Someone sent a note to me asking: "I'm writing you to ask how do you deal with the separations? " She also wrote "You are leaving and now my best friend is leaving me in mid-July.."
I pondered this for a couple of days before I could respond. How do I deal with separation? How has that changed over the years? Let's face it, moving sucks - sometimes. Separation is NEVER easy and it is so hard to say goodbye to dear friends and family! I feel like we all have 'seasons' in our lives, military or not. People come and go; some people are only with us for a season, some are with us for multiple seasons while others are with us for a lifetime.
Moving season used to be way too hard for me - I didn't think I was cut out for this Army life. I shed tear after tear after tear. But now (many years and many moves later) I have come to realize that it is not goodbye as I continue to run into the same people over and over thought out this Army life. A few things that makes moving easier for me are, number 1, my husband. He is my rock, and my best friend. He lets me cry on his shoulder, but he doesn't let me wallow too long. He embraces me when I am hurting and pushes me to be stronger and better than I was before. Number 2 is my kids. I let them know it is OK to mourn a loss (yes - moving is a loss!) but we don't stay in mourning for too long. We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (or in my case high heels...) and search the internet for what the next adventure will bring us! After I make sure my family is taken care of (or they make sure I am taken care of ) I go to the old standbys, the phone, (what exactly are long distance charges anyway??) Skype, (even though I can't STAND sitting at the computer...I really need to get Skype on my cell phone, but I don't think I would like that either...walking around trying to clean with a person in hand - now if we could figure out how to have them help clean - sorry, I got distracted ...) email and Facebook! It has never been easier to stay connected! I remember back in the day when the phone bills alone were a big issue for military families - I thought my husband might divorce me after he saw our first telephone bill as a married couple! For me, I deal with separation by (drinking wine) staying connected through the phone and social media, which is a lot easier than it was back in the day when we had to rely on snail mail (I'm not sure I even remember how to HANDwrite) and those overly priced phone calls (and cheap pink sweet wine). Plus I make friends faster now than I did 20 (cough) years ago! When I move into a new place if the neighbors haven't come to say hi to me in say 12 hours, I go say hi to them - dragging my kids with me! (Hubby doesn’t partake in this ritual.)
OH, and I love the fact that I know that people ALL OVER THE WORLD! If I am traveling somewhere whether it is for vacation or moving I will have someone to connect with, someone I met previously on this journey of life. For example, we are going to Seattle and we have 3 sets of friends we can't wait to have dinner with or share a glass of vino with! PLUS, they give us the hook-up because they know all the cool spots! AND I love how I cannot see someone for 10 years and then when we are back together we pick up right where we left off - as if we had seen each other the day before.
For many moving season is one of the hardest (aside from deployment) seasons one has to face, but it is also a great season for personal growth. It is hard, but in the end it will make you stronger and you will always cherish those friendships you have created along the way no matter how many seasons those friends stay in your life.If you are selected to be a military spouse, you may have many, many more seasons than others. I say embrace them. Make the most of each season that is given to you. Love and make friends like you are not moving in 2 years BUT enjoy each day more than you normally would because you know you are moving in 2 years.....
The movers arrived an hour late on Tuesday, 8 May. I thought this was a bad omen. I wasn't thrilled. Really? Late the first day? I can't stand it when people are late. However after they arrived and got straight to work and didn't take a smoke break after 10 minutes I was beginning to forgive them. (I'm not sure why/how anyone would forget their ID Card when coming onto a military instillation, but whateve's) After they worked for an HOUR NONSTOP I was really starting to like these ladies. I loved the fact that they were all LADIES doing my pack out, and they were good at it. They weren't just tossing my household goods in a box taping it up and marking it 'shoes' when it was really kitchen plates. They actually LABELED everything that was in the box....This isn't a great picture, but you can see all the writing on the boxes:
The EXACT moment the packers won me over was when I ask them if I could pack my own shoes. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: I would like to pack my own shoes, do you guys mind if I grab a box and paper?
Movers: (looking at me like I am nuts)
Sure we will fix a box up for you, but just so you know, we wrap EACH SHOE INDIVIDUALLY and place them in the box.
Me: YOU DO WHAT?!?!
Movers: we wrap EACH SHOE INDIVIDUALLY and place them in the box.
Me: You are kidding me? You are not serious...?
Movers: Really, that is how we pack shoes.
Me: OK, you can pack my shoes.
OK, I'm in LOVE. Rocky's Moving and Storage
, why can't all moving companies be like you?
Day 2 of the pack out was even better when one of the ladies ask me: "is there anything else you want me to put in
this box? I really don't like to mix boxes." I MUST be in the Twilight Zone.
By the end of Day 2 all of our household goods going to Korea were boxed and ready for the movers the next day.
It was about 6PM in the afternoon, Hubby went to play golf. I had just poured myself a little 'after the movers leave' cocktail, I had the remote control to the DVR in hand and was about to sit down to watch Private Practice when my neighbors daughter Kenzie came bursting in my house yelling "Mrs Trish, Mrs Trish, YOU NEED TO GET TO THE ER NOW!! HURRY!!" and she ran back to her house yelling for me to follow her - What the what, what?
You see, Boys 2 & 3 were playing at the neighbor's house. As I was running towards the neighbor's house I was expecting to hear screaming, but I didn't and in the few seconds it took me to get there I thought that Kenzie must have been exaggerating. There was no yelling and I was seeing no signs of blood. As I am trying to catch up with her (and with 1000 thoughts swirling through my head)
I heard her say it was Boy 3. He was hurt. But I was confused. There was no screaming, crying or sounds of any kind. That is when I saw my neighbor Kayla with phone in hand leaning over Boy 3 (he was on her couch)
asking me if I thought she should call 911. My first reaction was 'why' - he was lying calmly on her couch, not even crying, but coddling his arm. When he saw me, the tears started, he moved his hand that was covering his arm and that is when I almost vomited right then and there and said (not very calmly)
YES, CALL 911! I went into a mini panic. I sat beside him while Kayla called 911. She ask for an ambulance, things were taking too long for me...I ask Kayla if they were sending an ambulance, she shrugged her shoulders and continued answering the questions the dispatcher was asking her. Again, in my small state of panic the 10 seconds Kayla was on the phone seemed like 10 minutes so I ask her again if the ambulance was coming she shrugged once again and mouthed 'I don't know'. That is when Momma Bear went into growl mode and said 'GIVE ME THE PHONE.'
I took the phone out of her hand and ask in a not very nice way "is an ambulance coming or do I need to put him in the car and drive him to the ER?!?!" That is when the very nice dispatcher said 'Yes, the ambulance is on the way, I just need to ask a few more questions' - I said thank you - again not very nicely and gave her back to my friend. Grrrr..... Why couldn't she just tell us the ambulance was on the way before asking a million more questions?
While waiting for the ambulance I collected myself, called Hubby, told Boy 1 he was in charge, let him know where Girl was and grabbed my purse.
It took the ambulance a little longer than it should have because our street is not in any GPS system. To me, this seems like a problem that should have already been fixed (especially for EMS)
since our street is now 4 years old, but I'm not in charge of that.....
The whole time Boy 3 was pretty calm. He wasn't freaking out crying, screaming or anything. In fact he was so calm it freaked me out a little. When I ask him what happened he said, "I fell off the slide (a little tykes slide mind you) and Boy 2 fell on top of me and then I heard my bone crack."
A little while later as he was lying on the couch still waiting for the ambulance he asks - "Mom, are you going to take a picture now?" I just love that kid! :o)
Upon arrival to the ER at Darnell they immediately gave Boy 3 morphine. I ask if they had some for me, but I think they thought I was joking. I wasn't.
See that big lump on his arm? That is his bone sticking up. No joke. Compound fracture. Thank GOD it didn't break through the skin.
Post morphine. He knew that his bone was broken and was telling everyone that he heard it crack.
Before they gave him the morphine, they ask him what his pain level was and showed him the chart. He told them a 10. While I was talking to him I ask him again about his pain level and explained that a 10 is the worst pain ever and that at a 10 most people are crying. I ask him if his pain was that bad - he said yes - but he had no tears, at all. Since I am SO in touch with my feelings (some call it 'emotional basket case', but they are just mean)
this didn't sit well with me, so I told him that it was OK to cry if he was in that much pain. He told me he could cry, but he didn't want to annoy people. MY HEART BROKE. I told him to annoy away...this is a time that it was perfectly fine to annoy people. That is when he said, "Mom, I didn't do my random act of kindness today, so this is my random act of kindness
. I'm not going to cry so I don't annoy people."
How freaking precious is that?
I thought it was cool that they brought the x-ray machine to him. Look at that lump on his arm....my stomach is churning just looking at it.
Finally after about 4 hours in Darnell, they decided to send him to Dell Children's Hospital in Austin. At this point I hopped in the car and headed home to grab a few things as I knew we were in it for the long haul now. When I got home, I started throwing things in my bag getting ready to leave - that is when Boy 1 came in freaking out telling me something is wrong with Max (our dog). OH DEAR GOD....are you kidding me?!?! I don't have time for this!! Apparently after someone (I won't mention any names here) cleaned the kitchen after dinner they didn't put the trash away....(we had a roasted chicken for dinner) and Max decided to help himself to the garbage. As he was enjoying a nice chicken bone (yes, I KNOW they are bad for dogs) it got stuck in between his teeth and across the roof of his mouth. Again...ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I have a kid in the ER and a dog that needs to go to the Vet ER. OH MY GOSH - where is that drink I poured myself hours ago? I tried to get the bone out, but couldn't. I needed to get back to the ER so I could ride in the ambulance it with Boy 3. CALGON!! When I got back to the ER I told Hubby about the dog - he headed home to shower and to see what he could do about the dog...
Once we got to Dell Children's Hospital we had to wait again. They didn't want to do surgery until 12 hours after Boy 3 had eaten dinner. SO we WAITED some more. At about 4:30AM they wheeled us into the room he would be in after surgery. At 5:30AM they took him down to surgery. Boy 3 needed a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and he needed another type of pediatric surgeon (I can't remember the name...) on stand-by as the main artery that does down the front of the humerus bone had been displaced and if anything went wrong, he needed to be close by. Boy 3's doc was amazing! He told us that best case scenario he would be out of surgery in 1 hour. If he wasn't out in 1 hour he would have someone come talk to us. He was out in 50 minutes!
OH, and while he was in surgery we were finally able to get ahold of our moving company and put them on hold for the day. AND Hubby told me that he was able to get bone out of the dog's mouth.
Boy 3 on his way to surgery.
Moments after surgery - we call that blue thing his big blue lego. He had to wear it for 48 hours after surgery.
About 24 hours after surgery he took his first walk to check out this AWESOME hospital.
These next pictures were taken about 36 hours after surgery. This is when we went to explore this amazing hospital. There were things for kids to do all over! They had play rooms, where the kids could do anything from art, to video games to build with legos. There was a butterfly wall, a bat wall and a huge wall that was a ball maze (in the picture above). The pictures below are in the MIDDLE of the hospital! They had an atrium with waterfalls and gardens on each floor. Boy 3 wanted his picture taken on every floor.
As Boy 3 was checking out of the hospital the toy cart came by! Boy 3 got to pick out a toy and a book to take home! How fun is that?!
OH, and through it all we did manage to get our stuff on the moving truck - even though the rain held us up for a while.
With PCS season upon us and today actually being the FIRST of many pack out days for us I thought today was a good day to share my thoughts with you....
I try really hard not to stress over moves, the more we move the easier this gets. I don't start 'prepacking' weeks early; I only do so a few days early. I make sure the kids are out of the house. I oversee the movers. I have them wrap my antiques. Ziplock bags are my friend. I have ask movers to repack things. I don't let them bump my furniture into the walls! I tell them (in a nice way) the way I like things packed and labeled! I have asked movers to leave my house. I ask them nicely NOT TO DUMP drawers or toy bins into boxes. I expect things NOT to be perfect when I arrive to my destination. I also expect to find the remote to my TV in the box labeled Christmas (if I did not ATTACH the remote to the TV - which I ALWAYS do now), and my bedside lamp in the box marked garage. I've learned after 11 Army moves that these things just happen. I've also learned that having a good bottle of wine on hand always helps at the end of a pack day!
When I ask my military sister wives (haha...you like that don't you?!) what they always do when PCSing I got some GREAT advice! See what they have to say -
Be ready for the date to change! ~ Jenna Good advice from my sweet friend Jenna! I've heard of this happening MANY times, it hasn't necessarily happened to me, but I have friends that their entire PCS got changed, date, location and all!
Hide the stuff you don't want them to pack!!! ~ Monica Again, more solid advice! The stories we hear! The worst that has ever happened to me is that our soap ~ an open bar of soap was packed, along with everything else in the shower. Why anyone would toss a used bar of soap in a box is beyond me. I know many people who have had their garbage, dog food, baby formula and PASSPORTS packed. Make sure you separated your things people! Oh and watch your pets, I have heard of a cat being packed as well! Can you imagine unpacking that box? "Oh, that's where Sponge Bob went!"
Avoid good-byes. ~ Liz This is something us Military Wives do well. We choose to say see you later, if we even stop by to see you off at all. It's just too hard sometimes.
Be prepared to lose money. ~ Beverly This is a given. Although the military gives you a moving allowance, it is NEVER enough (especially once you have kids!).
Remember to make it an adventure! ~ Kelly This is GREAT advice! Don't want to move to a destination the military is sending you? SUCK IT UP....call the chamber of commerce and ask if they have a list of "top things to do" in the area. Make it fun! If you can't find something to do, MAKE something to do!
Take a deep breath ~ Tracy (AND have a glass of wine.)
Make sure you reserve on post lodging the day you find out you are moving! ~ Shayna Because if you are moving in peak moving season and you don't make a reservation go ahead and take your tent with you because you will be camping!
Pack your underwear yourself! ~ Lisa Bahahaha!!
Have plenty of wine on hand! ~ Pam Pam IS a girl after my own heart!
Expect the unexpected! ~ Carey-Leigh And then some!
Feed the movers well and let them know you will tip generously if/when they do a good job. ~ Lori Just like a kids, rewards work wonders!
Empty your trash! ~ Lori Because if you don't, you just might see it in your new house!
Ziplock all the magnets from the fridge, Polly pockets, pens and pencils. ~ Tori I also ziplock all my curtain hardware and tiebacks, silverware, really anything that belongs together that could get lost or misplaced!
Prepare yourself for lost or damaged household goods. ~ Michelle And if it doesn't happen consider yourself blessed.
Disassemble your own furniture, bag up the screws, nuts/bolts and allen wrenches and pack those along with your screw drivers, pliers, drills and bits in a Green Bay Packer tool box and put it in your trunk so that you have everything you need to assemble it at the end. Movers are absolutely worthless at this. ~ LeAnn I don't know about the Green Bay Packer tool box, but everything else seems right on.
Send your kids off to visit family ~ Charlotte If only it were that easy.... :o)
Know what your furniture looked like before it left...take photos and really read the bill of lading (lost stuff because of that!) & never let them fully unpack unless you want them to see al your "unmentionables!" ~ Roxanne I tell them seeing my unmentionables IS their tip! Haha!
Don't be afraid to ask the movers to take note of a few things. I have some unusual, fragile art pieces that I can’t'/don’t want to replace. I asked our last guys "I know this looks like a silly ____ but it is SO important to me. Please wrap this up really well for me?" smillllleeee! It is worth it.. Very few losses in all of our moves. Never filed a claim. ~ Tracy Kindness typically wins in the end!
Count all your kids! ~ Diane I thought we lost something on the last move!
Save every TV remote, taping it to the TV doesn't count, it will be gone by the time your HHG arrive. ~ Rachel
Hey Rachel, maybe we have some of your remotes ~ tonight as we were going through them we found 2 extra!
Ask your packers to make box #1 your hardware box. Put all hardware, screws (labeled of course), remotes, etc... in this one box. The German's do that on this side of the pond, but the American's don't. Put those "do not pack" items in the trunk of your car. Because just putting them in a room with a SIGN that says "do not pack" isn't always good enough. ~ Heidi
I would say take a little mini-vacation right before the movers come, just to see a favorite sight, and take lots of pictures. Make sure you download them & send to a family member/friend before you get on the plane with the camera. And either label your camera with your email address and a note about a hefty reward, or bring a camera you don't mind losing on the plane... ~ From my SMARTASS friend Kim. SO what if I did this ONCE. :o) Bite me.
Realize it is going to be crazy for a little while, but in the end it will be fine. ~ Tim AMEN. It will all be worth it when you wake up from that moving hangover in a few short weeks!
Have lots of cold beer...shot of "Jack" and know when to stay clear of "Household 6". ~ Randi Rand-i (as I lovingly call him) is correct! He just needs to add - have plenty of wine on hand to serve to Household 6
DO NOT feed the packers pizza! and prepare yourself for those 10 pounds that we always gain! HA! ~ Wanda Really? I always feed them pizza.
Go visit someone and let your husband do it.... ~ Suzy And I do believe this is the best piece of advice any of my friends had to offer!
And so it begins:
Last week I was talking to my brother over Facebook when I nonchalantly said, "I'm not even going to bother getting it fixed, I move to Korea in less than three months." As I typed those 4 words, LESS. THAN. THREE. MONTHS I had an internal freak out. Are you kidding me? LESS. THAN. THREE. MONTHS. That part isn't the real kicker, the kicker is all the thing I have to do BEFORE we move that have nothing to do with the move itself. Not to mention that we don't have family orders yet. Hubby has them for himself, but we are waiting for our family command sponsorship to come through, and if you think I'm sending him away for two years without our family, think again! HEY KOREA, USFK, anyone out there listening?!?! I would REALLY like to have our family orders IN HAND so I can finish up what needs to be done on this end!! Fort Hood sent the request over a month ago!! I've got work to do over here and my time is dwindling. Did I mention that I'm a planner? (Yes, I do realize I should just be happy that I know this far out where we are moving to next.)
I need orders in hand to: book travel, book moving companies (we will have 3 different pack outs), get Boy 1's drivers license since we have to report to Korea 6 Days before his 16th birthday....they tell me that if I have ORDERS WITH HIS NAME on them he should be able to get his driver's license BEFORE he turns 16, but I'm still waiting for those orders. Hello people in high places in Korea... I know I can wait for Hubby to get some of this done, but I would really like to get it done before he gets back (because I am good wife - stop laughing! :) so we can spend the last 6 weeks of our time here at Hood doing all the things that need to be done as a commander is changing out of command Not to mention that he will have just come back from a war zone and will need a tiny bit of a break before he moves overseas again...
Let me break it down for you:
4 weeks till Hubby comes home
9 weeks till Hubby's Change of Command
11 weeks till we clear Fort Hood
13 weeks till we are in South Korea
And SO MANY THINGS in between. Breathe. Just breathe.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, all things that are happening are good it is just that my head is just swirling!
(And yes, I do realize we will not be IN Korea in less than 3 months, but our household goods will be packed and shipped in less than 3 months.)
This was our best move on not having ANYTHING broken, scratched or dented, and here are a couple of examples of why....
That is 2 plastic Polly Pockets articles of clothing. WOW, this is why I had 16 crates.
"No matter how hard moving is, once we arrive to our new duty station it only takes that first knock on the door of our new quarters to start feeling at home. Having a new neighbor knock on your door, (most of the time with a plate of cookies in hand) to say welcome to the neighborhood is where it all starts...." I wrote that in this post on 3 March when our time in Korea was coming to an end.
Within the first 8 hours of being in our new quarters there was a knock on our door. Within the first 48 hours we had 7 neighbors stop by to say hello and welcome to the neighborhood. I LOVE post living.
Post living is the life for me....and WOW, what the Army has done to post housing. We were lucky (if you call waiting for 8 weeks in a tiny 3 bedroom apartment with 6 people lucky) to get into the 'new' housing on FT. Hood! Here is a view of our quarters before we moved in.
Yes, that is a 2 car garage (on post)!
A REAL laundry room, not an area I have to hang curtains in front of! (If you have ever lived on post you know what I am talking about.)
It might be a small kitchen, but there is an ice maker in the door of that fridge, and we have a gas range!
View from the entry
And then the fun begins....
Boy 2 & 3's room
Even before all deliveries were made, we had to take a break for a little birthday celebration!
Remember our birthday tradition of "you get whatever you want for your birthday breakfast"? Well, that applies if you have not been in your house for 24 hours.
Birthday celebration done, now back to painting & deliveries & unpacking...
This was our 2nd delivery, we had 16 crates delivered in all.
Lovin' my orange dining room!
Girl's room, you need sunglasses to enter.
It has been 3 weeks since we moved in, things are coming together quite nicely even though we had WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!! I'll start posting pictures of the completed projects soon.
You would think since we have moved more than a dozen times in 15 years we would have it down to a science. I thought so too. This move has proved to be our most challenging move of all time. We hit walls every time we turned around once arriving on Texas soil. First, our rental car was too small (and it was UGLY), Hubby had to make two trips to the hotel, one with luggage, and then one with passengers. Next, Ft. Hood did not have a house for us even though we had been in contact with them at least 3 months out & were assured we should be able to get right in. OK, that stuff happens, I can understand that, people don't move out when they say they are going to, we can live in a hotel for a couple of weeks, no big deal as we are number 1 on the waiting list.
Next thing, I went to enroll the kids in school, only to be told by someone (I won't mention any names here) that my kids could not go to the school where we are going to live because we do not have a house assigned to us. I was told I would need to enroll the children in the school district of our hotel, and then move them once we got into housing. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?! This unnamed person wanted me to move my children 3 times in one school year because he didn't want to fill out a letter of intent for me? Then he blamed it on the KISD. Whatever. He messed with the wrong Army Wife. After asking 3 times for the letter and being told no, I started making noise and went over his head because I knew this is not right and it seemed to me someone was on a power trip. To make a long story short, a new policy was written because I could not & would not let this one go for the sake of all children moving to Ft. Hood. This should not happen again, and if it does, just leave a message on here for me. Finally, (after 5 wasted school days) the kids are in school. Next, around day 12, we find out housing gave our house to SOMEONE ELSE!! WHAT!?!?! Again, long story short, things got mixed up....we had to find temporary housing. We are now living in a 'beautiful' (Did you sense the sarcasm?) 3 bedroom apartment (remember, there are 6 of us) on air mattresses on loan from friends. Our friends have also loaned us a coffee machine, microwave, lamps, sheets, TV, can opener and much more). Thank God for friends.
As of yesterday we got word we will be moving into our house on post on 6 May. Thank the Lord! I'm not sure how much more of this I can take. We have been living out of suitcases for 6 weeks now. By the time it is all said and done we will have been living out of suitcases for 8 weeks. However I am very thankful we have a roof over our head, cars to drive and food to eat. It could be much worse. I think God must have big plans for our family here.
I'm a Texas girl, born & raised. I left the state of Texas in the summer of 1990 and started sewing my oats as ‘they’ say. I met my future husband in the winter of 92 & at that point I wasn't sure I would ever return to Texas. Well, as Texas would have it, this is my 4th time back. You see, I married a military man, a 'tanker' who seems to be drawn to the 1st Calvary Division and as luck would have it the 1st Calvary Division is located in the heart of Central Texas. And this is where the newest chapter of our lives begin, Six in the Hood, Ft. Hood that is.