Sunday, May 29, 2016

PCS Status: Alcohol Inventory

The Schnell's are gearing up for a big PCS back to the good ol' U.S of A this fall!  So just like my blogging about getting ready to move to Germany a little more than 3 years ago, I'm all excited to do the same in reverse (but hopefully, with a little more experience under my belt this time)! 

Before y'all get excited, we do NOT have any for sure dates for when we will arrive in America yet.  All we know at this point is that we are supposed to leave Germany in November for Virginia, where Eric will attend the Combined Logistic's Captain's Career Course for 6 months, and then we will find out where the Army is sending us after that about 3-4 months after arriving in Virginia.  

But all of this..... depends on the list.

The List.

The List is a list of all Army personnel who are eligible for promotion to whichever rank they are eligible for.  Eric can not go to the career course if he is not eligible for promotion to captain.  Eric can not be enrolled into a course date until he is eligible for promotion.  We can not get orders for Virginia until Eric is on that list.  And without orders, we can not start the moving process... we can't do anything.  To add to all of that, we can not stay in Germany past our DEROS date.  Our DEROS date is the ride or die date that we live by over here- it is until this very specific date that we are allowed to live in a foreign country for longer than the 90 days allowed on a tourist passport.  We are not tourists, but we are also not German citizens, we fall into a special subcategory only allowed for people either on a visa of some sort, or under military sponsorship.  Isabelle and I are here as a privilege, *not a right,* so while we are in Germany we abide by their laws & regulations, and in return, Germany allows us to stay until Eric's very specific DEROS date without the restrictions of a tourist passport.  Beyond this date we are no longer protected by the regulations that brought us here, after that very specific date we would then be here as a tourist, meaning that the Army is no longer responsible for us, and all of the things that the Army provides, like our housing, medical care, sponsorship, etc..., would no longer be available to us because we are at that point just tourists in a foreign country.  Without orders we can not book our flights home, get our animals on that flight, set up movers to pack up our things, or anything on a very long list of things that needs to be done for us to get home.

So basically, The List is everything.  

The List usually comes out every August- which would give us an okay amount of time to get things going for our big move across the ocean, and maybe even allow us some time to visit home before Eric has to report to Virginia.  August also allows a little time for Eric to be enrolled in the course date that is as close to our DEROS date as possible before all of the courses fill up.  But last year, The List came out in October- if that's the case for this year, then that would only give us 1 month to get everything done that took me 8 months when we PCS'd here a little more than 3 years ago.  And could prove tricky for getting Eric into a course so that we aren't stuck in Germany past our DEROS date.  
Ohmigosh, if you know me at all, or if you've been reading my blog for a little while, then you know that my palms started to sweat at just the thought of that happening.  You guys, I am too Type A and too neurotic for that to happen!  
Deep breaths, Melissa.  
Now, this is the military I'm talking about.  A lot of things are said and thrown around on a minute by minute basis... everything changes and it's usually at a moments notice.  Nothing is certain in the Army, except that everything will change.  And even my neurotic self has learned to accept that pretty seamlessly.  Eric was told that The List "is on track to come out the same as last year," but what that actually means is that no one has any f^*king clue when that damn list is going to come out.  So what that actually means for me, is that I need to calm the frick down and do what I do....  which is just prepare for what I can, and drink wine for all of things that I can't.
(Please please please remind me of that when you see me freak out over whatever it is that should be happening but isn't because of that damn List.  Please?)

No one has ever accused me of procrastinating, so in anticipation of The List, I figured I might as well start organizing everything that I can, because if The List is late again this year, then at least some things will already be finished and maybe help things fall into place quicker whenever The List comes out.

So first up, our alcohol!

Eric and I are trying to preserve our time here in Europe, and that's manifested in collecting things from all over the world, including alcohol.  In order for us to ship this all home with us, we have to abide by customs regulations, which means that we need some sort of permit that is only good for 4 months.  So in order for me to obtain a permit, I needed to inventory all of our alcohol, listing the names, alcohol content, and country of origin for each bottle we intend to ship home.  Our collection includes a few hundred bottles of vodka's, brandy's, wine, champagne, and whiskey's.  

Some of what we have could actually be purchased in the States- like our Scotch and Irish Whiskey's, and German, French, Spanish, and Italian wines are exported all over the world, so those are easy to get as well.  But there is just something about being able to say that we actually went to Scotland to purchase our scotch, or we actually toured the Moët & Chandon cellars where we purchased our vintage bottle of Dom Pérignon that I think makes our collection a little more special.  Other things, like a bottle of wine from the Prince of Liechtenstein's private collection is harder to come by.  Same with wine from Switzerland since they don't export their wines, or at least not to the U.S, from what I understand.  But since we actually went to those countries, we were able to purchase their wines to add to our collection!  And I think that's pretty cool! 

So to start organizing, I pulled everything out and cleaned every inch of our collection- it was way overdue because I hate dusting!  I'll stare at a mountain of dust rather than actually clean it because I hate dusting that much.  And that's saying a lot since I'm an OCD neat freak, so I mean it when I say that I'll stare at a mountain of dust and not care whatsoever if it sits there for weeks.  I blasted 70's music on my stereo, and set out to do a spreadsheet of all of the information customs will need so that Eric and I can take our wine home with us that we have been collecting for the past couple of years.

Pumpkin Secco- Germany 

Sake- I have no clue how we got this, or why.  I didn't even know that we had it until I pulled everything out to clean it.  And it's from California.... weird. 

The Netherlands 


Hungarian wine 2009- the year we were married.

My helper... always under my feet. 

Polish Vodka 

Austrian Schnapps

The infamous Vat 69! 

Sometimes we buy things because they are just so cute!

Lithuanian Vodka- I haven't been to Lithuania but Eric has.  Same with our Latvian wine- I haven't been to Latvia, but Eric has. 

It's not just different types of alcohol that we have added to our collection, we've also picked up steins, wine glasses, French crates, and all sorts of things that we felt would remind us of our different travels and experiences while in Europe.  Also things that we thought were too cute to pass up, or maybe added a flair that I don't think we could find anywhere else in the entire world were happily added to our home.  

Wine is my favorite!  But there is only so much wine one person needs.

My latest flöhmarkt find sitting so preciously on my new Hungarian table runner and next to our Czech Republic crystal- isn't it just the cutest thing ever?!

From Iceland 

A personalized French wine barrel top.

Not all of our wines are pictured.  We store the majority of it underneath our stairs, but it doesn't make for the nicest of pictures so you'll just have to use your imaginations.  Our little corner is packed so full that it's overly crowded, but we're hoping we'll have a little more room once we settle down again after leaving Virginia, and then it will look a little nicer than it does right now.  I really hate that my lamp shade covers up my 'S' filled with wine corks, but it's a lot harder to re-hang that 'S' than you'd think, so it's staying that way for a few more months and I just won't look at for too long so it doesn't bug me until then.

We aren't really sure what we're going to do with all of our alcohol once we get it home to the States.  Eric and I feel like it will make for great conversation pieces when people come over, or maybe we'll spend a good month or so drinking every last drop of our collection when we're old & gray trying to remember our time spent in Europe.  I don't know the first thing about preserving alcohol, so who knows if it'll even keep that long, but I do know that we've had so much fun collecting it that it'll be really hard to open any of it, even if it does last for another 60 years.  Or maybe, it won't even make to Virginia at all because I'll end up drinking all of it to calm my ass down waiting for that List to come out.  

But either way, this has officially started our preparation for our return home!  Can you believe how fast 3 years has gone?!  

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