Monthly Archives: March 2014

Lessons learned, observed or ignored in a Packout…

Yeah, it is exactly as it sounds. I learned a few lessons, observed a few things, and ignored a few more. Unavoidable,  I guess?

One thing I learned– anything you DON’T want packed: hide it. Stuff it in your car if it’s still there! Stuff it in your neighbors car, hide it at your friends house, put it in an emptied out bathroom and tape the door closed like a crime scene! Or… if you are me, be super-uber-vigilant about doing the above, and then forget your ditty bag on the bathroom counter. Only to have it get packed anyway, despite your best efforts. :-/  Another lesson learned, showers, although lovely, are seldom even possible during the packout days if you are doing it solo. (An ugly –and somewhat smelly– truth) The thing is, when you have packers arriving early in the morning, and you are staying up late every night trying to do move-related work– early wakeups for the sake of a shower, just don’t always happen. In fact, sometimes, you greet the packers in your PJ’s, throw a hoodie on top and call it dressed. Or maybe that was just me. 😉 (Highly possible!) 

Observation: for the safety and sanity of your family pets– send them to the groomers for the actual pack out day. Our move consisted of 2 days of packing UP (boxing, wrapping, etc) and one day of packing OUT (actually loading the truck). Do yourselves and your fuzzies a favor, and get them out of the house for actual pack out day. The front door will be wide open, people will be in and out of your house, and that is the PERFECT time for a firghtened or disoriented animal to runaway. Just in time to break your heart if they don’t make it back before you have to roll out of time. So be overly-cautious, it’s all right! Book them a hot date at the groomers or board them at your vet’s for the day. (*REMEMBER: they are supposed to be ‘quarantined’ so no ‘general population’ arrangements! Don’t drop them at a friends!)

Ignored? Let’s be honest. Everything and everyone will tell you to personally observe every item that is packed, every box that is sealed, every sticker inventoried and loaded. I’m just gonna go ahead and give you the reality check: it is IMPOSSIBLE to be in 3 rooms at the same time. And that is how you will get packed up. A team of 3 guys showed up, scattered to different rooms and went to work packing. I knew I wouldn’t be able to be everywhere at one time, so I ‘pre-packed’ a little before hand. Yeah, I know, I know, “But MrsUSN! THEY are supposed to pack you up!” That’s all well and good, but there are certain items I needed to ensure went together, were packed just right, or were packed by me. What I did was buy a bunch of book boxes (the kinds with removable lids). I packed up quite a bit of my personal items, work items,etc and just set the lids on top. The movers, happy to see their job made a little easier, pretty much just taped the boxes closed and loaded them as is.

Now, if you are of delicate sensibilities– stop reading now. Ok, you’ve been warned. For the sake of your dignity, if you have anything you don’t want them to find (AHEM)– get rid of it, or pack it yourself. One of the movers, was QUITE amused to find a triangular ‘Liberator Pillow’ in our bedroom closet… Now, you have to understand– The SeaMonkey and I went through fertility treatments, and all kinds of superhuman efforts to start our family. It never happened, but the (cough-cough) “accessories for the effort” were still present. Part of hte effort involved ‘elevating your hips’– hence the pillow. The Movers of course found it, and got a hell of a laugh out of that… I had to laugh along with them on that one though.. Instead of being subtle, or discreet and wrapping the pillow and labeling it ‘pillow’ or ‘misc’ or some such, they wrote on the paper wrapping in big black letters: LIBERATOR CUSHION!
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Sigh. I’m telling ya. Somedays, I just look for the camera crew, because I SWEAR I can hear the laugh track in the background. Life is ridiculous, and PCS moves only highlight that fact. So either toss it, pack it, or hide it really well– or else you may as well pack up your dignity too. 😉 

Other things I would suggest: no matter WHO is packing you up and out, certain items need to be packed by you and on your person (or safely in your carry-on binder or whatever). Jewelry. Contents of safe. Marriage license/certificate. Passports. Birth certificates. Firearms. Paperwork for your home. Don’t let any of these items out of your sight… Also, equally as important: don’t pack any of your cleaning stuff. No, really!! You’re going to need it fi you are leaving your house clean! Also, if you pack it, there is no telling what it will pack WITH. One friend, arrived at her new station, only to find the toilet plunger wrapped in her bathroom towels. FFS…. Buy new stuff when you get where you’re going!!!! Don’t risk that nasty scenario!! UGH!

Final suggestion: 

Our Pack Up began on Wednesday. Thursday they continued packing. Thursday night, I made arrangements to stay (with my pups) at a friends house. Simply because your linens and lamps and whatnot will have been packed by then! Friday morning, I dropped the pups at the groomers, stopped for coffee on the way, and met the movers at the house first thing in the morning. Chaos. As the packers moved our stuff out to the truck, they emptied my house room by room, starting upstairs. As soon as they cleared a room, that was the time to get in there with your cleaning gear and scrub it down! Walls, doors, blinds, windows, baseboards, floors, double check closets, etc. If you work this way (a step behind them) you will leave a sparkling house. It’s worth the effort, especially if you are going to try to rent or sell your home after you leave!
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Once the house was clean, HHG was gone, and pups had been picked up– it was time to go. Before you leave, take LOTS of pictures! This is especially important if you will be renting out your home. You want to document the condition you are leaving it in. Big shots of every room, front and back of house, yard, and any appliances you are leaving!! After I left, I made arrangements with a friend to make sure that last load of clean-up trash made it to thr curb on trash day. (Tough to rent a house with loaded trash cans! GROSS!) I crashed at a friends house again that night (desperately in need of a good nights sleep and shower!!). Next morning, got up, had my coffee and hit the road…On my way to Florida for the next few weeks, before continuing on to the cross country part of this Herculean journey.

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(Last shot of my convoy, rolling out!)

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I like to move it, move it…!

Just kidding. This sucks.
I’m sitting here under my magnolia tree with my mom, phone and a cup of coffee, just doing my best to stay out of the way. It’s been. Two steady days of these guys packing everything, and the guys out back are STILL working on putting up our new fence. Point of observation: these guys, have taken 2 days to pack up and inventory every damn thing we own. The guys in my backyard, have been here since Monday. So five days and still not done the friggin fence. For real. These movers are hauling ass. These fencers aren’t hauling anything. :-/
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So, the movers are here. They got here around 9 am, and got right to stickering , inventorying and loading the trucks. Now, the trucks… The trucks that showed up are many and large…I suspect we are going to be over our weight allowance (please not by much…!) and seeing 3 trailers here is not helping to ease that suspicion. The trailers are soft sided, like a heavy canvas curtain that just slides back. Inside are 7 truck height (8′ High,4′ wide,12’deep)crates (so we are currently equipped with 21 crates. Let’s see how many we fill, hmm?
When I tell you this is overwhelming, take it as the understatement of the century.
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Once the trucks leave, mom and I will begin the whole house scrubdown. At some point today we will be meeting with KK our property manager. Had a call from him last night, and I have to say– I really like him. He hustles. He called last tonight to tell us that he may have a renter for us, as soon as beginning of the month! This would be SUCH a weight off my mind, as it would take the burden of a mortgage off our shoulders. So, cross your fingers… Meantime? Dad is blowing up moms phone. He is so excited about us (sister, brother and I) coming home in the next few days…:-) ❤ Personally, I think he just misses the pups… 😉
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Regression

I don’t care how old you are. When shit hits the fan, and you feel like you have too much on your shoulders–having your mom swoop in feels like a rescue. Mind you, we may just be spending the next few days drinking wine and throwing stuff out, but somehow– that’s enough. Having another living, breathing, person under the same roof– who has done this before, who understands the stress of an overseas move, and sharing the stress of dad’s illness. It helps. I’m NOT losing my mind (appearances to the contrary). Or at least if I am, I have company along the way. 

Thus far, we have killed a couple cups of coffee, discussed daddy’s treatment plan (as of right now, subject to change–of course), and laughed at my students ‘We’ll miss you’ artwork. ❤  My kids made all these little cards and pictures, featuring lots of little pictures of them and me. I love every one of them… Other things accomplished– my car will be legal (or inspected anyway) today at 4, I received my GLB (Gov’t Bill of Lading, not Gay-Lesbian-Bi! lol!) today for this weeks move, and now have an estimated HHG (Household Goods) delivery date of May 5. Theoretically. We’ll see if that works out… 😉 Anyhow– there’s that. So, today is more of the same: tossing stuff I don’t need/want, packing things I don’t want broken, and making sure my important-keep-my-hands-on-it crap is in my car (not to be trifled with/lost by movers!). Onward through the fog…

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Update on Dad

Well.

Been a hell of a month… Since my last update, Dad has been poked, prodded, scanned, biopsied, evaluated and things are still going on. Today he is having a cardiac-stress test  and I think his brain MRI.  So far, we know: Malignant melanoma stage T4b on his upper back (where your tshirt label hits). This is Ground Zero. Primary Site.  In the course of evals, it has also been found that there are 11 more little friends (sarcoma) hiding in his lymph nodes. So, surgery is being scheduled for his lymph nodes to be removed, as well as the ‘Ground Zero’ tumour. Since this will be a 7-8 hour surgery, they want to be sure his body can handle the stress of it all– so today’s stress test/cardio eval is for that. Also since it has decided to met out (metastasize) to his lymphs, the brain scan is necessary. The location of his primary tumour, being right on the spine at the base of his neck/back means this beast- if it so chooses– can migrate north just as easily as south. Since the south (lymphs) are popping positive, it’s time to find out if this thing has headed north. Please– cross your fingers, pray, send well wishes, good karma, light, whatever you’ve got..We’re looking for miracles right now, and I’m pretty sure all those things pave the way for them to happen.

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Time for a SITREP

So, Friday was a SeaMonkeyMobile Marathon. My morning began at 7, with a hot date at Safe-Lite Glass to have some chips filled in his windshield. Windshield repair went smoothly (though, stepping ankle deep in a puddle afterward, sure made me shake my head!) Next up was getting his car cleaned and detailed. I ended up finding a place to get his car done, but oh wow. It was pretty funny… Keep in mind, I chose it because of it’s close proximity to the VPC…So it HAD to be CLOSE. Car could NOT get dirty between there and VPC. (Hawaiian import rules: no dirt ANYWHERE on or in your stuff) Of course.. it was pouring out. :-/ Of course. So I went to this place. This is the ‘waiting room.’
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It was– a dive. It was a hole in the wall front, and a single bay garage in the back The garage looked like a personal garage (crap EVERYWHERE), I was greeted by Mr/Ms. AlexA. (you figure that one out). I will say– his makeup was MUCH better than mine… He (She?) reminded me, 100% of LaFayette from True Blood. Seriously!!! Do-Rag, scarf, makeup and all!!) Detailing the car took almost 2 hours, in which time I got to listen to Mister Sister wailing along with Whitney, Beyonce, and Mariah. Trust me– you had to be there. End result was good though, car was clean, and I had PLENTY of time to get to the VPC which was only just on the other side of the same plaza I was in! 😀 WIN! (Finally!)

The VPC process…

Oh man. VPC is supposed to be for ‘Vehicle Processing Center’ though I think “Vast Paperwork Created” works too. When you go to VPC, plan to carve out 2-3 hours for that process (no joke) and double check your paperwork before you go!! Fleet and Family had given me a couple papers on what was needed (a hitlist, if you will). However, QUESTION EVERYTHING. GO TO THE SOURCE. Go to the Whereismypov.com (it will redirect you to a more secure site) and make sure you have everything listed on it’s website. Navy tells you ‘bring 4-5 copies of orders’– VPC asks for *7* copies of orders. (See how your day could be ruined by not taking time to double check??), proof of his windshield repair (since chips were still visible), registration, inspection, etc…OH! And– here’s where I almost got screwed: a SPECIAL POA for the vehicle!!! I have a General POA (General, as in ‘All encompassing’. General as in “I could sell him to the Sandanistas or enlist him in the Foreign Legion” but apparently NOT General as in “I can ship his %^^&* car to his next duty station…”) for the Sea Monkey, but that isn’t good enough. This POA must also have his VIN number specified, my name on there, etc. Anyhow, car gets inspected (as does driver…groan! “Are those contacts or are your eyes naturally that gorgeous..?” ) Inspector spent most of his time hitting on me– though that ended when he got to the trunk. Inside the trunk of the Toaster (our name for the SeaMonkey Mobile– it’s a Scion XB) was the weirdest damn assortment of things. In his trunk, was a cargo net, 2 glow sticks, a roll of duct tape,  and a Marlin Spike. Of course. A Marlin Spike. NATURALLY. All inappropriate comments ended then and there. 😉
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Car was immaculate, my paperwork was in order (and I had even made 6 copies of EVERYTHING, so that was good!), inspection was done and I finally got out the door. Sea Monkey Mobile is now en route to it’s new home in HI, and they tell me it “should arrive @ April 11” — a few days before I arrive, which would save me the trouble (and expense!) of a rental vehicle. Sweeeeeeet…..

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