Most folks have heard of the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis (Always faithful). Not as many know the Marine Wives motto, Semper Gumby (Always flexible). This applies doubly when there are actually real decisions to be made. For example: how to move across the country with a houseful of goods, two kids, two dogs, two cars, and a motorcycle? The evolution of our move, thus far:
SD (separation day) minus 51 days:
Guess what honey?
-You've got orders?
-How are we getting there?
-Oh, a government move is the only way to go with all of this stuff.
SD minus 50 days:
-You know I just heard from [so and so] that he still hasn't been able to settle his claim from the [whichamacallit] that the government movers broke. Maybe we better to a DITY move, so they don't break our [whosiecallski] too.
-Fine with me. I'll start packing.
SD minus 50-35 days:
Packing continues. The Man has an appointment with TMO, where they estimate the weight of our household goods at around 7000 lbs. The man reserves a 22' Penske truck with car carrier. The plan is to load our junk into the Penske and tow the car behind it. We'll load the motorcycle onto our pickup. I'll get the two kids, the Man will get the two dogs, then we'll proceed caravan-style across the country. This plan seems great until we get closer to the 35 day mark, when my dad tells us we're insane, and the trip will kill us... We're starting to run out of boxes, so I pick up a few big Rubbermaid tubs for about $5 each, which I can use to store my fabric and yarn after we unpack.
SD minus 34-31 days:
I start to request quotes from several moving companies. We've already done a lot of packing, so we look into the "you load, we drive" types of moving companies. After doing the math, we discover that it will cost us LESS to go this route. We can move our vehicles on the same truck as our household goods, too. The plan is to load the truck and motorcycle into the moving truck, then pile the whole family into the Man's car and drive across the country. This way we can share the driving, get good gas mileage, and not worry about stuff being stolen out of the back of the pickup.
SD minus 30 days:
We consider loading all three vehicles onto the big moving truck, then flying to North Carolina. This actually would end up being cheaper than driving one of the cars across. Little G is still little enough to be a "lap child" so it would cost us 660 total, plus a little extra to take the dogs. We ran into a problem though. Louie is to big to fit into an under the seat dog carrier. We would also have to rent a car for a few days in NC until our stuff arrived. The logistics of this plan seem to get more and more complicated the longer we think about it, so we revert to the previous day's plan.
SD minus 29 days (today):
We have a problem. You see, we own several guitars. Guitars don't like heat very much. In fact, heat tends to destroy them to the point that repairs cost as much as buying a new guitar. We made the huge mistake once of keeping two guitars in our garage during summer time a couple years ago, and the neck and fretboard of each warped so badly, that the first ten or so frets were in contact with the strings. Well, the moving truck will be just as hot as our garage for about 10 days, and we don't think our guitars will survive. The problem is, they won't fit in our car, either. So we're trying to figure out what to do. We may send them home with my dad when he comes back at the end of this month, then have him express them to us when we find our new home. We're still trying to come up with a less expensive plan.
SD minus 28 - Separation Day (future):
We have a lot of packing left. I've used up all of my bubble wrap, so I'm a bit stalled. I'll check my local office/packing stores today, otherwise I'll have to order some in. I have plenty of tissue paper to wrap our dishes. (I actually bought it to use when mailing items from my little shop, but it's coming in very handy for moving, too.)
Of course we still don't have a rental to move into yet. We're a bit reluctant to accept quarters (base housing) since we had such a rotten experience with housing here in 29 Palms. Rental prospects in town seem good in the Jacksonville area, so we're not too worried, yet. It looks like a fair number of them will accept pets, too. I'm sure by the time we actually get there we'll be in that frantic "Can we move in today? We'll take it!" stage. The moving company we're going with doesn't offer any storage, so when the truck arrives in NC we have to unload it, whether we have a house or not. We'd be reimbursed for any storage fees, but I'm not sure how much moving our bodies can take. Better to have a house, than to have to unload it into a storage unit, then move it all again a few days later.
There's nothing quite like the Marine Corps to instill a sense of urgency and prepare you for a life of excitement and adventure. And maybe disability.