The adventures of an Air Force spouse

The First Move is the Hardest

This deployment is almost over and I haven’t even gotten us out of our first base in Georgia. Maybe that’s because we learn the most lessons during our first assignment. But not with moving. No matter how any moves you have under your belt, you still learn something new each time.

During our move to Georgia to enter the military we learned that the movers mark everything as dented, scratched or otherwise damaged, including brand new items like a washer and dryer. Don’t let them get away with it if you can help it. Also, you can ask the movers to leave at 5 or 6 p.m. if they haven’t already and not let them stay until midnight while your twin daughters sleep on the living room floor. Movers can rarely be found after 4 p.m. anyway so this is not usually a problem.

So I learned those two lessons moving into Georgia. Leaving, I learned how to make a move by myself because the Good Chaplain was in Squadron Officer School in Alabama, en route for our move. En route means he’s gone and you are left to pack things up.

Moving is not really too bad — if you are cloned or have really good friends who will give up part of their day to help you make sure things that are supposed to be packed are and those that are going with you are not. I had the good friends.

In a military move, the government contracts with several local moving companies and assign one to you. We’ve had several variations on this including the move from North Dakota where the government paid the mover the going rate and the mover was responsible for paying for any damages. Or when we left Alaska to move to Oklahoma and we received a large sum of money and procured our own movers. Those two were the best moves we ever had and so the government cancelled those pilot programs.

Anyway, usually the government pays the mover a certain amount and when you get to your next base you submit a claim for the damage of your property. Depending on where you are moving from, damage can be significant.

While home for the weekend before leaving Georgia, the Good Chaplain filled a closet with items I was to take with me in the car, along with myself and our girls. The aforementioned good friend’s husband helped me load our brand new GMC Jimmy and the car top carrier. Lots of stuff was still left in the closet.

By this time, I broke down. “How am I supposed to get all of this to Alaska?” I cried into the phone to the Good Chaplain.

His usual answer of “I know you’ll do the best you can,” was not all that comforting.

“Well, we’re going to have to do something because there is a seat for each girl and me. We don’t even have room for you,” I responded.

I ended up having the packers pack an extra box of stuff to take on the truck and then when we got to Alabama to pick up the Good Chaplain, he shipped another 600 pounds of goods.

The most stressful part of any move from a house on a military installation is having to clean before you check out of housing. The military will give you a 20-year-old home with the original appliances and carpeting, let you live there for three years with children and pets and then expect it to look brand new when you leave. Impossible! The answer is simple, but often expensive — cleaning service. They will take the detailed list of chores and guarantee you pass inspection.

Leaving Georgia, the big problem was the ground beneath the oak tree in the backyard where nothing could grow. We’d tried to plant grass a few times, but it never took. At the pre-inspection, the inspector insisted if I watered it, grass would grow. So I did. At inspection everything passed, but the inspector wanted to know what was up with the mud around the oak tree. “You told me to water and I did.”

Finally the girls and I got in the car, waved goodbye to our friends and made our way to Alabama and then Alaska, looking forward to the next adventure.

One Response to The First Move is the Hardest

  1. Dear Vicky, I love reading your posts and I miss you terribly.
    Your comment about telling the packer to leave after 6:00 hit home with me! I also had 8 month old twins sleeping in an empty room on a quilt while the packers were trying to squeeze my household goods on a truck that already had another families household goods in it. This was at midnight, and there was no way our stuff would fit. It was a mess, and believe me, Bob and I were at our wits end. We were young and didn’t know any better!
    Love ya, Laurie

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