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Monday, March 17, 2014


So back a long, long (you know, at least eight or nine months) ago we made a reservation with Oakwood.  After staying three months at the mothership (or Oakhood, or whatever derogatory term is current) back in 2011 when we were evacuated I swore I would never, never ever live in Oakwood again.  It was old and dark and small and every one of the several hundred apartments had the exact same framed picture with the orange sand, blue sky, and white salt pan.  And really, anywhere that involves multiple trips on an elevator to haul your groceries home is not okay.  It just isn't.

But life has a way of wearing you down and this time around money started talking really loudly.  Since we are TDY (temporary duty) we receive per diem to pay for housing.  The allowance starts off reasonably generously, but then drops every sixty days until it is a quarter of what you started out with.  This isn't a problem if you're staying a short time - four or five months - but it starts to be a problem when you're in town longer.  You know, like nine months.

There are quite a few landlords willing to work with strange wayfarers like us who have most of our possessions lurking in a warehouse... somewhere... and need fully furnished lodgings.  But their accommodation comes at a price that can get pretty high after awhile.  Oakwood, however, has something worked out with State where they deal with the money end and we stay here as long as we need without having to work out how much the per diem has dropped lately.  So one can see the appeal.

And then after considering Oakwood's gym, pool, weekly maid and linen service, and shuttle to Brandon's work, I had to admit that maybe I was a little hasty last time in saying never.

When we made our reservation we were told that we were confirmed for a two-bedroom apartment and would be placed on the waiting list for a three-bedroom.  I didn't worry too much because we had a long time between being placed on a waiting list and actually moving in and there would be plenty of time for something to open up.  Right?

Well, we've been here for three weeks and we're still waiting for one of those three-bedroom apartments to open up.  Like everything in the government, there's a pecking order to the waiting list and we haven't had enough children yet to be at the top.  Who knew Oakwood was such a hot spot for families with five (and six) children?  Who knew there were so many families who were crazy enough to have five children?

So, for now we're all pretty chummy.  I managed to squeeze two rollaway beds into the second bedroom and everyone is getting pretty good about taking turns in the two bathrooms (I know, we were spoiled with five in Baku).  The children's closet is working multiple duties as suitcase storage/baby supplies storage/winter gear storage/bookshelf/school book storage.  During quiet time each day Joseph goes to sleep in the children's room, the children play in the kitchen/living/dining room while I put in ear plugs and take a nap in the only other room in our apartment.  I've learned that at least once a day everyone has to get out of the apartment to stretch their legs and make noise where nobody can complain to management about it.

And really, I can't complain that much since I intended to have all four share a bedroom anyway so that we could use our third bedroom for a toy room.  So we're doing just fine.  I think maybe if this were our permanent situation I might have something more to say about it, but it's not.  It's just a small pause between ginormous overseas houses.  And plus, I have libraries, Target, parks, national museums, and family to console me.  Not a bad swap.

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