Sophie16June2011by our own, and might I mention HILARIOUS, Jennifer Pilcher!

“Home is where the military sends you” is a popular expression within the military.  However, it’s the process of moving, which tells the real story.  Moving in the military is referred to as PCS’ing – Pretty Crappy Situation.  Military spouses swap moving stories like our service members trade war stories.  The bigger, the better.  Each move requires an intricate battle plan involving a caravan of strangers armed with boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, and color coded stickers.  Yet, even the best laid plans may fall apart due to the numerous unexpected land mines that often occur during your PCS.

I chose to address PCS’ing in our “Everyone Serves – A Handbook for Family and Friends of Service Member” weekly blog because I know so many military members who encounter moving during pre-deployment, post deployment and sometimes even during a deployment.  Since the summer is high time PCS season I thought I would share our most recent PCS experience and I was thrilled to see so many helpful resources for moving in the new free e-book.  Some of my favorite resources from the e-book are highlighted below.

During our last move from NAS Fort Worth, Texas to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland; I earned my “Meritorious Moving Medal” or MMM.  Within one week of our closing, Texas received record rainfall and half of our backyard slid down the hill (Texans referred to it as a mountain).  As you can imagine, the buyers walked and we were scrambling to get the backyard repaired.  Of course, my husband had to leave for two months of training, so I stayed in Texas with our young children to fix the backyard and sell the house – again.

During those hot summer months, there was an endless stream of workers with bulldozers, trucks, and cranes in our backyard. Finally, the day arrived when the entire backyard looked better than ever.  My husband conveniently returned home, new buyers walked through the house and signed a contract that night.  My husband still believes that he actually sold the house.

MovingIt wouldn’t be a military moving story if the fun ended there.  The morning the movers arrived, I had the worst stomach flu of my life.  My husband sequestered me to the upstairs bedroom, threw me on an air mattress and placed a bucket beside me.  I honestly have no idea what he did with the children, and I have never asked.
Finally the house was empty and we were ready to hit the road with two kids, two cars, one boat, and our dog.  According to our battle plan, we were driving to Tennessee on the first day to stay with fellow Navy friends.  Well, we never even made it out of Texas.  The stomach flu hit everyone on the road and our pit stops were much, much longer than anticipated.

The next day our version of National Lampoons Vacation continued.  I volunteered to drive the truck, which was pulling the boat, and let my husband have some quality time in the sedan with the kids.  As I was cruising through the mountains of Tennessee, enjoying the beautiful view and belting out with Madonna, I heard a huge explosion. I looked behind me to see the trailer tire and fender flying through the air and bouncing right over his car onto the shoulder.  Hours later we were on the road again, driving on our tiny spare and praying it would hold.

At long last, we arrived in Annapolis.  We were so excited for our “goods” to be delivered the next day. However, we received a call telling us the moving truck broke down and our “life on a pallet” will not arrive for at least two weeks.  So much for our “door to door” move.

So there we were with our 2 year old, 5 year old, 11 year old dog and two extremely frustrated people with an air mattress, a portable crib and 2 beach chairs.

Within hours our Navy neighbors knocked on our door with a home cooked meal and a grocery bag full of food.  The next morning we awoke to a crisp, fall day and since we had nothing to unpack, we walked up and enjoyed the first of many Navy football games.   Home is where the military sends you and our home is wherever we are stationed together.

Here are some of my favorite moving resources from the e-book:

  1. Find out how much you will make in your new location:  MyPay
  2. Check out the educational resources you can access as a military family:  Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
  3. Military Youth on the Move
  4. Military Traveler:  A new universal base directory application that contains information like phone numbers and hours of operation at bases around the country.
  5. MyMilitaryLife:  Created by the National Military Family Association, helps military spouses navigate the many adventures of military life.


For more information and to download your free e-book click here

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For resources on how to avoid some of this mess, please see MilitaryOneClick’s Home and Relocation Page.