Military

Permanent Change of Station Woes

This was first published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them.

Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Woes-3

It is the best of times.

It is the worst of times.

It is approaching PCS season.

This month has been…. exciting, if I am being optimistic. My husband is currently attending training to be a pilot in flight school. While all training schools are a little bit different, they all have one thing in common, no matter your designator or military branch, LOTS of moving. But even if you or your significant other are not currently in a training school, you may be approaching a move yourself, as it is that time of the year for new orders to be cut, and it may be time for your family to move on.

This move was expected and unexpected at the same time. We knew we would be moving once my husband finished this portion of his training, however, there were two possible locations we could be sent to, either 40 miles away, or 700 miles away. We received our 700 mile relocation with 15 days notice of his check-in date. So, in a scramble,we have attempted to arrange a do-it-yourself (DIY) move, or personally-procured move (PPM).

Here are the steps I followed with organizing my PPM:PPM Timeline-5

Please be sure to refer to your Personal Property Transportation Office for additional help with your PCS move. You can also find additional tips and resources at http://www.move.mil.

Here are some of the pros and cons of the PPM:PPM Pros and Cons-3

We were able to complete our PPM, check in to our new duty station, and settle in with few bumps and bruises along the way. Unfortunately our desk did not survive the move, but that’s a minor mishap in the grand scheme of things. The military certainly likes to test our resilience and ability to keep calm under stress. I hope your move goes as smooth and as painless as any move can. Be sure to take some time to relax, breathe, and repeat after me, “This too, shall pass”. Happy PCS-ing, PCS-ers!

Military · Travel

Moving like a PRO

The move was a success! And by success, I do not mean it was smooth, enjoyable, nor would I recommend it. Fortunately we received our orders to move to Florida a week in advance which was enough time to wrap up a few loose ends, finish packing, and book a moving truck; however, it was NOT with enough notice to avoid the price of my plane ticket returning to Texas to double in price. I guess you can’t have it all. Some lessons learned from this move:

  1. You cannot trust Google Maps to accurately predict your ETA to your destination. Driving a 26ft moving truck does not allow you to go highway speeds and your time WILL increase significantly. And by significantly I mean it will rise from 12 hours to 22 hours once you include gas stops, gas stations being out of power and/or gas, traffic, accidents, and a 2 hour power nap.
  2. If you are traveling with pets you will NOT get to enjoy that 2 hour power nap. Especially if your pets are like mine and will be crawling all over you as you try to get some shut eye at a sketchy truck stop. Below: Landon giving me the stank eye for trying to move my foot. Further below: Hailey and Chit Chat looking super cute. 
  3. You WILL second guess whether you need any of your material items or if you should burn everything except your underwear to make the next move simpler.
  4. Despite your best intentions to eat healthy, it’s not going to happen. Let it go and embrace the multiple pizza orders, Chinese food, and complimentary 5-10 lbs.
  5. The exhaustion will subside and with time you will forget how much of a pain in the ass it is. Just in time to do it all over again in approximately 9 months time.

I am currently regretting my decision to stay in Texas to finish the school year while most of my worldly possessions, my three kittens and husband continue life in Florida. Fingers crossed the time flies. I have a few things on my Texas Bucket List to make things a tad more enjoyable! These things include a rodeo, camping, visiting a sea turtle rescue and of course the Selena Festival. Stay tuned for recaps on all of that as they occur between now and June!

Military

Moving on up

27 years in Delaware.

4.5 months in Florida.

11 months in Texas.

The time has come to bid Texas adieu and move on. As it turns out, moving on, actually means moving back… to Florida.moving pt 3

Moving is, quite frankly, the pits. As much as I love new experiences, there are just some significant downsides that stress me out.

  1. Security deposits– there’s a window in between leaving one place and entering another where we’re paying double the bills and then waiting to get money back.
  2. Purging unnecessary items– I love downsizing, but trying to coordinate with potential buyers is not my idea of a good time.
  3. Packing– trying to strategically box items so they’re organized and also not going to be destroyed in the move.
  4. Unpacking– is there even a point to unpacking anymore?
  5. Job hunting– this should be number 1, and then magnified x a billion. Job hunting is horrendous. And doing it over and over and over again makes me want to assume the fetal position and stress eat and explode all at the same time.

Fortunately I have become quite the experienced packer, mover, and shaker. Shall I share some of my awesome tips with you?

  1. Small moving boxes fit perfectly in the ikea or better homes and gardens cube bookshelves. This helps save space in the moving truck, a safe place for items that are more fragile, and gives extra stability to these bookshelves so they aren’t completely wobbly and worthless when you unload!IT245bTvSjCMoDhaptM5TQ
  2. Trash bags suction in your hanging closet clothes so they don’t fall off the hangers in the closet boxes and you can fit more in each box! Shoes can be packed in the bottom of the closet boxes to save even more space!- I haven’t packed these items yet, but I will get a photo for reference and add it once I do.
  3. Color coordinate your labels with a room. Example: All blue stickers are for kitchen.  All green stickers are for office. All yellow stickers are for living room. Then when you get to your destination you can sticker the appropriate room, and everyone will know all these blue stickered boxes go in the kitchen, all these green stickered boxes go in this room, all these yellow stickered boxes go in the living room, and etc….. Makes for easier unpacking.
  4. Books are super heavy and can be moved in suitcases with wheels so you don’t break your back and again, save on space!
  5. These sterilite 30 gallon totes are the perfect size for moving. They aren’t too big to not fit through doorways, yet they’re big enough to fit more than one or two items at a time. They stack very nicely and the bottoms don’t slope so far in that it’s obnoxiously smaller than the top. Win. Win. Win.RP7oO0EfQIC+9q+I8oaGtw

As I continue to prep for our move in a couple weeks, take my last bit of advice as well: there’s always time to take a break for a very big and very strong margarita to get you through. Cheers!

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Military

Preparing for a Military Move

This was originally published on the Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them. Preparing for a Military Move-3

Moving is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Add to that the seemingly complicated amount of paperwork, communicating with the right departments, moving companies and your spouse, and moving as a military family can feel downright overwhelming.

Fortunately, the military is aware that a knowledgeable and informed family makes your life and their lives much easier! If you are a Navy family, Navy Household Goods is holding a series of webinars to answer any and all of your moving questions. You can read all about what will be covered and how to access the the webinars on their flier.HHG Webinar schedule - Jan - Mar 2018-2HHG Webinar schedule - Jan - Mar 2018

Not a Navy family? No worries! Move.mil also has very informative tutorials on their website, which can be found by clicking here!

My advice is to not wait until you’re facing a move to be educated on the topic. You will go into the experience much more at ease if you take the time to learn all you can now. I’ve been through two permanent change of station (PCS) moves, and I still intend on attending the webinars. There may be something new or improved that I don’t know, the military does love switching things up on us! Am I right?

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Military

Five Things I had to Give up as a Military Spouse

courtesy-of-5

Sometimes the military life is romanticized and sometimes it gets a really bad rap. To be honest, it’s a little bit of both. Do the men look really sexy in uniform? Yes. Is it fun to get all dolled up for a military ball? Why yes, yes it is. How about those homecoming videos after deployments, is there any other feeling like it in the world? Nope! Ok, I get it. It’s romantic. Speaking of uniforms, I claim the one on the left… and sorry, the one on the right is taken too!:courtesy-of

Now what about the bad stuff? How about that lack of communication during training or deployments. Yeah that’s not fun. Or moving every few years or less? Moving is THE worst thing ever. Do you really not get to pick where you’re going to live or if you can take a vacation for summer break? Yeah, no. Alright. I get it. Doesn’t sound like a good time to many.

Let’s be real. You have to give up some things when you become a military spouse. It’s not all candy and roses and fancy balls, there’s also sacrifice and there are challenges mixed in. It’s one helluva ride, and this is what I had to give up:

  1. My Job- I had to give up my job because unfortunately it was a position very specific to the state we lived in. I was a lead facilitator for the Delaware Readiness Teams. This meant I worked with organizing and managing schools and community groups in Delaware towards improving early learning in their communities. Not exactly something that all states have. So even though my job could not be transferred, I have a pretty killer résumé and can use those skills to find work in my career field in our new location. There are so many resources available to military spouses, and even though it isn’t a cakewalk, it’s more than possible to continue your career as a military spouse. Check out this super sweet infographic, I’ll be sharing more about it in a future post:career-hacks
  2. My Home- I have lived my whole life in the same county in Delaware. I was pretty comfortable living less than two miles from my sister, twenty minutes from my brother, and thirty minutes from my best friends. I knew once we were fully immersed in the military life it would not stay that way, but I was super excited for the adventure. So put on your travel britches and get ready to move, because home is now wherever the military leads you! Do not fret! We are extremely lucky to live at the time we do with all the opportunities for communication, so you can still stay in touch with your families back “home”. There are some downsides, like you won’t make it to every birthday, holiday, dance recital or baseball game, but it makes the times when you are reunited, that much sweeter. courtesy-of-2
  3. My addiction to planning- Lawd how I love to plan! I have so many spreadsheets and calendars and lists I’ve made-beginning from the time I could write, through high school, college, when planning my wedding, my sister’s wedding, and basically every day of my life. Well…. the military likes to look at your plans and chuckle and then do what needs to be done, even if it doesn’t fit in with your plans. So I had to take a moment and put into check my desire to plan out multiple vacations a year, with itineraries, and reservations, and skipping the travel insurance. But I heard a great tip from a senior spouse at a group meeting I attended last week. She said, she has learned to plan her life with the assumption that her husband will not be there, so when he is able to be there, it’s a wonderful addition. This eliminates being disappointed, and it also eliminates putting your own life on hold and constantly waiting to pursue some of the things you want to do. Does this mean your significant other is never going to be there? Absolutely not. But there will be times when they will be gone, and depending on their job, some more than other. Now obviously this doesn’t apply to every situation, but I think this is a good mentality and “plan” to have. 4bd35ca970677125a92c873c1b7bdef0
  4. Clutter- Being in the military means moving. They’re basically synonymous. So unless you like to move a lot of stuff every couple of years, or less if you’re in flight school like we are, it’s time to PURGE the clutter. I downsized a lot when my husband was at Officer Candidate School in preparation for our move. We had lived in the same house for 3 years (a long time for us) and had accumulated crap. So I held 5 yard sales over the summer and we still ended up donating about 20 boxes of junk…. I mean quality second-hand items, to the Purple Heart Society. I like them because they’ll come get your… quality second-hand items. And then we moved, and I’ve identified an additional 10 boxes of crap I’m going to get rid of. Anyone need some throw pillows or kitchen glasses?courtesy-of-3
  5. Comfort zone- When you live in one place for an extended period of time, you get very comfortable. You have your schedule and your habits, your friends, family, and coworkers. You have your go-to restaurants, you know where everything is in your grocery store, and you know which gas station has the cheapest gas. These are all things you need to relearn every time you move. Your comfort zone is more than just having to make new friends. You’re basically relearning how to live your life. It’s tough, but it’s also exciting, because when you finally find your favorite bread or ice cream, it’s such a relief! And even better when you discover a NEW favorite bread or ice cream that your old location didn’t have! It’s the little things. Learn to embrace the little things. why-ridiculously-photo-genetic-frog-is-so-happy-19048

I hope this didn’t come across as negative, because I absolutely love my life as a military spouse and you will too. The morale of the story is to be flexible. Be resilient. You can try super hard to cling to all the things that came so easy when you lived back home. Or you can embrace the life you now GET to live! You GET to meet so many diverse people from different parts of the world. You GET to make an impact in different communities! You GET to be with the love of your life as you build an amazing and passion-filled life together. One set of orders at a time.

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