by Sean P. O'Driscoll
In the 13 years my wife and I have been married, my wife has also been in the Army. We have moved a total of eight times. As I post this topic, we are in the process of moving again. Our next stop will be Fort Knox, Kentucky. We are excited about this new location and have heard many good things about Fort Knox. But, we will certainly miss the friends we have made here at Fort Hood. As with any PCS (Permanent Change of Station), we currently have movers packing all our items. Moving is always interesting when dealing with the movers, and this time is no exception. Before I begin talking about our current PCS, however, I need to tell you all about a few previous moves. I would also love to hear your stories...the good, bad, and ugly.
During our second PCS, a short distance from El Paso, Texas to Sierra Vista, Arizona, we learned our driver actually hit something on the side of the road while our goods were in transit and did significant damage to his truck. All the items actually had to be downloaded from his truck to another one. When our items were delivered, the movers gave us a disclaimer before unloading anything. As we braced for the worst, we were relieved that only a few framed-art items and knick-knacks didn't survive. However, to add to our anxiety, my wife was still on maternity leave from delivering our first child, our daughter. She had a c-section, and that meant I did all the unpacking while she told me where she wanted everything to go.
Our next move was overseas to Germany, where we needed two shipments. The first shipment is small and is supposed to arrive quickly to help you get by until your second, much larger shipment arrives. I remember that when the movers delivered our items, a very large German man demanded I sign my name on a blank sheet of paper with none of their information filled out. In broken English, he told me â€œYou must sign, this is how it is done.â€ Although I have to admit I was a little bit intimidated by his aggressive stature, I told him no, I cannot sign until he completes his portion of the document, and downloads our goods. He argued with me for a bit, but finally gave in. I can't remember if we called our transportation representative or not. But, this was our third move, so I was somewhat of a seasoned pro at this point, and knew that I should never, ever sign a blank document - you never know what they're trying to get over on you! Then we received our vehicleâ€¦oh, boy. While in transit, the driver side window was broken. Someone decided it would be prudent to cover the window with a trash bag, and they used duct tape to secure it. When the bag was removed, the car's paint came off with the tape. And of course, no documentation accompanied the truck to identify where in transit this occurred. Oh, did I mention there was also water damage inside the cargo area?
So anyway, back to the present. This move is already entertaining and frustrating. The moving company sent out three movers to pack our items. Two of them are doing a great job. The third is a little different. She likes to disassemble things and place them in multiple boxes. My wife first noticed this when she completely disassembled our 4 year old son's pirate ship that he just received for his birthday. She wrapped the various pieces, and placed them at the top of 3 different boxes. We know it will all get there, but it is going to be fun trying to find all the pieces and rebuild on the other end. She also keeps missing stuff to be packed. For instance, she left a few items of clothes in one of my daughter's bottom drawers. When we double-checked her work and pulled them out, her response was â€œOh, your taking that?â€ She also didn't pack the small air purifier in our daughter's room. When we pointed this out, she again responded with â€œOh, your taking that?â€ This has happened at least 5 times in 2 days. We told her multiple times that we have completely separated everything we are keeping, so all items in her area should be packed...nothing should be left out. Well, she still doesn't seem to get it. We also took painstaking efforts to separate the kid's toys by type. For instance, one basket contains all Barbies, while another are My Little Pony, Matchbox Cars, etc. This was a painstakingly tedious process that took us longer than expected, but it was all going to be worth it when we got to Fort Knox. But, as I'm sure you've probably already guessed, the movers took our separate baskets and dumped them all in the same box, so we get to separate them all over again in Kentucky! I guess the bright side is that at least we don't have Barbie's in four or five different boxes. We have always tried to roam between rooms, and not sit and stare down the movers, but this packer, is having us re-work our plan. And to think, the fun is just starting!!
Even as I write this blog, my wife and I know everything will work out. Even though some stuff may get broken or lost, most will make it. And what doesn't make it, can be replaced. It may take us 2 weeks to unpack, but it won't take long for us to make our new, empty house our warm, loving home. And before I go, one bit of advice. When possible, we try to move all of our sentimental items ourselves for added insurance. In fact, before this move, we invested in a small trailer so we can take more personal photos, kid's art projects, etc. ourselves...not going to trust the movers with this stuff. And, no matter what gets broken or lost, what's most important is that we are together, healthy, and happy. I would love to hear your stories as well, and hopefully there are some good ones out there.
About the author: Max Winegar is a male military spouse and stay at home dad to a nine year old girl and three year old boy. Â Max has been married to an Army officer for nearly 13 years and has recently started his own FaceBook page, "Freedom and Fatherhood."