Salute to Spouses Blog

We're excited to be blogging about the latest topics in military life. We want to keep you informed on topics such as current events, education, career advice, etc. Feel free to post comments or questions to any of our entries.
We Have Orders

It’s funny how a simple text message can change … well, everything.
We’ve known for a couple months that we were moving, and even where to, but there’s something about that little official paper that says, ‘Hey, stuff just got real.’

If you’ve been following along with us, you know that we’re foster parents, and we’ve had our little girl just over nine months now, which makes the timing of this PCS pretty terrifying. You might also know that there’s zero chance I’m leaving Fort Drum until her legal situation is settled.

But with the promise we’ve made to fight for our family and keep her with us, a lot goes into the prep. We’re making decisions without all the information, trying to plan for every scenario, to include the ones we can’t imagine, but have to. And we’re starting small, if you call packing up and selling a house, small.

My first thought? Where did all this stuff come from?

My second thought? We are way over our weight allowance. We did a DITY move from Rucker to Drum four years ago, which means we haven’t actually had our stuff weighed in six years. Yeah, our house is one fat mamajahamba, and we need to make her svelte in the next two months.

Do you know how much stuff you can acquire in six years? Let me tell you, it’s not pretty. Nope. Does it help that I emotionally attach to things? Not in the least bit.
“Start getting rid of it,” sounds a lot easier than it is. I could seriously give you an excuse to keep every item in my house or tell you the plans I have for it a decade from now. Usually my response starts with, “Oh, but I meant to… (Enter craft here that’s just never realistically going to happen).”

Do I seriously need the newspaper articles on Jason’s squadron from his first deployment? Um, no, especially since I’m pretty sure they’re in a giant rubber box that also includes old, expired Sunday coupons. Will I make him drag them with us back to Colorado? Probably.

But I have to draw those lines, unless I want to end up on an episode of Hoarders. Then again, if they showed up to clean out my attic and garage loft, it may be worth it.

This is our most logical first step of this PCS: cleaning out our house to sell it and getting those tiny projects done so we can move forward. But it’s also the first home we’ve ever owned, and while we’re over here trying to be under weight, I’m arguing about keeping the piano, and, could we please take the closet door with us? The one we’ve used to mark the kids heights for years? Yes, I just made the leap from cleaning out the house to taking actual pieces of the house with us.

Well, maybe this isn’t going to be the easiest process.

I feel all defensive when I look at the amount of stuff we’ve acquired, and think, “Hey, we have six kids living here, of course we have that many beds.” Or, “I’m an author, of course I have a book obsession.” Instead of finding ways to clear it out, I’m arguing the stuff’s validity.

No, I’m not ditching the beds, but that spare dresser in the back hallway? The one that houses their Boy Scout uniforms and extra gear for sports they no longer play? Yeah, that needs to go.

Part of PCS’ing is leaving the extra baggage here, both the physical and the mental, and now that orders are in hand, it’s time to start doing that.

As for the other decisions: how long we’ll stay? When to go? And trying to figure out how long we’ll be separated until we’re a whole family again or even if we will be a whole family if our daughter is not allowed to travel with us. Those decisions are too big to decide without all the information we need. And when I look at how daunting all of that is? Well, cleaning out the attic and getting rid of the clutter doesn’t seem so hard. No, it’s really the easy part in all of this.

Reading that text that says, “We’ve got orders,” means we’re sitting down to a huge pie, full of complex pieces. How are we going to handle it with everything we have going on? The same way we always do – one bite at a time. And the first piece should probably be a yard sale.

But I am taking that closet door with us.


For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

Salute to Spouses Scholarship Recipients