My, oh my, have I missed you.
I’ve got quite a few tales for you today. So many, in fact, that I’m separating them by time periods.
I’m calling these two periods Pre-Alabama and Alabama.
Because YUP! We’re finally in Alabama!
Remember? Husband and I moved to Alabama so he could attend flight school and learn how to fly Black Hawks for the US army.
And I’m along for the ride.
Which means YOU’RE along for the ride.
Because I’m going to tell you everything about my life as of late (and forever after) starting NOW.
Holy Hanna, was I busy before we trekked down here.
First things first: I quit my job!
My bosses took me to lunch on my last day, bought me a beer, and told me a bunch of things about the office that they wouldn’t have told me otherwise.
It was awesome.
I hugged every man in that office before I left and tried not to cry.
Not because I would miss the JOB. But because I would miss my seven big brothers! Remember? I was the only female in there and every single one of those guys (including my older brother, who worked right beside me) did everything they could to annoy me.
They were annoying but they were my work family. I miss them sometimes. Well, some of them. Like, three of them, including my brother.
On the flip side of leaving, I was looking VERY forward to not having to listen to shippers berate me for things I couldn’t control.
NEVER AGAIN WILL I BE A DISPATCHER.
*shimmies out of old dispatcher skin*
I spent my first day jobless pacing my parents’ house and wondering if I should get another job.
Even though Husband and I agreed I wouldn’t get one in Alabama.
I was dealing with a lovely mixture of worthlessness, confusion, and what-do-I-do-all-day-now panic.
The second day, I felt a little less anxious.
It took me about a week to fall head-over-heels in love with retirement.
Mostly because retirement entailed hanging out with my mom 24/7.
Did you know? She is my favorite person.
We just get each other. We are simpatico amigos. I never tire of her presence. I am drenched in luck, having her as a mother.
So, what did Mother and I do with our time together?
We chatted, cuddled kitties, and watched TV. It was BLISS.
I’m holding Gracie in that photo. She has a sister, Callie, and you can check out both of them as kittens in this post.
So, if you’ve been around for a while, you know I’ve been struggling with some woman issues.
You know, NOT GETTING MY PERIOD.
Well, after I wrote that post (if you haven’t read it, do so, because it’s important!), I went WEEKS MORE without a period.
And then…one sunny morning…I nearly fell over in the bathroom. Because I had gotten my period.
Honestly, I was initially convinced it was a ruse, since I considered my period to be gone forever at that point.
But, no, it was the real deal.
I FINALLY GOT MY PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can you believe it?
One of the happiest days of my life, that day.
This means Husband and I are really trying for babies now.
I mean, we were definitely trying before, but I had no real hope that anything would happen.
I was convinced I was broken. Husband was convinced I needed to relax.
MUCH easier said than done.
It’s impossible to describe the feeling of waiting nearly seven months to get your period back after going off birth control. ESPECIALLY if you’re wanting to have children yesterday.
But, it’s back! Thank heavens. I finally downloaded all those baby planning apps everyone was recommending to me. I couldn’t do it before because, well, you can’t exactly track a period that’s not there.
Babies could happen ANY DAY NOW.
Just imagine all the clever ways I can reveal my zygote to Husband and our families and YOU!
I already have oodles of ideas. 😉
In other news…
Husband and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas!
(And Key West.)
We cruised on Royal Caribbean’s ship, Enchantment of the Seas. We chose a 4-night cruise, which stopped at Nassau the second day, Coco Cay the third day, and Key West the fourth day.
This cruise was A M A Z I N G.
Our ship was super classy, and the fun never stopped.
Husband and I both agreed that this vacation together was our favorite yet. And that’s saying something, because we’ve traveled to Cancun, Mexico, multiple times AND stayed in all-inclusive resorts.
Why was this cruise so amazing?
For one reason: there was always something to do.
Which, if you’ve ever traveled with just one other person, you know is essential to having a good time. Inevitably, two people vacationing end up staring at each other wondering what the heck to do with the next two days of vacation.
Not this time!
Before our cruise, we flew to Miami a day early and stayed overnight in a hotel to ensure we’d be at the port in time to set sail.
We walked all over Miami that day, and then we took an Uber to South Beach.
We sat on this beautiful beach for thirty minutes and then decided we’d had enough.
We’re not beach loungers, Husband and me.
Plus, the ocean was freezing! Maybe I’m just used to Lake Michigan warming up at the end of the summer. I was not expecting such chilly sea waters.
The next day, we boarded our cruise ship at 1PM and immediately bought two $275 drink packages for ourselves.
This is a good time to tell you that a cruise is way more expensive than you think it will be.
Here is a rough breakdown of our cruise fees (for both of us):
$730 for the cruise
$550 for booze packages on cruise
$110 for daily cruise gratuities
$120 for excursions
$500 for flights
$100 for Ubers to and from hotels
Not to mention any trinkets we purchased on Nassau and at Key West (and we purchased a lot of trinkets).
Oh, and don’t forget the monies we lost in the cruise’s casino every night.
So, when you’re booking a cruise, don’t be like us and say, “Wow! This is so cheap!”
Drink package, though = TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Because each mixed drink costs at least $10 on a cruise. And they’re TINY.
And with a drink package, if you don’t like what you order, you don’t have to drink it.
And with a drink package, if you’ve got nothing to do, you can just drink yourself to oblivion every night.
Which is what we did!
I don’t normally drink, but on this cruise ship, MAN, could I put toddies away.
One day, I even developed a strong love for Long Island Iced Teas. But I fell down the stairs twice that night, so no more Long Islands after that.
We had so many Strawberry Daiquiris, I’m sure we racked up at least a $300 bill on those ALONE.
Our drink packaged included top shelf liquors, too! I ordered many a Patron-filled margarita, just because I could. One night, I even ordered a Patron-filled Strawberry Daiquiri, much to the bartender’s annoyance. “You mean Strawberry Margarita?” he asked, staring down his nose at me. Didn’t he realize I was on my tenth Patron Daiquiri?
Water bottles were also included in our package. As were espressos and cappuccinos, so you KNOW
we I ordered a few of those.
The shore trips were AWESOME.
At our first stop (Nassau), we toured Atlantis. That place is ridiculously cool. And endless. I have a deep obsession with water and sea creatures and swimming, and the aquariums at that place were out of this world.
I saw my first Sawfish.
Also, did you know Groupers can be as large as CARS?!
I also saw my first big, fat, green eel. You know those creepy eels in The Little Mermaid? They look exactly like that, except lime green and terrifying. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Husband displayed an abnormally strong aversion to those eels. Naturally, I investigated.
“Sick. Seriously, gross. Nasty, nasty creatures,” Husband snarled, giving eels the side-eye.
“What? Why?” questions Brooke, giggling at Husband’s radiating disgust.
“They’re just vile creatures. So gross.”
“Did you have a bad run-in with an evil eel?”
“YES! I DID!”
“Yeah, one of those f*ckers chased me around for like an hour in Hawaii!”
“Are you serious?!”
“YEAH! He kept coming at my face! He wouldn’t leave me alone!”
Husband’s eel story was the greatest and funniest thing I learned at Atlantis.
The next day, our ship was supposed to dock at Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean’s private island), but the “swell was too high” and docking was too dangerous, so we couldn’t visit.
Which BOOOOO! Because Husband and I had scheduled a snorkeling adventure on Coco Cay.
Our sadness was short-lived, because we soon remembered that we could just spend the day drinking on the ship, instead.
The next day, we docked at Key West.
And oh. my. goodness.
Have you ever been to Key West?
It’s PARADISE, I tell you!
This place is what dreams are MADE OF. I am not exaggerating.
The picturesque beaches, the soft, warm wind, the quaint shops, it’s all there.
We visited this breathtaking historical naval base and toured the ins and outs of the stone and concrete walls. We even climbed to the top to check out where the old cannons used to be.
Listen, I am NOT a history buff. This place, however, will continue to blow my mind for the rest of my life.
Plus, the weather was perfect!
After our self-guided tour, we walked some trails to visit one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever SEEN.
Then, we ate at this incredible local Mexican restaurant. I am a huge fan of fish tacos, and this place delivered. Their chips and salsa were amazing, too!
Can you tell how much I love Key West?
No matter who you are or where you come from, I guarantee you’ll find something to fall in love with at Key West.
We returned to the ship and sailed home to spend another week in Michigan with our families before leaving.
Things that make leaving the only place you’ve ever lived (and everyone you love) for TWO YEARS way, way better:
- A mother like mine
- Traveling goodie bags for the 14-hour car ride to Alabama, from Grammy and Mother-In-Law
- Celebrating Thanksgiving with everyone you love right before you go.
This is a picture of my adorable nephew and me on Thanksgiving. I love him so much sometimes I think I might pass out just thinking about it.
I also baked my way through the kitchen to hide from my feelings. I created approximately 14 desserts, including these adorable themed masterpieces:
The day after Thanksgiving, we packed up the rest of our stuff, spent the morning and afternoon with our families, and then Husband ripped me from the warm arms of my mother and whisked me to Alabama.
But leaving her (and my nephew nugget) was TERRIBLE.
I spent the first 2 hours of the car ride to Alabama choosing which sentences to allow through my lips. Because most of them were cut short by sobs.
I cried when I left my mother.
I cried in the car while we were still in Michigan.
But I haven’t cried since.
Husband said I did better than he thought I would.
You want to know why I was crying?
Because I will miss my family, of course.
But mostly because I felt like I was abandoning everyone in Michigan. And because I knew my mom’s heart was breaking just as bad as mine.
I wailed to Husband in the car: “This is the end of that phase of my life! And I am so sad because I loved that phase so much!”
Husband, the gentle force he is, assured me that we would visit Michigan often and I could go to my mom’s house all the time when we return.
I just don’t want any of my siblings forgetting about me. Or my mother. Or my friends.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME BACK THERE!!! OKAY? I’M COMING BACK IN TWO YEARS AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE WILL BE EXACTLY THE SAME AS I LEFT IT/THEM!
I feel like if I text/Snapchat everyone incessantly, everyone will remember me.
So that’s what I’ve been doing.
Now that I’ve put that out there, I must say…
I F*#!ING LOVE IT HERE.
Seriously, I LOVE ALABAMA!!!!
It’s always warm and sunny and everyone is sweet wherever you go.
They say, “Y’all have a nice day now, ya hear?” And they make this face like they’re bidding farewell to their favorite grandmother, so whenever you’re leaving a place, you feel like people genuinely love you and want what’s best for you. It’s awesome!
The weird thing about Alabama is that it looks a LOT like Michigan. Except Michigan has green grass. Alabama has yellow crabgrass. That’s the only difference. Alabama has hills like Michigan and all the same trees. It’s great! A significantly warmer and slower and calmer home-away-from-home.
AND OUR HOUSE.
We ended up scoring a house ON BASE. We live on base!
Look at this beauty:
It’s even cuter on the inside, if you can believe it.
Can you believe it?
We are thrilled.
One, because it’s so close to where Husband has to go every day. It takes him 3 minutes to get to his destination.
And two, because our house is ADORABLE!!!!
A fenced in yard, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge walk-in closet, his and her master bath sinks, a GARAGE, and a mini porch you can get to through the cute slider!
I have been shopping INCESSANTLY for this house.
The funny thing is that I recall doing the same thing when Husband and I moved into our first apartment. This must be my coping mechanism for new and unfamiliar territories.
Don’t worry. Soon I’ll return to my money-hoarding troll tendencies.
But for now, I’ll continue to buy beds for our spare bedroom (for guests/Big Wheel!), adorable comforters and bed frames (for our bed!), and to-die-for decorations (for our walls!).
In other news, Husband and I have put PUPPIES onto the table.
Calm your horses, though.
I am about to say something polarizing.
This will probably lose me about 20 subscribers.
But I must say it for the sake of transparency.
I am…not a dog person.
There! I said it!
Now, don’t go thinking I’m a terrible person because I don’t like dogs. It’s not DOGS I don’t like, it’s their FUR and their SLOBBER and their MESSINESS.
I love dogs that don’t shed, slobber, or bark.
I have control issues.
I also have a weird aversion to hair/fur. I just can’t stand it. Even my own hair grosses me out!
So why are Husband and I considering puppies?
Well, because sometimes I get smacked in the face with hollowing Alabama loneliness, and also because we have a cute fenced-in back yard.
The thing about dog conversations with Husband, though, is that they never go well.
Because Husband wants a BIG dog and I don’t want a BIG (slobbering, shedding, messy) dog.
What I want is Charlie.
Charlie is a brown Shih-poo (Shih Tzu and poodle) that my neighbors had before they moved.
I babysat him for a week and fell madly in love and vowed to get myself a Charlie one day.
I am still not sure about which breed of small, non-shedding dog I’d get, but Charlie is a top contender.
The only problem with getting a Charlie is that Husband HATES SMALL DOGS.
It’s a wonder we’re so in love, right?
Well, Husband and I came to an agreement: IF Brooke decides to get a small dog, it will be in Alabama, after which Husband may get his large dog, but only when Husband and Brooke return to Michigan and get a large enough yard for a large dog.
So, how do we decide when to get a small dog?
Well, we decided that, if I am still not knocked up by March 2017, we will look into buying a puppy.
Come on, uterus!!!!
I would MUCH rather have a child than a dog.
In the mean time, Husband and I sitting around and waiting for our moving van of stuff to get here.
Oh, did I mention?
The army sent a moving company to come and just pack up all our crap for us. We didn’t have to lift a finger!
Here they are loading our bigger items onto the truck:
They even went as far as to lay down blue carpet to protect our carpet from their traffic:
It was really cool. Except now we have to wait for our stuff to get here.
While we wait, Husband and I are living in a hotel on-base. Here is a picture of the hotel, as well as my adorable mini Christmas tree.
My mother and I have matching mini Christmas trees. The welfare of my tree is of illogical (read: highly emotional) importance to me. I cried to Husband, “It’s my last connection to my mom!!!” And he said, “Maybe you’re being a little dramatic.”
I am being dramatic. 24/7. I’m in a state of extended mania right now. Cloud 3,000. I’ll ride it until it disappears!
Hopefully it sticks around forever.
You’re going to come visit me in Alabama, right?
Well, don’t come yet. I’m not ready.
I need to set up my house first and find cool places to eat.
Actually, Husband and I found a BOMB Mexican restaurant down here that I will absolutely take all of my visitors to.
I will warn my visitors, however, to stay FAR AWAY from the cute little chili pepper they adorn your meal with at this place.
(Yup, more fish tacos.)
Seriously, it took 10 minutes for me to regain feeling in my mouth. And it burned for at least half an hour after that.
I just HAD to try it though. Wouldn’t you have nibbled on that cute little pepper, too?
Husband did, once. It must be a rite of Mexican food passage.
Maybe I won’t forewarn my guests…
Although I reckon most of them are reading this right now.
There is truly SO MUCH to tell you about living down here, but I’ll save the rest for another post.
Because I can write them ALL DAY LONG, now!
When I’m not shopping or filling out paperwork or following Husband around on base like a lost fluffy duckling.
Stay tuned for more Alabama updates! And make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss any new posts! ♥