Thursday, March 10, 2011

On the Go

It's been a while since my last entry but it's also been a crazy few weeks.  The movers have come and gone, our home is now referred to as our "old house" and we just finished up PCS leave.  PCS leave = an amount of vacation designated for visiting family, taking care of moving issues, and preping to move.  I write this as I sit in Atlanta airport (our layover location), while our two little ones are trying to occupy themselves. So far we have only hit one snag which was solved with no screaming (I was very close!).  The airline we were originally flying with could not accomodate our 50 lb. Boxer because it they were flying a smaller plane.  After an airline switch and then a few flight switches our departure date was changed from 3/09 to 3/10.  Not the greatest but what can ya do right?

So needless to say we got up before the sun this morning, approximately 3:30 am EST, to head for our 6:50 am flight.  That was loads of fun let me tell you.  Upstate NY greeted us with sleet and slushy roads, thanks for the warm goodbye.  Our flight to Germany leaves Atlanta at 4 pm EST, lots of time for us to chill and take in what we have in store.  Once we arrive in Germany we will be waiting on the military shuttle bus for our 3 hour trip to Ansbach from Frankfurt.  Sleeping sounds like a great option.  Once we're in Ansbach we'll be staying at the lodge on-post until we are given housing.  It's a big song and dance to get over there but being in Europe will be so worth it in the end. 

4 hours until we fly out for Germany.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Quirky Mover

I wish I had a picture of what happened today.  While I never saw the actual event, I know it took place.  While sitting in our family room surrounded by a growing city of boxes I heard the faint noise of a musical instrument.  Nothing professional, more like a little toy.  That's when I put it all together.  The big burly moving man who was boxing up my childrens belongings upstairs was playing on their xylophone.  It sounded like a poor rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb.  I must admit, the lamb should have been put out of its misery.  I'm still trying to debate whether this was weird/funny or irresponsible/rude.  I mean, the mere thought of what the man must have looked like doing this seems funny.  But I doubt it would be as funny had he been playing Mary with my underwear, ya know?
<---- This picture of the xylophone is necessary to help capture the humor.  I only wish I had the patience to photoshop a picture of a moving man into the scene.

Anyhow, our house is now full of cardboard, packing tape and the lingering smell of permanent marker.  We've lived in this particular house for 1 1/2 years.  What has taken us this long to make a home, took the movers just 4 hours to pack away.  Personally I know it would have taken me weeks.  I sit and analyze everything for days until I get frustrated and pull the Hefty bag out.  Needless to say, they are more efficient.

Tomorrow the truck will be here to pick everything up, minus the kids and dog.  They did offer to box them up but between Child Services and PETA we don't have the time for that mess.  Just in case this isn't found to be humorous, I kid I kid, I joke I joke, I have proof that everyone made it through the packing phase in one piece.

15 Days until we arrive in Germany

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The break down for military moves (at least for us) usually goes: one day for boxing up household goods and one day for pick-up.  For this move we were told two days were necessary for boxing up the house and one day for pick-up.  So it was scheduled that way, at least we thought so. 

My schedule for today went from waking up early, doing the last minute things before the movers arrived, then getting Elise off to school.  3 hours later I was still waiting.  A phone call to the movers and I was reassured that they would arrive "shortly".  3 more hours later and I had to phone again.  This time I spoke with the owner who told me there was a mix-up and that a family with a similar name was scheduled for today.  He then told me our house would get boxed up in one day, not two.  So at about 2 in the afternoon the realization set in that I was finally able to relax for a bit.  I can't really be mad that our house will only be invaded by strangers for a total of two days rather than three.

To pass some time I pulled out my Kindle and started reading through a new favorite, "Those Crazy Germans! A Lighthearted Guide to Germany" by Steven Somers.  This piece has some insight into the smaller bits of culture and behaviors of Germans.  I'm definitely on the edge of my seat to arrive in Germany and this book offers some great teasers, along with some chuckles towards naive Americans.

1 Day until the movers arrive (again), 16 Days until we arrive in Germany.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quarantined Area

It is now crunch time, lots of final rearranging and packing to do.  The only packing that we have to worry about will be all of the clothing and personal belongings that we will need for the next 2 months, the very reason for our HUGE bags.  The trick is to pack what we need but then make sure the movers don't get to it.  They will pack everything, and I stress everything, that they see.  I've heard horror stories about movers packing bags of garbage, only for the families to open spoiled trash months later at their new duty station. No thank you.  A couple trips to a dumpster today will help avoid that issue.

A great idea that I read about to separate travel goods from household goods is to quarantine an area.  There has to be one designated area or room in the home where the packers are not allowed to go.  In this area the family keeps everything they want left alone, such as their travel luggage, travel snacks, garage door openers, house keys, or anything else that also needs to be turned into the housing office.

             In our house that area looks
               something like this ----->

The better part of today will be spent finishing laundry, taking all items that are hung on the walls down and removing any trash items.  The kids are almost packed up but of course Chris and I have yet to start so that is also on our to-do list. 

1 day until the movers come, 17 days until we arrive in Germany.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pointers on Packing

Throughout our various roadtrips to visit with family or trips to just get out of town I feel I have mastered the art of packing.  I will gloat a bit that I was able to fly from Georgia to New York with two children for a week stay on just 3 carry-on pieces of luggage.  I found a space saving (along with time saving) idea a long time ago that has worked for me everytime.  Roll, don't fold.
I started packing up clothes today and went right to my specific way of doing things.  I group an outfit together, roll it all up and band it together.  This saves room in the luggage and saves time when you're living out of a suitcase for a while.  Instead of rummaging through a large suitcase for a pair of socks and making a mess, it will already be inside the rolled outfit.  Natalie likes this because she can just grab her own outfit for the day and put herself together. 

Elise came up with a different solution ...
... pack yourself wearing all the clothes you have.  Besides the stink factor that would be sure to follow, it is an interesting idea.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ready ... set ... pack!

Part of my Motherly duties in this upcoming move is to make sure things are "pre-packed".  As anyone can tell, our daughters' room in this picture is a total disaster.  If a moving person were to walk into this room as-is then it can easily be assumed that most everything will just get thrown in a box.  Movers don't take kindly to having to clean-up while packing-up, so a little consideration for them will go a long way.  The sad thing is that I cleaned this room just two weeks ago, but Hurricane Elise and Tropical Storm Natalie tore through and this space has been ruled as a state of disaster.  Please don't notify Red Cross, everyone made it out alright and I swear Ruby is not passed out from the fumes.  After two hours and lots of bags to organize and toss out some of the mess I conquered the not so pretty room and preped it for the move. 

Ruby gave up on me about ten minutes in, pretty much after she realized the food remnants were getting thrown out.

The next step is to remove everything from the walls because the movers will not touch anything that is hung up.  I already spent a great deal of time in Natalie's old room/the old play room just undecorating.  Now all that is left is a blank slate and a big echo when you walk in.
Our walk-through with the movers ended up being today instead.  A quick 5 minute tour of the house and it was over.  The no-pack list is nearly as long as the list of things they can pack for you.  No batteries, no liquids, no soaps, no perishables, no perfumes, no oils, no lightbulbs, no liquor, etc.  Luckily we did find out that they will pack canned and dry foods for an overseas move, we had thought differently.

7 days until the movers come, 23 days until we arrive in Germany.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good Friends, Food and Wine

Yesterday involved a great combination of things we've been needing.  Good friends that bring great conversation, dinner from the grill and some drinks to mellow the mood.  What was most likely our "Leaving GA" get together was perfect.  We're lucky to have made such friendships, in our environment that can be rare. 

Today we recovered from a late night of conversation and drinking.  Lots of hydrating later, I was back to normal.  This week is our last full week before the full reality of moving begins.  I say this because the movers will arrive in just over a week to begin packing and then our "normal" state of things will be on vacation for quite a while.  I can see it already, the oh-so familiar change of living space that goes from functional to a city of cardboard.

25 days until we arrive in Germany ....

Friday, February 11, 2011

The mysteries of on-post housing ...

Living on a military installation has many positves.  Free lawn maintenance, free trash removal, free utilities and people to call at all hours in case anything breaks.  Such as a dishwasher or fridge breaking on the weekend, been there.  Today we came across another unknown mystery of military housing, all the hidden costs of moving out.  Moving in is a breeze, everything so fresh and new.  The excitement allows you to forget that everything you bring into the house must one day be brought back out.  Moving out is a chore unless you would like to pay for someone else to dust every corner, wipe every door frame, scrub every tub, and so on.  We paid that somebody.  We've broken our backs and grew some gray hairs doing a "self-clean" before.  That is the last thing you want to do before traveling to your next duty station, you'll be tired and cranky ... and so will he. 

Today we welcomed the Housing Assistant into our home so she could do a Pre-inspection before our move out.  Thankfully we only have one concern in regards to damage of the house, which is a large hair dye stain on the carpet in our master bedroom.  There's no hiding it or escaping the impending charge. 

Next on the agenda is for the movers to do their walkthrough.  The reason is to scope everything out so they know about how many boxes to bring for the move and to check for oversized and fragile items.  Some say the walkthrough is also for shadey companies to "shop" around in your home before the move.  And this is exactly why I will be supervising the move, along with offering refreshments.  Always a good idea to get on their good side.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hurry up ... wait wait wait

What should have taken an hour, took three.  This is to be expected with anything involving the word "military".  I'll be keeping that in mind for the next few months.

So today we dropped our truck off at the Charleston Vehicle Processing Center.  From there it will be put on a boat to meet us in Germany somewhere around March 24.  Making the drive up to Charleston in two separate vehicles, Chris with Natalie in a rental and I in our truck, was pretty easy.  Getting to the port and realizing I had too much gas in the truck for shipment was a downer.  The maximum alotment is a quarter tank and I was just above it.  Drove around and found a mechanic that would siphen gas then it was back to the port.  Lots of paperwork and an hour later we are back on our way to Savannah.  Another 2 1/2 hour drive (we had to take turns, it was that boring) and we were back home.

The funniest part of the day was watching Natalie blow kisses to the truck and waving goodbye.  And so it begins ...