Friday, January 31, 2014

Moving Day and Murphy's Law...

I survived my first PCS pack out! Whoo! It has been an interesting few days, lemme tell you.

For all my non military readers, PCS stands for Permanent Change of Station, which is fancy Army talk for "you're moving". Now, this ain't my first rodeo in terms of moving-I've moved like 15 times in my life, including 3 solo international moves, but this has been a totally different experience. 1) I'm the wife, not the kid and this is MY china, furniture, etc. so I am much more involved than following my mom's orders to pack boxes. 2) The Army is involved AND we're moving overseas, which means the paperwork, bureaucracy and headache increased tenfold compared to my past moves. 

Anyway, I survived, learned a few things along the way and am SO grateful for all the seasoned military wives who gave their advice, tricks, and support, and for everyone else for reached out to encourage me this past week. My Instagram ladies especially...y'all rock. :)

M-Day (like D-Day, but with moving) began with the pick up of our Unaccompanied Baggage. UB is the shipment of the "must haves" that'll go by plane so we can get it faster and set our new house up. Clothes, pots and pans, plates, tool boxes (or "handy tools" as the movers referred to them), all that jazz. We were told our movers would arrive sometime between 8 am and 3 pm.

A team of surly Romanians finally showed up around 3:45. They barely made it in the door before the leader started barking orders while his minions speed packed everything I'd laid out. It was chaotic and I could barely keep track of what they were packing, never mind if they were packing it well. I'm pretty sure if I had wandered too close they wouldn't wrapped me in paper and shoved ME in a box! 

Neatly laid out before the Romanian tornado

The second day was for packing our Household Goods, which is all the big stuff that goes by slow boat. That day we had two very friendly German guys and a grumpy older Turkish guy.  The two German guys had been working as movers since the 1970s, but the Turkish guy was kind of new and man did it show! Fionn and I split up so we could watch what they were doing. I left the living room to ask the German guy to put extra paper between my china plates and returned in time to see the Turkish guy carrying my fragile travel souvenirs all balled up in his fists.

WORSE, he had dropped the little bouquet of antique wax orange blossoms I used in my wedding bouquet and then STEPPED ON THEM! I was so horrified I actually cried out. Those wax flowers were a huge deal to me and finding them was a huge pain. And now he was just stepping on them?! While haphazardly throwing my one of a kind travel souvenirs around?! I was seeing red.

People who know me well always joke that while I am usually sweet and friendly, if you make me angry my Irish temper comes out and I become a little pit bull. Somehow I managed not to explode on this guy, but I definitely had some strong words for him! Of course after that, I never let him more than 2 feet out of my sight.

He got on my bad side again later while packing the kitchen. After breezing through, he emerged and announced to his boss (in German) that the kitchen was done. I came behind him, noticing he'd left three cabinets untouched along with all the things I laid out on the counter. So I replied in English that it wasn't done at all. When he tried to argue with me, I switched to German and opened all the cabinets he'd forgotten, pointing out what he needed to pack.

"Ahhhh..." He said slowly, "Sie sprechen gut Deutsch..."

"Yes," I replied in German, "I've lived in Germany for 4 years. And you've got a lot of work left to do."

So that ended anyone's hopes of having a secret language around the Americans ;)

He didn't give me any trouble after that, though I was so glad the other two guys were so professional. They wrapped everything up well, took their time, and even made a custom box for my harp. The guy in charge was very nice and didn't try to rush us or cut corners. He took time to look at every box, label it well, and write down each detail. Such a change from our first experience the day before with the Romanian guys!

The Harp box, complete with parentheses to dummy proof it

Pretty soon it was time to load everything up on the truck. Fionn and I took turns overseeing this process and of course when it was my turn the Turkish guy took it upon himself to tick me off yet again...

I specifically told them that the harp, once wrapped, could NOT be placed upright. It must be lying down on its side or its back. Since harps are kind of top heavy, it could easily topple over if it's not carefully stored. As they're loading our crate, what does he do? He tried to place the harp upright, but upside down!! It wouldn't fit, so it got balanced again upright, on top of other boxes. Then he took it out and left it balancing perilously close to the edge of the ramp...

Y'all. My harp is my baby. It is a delicate and expensive instrument that I take very good care of. Heck, it gets its own heated room in the winter! Watching this guy toss it around like that, especially after he'd already ticked me off...ooh man. We were about to have words.

Before my blind rage moment...

Thankfully at that point the leader came out, took over, and successfully packed the harp like I asked. Geez Louise.

Once the crates were on the truck and sealed, they headed out. Our house was empty and echo-y. We discovered they'd packed our plastic cups and plates and utensils. Then Fionn reminded me we had our housing inspection the next morning at 9 am...did I mention it was 4 pm at that point and I had a whole house to clean??

Cleaning began and we discovered that the vacuum cleaner won't suck anymore (of all the stinkin days...). We borrowed my neighbor's vacuum and proceeded to clean like mad. Poor Fionn even scrubbed the top of our cabinets, fearing some kind of West Point-esque room inspection where if one flake of dust is visible you fail (thankfully it wasn't anything like that and on the plus side we now have very clean cabinets haha).

After cleaning for hours, we decide to break for dinner. As we walk outside, Fionn trips over a box of wood in the dark and nearly falls down the concrete stairs to the basement. Thankfully he was ok, but the box he was carrying of fridge stuff to be thrown out wasn't so lucky. Broken jars of pickles, olives, mustard, and everything else were all over the stairs and all over Fionn. Poor guy!

I drove down to the village to order take out while Fionn cleaned up broken glass and pickles. I had just placed my order when I realized my wallet was at the house. Drove back, got it, drove back to get food, came home and had dinner.

That's when we found out my favorite tea got thrown out by mistake.

And that's when we decided to call it a day and head for bed! :)

It was a crazy day indeed. The moving part went pretty smoothly, it was just everything else that was nuts!

SO GLAD that part is over and done with. Soon we move into a hotel until our flight out. Is it just me or is this all happening crazy fast?


  1. It is happening crazy fast! Well done for handling things so well - a really stressful situation! I hope that you get to relax a little now!

  2. Wow, you are a better person than me! Turkish man would have been crying in a ball by the end of that day if he treated my stuff like that!

  3. Seriously, I don't know how you didn't go all Incredible Hulk on that guy. Well done :)

    1. haha I don't know either. I think because I snapped at the moving guy the day before and felt bad. But maybe I should've saved my snark for incompetent Turkish dude? :P

  4. What a crazy moving story. I feel for you. At least it's over - one part of the stress all done! =)

    1. I'm so glad it's over with! And I didn't strangle anyone! ;)

  5. Good thing you were fluent in German. I would’ve blown up on the Turkish guy after he stepped on the wax flowers. Talk about complete disregard for someone else’s personal property. It wasn’t really so much that he was new, sometimes it’s just about using common sense. Well, now that that’s over, how are you? How did the move go?

    Clay @ WorldPackagingCo

  6. I agree. Moving is always an interesting event in everyone’s life. Because it can really test your patience, especially in packing. You have to ensure that everything is in order, boxes are complete for all of your belongings and make sure it is properly sealed to avoid breaking its contents, and so on. It can be exhausting, so it’s a good thing that you got all the help you needed for this day. And even if it gave you a little problem, at least you finished it at the end of the day. I just hope you’ll no longer encounter any problem when you moved in. And speaking of which, how was it?

    Everett Tyler @ General Store-All