In the military, something happens every summer around the entire country. It even goes beyond our borders to include places from Europe to Japan. It’s called PCS season. PCS (permanent change of station) season stretches from late May to early September. It’s darn near impossible to be a military family and not experience a PCS, or at the very least an EAS (separation from the military), which still feels like a PCS. So, in honor of the 2015 PCS Season, we at Many Kind Regards have compiled a list of 37 #PCSTruths, based on our experiences and divided into handy sections because, let’s face it, PCS’s that are not organized are actually #PCSNightmares. What #PCSTruths do you have? Comment, Tweet us, join our Facebook discussion - We want to hear from you!
We got pushed out of our house and were homeless for almost 3 weeks around the Christmas holidays because our new house wasn't ready and we couldn't move into the rental house until January 1. Part of the solution was to spend about week and a half with my mother in Florida. Due to various obligations, I flew down with my 2 youngest children first, my oldest arrived a couple days later, and my husband, Christmas Eve. My mother picked up my then 6 year-old daughter, 3 year-old son, and me, and takes us to brunch. (It was a stupid early morning flight down.) After, she asks, "Where do you want to go now?" My 3 year-old's response, "I want to go home now."
Your kids will always ask to go back home. But you're not quite sure where “home” is.
To this day, my youngest talks about the sun room, which was also their playroom, at our old house and how he had a deprived childhood because we never had the time or money to duplicate it at our new house.
When you unpack your boxes & find a 10lb bag of potatoes, you realize they weren't kidding when they said, "They pack EVERYTHING."
Oh and when we PCSed to OH, they shipped an empty box of packing material.
Going it Alone
If your husband is in the field, skiff, deployed, etc - it’s definitely packing day.
When you schedule everything while your husband is gone, and he comes home to an empty house. Then you move from Hawaii to Tennessee in January and are so used to Hawaii weather that you completely forget to keep the winter jackets, and you land and it's 5 degrees outside.
You're 34 weeks pregnant, no big deal. Heck, why not do a DITY (Do It Yourself) move. You'll make some extra cash, you'll get to drive 15 hours behind a U-Haul, you might even get to visit with a chatty man that just ate a hotdog while you cross state borders. Don't worry about throwing up in your diet coke, you can just get another one in 180 miles when you reach the nearest town. Oh, and when you finally get to your destination, don't panic when all the doctors are no longer accepting new patients, you'll eventually find someone just in time to catch sweet babe. PCSing, PIECE OF CAKE!
Missing, Mislabeled, and Screwed
If the movers can't find the screws to your dining room table, they're definitely packed in the box with all of your bras and panties.
I think there is an island (like the land of the misfit toys) where my furniture goes. I swear every PCS they lose furniture. Why can't they lose my husband's 3rd grade bowling trophy, or his completely worthless baseball card collection, but furniture???
We just went through our garage and found stuff that we haven't looked at in 10 years
When you can't find the essential parts of the home computer, you know; keyboard, monitor, mouse, and you've unpacked every single box but one last "kitchen" box - only to find all your computer parts packed with one box of pancake mix (spraying loose flour though the cardboard cracks) and a large GLASS jar of soy sauce.
When you open the book box to find two Lava lamps inside and the kitchen box to find the packers actually opened your previous empty dishwasher and removed the silverware holder and packed it, now causing you to have to mail it back to the previous house.
Our movers labeled a good chunk of our boxes as "books" and I didn’t think anything of it because I have tons of books. Half of them were pantry items and a quarter of them bathroom stuffs. I feel your pain.
The Movers We Love and Hate
If you ever caught the movers looking at the boudoir book you had made for your husband while he was away.
Oh and disassembled means brute physical ripping at joints that are glued/screwed together.
When your Polish movers use a curse word, and you laugh because your best friend at the last duty station was Polish.
You will be grateful for any moving blankets the movers forgot to take back with them on your last move. They do come in handy, do not throw them out.
When your kids’ swing set has a perma-lean because only God knows where the manual is and the men are "sure they know how to put it together."
When you designate an ENTIRE room as “OFF LIMITS, NO TOUCHY,” and they STILL sneak in and pack a box of essential paperwork and the clean air filter you were going to replace in the house just prior to move out. Why, dear God, why would I want to take custom-fit air filters with me? Or when you set aside the second set of booster seats and tell the movers not to touch them and they throw them into the back of the truck anyway, so now you’re stuck driving the kids the entire trip in one vehicle, or forced to move car seats around all the stuff stuffed in the vehicles and you realize that's a worse option.
My favorite move was as an LT. I go to TMO at Minot. "Sgt, the moving truck was in an accident." "No ma'am. They gotta report accidents." "Ok Sgt, please explain why my shipment from NM is 6 weeks late, every box is crushed, and they bent a stainless steel ladder in half?" "Aliens." No poop, we start laughing.
Time To Go
The moment you find the best pizza in town, the best time to go to Target, and find the coolest friends to hang out with is when you find out that it is time to PCS again.
When you've packed before you know where you're going.
When you move ahead of orders, pay out of pocket, and learn what it costs the military for the move - ouch.
When your husband's future boss tells you to move without orders because he needs your husband ASAP and that it will all work out -- he's lying. You can't get reimbursed for receipts dated before the date on the orders. #ArmyOwesUs10000
When your house is more clean for your home inspection/PCS than it was the entire time you lived there.
No matter how long it's been since your last move, you will continue to find little red TMO stickers (I've been in my house 3 years and I still come across them).
When every time you move you realize you have more things than the last. Soon, you'll have more things than you do space to put them in. #ButImNotAHoarder
Sweet Dreams are Not Made of This
We mostly only have horror stories. We've only been moved by the Army once, we had to do the rest ourselves.
When the huge Samoan mover is afraid to tell you that one more piece of furniture is broken. When you let your kid watch whatever is on the tv in the hotel because you've been in the same room for six weeks waiting for a house. When the move is over, and you somehow have extra hardware and wait for months to find out what's missing a screw. When you buy a replacement bed set that you hate just to get a stupid bed set KNOWING that it'll break on the next move like the last set, but it makes it. And you still hate it.
A major cleaning appliance will always end up broken. Whether it's a vacuum, carpet cleaner, washing machine... You will always have one cleaning appliance casualty. RIP Hoover rug doctor.
When you start your first wash in the new house with hardwood floors and learn that your brand new washer now has a cracked tub and is dumping gallons of water everywhere… Oh, and you haven't unpacked the box with towels yet.
We have also learned that no matter how much you bubblewrap stemware at least half of it gets broken
The New House
When you move into your best friend’s last house
You never really realize how much space you had until you are camping out with family/friends/hotel waiting on your new house.
The moment you get orders you do so much research about your new duty station, you know more about it than your hometown. You know which friends loved it and will visit, which friends hated it and you won’t see until your next move, and you have a good idea which pizza place will become "yours."
When you're standing in your new house and can't find where you put "the thing" but know EXACTLY where it was in your old house.
Don't forget to share your own #PCSTruths with us!
Many Kind Regards,
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original photo credit: Splityarn Flickr