Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Runaround

All moves are stressful. I am not the first person in history to pick up my stuff and relocate. There's nothing special or unique about my struggles that cause me to stand out above the rest of military families during this PCS season. Actually, I haven't even reached the point when the situation has gotten really nasty; worrying about issues that could still work themselves out seems silly right now.

And yet...I can't help it.

I know the military.

God, do I know it.

I experienced 5 PCS moves as a kid, and while I did virtually nothing for them but try my hardest to stay out of the packer's way and create new speeches every morning about how UNFAIR life was. (In my 8, 12, 15, etc year old mind there was no replacement for the friends I had made at the time.) And as oblivious as I was to what was going on behind the scenes - logistic wise - I knew that it was a busy and sometimes messy transition for my parents.

Packers didn't arrive on the day they were supposed to, one parent had to stay behind or go ahead to work around school schedules, records got misplaced, etc etc. I lived in my own little world, but I wasn't completely blinded to things. I had to help clean to the military's standard of move out ready, I had to eat lunch next to some big burly stranger because our stuff was getting loaded during summer break, I listened to my dad telling my mom at the dinner table about waiting for certain paperwork to get back to him.

I know things get screwed up in the military. Everything's a slow and archaic process; the word quick doesn't exist.

It's not really surprising when you stop and think about how just one piece of paper has to get cleared.

Imagine 100 people working in a room. On any given Monday, 400 papers are turned into each of them. They have 3-5 work days to go through those papers and make sure everything on them is right. The papers are what you'd expect from any important document. Personal, work, family information and contact info. A summary of what's needed from one of those 100 people, lines for signatures from the recipient and the provider with more lines for dates next to those.

It's not an unusual form, but it has a lot of numbers, a lot of letters, a lot of chances for typos.

And then when you take a look at those 100 people that all have a chance of receiving those papers, you start thinking about them. One of them could be 30 and disillusioned and punching the clock until retirement, not even coming close to caring if they make a mistake or not. Another could be 19 and young and hasty and distracted by the future's grand plans. And a 3rd person could just be having a crappy day. Their dog needed to go to the vet, they just found out they were due for a physical fitness test, they were on the phone all morning with someone who was upset about a screw up that happened the previous week. 

Those 3 people and all 97 others have a million things weighing on them, and they want to do their best (well, we'll say 85% of them do, I'm trying to be optimistic not unrealistic) but they are also human.

Humans make mistakes.

They don't catch an error on one of their papers or forget to date a signature.

It happens.

That's life.

But now let's turn the tables.

You're the owner of one of those 400 papers turned into 1 person. When they finish with it, you have to turn around and get it sent up to someone higher up than them in the job and/or turn it into a new worker bee.

And you have 10 other papers turned into 10 other people who are doing the exact same thing with those 10 papers.

Suddenly, you have dozens of people going through forms after forms and anyone with a basic understanding of statistics can deduce that someone/somewhere is going to mess up. It's not the end of the world, but it does mean that the paper has to go BACK to the beginning of the chain and get fixed.

And if you're the unlucky soul who has more than one paper get fudged up, you're looking at months and months of a sedentary situation.

Alex and I are those unlucky souls.

First, someone forgot to check Landon's age and thought they needed to wait on school papers for him before sending our documents off for approval. Alex had to call and remind them that he's 2. Not even in preschool yet.

Then someone forgot to check a box. They signed it! Just forgot to mark a tiny little box....

And then another person failed to send a paper to the next person in line. That was quite the hold up...

AND right now, after all that, our final approval got pushed back by at least another 5 days because someone made a typo and the form had to be sent back.

So what does this mean for us?

Well, it definitely means all our original end goals are out the window. At this point, we NEED our 30 day notice to give our landlord, and we NEED to be able to schedule our movers.

This morning, someone in TMO (the movers squadron to put it simply) forewarned us that because it's PCS season (the time of year when everyone is moving. Usually around summer and Christmastime) the wait list to schedule packers is 3 weeks.

That's no good.

No good at all.

She advised Alex to go ahead and get a power of attorney for someone just in case we have to leave before they can get to our house.

I think that statement speaks for itself.

Logically, I am aware this is all just part of the moving experience, but it does leave one in a bit of a panic. It'll be such a relief to get this part over with and be at our new base. Sure, that'll bring its own new set of challenges (house hunting in a foreign country with no vehicle, anyone?) but at least that will mean progress. We will be moving forward with our lives, forging a new path for our kids, laying the groundwork for the next 3 years...

We won't be stopped at this eternal red light, incessantly waiting to be given the go ahead to turn right or left while we watch the days stream past our windows.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I want to share my experience. I have a store with musical instruments. It was time when my office had to be relocated to another adress, for this I began to look a piano moving quotes. My tools are very expensive, I was need a good relocation team for that. In the new office, we arrived in time, and transportation was very calm, without a headache. I recommend for you them, to make your move easier next time.