Thursday, November 15, 2012

7 Random Observations about Military Moves

So I am sitting at my dining room table waiting for the moving company to come do the pre-pack out walk through of my home.  To inventory all of our stuff into categories and weights and balances.  As we have been preparing for this move the past few months, I have been struck by a number of "truths" (or at least truths in my own little world) related to preparing for a military style move.

1.  Stuffed animals breed.  I don't think I have ever bought Kate or Connor a stuffed animal yet every closet, every toy bin, and every surface seems to have at least three.  And when I wake up there are five more.  I'm starting to believe that "Toy Story" wasn't fiction at all and that our toys have a life after dark.

2.  My husband needs to go into a T-Shirt Addict Remediation program.  The boy cannot resist a free t-shirt.  Off to a conference?  He comes home with an extra suitcase full of "amazing" shirts.  Amazing = free.  Doesn't matter if they are rejects or XXXL.  Even with our super compact and efficient USNA method of folding we have way too many cotton shirts.  My current favorite?  An ugly red Whiskey t-shirt that declares "every day is MAN DAY" (nope, not kidding) completely and totally off-center in the front.  I feel like I am going cross eyed looking at my husband in that shirt.  But it was FREE! So now he is a walking advertisement for Whiskey and poor shirt printing.

3.  Household good weight limits remind me of how over cluttered my life is. It is incredibly depressing that I am worried we will go over the 17,500 pound weight limit we are allotted.  Especially since we are not moving one single appliance.

4.  Packers do not make moving a breeze.  If one more person says "oh, at least the military packs you up" I am going to throat punch them.  Non military folks, it is never okay to say that to a military family who is in the midst of a PCS.  Yes, I get that packing a house sucks big time and that it is more convenient to have someone else do it.  But we move every 2-3 years.  So the "perk" of having the US Government pack our stuff in no way lessons the burden of moving all the time.  We still have to uproot our lives, our kids, our jobs, and leave our friends and conveniences.  It is okay to think it in your head - but keep your mouth shut. 

5.  We all have more embarrassing stuff than we might think. I have had a nightmare that I forget to hide away my unmentionables before the packers come.  Packers are great - until you literally die of embarrassment because they find your liberator pillow and ask if it works to remediate back pain.  And it can get oh-so-much-worse than that.  On our last move I was 8 weeks post-pardum and a packer asked what I wanted to do with my stash of jumbopads and ice packs.

6.  The military is extremely out of touch with what is valuable these days. The following sheet of paper was given to my friend Karen at And Then We Laughed

Yes, I will be sure to protect my 1993 beanie babies collectibles and crystal animals.  That is a huge concern of mine.  I'll make sure to hand carry them with my military Troll collection.
Nope, not mine.  I am not that weird. But someone is...
7.  This lifestyle creates a moving "itch".  We are so used to starting over in a new house and in a new town and with new jobs that after a few years at one location many of us start getting ancy and ready to move on.  I was at gymnastics with my son and one of the other moms asked me about our move and I found myself saying "well, we have been in Norfolk for awhile so we are ready to go see something new.  It is time."  She was very polite, but said something like, "wow I would never even consider moving to be something I felt compelled to need or be ancy about".  As a mom in a family where they plan on living in their home "forever", the idea of going to a new place is totally foreign to her.  I'm not sure whether the moving itch is a pro or con of military life, but it certainly is there.  We got these orders months and months ago, my foot is halfway out the door, I'm ready to get this show on the road!

These are just the thing running through my head today.  Please feel free to share any random observations you have in the comment section!


Cayce, Sara, and Lily said...

beanie babies! bwahahah

I literally just used BBs as an example of the inability to 100% of the time correctly predict "future value" of collections. Man. Did they miss the mark.

Karen said...

Let's not forget about the ridiculous amount of packing paper used during military moves. I am convinced the the Defense Department has a secret deal with the paper industry. It is absolutely ridiculous.

Jill said...

Hahaha! Yes, the paper and box quota for most moves is astronomical. I'm sure I will have a dozen additions to this list once we are settled in Oz.

Angie said...

It is nice to not pack the house myself, but for a control freak like me, it really is hard for me to watch someone else touch my stuff. This last move was the first time I had the military move us, and I found it be more stressful than moving myself.

The Girl said...

My husband and I are on move #6 on our way to the FRS in norfolk in about 3-4 months and all of my civilian friends say, "at least you knew what you were getting into." And my oh so favorite, "it's so nice that you get packers and movers for free!" If I have to hear that one more time, I might do as you said, and throat punch them.

Jill said...

The "you knew what you were getting into" argument is the worst. It doesn't make sense because being willing to face down a challenge does not make said challenge suck any less. Do we say that to college students? "Wow, I am so sick of studying. I'm so exhausted." Would someone respond "Well sonny, you should have thought of that before you enrolled in college. You know what you were getting into so STFU.". But for some reason when it comes to the military (and deployments, PCSs, etc) it is okay to tell a spouse she knew what she was getting into when she/he married into the lifestyle.

Bottom line: Nomatter how well educated and how wide open your eyes are on ANY complicated matter, it cannot truly prepare you for what lies ahead. And it is okay to not be all unicorns and rainbows. :)

Erica said...

I totally agree with #7 and wonder when we do stop moving what will happen??

Julia P F said...

Yep moving is a nightmare. I try to "pretend" we are moving every couple of years to try to stay ahead if the the crap. Ian not totally successful.
You do speak the gospel on stuffed animals a s liberator pillows!

Anonymous said...

The t-shirts. The XXL, but-they-were-free! t-shirts that fill two drawers of my husband's dresser (leaving no room for things like, you know, jeans and sweaters) are the bane of my existence. So sorry you have to deal with them, too. I offered to cut them up and turn them into a quilt for him so they'd be immortalized forever, but then I took it back because why would I spend my time and energy making something out of scraps of cheaply silkscreened cotton that hold ABSOLUTELY NO SENTIMENTAL VALUE WHATSOEVER?

I can relate to all the other stuff, too, but this one struck a chord. About a year ago, I packed away about two dozen of the most ridiculous and random offenders and will break them out soon with a, "Did you miss these? No, I didn't think so." And then my point will be made, and off to Goodwill they will go. No way we're bringing 80% of them with us this next PCS (because I fear we'll be dangerously close to the HHG weight limit as well...SO. MUCH. STUFF.).

Amber said...

I am bored at a hotel right now while we make our first military move and died laughing at your post.
A) my husband has 2 drawers of plain old white shirts. I do laundry at least twice a week... so even if he tried he couldnt wear a half a drawer before I folded them and put them away!
B) I have way too much crap and didnt realize it until they went through every nook and cranny.
C) I was so paranoid about the packers... with their judgy eyes. Yes I have 8 boxes of toothpaste (from couponing) im sure you've seen weirder stuff! They didnt pack the olive oil (flammable) but vegetable oil and canola oil are just fine.

I just stumbled on your blog, and as I too enjoy a cosmo and have a baby boy I look forward to stalking the rest of the site.

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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