Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The "Steps" of a Military Move

This is not going to be a post to give any actual real help, but it will be factual and surely a little (or a lot) tongue-in-cheek.

Step 1. I've got orders!
Or do I? Were you penciled in or do you have hard copy orders? Well, if you have hard copy orders, then you actually have orders, if not.. you don't actually have orders. So lets assume we're talking about hard copy orders... You have orders! This is the start of the whole (often) not so pleasant process. Congratulations! You now probably have a couple of months until you move. Yeah, yeah... Your friend's, friend's, aunt's, daughter's husband's, brother is in the Army/Marines/Navy and had their orders 9 months before they had to move. It's possible, but lets face it, do you really think you're lucky enough to have that kind of notice? Probably not.

Step 2. Setting up the move
Now you get to deal with the flakes at the move office who may or may not be really helpful. Either way, they are your go to guys! (like it or not). You have to choose the dates you wish to move, wait for them to contact you and tell you whether that is available or not and then rely on them to set you up with a moving company (make sure you stay on top of it and call them often!). They will get you hooked up with one of the crappiest movers available (Fact! They don't pay well so the good companies wont move for the military) and they will not expect these movers to confirm your dates until about 7 - 10 days before the move. Convenient huh!?

You can choose to do a DITY move, which is a huge pain in the ass and you can also choose to do a partial DITY move, which we always do. We take a trailer with things we need/don't want the movers touching. Those options also need to be taken care of with the move office (yay...)
Step 3. Setting up housing
Now this part varies depending on the route you're taking. Renting/buying in town or military housing?You mist decide that (like.. RIGHT AWAY) and start acting on it. You should be working on this at the same time as working on your move set up. If you want to live in housing (it is convenient after all) then you must provide  them with your orders, the date you'd like to move in and what you want in their housing area. In some places this is easy and they have plenty open, in others you'll be put on a waiting list. If you're choosing to rent or buy, well... you're an adult and you should know how to do that part.

Somewhere in here, don't forget to give your notice to your current property facilitator (hah, I like wording it that way!) if you rent, that you'll be moving.

Step 4. Pack out day!
This is assuming you chose to have the military hire movers for you. Yay! People you've never met in your life and will probably never see again in your life, are about to touch EVERYTHING in your house! Better yet, they are about to touch it all and throw it into boxes doing what they call "packing". What "packing" really mean is they will dump your drawers into boxes (photo evidence below!) that also contain assorted things from various rooms (likely not properly wrapped) and tape it shut. They'll even put the empty tape roll into the box if they reach the end of that roll! So sweet huh? THEN, they'll improperly label it! (like.. It'll say kitchen and be full of toys!) Please, PLEASE make sure your house is clean and organized before they do this. If you don't, your dirty dishes and garbage will be packed. Make sure you set aside anything you absolutely would be heart broken if it is lost/stolen/broken and don't let them touch it. Things do get stolen and you're one of the very few lucky ones if you walk away without things broken. The lead packer will inventory all of the boxes on a sheet and leave it with you for the actual driver who will be picking up and driving your stuff.
Note: FEED THEM. If you don't, they'll pack your stuff even worse than you already have been. Also have drinks readily available, because well.... if you don't at least have water for them... you're an asshole.

Step 5. Loading day!
That day has come! The day they will load up your entire life, into a huge truck and drive away with it! That sure gives me the warm and fuzzies, how about you? The truck driver will inventory your furniture and anything not packed in a box. His crew will begin to take everything out of your home to load. Probably banging it off walls as they carry it out (our last movers weren't too bad though! We've had some BAD ones. Our packers did suck, however.) and then will sit it on the ground outside while they figure out what is going where, to efficiently pack the truck. It's pretty cut and dry.... it's a long day of watching people take away everything you own.
Note: FEED THEM. If you don't, they'll pack your stuff even worse than you already have been. Also have drinks readily available, because well.... if you don't at least have water there for them... you're an asshole. They ARE carrying your crap out of your house after all.

Step 6. Travel to your destination and wait for your stuff!
I hate this part, mostly because you don't really know how long your stuff will take to get to you. I have a friend who her stuff just sat in New Mexico because there were no drivers to bring her stuff to her destination... It just SAT THERE.. for like over a month i think. Some people do plan fun stops during their moves. We are more of the "get it over with" kind of people. We aren't fond of hotels (since they cost us an arm and a leg with 6 kids and 2 dogs) and we don't enjoy the long hours driving, for the same reason previously stated. Get to your destination, get to your new home and be ready for your stuff to be delivered. If you are waiting on housing, then your stuff will be put in storage, I personally avoid this if at all possible! I just want my stuff and want to settle in as quickly as I can.

Step 7. Delivery day!
Yes! Your stuff is here!!! Your life is pulling up out front and is about to be unloaded into your new home! Go ahead, do a little happy dance, odds are the happiness won't last long once you start seeing damaged furniture coming through the door, so enjoy it now while you still can! They will unload everything into your home, probably banging up walls with furniture as they move it in and loading boxes in everywhere making it almost impossible to move inside your home. But it's ok, your stuff is here! YAAAY!

Step 8. Unpacking
This is The. Worst. Part. You will open box after box of improperly packed things (see Step 4) and find broken items and damaged furniture along the way. Hopefully not too much. It's like Christmas in the twilight zone.. or something. This unpacking thing I do fast. I want to be settled, pictures on the wall and no more boxes within a week. Which, I usually am. The huge mound of boxes and paper you have to try to find a place for is the best part! Settle in and be glad it's all over for a couple of years... maybe a little more.. maybe less... lol.

Yes, I know people who are not in the military move... But the average non-military family does not move that often. We've PCS'd 4 times in the past 8 years... also moved twice locally. So 6 moves in 8 years.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventures of a Homeschooler aka A Family Day out!

Today was one of those days that reminds me why I love homeschooling! Yesterday we did extra work (2 days worth) to free up today for a field trip! A few days ago my parents bought us a family membership to Mystic Aquarium as a housewarming gift since we just moved here to CT and live about 15 minutes from it (I have some entries to make about he move too. Need to get to that!). What better gift could you give a homeschooling family with 6 children!? It's perfect!

 After lunch we were off to the Aquarium. Despite growing up in the North East, I had never been to Mystic, so it was exciting for me too! We spent nearly 2.5 hours there and the kids absolutely loved it. Well, Declan slept the entire time, but what do you expect from a 3 month old, right? The other 5 though, they had a great time. The Sea Lion show was cute, we saw a Beluga that was apparently aggressive (It was jaw clicking at a baby through the glass lol) and the atmosphere of the indoor tanks was nice. Besides the yellow jackets that kept flying around the youngest 2 in the stroller while we were outside, it was a great day!

Here is some photographic evidence of how much the life of homeschooled children sucks!

Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT.

Sea Lion show!

Hands on learning!


Sea Turtle!

She loved it :)

You can SEE him learning :).

African Penguins!

The Marsh

Beluga Whale!

"Heeeeey guuuuuuys"

This is what Declan thought of Mystic! lol

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I've realized something lately.

As we get ready for our big move to Connecticut, I've realized that a lot of people around here really like my family. I don't care for South Carolina in general, but I'll miss some of the people we're leaving behind. More than any other location we've moved from so far.

As we're doing our last "things" like pediatrician visits, vet visits etc. We're telling them that we've moving. My heart breaks a little leaving behind the Nurse Practitioner my kids have been seeing since we moved here. She is amazing with the kids and is just a really wonderful woman. When we told her last week that we were there for the last time, she had all of us come into her office so she could give all of the kids and Tony and I a hug and tell them goodbye. She actually had tears in her eyes and said she'd miss us. She sees people come and go all of the time working in a Navy clinic, but she bonded with my family enough that it actually struck emotion in her to see us going.

Last week when Tony went to buy dog food at our Dog Groomer's store he told them that we'd bring the dogs in for one last grooming before we leave. When the owner heard that, not only was he sad because he adores my dogs, but he gave Tony a hug and said he'd miss us.

This type of thing has been something we're seeing a lot now that we're preparing to leave and telling people. To see that some people are genuinely sad to see us go is actually really touching to me. Even the manager at Target who has been friendly over the past 3 1/2 years showed honest sadness.

I'm sad to leave. Not only because I'm going to miss my house, but because I've come to realize that there are people here who truly care about us. It's a good feeling and makes the move that much harder at the same time.

I've been very sad knowing that when we decide to have our next baby that I can't be a patient at Charleston Birth Place. It might sound silly to some, but I love the women there. I loved everything about them with my pregnancy and delivery of Declan. I honestly feel a great sadness not being able to deliver there again.

Moving so often is tough. Once you make connections, you have to move on to somewhere else. I know thousands of military families all go through this. I know it's just part of this life. It's hard and we all give up a lot. I'd like to think it makes us stronger and makes many of us value the friendships we have, that much more.

It's time to move on again. I'll miss all of you we're leaving behind.