Getting the Quarter

It’s always exciting moving into a new house isn’t it?  Even more exciting when you have no idea what the house you will be living in is like inside, no I have not gone bonkers let me explain what I mean. 

Once your partner knows where their next job is they can then apply for a Quarter.  Is it like looking to rent on Right Move I hear you ask? Pa ha ha ha if only! 

So, lets take our move here as an example of the workings of the system, let’s call the system Mil-Move.  Braai Boy submitted the application for our Quarter on Mil-Move whilst he was deployed, just what he needed on top of all his deployment stuff was to have little old me on Whats App nagging; when will we have a house? Where will it be?  I need dates, dates husband I need dates and a postcode so I can sort out a school and nursery!?! 

Guess what?  Mil-Move showed no Quarters were available, nil, nada, nothing.  At this point we were 3 months out from moving and I was starting to get itchy feet, I needed to get on and do The Move research, very important things like, nearest McDonalds, 24hour garage and swimming lessons.

With me at the end of Whats App being nothing short of a total pain in the ar*e Braai Boy checked Mil-Move daily to see if any Quarters had come up.  A week went by and nothing, then another week still nothing and the day before our application was due to expire up popped a Quarter.  We had to act fast, if this was also offered to someone else we could lose it.  There was a flurry of Whats Apps between Braai Boy and I, he was trying to do his day job and I was in the middle of Tescos.  I didn’t ask for any details and told him to accept it, which he duly did.  Yeeeeees we had a Quarter! Happy as a pig in the proverbial because I could get on with researching our new neighbourhood I skipped round Tesco completing the weekly food shop.

And then he sent the photo (a screen shot from his computer), one single fuzzy photo of our new family home.  Forget white picket fence and flower beds full of roses.  The photo showed a house behind a wire mesh fence with a front garden that resembled an urban jungle and to top it all off part of the house had scaffolding on it.  My heart sank, was this his idea of a joke?  Nope, it was the image that was on Mil-Move, the only image on Mil-Move.  The descriptions are not much use either unless you’re interested in the thickness of the loft insulation or date the house was built, our was given a 20year window (houses used to take a long time to build back then don’t you know?).

So, with limited information like many other military families I would rely on the power of Social Media.  If you are lucky you can find someone who has lived in a similar Quarter and they may send you photos and if you are really very lucky floorplans.  In some cases your future neighbours may offer to take photos through the windows of the Quarter, once you see past the reflection of their phones in the windows these can be helpful.  In the past I’ve even had a woman knock on the door and ask (very politely and a bit embarrassed) if she could have a look round our Quarter and take some measurements for furniture as she was moving in to a similar Quarter down the street. You’ve got to love the military community.

Anyway, back to this Quarter. I distractedly packed the food shopping into bags whilst my mind when into overdrive I had images of my kids swinging monkey stylie on the scaffolding, getting lost in the front ‘jungle’ garden and scaling the wire mesh fences. But surely the Quarter would not be on the Mil-Move if it was in disrepair? Or would it? I hurriedly paid the cashier who must have thought I was bonkers as I had been muttering away to myself as I packed the shopping. Once I got home I would get on Social Media, in the meantime there was only one thing I could do, phone Sazzle. Sazzle is that friend who is always the voice of reason, the friend who has common sense in abundance and knows me better than I know myself. Ten minutes later she had calmed me down and told me she would do a recce of the Quarter and area the next day. You will be pleased to hear that the Quarter was scaffolding free, there was no sign of the wire mesh and Sazzle did not get arrested for loitering on MOD property.

And there we have it, Mil-Move at its best.  Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without the military community, good friends and social media.  We moved into our Quarter and it was absolutely fine, well apart from the blocked drains, blocked guttering and dodgy manhole covers, but apart from that all was good.  That’s enough from me, I’m off to chase some repair jobs with the contractor, wish me luck!

The Sleepover

Miss Sassy had a sleepover and not just any sleepover a Glitter Girls Sleepover, what was I thinking I hear you ask?  Well it all kind of came about like this.

Miss Sassy is struggling with The Move this time, it’s her 3rd move in 5 years, she’s made great friends and 4 of them have even formed a Girl Band called The Glitter Girls.  The Glitter Girls need a lot (a lot a lot) of practice but I’m fairly confident they have a future, so much so, that I’m already choosing my dress for the Brit Awards in 10 years time.  The other week Miss Sassy was really miserable, upset that Daddy’s Big Bad Boss (sorry your Majesty!) was making us move again.  As I was doing the dinner dishes I was thinking of ways to cheer her up and that’s when I had an amazing idea, we should have a sleepover. 

So, without thoroughly thinking through what a sleepover might entail I got totally overexcited and leaving the dishes to do themselves I rushed through to the lounge to interrupt her Netflix viewing.  Standing in front of the TV to ensure I was acknowledged I excitedly asked her, in a kind of high pitched voice ‘Do you want to have a goodbye sleepover party with the Glitter Girls?  Wow! Me and my big mouth, you see this is typical of me, my Dad used to say Mouth in gear, brain in neutral.  Really? What the hell was I thinking four 6 year olds girls, four 6 year old girls who do not stop talking, EVER. 

Braai Boy had no choice in the matter, he was away and I made the decision.  So, his first Saturday home he helped host The Glitter Girls Sleepover.  That’s right, after 2 months away I know how to show my husband a good time ladies and gentlemen. 

I will spare you all the sparkly, glittery details needless to say there was a braai, there was bickering, potions were made, ninja moves perfected, dance routines made-up and Glitter Girl games played.  We put on the Crazy Daisy sprinkler, which they thought was the best fun, yes it was fun but it also meant we didn’t have to bath them.  They slept in the lounge in army issue sleeping bags which they didn’t mind one bit ‘look we’re just like our daddies’

We filled them with sugar whilst they watched movies and played games then expected them to go to sleep.  I mean come on I’ve done this parenting malarkey long enough to know that sugar does not equal sleep.  Braai Boy could not understand why four 6 year old girls would not do what he said, erm, that’s because they are 6 and ate all the sweets in the house.

On Sunday I was tired, Braai Boy was very tired, the Glitter Girls were very, very tired, we were all tired.  All of us except Wee Man who smashed out a 12 hour sleep and was bright as a button.  Sunday morning Wee man spent his time running round the garden in his PJ’s after being made an honorary member of the Glitter Girls and their ultimate side-kick, good job he doesn’t mind wearing fairy wings and having his nails painted.

You know what?  The Glitter Girls told me they had the best time EVER and Miss Sassy had the biggest smile on her face so it was totally worth it.  No sleepovers this weekend but maybe Miss Sassy and I will have a sugar free movie night.

Happy FriYAY!

The Move Part 2: Logistics

Two weeks today the removals team and their big yellow truck will be arriving, The Move is starting to feel real now.  Hopefully it will all go smoothly given that Braai Boy and I planned The Move whilst he was deployed.  We decided on dates for removals, move out and move in, as well as chose our next Quarter (house) and Miss Sassy’s new school all via Whats App.  To be honest, using the power of technology to the plan The Move has probably saved many arguments.  If I didn’t like something he said I just didn’t reply to his messages.  Please don’t judge me, I’m sure you have done the same, maybe? 

The removals survey was completed via video call, so I really hope they got the metrics right.  I had tidied the house before the call, for that read I had thrown stuff in cupboards and drawers.  Guess what the first thing the surveyor requested was? Yup that’s right, that I opened up ALL the cupboards.  I was so embarrassed as clothes and toys and general crap tumbled out.  I did mumble something about asking Miss Sassy to tidy up and look at what an awful job she had done, yes I know bad, awful, terrible parent blaming my child! 

The Pre-March Out was completed a few weeks ago, for those who are unfamiliar with Army chat, this is when the Housing Officer comes to your house to talk about handing back the Quarter.  With images of him returning for the March Out wearing white gloves and carrying a magnifying glass I rapidly started writing my ‘Clean and Fix’ List.

Armed with the ‘Clean and Fix’ List I then had to do some research.  Now, maybe it’s just me and I am late to the party but when did lemons, white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda become the solution for cleaning nearly everything?  Also, mayonnaise to remove crayon from walls?  That’s bloody genius!  Your kids have stuck Paw Patrol stickers all over the wall and you can’t peel them off? No problem, use a hair dryer on a low heat, who knew?

You can now call me Charlie Fix-it Mama, armed with super duper superglue the carpets have been secured, bits of lino stuck down and the vertical blinds fixed.  Speaking of windows I need to find all the window keys.  I am slightly concerned that Wee Man has had a hand in their disappearance.  Yesterday when I was taking down the curtains Wee Man was being ‘helpful’.  You should know that he has a thing for flushing toilets, especially when someone is sitting on them (visitors are always advised to lock the door!).  Anyway, the little whatsit was taking the curtain hooks and chucking them into the loo, then flushing them away, clapping his hand and shouting ta-daaaaaaa every time.  It took about 3 flushes before I realised what he was up to.  I really hope the window keys haven’t suffered the same fate as the curtain hooks. 

So, with The Move logistics wheels in motion I have started to have a good sort out.  There are bags ready to be taken to the charity shops although I suspect that given previous experience they will stay in the boot of my car until the day we are meant to get the ferry.  I have piles of stuff in each room that I need to pack, I just need to bother my arse to get some packing boxes and find some bubble wrap which Miss Sassy hasn’t popped all the bubbles on.   

Well, that’s it for now. This has been my break from doing Move sh*t. I’m off to clean with my new found ‘products’. Just thinking, I really hope that the next occupant isn’t pregnant with a craving for mayonnaise otherwise she may find herself licking the walls. Oh well, at least they will be clean.