Columbia: Our home.

13 08 2014

We love the military life.  One of the downfalls of this lifestyle the moving.  PCSing, which is short for Permanent Change of Station, brings about many challenges.  So often we find ourselves alone in our new surroundings because we move all over the world.  Family is typically too far to help and it is in our best interest to make friends quickly.  Friendships usually come last because we are so busy.  I know many families come and go to Fort Jackson so I thought I would help out a bit by sharing some of the places we have utilized at one time or another.  Maybe this will help you explore the area we currently call home. Here are my top 5.

1.) The all important Hair cut.  I know you are itching to get one too. I bet you have not had one since your last duty station either.   I bet you are ready to cut it yourself!  DON’T DO IT!  The list of what we have to do is HUGE when we move.  I know you have been busy girlfriend.  I know how you feel…… So here is a big heads up!  Go see Chrissy Lupina at Salon Bella.  It is right outside the main gate on Forest Drive; 10 minutes on a bad day of traffic.  Seven years ago, another military spouse passed her name along and I have not looked back since!  I know a hairstylist is an extremely personal thing.  I know we have all kinds of crazy emotions when it comes to a stylist.  Chrissy will not only give a 20% discount for being military, she will also not do anything crazy unless you tell her to.  She is cautious and a great girl to talk to.  Her daughter works there too and if you want wild and crazy hair… like my daughter.. she will help with something crazy!  Remember the movie Steel Magnolias?  Well stepping into her parlor with all the ladies feels a bit like that.  She loves you, dotes on you, and if you need to bring your kids, she will gladly allow them in the salon!  Can I get an amen?!?

My hubby was deployed twice in between assignments at Jackson and we home school as well.  So when I  head to the salon, my whole crew comes in tow. Debbie also trims eyebrows and other things. I like her tool! Enjoy!!

Here is Link to her website: http://salonbellasalon.com

2.) Dentists.  Not our favorite place to go, but a necessity nonetheless.  We always have trouble finding a good one when we move.  So I have two recommendations for you.  One for the children, and one for you. Forest Drive Dental, who is our new dentist for our kids, can do both mom and kids if you prefer.  Dr. Dover is once again located right outside the main gate down Forest Drive, located directly across from Shandon Baptist Church, so you can check that out too.  Many people are patients of a few of the larger dentists in the area  and we have tried some of them.  Not only is Dr. Drover cheaper than many others, but she does believe in utilizing alternate therapies.  My younger son Larkin needed 10 cavities filled and it cost me about $250 less than any other dentist.  She also did not do the 3 “recommended” root canals on baby teeth!  Dr. Staci Gaffos is another great dentist located of I-77 and Two Notch Road.  I prefer him because of his patient staff.  They are willing to jump through the hoops I needed in order to get my bit splints.  I grind my teeth and they help with that process.  Tricare will pay for them, you just have to know the process and have people dedicated to make that happen.  He does!  His number is 803-788-360. Call an make an appointment today.

 

3.) Therapy.  With the state of our military and the expectations as well as burdens placed on families, this is a must.  Lake Psychological Services is just another hop, skip, and jump out of the main gate again..  Take I-77 to Two Notch, which is the gateway to the North east of Columbia.  It is a half mile off the freeway.  If you are having problems in your marriage, this is a way you can get your spouse in without their command knowing.  Take them into the session with you.  She also runs a Bioneurofeedback clinic.  It is an alternative therapy to medicine for depression, mild autism, ADHD, epilepsy and anxiety.  The Neurofeedback clinic is not covered under Tricare, but it is worth every bit of the out-of-pocket expense.  Coupled with talk therapy, which is covered under Tricare, great strides can be made in these treatments.  I am living proof of its benefits as are both of my boys. There are plenty of therapists in her office besides Dr. Lake.  My hubby, who is the active duty spouse, has seen Wendy Davis as well.  They also have a psychiatrist on staff.  Many a military spouse have received help from this office.  I have yet to hear anything negative.  Call Sam, who is the office manager, he will walk you through the authorization process.

The link to their office is as follows: http:://lakepsych.com

 

4.) Chances are if you are heading to a therapy office, you should pop in the EFMP office on Fort Jackson too.  It is located right off Strom Thurman Boulevard on post.  Mrs. Cheryl Jackson is a godsend.  In charge of the Exceptional Family Member Program, she will do every thing in her power to obtain the services you need for yourself and/or your family members.  My family and I have benefited immensely from the love of her and her supporting staff.  Go to the Fort Jackson main website page and scroll on the tab marked Garrison, then scroll on the “Exceptional Family Member” link.  Once you get there, they will have a EFMP resource link on the left corner.  In the guide contains links to all the support organizations in Columbia.  The EFMP Resource guide was the brain child of another former military spouse.  She understood what it was like to move from installation to installation and not have any idea what was offered in lieu of support services for families with special needs.

Here is the Fort Jackson website: http:://fortjacksonmwr.com

 

5.) This last little tidbit is for those who have little ones at home.  Head over to Northeast United Methodist Church in north-east Columbia.   The drive will take about 20 minutes from Fort Jackson.  One of our ministries of our home church is a military MOPS chapter that meets twice a month.  Mothers of Preschoolers is a national support group for mothers with young ones.  Grab your little ones and head on over.  There is a large group of military spouses there willing to guide you in pretty much any aspect of motherhood.  Plus you get two hours of alone time from the kiddos!  The other two weeks a month the church has a mother focused bible study.  There is child care for this as well; it is the same day and time as MOPS (just the alternating weeks).  Lastly, on the first Friday of each month (during school months), the church has a First Friday movie night for kids.  It is two hours alone with hubby, or by yourself too.  The cost $2 per child with a $5 family cap.  Head right down the road to Sandhills Mall and enjoy some window shopping, desert or even a quick dinner.

Here is the link to the churches website: http:://www.neumc.com

Get your engines started and enjoy exploring Columbia. There are a few other aspects I will be writing about additionally in some following blogs. Public schooling, private schooling and homeschooling are big concerns for military families.  Many families in the military prefer to home school and I will discuss that too. Many businesses offer discounts to military families and I can let you know what we have found. Churches will be the next focus. Columbia has pretty much any denomination for being a small southern city.

Blessings!

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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