Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Winnowing

We are at T-two days from leaving our home in Laredo, TX for what may be forever. It has been a week momentous and terrible, as the relocators from the government came to pack our house away. They called last Monday to ask if they could come a day early. Sure, why not? Big mistake.

We have never had anyone move us before. In the first 9 years of our marriage, we moved 13 times. We were good at this, really good. But we had always moved ourselves, and packed ourselves. This thing where the moving company tells you not to pack a single box was new to us. Seemed like luxury.

Instead, you scramble to toss aside your UAB (air freight) and stay one room ahead of the locusts that are cramming your stuff into boxes that you will not see again for many months or more. You also learn that with a family of five, you get 800 lbs. of the UAB that will be sent to your new home hopefully near your time of arrival. We never knew what 800 lbs. meant. For a family of five, it meant clothes we would all need in the first six weeks at State and some toys, and that's it. This was almost too much to bear, and several times my wife and I literally hid in our closet to decompress and yell some.

The movers had seen this once or twice before, of course, and sent the signal early on that decision on "store or UAB" would be made on the spot and with no reversals. This felt rushed and somewhat arbitrary to me, and I LOVE having things settled and decided. My wife does not share that personality trait with me, and felt the move like an assault.

See, we have a balance in our house after 20 years of marriage. Basically she stops me from throwing away the christening dress and the wedding album and I stop us from drowning in our own stuff. This move was like I had brought two guys just like me but on steroids in off the street and three of us were manhandling her whole life into boxes without her input. Needless to say, this disrupted the usual balance in our home and created a Serious Disturbance in the Force. 

I could see exactly where she was coming from and why, but these guys packed up and moved out a 2300 sq ft. house in two 12-hour days at 110 degrees each. They were not there to mess around. We were there to facilitate their efforts, and get out of the way. She couldn't help but despise what they were doing even though it was necessary, and they did not care. The truck pulled away at 9:45pm last Wednesday and we were more or less homeless.

Since then, she and two of my kids have gone away to a week-long conference called Challenge in New Orleans and I have had a last week of work here in town. On Friday we leave, and our earlier blog posts tell you that we know how much we are leaving, and how many friends that are really family. I am ready for this part to be over. After a week of "last times" that just get more painful I want to rejoin my family very badly and start our cross-country drive. I hope this is all worth it. 

Our NEXT move (and with State that could happen pretty fast, and will be constant throughout our career) will be very different, I guarantee.



  1. I am really enjoying reading your posts. My husband has been trying to join the FS for 3 years and just submitted his PN's for the 3rd time! Good luck with the move. I know it can be really stressful with 3 children.

  2. Thank you, GH! Good luck to you and your family. Maybe we'll catch up one day!

  3. This is Lainie- The wife who was TORTURED by the movers in the story above. I'm still having tremors due to memories of those two days from hell!!! "The Winnowing" is a kind title- I'd have named this post, "The MOST Cruel Welcome To A Life Of Not Being In Control".

  4. Lainie, you are too funny. I can totally relate to the control freakishness. We just moved, not with State, but we had movers and it was definitely a different experience. My husband and were constantly at each others throats about it all. Good luck on the drive. I'm sure you are exhausted and ready to be at your new home.