Having lived in the “civilian” world and then coming into the “Army” world later in life has been quite a trip. I think I’ve ranted several times about how this isn’t a job it’s a dictatorship. I say that just because it makes life as a family a bit more challenging when you are used to being able to come and go as you please, get treated like an adult, ask for time off, etc….
However, there are some fun things about Army life. One of them, for me at least, is living on post. If you have never sat down and looked at a map of the lovely state of WA, Ft. Lewis is pretty big. Here’s a satellite image. You’ve gotta scroll around to see it all-but it’s huge. (You CAN find our neighborhood/house on there if you scroll in tight: Idaho Avenue-the brick buildings facing each other in between N 4th street and N Division street.)
Just to give you an idea, there are several lakes on post, rivers, airports, a golf course, there’s a skating rink, a bowling alley, a bar (or two), a million gyms, 4 pools (indoors), grocery store, post exchange (that’s PX for us Army kids…think Wal-Mart on a smaller scale-but with Coach and Gucci purses), post office, football field(s)/soccer stadium(s), baseball field(s), paintball field, hospital, 5+ churches including a really pretty old cathedral, thrift shop, gas stations, car wash, restaurants, banks, coffee shops (YES! There is a Starbucks on post :)), boat marina, fire station(s), hotel(s), RV park, camping area (complete with cabins), an entire town just for practicing Army type stuff, and the list just goes on. I can’t believe everything there is around here. Plus, I think there are something like 10+ schools on post. There are hiking trails all around, museums, and there is even a new animal kennel/pet hotel being built!
There is so much more I haven’t even mentioned too. You’ll just have to come and see it all for yourself. But my point is that an Army post (the Navy has bases, the Army has posts) is a fun place to be often times. I don’t notice a huge sense of warm, fuzzy community, but I am learning quickly that you just have to go outside and let yourself be seen. So far, I know almost all my neighbors! (Met another one today!) People aren’t as warm and bubbly as I thought they’d be (thanks to TV and that chick in Georgia who I now think is crazy), but as the weather warms up the moms are starting to venture outside and chat neighborly-like.
Another fun thing-there is a playground (a good one) every 500-1,000 square feet. I kid you not. I think there are almost 10+ playgrounds/parks within 1 mile of my house.
So that’s the gated community where I live. Oh yeah…did I mention there is Salsa dancing?
P.S. Scrolling around on that link made me crack up-the image is several years old because Jeremy’s company, the barracks and battalian, a gas station and a church are all NOT on the map for North Fort. That’s too funny to me! So, um, a lot of construction is going on around here.