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The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done: A Series of Screw-Ups and Lessons Learned

I've been absent from blogging lately because of a series of unexpected events. Events which turned out to be overwhelming, and almost did me in. In January, on the day my husband deployed, I received a phone call informing me that we would have to move while my husband was deployed. It's a long story, and has nothing to do with orders, or the Army. Basically, the house we were renting was sold.

I had to find a house, buy a house, pack a house and move a house. Without my husband. Pronto. I knew this would be challenging of course, but I also thought it was fairly doable. Bwahahahahaha.

Screw-up Number One:No POA.

My husband deployed with only a few hours notice. Until this deployment, we've always had lead time to get affairs in order. I admit I don't always keep a current POA on hand, even though I know better. So, you guessed it, I was armed with a useless, expired POA and no way to get another one in a timely manner. Ouch. Take it from me, keep a POA at all times, deployed or not. Our spouses can be gone in the blink of an eye and while you can generally obtain necessary legal documents when they're away, it's not always easy and they're not often processed and returned in a timely manner.

Screw-up Number Two:Saving Money Instead of My Sanity.

Moving, even when the military packs and moves you, is stressful enough. But this time I had to arrange the move. No efficient packers and movers to do all the work. I was shocked when I obtained estimates for packing and moving. The Army has always moved us so I had no idea what it cost to hire packers and movers. Did you know that packing costs 2-3 times more than the moving part? In an effort to save money, I opted to pack myself, move small items and have movers take care of the big items. In the end, I would have gladly paid any amount of money to have had someone pack me up.

Screw-up Number Three:Declining Help.

I have the most fantastic neighbors, friends and family in the world. All volunteering to help pack, or do whatever I needed them to do. Several of my SpouseBUZZ pals even offered to fly in and help! With the exception of my fabulous sister-in-law who was in town for a couple of days and helped me make several trips back and forth, I truly thought I could handle it and declined all offers of help. This resulted in not having everything packed on moving day which led to an ugly introduction to the term "meltdown." The house was 90% packed, but the garage, full of way too much stuff, was barely touched.

Screw-up Number Four: Declining Help. Do you see a pattern developing here?

After the movers moved *most* of the house, there were still so many smaller items to be moved. The days were flying by until I had to be out of the old house and the garage was looming over me. I was making trips back and forth to try to get it all moved myself, and the progress was painstakingly slow. Again, people offered to help make the trips with me. Again, I declined. And two days before my deadline, I slumped to the floor of an empty house and a full garage in tears, knowing there was no way I would make it, much less have the house cleaned upon my exit. Thankfully, a friend of ours who was deployed with my husband redeployed because he had orders to go somewhere else. He and his wife forced themselves on me, knowing I needed the help. And I did. Friends like that are priceless.

Screw-up Number Five: Self-Induced Stress.

Thinking I had to kill myself to get the house set-up and beautiful when I was already worn-down from the actual move. It wasn't as if my husband was home, or I was having house guests or throwing a party. Self-induced stress is worthless, and most unhelpful.

Here are a few lessons I learned, but which can apply to a variety of situations. I hope they help some of you:

  • Always, and I mean always, have an updated POA
  • Never turn down offers of help when you truly need help. People will only offer if they are prepared to help.
  • Screw the Super-Woman mentality!

I'll write more on this little adventure later. Believe me, there's enough material to fill a book.... But trust me when I say that this was absolutely the hardest thing I've ever done solo. My emotional and physical health were tested in ways they've never been tested before.In the end, though just barely, everything was done, but there were so many moments when it seemed that things would never fall into place.

I bought myself an expensive bottle of wine a couple of days ago. I'm popping the cork tonight!

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