The Art of the Overhaul, week 2-3

Week 3 checklist:

  • Family–
    • Medical debt #1 paid off
    • Begin work on medical debt #2
    • Roofing company called
    • Get estimates for front window replacement
  • Kim– sort through “hobby” and photos
    • make notebook of favorite knit and crochet patterns
      • donate books
    • sort needles and hooks
      • donate duplicates
    • yarn; easy since I only keep one current project going and I don’t store leftovers as yarn.  I use my leftovers to construct woolen dolls (knitted) so I have some doll “parts” in my yarn tote.
    • Use some photos for this blog to chronicle the journey.  Put other photos on our family blog that is not specific to this journey but is more about our day-to-day life here in Indiana.
  • Michael — begin sorting through personal books and media
    • For Michael this will be a long process.
    • This week he donated 4 bags of books
    • Property prep: taking apart old chicken shed, cleaning front yard in preparation for mowing season, and stacking things for dumpster arrival in April.
  • Hannah —
    • Put in applications for second job. Hopefully schedule interviews.
    • Continue working on novels.
    • Sort through belongings and books.
  • Kelly —
    • Lots of thinking about gardening in a different climate
    • Property prep work: fencing repairs, fencing removal, general cleaning of front yard (1 acre), sorting things for dumpster arrival in April

Texas 1987


Kelly left Evansville in late February 1987 for San Antonio. He joined the United State Air Force as a way to give the two of us a better start in life together than Evansville could offer. I joined him in May.

Texas . . .It was the first time we’d been anywhere (longer than a week) without a family support system. We stretched our wings, explored our city, and learned how to take care of a myriad of normal tasks.

Texas . . .We found our favorite places were run by locals. We found our favorite neighbors spoke a mix of Spanish and English. We experienced life in a community of diversity unlike anything we had previously known.

Texas . . . Kelly walked 2 miles in the September heat from our apartment to see Pope John Paul II.  Our dates consisted of finding out of the way Missions (Catholic churches from the late 1700’s and early 1800s), then hitting up our favorite local eatery, and taking walks in the scrub behind our apartment complex.

These are the biggest impressions that remain from Texas.  Mostly it was about daily life interspersed with adventures and learning more about those who lived around us.  It was a taste of something we couldn’t identify at the time, but followed us to our next base.

In late November 1987, we packed our Mitsubishi hatchback (it was a tiny little car) and headed north through Texas . . .  destination Dayton, Ohio.


The Art of the Overhaul, week 1

The story of our journey will continue each Sunday, since the title of the blog is The Journey to . . . but, each week I hope to post a recap of what we accomplished that moves us closer to taking the step into the next adventure.

Our stay in Indiana has been a long one, and we’ve accumulated the stuff that goes along with an extended stay.  There is much work to be done and we are excited to take little steps each week that will move us closer to our goal.

Week 1 & 2 checklist:

  • Family–
    • Agreed on primary goal
    • Agreed on priorities as we wait
      • medical debt
      • Kelly knee surgery
      • home repairs as needed
      • save as much as possible (Ask: Does this get me closer to X?  If not, say no.)
  • Kim–sort through personal books.
    • Compare hard copies to Kindle list (purge duplicates)
    • Make list of books to get on kindle (store hardcopies on different shelf)
    • Make a note to only buy one book per month and only a book I’ve read more than twice
    • Use the library to try new books
    • Decide which 10-15 books are my “non-negotiable” books
  • Michael — begin sorting through personal books
    • For Michael this will be a long process.
    • This week he pulled very old encyclopedias off his shelf and a few other old books.
  • Hannah — Her list is in the comments


Greetings!  A fresh blog with no words written yet is just like a new journal.  Somehow I feel the words should be momentous and memorable. And so, I am tempted to put off writing until it seems the words are perfect. But if there is one thing I have learned after walking this beautiful earth, it is that perfection isn’t attainable.  So I’ll settle for good enough and start writing.

My family is a family of four adults choosing to live together.  We started out as two: young, impulsive, wanting a life together, wanting adventure, wanting children.  So we started with a marriage, a move or two (Indiana, Texas, Ohio).  Then we added two children in pretty quick succession.

Our children (Michael and Hannah) are as different as night and day.  They always have been.  Michael was born observing the world, seeing too much, hearing too much, finding patterns (and comfort in the patterns), inquisitive, and sensitive.  Hannah was born watching the world, telling the world exactly what her feelings were, performing, guarding the defenseless, creative, and playful.  Like I said Night and Day!

Kelly and I were still young, impulsive, and wanting adventure.  So when, in a fit of emotional upheaval, I announced a desire to move . . . and to move far away, Kelly signed up an “accompanied, overseas, extended, tour of duty.  Several weeks later the paperwork came in and we found out we were headed to Germany.

Germany . . . land of beauty, a new language (after 7 years learning it in high school and as my college major), a new start, and an adventure.  Germany was an amazing place to live with small kids.  It is clean.  The water is clean.  The public restrooms are clean.  The air is clean.  The people are clean.   We arrived with three large suitcases and four backpacks.  Each weekend we used the backpacks as we got out there, meeting people, seeing the sights, eating local food, and generally acting as if we were on an extended vacation.

Germany . . . also the land of base closures.  We knew when we arrived that our time there would be relatively short.  Pretty soon, too soon, we were looking at a list of bases we could choose from.  We could stay in Germany, come back to America, Kelly could go to Korea alone, or Turkey.

Turkey . . . land of beauty, a new and much different language, another new start, and an even bigger adventure. The adventure started immediately:  Kelly was being sent to Italy for training.  The kids and I were going to be there alone  . . . right away.  In many respects, Turkey could not have been more different than Germany.  And I fell head over heels in love with it.  We were in far eastern Turkey, so all that stuff you know about Istanbul–none of it applies to where we were.

Turkey  . .. dirt, sand, sandstorms, no rain (except during the rainy season and then boy does it rain), intermittent water outages (and then lovely “Water Buffalo” trucks that bring water to the neighborhood), intermittent power outages, and marble floors laid straight on the dirt.  But the people and the food . . . it just doesn’t get any better.

The first person I met in Turkey was Çemile.  She was young (17, maybe) and she was Turkish.  We met as I was struggling to figure out how many Turkish coins to insert in a pay phone in the hotel lobby, while talking on the phone arranging permanent housing (as opposed to the hotel we were currently living in), and trying to keep two young, energetic, and hungry kiddos quiet and happy.  Salvation appeared in the form of a lovely, slender, young lady, who picked up Hannah, motioned for Michael to follow, and led them to clear spot on the floor where she began to talk to them and play.  She looked up hesitantly and I beamed my biggest smile ever.  We were fast friends and we hadn’t spoken a word.