Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drumroll Please...

We finally got Gunnar's orders! Our family will be stationed at Fort Bragg North Carolina. This was definitely one of our top choices. It's where Gunnar was stationed the first time around (way back when) so he knows the area and it's a reasonable, although still long, drive back to Ohio and our families. Fort Bragg is the largest military base in the US and it's basically like it's own town. Which is a good thing because everything I hear about the nearest town, Fayeteville NC, is less than spectacular. We will be just a few hours from the ocean though, which is a very nice bonus. North Carolina is huge, as my mom and I learned last night looking at maps. It seems like everything is a few hours away. I've got a lot to learn about the new place! At some point Gunnar decided he preferred Fort Carson, Colorado because many of his Army buddies are being stationed there. I think North Carolina will be a good location for us though, and I can't wait for Gunnar to show me around his old stomping ground!

I started yesterday trying to learn about on post housing etc. To say I am confused would be an understatement. There are waiting lists for much of the housing on post. Some are reasonable though and quite doable since Gunnar reports for duty Oct. 23rd. We were hoping for 10 or 12 days of leave but his orders say he'll have over a month! I am still waiting to find out if that is actually true - seems too good. So I learned that there are 10 different neighborhoods at Fort Bragg. We are eligible for certain neighborhoods based on Gunnar's rank. It seems like a fairly complex set of rules and regulations. I did request a welcome packet, so hopefully that will give us a clue where to start. I looked about about a dozen different websites, neighborhoods, floorplans etc to try to figure out where we should apply to live. Then my attempt to fill out the housing application didn't go too well because it was full of tons of abbreviations that still make no sense to me. I wish Gunnar was here to help me figure this stuff out.

We have just slightly more than 3 weeks till his big graduation and then our mini beach vacation! It seems like 3 weeks shouldn't be a big deal, after 4 months of being apart but in fact just the opposite is true. It seems like time has never moved so slowly. Every day is dragging by. I know it's much worse for Gunnar though. He has this week of training and because his least favorite drill sergeant is back with his platoon, it's been miserable the last week or so. He is so close to being done and so fed up with this lifestyle. No freedom or free time, even when they don't have training (Sundays for example) he still has to stay in the barracks the entire day. Occasionally he get a 3 hour pass, maybe once a week and can head to the PX for some Starbucks and people watching. I can't wait to get him away from there so he can properly relax and enjoy himself. 23 more days!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Waiting Game

We still have no word on where we'll be moving to. I have been checking Gunnar's Army email several times a day (ok - dozens of times a day) to see if there's any news. It's a strange thing for me to know that we are moving soon and can't plan for any of the details. I am hoping we are able to live on base, but if we cannot we are going to need to find off-base housing pronto. I am completely in the dark about what the whole process entails and how and when we actually know what to do. What a strange life!

I am very much a mid-west type of girl. I like cities with lots to do but no so big that it takes an hour to get downtown. I like that the countryside is never too far away. I love the drastic difference between summer and winter and how wonderful fall and spring are in between. I love watching seasons change and everything that goes along with that. Most of all my family is here. I've never lived away from my family at all. I went to college 15 minutes from my parents house. I've never lived more than 10 minutes from them. My sisters and brother are all within minutes of me. The thought of being hundreds of miles away from makes me sad beyond belief. Somehow though, I still feel like we are doing the right thing for our family.

Gunnar is doing well. He has one week of training left and then "Hell Week", which for those of you that don't know, is the culmination of months of Infantry training all rolled into one hellish week. It's meant to push the soldiers as far as they can go, on very little sleep, not enough food, and intense physical challenges. Gunnar doesn't sound too excited but knowing that after that it's just biding time till graduation. He will have a few weeks after Hell Week to finish up silly tasks and then be done!

We have decided to leave immediately after graduation and hit the road. We're heading to Myrtle Beach for two nights before "hauling the mail" (as my father-in-law says) back to Columbus to hopefully make it back in time for the weekly family Sunday dinner at my parents house. Ideally he will have 10 or maybe even 12 days of leave before reporting to his next duty assignment.

Well, I better go check Gunnar's email (again!) and see if there's any news. It will be really nice to start googling my new place to call home!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Big Improvements...sort of

So in my last post I was tell you all about Gunnar's placement in week #4 of his 15 week training program. Well, he was only there for about 1 week when he was re-assigned and was moved ahead to Week #10 out of the program. It was absolutely great news! This means he has a 3rd (and hopefully final) graduation date of Sept 18th. Because of the advancement, he no longer has a family weekend in August so I won't be able to see him till his actual graduation date. He has been writing tons of letters, which make me laugh and cry every time. It's a great way to really keep in touch. And undoubtedly somewhere in every letter, Gunnar mentions his burning desire for a night of going out for ice cold draft beer and chicken wings when he comes back to Columbus. I laugh every time! He said all his other army buddies are talking about going out for lobster or steak dinners, and there's my hubby just wanting some buffalo wings!

Plans for graduation traveling are underway. Since graduation is on a Friday, I will be leaving Columbus solo on Thursday and heading south. My best pal Rachel lives in Chattanooga, which is right along the way, so I'll have a place to stay for a night before heading to Ft. Benning, Georgia in the morning (depending what time actual graduation takes place). Then Gunnar came up with the best idea I've ever heard - he wants to drive east and spend a night at the beach before heading up to Ohio. Sort of a teeny mini vacation which I think he totally deserves at this point! The downside is that we will miss a big huge family picnic up in northern Ohio that Saturday :( I think a night or two at the beach will be a great way to spend a few days after being apart for so darn long though! In the 11 years we've been together Gunnar and I have always absolutely loved riding in the car together. I can't wait to have a roadtrip with him. I am wondering if it's too early to start packing...

In other really great news, Gunnar has use of his cell phone once again. Apparently morale has been a bit low in his group and one of the other prior-service fellows requested that all PS guys get their personal phones back. So each night after training, we are able to talk or text again. It's really amazing being able to communicate again on a regular basis. We have been talking for nearly an hour each night and it really makes a big difference for both of us I think.

So things are definintely moving along now. It's crazy to be able to say that I am going to see Gunnar next month! We have about 5 more weeks to go and then he'll be home for an undetermined amount of time. I am hoping we get at least 2 weeks before moving but it's anybody's guess really.

Speaking of moving. Gunnar told me last night that we should know in the next couple of weeks where we will be moving to. I am not holding my breath though because we thought we would have known something by now. It's a really strange thing to know I am moving my whole family somewhere next month and have no idea where. I can't even begin to work out the logistics since I have no idea where we will be. A lot is still up in the air, obviously.