Thursday, May 25, 2017

PCS Status: So Long Fort Lee!

And we're off!  Bound for Texas!  The Schnells are flyin' the coop!  Sayonara, Fort Lee!  We are so outta here!

And I won't tell you that we'll miss you!

{Calm down, Melissa, you're kinda being a bitch.}  Ooookay... so maybe I'm a little too excited about leaving and am hurting Fort Lee's feelings.  To be fair, it's only this house that I'm excited to be leaving.  Fort Lee itself was actually a really fun place to live, but the house we were living in for the last 6 months was falling apart and I am so relieved to not be living in it anymore.  I am certain that if we hadn't gotten stuck with this stupid house for the short time we were here, we would be really sad to be leaving.

Good gosh, we hated this house.  

When we were still in Germany, Eric and I were having to organize our living situation for here in the States, which is no easy feat with a 6 hour time difference and having little to no idea about the area we were moving to.  And because of that, we eagerly took the first house that housing offered us.  We were especially eager when they offered us one month free rent since this house is for junior enlisted families and Eric's rank is a bit higher.  We felt that that was one heck of a deal, and you know us, we like a good deal!  My husband and I are not picky about a lot of material things, we value saving money over buying brand name things and just aren't concerned with appearances - we are modest people, especially financially, so if housing was willing to give us a month free, we were happy to take it!  
But even so, when they sent us pictures of the house before we accepted their offer, I have to be honest, we both gulped.... we were not impressed at all.  But hey, we figured that we were only going to be in it for 6 months.... how bad could it really be?  

We were blinded by a good deal and ended up learning a valuable lesson.  I can say that now; hindsight, ya know?  Because it turns out, when you move into a house where the housing company does not maintain it or take care of it in any way, things can be pretty bad.

We had problems with this house the minute we walked in, and then every day after: no hot water in the master bathroom, our master bathroom toilet leaked dirty toilet water every time it flushed for 2 months before we could get anyone to look at it (yes, we stopped using that toilet, but not before learning the hard way), but before it started leaking, the same toilet constantly ran no matter how many times you jiggled the handle (it only took submitting two work orders before someone came to fix that, but eventually it did get fixed), lopsided pantry doors, broken kitchen cabinets, broken hinges, cracks in the walls, cracks in the doors, a significant leak in the dining room where we found out that the roof outside was caving in (contractors had to be called for that one.  It took them 4 full days to repair the cause of the leak, not counting the 2 days it took to dry the water damage and then dry the white stuff they sprayed on the ceiling to make it look like a ceiling again), the front door knob fell off into my hand one time when we were leaving the house, the ice maker leaked water into the fridge (after 2 work orders were ignored we gave up trying to get it fixed and put a bowl in the fridge to catch the water), anything plugged into an outlet fell out of the outlet (every. single. outlet), the window in Isabelle's bedroom wouldn't shut because the window is too tall for the window frame, her closet doors were stuck in the middle of the track and wouldn't budge so she had to go around the closet doors and stand inside the closet to pick out her clothes (it is not a walk-in closet), you had to hold your breath when you stood next to the stove because otherwise you'd get light headed from the smell of Natural Gas (when the stove was turned off), and as we were handing the inspection guys the keys to the house the kitchen light burnt out, not that that is a big deal or anything, but it was like the house had one last "f*^k you" to give us on our way out.

Then there were the things wrong with it that were maybe me just being a brat, but combine them with the list above and I couldn't deal with life anymore: no garage door opener, it smelled funny, the living room was long and skinny so it was impossible to arrange the furniture in any way that was functional, one of the shelves in the linen closet was bent so badly that you couldn't put anything underneath it cutting out valuable storage space, a shelf was missing from the fridge, the kitchen counters had old coffee and paint stains and splatters of what I think was glue or something because I couldn't scrape it off to save my life so the counters always looked dirty, there was old dirt and dog hair encased in a gazillion layers of wax on the living room floors - as if they weren't cleaned before being waxed (actually, it sort of looks like they tried to get the floors as dirty as possible before applying the wax), there were six different types of flooring in that house (SIX!), and the house is small but the backyard is tiny.

Maybe for some people they can look at it and say "well, it's only for 6 months, you can deal with anything for such a short amount of time," and I wouldn't disagree with them, but I might say they are being rudely dismissive, and explain that we still need to live in that house and enjoy our time in Virginia, and that is really hard to do when you are constantly running into a problem that affects the way you live.   

So to help us feel a little more settled, if not comfortable, I set out to make this stupid house a home.

Our awkward shaped living room.

A fraction of our wine collection.  No one is allowed to drink this wine, it's just for looks.  Yes, I'm totally serious.

Our leaky dining room.  No one can drink that wine either.

I like being at home.  I need to feel comfortable in my home to like being there.  But that wasn't going to happen until I put my things in their place.  Even though we did not unpack all of our things, and I'm planning to buy new curtains for our dining room, and these are terrible pictures, I did what I could to help make this house a comfortable place to be when your roof is caving in.

But we were mindful to not judge Fort Lee by the house we lived in.  Fort Lee itself was really nice, the people were kind and helpful, and there was so much to see and do in the area, especially during the summer, or so we've been told.  But most importantly, Isabelle liked her school and excelled in her classes, and the friends that she met are some of the best kids.

It's like I said, if we hadn't gotten stuck with the house that we got stuck with for the short time we were here, we would be really sad to be leaving

The Fort Lee Lodge - a 1,000 room hotel on Fort Lee.  This is where Eric lived for 4 months during BOLC and where we spent our last two nights in Virginia.  It is as amazing as it looks.

The Dog Park - Journey & Brew's most favorite place in all the land. 

The neighborhood we lived in.

True to my nature I tried to look on the bright side of things, and I have to admit that since we hated being in our house so much it served as a great excuse to go do things.  We really tried to explore as much as we could while we were in Virginia and I feel confident that we did that.  My little family got to see two new States (Philadelphia and North Carolina), we saw all of the big sites that Virginia has to offer, and Eric and I even hiked part of the Appalachian Trail!

So now we're off!  Bound for Texas!  The Schnells are flyin' the coop....  Sayonara, Fort Lee....  We are so outta here....  Okay wait, actually... we will miss it.  Not the house!  But Fort Lee.... we really will miss Fort Lee.

{and kids, if you're reading this... be good!  Bye, love you!}


  1. Is it true that Chelsea has a niece who's going to be a teen mom?

  2. How are you liking El Paso? I've lived here my whole life, what do you think of it?

    1. So far we are really liking it! Everyone is SO nice here!

    2. How are you liking the heat? Lol! Yes, El Paso is a very family oriented city. I'm glad you're liking it!