Behold Day 1.


And Day 2.


And also Day 3.

Yoshikei delivered a meal for the first time this evening. Clockwise starting at twelve o’clock sits eggplant tomato gratin, an omelet, an un-sweet & chilled salad featuring lettuce with two cherry tomatoes and lastly a sweet & warm salad featuring squash, raisins, apricot bits and soy beans.

Magically delicious.

Not sure that the picture shows you how yummy it was because it doesn’t show you how our meal greeted us at the front door this afternoon and insisted I rest my wary feet while scooting itself onto three plates. ‘Twas love at first sight. Yoshikei and Meredith sitting in a tree…

Yet there is a tablespoon of guilt in the mix here. Like I should be able to swing it all without Joe and if I were driven I could swing more. But having this dinner all gussied up and ready to chomp gave me time to play with the boys instead of just referee their choke holds and couch acrobatics while I threw a barely healthy meal together. And would you believe that between dinner and bedtime I didn’t once want to cry or wonder how I’d make it through another deployment?

It’s hard to quantify that kind of yumminess.

As for our PCS, I’m living in the land of make believe. I talk about it as if I know something for sure just because Joe’s monitor said that he could “certainly” get us to Arlington. Based on that unofficial exchange, I have orchestrated a very smooth, albeit imaginary, PCS and a life, also imaginary, for myself in Arlington.

Knock some sense into me, please. Wag your finger, roll your eyes and prove me wrong.

This is the PCS I have concocted for us. Our orders will somehow appear while Joe is deployed. Perhaps in our mailbox. The letter will say:

You are ordered to go to Arlington, Virginia presently. Giddyup.

With these orders in hand I will make phone calls. No idea who I’m making phone calls to but there will be many, many phone calls. The result of all these phone calls will be permission to pack-out of our house and plane tickets for me, Eli, Henry & Rick Maltsby P.I. We’ll do important things to prepare for the trip. Again, no idea what those important things would be. Eventually, we’ll board a plane and sleep peacefully until our plane lands at Dulles. The only trace of us on Okinawa will be the cars we leave behind. Upon returning from deployment, Joe will live in bachelor quarters where he will feverishly play video games, tidy up loose ends at work, ditch the cars and endlessly long for his family. Meanwhile, the boys and I will reunite with all of our family and find a perfect place quickly and seamlessly off of

Talk to me. Point me to resources. Tell me your experiences. I need a good dose of reality pronto.


All the posts in Meredith’s “Me & My Big PCS” series: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX

For posterity’s sake we have left this universally euphoric, terrified, confused, “what am I doing?!” series on Okinawa Hai.  However, we have closed comments for future readers.  If there is relevant information for all readers to benefit from, we have taken elements from this series and created new posts, which we’ve linked to from the original text. Thank you for joining us on this ride.


  1. You say nice, soothing things to me. Thanks for all your reassurance and pep-talks. Feel free to come around anytime with all your wisdom and wit.

    Staci, I’m adding your list to my ta-da list. If you love lists like I love lists then go there this minute.

    Mishka, I am hoping to leave ahead of JOe by about two months. I know nothing about how possible it is. I plan to sign up for the Smooth Move Workshop that MCCS offers on Foster. I’ll have to figure out if it’s at all possible leave before him. Most curious. Also, I did none of the ordering for Yoshikei by myself. But now that it’s set up I can handle the weekly re-ordering with my barebones Japanese and lots of body language.

    And Joe, you make me laugh in seconds flat. As usual. Also, tonight Eli said, “maybe when Dada comes home I can puke.” NO idea where that came from BUT I think you’re on his mind!

    My ears are still open and my lists are getting longer. Thanks and thanks.

  2. Didn’t know that the MC/Navy allowed for no weight limit on the way back. I know that the AirForce and Army have the same weight limitations in both directions and that includes the stuff that you have in storage in the States…double check on that before you go crazy buying lots of heavy stuff.

  3. Oh you’ll certainly miss Okinawa, but you’ll love the Arlington area too! There are all sorts of parks for the boys (not as imaginative as the ones here) bike trails, sidewalks and the Metro. Arlington has many cool neighborhoods to live in and think of all the new restaurants to check out! When your move gets closer I can give you a list of great children friendly places. We love Okinawa, but still miss some things from back there.

  4. I know there’s loads of important and necessary stuff you need to do and fret about before you leave. Goodness, I hate the moving process! I also dislike the not-knowing-where-you’re-moving-to-yet stage. And the getting yourself psyched up to go somewhere and only to have all the planning and plotting you’ve done be screwed up by a last minute change is also a little…annoying. So, to counter all that inevitable anxiety, my recommendation is just this: even when the going gets tough, make enjoying your last months on the island a priority. Don’t let even a tablespoon of guilt cloud the blessing of time and peace of mind that the food delivery service (or any other service) provides you. Go do and see and eat all of the things we’ve been writing about on this here fantabulous site. If you need to ask people for help in order to do that, shoot, ask ‘em. You still have a couple of beautiful months left here before settling into the rat race that is DC (or wherever). Take advantage of every piece of assistance that you can to help you and your kids use them to their fullest…(in spite of the rain!)

    So…how’s that for a motivational speech?

  5. Phil is just trying to cover up for a nasty reality porno addiction.

    And, by the way, what is he so busy doing…with clean willie deployed, he should have plenty of time on his hands.

  6. So, I made my hubby read some of this. He didn’t have the time to write. I asked if he will miss me like that if he had to be away for a while because I think that it’s sweet that you can say stuff like that to your wife. His answer; “Joe was trying to score points.” Does he need to be in a boot camp of some sort?

    Staci’s list is awesome. Maybe you can post an article about the list of things to do before PSC for those readers who might not read that comment in this section.
    6. is very important. We were told to do that. I will add 12. DO NOT PACK YOUR PASSPORT! You won’t be able to leave the country.

  7. Life IS a series of lists. Worn, torn, crumpled, coffee stained, scratched out, remade, updated handfuls of lists. Where would we be without them? Sent a box with cookies….one pack for the boys and one pack of chocolate ones for YOU, to help with the lists!
    Joe….how cute!

  8. Mere, I’m glad to know that it worked out with Yoshikei. I was able to order ingredients for next week from them today right before they closed. I should’ve ordered the same menu as you, but I felt guilty to do so as my hubby is not deployed. I regret that I didn’t. Arrrr.

    I’m not witty enough to respond to Joe’s comment. I wonder what my hubby would say. Joe, you have to promise to respond to Phil’s comment if you want his comment. Also, make sure that you guys will come to Arlington!

  9. Hahaha….Joe’s post made me laugh out loud…my husband just looked at me like I was crazy (hmph…maybe I am!) 🙂

    Unfortunately I have no fabulous wit or wisdom to offer… maybe see about stopping by one of the Smooth Move seminars that the Personal Services center puts on.

    I don’t know how the MC side does it (I think they may be mandatory so you may have already been to one…). But some of the tips they offer may help to put your mind at ease.

    And, in other stuff, I just wanted to say publicly that I feel your pain. The “joys” of a military PCS are something that other folks could never imagine. You are doing exceptionally well in my book … and, if it’s any consolation, I love reading your posts! 🙂

  10. Laughing at Joe here!

    Didn’t finish my moving list.

    8. Yes, I have known people who took digital pics of all of their expensive stuff (if your property gets shipwrecked, it’s probably easier for claims). Never did that, though.

    9.Get a few months extra of any prescriptions.

    10. Pack a clock/phone (your stuff may not come as soon as you).

    11. Checkbook. Sometimes you need to put down a deposit.

  11. First let me say that I didnt have time to read the comments.

    Second let me say that I am happy if you and the boys are happy, just in case the guilt came from me.

    Third let me say that the last line looked to me like this line “I need a good dose of reality PORNO”. I’m not even sure what reality porno is. Maybe I just miss my wife…

    Love you guys.

  12. Yummy! Thanks for the pic. Can’t wait for my order tomorrow. I know hubby and I will love it, just hoping that the kiddos will too!
    Love the list, Staci – there’s stuff on there that has never crossed my mind! Will definitely be helpful when it’s our time to say sayonara to Okinawa. I hope to leave before Bob, too, so hopefully, someone out there will have some helpful advice, esp. concerning housing and airline tix (ex. is he able to stay in our house til he leaves or does he have to go BOQ?).
    It’s bittersweet, Mere. I don’t want you to leave so early, but getting so excited for your return to family! Nerd that I am, I love perusing homes online just to drool at the wondrous space and convenience that american homes promise. love that militarybyowner website and can’t wait to check out cinchouse, too! Gotta run. kids and hubby hungry. should have ordered Yoshikei for today, too! Hehe. 🙂

  13. Food looks yum, and revel it its deliciousness and ease, Mere – no medals awarded for putting hot meals on the table while hubby is gone! You rock – I loved this post!

    Ok, on to the advice it truly pains me to give because it means your departure is more impending than I want to admit!

    Contact TMO on base for a checklist – you love lists… NOW is the time (particularly with a pet) to do that. The phone number is 970-0415 for TMO on Foster (with the off base exchange just for vous). I don’t think there are too many things you can accomplish until you actually have orders, but there are some things you can.
    that’s a good PDF checklist for 8 weeks out.

    Yes, do some weeding out – but remember you can take as much stuff as you want back to the US (no weight limit like coming here). Go do that shopping, girl!

    Start considering what you want in the express shipment pretty soon, and make that list so you can set it aside, you know that goes first.

    Start thinking about a forwarding address (like your mom’s or something) in the states for when your PSC box is done.

    Start stocking up on 100 yen stuff to entertain the kids on the plane rides! That foamy play dough stuff is fantastic, and they have plastic mats for it too. And Benedryl. Plenty of that. 🙂

    I’m sure I’ll think of more – since I just did this coming here. I’ll keep you posted.

  14. Oh, and one other thing….did you order the Yoshitei on your own or did you end up having a Japanese friend help you? I know that it was mentioned to have a friend but I thought I would ask.

  15. Quick question as I know you are dealing with a different service than we are….how far ahead of your husband are you planning to move? Does your service allow this? In ours, it is nearly impossible, except for pending divorce to leave the island early. Just thought you might know the answer or be able to get the answer so at least part of your plan would already be reality…

  16. Salivating over that nasube! (especially as I look at my counter, with an empty can o’ pinto beans). Not a thrilling dinner! I just have to hold out for Monday for my yoshikei! I hate moving. I like new places and the thrill, just hate packing. So here’s my “top ten” before a PSC (especially overseas).
    1. clean out any junk you don’t want to haul. It will make your life sooo much easier when your delivery comes stateside.
    2.sell your cars asap. I remember begging someoene to take our Honda. We had until 3pm to pick up our plane tickets (which we couldn’t have unless we had PROOF that our car was GONE.
    3.request the military to fly you on United (if you’re into the air mile thingey).
    4.Buy cool stuff. Use all that heavy change at 100 yen!
    5. as soon as you get your orders, start that nauseating list of appointments (housing…pack out…returning all things borrowed (satellites) and trashed (thinking of our loaner couch!
    6.I always “hand carry” our medical/dental records.
    7.Remember you can exceed your weight at the airport (with united)as long as your military. I always have this unpleasant exchange everytime were at the airport. Print out from website.
    Okay. more list later. Kid awake.

  17. I have my own wonderful plans about coming there.
    The flight will be filled with gentle and nice exchanges between my four children. Not once will I hear in a preteen screetch “he is still TOUCHING meeeee!” I will sleep on your schedule so as to avoid jet lag. This all occurs in first class you realize in my lovely plan, they could bump us up. It could happen! (-:
    We will arrive and there will be the perfect van, car, and house(where the previous tenant had a garden!) the neighbors will not be strange or gossipy, and the neighborhood childen are all wonderful. I will make amazing friends, find the most awesome church, loose the 25 Lbs I packed on after my husband got home from Iraq..OH There is more but I don’t have enough room for the full length plan.
    It is fine and fun to plan, some things will work out that way but most will not. I always think I can plan better than God. Then, when his plan is the one that unfolds, I say ohhh right that was such a better plan.
    So plan but mostly pray, Have peace that either way. You are going to make it and it will all work out.
    Who knows, maybe you’ll get first class!

  18. I’m here to commend you on the flawless plan. Of course it won’t all happen that way, but it’s a great plan. And I challenge anyone who thinks making a plan is a waste of time by saying to them, “When things change, the plan will also change — but I will always have A plan.” So, plan away, girlfriend. We’ll smile and watch.

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