Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I'm going to return from my blog strike for a few minutes to provide some tips to help military families plan a move. Where we live, PCS (moving) season is in full swing. The buzz about next "duty stations" is in the air and words like "TMO", "movers", "pack-out", "house hunting", "orders", "school records", "overseas clearance" are being tossed around like they are food in a junior high school cafeteria.

Through years of experience, I have developed a list of useful tips for you to use during your next move. So listen up! I don't like to repeat myself and I might not come back if my strike continues to go badly. (Still waiting for some jokes or me...I'm drowning in bloggy Hell.)

When you get the news:
  • The first thing to remember is that the move will happen with or without you. Planning is pretty much a waste of brain cells so keep all planning to a minimum.
  • When you are informed of your move, don't bother reacting. Try to avoid saying, "You want me to move where?" or "Are you &%!$ing kidding me?" Save your emotions for the actual moving process. You don't want to wear out your anger, crying, and frustration supply before the movers even get there.
  • Don't believe anything they tell you until you have orders. (And, even then, it's safe to call the TMO, but not safe to buy a house.)
  • Never, ever, ever, ever tell your kids you are moving until you are on the airplane. Remember, things can change at any time. (This is especially true if you are trying to leave Korea.) I've found the best thing to tell them is you are going on a "really long vacation soon" and "if we really like it, perhaps we won't even come back." That leaves it comfortably open-ended for everyone.
  • Don't buy any items that might "be useful" at your next duty station. It does NOT pay to plan ahead. Examples of bad purchases may include cold (or warm) weather gear, electronics, cars with the steering wheel on the alternate side to the one you already own, and travel books. Remember, if you buy something that isn't useful at your next duty station, you also will NOT be able to sell it there.

When the movers come:

  • Place both the pets and the kids (with food and water, of course) in a locked bathroom. Be sure to turn off the water to the toilet, just in case.
  • Fill a backpack with all your valuables and wear it throughout the entire moving process. Do not put it down for even a second, even while sleeping, as it might get packed, unpacked, stolen, or otherwise destroyed.
  • Make sure you are wearing shoes so they don't get packed.
  • Empty your trash can. Movers are notorious for packing trash. (Not kidding.)
  • Stick bright colorful stickers that say "Pack me at your own risk!" on anything you would like to keep from the packers. (But don't count on it working for everything. Put those things in your backpack.)
  • Ask the movers to put the new inventory stickers on top of the old ones. That way when you pull the sticker off, they will all come off together.

Traveling to your new location:

  • I've covered travel Nothing's changed there.
Upon arrival:
  • Arrive in the dark. New places always look better in the dark.
  • Tell the kids that you like it and think you will stay if Daddy (or Mommy) can find a job.
  • Stay in a hotel. Don't get creative and think you can sleep on the floor of the new home you were not supposed to buy until you arrived.
  • Don't forget to unpack the pets. They hate being left in the car.
  • Don't forget to unpack the kids. They hate being left in the car.
  • Remember, a little Benedryl never hurt anyone on the first night of a new place with jet lag. (Hotels have bathrooms with locks, too, if you are one of the crazy people who are morally opposed to drugging your kids.)
OK, back to my strike. Scabs! All of you!


Anna said...

These are super great tips, but shouldn't you be spending your time and energy researching tips on how to live in Korea forever, or somesuch?

Helen, Robert, Jack, and Emma said...'ve got 31 days left. I will NOT let you get back to the States before me! In the words of!

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