August 1, 2011

A PCS Move: Moving Day(s)

Well folks, its been pure pandemonium over here this past week - some of it frustrating, some of it exhausting, some of it exciting, but all of it shuffling us closer and closer to moving day!

I spent Monday and Tuesday doing last minute laundry. There were about a million little piles around the house of items that must go with us. Our poor pooch was stressing the minute our suitcases came out of the basement, but by Wednesday morning (with a huge amount of help from my mom) when our packing crew showed up, we were ready for them. Everything going with us was in the dining room, and the rest of the house was theirs for the packing.

Tip #1: Its a good idea to either dedicate one room or a vehicle as the Do Not Pack area. That way there is no confusion between you and your moving crew.

Our packing team was a pair of friendly Missouri women. We have never had women pack our things before, and I have to say - it was such a nice surprise. While all our packing crews have been friendly, these women seemed to be more gentle and thorough when packing our breakables. You know, women just care about stuff like China, vases, and pictures frames whether it belongs to them or someone else. I was able to actually read their handwriting on our boxes and the packing list which made it a whole lot easier when it came to double checking all our valuables were accounted for.

Our packing team spent most of Wednesday and Thursday wrapping and boxing all our belongings up. Then it was the loading crew's turn on Friday. (Yes, it was a three day ordeal) Our loading crew consisted of five men and one of the ladies from the packing team. When it was all said and done, our house was empty and an entire 18-wheeler sized trailer was full to the back door. Even after all our cleaning out and the big spring garage sale, I'll admit we have too much stuff for three people. Anyhoo too much or not, its all on its merry way to the cool, green state of Washington.

Speaking of cool - Missouri is not. A huge thank you to the entire moving crew for working in 99 degree heat while we tried desperately to keep track of our stuff and stay out of their way at the same time.

Tip #2: Its a great idea to buy your crew lunch for the days they are at your house. For one they are working hard, so you don't have to. For another a happy crew means less damage to your belongings, hopefully. For yet another its an easy way to say thank you.

With the house pretty much empty, we (and by we, I mean my mom. Thanks again, mom!) scrubbed the oven. There was vacuuming and dusting - anyone else absolutely hate dusting? - as well, and of course the excitement of bathroom cleaning.  While the women folk handled the happenings around the house for those three days, Seth was finishing a twelve page report, a presentation or two, a 65 page thesis, a couple of finals, Tech Escort training by day for the Army, and grad school by night. Seriously, I know people complain about moving, but I'm pretty sure I had the easier job.

Lil' H cut a tooth in the midst of all this, but was a real trooper all week. His nap schedule was thrown off by the movers, but he was mostly all smiles any way - already a pro at this Army brat business.

Tip #3: I was going to give my opinion about moving 7 1/2 months pregnant (like our last PCS) vs. with a 7 1/2 month old baby, but I really can't decide which is harder. I was definitely more uncomfortable during our previous move and was too far along to lift anything when it came to unpacking, but if my mom had not been available to come up and help, I don't know how I would have gotten everything done this go 'round. I guess I'm going to go with baby just because if you've got children who can get around on their own, you're constantly having to stop, keep them out of things, entertain them, etc. When you're pregnant, just pace yourself.

Seth wrapped up clearing on post, we did our walk through with the rental company, picked up last minute supplies for our trip out west (which BTW its a lot when traveling with a baby and a dog), and we've started our life of hotel hopping.

Tip #4: Save all your receipts even remotely related to your move. I know the Army has changed the rules of what they will reimburse your for. But, hang on to everything so you don't throw away anything important. Remember to save the receipts from weighing your vehicles empty and then loaded as well.

Tomorrow morning we say goodbye to pretty, little Fort Leonard Wood and point our wagons west. We'll be back to blogging after our two week family road trip. I've heard rumors of free WiFi for the whole city of Seattle (keeping my fingers crossed on this one). I'll be back with stories of our "Oregon Washington Trail" adventures once we've arrived. Now, the only decision that's left: caulk the wagons and float or ford the river? (Oregon Trail game reference, anyone?)

Hope everyone enjoys the last few weeks of summer vacation as a family! And as always, if you'd like to throw out any more PCS advice in the comments, we'd love to hear from you! Want to read about our Army PCS from the beginning? Check out Our Packing List, Spouse Out Processing, and the Issues with Medical Records...