by Christine Maxwell, Guest Contributor
For the first time since the summer of 2012, my family and I are not moving. Count it, that’s 5 consecutive years, where we moved every single summer.
My husband and I joke that our family celebrates the Fourth of July by unpacking a mountain of boxes and eating take-out on paper plates instead of the traditional American barbecue, because like clockwork, we always seem to PCS in early July.
Looking back at so many of our moves, I can even find humor in the situation. I always have to remind myself that whenever I’m in the throes of a PCS and nothing is going according to plan, I’ll someday look back and laugh at the situation.
With so many PCS stories to choose from, it’s hard to pick a “favorite.”
Maybe it was sleeping on an air mattress and eating dinner on a cardboard box for 2 months because our household goods that we planned ahead and shipped early, got stuck in customs for 2 months.
There was always that time I filled my car’s gas tank the day I was supposed to ship it with an empty tank. I had to convince a Korean mechanic to drain it in time.
Alternatively, there was that time I was 7 months pregnant in the heat of a Fort Hood summer, pleading with the movers to stop bringing another family’s household goods into my new home.
Most recently, it was the time when my husband deployed to Afghanistan and my toddler, 2 dogs and I drove across 2 time zones on our own to get to our new home. It’s “funny” how my husband, often seems to not be around for the PCS, very convenient, but I guess deployment is a valid excuse.
However, this summer there will be no PCS and my family and I will be staying put in our own home.
There will be no moving boxes, no change of address cards and no stress of packing up our entire lives into a million boxes and moving it to a new duty station.
It’s a strange phenomenon that I’m not accustomed too, and get this, my husband won’t even be deployed or TDY. It’s almost as if I’m getting a taste of civilian life again, almost. There are so many helpful lists of things to do in preparation for a PCS, but below is my list of 10 things I’m not going to do this summer!
10 Things This Military Spouse Is NOT Going To Do This Summer
1. I’m not going to say so long (a seasoned milspouse knows never to say goodbye) to all the awesome new friends and neighbors I’ve met over the last year. Instead, I’m going to enjoy all the time I have left with my friends and make some new ones too!
2. I’m not going to take down every single picture I just hung up in my home. In fact, I have new decorations to add…especially the ones in my home office that have been sitting propped against the wall for the last 11 months.
3. I’m not going to frantically contact all the daycare centers in a 30-mile radius, looking for child care for my son. I’m not even going to make any daily calls to the CDC to inquire about my son’s waitlist status. I’m going to enjoy the continuity of sending him to school every day with the same teachers he’s had for a year.
4. I’m not going to search for a new dentist, pediatrician, eye doctor, babysitter, hair stylist, dry cleaner, vet or kennel for my dogs, or internet/trash/utilities provider…you get it, the list goes on.
5. I’m not going to give/throw away all our liquor, candles, cleaning supplies, propane tanks and food. Instead, I might take said liquor, make myself a drink, light the candles I didn’t have to throw away and enjoy a relaxing bath.
6. I’m not going to gain 10 pounds from spending all my time sitting in a car, road tripping across the country as I frantically try to beat the movers to our next location. Likewise, I won’t be stuck in a cramped extended-stay hotel, eating out for all my meals.
7. I’m not going to cry over the gouges the movers put in the hope chest my grandmother left to me or pick up broke pieces of our wedding china. I’ll save those worries for the next PCS.
8. I’m not going to spend hours researching and analyzing the perfect new home to rent or buy. I won’t worry about finding a magical unicorn house that combines the perfect price, school system, bedroom count, commute to work, and proximity to Target, all in one location.
9. I’m not going to watch the weather like it’s my new full time job as I worry about whether or not it’s going to rain cats and dogs on moving day. We may live in the high desert of Colorado, but I guarantee you it always rains on our moving day.
10. I’m not going to roll my eyes when the moving contractor tells me that, “we can definitely pack you out and move you in under 2 days.”
Maybe it sounds a little bit like I’m bragging, but I promise you I’m not. I know that a summer without a PCS is a special treat and I appreciate that.
If you are dealing with a PCS this summer, I will be thinking about you and sending you positive PCS vibes. Whether it’s your first PCS or your 10th, they’re still a pain and no matter how much you plan and organize, something always still goes wrong. As military spouses, we learn to roll with the punches. It’s just what we do and we always make it work.
For now, I’m going to enjoy my PCS-less summer because I know that Summer 2018 and the PCS that comes with it, will be here soon enough.
Christine Maxwell is an Army wife and toddler mom. She works as a Budget Manager in Higher Education and also manages HerMoneyMoves, a blog about personal finances, career and military family life geared toward military spouses and their families.