There’s always something
So far, the preparations for our PCS have been going smoothly. Mostly it’s been “hurry up and wait”, which anyone associated with military life will recognize as SOP. We found out this past spring that we would be transferred to Hawaii, and then I began to eagerly await orders.
And wait. And wait. And…
Finally last Monday the orders arrived. It made me laugh a little that there was absolutely NO fanfare. I got an email from Doc saying “Here they are!” and that was that. It was a nice little anniversary present! And boy, did I hit the ground the running. Monday afternoon I took myself and our precious papers over to the Transportation office, which is where all shipment of household goods is arranged. They gave me a little present too– we were set up for our briefing on my birthday!
It’s so odd that after months and months of waiting (and late orders), everything has happened all in the span of a few days. We have our shipment dates and are on the waitlist for housing. The only thing left to do was book our personal travel.
This, by the way, is the other shoe dropping. Now as I mentioned before, our arrangements have gone very smoothly, especially in comparison to some of the horror stories I have heard from other spouses– orders with no names, orders with wrong names, orders that changed halfway through the process, dogs that escaped on the tarmac en route to Germany– and that’s just the half of it. Everyone seems to have a nightmare tale to tell, most of which keep me up at night with worry. And I realize now in retrospect that I should have seen my own snafu coming.
I left my house this morning blithely, more copies of orders in hand, headed for post and dreaming of palm trees. On the way I called my Dad to make sure he could take us to the airport, and I rolled up to the Passenger Travel office ready to book our flights. The Army had other plans. For whatever reason, C had been operating under the assumption that we could travel from home to his new station, and pay the difference in the cost of the flight. I think this is because that is exactly what he did when he was coming to Campbell from AIT, so at least it was sort of logical. When I explained to the woman at the travel office what we were hoping to do, her response was, “Sorry, I can only fly you out of Nashville, St. Louis, or Atlanta.”
C had already submitted his leave packet and we were committed to going back home for several reasons, not the least of which is that we can’t ship my car to Hawaii and it has to go live at my parent’s house.
I left the office, trying to hold back tears (anyone else here a stress crier?), and called C immediately. We spent about 10 minutes bouncing ideas around, trying to come up with a solution, and finally we decided that the best course of action was to eat the cost of a one-way flight for us and the kitty between home and one of those three airports.
Great! So now I was off to find a computer and get researching. First stop, library– but their computers were down and I wouldn’t be able to get onto one without a CAC card (secure IDs that all the soldiers have). They directed me to the USO. We have a USO? Turns out that Fort Campbell is home to a pretty sweet USO, decorated with a Vietnam-era Huey in the main room. Literally. It takes up the whole floor.
There’s a bank of computers along the wall, and I took up residence at one. I was knee deep in research on Kayak when suddenly my computer went dead! I looked over at the girl next to me– hers was dead too. I was just about to get up and go to the front desk when said girl realized that she had kicked the plugs out of the wall. I smiled and we commiserated, but the poor thing was so embarrassed that she took off!
I quickly realized as I was searching for flights that they were all during the day. I circled the three best options, and went and called my Dad again. No go. As a school teacher just coming off vacation there’s no way he could have asked for more time to take us to the airport. I was starting to feel the panicky tears again when he said, “Why not call T?” T is my best friend, and I thought, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?” Long story short (too late!) I convinced a different friend, H, to take us to the airport on her way to work the day we had to leave. **Quick shout out to H– you rock!** Thank God she works close enough to the airport and doesn’t mind getting up a little earlier than she already does to do it!
The funny thing is that H and her husband (also C) are going to be vacationing in Hawaii for two weeks at the end of October! I told her that I would pay her back in frilly umbrella drinks and gratitude.
I was about to call and book our flights when that little voice in my head said “Nope! Go back to passenger travel first!” Seemed like good advice, so I trekked back across post and back into the office. Luckily for me, the ladies who work in that office are superb. The woman I had seen first thing this morning picked up right where we left off, and assured me that I am not the first person to make repeat visits to her. I left with the assurance that our request was being processed and that we would have an itinerary soon.
So there it is. Our first hiccup, good sized, but not enough to really knock us down. Certainly not a nightmare story, although it felt a little frightening right in the middle of it! Now I just have to hurry up and wait for October.