Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yippee- we're home, and we have wheels!!!

Today was a big day! We got the keys to our new casa and our new car! This morning we were up bright and early, checked out of the Kanto Lodge (it is GOOD to get out of a hotel after 2.5 weeks!) and got a ride over to our new place. The inspector was there, walked thru the house with us and made sure everything worked and handed us the keys. We now live in a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath garden home on the east side of Yokota AB. Not too shabby. It isn't renovated, so it lacks a little, but that has its plus side too. We have our our a/c and heat units which we can control (vs. the AF controlling them on the other side of base). Because they have rewired our unit for central hvac, we also have more closet space (the duct work in the new units takes away a lot of their closet/storage space). Not that we brought a LOT with us, but I think that storage space will come in handy once we have all kinds of baby toys around here!
Our other big news today was that we bought our car. We purchased a Toyota Surf (it's a 4 Runner stateside) for a nice $2K. (Yes, we literally bought a car with $2000 woth of $20 bills- it was quite hilarious). The guy we bought it from is PCS'ing out of here to Cannon AB, so it was a good deal for us both (he's a guy in Brett's new squadron). He picked us up this morning, dropped us at the house, and then took us to get the insurance set up for the car. Here in Japan you have to have 2 kinds- liability purchased thru a Japanese company (but it is cheap- like $300/year). We didn't get comprehensive coverage b/c it just isn't cost effective here. If you are buying a $2k car, and get in a wreck and really damage it, it is cheaper to just get a new car- isn't that crazy?? Us USA folks could learn a thing or 2 from these Japanese! Anyway, we also have to carry JCI, which is Japanese Compulsory Insurance- it basically is like a car inspection every 2 years, but VERY complete. Ours is good thru 2010, so that's a plus. We will have to pay a road tax coming up in April, but it isn't too much. 
When you get a car here you have to get new insurance off base, go back and get a registration/bill of sale on base, then go back and get a title off base again. I went with Brett and Kris for the 1st trip, and then they dropped me back off here to wait for our temporary furniture to arrive. It did (right on time- go Japanese!) and so we have a furnished (sorta) place now. 
We did all that before lunch, so Brett let me practice driving the new car across base and we got lunch and picked up our tv and a set of telephones (yay- now we can call home!). We also picked up some dishes, pots and pans, a microwave, coffee maker and toaster from the Family Readiness Center (to borrow until our stuff gets here). 
We dropped that all back off, and I took Brett to work. I was nervous, but I'm soooooooo proud of myself now- I went ALONE to the other side of base and got some linens for our bed, and some towels. I also went to the Commisary and bought a few groceries to stock up, and some dish soap to wash off our borrowed things. And then I drove all the way back, all by myself. The hardest part is parking the car (I was in the last spot in the BX lot- I'm sure the guy who carried out my groceries was grumbing at me), but I managed to do all that, and the car is dentless and I'm alive. Not too bad for my first day!!! 
The next challenge is driving off base....yikes!

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