Earlier this week, my sister sent me a care package that contained, amongst other things, several canned chipotles in adobo paste. I know it's a silly thing, but it made me so happy. It is really hard trying to adapt recipes sometimes when we have such a limited supply and variety of food here. I have been looking forward to making carnitas for a long time, and for the first time in a while, I excitedly went to the grocery store (okay, that's an exaggeration---I HATE shopping, especially grocery shopping) and went to buy the meat we needed.
We asked the butcher for a boneless butt roast. He said, "We only have it with the bone-in." Okay, I thought, I really don't care this moment because I HAVE CHIPOTLES IN FREAKIN' ADOBO SAUCE. Bring it on, butcher man.
Then he said, "Oh, and we don't have any right now. Maybe they'll be on the next barge over. "
Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh.
My favorite Mexican cookbook with my yet unused Chipotles.
I was so mad, I just wanted PB&J. I guess I should be thankful that the commissary finally got the bread problem under control and we can buy bread almost every day now.
So I went home and concentrated instead on our summer vacation plans. I am feeling a little claustrophobic, and just the thought of getting somewhere with more than one store, where I see more than the same people everywhere, kind of excites me.
Here's the catch about leaving: because of my SCD, I don't get RAT, but instead can use an EML to Space A.
In real world language, because this summer occurs less than a calendar year from my hire date, we don't get tickets home for summer at my work's expense. Our options are buy tickets (very expensive), or try to get a space available flight. To fly Space-A, you have to be on leave, send your paperwork to the air terminal, and hope that there is space on one of the nine flights a month off the island.
Problem is anyone with a paid ticket or anyone PCSing (permanent change of station---in other words, they are leaving and they ain't coming back) can bump you down the list. And evidently, this summer full of people moving from the island. We're talking entire military units leaving.
Which leaves us looking at fewer and fewer options to leave. There have not been seats available thus far, and the next few flights are almost entirely booked, as well.
We can pack and sit at the terminal and hope we win the lottery to leave the island, and if not, come back the next time there are flights. This also means we can't make any advance reservations for hotels, rental cars, etc. We have a few options of where we can land (Jacksonville, Norfolk, DC), but without making reservations ahead of time, we risk driving around (granted we can get a car at the terminal) and finding somewhere to stay that isn't too expensive (or in the 'hood).
Yes, I am complaining. Considering that I got a job offer and was here in a few weeks time, you'd think I actually like flying by the seat of my pants.
Well, I don't.
So the whole situation has had me in a sort of funk.
The island is rather deserted---virtually everyone from work has already left, most of the kids' friends are gone, and it's sort of a ghost town around here. The base pool is closed for repairs, the sequestration means the bowling alley is closed during the day, and you'd think we'd be all excited about going to the beach every day, but the wind has the water stirred up and it's not the best conditions for swimming.
So what is there to do?
I'm trying to keep the kids' momentum up--they've done a great job of getting out of the house and from in front of a computer or television, so this is frustrating.
And then, this morning, a visitor came and made me see things in a different perspective. Sometimes in life the right person at the right time makes you see things just aren't that bad. A worker came over to repair a few things around the house. That is the beauty of living in base housing---you have a water leak or a broken door or a loose tile, and someone is there to fix it within 24 hours, usually. The workers are mostly Filipinos, working for low wages in US terms, but a solid wage in their own country. I talked while a gentleman did a few repairs, and his story was the same of many others: he has a wife and children back home, and he sends most of his salary here directly to them. He gets a paid return ticket once every 2 years. He misses his family very much. Like many of the workers, he does other side jobs so he can be an even better supporter of his family.
Just talking to someone about how much he misses his children, but how thankful he was that he got to see them at Christmas, made me realize that I really have so little to worry about.
I am here with my family. Even for the year my husband was away in S Korea, we knew we'd be reunited in a year and that he wouldn't have to turn around in a few weeks and go back for a long period of time.
Anytime after the end of October that I'm on leave, we can travel back to Texas and see friends and family. Hopefully we can take a quick hop back to the mainland/the real world for a week this summer, but if we don't, it will be disappointing but not without the knowledge that we only have a few more months to wait.
And then there is the bird. A little bird has my spirits up, as well.
The kids and I were playing in the yard two days ago and spotted a dead baby bird on the ground. We didn't see a nest anywhere nearby and figured one of the many crazy Gitmo feral cats had dragged it into the yard.
Then the next day, I spotted an adult bird on the ground. At closer inspection, we saw a nest and baby bird on the ground next to it.
The poor bird and nest had fallen out of the tree, probably during the windy rainstorm the night before.
A google search later said you can wear gloves and put a bird and nest in a tree (preferably the "crotch" of the tree---yes, it really said that) and there is a chance the mother will come back to the nest. Mother birds don't recognize their babies by scent, so the old wives tale about not touching a nest is untrue.
My superhero husband donned some gloves, stuffed the nest into the crotch of the tree, and gingerly picked up a spritely little baby Mourning Dove and placed it gently in the nest.
And guess what? The mama and the daddy (or maybe its other mama? We do love the book And Tango Makes Three) flew down and hung out with baby bird.
This morning they were all hanging out. The adult birds had taken some mud and straw to reinforce an even bigger nest, and the baby was moving a bit.
All is well. I don't know if birds truly have bird brains and just figure the wind carried the baby and nest back, or if they were confused as they watched the hubby do his work, but they are feeding it and it will hopefully grow up and remember us.
In other words, the bird better not poop on Pearl, my Gitmo Special.
So here's hoping the Bluebird of Happiness (or maybe dove) really lays one on all of you, especially if you are also finding yourself in a funk.