So, our movers sure do pack some crazy stuff using nutty strategies. But moving with the military is so much more than a live plant packed, dirt and all, in a box with our white linens.
Let’s unpack some of the other ways in which our movers have shocked, awed and driven us up the wall.
1. During a move, with every electronic that is ready to be packed, one of the packers asks:
“Do you want to donate that? I know a guy who takes computers and TVs for his charity.”
2. The labels that our packers put on our boxes. When “movies” actually means books and DVDs are really “paper.” The seasonal door “reafs” and “two sticks and a rope” that cause confusion.
The sticks/rope deal? It’s actually a hammock!
3. Sometimes the labels are TOO accurate. “Bourbon, whiskey, liquor.” Care to place any bets on whether this particular box arrived at the next duty station?
4. Boxes that are not yours arrived with your household goods. Luckily, the boxes are labeled with a unique last name and this family happens to be your friends. But your friends aren’t missing any boxes.
When you all open the boxes together, they discover that these are, in fact, the boxes that they lost 2 military moves ago.
5. Would you care to guess what exactly an “office squirrel” might be?
Maybe a cute little woodland creature, complete with cat-eye glasses and a freshly sharpened pencil?
Would it be taxidermied, a sculpture, a stuffed animal or even alive creature?
These questions, and more, remain unanswered as this box was promptly put in the trash, unopened.
6. Following protocol, you have placed all of the things you don’t want to pack into the spare bathroom. You even taped off the door AND placed a sign up: “DO NOT ENTER!!!! DO NOT PACK!!!!
Still, one of the packers made his way into this room and couldn’t wade to the toilet through the dog bed and suitcases.
Instead, he thoughtfully urinated on the floor.
You discovered this at 10 p.m., in the dark, and wearing flip flops. Perfect!
7. There is some debate about whether or not to feed the movers and packers. Officially, the word is a strong “No!” But decades of military spouse hospitality is hard to overcome, so you bought them lunch.
When presented with your generosity, one or more ask: “What? No vegetarian option?”
8. Playing the game of: Is This Really MY Box? This occurs when the movers can’t figure out your spelling, despite it being ALL over the moving paperwork. Flngn. Flanign. Fianagarmas. You get the picture.
9. The movers at the next duty station are in for a fun time when you are coming back from OCONUS. Just picture the looks of confusion as the Spanish speaking packers offload boxes marked in Kanji from Okinawa or written in German or Arabic! It should be so much fun for you to figure out which box goes in which room!
10. Try as we might, we do accumulate things we treasure: antique furniture, delicate Christmas ornaments, handcrafted anything, crystal vases. You know, the things that you have CLEARLY marked as valuable on the inventory sheet. These are also all the things that the movers will inevitably lose.
11. And sometimes they lose the things that are just plain weird. The very long metal pole for a basketball hoop. All of your lingerie, although you have GOT to wonder where it ended up.
12. Most importantly, the movers will lose some or all of the parts you need to put your furniture back together. Bolts for the beds and hardware for the lamps. Although you got the ALL the light bulbs from all the light fixtures in the last house.
13. Speaking of hardware, it’s also super fun when they mix up the carefully labeled bags you created for each item.
Eventually, the too small IKEA pieces that were used to put together your bed WILL give out,and it will happen when you husband sits down on the edge.
He will end up trapped in between the bed frame, mattress and box spring.
And you will laugh for years about it.
14. For many moves, batteries are not allowed. What is also not allowed is for the mover(s) to spend hours unscrewing all the battery plates and collected the batteries to take home.
15. Over the last 3 or so years, you have carefully cultivated a civil relationship with your neighbors. At least it WAS civil, until your movers parked their truck blocking the neighbor’s driveway, and refused to move even a little.
And when the moving company and the cops were called by you and your neighbor, the truck driver claimed “This is how all truckers deal with ‘fat housewives who stay home all day and have nothing better to do.’”