What do you get when you throw together a toddler, a newborn baby, a four-month long TDY (four months-ish because…you know how that goes), a PCS, and a separation from Active-Duty?
Here in our household, we like to do all of the major life changes at once.
Just kidding – it just happened that way, but we’re here embracing the chaos.
A quick background on me, I commissioned as a Public Affairs Officer in 2016 from the University of South Carolina and my husband is an active-duty pilot. We met in Chicago during my junior year of college, his senior year, at the National Conclave for Arnold Air Society. (For those who didn’t do ROTC, it’s like an Air Force ROTC honor society). I know it sounds nerdy… it was.
We’ve been stationed in Mississippi and Florida and have two amazing kiddos. I am unapologetically a huge Taylor Swift fan (my husband just deals with it #blessed). We have developed a love for skiing and snowboarding over the last few years, we love Chick-fil-A, and college football season is our favorite season.
Since we went to rival schools in South Carolina, we like to keep football season lighthearted… except this year we may have been in South Carolina for the phenomenal Gamecock win… it was amazing (for me…ha!)
If you know me, I never miss an opportunity to throw in a “Go Gamecocks!”
Anyway… back to the story.
Nine months ago, my husband volunteered and got accepted for a white jet tour (training new Air Force pilots). Cue the applause!
As a dual-mil couple though, we had to also account for where I would be stationed during this new assignment. We weighed all the options for assignments, decided which base would work best for our family, and made a tentative plan for our ideal future.
We submitted our dream sheet and crossed our fingers.
And as luck would have it…we had zero luck. The Air Force had other plans for us. Plans that did not keep our family together how we wanted. With this news, I ultimately decided to press the separation button and transition over to the Reserve.
It was a tough decision, but we needed more family stability and were really, really tired of spending time apart. After having been married for over five years, more than 2.5 years of that spent apart…it was time for a change.
That was May 2022. I was five months pregnant with our second child and had no idea what the future would look like. In true military fashion, all we knew was baby number two was arriving in September and at some point, there would be a four-month TDY to Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) at JBSA-Randolph in Texas and after that a PCS to Laughlin AFB.
Fast forward to the summer – our timeline, thankfully, had solidified. We had PIT dates for January, I had an official separation date of Jan. 16, 2023, and a PCS to Del Rio was scheduled for summer 2023.
And now for the fun part, logistics. We had to coordinate an extended TDY and then, right on its heels, a PCS.
First things, first: deciding what to do with our house in Florida.
The housing market is crazy right now. Our Florida home’s value had increased substantially since purchasing it in July 2019, so we had to weigh the pros and cons of selling vs. renting.
We could sell it and walk away with a pretty large profit, or we could rent it and use it as a long-term investment.
Walking away with the gains would’ve been great, but the 2.25% interest rate we locked in after refinancing in 2020 helped us solidify our decision to rent it out.
After interviewing several property management companies in the Florida panhandle, we finally found one that we felt was the best fit for us. We wanted someone who understood military life and who was actually going to make sure our home was taken care of while we were gone.
Logistical hurdle #1, done.
Instead of separating our family again, we decided that all of us would go to San Antonio for the TDY.
Call us crazy or gluttons for punishment, but for some reason, a full DITY sounded like a great idea. (The good ‘ol do-it-yourself-move, now known as a Personally Procured Move (PPM)).
A full DITY, a newborn baby, and a 3-year-old, who needs their sanity anyway?
Since the Air Force owed me one final military move due to my separation, we used that move to get our household goods packed up and on their way to San Antonio.
We hired a local moving company to help pack our house and load the U-Haul truck. 80% of everything we owned would be put in storage in San Antonio, and the other 20% we planned to take with us to PIT.
My husband and stepdad then drove from Florida to San Antonio (in one day!) to unload the 80% into a climate-controlled storage unit.
In reality, we could’ve just left everything in our house until my husband’s TDY was done, and then had TMO move our household goods from Florida to our next base… but why would we take the easy route?
Besides, if it was up to TMO our household goods would be going into non-climate-controlled storage in Florida… Have you felt that Florida humidity? No thank you.
So, after all the ups and downs, hefty decision-making and packing…here we are… two kids, two cars, and a U-haul trailer, ready to take on the world in San Antonio.
How is it all going to shake out?
Stay tuned for part two, I’m sure it’s about to get wild!
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