PCSing..whoseywhatsits

Today, I am linking up with Ashley from Eights on the Move for Military Monday and PCS Adventures.

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I thought Student Affairs was bad with acronyms. That field has got nothing on the military.

PCS or Permanent Change of Station is basically the military’s way of saying moving for your job.

I am finally feeling like we have settled in from our PCS in May.

In the military, you can have the government pack and move you if you so choose. Tom and I decided to do a DITY (Do-IT-Yourself) move, which is where we move ourselves and then get paid by the Army.

We ended up saving/gaining some mula doing it this way. This way, I also had control over it and knew where everything was. Plus with the timing of things from my exit from Iowa State, we were able to get moving help from my end as well with loading the truck.

Double score.

Many people take this opportunity to travel and see the sites along the way to their new abode. Unlike others, we did not do anything extravagant on the way here. Our road trip was simple-get there as fast as we can. I get really stressed out on road trips-mostly because I get restless and cranky. We just wanted to get out of that Uhaul and into our new space. Plus sight-seeing can be somewhat difficult with a pooch. So we just drove through Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky stopping as little as we could.

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I was so lucky to have Tom help with the moving process. I am a little terrified of driving. (Seriously, I have a panic attack about driving on a weekly basis.) So driving this bad boy is a nightmare for me. I couldn’t imagine doing it without him, which is what many military families have to plan for. We have been thinking about what the next move will look like and the timing of his exit out of the Army and the next deployment. There are a lot of things to consider, but we aren’t going to worry about that just yet. But I am leaning more towards using PODS, especially since the Army will not pay for you to move “out.”

I am not sure which option is better. They both have pros and cons to it. I think you have to figure out what is best for you and your situation. It may look completely different if there are kids in the mix and depending on where you are going.

Maybe we would have taken more time if the trip would have needed to take several days across country anyway. Also if we were PCSing to say Italy or Hawaii, I think sight-seeing would be in order…all the time.

Regardless, I am glad the move is done and our PCS story has been written.

But the thing is, with the Army, someone is always PSCing. Tom’s unit seems to be doing all kinds of turnover. I feel like every day he comes home talking about another new person. It is really difficult to keep track. I need him to make the Army version of a family tree to keep it straight, along with their titles.

With this you have to say goodbye to people that you have gotten close to and learned a great deal from. You do this in any move really, but the frequency is probably not as high as it is in the military. It is just part of the deal with the Army. You get to meet a lot of people along the way, but they may not always stay in your neighborhood.

Tom just recently said goodbye to his platoon sergeant. Tom was the driver of his vehicle in Afghanistan, so he got to know the Sgt. pretty well. Plus, I think Tom was attached to him more because this Sgt. was his first out of basic and for his first deployment. But that is me just speculating the sentimental. His wife was also the FRG leader who answered all my questions while Tom was deployed and I was in Iowa.

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To show their appreciation, the company pooled together to get him a gift. Tom of course went into creation overdrive to make it the best thing ever. And it is one of the coolest things I have seen, so of course I have to share it!

They bought him a gun and had it engraved with special emblems for the brigade and company. It looked pretty snazzy! Then Tom made a box that looks like the boxes that everything came shipped in while they were in Afghanistan.

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The fun thing about this, was that Tom took a lot of time and energy to make it look like he didn’t care about the details. He was very particular about making it look like it had been on deployment.

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He then bought foam padding and also used the padding from the box the gun came in to cushion the gun while moving it.

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Even though I didn’t get to see this, it was fun hearing how the company gave the gift and the reactions from everyone. This family will be missed when they move to California!

Moving in with a Caveman

“What are you doing?”

This phrase has exited my mouth several 100 times in the last few weeks. When moving in with someone, there are some growing pains. Lots of growing pains. There are a lot of things you don’t know about someone until you share a roof with them. Albeit, we have lived together before, but when you do it so sporadically, there are still things to uncover or re-uncover. It’s like we are newly-weds all over again.

It is like that episode of Boy Meets World where Cory and Topanga spend the night together for the first time. Girl in face mask and guy clipping toe nails-classic.

Now add that the person you are moving in with is an infantryman.

My husband lived in the wilderness for 6 months, then lived in a practically empty house for almost 2 months.

This is what happens when you leave an infantryman unsupervised…

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I do not claim his poor beer choices…

So on top of dealing with clothes/towels on the floor and dishes everywhere, I have to deal with Tom licking his plates after every meal and playing with knifes like he is a ninja.

And every reason resorts back to “I’m an infantryman.” (which inevitably leads to my eye roll)

Let’s just say, it has been interesting trying to get to know each other’s little quirks again. I would be lying if I said that the past month has been all rainbows and sunshines. We may have been together for the last 6 years, but there are still issues that we have to deal with. And honestly, I would be a little afraid if we didn’t have a disagreement here and there.

I may call Tom out with his primitive living, but I will admit that I have not been a perfect angel either. I am pretty set on my routines and everything having a place. As an introvert, I need my “me” time to get away from everything, so having someone around all the time has not been the easiest for me. I have had to redefine what that means for me and grab those moments when I can. Just this morning I got aggravated with him because he messed up my set aside “alone” time while I got ready for work. Really he was just trying to chat, and I was being rude and upset that I couldn’t be alone. This explains what transition I have had to go through as an introvert:  http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/how-to-love-an-introvert/ And I have had struggles with everything that this post mentioned, which in turn makes me drink the haterade towards Tom.

As every couple before us, we have had some rough patches learning how to read each other and effectively communicate. And we both have been so used to being on our own, so we have had to work on sharing a space and not feeling invaded by the other. Compromise has been the motto of our house or we just claim do-overs and start the conversation over. Although, I am not sure I will ever lovingly look over at Tom as he leaves army/survival gadgets everywhere (and I mean they are EVERYwhere). Just as he may not look at me with adoring eyes when I have filled the DVR with all of my TV shows once they start up again in the fall-the line up does get a little ridiculous.

But this is part of growing together.  We will probably spend the rest of our lives trying to “tame” each other. I hope that every day we are able to learn more about each other. And who knows what habits of each other’s we may pick up on…only time will tell!

There have been a lot of good things too in this taming process:

  • Decorating the house
  • Making/fixing furniture-I couldn’t do this without Tom
  • Tom finally caving in and wanting to watch “The Bachelorette” with me
  •  Grocery shopping together
  • Tom teaching me how to climb a rope (Yes like the rope you climb in Gym class. I have never been able to get off the ground, and these ropes are everywhere on base for me to practice on. And we’ve stopped on our way to the Commissary to practice.)
  •  Eating dinner together every night
  •  Deciding that we are becoming Red and Kitty from “That 70’s Show”
  • Playing outside with the dog
  •  BBQ on the patio
  • Singing rap and pop songs in formal A Cappella voices (Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “I Like Big Butts” is my favorite.)

So for those of you who are about to move in with someone (significant other or not), understand that there WILL be an adjustment period. But there are a lot of laughs that can come with it if you can move past the unruliness.

***Anyone have any good stories to share after moving in with someone?***

Also with moving in to a new space there are a lot of new expenses. Since we had lived on campus, we did not have very much because most of it was provided. Luckily my parents are downsizing right now, so we inherited a kitchen table and set of chairs. You can see that they look like they were from the 80s or early 90s (the chairs, not my parents.)

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We had to strip these chairs first. This meant taking off the couple decade old cloth and cushions that were starting to disintegrate. Then I had to pull out all the staples to make it easier for the new layer to be attached.  Nasty job, but so worth it!

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After we did that, Tom put on the padding and cloth that we had gotten from Hobby Lobby.

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Grace was making it difficult for Tom to do anything because she wanted the padding to be her new bed.

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We had planned to do this part together, but we weren’t able to get it all done in one night like we had planned. The stripping took a lot longer than we thought. But, Tom surprised me one night when I came home from work and had them all completely covered. Love him!

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Basically a new chair!

Now we just need to update the table to match.

Soon we will be ready to entertain!

U-Hauling It Across the Midwest

We are officially all moved to KY. It has been a rough couple of weeks, and the house is still a mess. The plus side is that I get to wake up next to my husband every day, and it’s not just a weekend visit.

Moving is never easy no matter what your circumstances may be. So I have some tips for future moves to help alleviate some stress.

1. Use moving as a time to get rid of things. I probably threw out or donated about 10 bags worth of things. You just need to make the decision as to whether it is worth the effort of moving or not. I had some criteria that I gave myself because I have been known to keep things for silly reasons. Rules could be when was the last time you used it timeline or can you purchase an updated version at your new location for cheap.

2. Wrap your hanging clothes in garbage bags while still on the hanger. This does take quite a few bags, but it makes the transportation of them much easier. It also saves you time taking them off hangers and then back on at the new place.

3. Use clothes, towels, bedding as packaging. You have to pack these items anyway, so why not use them to fill space and protect fragile items. You can stuff these items into smaller, odd-shaped spaces so then you don’t feel like you are wasting a box. Sustainability my friends by not using newspaper or bubble wrap.

4. Use rolling suitcases to pack DVDs and books. These items are always deceivingly heavy. This way you can pack tons into one space, and the wheels make it easier to move.

The next few are helpful if you don’t plan on getting everything unpacked in a day…

5. Designate a backpack/box with important or sensitive items/documents. Being with the army there was a potential of needing several things quickly, so we needed to make sure we always knew where they were. Making a box for this made it a lot easier when Tom asked me where random Army paperwork was.

6. Know what you need right away for kids or pets and put that in the front of the moving truck.

7. Pack an overnight bag for a few days. We took a little longer unpacking, and the clothes were some of the last things we did since they were in boxes all over the house that we had used for packaging. I didn’t feel so stressed knowing that I still had clean clothes for a few days.

8. Label your boxes. This was a huge time saver. We were able to take things off the truck straight to their designated space. Yay organization! It also helped if we did need to find something quickly because we knew exactly what was in each box.

9. Save up money for eating out. The first couple days you are not going to have things set up to cook or have the food to do so. And let’s be honest, you need some lazy moments after unpacking/moving all day.

We still have a little bit to do, but we are waiting on some furniture to do so. It is starting to feel like home, so hopefully I stop feeling like I am going to be heading back to Iowa any day now. And I see several craft projects in our future!

Another thing we had to do in order to prepare was fence in our backyard for Gracie.

This was all Tom, but I had to show his handy work. He did a great job with it! We were only able to do a chain link fence with the guidelines of our neighborhood.

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The baby gate did not fit in the opening we had. Tom made the wooden posts to wedge the gate in. And it looks like it was meant to be like that. Thanks to Tom and our buddy Martin for making it so I don’t have to have Grace on the leash to go potty! It is so great to have a yard for her.

Here is her first encounter with the yard. We have tried catching her hot laps she does, but it never fails as soon as the camera comes out she is done. Anyway, she seems to enjoy the yard!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend remembering those who have fallen before us!

Till next time.