Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Worst Move Ever

In the early 90's my husband's career was causing us to move often and for short periods of time.  In a span of two years we moved four times. There was one move in that time frame I would categorize as "The Worst Move EVER!"  That move was our shortest distance move - 80 miles - our shortest lived move, four months - but the move that caused the most damage to our furniture with the least amount of handling and the move that caused the most stress to our hearts.

The homeport of the ship my husband was on was closing and the ship was being moved to a new base just 80 miles up the turnpike.  We were nearing the end of our tour, but the base would not let us stay in housing if my husband's command wasn't there so we had to pack up and move.  As we always did between moves, we took the time to pack up, turn in our keys, and then travel to visit family before moving into our new home wherever Navy orders sent us.

This move was unusual as we would be moving a short distance so we felt good that not only would it be a short journey for our belongings, our household goods would not have to be loaded off the truck, into storage, onto a truck and then unloaded at our new home.  The moving company had arranged for our things to stay in the trailer instead of going into storage, until we could move into our rental. We were able to take a small "vacation" visiting family and attending a wedding before we took possession of our shipment.


A typical military move involved the pack out one day and the loading of the truck the next day.  The morning the moving truck arrived the driver began doing a typical inventory of all furniture, boxes, bikes, toys, etc.  Each item and box gets a sticker which then gets a written description and number on the inventory sheet by the driver.  As the movers put an item on the truck, they tell the driver the sticker number as they put it on the truck and that's how they keep track of all of the service member's belongings.

This particular move was going the regular way.  Or so we thought.

Our children were very small at the time - 5, 4, and 3 - and the house we lived in was a three level apartment style house.  My husband was on the ship, within walking distance of our home, and I was supervising, as best I could, the kids and the movers.

My husband walked home at lunch and saw that not only were the movers scratching our furniture as they loaded it onto the truck, they were also putting things on the truck without the inventory sticker.  He made them take everything off the truck that didn't have a sticker and then told the driver what they were doing.

He told me what was going on while he ate his lunch and then went back to the ship.

About an hour had passed when I realized that it was very quiet and I hadn't heard or seen any of the movers in or around the house.  I walked down to the basement where the driver was doing inventory and asked him if the loaders had gone to lunch.  He said, "no, they left."

I asked him again, "Did they go to lunch?"

He said, "No, they left."

I said, "They're coming back, right?"

He said, "I don't think so."

It turns out, they quit.  They walked off the job.

So I called my husband on the ship, which in turn led to a phone call to our point of contact and it was 6:00 that night before some new movers showed up to load the truck.

When they showed up, the lead mover was very friendly, apologetic for what had happened and assured me they would do a good job and have our household goods loaded in no time.  Which they did.  They had us loaded in no time, the good job part....not so much we would find out on the delivery end.

The truck got loaded and away it went.  We finished our cleaning and did the necessary steps for check out and began our journey to visit family and attend a wedding.

Two weeks later we arranged for the delivery of our household goods.  Our children stayed with my parents while I took delivery at our new home.  My parents were going to drive our children to our new home later that week.

The morning of the delivery was exciting.  I was ready to be "home" and unpack suitcases and boxes.

Things started out well.  The movers were energetic and they had heard my story of the other end of the move and assured me they would do a good job and were sorry that it had been so stressful.

Boxes started coming off the truck.  Doors were open in the house, I was giving directions for where things should go.

Upstairs, second room on right.


Laundry room.

Upstairs, first room on right.

Dining room.


Then all movement in the house got quiet.  The furniture was getting ready to be brought in.

I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window waiting to see what would come off the truck first.  (It's almost like Christmas to see your couch and your bedroom furniture again and your tv and your kids' toys.)
I could see the lead mover heading towards the house, head down.

I knew it wasn't good.

He came in and said something to the effect of:  "I'm sorry to tell you, but there's been some damage.  The glass on your hutch has been broken.  There's a lot of scratches and damage to your furniture so far."


I've heard of military families moving over seas and the ship carrying their household goods sinking.  I've heard of moving trucks starting on fire and all contents being burned up.  In that light, broken glass and some damage to furniture that is in your driveway is really not a big deal.

But, it still was.  It was just stuff.  But it was our stuff.  Our "home."  The only things that stayed the same inside walls that were always changing.

It was a tough move.

It was a short move, but a tough one.

Glass got repaired, some of the damage got fixed, some didn't.

The kids were excited to see their new house, their new bedrooms, their new backyard, their new neighborhood.  All in all, in the big scheme of things, it all worked out.

But we weren't off to a good start.  Or the start was already not great and the middle wasn't looking too promising.

In the end, we were only there four months before we packed up again and headed to our next duty station.

One of those things in life that happen, you get through, par for the course of military life, move on.  It's a good story.

The interesting thing about moving when you believe that God is the one who designs where you live and move and have your being is you can look back and see how certain places made up a part of who you are and can be used for connections down the road, twenty or so years later.

I interviewed for a job the other day with a nursing home.  As one of the nurses I would be working with and I got to know each other and chatted, she asked me about the places we've lived.  When I began listing the states and got to the state of the above mentioned story, she stopped me and asked me what city.

When I told her the name of the city, she teared up and said, "I was born and raised there."

God already knew, back in the day when I was a mom with three little kids and stressing out about my furniture and moving men who walked off a job and moving to a new home in a new neighborhood and were not going to be living here long, why should I even unpack or hang pictures or enjoy the time I have here....

He knew.

He knew a connection would be made, twenty plus years later.

When I hadn't even thought about the possibility of becoming a nurse, he already knew that city, that move, would be a connection for me, as a nurse, for a job, over twenty years later.

(By the way, I got the job!)

If you think your life and your experiences have no purpose, I'm here telling you - "You're wrong."  God has a plan and a purpose for your life.  The good, the bad, the not so good, the annoying, the trying, the stressful - everything is for a much bigger purpose than our little minds can comprehend.

He loves you.  He has a plan for your life.

A good plan.

A plan not to harm you, but to bless you.  To give you hope.  To give you a future worth living, with purpose.

He's got your back.

You may never have to move four times in two years and deal with moving men with attitudes, but that doesn't mean your struggles aren't relevant to HIM.

You matter to Him.  Your struggles MATTER to HIM.

Believe it, Friend.

You matter.  If it matters to you, it matters to HIM.

He loves you.


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