How do you PCS? At the beginning, are you over-the-top fanatical, obsessing about everything from putting all the toys with little pieces in zip-top bags to donating half of what you own to make absolutely sure you’re under weight?
Or do you take a more lackadaisical approach, emptying the trashcans and coffee maker before the packers get started, and figuring that you’ll just deal with the rest of it when you get there?
I’d like to think that I fall somewhere in the middle, but my husband would probably tell you otherwise. We just completed our second PCS, and this one was overseas, which means it was considerably more involved than the first one. I sorted and purged for weeks, and carefully penned my lists: stuff for express (unaccompanied baggage) shipment, stuff to donate, stuff to take with us on our thirty-day block leave, serial numbers of electronics, paperwork we had to have on us at all times… and on and on.
I think all of my mental and physical exertion is just a coping mechanism that helps me feel like I have some semblance of control over an event that completely turns our lives upside down.
What about when you get to the other side? How do you move in?
Some people have an extreme aversion to boxes and disorder, frantically unpacking for days (and nights) on end. After a week or so, they emerge into the sunlight, frizzy-haired, wild-eyed and blinking, but with pictures on their walls, every drawer perfectly organized, and a pile of flattened boxes and moving paper.
Others feel that it takes months to really settle into a home, anyway, so why rush things? These are the people who find multiple colors of moving stickers on every item they move, and have a few boxes that never get unpacked. My husband and I had a little competition to see who could find the most stickers from our last PCS. He won (5 to 3), but I have yet to find out exactly what his self-determined prize will be…
I’ll confess that, a few weeks after we received our household goods shipment, I have one box left to unpack and very little on the walls. I seem to do stuff in bursts, unpacking and organizing until I just can't stand it anymore. Then I take a break for a day or so until I just can't stand the disorganization anymore. I'm finally at a point where the monastic white walls are overwhelming, so I'm sure I'll be pushing my hubby a little harder to bust out with the hammer drill over the next few days. Gotta love concrete walls!
My grandmother used to call some people “Nervous Nellies” and others “Lazy Larrys”. Which type of PCS-er are you?