Moving can be exciting! A new adventure, an opportunity to see new places and make new friends! As positive as I try to be, there is no denying it is also a major stress inducing life event. This stress is exemplified if you are handling it alone while your spouse is deployed. I asked my military spouse friends, who have faced a PCS alone, a few questions to help those of us who will eventually have to face the dreaded PCS alone!
Here are the questions:
What was the largest challenge you faced PCSing while your spouse was deployed?
How did you make housing decisions (emailing photos, Skype, you took control etc.)?
What is the one piece of advice you would offer others in this situation?
Alison: Moved from TX to VA with hubby in Afghanistan, 2 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cars (and a great set of parents to help)! We had rented our house in VA to fellow military members who had left just a month or so earlier so had a place to go. The hardest part was two-fold. 1. Dealing with a moving driver who made promises that he had no desire to keep — promising a door to door move when he decided, on his own, that he was going to put our HHG (Household goods) in storage. Very difficult and transportation was only so helpful but after a phone call from overseas, things finally done correctly. Much too unnecessary stress. (It was the worst move ever in 19 years). 2. Filing the damage claim (which was HUGE) using a horrible system online that frequently crashed. Wouldn't upload pics, etc, visits and calls to the PPO (personal property office) with NO help at all.
Jennifer: moved cross country with 2 small kids and a dog and bought a house and moved in before he returned from deployment. Also before Skype so I sent thumbnails of the house since the files couldn't be too large bc of email capacity on the ship.
Brynn: I actually bought a house without him, took pictures and sent them to him. This was before Skype. lol He had input on the interior stuff as we bought new. I have actually picked out every house without him, except this one. I know what he wants in a house and as long as I am on budget, he does not really care where we live so long as me and the kiddo are happy (and they accept our dogs...lol)
Brittany: My friend and I came up here for the weekend to house hunt while my mom watched my kids. I found this home off militarybyowner.com, but also looked at some from AHRN I believe. I looked at 4 or 5 homes in one day. I had more on my list, but 2 were rented out the day before we got here. They rent out quick here (Lemoore/Hanford) for the right price I guess because the wait list for officers seems to always be long. I emailed some pics of the house to my husband and he said he liked it, but it was pretty much my choice.
Rob N Amanda: Trying to figure out when to arrange to have our HHGs shipped, when I'm not even sure when he will be home. Plus all the gear he has to turn in, I have no clue what that stuff is!
Taylor: The last orders my husband received sent us across the country (Virginia Beach to Lemoore) and him on an immediate deployment. I was 4 months pregnant and handled everything myself. Neither of us had visited Lemoore, so I made the decision to live on base by asking friends and acquaintances for their recommendation. In my husband's orders, since he had been sent straight to a deployment, it was stated we were allowed one personal vehicle shipment with our HHG. The office was misinformed about some of the shipping details and told me it was not at all possible to ship the car (also said since it was busy moving season they could not handle our move). I recommend you research and ask multiple people about your specific situation. Because of all of the trouble I sold the vehicle instead of shipping it, and in hindsight wish I would have pushed the issue and had them ship the car. Lessons learned, don't back down. Be armed with facts and get second options. Also, don't be bullied by administration.
Kristen Smith from Army Wife Network: Ours was that he felt very disconnected, and I needed feel like decisions were getting made. Housing is my number one stress in a PCS and my husband likes to see things in person — so it made that one tough. My advice would be to make organization a priority. Especially if you're talking back and forth and having to "keep notes" on your service member's ideas and thoughts, a binder of all the info/paperwork/checklists can help keep you moving forward instead of spinning in circles.
*Many of the opinions expressed above are from Military Town Advisor's Facebook page, a WONDERFUL resource where military families write reviews about neighborhoods, apartment complexes and schools in military towns near U.S bases. Created by a military spouse for military families! I encourage you to check it out and add a review of the place you are living now! You never know how helpful your recommendation will be for another spouse moving to your area!
Tackling a move alone presents many challenges (like the testimonies above mention). You can get through this and hopefully will use the advice of seasoned PSC-ers to ease your burdens. I encourage you all to ask your PCS questions and share your moving stories so others can benefit from your experiences! Please join the discussion HERE.