Helping PCS

October 18, 2016 (by Angela)

I did it again. I left Jim and Chewie to “bach it” for a week while I helped Amanda prepare to PCS, though Brett is still in Korea. “In the United States Armed Forces, a permanent change of station (PCS) is the official relocation of an active duty military service member – along with any family members living with him or her – to a different duty location, such as a military base” (Wikipedia). (I guess with this definition in mind, technically, I was helping with a PCS.) Brett, a member of the U. S. Air Force will be relocating (PCSing) to Japan in December after a brief training assignment in Mississippi that is to last approximately a month. Since it takes several weeks for the family’s belongings to be shipped (yes, by actual ship) to Japan, it was decided it would be prudent to go ahead and let the AF get on that, so their family may actually be able to collect their belongings upon arrival in Japan. Thus, Amanda, who is barely well from her significant medical issues, with two children 3 and under, was left to make all the necessary arrangements to not only move but to move internationally.  I had promised when it was time to move that I’d come help her, so that promise has been kept this past week. In fact, as I type this, I am sitting in the airport waiting for the first leg of my return trip to be with Jim and Chewie in Arkansas.

Newport News, VA airport

Newport News, VA airport

I hit the ground running this past Wednesday afternoon when I arrived. Thursday and Friday I either ran errands (Sammy to school with Abby in tow, Chloe to the groomer, Sammy to ENT, a grocery run, a trip to Walmart, etc.) or I cared for the children as Amanda had to be at the house with the packers on Thursday and the movers late into the evening on Friday. Exhausted, we deviated from plans and stayed in a hotel. We did not have the energy to set up three blow-up mattresses for Friday night.  Taking it easy Saturday morning, we returned to the mostly empty house after lunch. We’d stay in the house the next two nights sleeping on the air mattresses and doing easy food prep in an almost empty kitchen. It was at this point, when we began to get rid of trash, do light cleaning, and pack what they will need until they arrive in Japan (things she’d locked away in bathrooms so as not to be packed and moved), that we discovered the packers and movers had missed an entire drawer in the kitchen, an entire closet, and several rather large, important boxes scattered in other places. Oops!

Movers left this and more - Amanda gets new in Japan

Movers left this and more – Amanda gets new in Japan

Sunday and half of Monday was a continuation of the getting the junk/trash/”things she must forfeit because packers missed” out for bulk trash pick up on Monday. Although professional cleaners had been hired to clean, we did some light cleaning and the full cleaning of the refrigerator that is one of the few things the professional cleaners wouldn’t do. Leaving the house Monday, we went to a hotel to stay. All of us stayed Monday night, and Amanda and the kids will stay tonight. Tuesday, Abby had to finish her flu vaccination. Today, Sammy and Amanda had to wrap up their vaccinations for travel to Japan, and Sammy had his last day of “school” (Mother’s Day Out) today. Tomorrow (Wednesday) Amanda has the final housing inspection before she and the kids head out.

Precious girl asleep in hotel

Precious girl asleep in hotel

Amanda had to decide what of the missed by the packers and movers stuff to “trash” and what to haul to Tennessee to get stored or shipped later to Japan. Her Dad, Steve, drove up Sunday. We loaded the truck he was in, and he returned Monday with the animals and larger items needed (stroller, extra diapers, etc.) and the unexpectedly left items saved from the trash run. Amanda and I continued to prep the house for the official cleaners to deep clean the house. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the final inspection, and she and the kids will take two days to return to Tennessee at a more reasonable pace. They will stay with her Dad for about three weeks before joining Brett in Mississippi. After which, the whole family, along with the dog, will travel to Okinawa.

Though she and I worked hard all week long and the kids were worn out from being off schedule and towed to and fro, it was wonderful to spend time with them before they go to Japan for three years. Jim and I hope to make a trip over to visit during that time, but three years is a long time, especially in terms of how our little grands will change. I enjoyed every Abby giggle and Sammy snuggle. In between working, I was able to spoil the kids a bit, and we picked out an early birthday gift for Sammy and an early Christmas gift for Abby.  The four of us spent time at the wonderful Virginia Living Museum one day, and today we shared an early birthday party at Sammy’s school with his friends.

Visiting with Amanda was more than a pleasure; it was a blessing. The sick, sick daughter and Momma for whom I helped care December 2015 through March 2016 and who struggled to take care of herself, the kids, the animals, and their home (with help from a few friends) up until now is once again healthy and vibrant (even if tired). It makes me want to tear up even now thinking of what she has been through and endured to become a better version of herself

Amanda, Abby, Angela, Sammy

Amanda, Abby, Angela, Sammy

Jim and I love our big family (that is still getting bigger).  I love this crew, and it was a blessing to be with them this week to help and visit. Though happy their family has this awesome opportunity of living in another country, I’m already missing them before they are truly gone. This little family has no idea how much they are going to be missed.

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