Monday, August 06, 2012

Moving in to our new home...

Today was our move-out-of-temporary-lodging-and-into-our-new-apartment day. While we are now proud residents on the second floor of mid-rise #1209 (click here if you did not read the blog post as to how we selected this abode), we are still in a transition phase. We had a 600-pound early shipment sent, which had all the basic necessities, like pots and pans, dishes, sheets, towels, a television set, Apple TV, a 2,500 packet box of Sweet N Low, etc. You know, the necessities. While this stuff is very useful, it doesn't comprise much furniture. I did have the foresight to pack a card table and four chairs, but it turns out, we really won't need them.

Since the bulk of our items are on the slow boat to China, er, Japan, rather, it could be a few more months before we get it. This is standard for service members who move internationally. So, to give families a helping hand, the base offers a Lending Locker, where we can borrow furniture for free. They even deliver it and put it in the rooms for us. We got a living room set, bunk beds, a dining room table, and a queen bedroom set complete with nightstands and chests of drawers. So, here is the progression as our 3-bedroom apartment started to become a home today:

Four Japanese movers had all of our our borrowed and advanced shipment stuff in the apartment and  unpacked in less than an hour. They even put the kids' bikes back together.

Master bedroom furniture

More master bedroom furniture

The boys' room starts to take shape.

Our borrowed dining room table. I don't know if you can see it, but there is a 4-inch scratch in the center of the  table.

The scratch up close.
The reason I draw attention to this scratch is to tell you this story: As you can tell, the kids were keeping busy at the table as I washed and put away the few dishes we have.

Xan pipes in: "Hey, Mom, do you have a candle?"
Me: "No, I'm sorry, I don't. (Candles aren't something we are allowed to have packed and shipped.) Why?"
Xan: "Well, I think you need a candle here." (Gestures at the center of the dining room table.)
Will: "Yeah, a candle or something would be nice."
Me: "Did you want to cover that scratch up?"
Xan: "Yeah. We need a candle."

So, we got a candle. You'll see it a few pictures down. Who knew my boys were such decorators?

The bunk bed construction.

Before they brought in the six boxes that comprised our advanced shipment, they first laid moving blankets on the floor to reduce the amount of dirt and debris left behind.

They unpacked everything and took the boxes away. I just had to point where I wanted things. Note the stocking feet -they left their shoes outside to eliminate the amount of dirt brought in to the house. Our family has now adopted that practice. We'll see how long that lasts with he boys!

Breaking down the boxes to take them out. Look how beat up this box was.Nothing was broken beyond repair, but boy was the stuff jumbled up!

The boys' bathroom with a new shower curtain.

Our four trash cans
 For those of you who love to recycle, you'll appreciate this: The Japanese actually divide their trash in to 8 different categories so each can be recycled or burned. Land is tough to come by in this country, so land fills are scarce. On base, though, we Americans apparently struck a compromise: We divide trash in to only four categories, as you can see above: Cans (metal), combustibles (paper, wood, food scraps, cloth), glass and plastics. Our tour guide during orientation said that the Japanese make clothes from recycled plastic. I can appreciate that, but, I must admit, I prefer breathable cotton!

The living room is pretty spartan, but functional.

My oven hood is in Japanese. I asked our housing caseworker, who is Japanese, to please translate. So, from left to right: Light off, light on, fan off, fan low, fan high.

The kitchen, with the new microwave we had to buy (We thought the place came with one. We were wrong. It does come with a washer and dryer, though.). You can see I am cooking our first meal there on the stove. We had tacos. I have no idea what those metal circles on the floor are for.

The boys with their beds made up. By the way, these borrowed mattresses come with plastic mattress covers.  That made me feel a little better about borrowing them. But, then again, how much worse could they be than a hotel mattress? There are some things I think I am better off not knowing.

Finally relaxing in the living room, watching the Olympics. 
While most of this adventure of moving to Japan has been fun and interesting, there have been a few annoying things. Here are a few:

1) Not only is our apartment's view of the warehouse unattractive, but it turns out it's pretty noisy, too.

The view out our balcony. Please not the new candle centerpiece on the table. Xan was very pleased.
2) The commissary (grocery store) is closed on Mondays. I assume this is to save money, but it is still incredibly inconvenient. It is a grocery store. It should be open daily.
3) The furniture part of the Exchange (the department store) is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I assume this is also to save money, but it is still incredibly inconvenient, especially since a lot of people are moving in to new homes on these days during this time of year. For example, our living room does not have a light, so we needed a lamp. We found a lamp, but no lamp shade. These are at the furniture annex. Oddly, the Exchange itself is open seven days a week. I can't buy fresh vegetables, but I can buy perfume and a baseball mitt.
4) There are no appointments available at the salon on base to get my hair or nails done for a month. I have to try and call when the salon opens at 10 a.m. to try to get an appointment A MONTH from that day, because they do not take appointments any further than 30 days out. It's like playing "beat the clock" with all the other women on base. Obviously, the salon needs more techs or something. I think I will need to try and find a salon off base.
5) My Netflix account is unavailable to me. I get a message that says: "Sorry, Netflix hasn't come to this part of the world yet." What?! Guess you lost yet another customer, Netflix. Sucks to be you. Way to support you military installations.
6) I cannot find a bottle of Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita anywhere. Malt beverage margaritas just are no where near the same. And I could really use a good margarita. Stat.


Storage Boxes said...

I agree on you. Transferring to a new home has lot of things to consider like the new environment you will get to your new home, new neighbors to deal with and a lot more.

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