On the road again…

After so many “Goodbye’s,” packing our whole apartment up ourselves, and just dealing with the physical and mental stress of moving to the other side of the country (plus some), S and I were looking forward to getting to Michigan to have some stabilization time with his family.  We had these grand ideas it was going to be relaxing and peaceful and…well, like a trip to the spa for a week before our arduous journey to Alaska.

Ah yes…Michigan (in my dreams)

Little did we know we’d be dealing with this creature at 3AM…

Remind you of anything?

I quickly came to realize puppies are absolutely adorable– when you can pick them up and kiss them and watch them fall asleep and then get to walk away (like grandchildren).  Puppies are absolutely nightmarish when you own one and have to get up in the middle of the night to let them outside.  Or when you have to get up at 5AM and they want to play and you’re only allowed to have them outside or in the garage and your puppy is a priss about wet grass and chilly weather…okay, sorry.  I could ramble on forever about that.  What happened was, being in Michigan was not a week-long relaxing stop on our way to Alaska, it was an introduction into the world of being an adult and having another entity completely rely on you for everything.

Well, for some of us at least

At some points during that week, I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to be going to Alaska because I didn’t know if my husband would want me around anymore.  We were barely getting any sleep, we didn’t know how to schedule for who would get up at 3AM with so-called “puppy” (I think “monster” would be a better descriptor at that point in her life), and this was weighing on our normal ability to be kind and loving to one another.  Fortunately, we were still able to communicate and were rational enough to know what was going on and just stuck it out until we could get some sleep.  Unfortunately, sleeping well wasn’t really on the schedule for another 3 weeks.

All three of us did end up getting on the road on Sunday, May 27, 2012 (which also happens to be the birthday of the darling who brought S and I together– his beautiful niece).  I had my handy-dandy iPhone app, Pet Friendly Hotels, downloaded, Callie sleeping in the passenger seat, and my hot coffee ready to go.  I was ready for hotels, fast food, and one long road for the next two weeks.  I couldn’t believe I was about to drive 4,462 miles (7,181 km) all by myself.

What’s the longest drive you’ve ever made by yourself?

Note:  The Pet Friendly Hotels App is free and it was truly a life-saver.  I didn’t always make reservations through them, but it was really nice to know instantly which hotels in the area allowed animals instead of trying to find access to the internet and trudging through hotel sites and making phone calls.  I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone traveling with animals– no matter how far you’re traveling.

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Categories: From Tennessee to Alaska | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One long ‘Goodbye’

Apartment Number 11- Our First Home

My life has been a long ‘Goodbye.’  I’ve moved 15 times in the last 27 years.  I’ve met people who still change my life today and I’ve met people who say I changed their lives.  “Goodbye” is not a sad word to me, especially with the technology available to everyone now.  However, your first home will never get on the internet to let you know how it’s doing.  On May 21, 2012, I had an incredibly difficult goodbye.

I spent the previous week saying goodbye to a number of important people in my life and rejoicing in their lives continuing on exciting journeys while I did the same.  My brother graduated high school.  My best friend, who I thought was a man-hater, informed me she was getting married.  My mom started a promising new job.   S, Callie, and I were moving to Alaska.  Everyone was beginning their adventures.  But as S and I were looking forward to starting such a monumental chapter in our marriage, we still needed to close out the previous chapter, and that meant saying goodbye to our first home together– and the first place I had ever rented on my own.

S and I were coworkers when we first met at Fort Knox, KY.  His life-long friends hit the nail on the head when they described me as “the female version” of him.  Though we are similar, we also somehow manage to have the strengths for the other’s weaknesses and complete the puzzle for each another.  He was a dear friend way back in May 2010 when I was promoted to E-5 SGT (Sergeant) in the US Army.  I had never lived on my own.  I finally had the opportunity to move out of barracks and into my own place and I wasn’t about to wait a second more.  S went along for the ride to look for apartments with me and ended up helping me understand what to look for to decide on the best place.  When we walked into Apartment #11 in Muldraugh, KY, I said, “I think this is the one.”  He said, “Yeah, not bad for your first place.”  Five months later we had realized our love for one another, we traded dog tags (instead of rings), and he was moving in.  It was our first home together.

Oh, how I will miss you!

The apartment was pre-furnished (with furniture and other things I don’t want to think about, I’m sure), had the smallest kitchen imaginable, and a window AC unit that cooled down the bedroom too much and not the rest of the apartment at all.  It was right next to an outdoor car wash, next to a main highway, behind an elementary school with a basketball court, and– most importantly– a block away from Dodge’s Chicken and Gas Station.  It was perfect.  Dodge’s being down the road made it heaven.  Dodge’s is a normal locally-owned gas station but they also make their own fried…everything.  Fried chicken, fried potatoes, even fried corn.  When you’re up late at night rambling about the mysteries of the universe with your best friend and significant other, there is nothing better than to look up and see the Dodge’s Chicken sign lighting up your window and know you are safe from starvation forever.  When you wake up late and know you’re going to be starting your day out doing 100 push ups if you don’t get to work in 10 minutes flat but your gas tank is empty, there is nothing better than to look up and see the Dodge’s Chicken sign like a shining beacon of hope toward no muscle failure.  Saying “Goodbye” to all our memories in our first home and to Dodge’s Chicken was a rough day.  Having S close the door and walk down the stairs with me while I held Callie and we all left together on our new adventure made it much less rough, however.

What’s the toughest “Goodbye” you’ve ever had?

Categories: As an Adult, General Meanderings | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Dream NOT Deferred

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.  ~George Eliot

Some of the strangest moments stay with me forever while significant ones blow away into another time. When I was six years old, I was riding with my Dad in the car and saw something that should have only existed in the fictional books I constantly read.

“What is that?!”  I pointed vigorously and questioned my Dad in a high-pitched voice.

He slowed and smiled, knowingly.  “It’s a Great Dane.”

“What is that?”

“It’s a dog.”

My life was changed.  I couldn’t believe a dog could be that large.  It was beautiful, proportional, and muscular.  I thought of all the amazing adventures I could go on with a dog that size.  I instantly wanted one.  At 6, however, I had no concept of finances and couldn’t imagine dogs costing more than a few dollars.  Instead of my Dad explaining all this to me, he merely said, “When you grow up, you can have one all to yourself.”

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So I grew up…

My husband, S, and I were separated in Afghanistan for 2011.  We left 3 months after our wedding and just around the time both of us were turning 26.  One day, shortly into the deployment, I asked S, “What kind of dog would you want to get?”  He hmmm’d and hawww’d and said he’d thought about getting a German Shepherd.  “Oh, ok,” I said.  “Why, what would you want?”

“A Great Dane.”

I think my husband fell more in love with me with those three words than he already had.  He never thought he would meet a woman that would want such a large dog.  Then again, he also never thought he’d meet a woman he wanted to marry.

It was a long, emotional journey to find a breeder.  I had grown up with my Mom bringing home shelter dogs that were about to be euthanized and finding homes for them herself.  Getting a dog from a breeder was a really tough decision for me, but S and I both wanted to know the temperament of the dog and be able to make it ours– mistakes and triumphs– from the start.  Fortunately, I worked at night in Afghanistan so the 12 1/2 -hour time difference was perfect to call people in the USA.  We finally found someone we were comfortable with and seemed to really care about what she was doing.  Her name is Maria Wilkinson (www.eviadanes.com) and she turned out to be a dream come true.

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Moonbeam

S and I kept up with the pictures Maria posted on her website for the litter Moonbeam was having at the time and just dreamt of the day one of the puppies we would be looking at would be ours.  We arrived back home in January 2012 and had plenty on our plates, but constantly watched the website to see if the puppies had been born.  A week past the time of what should have been their birth passed and I called Maria, terrified something was wrong.  She assured me everything was fine and a huge litter of beautiful blue Great Dane puppies had come into the world on March 23, 2012.  Unfortunately, the mother, Moonbeam, had gone into shock an hour after and had died.  S and I had grown to love Moonbeam through the pictures we looked at and were excited to some day meet her.  We were distraught to hear the news and so heartbroken for Maria and Evan who truly loved Moonbeam as a part of their family.

Weeks went by and S and I looked at Evia Danes website every day hoping for a peek at the puppies.  Whenever we saw there were updates, we both went into a tizzy.  I had never been sure if I could adopt a child and still love it as my own.  Now, I understand it is completely possible.  I have never been so nervous and excited as the 8 weeks we waited to be able to bring Calliope Marie Lince home.  We drove to Knoxville, Tennessee to see the 5-week old puppies, Scorch, the surrogate mother, and Torch, the dad.

The next three weeks seemed like an eternity, even though S and I had plenty to keep us busy.  We were getting back into the swing of work, visiting family almost every weekend, and still trying to find time for ourselves all while planning a move to Alaska.  On May 20, 2012, everything was set for our move and we drove to Knoxville, Tennessee to finally pick up Callie to keep.  It felt like I had metal butterflies in my stomach, I was so nervous and excited.  I couldn’t believe it was finally here.  S and I had been thinking about this day for over a year!

S had gotten to hold Callie at 5 weeks and she had fallen asleep in his arms, so it was really no contest which puppy would be ours.  It was hard to leave all the other ones, but we knew they would be well taken care of.  Callie immediately found the truck to be her new home, and we began our long journey to Alaska with the sweetest, most time-consuming, and life changing thing that had ever come into my life.

The start of our journey

Categories: As an Adult, From Tennessee to Alaska | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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