Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Housing... Oh how I love thee!
I read many military spouse blogs, many of which are often about housing. After reading them I honestly think, surely things aren't that bad. The shoes is on the other feet now and lemme tell ya they stink. We are only in the beginning of our housing drama so I will do my duty and fill you in from time to time on our progress.

As you know we arrived on the island exactly 12 days ago. We arrived on a Friday, we had a housing meeting Monday morning. At which time they informed us that we would receive a call by the following Monday, with an offer of two houses to look at. The housing capacity is at approximately 92.6%. Translation out of the hundreds of houses we have in country, only about 3 are not lived in. We'll offer you two, then the one you don't pick will offer to the next sucker (sorry I mean Marine) and then the last one left goes to the next unlucky soul. When we submitted our housing paperwork in March, yes March. We were told the housing was at only 20%, and getting a home would be super easy and we'd get our pick. LIARS!

Moving forward to this week. On Monday, Mark went to work. If you know Mark you are aware of his cell phone abilities or rather habits. I began calling him when I woke up at 8am to make sure he answers the phone and that he keeps it w/ him. WHY would I request such a thing! Because that number is the ONLY number housing has to get in contact w/ us concerning a house. And they said they would call on Monday. In my book if you say you are going to do something, something as important as tell someone you have a HOME for them you are going to do it! Well after 2 hours of hearing nothing but Japanese on Mark's cell phone I took the bull by the horns and did something about it. Bet, you are wondering why Mark's phone is in Japanese, Duh... were in Japan and I can't figure out how to set up voicemail (not that it would even matter, Mark doesn't check that either!) Did I also fail to mention that at a later time I discovered Mark's phone was in his car turned off the entire time I was calling him! Lovely 'eh?!

Back to the bull horns... "Come on kids, we are leaving."
"Where are we going mom?"
"We are gonna find us a house!"
"Yeah, I want my own room"
"I hope it's big"
"Can we help decide too, I want to paint my room!"

So off we went. First we went to the wrong base in the wrong direction trying to find the housing office. Luckily on the said wrong base I was able to drive the wrong way into the gas station to find nice Marines laughing at me and asked them where the housing office was located. They tilted their heads to the left and replied,

"Um, Ma'am you are on the wrong base! It's over on Courtney, you are currently on Foster!"
"Okay, how do I get there?" (legitimate question right?!)
Here's my answer "blah blah blah blah blah turn right at the big crown sign, blah blah blah continue straight until you see the bull fighting ring, blah blah blah and then make a left into the gate! Got it?"
"Yep, sure do thanks" as I make a exit through the entrance.

Okay kids, lets look at the map. 90 minutes later we arrive at the housing office. Okay maybe I should tell you I didn't exactly go directly there. Bunny trails, lots and lots of bunny trails that I didn't mean to take and got me all turned around and I was lost on the island. Apparently I should have stayed in Girl Scouting longer to become more proficient in my map reading skills!

We've arrived. Praise the Lord. After sharing my nice story about our morning adventures w/ the hippie looking old dude (who did tell me he graduated HS in 1972 and has only been on the island 3 weeks) he informed me to return at 9 am tomorrow and they will have 2 houses for us to look at! Yeah, another victory for my persistence!
"Okay kids let's call Daddy!" Because a Marine wife can do nothing without her man. I was 'told' he had to be there for the housing offers. Which means I have to get a hold of him, so he can inform the unit of his early am meeting. I tried calling Mark again. Nothing by a Japanese lady talking a hundred miles a minute. But I did hear "Arigato" which means thank you right before she hung up.

Let's recap. I can't get a hold of Mark on his cell phone. I have NO other contact numbers for him. All I know is what base he works on and his unit. The phone books over here do not list unit information. What's a girl to do? Find her way right... off we shall go!

Mark works approximately 30 minutes from the base we were on (which by the way is one of the bases we should be offered a home!) Let's go kiddos. So I read the map (better this time I might add!) and off we went. We make it to Mark's base in approximately 32 minutes. Not bad, I was pretty stinkin' impressed w/ myself, and I didn't hit, run over or make a wrong turn not once. (I am patting myself on the back right now!)

Okay, now we are on Mark's base. It's a lot bigger than I had thought. Lets find some Marines, they are so good at giving directions. "Look mom, there are two!" We stop them, ask them if they know where said unit is. The look of shock and disbelief over took them. I was slightly concerned for a minute thinking... Oh crap am I on the wrong base again? I wasn't Praise the Lord. They told me right where to go, keep going straight the building will be on your right. "Thanks Marines!" And off I drove... slowly the speed is a whooping 25 kph. (translation that's about 15 MPH)

Caleb found the building. Katie found Dad's car. Seth, I think was thankful to just be there. We walked inside to be greeted by a Duty NCO. I asked for Mark, by proper rank and name of course. I got another bewildered look. He calls on the phone.
"Um, Ma'am he's in a meeting."
"Okay, can you just tell him that we came and he needs to call us!"
Seriously what I was I expecting. The Marine Corps cannot function without him, he's a very busy man with lots of responsibilities. It's okay, just make sure he calls me. A second later the door opens, "Daddy!" scream 3 little kids (who really aren't so little!)

The shock on his face was priceless. "What are you doing here babe?"
"Well, we got some news about housing and you needed to know ASAP for work and well, lets be honest! Where's your cell phone?!"
"In the car!"
I knew it... so I tell him about the meeting. He brings us behind the prison doors and we get to see his office and met his boss! Great man by the way. 20 minutes later we leave, we meaning the kids and I. Mark still had to work, remember he runs things now. We arrive home in 32 minutes, I didn't get lost once. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I'll continue the housing saga.... stay tuned for more details.

Oh I almost forgot... bet you are wondering why I kept getting all the weird looks once I was on Mark's base. No I did not have ketchup on my shirt and yes I did have matching clothes on! It was because it's very RARE to see spouses or kids on this base. It's "working base" the only people who live on this base are single Marines who live in the barracks. And the fact it is 30 minutes from the closest base that houses families. So we were in fact... an odd site to see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is all too good to be true, good thing the kids put up with you and your sense of humor in all of this. At least you have seen where Mark works and know he has a great boss no matter what he says when he has a bad day. Mom M.