Monday, September 29, 2008

Flounder for Two

Dean has come to judge the quality of living in a particular city or area by how good the fishing is. We loved Astoria, OR, but he was never able to dig (clams), catch (fish) or trap (crabs) much, and was sorely disappointed there. Here, he is doing great in that department, and took Hunter shrimping the other evening. They came home with a 16" flounder. He watched an online demonstration on how to fillet it, and the next day I found a scrumptious recipe and cooked it up for dinner. The boys would hardly touch it, and Hunter even put on a show by gagging up the one bite he took. So Dean and I enjoyed most all of it.

Dean did have a discussion with the Sergeant Major, by the way, about how to respond to "Oorahs" from the Marines. It was a lengthy discourse about all the potential meanings or nuances that could be behind the "greeting", much like all the possible implications of an "aloha". There is only a subtle difference between a Marine's "oorah" and a Soldier's "hooah", so potentially they could be mocking him with a "hooah" (50,000 Marines and a dozen Army Soldiers makes one feel like a walking target), in which case Sgt. E. recommends hitting them. He says he does it; anyone below his rank qualifies for a hit. Hmm. That's an idea, but probably not one Dean will apply. Perhaps it is just a friendly greeting. He can't really respond with a "Semper Fi", not being a Marine. So at this point, still no definitive answer.

I did venture on to the base on Saturday for the first time without Dean. He was working, as the VTF was hosting a vaccine/microchip clinic outside. They had one of those big jumping things for kids to play in, so I took the boys (and a scrub top Dean requested) to say 'hi' to Daddy and to play in the jumper. The big mascot dog came by and gave the kids candy as well, and Kyler spent the rest of the day asking where the Army dog was. I also went shopping at the commissary. It's amazing! Not too much fun with the boys along, but the prices are sweet! I was disappointed in how expensive the potatoes are here. They were cheap in Oregon, like $2 for a 10 pound bag was the regular price. It was more like $6 here, at the commissary! Sweet potatoes were only .50/lb so I got a bunch of those instead.

I'm still getting the hang of being a military wife, and have been afraid of doing something wrong on the base and getting flogged - or whatever they would do to me. Dean tries to assure me that I have nothing to worry about but I have my doubts. I sure feel silly when the MPs at the gate to the base salute me; Dean says it makes him feel silly too. One of the techs called the other evening to ask him something. It used to be 'Dr. Lavallee'; now it's 'Captain Lavallee' that they ask for. He is loving the Army so far.

Church was nice today. People have been welcoming and Dean already knows a lot of them. The military people come and go as their assignments change. Kyler became a little aggressive toward the end in nursery, as another child got him with the door or something along those lines, and he had a little battle scar on his face to show for it. He hasn't been taking naps much lately, so is a grouch after noon most of the time. I cannot imagine how he is going to do as a Sunbeam in a few short months.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On the Road Again

Well, we made it here to Jacksonville, NC. That would be Kyler, my mom and myself. Dean made the long drive (from Astoria, OR) starting on August 12. Hunter got to fly most of the way over the Labor Day weekend. We saw Uncle Bro for the last time in Portland.

We went up north a bit to see Mt Rushmore, and swung by Devil's Tower along the way.

In Murdo, SD we saw this strange vehicle and had to take a picture of the inside and out - red neck limo perhaps?

Somewhere in Iowa we saw a real Dutch windmill, which was taken apart in the old world and reassembled in Iowa. We even ate at the Dutch restaurant next door.

We swung by the mammoth caves in Kentucky.
And then we finally got to our new home Sunday evening, one week after departing Astoria. Ugh. Needless to say we are glad to be done driving, but not necessarily looking forward to all these boxes needing to be unpacked; they arrived Saturday. I finally got to see Dean in his Army Combat Uniform (ACUs). He is slimmer than ever and looking good, and now I don't have to nag him about keeping his hair cut. He is still learning and figuring things out. As a Captain, lower ranks are supposed to salute him, but not having been through the training himself he's not always sure exactly how it works (he is scheduled to attend the three-month Officers' Basic starting in January). So sometimes the Marines will grunt a "hoorah" at him in passing. He's going to ask the Sergeant Major in their unit (the Veterinary Treatment Facility) what he's supposed to do with that, when he remembers. They are pretty much the only Army people in Camp Lejeune (he did see some Army Reservists today, which was noteworthy.) The Navy supplies the medical people for the base (human medicine).

If you're wondering what the Army (or Marines for that matter, since this is a Marine base) needs veterinarians for, he has done a number of things so far: inspected a Sara Lee factory (they supply some products in the Commissary); inspected the Commissary (they oversee all the food inspection stuff); examinations and surgeries on the "working dogs" (they sniff bombs, and bomb planters; some were recently deployed); and there is always training, such as what to do when you are taking fire in your humvee, and hand to hand combat techniques; and they see the pets of the Marines in the clinic on the base. He is enjoying it all so far. He took us for a little tour on the base today. He says the Marines have been very nice so far.

Hunter and Kyler were so excited to see each other! They hugged and kissed and have said repeatedly "I like you!" So sweet! Who knew that they would miss each other?

I found this cute little dress for the boys' cousin (a girl). Kyler discovered it, and can never resist a pretty dress...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Holding down the Fort

So Kyler and I are here in Astoria for another week. It is so much easier just having him around! Hunter demands tons of mental energy, so Dean is enjoying him and getting worked over by him at the same time. They survived the hurricane that went through the Carolinas over the weekend. They had strong winds and rain for a few hours over night. The typhoon we had here in Oregon in December was much worse, causing much more damage and it lasted two days!

I took Kyler down to the pier this week and we looked at those lazy, bachelor sea lions that lie around barking. Apparently they are losers who can't get girlfriends down the coast, so they come back here to hang out. We also rode the trolley and tried out a barbecue restaurant for lunch, and took a walk along the river front. There are so many exciting things (birds to feed - Grandma Dee would be proud, bell to ring, ships to watch), and we picked a few blackberries to snack on.

We are very blessed to finally have a buyer for the house! A lady called from Colorado Springs, CO and wants to do a lease/purchase. She's moving here to buy a candy/ice cream shop in town, and we are very happy to sell to her.

I am going to start driving out (if everything goes as planned) next Sunday. My mom is flying up to Portland late Sunday afternoon, so I'll pick her up there and we'll head out. Kyler doesn't much understand what's coming - a week in the car. He turned three this past week (9/2), by the way, and Hunter turns six on Tuesday (9/9).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

To Catch a Shrimp

So being a government employee now, Dean got a luxurious four-day weekend for Labor Day. We decided to fly Hunter out to be with him now as well, since school had already started there in Jacksonville, NC. The army paid for the ticket (we had to pay the $100 unaccompanied minor charge, but that's ok) and Hunter flew nonstop to Charlotte, NC. Dean had to drive the 240 miles to pick him up. So Dean took Hunter shrimping today, and they had success! He was frustrated here in Astoria as he never could seem to catch anything, (clams, crab, fish - all eluded him here). So of today's catch, he said they were the yummiest shrimp he's ever had (he fixed them up himself) and, naturally, Hunter didn't like them. That's our boy!