I promise to edit this later to add pictures, but for now I wanted to post about our pack-out. We were scheduled for a 2-day packout, but ended up needing an extra half day. So, I was really glad we had left 2 days before heading out of town for the just-in-case scenarios you can only imagine might happen.
The packers, Don and Dustin were great and skilled at their work. It really is something to see every single object you own pass through someone’s hands and into a box, or wrapped in brown paper, or a moving blanket. I diligently followed them around with my legal pad, taking notes on the contents going into each box and noting the inventory number they gave it. One of the packers had a hard time understanding why I cared so much about it, since all of it was going to the same place anyway. I explained to him that while a description like “toys” was certainly accurate, it didn’t tell me if that box has the marble run or the legos or the k’nex or the dollhouse, or what have you. And if I’m in a position in the future where I have to take some toys but not all the toys, then you betcha I better have some idea what toys might be best. Same goes for books. We are a homeschool family. We have LOTS OF BOOKS. I got rid of quite a lot before packout day, but we easily had 30 boxes of books. And since I really don’t think they will all go to every post, don’t you know I wanted to know which ones had the cookbooks, and which ones had the photos, or next year’s school books, or the kids storybooks. It is my only complaint that I had to keep telling this one packer that it mattered to me what was going in which box.
The other packer, the one in charge, was familiar with State moves and knew how to best pack stuff, and label everything. Also very friendly and down-to-earth. And I’d just like to add in here that it makes me breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to pack all of those boxes. It was physically and emotionally draining to see everything getting packed and I wasn’t even the one doing it all! We are being well cared for by State so far, and it makes picking up our family and moving around the world that much easier.
Now, let’s talk about the trucks! The first one that showed up was to pick up our air shipment (UAB- meaning unaccompanied air baggage) but we had been told the HHE would be coming first (HHE- house-hold effects). So, this tiny truck shows up and we are thinking “uh-oh.” When you see the pics you’ll know why. There was no way our stuff was fitting into that little thing. So, of course we were relieved when Juan told us he was there for the air shipment. I had really been hoping the air shipment would go first, since we were limited to 800 pounds and we had 2 closets and a dresser full of stuff we wanted to go with us. So if we were over our weight allowance I wanted to be able to transfer stuff into the HHE shipment. Juan packed and packed and kept on packing and as he weighed each box I quickly figured out how much we had remaining. Folks, I am glad to report that we came in at 745. Woo-Hoo! I was super excited about that!
The HHE guys came as Juan was finishing up and my kids were thrilled to see the 18 wheeler they drove. Who am I kidding? We were all thrilled to see it; it took up the whole length of our house and 1/3 of our sweet neighbor’s view. He told us our stuff would probably take up half of it. It was difficult to imagine at the time that we really had that much, but sure enough, we did.
On Wednesday, day 3 of pack-out, when the truck drove away, we all sat out front and waved our stuff good-bye. We wish all of it a fond farewell, and know it’s in good hands. (But, we also have it all insured, because stuff happens.)
Then it was time to get down to the hard work of cleaning the house for the final time and prepping it for rental. We had a few guys come in and do all the honey-do items and small projects that remained while we busied ourselves with cleaning: the fridge, the icing-like layer of dust on the floors, the walls, and throwing away all the last bits of trash and food and stuff that couldn’t ship.
On Thursday we took the kids for a last visit to Hermann Park and the zoo. We fed the ducks, and rode the train and enjoyed being together as a family, without other demands. It had been a difficult few weeks of cleaning and organizing and making decisions like what stuff do we want in DC? what stuff do we think we might want in our next (unknown) home? what stuff can we give away? will I be able to use this in 8-9 months when I have the chance of seeing it again? Mentally exhausting. And being outside and walking around was the perfect chance to breathe deep and take stock of where we were in life and feel calm again.
The kids had been with friends for the first 2 days of pack-out (thanks again!!!) and all the rest of our time with them was with other people: movers, friends, family, workmen. We needed time together alone as a family. I love our family. I love the way we are together. I love the way we work together, and play together and live life.
And tonight as I sit here in a lobby at our first stop along the trip to DC I realize that our family is perfectly designed for this nomadic life. Living out of a suitcase isn’t the most fun, and trying to get it all in the car is not easy, but living a rich life of adventures with my favorite people in the world is a dream come true.