Monday, July 25, 2011


Dustin is home! At 5:30 AM on July 24th the buses rolled in carrying Dustin and fourteen others. They came home to a welcoming crowd. Ten seconds later, it started pouring. And I mean pouring.
Is that a bus?

It IS a bus!

Home at Last!
Thank you to everyone for their well-wishes and prayers. Now it is time to prepare for the next journey!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Master

I just returned from a very quick mini-trip to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the 2011 Commencement ceremony for the University of Phoenix. After a year of very hard work, lots of papers, and multiple learning team assignments I am finally finished with school!

Natalie and grandmother, Anita

Tom Brokaw - NBC News
Tom Brokaw was the guest speaker and gave an excellent message to graduates and family. It was a really fun trip, albeit extremely short.

While I didn't see much of Arizona, what I did see was quite enjoyable. We will have to make it back sometime and enjoy some of the other attractions.

Friday, July 22, 2011

For My Customers

Thank You
By Natalie Tice

Welcome! And thank you for banking with us.
Thank you for sliding your card.
Thank you for misspelled deposit slips and bad math.
Thank you for your patience while I fix these errors.
Thank you for knowing how many days till Christmas.
More importantly, thank you for knowing how many paychecks till Christmas.
Thank you for always doing the same transaction with the same denominations.
Thank you for your witty questions like “Got any extra?” or “Free samples?” I’ve never heard them before.
Thank you for small candies, chocolates, cookies, and breads. Thank you for muffins, fresh vegetables, boiled squash, and bitter melons. Thank you for peach fritters with fresh whip cream.
Thank you for free coupons.
Thank you for calling me Nicole, Nancy, and one time Veronica. I’ve always liked Natalie, but I’ll answer to them all.
Thank you for pointing me and out and saying “Well she always does it!” even when I probably didn’t do anything special.
Thank you for confusing me for my boss. She’s at least 40 pounds lighter so that made my day.
Thank you for bringing back money when I count poorly.
Thank you for sliding in as we lock the doors unprepared and with a long-winded story.
Thank you for not giving me all your transactions at once and, by the way,
Thank you for sliding your card again.
Thank you for entering your secret code.
Thank you for yelling at me and sighing dramatically.
Thank you for telling me about your wonderful vacations on Monday. In the future, please wait till Tuesday.
Thank you for multiple deposits of less than a dollar with receipts in triplicate.
Thank you for driving off when I had a referral conversation prepared.
Thank you for being polite and understanding when you know soliciting is a job requirement.
Thank you for counting your money before you leave.
Thank you for recommendations on where to eat and shop.
More importantly, thank you for warnings of where not to eat or shop.
Thank you for sharing your stories, worries, and adventures.
And thank you for listening to mine.
Thank you for the tears and the oh-so-many laughs.
Yeah, thank you for all the laughs.
Thank you for asking about me, my health, and my husband.
Thank you for being my friend.
So, come on down or slide on over, I can help you right here.
As always, it was my pleasure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review - Water for Elephants

So I finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. With all the hype and recommendations from Facebook friends I was really excited to pick this one up. At only 300 pages I figured it would be a quick read that would pass some time until my husband returns from Afghanistan.

It was very disappointing. In fact, I wish I had borrowed it from the library and not wasted a full $9 for the NookBook.

Elizabeth Judd says it best. "She also asserts a grand passion between Jacob and Marlena that's never convincingly demonstrated." This is supposed to be one of the most romantic novels of the year. By page 50 I am supposed to believe that this is gut-wrenching passion, once in a lifetime love, Notebook-worthy commitment. Maybe I missed it.

Read the Wall Street Journal's review. I couldn't have said it better. Pretty pictures aside.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Dustin sent me some pictures of his time in Afghanistan. He's almost home!
Keeping morale up


The Scenery

Small Personal Space

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


We have renters! After being on the market a mere 3 weeks we have the perfect answer to our prayers.

No crazy parties, no children with grubby hands (seriously, you see what kids do to white walls?!), and no Marines.

Instead we get a retired couple looking to spend some time at the beach within driving distance of both children.


Even better, they signed a two year lease!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Patriotism... is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.  
- Adlai Stevenson

Iraq - 2008

And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
- Lee Greenwood

Marine Corps Birthday - 2007
Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.
-John Dickinson

Monday, July 4, 2011

Nigeria was the First Clue

Yesterday was a phenomenal day. The weirdest things in the world seem to happen to me when Dustin is gone. None of these strange events can happen when he's around, they all wait and fester until he's far far away. Anyway, on with it:

Yesterday I was taking a nap. Having gotten too much sun I was enjoying a nice Saturday afternoon nap in my nickers when I get a knock at the door. Usually on the weekends it is the annoying children down the street that want to play with Zero or show me their boo-boos. (Side note: I am the least maternal person I know, why do they come to me!?) So like most weekends, I ignored the first knock and slowly came out of my warm slumber.

Then I hear the doorknow trying to be turned. Now for those that have visited our Jacksonville, NC house you know how finnicky that doorknob is. A careful combination of pushing, pulling, pressure, and turning will result in success. Any alternative is failure... and they were failing. But who is trying to break into my house?

So I yell that I'll be right there, throw on some clothes, and open the door.

On the other side are three people: one marine, and two women. One of which was very, very pregnant.

Me: "Yes, can I help you?"

Stand there looking at each other for two seconds. Shock on their faces.

Non-pregnant girl: "What are you doing here?"

It was like talking to idiots.

"Is this house for rent?"
"Well, we're supposed to be moving in."
Me thinking they must have rented my home and my agent just hasn't contacted me yet. "Great, well it's a great house."
"Well, you need to get out of it."
"What? You are not moving in today. I live here!"

The whole time I'm talking to the idiot chicka, the marine keeps taking little steps forward and adding his own comments like "you need to get out" and "this is our house now."

So I called the police.

Then the whole story unfolds. They answered a fraud ad on Craigslist that listed our beautiful home for $700. Then they had all these emails showing communication between her and the "homeowner." They had negotiated the application and even a $50 pet fee. (Side note: $50 pet fee!? Are we tent camping here? No one has pet fees that cheap!) So they thought they had gotten this great deal of a house in this very nice neighborhood for $700 bucks!

So they loaded up all their possessions in a U-Haul truck and without ever seeing/walking through the house they show up at my door to move in.

The man they were in contact with had them Western Union the money to Nigeria because he is a missionary for the South & West Africa Mission or SWAM. (Hmm, close to SCAM?!).

So after the police show up (and another squad car joined him. Was one not enough? Are they THAT bored?), the whole story comes out, there are great tears, and finally after three hours they leave. U-Haul and all.

And I shake my head. Talking to them was frustrating. Like talking to a three year old. What about this do you not understand?! You were scammed!

Now get off my lawn.

Friday, July 1, 2011

No Zaturn For Me!

So today at work I stumbled across an old email that was the beginning of our "Japanese Bucket List." Hmm, maybe we should rename it. I don't plan on kicking the bucket in Japan. Okay. So while reviewing the beginning of our "Must Do In Japan Before We Leave" list I got the idea that I should add to it. So being at work with nothing better to do I started to Google.

And I found Space World.

A theme park! Alright! Dustin and I have thoroughly enjoyed all things roller coaster and thrill ride. This place looks awesome!

Until I see this:

Now I don't think there is a rollercoaster I won't ride at least once. I can stomach muscle my way through any drop and twist, but this thing scares me. It is only 8 seconds long and just shoots you. Let me add that you are secured only at the waist.

I may have met my match.