In the military we move more times that we can count, we unpack boxes and watch as total strangers pack our personal effects into cardboard wrapped in paper. We watch as canned beans are combined with blankets from the living room and strange items get packed with our electronics. A military move is rough, when you sit there watching someone else manhandle the baby shoes which you have carefully placed on the shelf time after time. A huge span of emotions come to the surface as the house you have called home goes back to being a shell of the memories of the years spent within them. If the walls could talk they would remind you of the day you brought home your baby boy for the very first time that cool spring day.
In the years of my husband’s service we have moved quite a few times, and in those moves I have always requested a moving company come and handle everything. It comes down to the fact that while I love military life, and I love moving to new places and meeting the amazing spouses in my new destination, I hate moving! I have a love/hate relationship with the whole concept. Of course eventually the fates had to challenge me, what would this life be if I didn’t have a hiccup with one of my moves?
Recently we had transferred from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD to Pascagoula, MS. This move was rough for me emotionally; it was a stepping stone to our final destination in San Diego, CA. I had been desperate to be near my family again, even though in many ways Annapolis was home. We had built so much of ourselves and our little Navy family there.
We were able to schedule a moving company to come do our pack out in Annapolis, but from Pascagoula to San Diego it didn’t happen. I had less than 3 weeks from issuance of our paper orders to our move out date. This left only one move option…a PPM, Personally Procured Move. Once upon a time they called it a DITY move, oh seriously we still call it a DITY it’s the military that is trying to call it something else. I had to do the one thing I dreaded most, a DITY MOVE! I had to pack my own boxes, tape them and mark them with what was in there. I had to call and get quotes on trucks and figure out how my husband and I would drive a truck and a car across four states with three children. Suddenly the path seemed daunting and I didn’t know if I could do this without the big bad movers who had done the work before.
I scheduled our rental truck and somehow managed to back it into our driveway which suddenly seemed incredibly short. I started loading my children in my car and driving around to local stores in search of boxes so I didn’t have to buy any, of course not realizing that they reimburse you for your moving essentials…note to self: remember that!!!
Loading day came, three awesome sailors from my husband’s command came to help him load the truck and the great game of Tetris began. As he loaded things in the truck I was loading my car and running items to a local childcare that could use the extras that we wouldn’t need and couldn’t take. I was thankful for the ability to donate the items our baby had out grown, but it was still a little bittersweet. Finally after 2 days of loading, shifting, and donating our truck and our car was ready for the big drive.
We drove those four states, and in the last leg the truck lost power to the air conditioning, but really the move was pretty problem free. It was a long trip, for me and for the three kids who shifted from my car to the truck with daddy. It was not something I could shout to everyone to do, you can make money from doing a DITY, but really the extra we got was not worth the stressors. I would rather the men come in and do the heavy lifting and then I can enjoy the car trip with my husband and kids as we stop and awe at the world’s largest ball of twine.
In the grand scheme of military moves I look at them all as an adventure…and a DITY is quite an adventure. I am glad to say been there, done that, and I SURVIVED IT!
Fair Winds and Following Seas!
Photo credit: http://jennyspouse.com/