The Final Countdown {Are We Experts at PCSing Yet?}


Despite Journalism 101 instructing me to always write the headline last, the title of this post was the first thing to fill the blank page this morning. Obviously – I had the chorus of The Final Countdown by Europe on loop in my head and because I’m married to someone who grew up a Detroit Pistons during the Bad Boys era, it’s impossible for me not to think of Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman (see player intro) when listing to the Swedish rock song. Growing up in Arizona ensured I was a Phoenix Sun fan (see player intro) so Sirius by The Alan Parsons Project hits me the same way as The Final Countdown does Clay. Yes – I know Sirius was also the Chicago Bulls’ intro song but 10-year-old Karen hated the Bulls so we’re just going to leave that alone. Fun fact – Clay also hated the Bulls growing up so it was just one of the many things we bonded over when we first met that fateful night at Clemson in 2001.

So here we are – our time in Chicagoland is coming to end…it’s the final countdown, if you will. The packers are scheduled to arrive in less than 30 days and before we know it, we will be on our way to Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. The almost two years we’ve spent here has been almost entirely defined by the pandemic and as a result, I’m not quite sure how we’ll reflect back on our seemingly brief stay in the land of polish sausage. But the unseasonably cold and wet spring we just experienced is certainly making it easier to say goodbye. The irony isn’t lost on me though – as a senior in high school, I couldn’t wait to leave Pennsylvania and attend college out-of-state. Twenty years later, here I am looking forward to calling the Keystone State home again. Well – for about a year.

July 2020 – at least we won’t have to wear masks this time around.

Clay and I often get asked if we’re tired of moving and we almost always answer, “Not yet!” Despite moving consistently being labeled as one of life’s major stressors, we find ourselves embracing the chaotic energy that inevitably manifests during the process of leaving fr`om Point A to Point B. Thankfully our kids do as well. We understand this may not always be the case – especially as they approach their teenage years – but they have adventurous souls and nomadic spirits so they’re just as excited as we are about our upcoming move. Admittedly, moving from Fort Sheridan, IL to Carlisle Barracks, PA isn’t really that big of a deal – it is just under 700 miles and only one time zone difference, which is chump change in the world of military moves. And we’ve been at this game long enough to know that there is only so much that we can control – it all works out in the end.

July 2020 in Northern Virginia

While the Army does contract a company (who then in turn subcontracts another company 92% of the time) to pack our household goods and schlep them across the country, there is still a lot of work to be done on our end with each move. Thankfully, we’ve just crossed-off a large item on our ever-growing to-do list – we were assigned quarters (housing) on Carlisle Barracks so we have a floor plan, which will help us determine what we need to bring/sell/donate. 

We will only be at Carlisle Barracks for 11 months and then the Army will send us somewhere else that will likely remain unknown until next year, so it becomes a guessing game of “Do you think we may need this later?” coupled with my strong desire to get rid of everything and become true minimalists.

But by far the biggest headache associated with moving every 1-3 years is easily the coordinating and scheduling of the seemingly mundane aspects of life most people take for granted. We have to register the kids for school, schedule physicals, complete mountains of paperwork, find new doctors and dentists, get a new veterinarian, find sports leagues and keep our fingers-crossed that tryouts haven’t already happened, advocate for our kids when transcripts don’t line up with a different state’s requirements, and most mind numbingly annoying – identify a local emergency contact on every single piece of registration paperwork despite not meeting a damn soul yet.

Ice Age Trail – Wisconsin, May 2022

However, we’ve moved enough times to know that no matter how in the weeds we feel, it all works out in the end. So we keep marching. Stuff will inevitably get broken, packers will accidentally pack their trash and tape it up in a box that sits in storage for two months, the driver will forget to lock the back doors of the truck and Clay will have to chase after said truck on foot to let him know the doors flew open, movers won’t arrive until 6pm, previous tenants won’t be moved out of the house when we arrive despite our lease starting, and movers will refuse to lift furniture over 100 pounds (yes – all of these things have happened to us over the years).

The next couple of months will be filled with end-of-school-year prep, baseball, softball, soccer, travel (I can’t wait to write about how we chose our big summer adventure this year), and moving yet again. The final countdown is on – may the odds be ever in our favor.

2 comments on “The Final Countdown {Are We Experts at PCSing Yet?}”

  1. You will have no problem finding an emergency contact at USAWC! It’s such an Army cliche, but we had an amazing (almost) year there. Good Luck!


  2. We were assigned a house last week and I’ve already joined a FB group for our neighborhood. It reminds me already so much about our CGSC experience….I hope we have another amazing year at USAWC.


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