and thinking “I’d like to be able to run.” Or just jog. In a circle, going nowhere. Just jog. I can now walk 4.5 miles in roughly an hour, and it feels like jogging is the next step.

However…there’s also the heart rate monitor. I know what my target range is and what my max is supposed to be (well, my 60% rate) and when I try to run, my heart rate goes considerably above that. So I back off…but I wanna. I have no idea why, but I wanna.

And in no relation to anything else, I’ve sucked down the equivalent of about a 12 pack since 4 p.m. Diet soda, not beer. All hail the wearing off of the DDAVP early. All that liquid leaves no room for snacks.


OK, this is something the PsychoKitty ranted about in his blog yesterday.

Yep, we took him outside to mingle with the Sticky People.

But...that's not why I put the picture up. It's up because I want y'all to look verrrrry carefully at the carrier he's in. I've only seen this thing twice--when we bought this one, and last year in a catalog--and now I can't find one.

This is an awesome pet carrier--it fits in the backseat of a car, is held in place with a seatbelt, and he can stand up and look around if he wants, or curl up and sleep while we make the drive to California.

So...your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pay attention to pet supplies, and if you find one (and are willing to ship it to me) let me know ASAP.

The one we have is still in good enough shape to use on the trip, but I'd be happier if we could find a new one. Max loves it, and we're hoping to avoid the howling that occured all the way out here 2 years ago (it wouldn't fit in the pickup truck, so we had to use a regular box carrier...not as nice.)

Oh, and don't let the rant on his blog fool you. He loved going outside, and keeps waiting to go back out...


Yeah, I know.
No one is ever going to forget what day this is.
I don’t think we should, either.

I can’t think of this day three years ago and not have the mental image of people trapped in those buildings. I can’t think of their horror and not feel incredibly sad. I can’t think of the firefighters who went in—most possibly knowing they might not come out—and not feel overwhelmed. I can’t think about my friend Deb, whose brother was in the first tower hit, and not feel my heart breaking for her. I don’t cry often, but when I think about this day 3 years ago, and everything that goes along with it, I get a huge lump in my throat and fight back a few tears.

I’m already hearing people moan and mutter things like “get over it already.” How? How is it so easy to just “get over” something so overwhelmingly horrifying? September 11, 2001, was like the nation getting collectively, involuntarily, screwed. You don’t just get over that. You deal with it, but you don’t get over it. You go about the act of living your life, and as well an as happily as you can, as normally as you can, but you don’t get over it.

And while you don’t get over it, you don’t have to shroud yourself in the misery of too many memories to count. You don’t have to be an emotional whipping boy to the specter of this day 3 years ago. You don’t have to give in to the anger over the horror. You don’t have to spend the day feeling abjectly miserable. You don’t have to do a lot of things.

You just have to remember.


Now, see, I have proof that the neighbors are evil.
Evil people make other people wear things.

Evil people put painful tiaras on other peoples’ heads.
Oh, yeah, they declared me the Birthday Queen

And they gave me a throne

But they also plastered my house and yard with displays of heir innate evilness...

This is age discrimination, truly it is.
Call the ACLU.
Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting in my office, wearing my tiara, and trying not to get leftover birthday cake on my bib…


I'd like to think that the start of my 43rd year didn't bring the start of senility with it...

Yesterday I ran a few errands, came home, went inside, and was done for the day. I knew I wasn't going anywhere else. So why, I keep asking myself, did I leave the top down on my car? What possible reason could I have had?

And who Up There thought it was funny to allow it to rain the one night I leave the top down?

It is soooo going to stink inside that car once it's dried...


You know, ever since my surgery--over two years ago, mind you--I've been wondering how long it takes the human nose to heal after being lifted off the face. And you'd think I'd know by now, but it's still kinda tender.

I think that by now it would have stopped being tender, if not for that pyschotic cat.

Eight this morning, I'm still sound asleep (yes, still...I'm skippng the aerobics class this week because I'm still kinda coughy and don't think I could beathe well) and Max doesn't just jump up on the bed to wake me up. He leaps from his window perch and runs across the mattress, slamming the top of his head into my face at full tilt.

Holy crap.

And he seemed quite proud of himself. Maybe too much; I think the little shit will just do it again, now that he knows it can work.