our PCS to D.C.

finding the new normal after a horrible PCS | sunnyinjune.com

We’ve been official Virginia residents for two weeks now! Yay! There isn’t a packing box, a thing wrapped in brown paper, or packing tape in sight. Pictures are up and my anxiety level is finally back down.

This move was a nightmare. It was a long and stressful process. Too bad we’re going to have to pack this place up again next summer, throw everything in storage, and receive it again in two years. Then the claims nightmare process starts all over again.

I know military families joke about “expecting the worst”. I had my expectations pretty low after the Spouses Panel at the Olmsted Scholar Weekend but, OMG nothing really could prepare me for the craziness that was our PCS. For those that don’t know – PCS means, Permanent Change of Station aka you move your family to a different place.

A supervisor came on a Monday and we did a walkthrough of what was moving to Virginia. I was pointing out what was going to storage and what was going to our apartment. He kept interrupting me and said

“I don’t care what’s going into storage, I want to know what’s going to Virginia.”

Um, homeboy, everything is going to Virginia, rude.

The walkthrough lasted all of 7 minutes.

The packers came on Wednesday. We told them what was going where. For countless nights leading up to this day we spent hours upon hours separating and coloring coding. We made a comprehensive list of what was going to the apartment (important things like beds, clothes, kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, etc). We made a comprehensive list of what was going into storage (lawn care stuff, baby grand piano, diplomas and other memorabilia, tuff boxes full of uniforms, etc – stuff that we don’t need for three years).

The packers explained to us that they were going to pack the top floor on Wednesday and pack the bottom on Thursday, our stuff will still get picked up on Friday. They started doing their thing -- packing, wrapping, and taping, when the foreman received a call that they have to get our house packed in ONE DAY. SURPRISE! They enlisted the help of both Jay and I to help pack. Caleb and Isaac were luckily at day care for the day. It was hectic, and I was packing boxes with a baby strapped to me. The packers arrived at 10AM and left at 6PM with the house completely packed, with our help! Woo!

I called the moving company and asked

“Hey! So since you rushed our packers, does that mean that we get loaded up a day earlier (Thursday)?”

She said “No, its still on Friday.”

Cool – we had our final walk through on Friday, and we were planning on driving up to DC together on Saturday and Sunday since we had to receive the keys of our new place by Monday. Easy right? Wellllll…….

Caleb and Isaac came home and lost their minds! They were trying to climb all these boxes. They almost fell a few times. Boxes almost fell on them a few times. It was pretty unsafe, but we were only going to be in our house for one more day before the movers come. Fast forward to Friday and no movers. There was a huge miscommunication and ANOTHER SURPRISE! We’re getting loaded up on Monday. Too bad our walkthrough was scheduled on that Friday and we had to leave so the cleaning crew can come in and prep the house for different tenants. I had to beg our property manager to let us stay for a few more days.

Now we had a few problems:

#1 this deathtrap of a house is not okay, so we had to find a hotel to stay at for the next few nights

#2 someone needs to be in our rental house in KY on Monday to supervise the loading of our stuff

#3 someone needs to receive the keys of our Virginia apartment on Monday

We packed our stuff and stayed in a hotel in Lousiville for the night. We decided that Jay is going to stay back on Monday and I’ll leave the next day with the three boys to drive to DC. It’s a 10-hour drive. So we made sure to book a safe hotel that’s right in the middle of Fort Knox, KY and DC.

The boys and I stopped in West Virginia. The hotel was nice, our stay was quick… one kid got a fever, another had a growth spurt and wanted to eat every hour, and the other one complained that he wanted his bunkbed. Mom was tired. Other than a sleepless night – the kids were extremely good on the 10-hour car ride. We got to DC on Monday and picked up the keys with no problem!

The MOVERS on the other hand had many, MANY problems. Two trucks arrived – one WOULD assume that one truck would go to storage and the other truck would go to our apartment. But nope. The crew haphazardly threw boxes on the truck and mixed things, Jay found things that were labeled for storage in boxes with things that are going to the apartment, lawn stuff was on the same moving truck as stuff going to the apartment, they asked Jay to help move the piano and I think they almost died getting it on the truck – I don’t know, I wasn’t there but I assume they almost died getting that huge thing on a truck.

Jay finished up the packing and left KY and drove 10 hours straight to our apartment in DC. Fast forward a few days and SURPRISE NUMBER THREE the date of us getting our stuff gets moved back so we need to live in another hotel again. Although I packed a “go bag” it still wasn’t enough! It was cool though, we got to sightsee and check a few things off our bucket list. But the kids wanted their beds.

We got a call to receive our stuff. Jay and I had this awesome plan – I’ll take the kids out of the house for about three hours, Jay will unpack as the movers bring our stuff in, we come back the kids get to nap in their beds while Jay and I unpack some more, and then we can cook dinner and watch a movie.

NOOOOOPE. Our stuff that was supposed to go to storage came to the apartment AND some household essentials were left in storage. Like, what the heck are we going to do with piano legs and no piano, hmm?! Most of our furniture was scratched or cracked and we lost lots of family pictures and frames because they were damaged. Another surprise…. What surprise is this? Four? Mmkay. The dudes that packed us in in Kentucky took apart all our furniture, put screws in bolts IN A PLASTIC GROCERY BAG AND WRAPPED IT WITH TAPE, taped it to the furniture, and didn’t make a parts box.

[note: when PROFESSIONAL packers take apart your furniture, they are supposed to bring plastic Ziploc bags, take apart your stuff, and put ALL of the screws and bolts in one box.]

Since our stuff was left in a warm warehouse in the summer, the adhesive melted and our screws and bolts that were taped to the piece of furniture fell off and are now…. somewhere? And our three hour field trip turned into a seven hour field trip and the kids napped in my car in a Target parking lot instead of their beds.

Ohhhhh well.

We received half of our stuff and had a bunch of unassembled furniture everywhere. I had to beg the corporate office that deals with military moves if I could go to the warehouse myself and pick up the stuff needed at our apartment and drop off the crap that we didn’t need. After lots of phone calls, emails, and more begging… they finally said yes (they said no at first because of some sort of liability crap. Lol I don’t even know.)

Two weeks after we received our stuff, we finally settled in, are finding a routine, and loving every minute of living here. The military movers had to contract someone to put the rest of our furniture together. They sent us a check for a new crib because they are liable if they don’t assemble with the original screws and bolts of the crib. Jay started language training already and I will begin my Vietnamese classes in September. I know they say “its only material things, be grateful you are healthy” or “it could be worse” or “be like a lobster and grow from adversity” or something like that… whatever, whatever… but I’m so glad that move is over.

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