Upon arriving at Fort Campbell, I expected to deploy immediately to Europe. As soon as I found out this was going to be delayed by two months, I communicated with the girls’ mother to have them visit the week before school started. Not only were they extremely happy to see their Dad again and setup their new rooms, but they were very excited to see the Fort Campbell area, where they would be living in a year’s time.
After closing out my duties, handing over the house, and outprocessing my unit, the cats and I said goodbye to Fort Huachuca and headed East towards Kentucky. It was a two-day drive for me, but since the Army allocated five days for me to travel, it made all the sense in the world to stop in Texas to spend a few days with the girls.
“All good things must come to an end.” Unfortunate proverb, but so very true. Being in the military, it is only a matter of time before you have to move to a different duty station. Thankfully, through the Assignment Interactive Module (AIM) marketplace, we will always have choices in where we go next, but it still means that we have to leave Fort Huachuca. And, make no mistake, we have had a great time here. Before we left though, Elaina, Gabriella, and I wanted to make sure we did all the things that made our posting in Southeast Arizona so memorable.
As we get ready for our big move to Fort Campbell, KY, one of the big things we still needed to do was get rid of some of our excess stuff. I mean, who would have thought that travelling every few years would lead to us accumulating junk at an alarming rate? Since the girls always wanted to operate a lemonade stand in front of the house, we figured this was the perfect opportunity to combine the two. Both ventures went better than any of us could have expected.
We are always looking for routine activities to get involved in, but recently the options have been less than stellar for the girls and I. They are both lukewarm on getting back into soccer and Gabriella changes her mind daily on if she would prefer karate or gymnastics; I think Elaina would excel in volleyball or basketball, but she just has no desire to play either. So obviously Horseback Riding was the next logical step…
Every weekend, before we go to the commissary, I always ask the girls what they would like to eat for the week. While this usually results in responses such as Burger King or Chipotle from Gabriella, Elaina knows that this specifically refers to home-cooked meals. The follow-on question for Elaina is “What do you want to cook / bake with me this week?” Since she has advanced quite beyond macaroni & cheese and chocolate chip cookies, the possibilities of what we can make together are expanding exponentially. This week she wanted to make tamales, and since it seemed challenging and was new to me, that is exactly what we did.
Last week the girls and I went to Pajama Night at Cochise Theater on Fort Huachuca. They just started holding these events again, and with Paw Patrol: The Movie as the feature film for the evening, the girls were pretty excited to go. I will freely admit that I had never seen a single episode of Paw Patrol before and I figured it was just another cartoon turned into a full-length film. I was absolutely not prepared for what I was walking into when it came to my brain and overanalyzing my daughters’ cartoons.
Elaina’s favorite meal is lasagna. She loves it so much in fact, that she has consumed an entire large size microwave lasagna in a single sitting on multiple occasions. But since I am lukewarm on the dish and it seems a little difficult to make, I have never cooked it in my life. One of Elaina’s homework assignments this month was to cook a meal with her parents. She chose lasagna, which put me in quite the quandary: Cook a meal with her that I have been putting off since I was able to pick up a wooden spoon or try to convince her to do something easier (with the possibility of disappointing her)? Spoiler alert: It was a pretty easy choice.
Since about March of 2020, the girls have been begging me to go up to Phoenix to visit the zoo, the aquarium, and/or Great Wolf Lodge. Until recently though, I just have not felt comfortable enough to spend time in major metropolitan areas. Even when we go to Tucson, we are hitting no more than two stores and staying quite the distance away from everyone. It has been a year though and the girls are doing very well with wearing their masks and staying away from crowds, so I figured it was time to take the plunge and head up to Phoenix for the weekend. And since the Great Wolf Lodge cost/benefit analysis did not come up positive, we were headed to the Phoenix Zoo and the OdySea Aquarium.
As living in a COVID world becomes more and more like the new normal, we are slowly trying to branch out and try new things around Fort Huachuca and the surrounding area, of course, all while implementing our mitigation strategies. Last week as I was posting the weekly announcements for my unit, I saw an advertisement on the Fort Huachuca Facebook page about an event at the Fort Huachuca Arts & Crafts Center called Pick-It-and-Paint Ceramics. It sounded like a fun, cheap activity for the girls and I, so as we headed back home from our Saturday errands, we decided to stop in to see what all the excitement was about.