Monday, June 17, 2013


As of today, I have 12 days standing between me and my departure from the Mojave Desert.  It has been 2 years and 2 months since we first drove out to the base from the northeast side of town.  I looked out my window at the junkyards of Boron and choked back the tears.  I wondered how nice of a trailer home our BAH would pay for.  Luckily I soon discovered civilization (sort of) laid on the other side of the base boundaries.  It has been an interesting few years, to say the least.  I will list for you now the 6 best and 6 worst things about this assignment.  And the 6 worst will be fleeting and silly in comparison to the 6 best, because as much as I never thought it would happen, this place got under my skin.  I really loved our time here, and am sad to leave.  But also, ready to leave.  Let's be real.

The Bad
1) The desert heat and wildlife.  Dozens of 100+ degree days, one after another.   I look like Carrot Top I have so many freckles. And sure, it's kind of neat seeing the coyotes and the bobcats (unless they ate your dog, as is the case with a few acquaintances on base), but the giant spiders are more stomach churning than awe inspiring.  I still haven't seen a snake so I refuse to acknowledge their existence here.  Knock on wood.
2) LA traffic.  One of the few places in the universe where you can get stuck in bumper-to-bumper jams after midnight.
3) The Wizard of Oz-esque winds, and sonic booms that shake the house, set off car alarms, and traumatize Buster.
4) 16 miles to the nearest Target.
5) DSL internet that moves slower than your grandma.
6) CRV on cans and bottles.  So for you non-CA residents, we have to pay a deposit when we buy soda or bottled water, and then bring all our empty cans/bottles to a recycling place to get our deposit back.  It's like they punish people who want to do the right thing and recycle by making it extra inconvenient.  Plus, our local recycling guy was basically like Lurch from the Addams family.  Spooky, ooky, and never in a good mood.

The Good
1) Vallarta's - the Mexican supermercado chain.  The music, the colors, the smells - it makes grocery shopping feel like Carnivale.
2) Living in a donut hole.  There may be nothing here, but there are many things to see around us, two hours or so in every direction.  Just a few things we've seen out here: Vegas, Grand Canyon, White Sands, Petrified Forest, San Diego, LA, and San Francisco. And we still haven't seen half of what there is to see.
3) Eternal sunshine.  I know I complained about the heat on the bad list, but I do enjoy the sunshine here.  The one time it rained this spring my dogs refused to go outside and seemed genuinely confused.  They've forgotten what rain is.  We didn't even own an umbrella until our San Fran trip.  I'm not looking forward to the long wet winters that haunt the Midwest.
4) Leaving behind the house that was our son's first home.  This is totally irrational, but I have been getting all weepy packing up our stuff.  Painting D's room back to white and taking all his froggie decorations off the walls was sad!  We haven't lived here that long, and we're renting, but because this is where our son came home from the hospital and spent his first 9 months, I guess I will always have a sentimental attachment to it.  My mom says, "don't be sad, you get to take D with you!"  And it's true.  As they say, home is where the heart is (and also, where the AF sends you.)
5) Our squadron family.  T's first assignment was school, so it wasn't really a typical AF experience.  It was hard for us to make friends and find a sense of community.  Only days after our arrival here I was invited to my first spouse coffee.  I knew instantly this would be a totally different experience.  I was welcomed and supported by experienced military wives.  We've enjoyed attending all the squadron events like the family picnics and holiday parties.  Also I was so appreciative after the birth of my son when four frozen meals magically showed up at my door from the squadron. We may not have extended family nearby, but we have people who take care of us like family, and that is amazing.  We've been so grateful and privileged to be a part of this squadron and are sad to leave it behind.
6) My friends.  Only a few days after my arrival I was adopted by E, who dragged me to yoga where I met another E, who made me join spouses club.  From there, I have met a flurry of energetic, bright, and hilarious women.  I have many great memories, such as endless strings of baby showers (including my own), learning to play bunco like a real AF wife, hosting girls movie night while we all waited for the guys to return from roll call, road trips to Pasadena, board game nights, lunch playdates at K's, and many more.  Without all of you, this assignment could have been unbearable.  With you, it was a wonderful 2 years of great memories.  I will miss you girls, until our AF paths cross again.  Hopefully not in the desert though.

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