There’s a WHOLE lot of hurry up & wait in military life. When Ryan came home & announced that we’re moving to Hawaii, he had only received an RFO from HRC (in English: Request for Orders from Human Resources Command). Once we knew where we were going, my life got shoved into hyper drive. There are a few things that have to happen quickly when you’re PCSing OCONUS (permanent change of station out of the continental United States), especially if you have kids or a pet.
I had to do a lot of research to get all the details on bringing a pet onto the Hawaiian Islands. Long story short, it’s a rabies-free state, pets have to have two rabies shots and a blood test (called the FAVN-OIE Rabies Antibody Test) and then 120 days after the blood test has been sent to either a lab at Kansas State or Ft. Sam Houston, they’ll let your pet on island. If you don’t follow the protocol, your pet has to spend the 120 days in quarantine at the Honolulu Airport…not fun, for you and definitely not good for your poor pet (plus it’s EXTREMELY expensive to quarantine your pet at the airport). It’s much better for your pet to spend the 120 days with you at your mainland home than in a tiny cage at an airport.
If you’re PCSing to Hawaii, here’s the official site with info that I found. Since Abbey is still a puppy, we had to get her second rabies shot. At that vet appointment I found out that we have to wait 21 days after getting a rabies vaccination to do Abbey’s FAVN blood draw. So, for those of you playing along at home, Ryan got his RFO in mid-August, is due to report for duty in early November…that’s less than 120 days already. Even if we’d done the FAVN test the day we got the RFO, her 120 days wouldn’t have been up until December. Now, with the 21 days added on, her 120 days will be up in January. So, Abbey will stay in Colorado with Ryan’s family until her 120-day sentence is served. See what I mean about hurry up and wait?
The other thing you have to hurry up and do? Overseas medical screenings. Aidan and I had to go to the Exceptional Family Member Program Office and get medical screening forms, then get appointments with each of our primary care managers. Luckily, Ft. Huachuca is a small post so it was easy to get into see our PCMs. I can only imagine if we were still at Ft. Sam Houston & trying to get appointments at BAMC! I also had to fill out a questionnaire about each of us, our health, what medications we’re taking, our medical history, etc. and then when I turned them in, the EFMP nurse questioned me about everything. Ryan has to fill out a DA-5888 which is basically the same thing but for the servicemember.
I’ve gotten all of this done in about two weeks. The thing that’s trying my patience? We’re STILL waiting on orders. I’ve done everything I can do without a set of official orders in my hand. Normally, with a CONUS move (a move within the lower 48 states or Continental United States), it’s fairly easy for the transportation office to contact movers, set a date & get things done. With an OCONUS move, things have to boxed AND crated to be shipped overseas (involving two companies or more), our vehicles have to be shipped, his has to be driven to San Diego, mine has to be scheduled with the autotransport company to be picked up here, driven to San Diego or Long Beach, put on a ship to be taken to Honolulu. On top of all that, Ryan has to put in for leave 30 days before the day he wants it to start (which was September 3). He can’t put in for leave without an itinerary. You can’t get an itinerary and plane tickets from the transportation office without…you guessed it…ORDERS!!! So you understand my frustration, right? I can’t even tell potential landlords/real estate agents when we’ll be on island so we can set up showings. Ryan said when they DO finally arrive, HRC can expedite his leave form and speed other things along as well (we shall see). Lets all cross our fingers that the orders come soon.
Nevertheless, we’re still excited about moving to the islands! Aloha!!
Yes, you read that right, I said Aloha. In just a few short weeks, the Burkholder family is picking up stakes & moving to Schofield Barracks on the Island of Oahu. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this. I grew up in the same town my whole life, from age 3 to age 18…same house, same schools, same friends…never moved. I crave change, I love searching for new houses, figuring out how to arrange my furniture, learning the streets of a new city. It all appeals to me & my insatiable wanderlust…it must be hereditary, my mom has it too. She & my dad travel like crazy.
But I digress…I’ve been looking for homes, looking at maps of the island, learning the geography & figuring out the best areas for us to look when we get there in October. It’s a bit of a puzzle…I have to factor in commute to Schofield, which is in Central Oahu, finding the best school for Aidan (which is laughable because schools in Hawaii are pitiful unless you want to pay through the nose for private, it reminds me a lot of Louisiana), safety & upkeep of the home itself & the neighborhood in general and the aesthetics of the house. I’ve gotten kinda picky about houses since this is our fourth duty station…I’ve seen a lot!
Here are two of my biggest turn-offs (inside a home, at least):
These hideous cabinets, straight out of the 1980s. I lived in a townhouse with cabinets like these when Ryan & I were expecting Aidan. They’re made of particle board so if they get wet for any extended period of time, they’re done for. They puff up & swell like a sponge. The white laminate on them also stains like crazy. They’re just the cheapest, ugliest things you could ever possibly put in a house & if I see these in a listing, I move on. Picky? Yes. But Oahu, especially the areas right around Schofield/Wheeler are very transient, so there’s always something new coming onto the market.
The next offender are these awful little 4″x4″ white or off-white tiles…also from the 80s. You can usually find the cabinets & the tiles together, they seem to go hand-in-hand. Not only are these tiles ugly, they always have black or dark grey grout, or is it that they didn’t seal it properly and it’s gotten filthy over the years, but they’re dangerous as well. They have no texture at all, get a little bit of water on them and it’s slicker than ice. In that same townhouse I mentioned with the cabinets, we had those tiles in the kitchen, entry hall & the 2.5 bathrooms…pretty much anywhere there could be water, we had those tiles. SO ugly & so not safe. Again, if I see those hideous little buggers, good-bye listing!
Other little real estate things I’ve noticed…
- “Section 8 OK, No pets”…this just seems weird, is it just me?
- Little old lady window coverings left up…I know they cost an arm & a leg, but so do Plantation Shutters & those look SO much better and fit with the aesthetic of the area!
- Not posting photos of the home you’re listing…how is someone supposed to be interested in a home if you don’t even post a photo of the front of the house?
- White, white, white, white…I get that you’re supposed to make your house neutral so someone can imagine themselves in your home but completely sterile is another thing. Pleasant neutrals can go a long way!
- Open toilets (some with the seat up!), photos of the floor, blurry photos…do these real estate agents not look at their own ads? Oy! I’ve found that owners usually do a better job advertising their own houses.
All kidding, joking & grousing aside, we really can’t wait to get on with the show & get over to the islands!