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Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Little Mold Update

After telling you all about our wonderful discovery in our downstairs storage closet, I figured I'd go ahead and give an update on what happened.  It took Forest City a while to get everything together (almost a month from the night we found the mold), but I am really hoping everything is fixed now.

Two weeks after the initial mold inspection (and after a lot of help from Mr. L's chain of command urging them to get off their butts), we finally were contacted and had the head supervisor and a contractor come out to re-inspect and get a quote for the damages.  We thought things were finally looking up, and then the weekend before Christmas and Christmas day happened.

The Sunday before Christmas, the laundry room flooded again.  Maintenance came out pretty promptly and pulled about two feet of roots out of our pipes, and we breathed a sigh of relief thinking we wouldn't have to deal with this for another couple of months until the roots started growing back.  And then on Christmas day, two days after having the pipes cleaned, it flooded again.  We were both very, very upset.  (In fact, looking back, this whole situation made this past month the worst reintegration after a deployment we've had so far.)  I contacted the head supervisor again and explained the situation while Mr. L left once again.

The head supervisor arranged for a plumber to come out with a camera to see what the issue was.  They found standing water backed up in the pipes 20 feet or so from my house, and two additional plumbers later pumping in the backyard and pouring water down the drains, they seem to have fixed the issue for now.

Also, after having the supervisor expedite requests through Forest City, the contractor came out, started working, and finally finished touching up the closet yesterday.  I'm really hoping this is the end of the mold issues, but I know it won't be the end of the flooding issues.  Even if the pipes aren't backed up, roots will still continue to grow every few months, and I'll still have to clean up in the laundry and closet now (on Christmas we found water from the laundry standing in the closet, so we know exactly how the mold got there now).  I'm going to recheck the moving lists to see if we've been bumped up at all, because we still very much want out of this housing and into something newer.  I still don't know if housing would bump us up a priority because of all of this mess, but I may try to talk to them anyways just to see.  The worst they can say is no, right?

I really am curious about something, though.  After living here and experiencing PPV (privatized) housing firsthand, I know that I won't be living in this kind of housing by choice again.  It's just been a sour experience for me, so if possible I will always be choosing to live off base.  If you've dealt with PPV housing, what have your experiences been with it?  Were you satisfied overall, or like me, unhappy with the situation?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Five for Friday

1.  No matter what hardships the Navy/life likes to throw at us, we're strong enough to make it through.  We just have to keep telling ourselves that!  =)

2.  I'm sorry about what happened this week.  But there will be more chances for you in the future and you will excel at the task you have at hand now!

3.  Hearing your voice makes everything better.

4.  Thank you for going to see Les Mis with me for my very first midnight opening AND my very first Christmas trip to the movie theater!!

5.  I'm glad we had the majority of December and ALL of November together -- it was amazing. But I seriously am missing your face.

i love you.  <3

Monday, December 24, 2012

Capturing December: Days 17-24

Day 17:  Presents

Day 18:  Stockings

We have a total of six stockings hanging up -- one for Mr. L, one for me, one for Liam, one for Lila, and one each for our two four-legged guests that are visiting with us over the holidays!

Day 19:  Candy Cane

Candy canes on a Christmas tree means Christmas has officially arrived =)

Day 20:  Tree Topper

Mr. L and I got a new LED tree topper this year.  I really like it!

Day 21:  Peace

I'd say sunsets on the world famous Sunset Beach are pretty peaceful.  The surf...not so much!

Day 22:  Tradition

Mr. L and I started a new tradition this year, which is to build a new unique Lego ornament to add to our tree.  (I kind of have a thing for ornaments, if you didn't notice already).  I love this year's creation!  One day we'll probably end up having a mini tree dedicated to these little guys.

Day 23:  Scarf

Flowery print of one of my favorite scarves.  Too bad I can't exactly wear it here!

Day 24:  Favorite Part of Christmas Eve

Hello, Christmas Eve dinner.  You're looking mighty fine.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas 2012: DIY Christmas Ornaments

The other day, I came across my travel keychain collection in one of my drawers while I was reorganizing the bedroom.  It made me a little sad to think of them tucked away somewhere not on display until I figured, why not just turn them into ornaments?  So I pulled out my bag of extra ornament hooks and went to town!

Please forgive my poor broken Pisa keychain...the leaning tower used to be there, but it fell off and is forever lost.  I'm still hanging onto the rest of it though, as you can see!
 As you can see I like to grab a keychain from most new places that Mr. L and I go together, and I make him snag one for me in each of the places he gets to see when he travels!  A couple of my favorites are pretty adorable, like this wooden flip flop from Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa:

And also this cute little jeepney from the Philippines!

It makes me a little happier to think of these little guys gracing our Christmas tree each year (as well as any new additions we'll come across), and how fun it'll be to explain where each came from when we have kids.

Do you collect little mementos from any of your trips?  What do you do to showcase them to remind yourself of your travels?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Five for Friday

1.  It's almost time for our Christmas!!!

2.  Thank you for running errands today.  You are awesome =)

3.  You are way too cute when I make you laugh.

4.  Thank you for my wonderful birthday lunch/dinner (linner?) this week!  <3

5.  I love you no matter what.

ily <3

Monday, December 17, 2012

Capturing December: Days 9-16

Ack, looks like I have some major catching up to do!  Here we go...

Day 9:  Something You're Reading

I'm in the middle of rereading one of my favorite series, The Dark Tower by Stephen King.  I just finished the newest addition, The Wind Through the Keyhole (after reading the others chronologically of course!) and I'm moving on to the next book, The Wolves of Calla.

Day 10:  Wrapping Paper

I love all the colorful varieties of wrapping paper!  Definitely gets me in the Christmas spirit =)

Day 11:  Green

Oh yes, this is the rear end of a pair of doggy pajamas for Liam.  I know, I'm a crazy dog person!

Day 12:  A Beautiful Sight

I love sunsets in Hawaii.

Day 13:  Family

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of my adorable niece and nephew from our recent trip to the mainland:

And also a big Mele Kalikimaka from the Landrums!  =)

Day 14:  Christmas Tree

My attempt at capturing Christmas tree bokeh up top and Christmas tree sunbursts down below.

Day 15:  Favorite Holiday Song

I don't have a favorite Christmas song in particular, so I just listen to all of them via Pandora =)

Day 16:  Outside Christmas Lights

The seriously awesome Christmas lights at Aoki's on the North Shore.  I smile every time I see them!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ornament Swap 2012

Thanks to our wonderful hosts, Laura, Whitney, Stephanie, and Jessica, I entered an awesome little ornament swap back a few weeks ago and ended up being paired up with Paula from Then Comes Marriage!

I received my package a few days ago, and I am in love with the ornaments she sent to us!  Not only did she give a nod to my aspirations to become a librarian, she also included my sweet little Schnauzers in on the fun =)

Thank you so much, Paula!  You put so much lovely thought into the ornaments and they look so awesome hanging on our tree =)  Also a huge thanks to Laura, Whitney, Stephanie, and Jessica for setting up a great swap!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season this year.  Mele Kalikimaka!

Five for Friday

1. I love how thoughtful you are!

2. I really love when you show ambition and want to step up and advocate for people.

3. Thank you for all of your help today. You are fantastic!

4. I really appreciate all the hard work you put into your job.

5. Thank you for my sweet Christmas card!

ily <3

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Capturing December: Days 6, 7, and 8

I know, I know, I'm posting kind of randomly with these, but I'm getting them up as often as I can.  It's been pretty busy around these parts!  Hope you're enjoying what I've shown so far!

Day 6 - Shopping

This is the huge Christmas tree they put in front of our NEX every year.  That's how you know it's time to shop!

Day 7 - Bright

It's funny how a row of ridiculously bright-colored ornaments in Target can put a smile on your face!

Day 8 - Ornament(s)

I opted to show two new ornaments we got this year -- the top is of the USS Arizona Memorial I purchased this summer, and the bottom is an ornament we had made by pinkkoala from Etsy to match our Liam ornament we got last year!  I'm in love with her white chin and (although you can't see it in this picture) her purple collar!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Five for Friday

1.  I'm lucky to have you around to keep me in check when life throws crappy things in our faces.

2.   I'm excited for our upcoming Wii night, haha.

3.  Cupcaaaakes!

4.  I hate deployments.

5.  But I am excited to do lots Christmas-y things with you!

ily <3

Remembering the USS Arizona Memorial

In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, and because Mr. L and I will be going to the memorial this weekend, I'm republishing this post describing a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial I took with some friends back during the summer.  I feel blessed and humbled to live in not only such a beautiful place, but also a historically rich and significant one, and I know as long as we live here the images and memories of that day will always be a presence on our hearts.  

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan… No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people will through their righteous might win through to absolute victory… With confidence in our armed forces-with the unbounded determination of our people-we will gain the inevitable triumph-so help us God. I, therefore, ask that the Congress declare that since the dastardly and unprovoked attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Let us never forget the actions and the people involved in this event that occurred 71 years ago today.


The USS Arizona Memorial

The Need to Knows:
  • The USS Arizona Memorial is located at 1 Arizona Memorial Road, Honolulu, HI 96818.  The Google Maps link is here:
  • It is open from 7AM to 5PM daily and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
  • Bags are not allowed within Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.  However, storage lockers are available for use for a fee -- I think it's around $3.00 a locker, but I didn't use them, so I'm not 100% sure on that. The storage facility is open from 6:30AM to 5:30PM daily.
  • The tour itself lasts approximately an hour and fifteen minutes.  It includes a brief introduction, a 23-minute documentary on the events leading up to and on the day of December 7, 1941, a shuttle boat ride to the Memorial, and time to experience the Memorial itself.  I would allow for more time to explore the grounds and the various museums as well.
  • strongly recommend reserving tickets in advance for the Memorial.  When I went, I'd reserved tickets for the 9AM tour on a Friday, and I was able to pick them up at 7:30AM (you must pick up your tickets one hour in advance at the latest or they will be redistributed back into circulation for the general walk-in public) and have time to explore the museums and walk the grounds before the 22-minute movie and boat ride began.  A friend of mine mentioned that when she went, she and her husband waited in line for about an hour and a half for tickets -- yikes!   The only way to reserve tickets is to visit; the link to the USS Arizona Memorial tour page is here.  There is a reservation fee at $1.50 per ticket.  If you plan on seeing the USS Missouri, the USS Bowfin, and the Pacific Aviation Museum, the tour page also offers a "Passport to Pearl Harbor" tour in which you can purchase your entrance fees to those sites in advance.
  • Each program has a capacity of 150 people, and programs run every 15 minutes -- the first begins at 8AM, and the last begins at 3PM.  If you don't reserve tickets, be prepared to get there early and wait in line! 
  • Please, please be quiet, respectful, and courteous while at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center as well as when you are on the USS Arizona Memorial itself.  The Memorial is considered a burial ground, just like the National Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) or Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, so behave accordingly.
  • For more information, please visit the USS Arizona Memorial website via the National Park Service.

From the moment Mr. L and I found out that we would be moving to Hawaii, we both knew that visiting the USS Arizona Memorial would be at the top of our "must see" list, not only because of our current and family members' past military involvement, but also because we are big history fans, especially of the World War II era.

Unfortunately due to complications at work, Mr. L was unable to join us this time to see the Memorial.  (Don't worry, we'll be back many times, I'm sure!)  So I took a friend and our two houseguests that were in for the week and we set off bright and early to go pick up our reserved tickets at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

Since we arrived fairly early, a little before 7:30AM, we were able to find parking very easily, and even at that time the ticket lines were relatively short.  Luckily we were able to get our tickets immediately from the reserved counter and we proceeded to wander the grounds of the visitor center.

View of Ford Island from the Visitor Center -- you can see the Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri behind it.
Neat sign that shows you just how far away from everything we are in Hawaii.
We took some time to view one of the open-air museums, which detailed not only what happened on December 7th, 1941 and the aftermath, but also the events leading up to that day and how the attack was put into motion.  It was incredibly informative, but at times also heartbreaking, especially when you see pictures of the dead and dying after the Japanese began the attack.  That portion of the exhibit definitely brought me to tears.

After passing through the museum, we headed outside to see some of the various memorials along the grounds and make our way towards the theater for the documentary film.

Bridge to Ford Island in the background
We found this really neat map of Oahu that I enjoyed checking out:

You can see Koko Head and Hanauma Bay as well as the eastern side of the island in the foreground, and the west side of the island (the Waianae Mountains) in the background.
Where we were!
From this area you could also see the USS Bowfin submarine off to our right:

We opted to not tour the submarine that day, but I will most certainly be back to check it out in the future!  If you're interested in touring it, tickets can be purchased at the entrance of the Visitor Center, the same area where you would purchase tickets for the Arizona, the USS Missouri, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

When it was time for our documentary showing to begin, we entered the theater and watched a very enlightening yet emotional film on the attacks that I feel complemented the museum exhibit nicely.  After it was over, we boarded the Navy boat and made our way out to the Memorial itself.

View to one side of some of the ships at Pearl Harbor that Mr. L and I drive by nearly every day.  It definitely made things hit home for me to realize how close all of this was together!
We stepped onto the Memorial and were immediately greeted by the beautiful architectural details over our heads...

...a memorial plaque on the wall...

...and then the view to our immediate right of one of Arizona's hulls.

It's a little difficult to describe exactly what I was feeling, but I was definitely emotional.  It was a little haunting, and you could read the sorrow on some of the other people's faces around me.  At one point I saw a man so affected that he was openly weeping, and it was quite moving.  While I was pondering the somber scene, I looked up and saw this flag waving in the wind with beautiful blue skies behind it (from the other pictures you can tell it was an overcast morning), and I felt a little more at peace.

We continued to walk down the right side of the memorial, looking out at the views and this plaque dedicating the memorial:

At the center of the memorial you can look down and see the Arizona (as well as various kinds of fish) sitting below us:

On the far side of the memorial is the wall engraved with all of the men's names who were entombed within the battleship.

And this was a separate marble plaque listing the men who escaped the Arizona's sinking only to be returned here upon their deaths to be with their fellow shipmates:

We spent a few minutes silently honoring and remembering these men, and proceeded to the other side of the memorial where we could see where other ships had been docked, as well as the USS Missouri, the battleship on which WWII ended.

Here you can see the oil that is still currently leaking from the wreckage of the Arizona, even to this day.
If you look towards the USS Missouri, you can see a small white buoy indicating one end of the USS Arizona.  You can see the other buoy showing the other end in the first picture of the hull, and it really lets you understand just how massive this ship was.
The USS Missouri, representing the end of WWII right next to what was the beginning of WWII for the United States.
All in all, I highly recommend visiting this attraction if you ever find yourself on this beautiful island.  It's so important to remember our history, and this memorial is a real and tangible way for us to not only connect with our past, but it is also a way to put faces and names on the sacrifices made so long ago for our nation.