Monday, August 2, 2010

Moving in Sandals

There are packers, and there are movers. The packers come in and wrap up everything you own and place it all in boxes organized by room--there are even special boxes for pictures and mattresses--and then they leave the towers of cardboard stuffed, taped, and labeled in their respective room of the house.

The movers come in and load everything boxed and too big to be boxed into the moving truck double parked out front. And then you are left alone to take one last clean sweep and lock up the first home you ever owned, walls that know the first four years of your married life, soon to be occupied by a tenant you hope will pay rent and mow the lawn and love your place like you did. You and your first husband, who you are flying to reunite with in a matter of hours.

Suitcase. Car. Truck. Three places to put your belongings in order to get them to your new place of residence. I plan for days. Creating little piles of things I and my two fur covered children will need the first few weeks at this year's destination: Pensacola, Florida.

The first week is suitcase week. Clothes, toiletries, linens, pet supplies. The second week (the week the car comes--if the moron who couldn't figure out how to use a GPS to even pick the truck up in the first place; the 4Runner may be lying in a ditch somewhere by now) is business, cleaning, and entertainment week: router, printer, the associated chords I would not know how to re-plug-in if it wasn't for my beloved label maker, and a bucket of miracle workers including Fantastik shower cleaner and chemicals with names that end in X. Things that ensure sanity and cut back on hours spent at Starbucks and Fleet and Family Services for phone call and Web multitasking and of course blogging and dinking around on Facebook and Twitter.

Week three is overwhelm week, when the leaning towers of boxes and packing paper that will spill through the rooms and hallways will converge on Baywind Circle, after the movers unload the truck that transported the last parts of our life that don't have heartbeats across country.

Week four is panic week, when I can no longer stand rearranging furniture and shelf items and rainbow organizing my closet, and I need to earn and rip off the last of our to do list that will be a mile long every time we relocate as a military family. The goal is to become so-in-the-words-of-my-former-mapping-software-company effective, efficient, and innovative at relocation that it will make overwhelm weeks and panic weeks things of the past. I, we, will be a well oiled, unstoppable, unflappable machine. Mwoohaha.

But right now we're in week one of relocation one. A bit squeaky. But not as creaky as I thought it all might be. Not bad for first-timers. Not half bad for partners working a day at a time toward making a living flying and writing.

My first real job has ended. My first real home is empty. And our seconds are underway. Ground school is over. Flight school is around the corner. (There are confusing acronyms and start/end dates for ground and flight school, primary, API, blah, blah, blah, so I'll spare you the weight and stick to layman's terms, AKA the terms of the gods who think clear and breath easy.)

Choices and bases lay? lie? (if someone can give me a fucking rule of thumb for this, it would be very much appreciated--an English minor and obsession with writing have not served me well in this piece of grammar) on the horizon. We don't feel stuck. We feel it all beginning. It's hypnagogic (I didn't feel like using the cliche surreal). Our family of four. Back together. Wandering around an empty house with features new to us like a screened in porch and dutch china light covers, his and her sinks, and a bedroom so much bigger than our last one that we feel like true masters this time around. Dot the cat refuses to go for a walk, so we explore the neighborhood at night with Butters alone in tow, dripping but enjoying the chirping and different porches and front doors and lit window peaks inside. Cary does siz miles to my three. Yeah, there are no fireflies, Cary tells me, but there are alligators. That could be just as fun, but more exhilarating and scared-for-my-life than romantic and relaxed.

I plan every reunion in my head. Run and hug this time? Run and jump again? That was a bad idea on base where anything more than linked arms is frowned upon. Just smile big, walk, and embrace? My plans are interrupted by a lady who has undergone serious plastic surgery for a gig as an inflight instructional video narrator. Instead, I'm texting by baggage claim, and he catches me off guard with a hug. We're back to enjoying everything about each other, at peace just being around, from opening doors to greasy pizza. We enjoy a Waffle House the next morning (they're everywhere!), and I have the best waffles I've ever had, and it's not just the chocolate chips that create a thin melted layer of semisweet taste. We go to the river. We eat at the Perdido Key Hub Stacey's in the afternoon. The trees dip into the water. There's twinkle lights. It's exactly how he described. Except no vampires come out after sundown, even when I look really hard in pictures. And the mosquitos stay.

It is still weird that my husband can fly a plane solo. All the guys are talking flying at the barbecue Saturday with the fellow aviators and naval flight officers (NFOs, like Goose) and families going through exactly what we are. A wife teases her husband, who can also fly a plane that goes almost 200 miles per hour and climbs 700 feet per minute, about wearing flip-flops during their move. Who does that? I raise my hand. And then go get one of these homemade candy cookie lolli-pops one of those brilliant Navy wives brought.

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