One of the most daunting things about being a military family is the PCS. That's "Permanent Change of Station," for you civilian-types... in laymen's terms, a move to a new post.
My first PCS occurred back in 2005, when JC was at AIT (or Advanced Individual Training). Hannah was 3 and we were living in Piedmont, OK. I was new to the whole military thing, and I remember being absolutely mortified. As it is now, I don't remember much of the process... just that it was a pain in the butt to go to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City and set up the move. The lady was throwing around acronyms (much like I'm doing to you guys now), and I was literally shaking inside. We set a date & I waited with baited breath for that date to roll around. I missed my husband madly, and just wanted our family to be complete again.
When the movers arrived at our little duplex with this gigantic truck, my head started to spin, and it really didn't stop 'til our stuff was packed up and on that truck. It amazed me. My mother-in-law came to help me keep Hannah entertained, and as soon as the moving truck left (promising my household goods would arrive in Augusta, GA by the week's end), we hit the road in our two cars.
We got to Augusta the next day and only had to rough it for one night before our stuff arrived. It was amazing! Not having to schlep all of our stuff up and down the 20 or so stairs between the parking lot and our apartment in the sweltering GA heat??? BLISS! I know the movers hated me, but whatever. They were getting paid. :p
The move to Germany was a little more daunting. We wouldn't see our stuff for weeks or months, and I'm a little too OCD to deal with that sort of thing. I got over it, though. Moving back was even more daunting, since we lived in a 4 story townhouse-type abode, and I had an infant... I couldn't possibly keep my eyes on all the movers at once (and thusly, had some stuff come up missing... but we had no proof, so... blah). It's all worth it, though, to not have to do all the packing and loading and unpacking.
It's been three years since I've had the military involved in our moves, though. Yes, we've moved twice in those 3 years, but they weren't government-sanctioned moves, so... I had to do all that stuff by myself (which I do NOT enjoy).
We got orders to Maryland yesterday, and got word today that our stuff will be packed up on 25 August. Now, I find myself panicking and looking around at everything. I need to get some large Ziploc baggies to bag up some of the smaller items, start segregating the things I know they won't pack (like candles, chemicals, etc.) or the things we need to take with us instead of letting them pack 'em (like certain toys, clothes, etc.).
I've got a lot to do in the next two weeks, much of which I can't do 'til right before. It's going to be a crazy few weeks!
And then I see pictures like this one (of downtown Frederick, MD), and can't wait to get to a new place and explore and photograph it and make it my own, like a true Army spouse would!