If you’re never done a military move with two little ones (or any move for that matter) it goes something like this:
Set up change of address at usps, turn off electric, turn off gas, turn off water, change address with half a dozen other places, schedule move out cleaners, schedule carpet cleaners, inventory your items for movers, one last trip to the dry cleaners, wash all laundry, cancel gym membership, pack items for the hotel for me, pack items for Ethan, remember extra pacifiers, pack items for Evan (don’t, I repeat, do not forget The Blankie), buy and pack enough food for dogs during hotel and road trip, pack snacks for Ev, bottles for Ethan. Pack beds for both boys. Don’t forget a stroller, extra baby wipes and blankets. Pack photos, computers, guns and anything else movers can’t take. Fit all this sh*t in your car with room for your kids and the dogs. Check into hotel. Unpack. Attempt for kids to sleep in a hotel room (they don’t). Attempt to sleep in a hotel room with kids that don’t sleep (you don’t). Take dogs out to potty approximately 100 times. After kids finally fall asleep leave them with Sweets and head back to your house to finish up for movers coming tomorrow. Movers cancel on you for tomorrow messing up all your plans.
Movers finally arrive. Spend the next 2-3 days giving instructions to movers, make sure they don’t steal, kill or destroy your valuables. Buy movers lunch. Repeat the next day. Now your house is almost empty. Finish up getting house ready for move out cleaners. Next day let house cleaners in to work – pay them. Next day let carpet cleaners in to work – pay them. Return keys to landlord. Say goodbye to neighbors and friends (kick yourself for not getting a chance to say goodbye to people you missed).
The next day, get car weighed empty for military move. Go back to hotel. Load up all your things back into the car which has managed to double in the last two days. Spend an hour trying to configure how to fit everything in the cars while you babies are crying. All loaded up? Now the kids are hungry. Get the car weighed. Gas up. What is that smell? Sigh. Stop and change diaper. Get on the road.
Drive approximately 45 minutes before Ethan needs to eat. Stop and feed him. Stop again 2,378 more times to fix carseats, feedings, bathroom breaks, gas up. Stop at a hotel. Unpack everything. Sleep. Pack everything. Get on the road again.
Arrive in new town nearing midnight. Pick up keys to new house – that you haven’t even seen yet. Go to new house and find you have no water yet. No showers, no sink water, no toilet flushing nearing midnight. Do you best to blow up an air mattress and put kids beds together while they are tired and running around the new house in excitement. Call water company to set up your water. Which reminds you to turn on electric, turn on gas, set up cable, pick up trash cans from sanitation, schedule internet provider, do a walk through the new house to note anything wrong, make sure back yard is secure so the dogs don’t get out, put up curtains so neighbors can’t see in (oh wait, you don’t have rods), go buy curtain rods.
In between all of this, stop every 1.5 hours to prepare and feed whichever child is hungry or crying. Stop for attempted non-naps. Stop for tantrums. Stop for spills. Stop to put on a Disney show. Stop to feed dogs. Stop to cook dinner for your husband, which is a reminder you need all new groceries. Better head to the grocery store.
Movers arrive with your things. Spend the day wrangling a toddler so he doesn’t get run over by boxes and furniture all while making sure that ALL your boxes and furniture have arrive in good condition. Buy movers lunch. Help movers unpack items and because they don’t put items away, continue to make floor space for them to set your things out. Movers finish. Sign a boat load of paperwork before movers leave. The moving trunk leaves.
The house is oddly quiet. You are wondering what your toddler is up to. You should go look for him but you are just enjoying the still moment. Maybe you could have done a few things different but you prepare the best you can and make notes for next time. Your husband reports in bright and early tomorrow morning. Looking around at all of your things. Now the real work begins.
Make this house a home for the next few years.
Cheers to all the other military spouses that do this every few years too!!