Our movers come tomorrow. The past week, I have been up to my eyeballs, preparing for the movers as best I am able. Part of the difficulty with this process is something I know military families know all too well – the uncertainty of where we are going to live on the back end!
I have heard time and again, “you are so lucky, the Army will give you a house to live in!” Because it takes too long to explain, I usually just smile and leave the conversation at yes, we are lucky. What I don’t explain is that every installation has a limited amount of housing, and there are usually wait lists. The average wait list time, when signing into an installation, is usually 9-18 months. This means a house could come available as early as the day you walk out of the housing office, or you could be trying to find a short-term housing/rental option for up to 18 months.
In the interim, as a parent, you have to plan to live without your children’s toys, clothing, and knick-knacks for at least several weeks. This move is relatively simple: since we are moving relatively locally (read: 9 hours away, instead of across country or an ocean), we have been able to take some household goods such as kitchen ware, toys, clothes that the children should grow into this summer down to a storage unit. However, there is still quite a bit we have to carry with us as well.
For example, E’s bag looks humongous and would draw jokes about the girl’s bag being the largest. However, the bulk of her bag is made up of towels and washcloths for our house after the movers take our things, and a possible extended stay in an unfurnished apartment waiting to get a house.
Compare that with our kitchen gear, since thankfully we will have access to a microwave, and eventually will have a stove before we have the rest of our household goods. Since we are not moving an ocean away, the crockpot is on our list of moving goods this time.
Adding two children, one of whom is making developmental leaps and bounds with her fine and gross motor skills right now, has definitely complicated the move process! Yet, I am up to this challenge, and look forward to being forced to go to basics with toys, clothes, and simple living.
But, I’ll admit – hats off to the generations of military families before us… Those that didn’t have the luxury of iPads and smartphones for entertainment. Hats off to those who made these moves with no GPS in their cars, or nothing but real maps, instead of turn-by-turn instructions. Hats off to those who paved the way for us to PCS with relative simplicity.