Monday, May 2, 2011

Home is Where the Military Sends You

Home is Where the Military Sends You
Jennifer G. 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. 
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.
It 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 singing to Madonna, I heard a huge explosion. I looked behind me to see the trailer tire and fender flying through the air and bouncing right off of 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 in an empty house with our trusty air mattress, a portable crib and 2 beach chairs.   Yet, as you understand—we couldn’t have been happier.  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. Go Navy!

Please feel free to share your moving battles, I mean stories – I would love to read them.
Jennifer Griffin Pilcher
Proud Military Spouse