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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Before Going on Vacation, Do This

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Before Going on Vacation, Do This

I am such a worry wart...I really am. I found that the best way to deal with that kind of personality is to make lists. I'd like to share my list of things I do before going on vacation.

Follow these steps, and you'll never waste precious vacation time wondering what you did and didn't do before you left home!

  • About a week or so before your trip, start making a list of items to take with you. Use lists on-line as a guide, depending on your location and activities planned, such as general packing list, cruise packing list, overseas packing list
    • I also like to include babywipes, Ziploc bags, empty grocery bags (to use as laundry bags), disposable cameras (include a few underwater ones if you will be near water), crush-proof snacks, water, juice, hats, sunblock, insect spray, lightweight rainjackets and things for the kids to do
    • If you are traveling by plane, remember to follow the latest TSA guidelines
  • Make another list of items to do before you walk out that door. Here is a sample of some of the things on my list
    • Go to USPS Hold Mail and stop your mail
    • Call your newspaper or go to their website and stop the newspaper delivery
    • Tell a trusted neighbor you will be gone and leave them a key for emergencies (as well as a secondary code for your alarm system)
    • Call the alarm company or fill out their vacation form online
    • Many sheriff's offices have a form you can fill out (ours is online) to request more frequent police drive-by checks while you are gone
    • Put a few ice cubes in a Ziploc bag in the freezer; if you come home and they are stuck together or are one solid mass, you can get a better idea of how long your refrigerator might have been without electricity and power; dump affected food accordingly
    • Clean out the refrigerator of leftovers and things that could go bad while you're gone
    • Straighten up the house; I like to make sure the house is clean and that everyone has fresh sheets when we get back...that's just me though; can you believe I had a friend who didn't even know her home had been broken into until a week after she got home because it was so messy?
    • Try to have one car parked in the driveway (or ask your neighbor, they'd be happy to I'm sure)
    • Check that the stove is turned off and unplug your coffeemaker and toaster oven (I had a neighbor leave her little toaster oven plugged in and something fell off the plant shelf above it, depressing the "on" button; she was lucky she had only stepped out for a short time and things were just starting to smoke)
    • Time your porch lights to turn on at dusk and buy random timers at your local hardware store to work some of the lights inside; I hesitate to leave lamps on while no one is home as this could be a potential fire hazard; use ceiling lights instead (you can time these at the switches)
    • Follow the steps in 5 Minute Proofing Your Home
    • Turn off the water hoses to your washer; I also turn off the ones under all the sinks and dishwasher; if you won't be running an automatic sprinkler system, shut off the main water switch; better to be safe than sorry
    • If you have gates to the backyard, lock them
    • Make sure all entrances and windows to your house are locked
    • Arm your home security system, including all motion sensors
    • Give your trusted neighbors contact information and let them know when you will be back
    • Make sure your garage door is closed (don't laugh; I had a neighbor who had backed into the driveway to load up their van, and then left without closing the door; I had to call them and ask for their garage code to close it)
Do you have any tips you'd like to share?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also lower the temperature of my water heater, set the thermostat at a reasonable yet energy efficient level, test my sump pump, put pots under spots known to leak, water the plants, etc.

June 27, 2011 at 3:03 AM  

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