Monday, June 23, 2008

Memories (installment 23)

Living with my brother was an adventure. He was young, and single, and not used to having a woman and 4 children in the house, never mind all of the stuff that came with us.


Jason's car was dying, and driving to Columbia every day for work was getting to be a problem. He found another job in Greenwood, which was about half of the drive.


We were going to church in Greenwood as well, going back to the church we had attended when we lived near my parents.


Jason was still drilling at the reserve center in Charlotte once a month.


Thanksgiving came, and we spent the day with my parents. We didn't hear anything from Jason's family.


Christmas came, and we tried to make contact with Jason's parents and other people from the church in Columbia. We DID receive a box of presents for the kids from Jason's parents but no communication at all.


In January, we decided that Jason was going to try to go active duty in the Navy since he wasn't finding work that would support us. In February, he started working full-time in Charlotte, at the reserve center until they could get him into Supply "A" School, in Meridian, MS.


Jason left for Mississippi in late February and was in school for the next 6 weeks.


In the mean time, I was getting things ready for our next move. I sorted through all of our stuff, and had a yard sale. I took 12 big boxes of clothes to the Goodwill store.


Jason was to graduate from "A" school on April 4th, his birthday.


On March 30th I was supposed to load all of the kids in the car and drive out there to get him.

My other brother's wedding was on April 21st.

Jason was supposed to report to his command in Ingleside, TX on April 22nd.

We needed to be in both places.


Two days before I was supposed to leave, I fixed supper for James and the kids and myself and put everyone to bed. We had chicken and green beans. Within an hour of getting kids in bed I started hearing from kids.


"My tummy hurts."


"I don't feel good."


Let's just say it was a LONG night. All 6 of us were sick. Really, really sick. I had a LOT of laundry to day that next day.


And I was supposed to be making an 8-hour drive in two days.


We recovered, and left for Mississippi on time.


The drive was uneventful. The kids were GREAT. We got into Meridian and checked into our room on base.


I started feeling bad the next morning. That day was busy. I took the car over to get some work done on it. I entertained bored children. I got my first military ID made. I was learning about life as a military spouse.


The next day, Jason moved us to a different room, where he could stay with us. By this point I was feeling AWEFUL. Somehow I made it through the next couple of days, entertaining the kids, and keeping us all fed. All I wanted to do was DIE. I could barely talk. I was running a fever. My throat was aweful.


I called the clinic and talked to them about it. They said I should come over. I didn't know where the clinic was located. I didn't know what to do with the kids. I felt like I couldn't drive.


On Thursday, April 4th, Jason graduated. We were supposed to be leaving immediately from graduation and drive to Ingleside, TX, so he could report to his command.


Before we left, I insisted that he take me to the clinic. The doctor saw me immediately (I think they took one look at me and took pity). I had strep throat. He said my tonsils were on the verge of bursting from the infection. He gave me a shot of antibiotics, gave me some Cepacol lozenges, and a round of antibiotics to take, and said to make sure I checked in with the clinic in TX when we got there.


I left the clinic, climbed in the car, and we left for Texas.


Not being veterans of driving in Texas, we got on I-20, and headed west. We were travelling with another couple of people from the school, and left them when we hit the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, where we headed south. We had supper in DFW, and drove south.


Let me just say....that is a LONG drive.


We got into Corpus Christi on Friday, and went to housing to see if we could get on the housing list right away. We spent the weekend in a motel room, and on Monday Jason reported to his new command, the USS Defender. He was able to get some house-hunting leave, and didn't have to be back until April 25th, giving us time to attend my brother's wedding, and drive across country with our stuff.


We also got to tour the housing area. It was nice. We qualified for a 3-bedroom place, and were promised that it would be ready for us when we got back into town.


Success.


We headed back to South Carolina for my brother's wedding and to get all of our stuff packed up.


My parents and James helped pack the U-Haul truck. It was all ready to go, sitting in front of James' house. Jason was going to drive the truck and I was driving the car with all of the kids. We were all ready to go.


The wedding was in Columbia, on April 21st. We were all there, and it was a beautiful wedding. We went to the reception, and then headed back to James' house. It was dusk, and on the way into town, a deer ran out in front of us. Fortunately it didn't do much damage to the car.


The next day was Sunday, and we went to Greenwood, to church, and left after lunch to head to Texas. James was going to follow the next day, to help us get unloaded. We spent the night somewhere in Louisiana, and drove the rest of the way on Monday, getting into Portland, Texas late on Monday night.


The apartment was waiting for us, and we went right in and spent the night sleeping on the floors. The next morning we unpacked the truck and got moved in. James had also arrived the night before and helped unpack and set up beds. Jason had to report to the ship the following morning, so they wanted to finish up all they could. They took the truck in and dropped it off that day and the kids and I worked on settling in.


Our oldest was in first grade at this point, and had already been in two different schools that year. We had decided that instead of putting her into yet another school, I would homeschool her. I had wanted to do that anyway, and this was a great place to get started.


Our military adventure had begun...we were living in military housing, and Jason was now officially government property.

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