I have moved!

I had been meaning to make a fresh start, but it never seemed like the right time. It took quite a while to get our lives back in order after transitioning out of the military.

Please visit my new blog

I plan to continue in a similar direction. Products, No Poo, etc. But I also plan to be talking more about other projects and endeavours of mine. I’ve been doing a lot more crafting, and am also on a weight loss journey with plans to start a family after I’m in more of a healthy place.

I’ve done a little house keeping, but I plan on leaving it here for the time being and will likely continue to link back to this one where relevant as I don’t plan to merge blogs.

…..Bed Bugs!

You are not abandoned my little WP blog!  I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with it, I need some sort of niche.  I’m not sure I’ve found one yet.

But another cause for absence, we got Bed Bugs!  And it has been a L-O-N-G ordeal.

If you’re in the Navy, Bed Bugs can be a serious issue.  If your S/O goes to work on a ship every day, sleeps on the ship on Duty Days, a ship that goes on deployments, a ship where people who live in a barracks go between there and the ship most days, and you have NEVER gotten bed bugs (BB)….IT’S A FLUKE!!

Seriously, just dumb luck.  Barracks, get constantly infested with BB.  On deployments the sailors see foreign ports in countries where BB are extremely prevalent.  Sometimes it doesn’t get dealt with very well.  My husband has told me once a guy in his berthing said there were BB in his rack, so they reassigned him to a new rack, aaaaaaaaand that was all.  People frequently move into the barracks if they don’t live out in town after they return from deployments, all it takes is ONE BB.  The Barracks here in SD have frequent out breaks.  Whole floor outbreaks…multi-floor out breaks!

I won’t even discuss if you’ve ever stayed in a hotel and not brought home bed bugs. It doesn’t matter how nice of a place you stayed in, they can be anywhere.

It also doesn’t matter how clean you are (or aren’t) or how neat you keep your home (or don’t.)  BB are parasites, they are blood suckers.  Are you a warm body? Do you breathe?  That’s all they care about.

So it’s important TO NOT BE EMBARRASSED!!!

The first time I saw one a few months ago, I Knew exactly what it was, which is very important. Do you know what a BB looks like?  What signs they leave behind?  These are important things to know.  You probably don’t want to purposely look up photos of BB and their eggs and etc.  But think of it this way, what if you saw one, right now you saw a bug, and you didn’t know what it was?

How much do you know about BB? If you thought you had them what would you do? Start trashing your stuff? Throwing it away? Would you start sleeping somewhere else?  If you don’t know what they look like, or what the signs are, you may not notice until it’s a worse infestation.  If you don’t know what to do, you could do the completely wrong things.  You could do things that cause the infestation to spread, or unnecessarily get rid of expensive items (mattresses, bed frames, couches, etc)

So I’m going to tell you some MYTHS about BB, tell you where you can go to see what they look like (I won’t post images my self, mostly to encourage you to do your own research! but mostly because I don’t want to have to look at it while writing this whole post and have it giving me the creepy crawlies) and anything else you might need to know about BB.

One more thing…If you’re in the military, this is the kind of thing you can get financial assistance for! Don’t be worried if you can’t afford an expensive treatment, BB are a serious issue, and if you really need help to afford to pay for a PCO, there is help to be found!  For the Navy (and I’ll assume Marines too) there’s Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and I know there’s a similar thing for other branches.

Some Myths:

Having BB means you’re gross.

  • As previously stated, BB are blood suckers. So having them doesn’t indicate that you or your home is unkempt and/or unclean.

BB will only be in your bed.

  • Despite their name, you could find them anywhere, your bed, couches, even your car.
  • They also may not be inside your bed, or anything else.  They could simply hide in the seams around the edge, or in the framework of the box spring. Basically any crevice where it seems like they’ll be mostly undisturbed, they have even been known to be up in the popcorn ceilings.

If you get rid of your bed (or anything else) it will get rid of the problem

  • They might only be in your bed, or your bed frame, or whatever.  But they might not. Plus when moving this stuff to the trash, you may disturb them and leave some behind, causing them to spread elsewhere. Not to mention mattresses, bed frames, etc are expensive. It would be safer to shell out that dough to an experienced PCO (Pest Control Operator) to appropriately treat your home to eradicate the infestation.

BB only come out at night.

  • They are NOT nocturnal. It’s a common misconception.  They can seem to be so, because they most commonly harbor around their hosts place of sleep, and most people sleep at night.  But they are opportunists.  They were in my couch and I most often did not see them late at night. Basically where  ever they set up shop, and whatever time it is that you usually park yourself there, is when they’ll come out.
If they’re getting me in my bed, I can just go sleep somewhere else.
  • Yes and no, if anxiety or the bites are preventing you from getting a good nights sleep, a brief respite is not a bad idea. Sleep deprivation does no one any good. But the BB will follow you. They can sense body heat and CO2 (what we exhale) and when they need a meal, they will go looking. So if you think you can relocate until they all die, that will definitely not work. They also can go dormant for up to 18 months before they’ll die from starvation.

Fogging/Bombing my home will get rid of them.

  • I have come to find that fogging/bombing is a bad idea. These things do not release a gas, what they do is more like a rain effect. Remember when I said they could be hiding under the box spring or in any crevice? This means that a chemical raining down from above is not likely to affect them. What’s worse, is that if it does get near to them, they are very evasive and good at surviving. The will just go deeper into hiding and harder to get rid of.
These are not the only myths and common misconceptions, but it’s a good place to start.

And now I will direct you to possibly the best website I have ever run across when it comes to BB. I enjoy it for the many FAQs, as well as the forum which is QUITE active!  There are MANY people dealing with BB everyday.  And the best way to combat the issue is KNOWLEDGE.  Know their habits, what they look like, what they leave behind, and how to protect you, your family, and your home from ever even getting an infestation, and what to do even if you do end up with one.

http://bedbugger.com/faqs/

On this site is the answer to many questions.  What should you do to prevent bringing BB home? What do BB look like? You live in an apartment, what should you do? What kind of treatments are available? Which one is better? What are some good PCO companies? So on and so forth.

If you are in the Southern CA area, you might like to know that the company I used to treat my infestation was Isotech.  You may have seen their TV show Verminators. (Although I’d never heard of it until after I found their website looking for a company that uses dogs to scent BB)  They are very experienced in dealing with BB (often the success of a treatment matters more on the experience of the PCO and how well they know what they’re doing rather than what kind of chemicals or methods are used) and have specially certified k9’s that are trained to find the scent of live BB and their eggs. That was very important for me, as I kept seeing the BB, but visual inspections didn’t turn up any real evidence. One of their specially trained k9’s confirmed it for us though.  Too soon yet to know if it was successful, but I’m feeling pretty confident!

Will update about this soon!  And I will be doing more things with this blog soon, I promise 🙂

Budgets, Budgeting and Deals.

If you’ve landed here looking for info about Sears Heroes at Home, that post is directly below this one.  Thanks for stopping by!

It’s that time of year, the time of year that I hate.  When people start talking about the military budget for next year and why the raise isn’t good enough.  I’ve seen that the estimate is 1.6%, which I believe is larger than last year, but far below Bush Era 3%+ raises.   It could just  be me…..but it sounds pretty ridiculous to just automatically get a raise every year, on top of all sorts of other raises and benefits, and then complain that it’s not as much as you’d like.

If you can’t get by with the money you make now due to mismanagement, then a small raise isn’t going to help much because you will just mismanage the extra cash right along with the rest.  I speak from personal experience. When we were making almost 1k less a paycheck, we had a lot more loose funds then we do now.  Every single pay period we would go out to dinner and see a movie. (or two!) We bought what we wanted and did what we wanted  and burned gas going anywhere whenever we wanted. We just didn’t have the bills that we have now.  And I’m sure you know the story, young people falling into credit card debt is practically a coming of age ritual.   We paid our bills, and then suddenly interest would shoot up, and even though we were making large monthly payments, with all the fees and raised APR it wasn’t even covering minimum payments.  We tried to be more  thrifty but it took a while to learn. And by the time we did, it was all practically unmanageable.  There’s a lot more to it then that, but I won’t quibble, we dug our own hole and it was never the Navy’s fault for not paying us enough.

If you just think that you need more money because you deserve it, then that’s your opinion, but my opinion is that you need a lesson in humility.  Yes our military does a great thing. But it’s paid volunteer work.  I don’t believe that our great heroes of this country were the kind of people who felt so high and mighty that they felt like they deserved more than they were getting.  I  think the kind of person who goes above and beyond is the kind that would keep on doing their job even their pay was cut instead of raised.  So I think you have a pretty good idea of my opinion of the kind of people who get upset that we’re getting a raise, being given extra money for no real reason, and complain that it isn’t good enough.

I suppose I ought to step down from my soap box and move on with the show!

I strongly recommend budgeting.  Even if your financial situation is fantastic. When I started budgeting several years ago (prior to all the debt), I had a few “holy crap!” moments.  Such as we were spending up to 60 dollars a month on fast food.  My husband buying a soda from the vending machine everyday adds up pretty quick also.  (30+ a month depending on what kind he bought) So I don’t think it ever hurts to see an accurate break down of exactly where all of your money is going even if you’re not living paycheck to paycheck.

There are lots of options on how to accomplish a budget.  When I first started out I used a spread sheet.  First it was the windows program and then I switched Google Docs since you can access those anywhere.  This method only works if you know how, or are willing to learn how to use a spread sheet.  It involves using formulas that will add, subtract, multiply or a ton of other things between rows, columns, individual blocks or whatever you want.  Formulas for a basic budget are pretty simple, but I don’t think I really have the resources currently to try to explain in my little blog what to do.  But using the Google Docs tutorial should probably be a lot of help if you want to go that route.

Since getting a smart phone I’ve been using a budgeting application MoBudget (Windows phone only) It has been PHENOMENAL.  Any smart phone will have apps like this though, some of them will cost money, others won’t. You just need to look at the details, use free trials, and figure out which one has the features you want out of it.  If you have a windows phone, I cannot recommend MoBudget enough!   There are also websites that offer budgeting features and some banks will also have something like a budget with their online banking.  I believe Navy Federal at least at one time could break down your spending and show you where all your money was going.  And most Navy Bases will have budgeting classes. I believe I even once got a budget layout in a file from NMCRS once.  I don’t know about bases for other branches. If you’re with another branch and know whether or not there are similar programs please share the info, every little bit helps!

Once you see where your  money is going, you can start looking for areas where you can cut back or be a little more thrifty.  Everywhere you go, at any point when you spend money, ask them if they have a military discount.  Grocery stores, gas stations and things like that usually won’t.  But hair salons, mom and pop shops, random stores in the mall might.  Every bit helps!  Other stores might have special days where the military get discounts, like Old Navy. (at least they used to, I haven’t shopped ON in a while) If you find out that somewhere you spend money often has a discount, then that is super.   I seem to have found more places in my hometown (non military) area that have discounts more than here in an area where there are always lots of military people around.

If you want to plan a trip to a theme park, a vacation, a concert, whatever. Check with the establishments to see if they have military discounts, or certain times of year where they offer it.  And also check the MWR, I tried to look it up and it seems like the MWR is an all branch thing. Just googling “MWR” and your area will get you what you need, there is no over all website that I can find.  They have discounted tickets and prices for all sorts of things.  Our roommate just got into a rock concert last week for 10 dollars through the MWR! And it was a B-I-G name concert, I’m sure the cheapest tickets were selling for 30+ bucks.  Back on the fourth of July we all went to a water park that was letting Military in free, and family half off. In the past we’ve gone to theme parks for free on special military days.   So be aware of your recreational deals and discounts of the area.

When buying gas or groceries, try to go with stores that have discounts.  Some gas stations have points programs.  And many grocery chains do.  Some even combine with gas stations. I’m sure we’ve all see the gas stations outside of WalMart where you can get gas for 3 cents cheaper if you use a WalMart card.  We don’t shop at the commissary, the commissary is on base, and we don’t live on base or even all that near to base and we only have one car.  So the last thing my husband wants to do is get off of work, come home to pick me up and then turn around go straight back to base, or go to base on a day off. So we shop at other stores, earn cash back and whatnot, coupon when we can.  Perhaps if I could get some collaboration going on, I could make up a more area specific index of discounts, but I hope this has been over all helpful to as many people as possible.

Some other useful things are Groupon, Living Social, Facebook has a “Deals” app thing.

When it comes buying big-ticket items, like a vacuum, washer/dryer, etc, I read this advice somewhere once, one of those advice columns from AOL or something.  The way it was explained, was that if you couldn’t decide between buying a super expensive item, like a Dyson or a more affordable less expensive vacuum, then you can divide the cost up by use. A Dyson can cost in the ballpark of 600 dollars.  Lets put this against generic vacuum that’s 150 dollars.   If you vacuum once a week, then the Dyson costs you 11.54 per use (rounded) for 1 year, and the generic vacuum only 2.88.  Breaking it down into smaller numbers often helps if you’re just trying to decide if its worth the extra money.  Between 600 and 150 is a tough decision, between 11 and 2 doesn’t seem so extreme.    This was entirely paraphrased but if anyone knows where the original article is I’d be more than pleased to cite it 🙂

So there you go!  My thoughts, opinions, ideas, tricks and tips on this topic.  Coming soon, my hobbies, hobbies I hope to start soon and might hopefully start making some money off of (and maybe give you some ideas as well)!

No shame. Just love. WARNING ** EXPLICIT**

No shame. Just love. (some pictures are nude/semi nude. Some pictures are definitely NSFW)

I saw a heads up about this website.  It’s about  acceptance.  Many women (and men) feel insecure about their appearance.  From the website:

“We are here to share who we are. Our strengths and weaknesses. To inspire and teach. To open minds and change views. To show that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders.”

It’s a mantra of mine to Share and spread the love.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

Also recently on my radar was this site (equal risk of encountering photos that are NSFW)  http://www.mybodygallery.com/

The point of My Body Gallery is put in your specifications, and then see photos other people have uploaded and say are the same height/weight/size. The general consensus is that we judge ourselves more harshly then others.  And while you might look at your self in the mirror and feel like a big fat cow, when you see someone of comparable build, you don’t typically see them so negatively.

I have struggled with accepting my appearance for years.  Even as a fresh young teenager who was conventionally skinny, I just thought I was fat. I also have Amblyopia, and one side of my face is flatter than the other. On top of my anxieties which made me much more self-conscious and certain that other people were constantly judging me. 

Now as a 23 year old, no longer conventionally skinny (more like, conventionally over weight, lol) My amblyopia is  worse, half of my face is still flatter then other.  I look back to my teenage years just WISHING I could have seen how really good I had it.  If I hadn’t had such self-esteem problems, I probably wouldn’t have gained so much weight.

But now, I love my self! I know I’m beautiful, and attractive.  My features make me unique.  I am focusing on losing weight, but only for health reasons.  I am happy with the way I look.  I’ve embraced it.  I learned to listen to all the people who always told me I was cute, pretty, beautiful, gorgeous.

Unfortunately I don’t have any real tips on how you can learn to love your self. It’s a different journey for everyone. And a while I can support my friends on the journey, it really is a lonely road, because at the end of the day you have to find it inside yourself.

Believe that YOU ARE a wonderfully beautiful person, inside and out!

Anxiety, OCD and Phobias

In a previous post about clutter I pleaded with any reader who was baffled by how difficult it can be for some people to just keep things clean to try to understand!

So here we are. More in-depth on the topic of anxiety, OCD, phobias and hopefully some info to better help you understand them!

Let’s start with how SERIOUS these things can be.  Many a person will toss around the word OCD, and a phobia like arachnophobia very lightly. While there are some very mild forms of OCD, phobias etc, these are conditions that literally cripple people.  If you ever wonder “do I have this”  just ask your self, does ______ prevent me from doing “normal” everyday things that most other people have no trouble with?  Does ______ make me rearrange my life?

My own example: Does my fear of wasps prevent me from doing “normal” everyday things that most other people have no trouble with?

Yes, if a wasp is hovering by my front door I will not get within 30 feet of it. I will wait however long it takes for it to fly away. If a wasp is hovering outside my car I will wait however long it takes for it to fly away before exiting my car. If a wasp is in the same room as I am I will always stay on the opposite side of the room, even if this means dropping what I was doing and circling non stop for 45 minutes. 

Does my fear of looking stupid in public make me rearrange my life?

Yes, for years I would never walk into a store or even stop to buy gas if I was by myself because I was too afraid that I would do something stupid and that others would judge me. 

Present day, I’m not so afraid of looking stupid anymore, so that last one (social anxiety) I have happily overcome!  Wasps still creep me out.

So let’s go back to arachnophobia, when used lightly it can be applied to anybody whose first reaction to seeing a spider is to scream, run away, get the heebie jeebies, etc.  Someone who is legitimately suffering from arachnophobia is more like me and the wasps, except lucky for me it’s very unlikely for a wasp to get into my home or to be in random places I frequent like grocery stores etc.  So arachnophobia would make you nearly paralyzed with fear to be in your own home. You would sweep corners, vacuum every nook and cranny daily, shake out clothes, shoes, socks, possibly go as far as to keep them all in sealed bags and STILL have to check to make sure there’s no spider in them before wearing.

OCD when used lightly can apply to someone who keeps their towels folded a certain way, who organizes their closet by colors, likes things to be lined up just so.  I call those compulsive tendencies. Not quite the same as OCD.   This explains OCD better than I could with my own words, so here’s a short video from a tv show called The OCD Project.

I watched that series, it was very intense.  And it made me feel better about the things that I have not yet been able to change about my self!  I have had strangers, family members, friends, just tell me to suck it up, just deal with it, get over it. Which only adds to the overall feeling that I was a failure as a human being.  And then finally one day about 4 years ago, after posting on  a message board for navy wives about how I was MORTIFIED to go a command Christmas party, and plenty of people basically telling me I was weird and/or just not understanding the level at which I was afraid of having to be in that situation, someone sent me a private message.  In a nut shell it said, I get you, I’ve been there, it sounds like you have anxiety problems, and there is something you can do about it.  That kind woman and that message changed my life!  And I have spent a lot of time since then trying to help others who are like me, and trying to help others understand, so that maybe they too can help others.

Onward to Hoarding! Hoarding is a form of OCD, it is the opposite end from those who are OCD about being super clean and tidy.  I have seen people say, “Well why are these people so lazy? It’s not that hard to just …….”  But for them, it really IS that hard.  If you had a 100 dollar bill, and everyone expected you to just throw in the trash, how hard would that be?  It would be pretty hard, $100 is a lot of money, most people wouldn’t sneeze at the chance to have an extra hundred bucks in their pocket these days.  It is just as hard for hoarders to let go of their stuff, it might be an old bank statement from 10 years ago, but it has just as much value to them as that $100 dollars would to you.  And it’s just as hard for a professional to convince them that it’s okay to throw it away, as it would for someone to actually talk you into throwing away that $100.

And again, there are SO MANY forms that affect everyone in different ways.  And they need help, some people might not even realize that it’s something that they can get help for. I hope that I can change someone’s life someday just like someone changed mine.

This post may be all over the place, but hey, I already admitted that I’m crazy! Ha!

Optimism and Perspectives

Something that really strikes a nerve with me. Pity Parties!

This applies across the board, but Holy Whiners Batman! Some military wives just cannot keep it together!

Some people are just pessimistic, others really are being dealt the worse hand possible again and again and again.  And everyone just has their bad days, this I know and understand. I have been there!  (This whole post is excluding true tragedies such as death, destruction of your home etc.  I’m referring only to things like your garbage disposal is broken, you’re just lonely and miss them while they’re temporarily gone etc.) However, I believe in being unyieldingly optimistic!

True optimism never fails!  If you’re truly finding the silver lining to all your bad situations, then you’d be balancing the bad with the good, perhaps not in equal proportions, but still. Optimism means that you’re not constantly wallowing over all the woes in your life. You find your happy thought and let your self fly!  When you wallow in it, you just stay upset and bogged down, possibly even depressed.  When you find the good in it, however little it might be, you’re choosing to focus on something positive instead the negative. I honestly believe that when you choose optimism over wallowing, you just become happier all around, how could you not?

My real pet peeve about pity parties is the double standard many have, especially when it comes to military spouses.  Some people lose all perspective but their own.  I have, and will always, full on support that sometimes it’s okay to have a pity party.  Sometimes you just need to let it out. Whether you broke a nail, stubbed your toe, your car broke down, or your spouse just left to be gone for a week, two weeks, a month, several months, over a year.  EVERYONE gets to complain once in a while.  But then that double standard kicks in for some people.   One person may feel the need to whine about how much they miss their spouse who’s gone for 6 months on a daily basis, but have the nerve to tell someone else that they shouldn’t complain about missing their spouse just because their spouse is gone for less amount of time.  Would that person appreciate someone else who has to deal with their spouse be gone for longer periods of time tell them that they shouldn’t whine about 6 measly months? Or a widow telling us not to complain at all cause least our spouses are still here?

I have learned a great many things from my Grandfather, and I hope he is around for a long long time still because there is still so much I could learn  from him.  One thing I have learned is that we’ve all been there once. It’s important not to forget about the perspectives you had as you’ve gained experience in life.  A military spouse may have learned to deal with being alone for long periods of  time. But that doesn’t make the feelings of someone who hasn’t had to deal with it invalid.  Just because I can go several months without my husband without batting an eye doesn’t mean that I get to tell my friends that they shouldn’t complain about their significant others only being gone for comparatively short periods of time. It’s all a matter of perspective.  If you don’t already, perhaps you should consider someone else’s perspective before you criticize them just because you feel like their problems are nothing to sneeze at.