Staying Put

It’s official, we’re staying here! I’m getting stationed at the 55th Combat Camera company, Signals Brigade stationed on Fort George G. Meade (the picture above is just a picture I took at a training day, seemed appropriate since I’m blogging about the Army). That means another couple years of living near the nations capitol. We’re both excited and disappointed (some of the people in my class got Germany and some got South Korea), but overall I think it’s a really good assignment.

Anyway, Jen already posted about all the fun stuff going on in our lives so I’ll just leave you with a picture I took a little while back at the natural bridge.

Zoey the Beagle

The past week of our lives has been completely filled with our new long eared, pooping cutie. She is an 8 wk old beagle puppy and we absolutely couldn’t resist when we saw her at the puppy store. We’ve been looking for a puppy/dog for awhile so we had become all too eager and this was the cutest face we’d seen in awhile!

To update on last weekend, Saturday we went to Colonial Beach in VA with some of Nick’s army buds. The beach wasn’t anything to rave about but the town was so cute. They call it the “golf cart town” because everyone there drives golf carts. They have some tricked out golf carts with lift kits and sweet paint jobs. It was an unexpected quirkiness of this historic little town.

Sunday we used the free ticket I got from work for the “governor’s volunteer appreciation day at the MD state fair”. We watched a really funny pig race where the last round of the race was the pot belly pigs and they ran soooo slow it was hilarious. Then we looked at all the 4-H animals, saw the baby animals display, watched a few horse races, ate a funnel cake and a huge turkey leg drumstick and watched all the crazy people that only come out at the state fair. On our way home we made that fateful stop at the puppy store and our lives have been filled with Zoey ever since.

While we did pay a bit much for our purebred baby, Nick has decided that “you get what you paid for” certainly applies with her. She does not bark when we are gone, she is practically potty trained and follows us without even needing a leash. It’s almost like someone already trained her. Of course, her beagle instinct kicks in and when she is on the “smell trail” she hardly hears a word we say, so we’ll have to work on that. We’re hoping to train her well enough that she can certify as a therapy dog so that I can bring her into wherever I work. That’s one of the perks of being a recreational therapist, I use therapy animals sometimes so if my dog is one of them, I can take her to work. It’ll be awhile, but that’s my ideal outcome for Zoey.

6 months later…

Today is Nick and I’s 6 month anniversary! It does not feel like we’ve been married that long! I guess that could be due to the fact that we’ve only been together for three months of it. Sometimes I feel like I never really got married, due to the lack of a wedding. But just to let everyone know, we will be making up for that. I have officially booked a reception center in Provo UT for January 3rd. We may also try to do a house party in Moscow when we’re there for Christmas. We’re excited to get our chance to celebrate with family and friends…even if it is almost a year after the fact!

Natural Bridge = Tourist Trap

Nick and I spent the weekend in Virginia seeing the Natural Bridge. It was beautiful! The only problem was that Mr. Thomas Jefferson bought the land with the natural bridge on it and then sold it to someone else who has turned it into not only a tourist attraction but has made the surrounding area the ultimate tourist trap. I am not sure why the state has not reclaimed this natural beauty, but it remains privately owned. There is a HUGE gift shop where you can purchase package deals to take a tour of the nearby caverns (deepest on the east coast!), see the natural bridge, tour the wax museum, the dinosaur museum, the monster museum, the factory, the zoo, the drive through zoo and see a life size replica of stonehenge called “foamhenge”. All this, in the middle of nowhere! Their marketing is great…they make it sound like you need to plan on spending DAYS there. Which means that you also have to stay at their hotel and eat their food. It’s brilliant really.
Luckily we were smart. We wanted to camp and we did our research. There was a national park only 10 miles away where camping was 1/3 of the price that the private campground next to the natural bridge tries to charge you. We actually asked about camping while at the gift shop and they did not mention the national park.

We took a tour of the caverns…which were mostly man blown holes with paved walkways to see a few little cave formations. Then we went out to the campground where we met some funny old men who lent us an ax and talked our ears off for awhile and made a few blatantly racist comments. (Funny how white people assume they can say these things to other white people!) We made a fire and some s’mores and went to sleep.

Next morning we went to the natural bridge. It was quite impressive. Worth seeing for sure. They have a nice little 2 mile trail you can walk down and see an “indian village” and a little waterfall. It followed a stream that was full of fish jumping here and there.

Then we saw the “foam henge”…it was free. Some crazy man wanted to make his mark on history and decided this was it. It was pretty cool.

It’s always sad when the weekend ends and you gotta go back to work. But that’s life I guess! It can’t always be the weekend!

Life goes on…

Have you ever gone for a run and felt like you were moving so slowly but then looked back over your shoulder and the point where you started is much further away than you had imagined it would be? That is the best metaphor that I can think of for what my life feels like right now. Each and every day drags and yet at the end of the month I can’t seem to figure out where all those days went!

Work has been insane. Remember the boss that I talked about? The really nice lady who made a terrible manager? Well she had been working at our facility for 12 years and a month after I started working, she put in a four weeks notice. I thought for a little while that this would make life a little better…I was sorely mistaken. Within our department there is supposed to be a boss and three staff. When I started work there were two staff members who had just quit. I replaced both of them as there were no other applications for the position. After being poorly trained, I attempted to take over two people’s positions. As you can imagine it has only resulted in stress. Now that the boss has been gone for a month, life is all the more stressful. The two of us are trying to do the work of four and we are getting stretched thin. The worst part is that our wonderful residents have not been too forgiving about the situation. They continue to comment on how there “used to be so many good activities in this place!” We try to explain that we have to get a lot of things done and we had to cut back…to no avail.
But there is a light…finally after weeks of no applicants, we had a downpour of them and have now hired a new director and staff member who will start on Sept 8th (hopefully…we have had one fall through before…) Even then though, we will be responsible for training them. I only hope I can train the new staff better than I was trained.

I fluctuate between being really super motivated and seeing a lot of potential in my job to feeling completely beat and just wanting to give up and quit. I guess the main thing that keeps me there is the fact that there aren’t many jobs around here. I’ll keep looking though.

Long story short…we haven’t blogged much because time has slipped right out from under us and suddenly another month has passed and we didn’t even know it began. We did a few fun things this month such as go to the beach (where for the sake of his portfolio Nick made me climb out on some slippery rocks into the pounding waves of the ocean, to get a good shot) and the Baltimore aquarium. We’ve also been on the hunt for a cute beagle to call our own…no luck yet. And of course, through it all Nick has been there with his camera, working on getting some good shots for his portfolio.

As far as Nick’s job goes…We still haven’t heard where we will be stationed after Nick’s graduation from his training here on Sept 29. I guess we might not know until the week he graduates…good old army. I’m beginning to develop a love/hate relationship with the army.