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My First Move

A "new" Airforce wife left a comment on the post that "old" airforcewife wrote about traveling with children.

I am new to both marriage and being around the military. My husband has been in the Air Force for a long time though. We just recently got orders to Hawaii, so we are so excited; however, I have so many questions about the whole PCS thing. He says not to worry since he has done it so many times, but this is my first. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, I feel the need for checklists, but I have no idea what to put down on the list to check. Please help! Thank you.

Though PCS'ing is about much more than the physical move, I decided to offer a bit of advice regarding the move portion.

My first move was a bit untraditional. My husband was moving out of his apartment and I was moving out of mine. We were separated by 400 miles. I knew nothing about a military move, and one would have thought that my husband knew even less. You'll find out why in a moment.

My first move was a bit untraditional. My husband was moving out of his apartment and I was moving out of mine. We were separated by 400 miles. I knew nothing about a military move, and one would have thought that my husband knew even less. You'll find out why in a moment.

This was our "move" conversation:

Him: "I set your appointment on such-and-such day. I'm faxing the paperwork to you."

Me: "Okay, anything I need to know?"

Him: "Not really, shouldn't take long, it's just a one bedroom apartment."

So, the next few days I began scavenging for boxes anywhere I could find them. I floated between my parent's house and my apartment for days, making sure I didn't forget anything that I may have left in their basement that I might want to look at in the future, like my old high school yearbooks, which I haven't opened since...

It was moving day and I was proud of myself. I looked around at my apartment at the neatly stacked boxes. I'm an organized person, everything is labeled and filed just so. I would have no problem figuring out what box went where when it arrived at my first home with my new life partner. There were only a few things the packers would have to pack for me, things like pictures,  etc. that I didn't have boxes for.

Doorbell rings, packers walk in and I'm utterly beaming. I knew they would appreciate that I had everything ready for them. Such a good girl, helping them do their jobs.

Their smiles faded. Quickly. There were three of them and they silently walked around my apartment surveying the boxes, looking at one another, clearly communicating in some silent language that I didn't speak. I was thinking, "well, this is the thanks I get for my hard work." I. Was. Offended.

Unappreciative Packer: "Ma'am, um, are all your dishes in those boxes?"

Organized Andi: "Yep, all packed and ready."       

Unappreciative Packer: "Ma'am, we're going to have to unpack these boxes."

Highly disturbed Andi: "I'm sorry?"

Unappreciative Packer: "Well, I see you've done a lot of work here, but we have no idea how these are packed, and we're ultimately responsible for your goods arriving in proper condition. Also, there are some items which we cannot pack, and we don't know what's in those boxes."

Right about then, I was bordering on conduct unbecoming of a milspouse.

No longer angry with these packers, I make a mental note to let my new life partner have it when he called.

And so it went, hours of hard work unpacked, and repacked (and not as good as it was originally packed, I might add). Instead of creating less work for the packers, I had doubled their work. It was a miserable day. I offered my help, but no, they couldn't take it. They're the experts, after all. Of course....   

Our next move was just as bad. Due to the horrible experience of the first move, I decided to do absolutely nothing for the second move. That was a disaster too, but that story is for another day. The good news is that after 13 years, I now have moving down to a science. I'm pretty certain that if there's ever a need for a moving expert at a high-profile criminal trial, I'm the go-to person. You may see me on Court TV one day.

So NewAirforceWife, more do's and don'ts later, but for now, let me give you your first lesson - don't pre-pack. It's a huge waste of time.   

Okay, other bloggers - why don't you give our New Airforce wife some pointers? Hopefully ones that are more useful than mine...

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