Saturday, December 31, 2011

Snowman Down

So I have a small obsession with snowmen. I love them! They are happy, smiling, and completely content with being round and plump! You can't be unhappy when you see a snowman, and unlike Santas there is no expectations of presents. You think happiness, hot chocolate and a good snowfall. What's not to love about that?  Good news is that you don't find them year round so I only have to be immersed in my obsession for 3+ months out of the year. That's not to say I don't miss my jolly snowmen in the off season.

So of course when November rolls around, my snowmen start doing their Sugar Plum Fairy dance and parade around the house making their seasonal debut. Of course the theme of winter is snowmen everywhere, and my house looks like the pit stop for all passing snowmen. I have short ones, tall ones, ceramic ones, glass ones. I have nesting snowmen from Russia.

 I have snowmen that are bells. (Does that make him a bellmen?) I have Polish pottery snowmen. I have snowmen that sing and dance. They light up and sparkle. There are a chain of snowmen that sit vigil in front of the TV. I have a parade of snowmen that Welcome you to my home. And others that wish you a happy wintertime in German.

They hang on my tree. They burn incense and pretend to be smoking. They decorate my mugs and kitchen dish towels. They hold candy, cookies and pictures. I can make snowmen cookies and muffins and serve them up on snowmen plates and platters. They even hold my poinsettias. Yes, I am in full addiction mode.

My kids think its funny to torture mom and switch up the snowmen. They put them in weird and compromising positions (I have a 16yo). They change my nesting snowmen and put different heads on different bodies. Sometimes its funny, and sometimes its infuriating.  This picture was disturbing, even the snowmen looked appalled at this behavior. The fact that they are smoker snowmen might have something to do with that too.

And well my husband, he is a tolerant man and makes sure the kids don't break my snowmen during their creative shenanigans. Not to mention he likes to buy me snowmen which in turn feeds my obsession.

So the other day I am casually walking to the bathroom and I pass our small telephone table with a keys basket sitting on it. Of course there was snowman perched on that table, duh! Well my hand caught the snowman's arch, ring, whatever you call it (look at his picture and you'll the see the ring) and oops. I tried to save him but down he went on our tiled floor and KAPUT! That was the end of him. Death of a snowman. He had been with me for about 7 years, maybe more, and I will miss him. The funny thing is... I think he was ready to go. He looked peaceful and was actually smiling when I swept him up in the dustpan. He looked like he was ready to head on to his next adventure....where ever that might be. So here I post a memorial to that silly little snowman who even when I swept him up and tossed his remains in the trash, he still brought a smile to my face.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Daze

Today could be any other day of the year, but its special to me. Today marks the 11th anniversary of my wedding to a wonderful man. I don't even know where to start to describe him. I could describe his physical characteristics, but that isn't why I married him. I could describe his tenacity, which is truly why I dated him and fell in love with him in the first place. Like a bull in a china shop, he barged into my life when I was at the height of complications. A failed marriage, messy divorce, 3 year old daughter, university requirements to finish, a full-time job and walls around my heart that would take him years to scale.

I could sit here and describe all the things that he did to break down my walls and give me a sense of security within my marriage. I could describe his love, and the unconditional love he has for our children: his, mine and ours. I could tell you how stubborn he is and how he is loyal to a fault. I could tell you how intelligent and well read he is, and how he plans for the days when are retired and growing old together. He cooks. He cleans. He does laundry. He is passionate about his job, and takes the success and failures of his men personally. All these things make him great and make our marriage work. But the greatest gift he has given me is acceptance. The ability to be myself and know that no matter what he still loves me. This belief in me, in us, instills such a sense of peace, stability, and confidence, that it is now the grout the holds our foundation in place. There is no greater breaker of barriers than the gift of unconditional love & acceptance.

So eleven years later I just want to say that my marriage is better than it was December 30, 2000. I love him more now than I thought possible, and the foundation we laid has held up under the weight of pretty heavy burdens throughout the years. He has made me a better person, and I have grown immensely as a mother, woman and wife during these eleven years.

On this day when we are supposed to celebrate the gift of us, we are miles apart. But its ok, and I am at peace with knowing that no matter how far apart we are I still feel his love around me. Thank you for wonderful life, Babe! I think of so many songs that could describe what I feel but we have a song...our Hawaii song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

So tonight, I sit here and listen to our song. Happy anniversary Babe and I will see you in 92 days.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

93 days and counting

I don't like to complain. Truth is someone always has it worse, and people don't like whiners. Hell, I don't like whiners, but today my Soldier Boy left to serve God and country. I said my good-byes and gave hugs and kisses. I didn't cry this time. This time was different. He is deploying for a mere 93 days. Many people would balk at being separated from their spouse for 3 months. Many spouses have never spent that much time away from their other halves. As a military wife, 93 days is a drop in the bucket. Short enough to live through, long enough to miss him.  Yes I am missing him already.

I'm grateful though that I have my children and work friends to help me through the next 93 days. We have made it through twice as long, and I have no doubt that we will make it through this one.

I decided that I would use this time to train up for something I have been wanting to do for years. I want to do some sort of triathlon or mud run or half-marathon. So I am training up and getting in shape while he is gone. Hopefully he will come back to a new and improved me. I hope 93 days is long enough to accomplish that goal. We will see how that goes.....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Overcoming SAD-ness

The fall/Christmas season is a difficult time of the year for me. It always has been and there were years that it was chaos. It wasn't until recently that I realized I probably have some sort of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The depression starts in earnest right around September and is in full swing by mid November, usually becoming more manageable by January and ending sometime around March.

Now many people would say that SAD is not real, and is just like every other form of depression: in your head. I would have thought so too if it wasn't for the fact that my husband, not a shrink or a medical  self-diagnosing website, by my best friend and life partner pointed it out to me about 5 or 6 years ago. At the time we had only been together about 6 years, but he noticed that every September my moods would start changing, and I was more sullen and irritable. My sleeping patterns took on a different rhythm and eating was more like a roller coaster of binge and starve. It got to the point that for years it was the season that without antidepressant medication, I couldn't function like a normal human being.

When I started to look back on my choices and decisions it seemed like everything that every went "wrong" in my life happened in those months. Whether they happened because life and destiny made them happen or because I was the root cause of the chaos, it didn't matter.  These months were always chock full of high drama living.  In my teens I moved out of my house in late August only to move into a worse situation by October. I walked out on a relationship of two years and an engagement in November. I left my first husband one October, and divorced him three Octobers later. I almost wrecked my second marriage one October, and came dangerously close to a second divorce one November. Another November I remember being away from home visiting family and friends and thinking that I would love to disappear and never return to my life. I figured out that I needed to get my shit under control or I would leave my life in shambles.

I taught myself to get through these months without meds and not making my family miserable in the process. I learned to look at myself through a different lens and understand that it would pass. I also taught myself not to make any big decisions during these months. I just ride out the storm, and then when the sun shines again, I can move on. My husband also has learned that in order to help me through these months, he just lets me be. He listens, I usually cry about things that don't always make sense. He learned that he can't fix everything, but that sometimes just a hug or a soothing movie on the couch helps more than anything else. He also learned to accept that during these months little makes me smile.

I can't tell you if its the moon or the position of the stars during these months. I don't know if it was the high drama living I grew up with as a child. Sometimes I wonder if my expectations of the fall season were always so high that I crashed around them. I just know that during these months, life can be hellish for me. I also know that I have learned to get through them. Now the sadness doesn't last nearly as long, and I don't wreak havoc on my life. This year the move to Germany made these months a bit harder than I thought but I got through them, and I am feeling good these days. Oddly enough fall is still one of my favorite seasons.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gardens of Stone

The weekend in Bastogne we also visited the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg. Yes the one where General Patton is buried. While we did visit his gravesite, that wasn't the highlight of the visit. The cemetery is breathtakingly beautiful. It is also overwhelmingly sad all in the same breath. When you enter you see the rows upon rows of stoic stone crosses with the occasional star of David interspersed throughout. As I walked up to the first row of markers, I noticed that the Star Spangled Banner had started playing from a tower-like structure behind me. As our National Anthem played tears just flowed down my cheeks at the loneliness of being buried on foreign soil, at the sacrifice that so many paid for the cause of freedom, at the debt that is owed to these individuals. Three or four more songs followed after the National Anthem, and I can only remember America the Beautiful and Swing Low Sweet Chariot, all of them instrumental. I couldn't stop crying. I took pictures to remember the lighting at the cemetery that day, as the sun finally peaked through the clouds and rays of sunlight bathed the Garden of Stone in glorious streaks of warm sun.
I went to the tower that was providing the only remembrance from home these soldiers were getting: music.  It turned out it was a chapel; the place where I said a quick thank you to all those who came before me. We didn't stay long in that amazing Garden of Stone, but you don't have to be there long to have a lasting impression of their final military formation.

*First picture says Dec 81 underneath however that is part of the iPhone app that I use to take the black and white shots. (Hipstamatic App)

The Battle of the Bulge

It's not everyday that you get to walk the same area of the largest battle fought by Americans during WWII. It's not everyday that you get to see hundreds of people come out and reenact the heroism that took place in that small town in Belgium. I got to experience this first hand the weekend of December 10th, and it was amazing! We (hubby and I) took our son on a Scouting adventure and stayed in a wonderfully renovated train station in Luxembourg. We walked the area of the battlefield and saw cars, guns, people dressed up as if it was still 1944. The small town of Bastogne had been transported back in time and was reliving its struggles along with its huge successes. The best part was the idea that we should commemorate the memory of so many who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of this town and for all of Europe. We had a great time sifting through history and experiencing a sliver of what life may have been like at that time. I know at 10 my son has no clue what he was privileged to see that weekend. I can only hope that he one day looks back and remembers fondly that when he was 10 mom and dad took me to see Bastogne.

*The pictures below were taken using my iPhone and a special app that allows me to take 'vintage' type photos. Love this app! Hipstamatic - if you're wondering.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A day that will live in infamy: then and now

I have had the magnificent opportunity to go to Pearl Harbor and experience the bravery, courage and sacrifice that was thrust upon individuals that quiet December morning, and in the subsequent years during WWII. I am forever grateful to those who paid the ultimate price for their bravery and heroism, and for those families who live with the pride and sorrow that comes with loving a lost service member. I am privileged and honored to be an Army Wife, to be married to a soldier who has given 22 years of selfless service to our country. Thank you to all who served and continue to serve our great nation. God Bless!

Poopers Beware

So there we are walking down a side street in Garmisch, Germany and this sign is posted by a tree. I don't know what is more amusing the sign itself, or the fact that you have such a huge problem with pooping dogs that you actually have to post a sign to curb it. Now Germans, and probably Europeans in general, take their dogs everywhere. Pets go to stores, restaurants and more often you see pets out more than children. One evening we had a patron in the pub bring their dog. Oh by the way, they do order a bowl of water when they order their pint of beer. No not the dog, the owner!

So I guess a No Pooping Allowed sign is a good thing to have to remind our four legged friend's masters when they are allowed to poo. Oh and don't forget to scoop your poop.

True Lies

Great movie! Never really thought of the meaning of the title and its implications until now. Now as in just the last few days, when the truth seemed like such a foreign concept to my teenager. Because of the nature of the internet and really still believing in the ideals of privacy and my eternal right to it, in total contradiction to my blogging, I will limit the details and go for the feelings. Ahh isn't that what this blogging is about anyways? Feelings...nothing more than feelings.
 My emotions get the best of me. They always do.  There is pain in a lie. There is pain the purposeful deception by those we love. I think there is more heartache and pain when that deception and lying comes from your child. My daughter attempted to lie to me to spare my feelings and to spare an argument. Yes two separate lies, two separate occasions, not the first time. Not wanting to hurt someone, commendable. Not wanting to start or pick a fight, great! I get it. Lying, deceiving and omitting the truth, not the best ways to go about it. How did I handle it? Well I did what all people do with hurt feelings, I festered. I festered in the ideas of whether I was raising a child who would rather lie than deal with the painful truth. I festered in the notion that she was honest with her father, who isn't present daily and not with me; the one here everyday, through thick and thin. I festered in the raw emotion of raising a teenage girl.  Each lie takes on a life of its own, requiring more lies to hide it and spreading to more people to preserve it. Most lies have an exit, a way to out itself and do the least amount of damage, and yet my daughter never took the out. She preserved the integrity of the lie and perpetuated it to her own physical detriment. The lie was outed and the argument was bigger than it needed to be. It always is.
My take away, my lesson to my child, to my blossoming young adult is the following:

   You choose to lie to those you love, a conscious decision. You choose to be deceptive when you lie. Whether by omission or commission you are still practicing to deceive. A lie requires work and more lies to keep it hidden. A lie is a seed that needs to tended to and watched, helped along. She justified her lies in trying to spare me the pain of the truth. I can't say there isn't pain in the truth, but there is more pain in knowing that someone didn't think you worthy of that truth or their honesty.

  I would like to believe that I raised her better, that I instilled a sense of honor and integrity in my child, but then I realized that I am still raising her, job not yet finished, my teen not quite yet done. Teens are governed by laws that are foreign to the rest of the world which don't make sense even in the teen world. Examining how I raised her led me to look at what example I set for her. Oh the hardest of truths and the easiest of lies: the ones we tell ourselves. I set the example for this behavior she used on me. Funny how the lessons we teach by our own behavior are the ones that bite us in the ass later. I have lied on occasions to spare her hide with her dads. I have omitted the truth to not disillusion them about Daddy's Little Girl. I have lied by writing her a late pass when she was late to her 1st period Algebra II teacher. I have lied by allowing her to stay home when she was only sorta sick. I taught her that sometimes the truth is bendable depending on the situation. I gave her a homegrown lesson in selective veracity. She learned well what I taught when I thought she wasn't paying attention. She learned that the sometimes in order to conform to fact, you must express what is false: True Lies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Life in Deutschland

Well we made it! My last post was MONTHS ago, and one might begin to wonder if we set sail to Deutschland, but we did. I must say that the process of settling into a new state can be challenging, well try a new country. Now I like to think of myself as a woman of worldly views, educated and informed, never mind that my profession as a high teacher and mother of a teen keeps me in touch with the "hip" stuff. HOWEVER, I might have overestimated my own cleverness. Instead of posting some horrifically long blog post that no one is going to read anyways, let's just take a couple of "for instances".
For instance #1: Finding a place to live. Momma never told me there would be days like this.
The U.S. military, in its attempt to provide some modicum of continuity for military children, tends to move its families in the summer. Makes sense, right? School is out and moving is a bit less stressful when you don't have to worry about children missing entire chunks of instruction. That being said, it also means that transient traffic in and out of a base if quite hectic and people are trying to move and vacate homes while others are trying to snatch up the nicer places to live. Snatch being the operative word here. So in Germany they don't place FOR RENT signs anywhere, and you don't have the traditional* Realtor/Rental Agencies. (Traditional will be used to denote anything that is 'typical' in America.)Rental agencies WILL help you find a place to live and they advertise, but what they don't tell you is that it will cost you up to one month's rent in finder's fees. Even if you found them in a newspaper!  So how do you go about finding a place? The newspaper printed for the American community, and the ONE website that is approved by the base housing agency. Yup....just one website. Now mind you the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) is the LARGEST U.S. military community outside of the United States. You would think that they would operate or encourage the operation of more than one website. Nope! So now you have couple hundred, maybe a thousand or so families moving every summer and one website to support the house hunt. You can imagine my frustration and despair. So we looked, and looked, and looked. We saw houses that were the size of shoe boxes with rooms no bigger than coffins. We looked at spacious homes on great lots of lands that were in villages so small and remote we would be lucky to see a plow go through the town during the winter. We arrived to view homes, get excited about the location and outside of the house, only to be told that the appointment RIGHT before ours rented the home. The nightmare continued for an entire month before we were forced to settle on home. How were we forced? The temporary lodging the military we were in was only open for 30 days. With luck and God on our side, we made a last ditch effort to find something and JACK POT! We find something that met our size, price and distance requirements. Now here I sit just 7 minutes to base, in a comfortable home that doesn't feel like something out of some bad 70's porn with shag carpets and wood paneling. It could always be worse....
For instance #2: Trash Trivia
Seems like a cool game? Something one might play with friends and adult libations? Guess again. In order to dispose of trash you have to sort through it. Not all trash is created equal. Here in Deutschland we segregate based on post trash usefulness. Almost every home has no less than 3 outside trash bins, each a different color, each picked up on different Mondays of the month. So to keep things simple I have 3 trash bins in my kitchen. We have the recyclables bin. A mere stand holds in place a yellow see-through plastic bag (provided for you down at the local town hall), where we sort all plastics, cans, styrofoam, cartons, and anything that contains a material that can be recycled. These bags are collected once every two weeks, and they are put out curbside for collection. No bin necessary. The next bin is for cardboard or paper. So newspapers, magazines, anything that is cardboard but not carton. So yes to the empty pizza boxes, but no to the milk carton. This has a HUGE bin outside and its collected only ONCE a month. Ummm... yes it gets pretty full by the end of the month. The last two categories that we should have is bio-waste and restmull. Bio-waste is biodegradable trash that they can use for compost. We have the option of composting ourselves or putting it in a bio-bin and they haul it off every other week. We don't have that bin and trying to talk to our German/Russian speaking landlord is incredibly difficult. So we don't bother with the bio trash. Then you have restmull, or reject trash. Amongst the trash caste system, this is the lowest of trash. These items can neither be recycled or composted, and so its incinerated. Collected once every other week, this trash has a tendency to get a bit ripe before they pick it up. What I find the most amusing is this is the smallest of bins and the idea is that you will have sorted through so much of your other trash that the Restmull or rest of it should be minimal. Good thinking! Except maybe we could use a class in sorting trash, because talk about having to reprogram children into sorting through ALL their trash. We have also gone more natural in our cooking to avoid mountains and mountains of trash. We figured the less trash we consume they less we put out.
For instance #3: Miscellanea
The Wal-Mart detoxs. Need I say more? When you are used to one stop shopping and everything you could possibly think of contained in one store, its hard to find yourself in a base exchange where off brands are nonexistent and their idea of a sale is 10% off the Coach heels. Really? Who on a military salary wears Coach or Prada? Not this chic! Moving right along.... 110 voltage versus 220 voltage. You don't realize just how much runs on electric until you have to buy new appliances or buy a $100 transformer to run your 110v appliances off of, which can be an electric bill nightmare. Not that you would know because you don't get a monthly bill. They just estimate base on the previous year's usage. You pay an approximate cost and hope that you don't overuse because at the end of the year they read the meter and THEN you get a bill. It goes one of two ways: you get a refund for what you overpaid or you owe them money. I'll let you know how this turns out!

There is A LOT to get used to and so much to learn. I am adjusting and learning to roll with the punches, something I hadn't yet mastered. I am positive that by the time I leave Deutschland I will be a pro at going with the flow, because the alternative is drowning trying to fight the tide.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cayo Hueso: The Rock that Built Me

If you grew up or have visited there, you would know: Cayo Hueso is Key West. Key West is my hometown. You can't begin to imagine how long it has taken me to understand the impact of that statement. Heck, I have only just acknowledged it in the last two weeks. Epiphany of the year!

It would be easy to say that I didn't live there long enough to call it my hometown, and many would agree with that statement. Hell I only attended my last two years of high school there, and then lived there sporadically from '92-'99. I was always running from the small town familiarity that bred gossip and inquiring eyes.

However, longevity has nothing to do with what or where we choose to call home. It is a feeling, a connection, a safe harbor, and the experiences that shaped us that determine where we call home.

I could take credit for this light bulb moment, and go into some long explanation of how I got in touch with my inner emotions...blah blah blah. But that would be a lie, and why lie on MY blog? So this is how it happened, my aha moment. 

There I was, no shit, reading my daughter's facebook status... yes it was a facebook epiphany. I know, the irony. At any rate, my daughter, in her sometimes wise beyond her years way, was saying good-bye to our house in Maryland. She was thanking it for the laughter, the tears, and the comfort. She told our house how it watched her grow up more than any other thing had, and she said how she would never forget it.

Then, as if my tears weren't already flowing from the raw emotion of the post, she added the video/song from Miranda Lambert "The house that built me".

I read.

I cried.

Yes, I suffered through the video, once.

I didn't dare hit play button again on the YouTube video link.

I still cry thinking about the post and the lyrics to the song.

It would be easy to say that it instantly "hit me" while reading the post, but it didn't. It hit when we started the drive to Key West, and I saw familiar surroundings I had not seen since my 10 year class reunion in 2002 (that was the last time I had been to KW.)

It hit me when I drove past 1320 Grinnell Street, the house that built me.

It hit me when my stay was almost cut short and I was forced to make a decision about leaving or staying, and all I could do was cry.

It was then I knew that Key West, for better or worse, was my hometown.

It was the town where I had made life-long friends. It was the town where I have way too many memories to count, both good and bad.

It was the town that shaped me, and forever changed my life. It was the town I grew up in, every bit of the phrase grew up.  For those reasons and many more, it is my hometown.

I no longer have blood relatives in Key West. My phenomenal step-father sold the home we lived in, and has subsequently passed away. (Miss you Papa!)

The house that built me is hardly recognizable. The new owners gutted, remodeled and completely changed the home, my home, which holds/held so many memories for me- to include my wedding day.

Life moves on, and time changes everything- regardless and because.

Change is, but for all that changes, some things stay the same.

The streets retain their old charm. The Old Conchs keep their funky Bubba accent. Tourist shops close and new ones emerge. Sloppy's and Hog's Breath are still entertaining.

Conchs will always wear their athletic gear with pride, and the flats still have the capacity to run a boat aground and force its passengers to get out and push.

I do know one thing, Key West is my hometown and that will not change. Besides, I made it facebook official!

Hometown: Key West.

The Life of a Nomad

OK, so who am I kidding? A nomad? BAHA! Gypsy? Too pejorative. Homeless. Yes! That's more like it. Homeless. The mere sound of it brings a reaction of slightly hysterical laughter which thinly veils the flood of tears which beg for release. Yea yea, you hear the melodrama in that sentence, well it is true. I am on the verge of tears. Change that I can't control often does that to me. Tears and melodrama. Ok ok... I will get to the point. See I have been without a place to call "home" since June 29th, when the the moving company hauled off the last contents of my home. Since then I have been on an East Coast Tour, without the fan fare and groupies. We, and I say we, because at the time Harvey and Alex (hubby & step-son) were with me, drove to Savannah, GA. In the few days we spent here together, we had a blast. We toured Savannah by day and night, drank at the favorite spots, ate delicious food and saw a great Fourth of July fireworks display. Then Harvey took off to Germany and Alex went back to his mom. Matt (my youngest) and I took off to South Florida. Did I forget to mention my grandfather has been in and out of the hospital since mid June? Yes, that too. We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale visiting with my grandparents for a few days, and then Matt and I hit the trail again,  taking off to Key West. Another adventure... best saved for its own blog. Matt and I stayed there for about 5 days, then returned to Ft. Lauderdale. Visited with the old folks again, and stayed there for 3 days. Then Mom, Matt and I came back to Georgia. (Mom was already in Ft. Lauderdale.) Ok, so what's the problem you ask? Has it been fun? Yes. Have I had a roof over my head? Yes. Then what? I miss the idea of knowing that if I wanted to go home, there would be such a place that I could go home to. I don't have that! My home in Maryland has a few odds and ends that I need to dispatch from there, and my other suitcase is at a friend's in PA. My husband is in Germany, and he is living out of temporary military housing, and until tomorrow at 11am, my daughter is with her father. I, we, have no anchor at the moment, and I am feeling every bit of that lost at sea desperation. I'm trying to keep my wits so that I don't spread that frustration to the kids, but I am finding harder and harder to do. The bright spot you ask? Well Harvey is looking for a home for us and with any luck he may have one before the kids and I arrive in Germany on July 26th. Until then, home is where the heart is right? That isn't helpful either as my kids are scattered and my husband is in Germany. What I have left is hope. Hope that this move and these changes will be good and things will work themselves out, and I guess that will have to do.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Movers Mania

So for those that don't know, or perhaps in Geico fashion are living under a rock, we are moving to Germany in less than a month. The U.S. Army has done a phenomenal job of coming through and attempting to stagger out our shipment of our household goods. So shipment 1 went out and that was just the 1,000 lbs of 'things' that we would REALLY need when we first got there. Shipment 2 was two days later, and these items...well let's say they are in a better place, one that we will not see until we are done being overseas: long-term storage. Now we have the awesome task of sorting through the clothes we keep for the suitcases and then those that go with our other household goods, which we won't see until at best August 29th. Hopefully of 2011. So guess what I miss the most? My silly appliances! Yup! We put them in long term storage because good ol' Europe works on 220 volts and my Osterizer is a mere 110 volts. So that means all new appliances or slightly used...either way I have to get all new appliances. From a hair dryer to an iron all plug in devices will be 220 volts. Anyone want to fund the new life fund? How about the Prozac salt-lick fund? Because I think I am going to need it before this move is all done.