Monday, February 23, 2015

We have wings.

In less than 80 days, the Army guy, me, the college boy, the rest of the boys, the wonder dog and the mythical cat will all board a plane and fly off to Germany.

It’s booked.  We “get to” fly all night and most the next day and will arrive in time for diner on a whole new continent.

It’s exciting for all the parties involved.   Except maybe the cat.  The cat does not care.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ok the wait part is over...

One of the worst part about overseas PCS’s is that the family has to be medically approved to move with the service member.   That’s to make sure that medical care is available for the families.
All the family members have a medical screening and the results are sent to the gaining station.  The medical personnel there determine if they can be taken care of at that duty station.  (This is especially important when dealing with chronic illnesses, cancer, and major disabilities.)  Only then will the family be added to the service members orders.

After ZD got his orders, he was given form to start our medical screening and we’ve finally been approved to travel with him.

Whew!  What a load off my mind.

Now the real planning begins.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hurry up, Hurry up, Hurry up, wait!

That’s my term for “army time.”  Everything must be done RIGHT NOW.  But things can’t be done until something else is done.  It’s a hole-in-the-bucket situation.  (Google Harry Belafonte if you don’t know that one.

Yesterday’s adventure including filling out passport applications for myself and the four boys.
Or course we can’t do anything with the paperwork until ZD gets a letter giving us authorization to get no charge, quick turn around passports.
He won’t get a letter until he attends his levy brief.
He won’t get an appointment for the levy brief until he gets actual orders.
He won’t get orders until G-1 cuts them.
G-1, ZD, and the rest of the unit are busy planning a huge thing this summer.  And ZD’s boss is less than thrilled about ZD cutting out before the big thing happens.  So he’s not trying to be helpful at all.


But at least the paperwork is completed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The first step...

If you are not familiar with the Military, what every one else calls a “move,” we call a PCS...Permanent Change of duty Station.  To quote the Princess Bride, “you keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.  In the military, “permanent” just means the whole family is going and that’s where you are going to live.  It could a year or three.  It could be longer or it could be cut down to just 9 months.
If the whole family is traveling, then it is a permanent thing.

For ZD, my darling husband, the first step of a PCS is getting an email from the guy who handles his career moves called the Branch Manager.  The Branch Manager send out a message to all the guys at one rank that have up coming moves and says, “Ok’re moving this summer.  Here’s all the spots that will be open.  Here’s the job titles which don’t mean much so you’ll be doing whatever job they tell you to do.  Give me your top 5 choices.  One of the top three has to be an overseas assignment.  If you’re in the DC area, you can’t put a DC area job on your list.”

We mull over the list for a couple of weeks, checking housing options and homeschool laws before ZD dutifully sends in the requested list.

For us, the list has never amounted to a hill of beans.  His last three assignments we not on his list at all.  So we joke that the list will be the five places that we won’t be sent to.

About a month later, the Branch Manager will email ZD and tell him which job he’ll have next. Well, that’s not really correct.  He tells him where the duty station is and what unit he’ll be assigned to.  Jobs are always at the discretion of the commander.  Those change.

We used to find out information way in advance.  Almost a year out in some cases.  But the last couple have been shorter and this one...well...we are cutting it mighty close.

So once the email is sent, ZD then waits for the Request For Orders (RFO) which states where he’s going, unit, duration of the station, and whether he can bring the family and pets.  RFO’s are usually send out about five months before the date that ZD has to report to his new duty station.

Then he waits until the RFO appears.  And this is when things are most up in the air.  RFO’s can change or be canceled.  This is the time when you know you’re leaving but you really can’t do anything else.  You can ask questions but you really can’t start planning anything with the military moving people.  All you can do is start working on your own household to get ready to move.

When the RFO is received, ZD can then request Orders.  Orders are what give him permission to move himself and his household.  Orders can change too...but it’s a lot less likely.  Orders can also be cancelled...we’ve had that happen once.  But that’s pretty infrequent.
Once you have orders, you can meet with transportation to plan your move of household goods, get passports and legal paperwork, and contact housing on the gaining duty station.  Orders are usually received about 4 months before the report date.  Military moving takes a good bit of coordination.

So where are we?   Yesterday, ZD got his RFO.  Yep...still Germany.  Three year duration.  A family move with pets.  With less than four months total.


There’s a whole lot to do.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Boy House is starting a new adventure...

Not content to just wander around the southern half of the US, the Boy House is packing up and moving to a whole new continent.  This Spring, we are moving to Germany.

(Yeah, let that sink in.)

I’m not going to lie about it.  I’m scared as heck.  If I had my choice, I’d still be in the state I was born in and happily sitting on my back deck watching the birds like I used to do.

Instead I’m trying to learn as much as possible so I can figure out what I don’t know.
It’s going to be an adjustment....and quite an adventure.  A big scary adventure for this house of home bodies.

At least there will be yarn... and as always, the boys.