Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's a GIRL!!!!

Yesterday our girl was brought to the base for us to meet. After just a few short minutes we knew she was right for us. As soon as we move into our new place she will be coming home with us so we can spoil her. In the mean time we have a dog bed to buy. We decided to name her Rana pronounced "Rayna" which is the genus of frogs including the spotted leopard frog. As you can see she's pretty spotted herself. She should get to be about 40-50 pounds based on the size of her feet. Look at that FACE!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New House....Check!

After being on the ground in Okinawa for 2 days we have secured a place to live. It looks like we will be moving in on the 10th of September. Arriving on what turned out to be a 4 day weekend didn't really give us any benefits. Luckily the locals work nearly every day. The process is setup well. When you go to the housing office you fill out one form that has your rank and what kind of house you want, number of bedrooms and if you have pets etc. They then fax that form to every housing agent that they have listed. Then about 10 housing agents call you and offer to come and pick you up and show you around to different places. We are still looking around for cars. The island has some of the coolest cars I've ever seen, but the few dealerships we went to are a little pricey. We'll crack that nut soon enough. SO the new place. When we saw it we loved it right away. Three bedroom 2 bath with a large master suite. American appliances and a large balcony that overlooks the airfield and the ocean beyond. Wood floors throughout, and more storage space then you can imagine. Even a walk-in closet! And it was one of only two houses that had a dishwasher. The owner wanted 350,000 yen for the rent (about $3500/mo) but my cap is only 210,000. We were able to negotiate (well, our agent did) down to $220,000/mo so I will have to pay about $100/mo out of pocket. The place is so close to the base however that I will be able to bike to work, and the money we will save in gas, and the time spent not in traffic will be well worth it. Anyway, Amy already setup and appointment to see our potential new dog. She has been on the Okinawa Animal Rescue website for a while. So it looks like we may have a dog before we have a car, but whatever. We won't be able to get our license to drive until Tuesday. The squadron is supposed to have a get-together Sunday so we should get to meet some people then. More later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Seeing family and prepaing for the longest travel day EVER!

You know, the 10 hour flight from England didn't seem that bad. It actually turned into a 12 hour flight because we had to divert into Cheyenne for fuel due to the thunderstorms over DIA. That was a first for me. I thought this poor woman with two kids, one of which had puked all over the place about half way through the flight, was going to lose her mind when she heard the news. That just made me more relaxed. As long as someone is about to lose it, then I don't have to. But someone should always be on the edge of flipping out. It's like a position on a sports team. Some has to be there. We eventually made it to Phoenix and Amy and I were able to enjoy the company of my Dad and step-mom and eventually my brother and his family. It was an exhausting leg, but well worth all of it. From there we headed off to Gainesville to visit my better half's family. It's weird for me to have spent 5 years living in Gainesville only to not really know anyone that lives there anymore. I guess that is the joy of the college town. Out with the old and in with the new. We were rained out of almost everything except shopping. And shop we did. Amy's mom was a little frustrated that I could tear through a Ross Dress for Less in 5 minutes and determine that there was nothing there for me. I guess I'm a common size, and since I don't wear South Pole or FuBu there just wasn't that much selection. From there up to the Panhandle where we stayed at the finest hotel in Crestview. Sorry mom, I just can't take the smoke anymore. It was nice to see the people of the south again and be glad that I'm not still hanging around there anymore. Don't get me wrong, they're nice people, but whoa....WHOA. Scary. We made our escape after a nice dinner with some old friends at McGuires in Destin during the eye of Tropical Storm Fay which was not really more than a breezy rain shower. Now we're just relaxing in Phoenix again until Wednesday when we start the long journey to the Far East (which is actually west of here). FLY birdy FLY!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Big Trip

So much has happened since I dominated the gym in April. Amy and I took the vacation of a lifetime down in South Africa. After a short 9 hours on Qatar Airways (I highly recommend the airline) we arrived in Johannesburg at 6am. We quickly drove out of that city (very high crime rate) and headed for Kruger National Park. There we stayed in the finest 5 star hut you have ever seen. The 'hut” was probably around 700 square feet with glass walls on one side so you could look out on the bush where wild animals lived just outside your door. The resort had a chef and they kept us on a perfect routine of activity-eat-nap repeat. I didn't want to leave this place at all. Game drives were conducted every morning and evening. We saw elephants, cape buffalo, hyenas, warthogs, rhinos, yellow billed hornsby's (think Zazu from the Lion King), impala, kudu, lions, zebras, and probably some others that I can't think of right now. Our game driver Johnson and the spotter Reyfus were the coolest people we met. From there we went on a South African road trip covering almost the entire eastern coast a total of 24 hours of driving split up into 4 days. The terrain was very diverse and looked like everything from desert to jungle to mountains. We even slipped a little Bungee jumping into the trip. Very scary...I'm too old for that. We ended up in Cape Town where we met up with some friends of our friends that we traveled with. Glennes became our Cape Town guide and showed us around the area. We saw the Cape of Good Hope and Boulder Beach which has a small population of penguins that are only located there. We came home with a few souvenirs and about 1500 pictures that we took. The best of them have been loaded onto picasaweb where you can view them. Good Times!