Burger King Breakfast, You Will Be Missed

September 30, 2011

  That's right, starting October 7th, no more Burger King breakfast for the residents of Kwajalein.  It's just another victim of the budget axe.  In a wrap up to this post: Budget Cuts  here's how this year's budget cuts have affected Kwajalein and Roi:
-274 positions cut, most of them through removing open positions and reducing hours.  I understand there were about 10 contractor layoffs and about 20 island-hire layoffs
-Reduced hours at the stores, the rec center, small boat marina and the hobby shop
-No more PE, Spanish or music classes at the schools
-No more bus service on Kwajalein
-The physician's assistant is being cut on Roi (meaning only a nurse and EMT are available for medical treatment)

  D and I both still have our jobs and these cuts won't affect us too much, although we will miss that Monday morning Burger King breakfast splurge.  We've been told that KRS has to make these cuts over a three-year period, so we have one more year of these kinds of tough cuts.  Well, there could always be more cuts after that, of course, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.  The biggest thing that keeps coming up is whether or not to cut the schools or families here.  I've been told that it's been brought up every time there are budget cuts but so far, no one has really taken it seriously, until now.  There's nothing final but I've heard through the coconut wire that the suggestion to make either of those cuts went higher up the decision chain than it usually does.   We've heard that any major changes like that won't be implemented until closer to 2014, so we've got a little time.  We're pretty good at rolling with the punches and we have some back-up plans so don't worry too much about us.  I'll let you know when we know!

Kitchen Remodel!

September 27, 2011

 You read that title right!  We did some remodeling last week.  Was it this kitchen, built in 1955?  No, sorry, we're still living in Army housing and kitchen remodels for bases at the end of the world really aren't in their budget.  So which kitchen got the remodel?  This one:

A Weekend On Roi

September 26, 2011

 Sky looking cute in her raincoat after running through puddles


September 25, 2011

She Knows What She Wants!

September 21, 2011

Ms Cherie and Sky in May
  Sky knows what she wants and yesterday it was Ms Cherie.   Ms Cherie is our next door neighbor and she watches her one afternoon a week for us.  She usually comes to the back door when she's ready to take Sky so when we got home I took our shoes off and we settled in for some playtime.  Before long,  Sky started asking for juice.  I told her no, we don't have juice at the house, but she kept asking for it.  I asked her if she wanted water and she said no and conituned to ask for juice.  Finally I asked her to show me what she wanted.  She ran to the back door and picked up her SHOES, so I helped her put them on and then she started pushing on the back door.  When I opened it she ran outside, through the gate to Ms Cherie's back yard and knocked on her door!  Sky gave Ms Cherie a big hug when she came to the door and almost started crying when she told her she couldn't play with her today.  Sky loves her some Ms Cherie time!

The Host with the Most?

September 20, 2011

Unfortunately, that's our best-case-scenario right now: that D has a parasite instead of the multitude of other things that could be causing him the pain he's been in lately.  If you've been wondering why there haven't been any pictures of unbearable cuteness lately (which I know is why you all watch this site anyway!) it's because things haven't been very cute at the our house lately.  D has been dealing with severe abdominal pain for about a week and a half now and we're no closer to a solution.  Happily, he is finally working with a doctor who cares and that has made a big difference in his, and my, mental health.  The hospital is run by the company and sometimes it feels like they can get too caught up in watching the bottom line instead of caring for their patients.
  Some tests are being sent off to Hono this week so hopefully we'll have some answers soon- we'll keep you posted.

How to go grocery shopping on Kwaj

September 14, 2011

Here's a little slice of life for anyone who ever wondered what's different about life on Kwaj.  Below is a step-by-step process of grocery shopping here.  Enjoy!

1) Decide which day you want to go grocery shopping:
-Tuesday: There are fresh veggies and fruit right of the plane but the store will be crowded and inevitably the credit card machine will be down
-Wednesday: Less busy but the best fresh produce will have been bought yesterday and the credit card machine is probably still down
-Thursday: Not an option, the store is closed
-Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Monday: Good days for picking up things that you forgot on your big shopping day but by now most of the good fruits and veggies have been picked over. 
2) Make a grocery list, also known as a wish list and don't get your hopes up-  it's better to be surprised than disappointed!

My Marshallese Vocabulary

September 12, 2011

  The biggest downside to Sky being in daycare is that we don't have a nanny.  This means that Sky isn't getting the regular exposure to the Marshallese language that we wanted for her and sadly, despite my best (and sometimes worst) efforts, I have yet to find a Marshallese language teacher.  I am pretty baffled as to why I've had such a hard time finding one, since I live in the Marshalls, but I think a big part of it is that I don't work with any Marshallese (there are 3 people in my department) so I don't have regular contact with many native speakers.  I have a very good language manual but Marshallese pronunciation doesn't always follow the written language and I learn best by hearing someone say something and then repeating it. 
  Before we went to Majuro to adopt Sky, we got a list of words from a friend who teaches on Santo (Ennibur) and we've gradually been building on it.  Here's what we know so far:

Sky's Kitchen and Mama's Shoes

September 10, 2011

She loves it so much, this is what it looks like most of the time

Four Years

September 8, 2011

D and I in the fall of 04; I think we'd been dating for about a month.
I was 25 and he was 28.

Life Under a Cloud, or Better Living Through Chemistry

September 4, 2011

  About three weeks ago, things started to look pretty bad to me.  I felt like I was living under a big dark cloud that I couldn't shake.  Under that cloud, my life was nothing but laundry, dirty dishes and a crying baby and I was having to manage everything all on my own.  It came to a head about a week and a half ago when I had Sky on my own for most of the evening.  Things were fine until she wanted to be held and I couldn't pick her up because I was using the grill.  She collapsed in tears and wouldn't be consoled.  Dinner was ready a few minutes later and she refused to eat it.  I'd made something I was sure she'd like (chicken and something we call "crunchy rice") and she wouldn't even try  it.  Sky hadn't eaten what I'd served her for breakfast that day either and under the cloud, her not eating what I fed her made me feel like a failed mom.  There were dirty dishes still in the sink, clean dishes in the dishwasher and laundry in the washer and dryer with more to go in. 
  The cloud got bigger, darker and lower and I just started crying.  So of course, Sky started crying because next to D, she's the most empathetic person ever.  I couldn't take it.  So what did I do?  I called my Mommy.  It was 1:30 in the morning where she was but I needed to talk to someone and couldn't think of anyone else who would understand and wouldn't mind being woken up.  And she was great.  She listened.  And listened.  It was wonderful.  The cloud was still there but it moved back up off me a ways and I was able to calm Sky down and get through the rest of the evening.  When D came home, he was very sorry for being late and that I'd had such a terrible night and promised to try to help more around the house.
  The next day I went to the hospital to get my thyroid levels checked and low and behold, they were off.  I have hypothyroidism and when my medicine isn't adjusted right, I get depressed and overwhelmed easily.  I should have recognized the symptoms earlier.  I was able to get a prescription for a higher dosage of medicine and things are going better.  Sky still cries when I won't pick her up (she's going through a phase of wanting to be held all the time now...) but we get through it without me crying.  Sometimes she doesn't eat what I put in front of her but I don't take it personally.  D has been great at helping around the house more lately, and has been helping a lot with Sky in the mornings, which makes things go smoother for me.
  So, yay family! (and yay drugs!)
Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.