The possible open window resulting from the closed door.

3 06 2010

1995 Nissan Maxima: kaput (I think I might be secretly Jewish…I also use the words shmuck and oy vey…and occasionally putz). In its defense…well…yeah it pretty much just sucked from day 1. Now, I say kaput, but I suppose I mean “repairs would cost us SO much more than what that silly little car is worth. Ergo, kaput.

Now, my immediate reaction to the news was to throw a little fit and play a little game of “why me?” and my personal favorite, “why now?” So I called my daddy, as he is full of sound advice and one of the few people who can say things like “calm down and do this or that” who I will listen to. Not many people have lived to tell me to calm down or “be reasonable.” That one has gotten a few people drawn and quartered.

Aaaaaanyway, he answered a bunch of questions, namely “should I just get a new car already?” To which his answer was, “research it out, pray a ton, and talk to your husband.”

And here is what the following of that advice has turned up.

A man in my ward is selling a 2004 Volvo xc90 for 15K. He would sell it to us for 13. I work for him, and rather than reporting my hours to our payroll company, he’d take my time log and deduct the money I would have gotten in a paycheck from the total cost of the car, tax free. There would also be no interest in this agreement, just the solid cost of the car.

Ta da!

I wanna get it. Let’s be honest, it’s an amazing deal.

Pros: luxury car for normal car price; seats 7; tons of cargo space; psycho safe; personal relationship with original owner; attractive.

Cons: not incredible mpg, but relatively comparable to most crossover suvs; ranked pretty average as far as reliability goes, rather than the generally “incredible” rating of a Toyota or a Nissan.

So there you have it. A possibility. Jared is mildly reluctant, that mpg thing is really bugging him. But I feel really good about it, and I know we’re not gonna get a deal even CLOSE to this from a dealership.

So now we need to decide: do we do it or not?

Wish us luck…

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This site is starting to look like my journal…

7 05 2010

rarely updated and full of useless information.

Well, I’m here to reassure you: we are not dead, our internet connection is just fine, and life is still happening out here in the middle of the Pacific. Sorry for the incredibly long absense.

Anyone who even kind of knows us knows that Jared has been in Afghanistan since sometime in late November of 2009. He left Hawaii Nov 17th, which marked the first of 219 or something days away. That leaves us with just 33 days til he’s home.

And this is why I hardly update here: the above paragraph is virtually the only exciting thing that is happening anytime soon. Anything I add below will just be me wanting to write and hoping someone out there feels like reading. I usually call it the void.

Hello, Void. It’s been a while, you’re looking dark and empty. Oh, thanks, I had it cut a while ago. Yeah I do, it’s lighter, easier to manage.

So, what on earth have I filled the last _ month(s) with? About a million hundred books and a lot of Papa John’s Pizza. That being said, I have some new recommendations for the people (person? emptiness?) that read this.

1. The Hunger Games. I know everyone knows about it already, but seriously. If you haven’t read it ’cause it’s so hyped, get over it. Read it. Love it. Die waiting for the release of the third book in August. I am.

2. Fablehaven (a 5 book series). It’s for a little younger of an audience, but anyone with a taste for the fantastic and adventurous will enjoy this series. It’s definitely an entertaining read, and you don’t have to wait at all because the entire series has been released!

3. The Picture of Dorian Grey. I’ve always liked this story, but I had never read the actual book. It’s definitely one of those classics that gets pushed behind Jane Austen and Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, blah blah blah. But! The story really is quite interesting, I felt really drawn into Mr. Grey, I felt relaxed when he did, angry when he did, urgent, happy, jealous, and in love when he did. I was really impressed. Plus I’m a big believer of the back in the day days when stories were written to expose evil as, well, evil, rather than glorifying the way so many do now.

There’s books.

Other than that, I’ve painted a bit, decorated our new home a bit, cried occasionally, the average stuff for a woman with a deployed husband, I think. All in all, the six months Jared has been gone have really moved by pretty quickly. In hind-sight anyway. (Did I mention he’ll be home in THIRTYTHREEDAYS?!??!!!) In frontwardside-sight the days are pretty sluggish. But I feel good about the fact that there’s only a little over a month worth of them left.

Thanks for coming, Void, old friend. You’re always there for me.

PS…TEXAS ON JUNE 26TH!





The Holiday Post

4 07 2009

Well heeeeeeere we go!

Today is INDEPENDENCE DAY. The day America finally declared it’s freedom from the Mother Land. And I wish you a happy one. Jared has been shipped off (as of yesterday) for training, and I don’t get to celebrate this holiday with anyone. But I can’t complain, my Independence Day is lonely so that my husband can defend the Independence Days of the future. I couldn’t be more proud of him, and any sacrifice is worth it when you’re doing God’s will. And we are.

The only other holiday I’ll really be addressing is Halloween (I might talk about my birthday later, but, alas, it’s not yet a recognized holiday). Jared and I have big plans for some rockin’ costumes. There are just a few things you need to know about why we chose what we did:

1) The Metal Gear Solid series are Jared’s favorite vidoe games of all time.

2) There is only ONE modest female character in the entire series.

3) The main character (“Snake”) is awesome. Beyond awesome. But there are two characters who beat him in awesomeness.

4) Duh. We’re being those two characters (one of which, yes, is that modest lady).

We started work early because the rest of our year is seriously booked. I keep thinking 2010 is happening in a few weeks because the rest of my year is so planned out, I feel as if I’ve already lived it. I’ve already got a lot of the pieces for my costume, but they’ll take a pretty significant amount of alterations to be finished…I don’t have a sewing machine, so the task is daunting lol. Thankfully, Jared’s is a matter of accumulating the proper accessories. He’s already got the base of the costume (Woodland Cammies [short for camoflage]). Here are some pictures to help you get an idea of how cool we’re gonna look:

Big Boss - Jared's costumeThe Boss - Kaila's costumeWe are so flipping cool. Here are some pictures of the boots I picked up on amazon.com:

Left Shoe - OuterThe BootsPretty much, they’re awesome. Yes, they’re a modern day name brand, but everyone will forgive me for not spending $140 on exact-match Doc Martens. Blegh. I’ve never owned shoes that expensive. And I really never plan on it. Anyway, good looking boots that I’ll actually wear after Halloween. And, yes, I’ll be switching the shoe laces out soon.

That’s pretty much what’s going on lately. NO! WAIT!!!

I totally forgot!

I’m heading to an art store this afternoon to pick up some canvas and some acrylic paints to start on what will eventually be Jared’s anniversary present (we’re still celebrating by the month!). I haven’t painted in a while, and Jared seems to be really impressed with paintings lately, so I thought I’d see if I could dig into an old talent for a while. We need some prettiness in our home too. We’re borrowing all the furniture right now, and nothing hangs on the walls. We’re ready to start making our home beautiful.

Well, that actually sums it up. I don’t think there’s anything really important to say about my birthday, exept for to mention that Jared will actually be in attendance :D. And I won’t have “teen” stapled on my age anymore!

Oh, and I guess people will be excited to know that I got a 31 on my ACT. Considering how long I was out of school and the amount of time I had to study, I’m actually really pleased with the results. Once those scores make it to BYU-Hawaii, I’ll just need to meet with my Bishop for Ecclesiastical Endorsement and send for my HS transcripts. This is totally exciting!

Love to everyone!





Bad News Bears

16 06 2009

Directions: Study the following facts carefully, then answer Question 1.

Fact #1: The Military rules Kaila and Jared’s lives.

Fact#2: Generally speaking, the Military changes plans with short notice on a regular basis.

Fact #3: Time together is a precious commodity for Jared and Kaila, but it is often infringed upon by the Military.

 

1. Based on the facts above, what is most likely going to happen to the leave block Jared will be granted in October before deployment?

a) Nothing. His pre-deployment leave will not be affected.

b) He will get more leave days to make up for the sacrifices he and his family make.

c) Jared will go AWOL to get the frick out of a sucky job.

d) Leave will be cut from 30 to 11 days. Kaila and Jared will have to use 2 of those days for travel to and from Texas, making leave about 9 days.

 

Answer: d) Leave will be cut from 30 to 11 days.

Yay.

When coming back to church almost two years ago, Jared got a blessing that said a girl was being prepared for him. Now I think we both understand that I was being prepared for THIS too. A lifestyle of uncertainty and sometimes frustration, but with a love more divine and beautiful than I sometimes deserve. Some people have lives with good things that sweep problems under rugs. My good things vaporize any bad thing that could ever possibly dirty my life’s floor :D.

For the people back home, yes, we’ll only be home for just a little while. Lol, well, for now. That could change too. I promise, you’ll never get used to how many times you have to scribble something out on your calendar to move it, only to find out it’s been moved back. But, we’re excited for every moment we’ll spend with each of you. There are many people we’ll be trying to see, our time will be full! But we can’t think of a better thing for it to be full of than family, friends, and love.

See you in four months!!





The Library is a Place of Magic and Wonder

11 06 2009

I believe I shall go there later this afternoon.

Things you need to know before reading the following paragraph: 1. Jared is a Lance Corporal (hereby listed as LCpl) in the Marine Corps (USMC). 2. The next rank in the USMC is Corporal (Cpl). 3. There are three things you need to get promoted: a) Time in Grade (how long you’ve  been the rank you are now), b) Time in Service (how long you’ve been in the USMC), and a cutting score (a composite of your Physical Fitness Test scores and your Pro vs. Con rating) that is higher than the minimum for the next rank up. Carry on.

LCpl McDonald has a cutting score that already ranks Cpl, but doesn’t have the Time in Grade or in Service that he needs. Usually, the TiG is 9 months to go from LCpl to Cpl, and Jared has only been Lance for three. However, as most people know, Jared received LCpl meritoriously, which (and no one knew this) changes promotion requirements. The TiG between PFC (Private First Class, the rank directly below LCpl) and LCpl is supposed to be 9 months as well, but the meritorious advancement means Jared got promoted with only 6 months TiG. With being a meritorious Lance, Jared can earn Cpl with just 6 months TiG instead of 9. After doing the math, that means Jared will be 6 MONTHS ahead of anyone else’s progress schedule. My baby is so impressive. This puts him up for Cpl somewhere in the September area. He’ll be Cpl before his first deployment if he doesn’t just decide to give up and stop going to work 😀

As for myself, I am working harder on this ACT test than I ever did at any class in High School. But, I have a firm grip on the knowledge I’ve been counselled to learn, and feel confident in my abilities. This Saturday at the BYU-Hawai’i campus, that confidence will be put to the test. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks studying math (what I paid attention to LEAST in HS), and have definitely grasped a lot of things I didn’t even remember learning. Some of this stuff, I swear I’ve never seen before. Which is probably not because my teachers missed something, but  because I was paying even less attention than I remember. I can’t wait, though. I know I’ll do well because I’ve been working hard, praying, and working again. Hopefully that means all of this stuff will be “called to my remembrance” when I need it.

I got myself a Library card, as well. The original intent was to have a place to go for study materials, but, of course, I’m a reader, my husband is a reader…I picked up a few books too :D. I started the “Odd Thomas” series by Dean Koontz over again and am now on the 3rd of 4 books. Jared started Odd Thomas as well. Though he usually reads Young Adult fiction (the Eragons, Harry Potters, and stuff like that), I think he’ll get into this series. Well written, suspenseful, humorous: all the things we love so much.

My six-year-old little sister, McKennan, eagerly asks every time we talk, “When are your babies due?” or some variety of the same question. To all who are wondering the same thing, even if I’m pregnant RIGHT NOW, we’re still not having any children for about 2 years. And I am most certainly NOT pregnant RIGHT NOW. We’re very excited to be parents, and almost can’t wait. But the life we live right now wouldn’t allow Jared to have any time with his precious little babies. We’re waiting so the proud father, can be a present father. You should see the way his eyes light up when he watches a baby crawl across the floor in church, or giggle at a game of peek-a-boo. I can’t let him not have those moments with our children.

So there’s your update: a little military knowledge, some time back in High School, a tour of what I do when I go to the Library, and a short commentary on offspring. I’m sure you’re thrilled.





Field Days

25 05 2009

When Baby is away, I get to play 🙂

Jared is off in the field today and tomorrow (with limited to no contact) and that means a series of things: a) I get a lot done, b) I get to dance around like an idiot to music much louder than it should be, and c) I sleep alone :(. On the plus side, he’s going to be coming home to a pretty clean house 🙂 It’s about 12:30 pm here and I’ve already done 2 loads of laundry, done all of the dishes, worked out (ow, by the way), and scheduled out the rest of my day.

On the down side, Jared is gone.

We woke up this morning at about 2:30 to get him to work by 3:15. I came home after dropping him off and slept a couple more hours, which, surprisingly, was difficult with the whole bed to myself.

Saturday was a good day, I think we ended up walking about 10 miles over the course of the day. We woke up at 7:30 to take the car in (it was squeeling and screaming like a friggin pig lol) and walked everywhere we needed to go until the car was ready. We walked back home from the base (about 3 miles), then walked to a video store, which was closed, so we walked to another video store (about a mile and a half), then back to the FIRST video store after finding out the second didn’t have what we needed, then to a yogurt shop that was both delicious and expensive (another mile-ish), to the gas station to withdraw our tithing for the next day, and back home (another mile). Then, after watching the movies we’d rented, eating our yogurt, and some well deserved down-time, we got the call that the car was finished (after $800 worth of repairs. I almost died). So we hopped up and walked back to base (still 3 miles) and picked the stupid-dumb-cost-us-so-much car up. Jared cooked dinner that night, my dad’s famous (in our house) Mac ‘n’ Cheese with beef. LOL he gets so excited every time we eat it. And he was very proud of himself for making it. We also had another (smaller) bowl of yogurt from that tasty place. It’s our new delicacy. And it’s healthier than Cold Stone 🙂

We also came to the conclusion that we wouldn’t be able to make it to Utah for Grandma Rita’s funeral, which was definitely a disappointment, but exactly as we’d expected as well. Jared just can’t get the special permission to go that far off base unless he takes days off, which would limit the days he has to use toward getting out of the Marine Corps early. So, October it is. We honestly won’t be seeing anyone until then.

We got a phone call from Jason DeArmond on Friday (?) with some exciting news, he finally was able to quit smoking! Which, of course, means he’s been singing his face off and can’t wait til he can sing with Jared again. Jason is probably my favorite of Jared’s friends (don’t tell anyone else, I’d get in trouble), and we’ve been praying that Jason would do this for a while. He’s also started working out and lost 40 lbs…we’re seriously so proud. Our visit to TX will include a lot of volleyball and song time 🙂

Jared and I will be celebrating our two month anniversary this Thursday (which is awesome because Jared has Thurs-Sun off with Monday off as a possibility). Friday we’re going to the beach with some of the guys (probably Chapman [Jeff], Taylor [Creed], and Bethke [Mark, I think]. I want to invite Sgt. Reitz [David, I’m getting good at this], but I don’t know if he’s allowed to hang out with the lower ranked guys), then come home for dinner (yes I’ll be cooking for at least 4 Marines…), then maybe to a movie (we’re thinking Monsters vs. Aliens 🙂 ). Saturday morning we’re flying to the Big Island in the morning to go to the Temple. We’ll probably go through at least 2 sessions. We hop back over to O’ahu in the early afternoon where Jared will head to the Priesthood meeting of Stake Conference at 4, then we have the adult session (which our ward choir is singing in) at 7. Basically we just tried to pack this weekend as full as we could manage 🙂 Obviously, Sunday is church, and Monday, if he gets it off, will be just for us to relax and hang out. Probably watch a movie or two and recover from our crazy weekend 🙂

One thing that’s come to my attention over the last few weeks is that I’ll be alone for Christmas. How would everyone feel if I flew up for a while to visit? Don’t worry, I won’t expect too many presents…

Love to everyone!!





Time to put my internet addiction to use.

21 05 2009

Happy Faces Close

With all of the hours I have available during the day, I suppose keeping a blog just dripping with the details of the Hawaiian McDonald clan is a worthy project to dedicate some of them to.

Today, Jared is taking the written test for the Saber course he’s been in for a week and a half. The Saber is a weapon system similar to the two systems Jared has already been trained on (The Tow and The Javelin), but is, apparently, way more up to date and much more “hardcore” lol. It requires a lot less from the Marine running it, but also provides some pretty ridiculous accuracy. With [This information has been removed because it might be classified. Maybe.], there’s not a lot of chances of messing it up (let it never be said that Jared and I don’t talk about everything lol. And I listen very carefully. Did you see the specs I just laid down??[Before they were removed because they might be classified]). Jared has been really excited about it, and is apparently really doing well in the class. Cpl Rogers (one of his less than impressed superiors) even asked Jared over to help he and another senior Marine get a handle on the curriculum. Sgt Reitz, one of Jared’s old Company’s command, heads up the class and, as is to be expected of anyone who knows him, still adores him 😀 We recently got the chance to have an in depth spiritual discussion with Sgt Reitz (I know him as David, but Jared doesn’t remember anyone by their first name…I have the difficult task of remembering faces, ranks, last names, and first names. Ugh.) who was very receptive and had some good questions. He seemed especially interested in the idea of living Prophets. Unfortunately, one of the Cpls watching called Jared over and chewed him out for “standing around” and Sgt Reitz told us to head out so Jared wouldn’t get messed with anymore. We drove away to the background of good ol’ Dave yelling at the Cpl who’d just undermined his authority by giving an order to leave while he was speaking. Good stuff.

My day has been a little less interesting and exciting, no weapon systems for the little wife. I’m sick in the tummy and look pretty useless. I’m sitting at the kitchen table eating chicken noodle soup, listening to a vast array of musical entertainment (everything from My Chemical Romance to Les Miserables, segregation ended in the 70s), in what could be considered the least Kaila-like outfit that exists: sweat pants and a t-shirt. In my defense, most of the laundry is in the dryer, and it’s a cute t-shirt that brings out my eyes.  My day has not been unproductive, however. I signed up and registered to take the ACT on June 13th (yikes!!) at the BYU-Hawaii campus. Now I just have to cram-study everything I forgot (or didn’t pay attention to) from High School in a couple of weeks and rock a test. I’m taking the test with the essay option, I figure anything I forgot can hopefully be made up for by my magnificent writing skills. Math? Ha! Who needs it? Unless they pull a fast one and make the writing prompt “explain the finer workings of the quadratic equation using several examples of finding and graphing solutions.” I really should have listened a little more closely in classes. Blah.

I’ve also been doing some investigating as far as our ability to send me to school (specifically while Jared is in-country [deployed]). Fact: I love BYU tuition. What a ridiculously cheap school. Even for non-LDS students it’s competitive, but for LDS kids it’s borderline insanity. Especially since I’ll be a commuter student who already has housing and doesn’t need to worry about room and board. Or a meal plan. AWESOME. So for me it’s something like $3500/semester. That’s without class fees or lab fees and such (it does include books, though), but still! It’s totally reasonable and doable. Especially because our income ups drastically while Jared is deployed. They also offer things like a high-yield account while he’s gone. Kinda like a CD but it’s a guaranteed 10% every time and it’s only locked until he’s back home. He can choose to put as much of his monthly pay into it as he wants and then just let it earn while he’s in Afghanistan. We estimate that he could put about half of his income in that account and I’ll still be living comfortably with the other half. Which would, in fact, cover the winter semester of classes. The Lord loves us. In case you hadn’t noticed.

So there’s what’s going on for us right now, weapons, Gospel, tests, and money.

Ugh…and for anyone who’s not caught up, thank you, it’s working just fine, no we didn’t need the doctor’s appointment, and, yes, it’s great 😀