The PCS Chronicles – Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time


We’re officially less than a month out from our scheduled move – emphasis on scheduled because I am not holding my breath that everything will go according to plan. Not only is the Army infamous for last-minute curveballs but the effects of COVID-19 have trickled down to most areas of the professional moving industry. But like any military family worth their salt, we will hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Because that is what we do.

I suppose we’re a seasoned military family. My husband’s dress uniform involves high-waisted pants and he’s teetering on having his hair reclassified as salt & pepper. I’ve learned not to get excited when the Army first tells us something because the original plan will inevitably change. And then change again. And while we’re a well-oiled machine when it comes to PCSing, we still learn lessons with each move because that’s life (courtesy of Frank Sinatra…”Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race…”).

We’re currently in the phase of PCSing that I refer to as eating the elephant one bite at a time. It can feel overwhelming when I think of everything that has to be done in order to move a household on a schedule of not my choosing. So I find it best to focus on tasks that offer immediate satisfaction upon completion in order to keep more motivated during the more frustrating aspects of PCSing. For example, we have on-post housing secured at our new location. The house we’re currently renting has new renters lined up and we’re in the process of ensuring this house that we’ve lived in for almost three years is ready for inspection. I’m purging items we don’t want to bring with us to Chicago. We’re working with the transportation coordinator and have had the pleasure of witnessing our original contract be subcontracted out and then subcontracted our again. School enrollment forms have been downloaded and I’m in the middle of the painstaking process of securing doctor, dental, and vision appointments during a pandemic. And of course, like many school districts across the country, what the school year will actually look like is completely up in the air.

Lake Michigan

However, if I’m being completely honest, the tangible to-do items that we’re able to cross-off on a daily basis are the easy parts of PCSing. While it isn’t terribly fun to schedule carpet cleaners, spackle nail holes, or clean matte-painted walls, it’s far more enjoyable than consoling an emotionally-drained preteen faced with the reality of saying goodbye to his friends during a pandemic. On the surface, the four of us are really excited for the adventures Fort Sheridan will bring our family, but living in a pandemic hotspot for the past four months has drained us emotionally, which makes all of the ‘normal’ emotions associated with PCSing feel that much more intense. It’s been hard. And much more difficult to eat one bite at a time.

But it’s nothing we can’t handle. We’re doing our best to embrace the suck. Because that’s life.

2 comments on “The PCS Chronicles – Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time”

  1. Oohhhhh PCS season. I have such a love/hate relationship with it. Right now, it’s hate because we’re not a part of it. Next year, it’ll be hate because we *are* a part of it 😉

    I’m truly excited to follow your new adventures though, friend!


  2. I honestly have loved every time we’ve PCSed. Like most things in life, as long as the good outweighs the bad, I’m cool. 🙂


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