Friday, August 16, 2013

new house photo dump

WE HAVE A HOUSE! One that we can ACTUALLY LIVE IN NOW! Only those who've spent a month living in hotels will understand how exciting this is. There are, like, multiple rooms and a driveway and everything.

Our house!

It's not the prettiest architecture in the world, I know, but all houses on Guam are built really low with a flat roof like that, the better to withstand typhoons (note the hurricane shutters by all the windows).

Living room (which I think we'll use as combination living room and study):

Look how much counter space! And cabinets! The kitchen at our last house was like half that size, and only had two, count 'em, two, drawers.

Dining area, with family room beyond:
(There are a little toddler head and finger sneaking into the picture, of course.)

Family room, which will be a craft/playroom:

The back patio (accessed via the family room door):

Master bedroom:
It has its own bathroom! And a walk-in closet! Squee!

Laundry room (just off the kitchen):

There are two other bedrooms, a hallway bathroom, two big storage closets, and a garage, but they are not that interesting without furniture.  We did get loaner furniture delivered a few hours after I took the pictures, so we're not, you know, sleeping on the floor and stuff.

AND I was notified that my medical license was approved! Yay! I'm all official-like!

Next up: getting Internet and awaiting delivery of our Unaccompanied Baggage (mostly kitchen stuff).

Oh, and I thought I'd include a little info about the getting-a-house process, in case anyone stumbles on this blog looking for info on their upcoming PCS to Guam (I know I hunted for blog entries to get first-hand info when we first got our orders). Feel free to skip the remainder of the post unless you're interested in the details of Finding Military Housing.

We qualified for a 3-bedroom house because we have 2 kids (which is nice especially given the fact that we could conceivably have another while we're here). (Ha! "Conceive-ably." That was an  inadvertent pun.)   When we arrived, the housing office told us there were 2 houses available that we qualified for, one in Lockwood (on Big Navy) and one in Nimitz Hill (about halfway between Big Navy and the Naval Hospital).  We asked about Apra View, because we'd heard that it was the newest and most desirable neighborhood. Well, apparently everyone else had heard that too, because there was a TWELVE-MONTH wait list for Apra View!!! WHAT!!!?! Um, no.

We were told that the Nimitz house was available for immediate occupancy, but the Lockwood house wouldn't be ready for about 2 weeks (the previous occupants had just moved out, so it was still being cleaned/repainted/etc). And for the same reason, we could go and tour the Nimitz house, but not the Lockwood one.  But they did give us floor plans for each.

Well, even comparing the floor plans, it looked like Lockwood was the way to go. It was about half again as big (almost 1500 square feet vs about 1000), with 2 bathrooms instead of 1... a family room vs, um, no family room... a laundry room vs just having the washer and dryer in the kitchen... a garage vs a carport... a bigger patio... and Lockwood was a stand-alone house while the Nimitz place was a duplex (which is fine, but we have loud babies and we like our privacy).

But we decided to go tour the Nimitz Hill place because, why not. The neighborhood was very pretty - more park-like and with bigger yards than Lockwood. But the house was (unsurprisingly) tiny, and... there were dead cockroaches. In almost every room. Ew. Now, to be fair, the house had been empty for awhile and would be re-cleaned before occupancy... and at least the roaches were dead... but still.  Ew.  

And even discounting the bugs, the Nimitz Hill place had only a few advantages (bigger yards, closer to work, available immediately) and many disadvantages-- aside from differences in the houses themselves, Lockwood is closer to the Commissary, the Exchange, and the beach. Also, when we went to go look at the Lockwood house from the outside, the next-door neighbor generously let us see inside her house (which was a different floor plan, but similar enough to give us a general idea).

 I'm so glad we stuck it out!

Now, we did consider living off-base in the community, too. A lot of people will say "DON'T DO IT" but it's a totally reasonable option.  Jack's PCS sponsor lives in the community with her family, and their house is really nice.  But we decided to live on-base mainly for the sheer convenience factors of not having to worry about whether our landlord would be good or not, and not having to worry about paying for utilities - especially on Guam where you need A/C year-round.  Electric bills in the community can get pricey if you're not careful. Base housing has central air, but everywhere else on the island there are separate A/C units for each room, so you can conserve your electricity and only cool the rooms you need to. (They work really well, not like window units in the states, but you have to be more strategic/mindful about it than on-base.)

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