Saturday, November 28, 2009

Officially Our New Home
We made it to Windhoek and got introduced to our new home. It has a strange layout and will take some time to get used to where everything is. It is also SO much larger than our place in Tokyo! We have a kitchen large enough to eat in, a spacious living room/dining room, a den/computer room, a play room, a screened in porch, laundry room, three bathrooms, a water closet (toilet/sink only), good sized master bedroom, and four more bedrooms. Now three of these bedrooms are on the small size, but I think we can manage. [Symbol] We also have tons of storage space which is always good. The garage is detached. Not sure if that is a pro or a con. It isn’t like we get a lot of bad weather here, but it means further to carry groceries and things.
Mini Crisis Resolved
Our first night in Windhoek we had our first mini-crisis. Justin was happy to explore our spacious new house. He wanted to experience everything. Unfortunately, that also meant locking himself in the bathroom. The bathroom has one of the European style skeleton keys. He was able to twist it to lock it, but not to unlock it. I heard him shouting, and discovered his situation was probably the only one of the day that truly was shout worthy. We have other similar locks in the house, so no problem, right? Since Justin couldn’t unlock the door on his own, we had him take out the key so we could try other keys. Rob even tried unscrewing the door plate where the handle and lock go. No success. The door meets the floor quite tightly, and no key was going to be passed through that way. What should we do?
I asked Justin to read me what it said on his key so I could match up the other keys in the house. The keys are a snug fit and it isn’t easy to just go through them quickly. Justin read me the letters on his key.
“S-O-L-I-D,” came his cute little voice.
Of course that would be the side he would read. All the keys have that on them. He was able to turn the key over and find what we actually needed to know. No other key was coded the same way though.
Rob went to check out the windows on the bathroom while I continued to talk with Justin and keep him calm. I could see through the keyhole that he was playing with the toilet paper. I don’t like him to unroll it or make little TP balls, but when he is locked in the bathroom it is probably not the time to enforce proper TP use. Rob was able to compare the bathroom window to other windows of the house and give Justin directions on how to open the bathroom window. It is a two part process that is not particularly easy. Justin had to raise a handle and unscrew a hinge latch. Standing on the toilet (something else that is generally a no-no) and listening to Daddy’s step by step instructions, Justin was able to get it open and pass the key through. From there it was just a matter of Rob coming back inside and unlocking the door.
I was so proud of Justin. Rob was able to keep him calm so Justin was able to get through the ordeal without becoming upset even though he really wanted to get out. Justin was able to answer our questions and to follow the directions he was given. I think he did better than a lot of kids his age would have done.
The keys are now all removed from the doors. I had planned to do it anyway, but Justin’s little adventure got me to do it a little sooner than I otherwise would have.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Quarters I Need

No, not a plea for free money, I actually need these quarters to complete my 50 state quarters collection. It is hard to do when you spend most of your time overseas! The quarters I still need are all from the PHILADELPHIA mint and include the following states:
S Dakota
New Mexico

Those of you who will be seeing me when I am in the DC area, look through your change now. :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Mail in Namibia

I know I haven't written much for awhile. I have been putting pics on Facebook and posting video on YouTube without noting it in the blog. Since I am at my parents' house right now, there isn't a big need for me to keep my mom up to date. I should get better again once we leave Idaho.

We are leaving for Namibia on Thanksgiving Day. We will not have APO mail there. Several people are curious about our mail situation while we are there. We will be able to get mail through the diplomatic pouch. All the long, boring details can be found at, but I have copied the most relevant information and pasted it below. The post office also has some information at One thing it notes there that I think is worth mentioning (since I have two small boys) is that no weapons or things resembling weapons, INCLUDING TOY GUNS.

U.S. citizen direct hire members of the foreign affairs community and their family members may receive via the personal pouch letters and packages at a maximum size limit of 17x18x32 inches (no single dimension can exceed this limit) and maximum weight of 50 pounds.

In addition, aerosols, alcoholic beverages, ammunition, items for resale, bulk supplies, corrosives (acids), currency, explosives, firearms, flammables, glass containers, illegal substances, incendiary materials, narcotics, plants, poisons, and radioactive substances are prohibited. It is now permitted to send 16 ounces of liquid per box; liquids include anything that flows, such as syrup.

Using express mail services does not get mail to a post any quicker because the express mail service is only from the point of origin to Dulles. Packages may be mailed at any post office in the United States or sent by United Parcel Service, FedEx, DHL, or other non-postal means of transportation (although these also only speed the material to the Dulles starting point).

When using the Dulles, VA, zip code, for security reasons, nothing in the address field should reference in any way the mission, the office, your job title, or anything official about where you work.

All parcels should be securely packed and sealed. Insured and registered mail services are not available for items sent through the pouch and the Department accepts no liability for loss or damage.

FYI: Theoretically, you shouldn't have to pay Virginia sales tax to this zip code since it is only for diplomatic pouch. Don't count on all online vendors to have this in their system however.

Hope this answers questions for people. Let me know if you have others. I will do my best. Most things should be able to get to us fine according to these restrictions. We have many restrictions on what we can send out.