Well, that was an adventure. With all the “unknowns” looming on the horizon, I am leaning on God to quell my worries and fears of stepping outside of our comfort zone. I loved our home, my job, our North Carolina friends, and everything about that place that came to be home. I grew so comfortable there, and it’s a little scary to see everything we own packed up in boxes and loaded on a moving truck, headed to a place we have never even been. We spent the last month repainting rooms back to white, finding a place to move, scheduling movers, and making sure all our loose ends were tied up at Camp Lejeune. You can Google PCS advice all day long, but never having moved an entire household, it was a little overwhelming. But given everything, I’d say our transplant from Coastal North Carolina to Gulf Coast Florida was a success. Or at least I think it was. I will let you know for sure when my head stops spinning.
The movers were scheduled for 9:00 on a Tuesday morning. This was also the morning after Steve was up all night with a stomach virus, Mitchell’s nose could better be described as a faucet, and I had a sore throat. I got up early to give Mitchell a bath and got him in a clean outfit. I felt so accomplished. Then what? Explosive diaper. Through the outfit into the blankets. We got cleaned up and waited for the movers, who strolled in at 12:20… almost 3 1/2 hours late. Awesome start. They were supposed to pack everything in one day, and put it all on the truck the next. So when the two lady packers hopped out of the van without any other assistance, I was a little doubtful they were up for the task. I was even more doubtful when I heard them start talking about a lunch break less than two hours after they started packing. But fear not, it all got packed. And I continued to remind myself – in less than a week we would be in Florida, in a new house, and hopefully all our stuff would be there. We’d get through it.
After our week at the beach (you can read about that here), we had officially cleaned out our home on base house and bid our farewells to Tarawa Terrace [you can read about that here]. The road trip is about 12 hours from where we live. It took us two days. Steve took a load of essentials in his car with the dog, I had Mitchell with me in the Exploder, and the Jeep in tow. Lucky for Steve, Zoe is the ultimate car rider… you forget she’s back there. Mitchell isn’t quite as easy as Zoe, but still pretty content. But when all else failed, crank the tunes and drown out the crying. Just kidding… Kind of… We probably could have pushed through in one day, but we made a pit stop in Auburn, Alabama.
Why Auburn, Alabama? Well, we decided to add another Martin to the family. This one goes by the name of Loki Martin. Steve has been wanting another pup for a long time now. We found the place we really liked awhile back when I was looking for dogs near our new house. It wasn’t quite near our new house, but it was on the way there from North Carolina. And when we called to reserve a pup, he just so happened to be ready for pick-up exactly when we were driving through. So we figured, why not? Throw Loki in the kennel with Zoe and keep headin’ south.
We made it to Pensacola on Monday afternoon and found our new home. It’s a little nerve-wracking renting a place site unseen. We went off pictures online and telephone conversations with the landlord when making our decision. Thankfully, we found a house we really like. I loved the granite countertops, and Steve loved the close proximity to the golf course. Priorities… Married life is the best. When we rolled into town about 3:00 pm, my first priority was to get rid of the giant trailer I was pulling behind me. So we found our house and left the Jeep in the driveway. And promptly drove straight to the U-Haul drop-off location. We then went to meet our landlord, Guido. I had only spoken to him on the phone, but between his volume and his German accent, I had already gotten a little taste his exuberant personality. We had about an hour to run to the utility companies, so he told us to hurry and he would take us there. So we loaded up and followed his white painter van across town. We followed him inside, where we promptly learned that everybody knows Guido. We walked into the Water Company office with him. He then started a conversation with everybody in the office, and then told us to come across the hall to find him when we were done. When we finished and wandered across the hall to find Guido the landlord, we found he was in the County Commissioner’s office. We asked the secretary if he was available, at which point she laughed and said, “Everybody knows Guido…” and waved us on into the office. An hour in our new town and we were meeting the County Commissioner and chatting with Guido the landlord. We then hurried up and called the power company, only to find out the power and water wouldn’t be turned on until the next day. So much for our scrambling around to get everything done. But at least the weather was pleasant and we had the keys to our new house. I will say, it got dark earlier than I realized it would.
The moving truck arrived the next day. I hate to complain about this, because I have heard so many stories about the trucks being late. We barely had time to unload the cars before it got dark and we didn’t have enough light to get somewhat organized before we were taken over by boxes. But on the bright side, we only had to rough it with an air mattress and a Pack and Play for one night.
If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that I’m in no way qualified to offer moving advice. But I did learn a few things I will offer to our friends for future PCS’s (military moves)…
1. If you need to dust your house before you move, you still need to dust your house after you move.
2. If you lose your hairbrush and avoid brushing your hair for three days because you don’t want to buy a new one. Just, don’t. Spend the extra five bucks and your hair will thank you later.
3. When you’re unpacking boxes, five mismatching flip flops still don’t make a pair.
4. If you have no water in your house, 24 hour Walmart’s and Walgreen’s down the street are very convenient.
5. Boxes don’t unpack themselves.
6. On a serious note, tell the movers to unpack the boxes. Even if they try to talk you out of it. The military is paying the movers to do it anyway, but they’re not going to want to. And if they successfully talk you out of it, you’re left with a house full of boxes and stuff. Save yourself the trouble.
7. And last, but not least, if you have no power, do all the important things before it gets dark. Like changing dirty diapers. And when it does get dark, as my dad kindly reminded me, remember the principals of operating in low light; no back lighting, see from the opposite perspective, all dark holes have guns, read the light, paint a path with light, and operate from the lowest level of light. Thanks for always looking out for me dad. Your practical and insightful advice has gotten me to where I am today.
We’ve been here for a week, and I’m still unpacking! I’m sure later there will be pictures of the new home, as we have lots of requests from our family and friends for those… but for now, it’s not quite unpacked. More accurately, it looks like we’ve been struck by a tornado. But we wanted to get an update out there for our families and let everyone know – we made it to Florida!