I’m writing this column from the office of our new home up in Kansas. After months of planning, we finally moved from Fort Hood!

Before the packers showed up, I spent two weeks organizing all of our belongings. I bought more plastic boxes to store and transport items, and labeled the boxes with index cards detailing the contents. We were ready for the packers when they finally arrived. The pre-move survey allotted the packers three days to pack our belongings. Unfortunately, the moving company only scheduled us for two days of packing.

At the end of the second day of packing, at 12:30 in the morning, the lead packer sat down with me to review the inventory sheets. I immediately noticed serious issues with the descriptions of what was in our boxes. Because I was on a very tight timeline, I was already stressed about how late the packers stayed to finish their job. Once I realized we had issues with the inventory sheets, my morale sunk to a new low point.

After calming down, I told the lead packer that I would just open a few boxes to see if there was really an issue before deciding how to proceed. We quickly determined there was a serious problem, one we had to fix on the spot. I looked up at the packers and told them we needed to go through all of the questionable boxes to reassess contents of each, and relist them as needed on the inventory. My weeks of planning, sorting, and labeling our household goods had been ignored. We finished the re-inventory sometime after 2 a.m.

Unfortunately, the moving company never scheduled a driver for our move. Their plan was to move our poorly labeled household goods into a warehouse until they could finally locate and hire a driver. Thankfully, the Fort Hood quality assurance inspectors were able to step in and inspect our shipment and communicate with the moving company about their job and responsibilities. After a few more days of delay, the moving company eventually found a driver for our load.

We finally saw the moving truck filled with our household goods pull away our from Fort Hood home, headed directly toward our new one. My three sons, our dog, cat and I all made ourselves comfortable in my truck as I started the drive to Kansas, towing our Jeep behind us. The trip took me about 15 hours. I signed for the new quarters the next morning, and a few hours later met the truck with our household goods at our new home.

What I haven’t written about in my columns is that my husband has been deployed with III Corps this past year. I’ve been going through this move on my own, without his help, and have been very busy and often overwhelmed. At times I’ve felt like I was in a rocket ship hurtling toward earth, going through a blackout period as I entered the atmosphere. There was nothing I could do but keep moving forward, as altering course at that point felt nearly impossible.

I’ve been in our new home for a few days now, busy with unpacking and setting up our new household. I finally found some very special farewell gifts given to me by friends at Fort Hood. It’s been nice to look at each gift and re-read each card, reflecting for a few moments on the friends I had made at Fort Hood and the times we’ve spent together. While I’m finally settling in at the new duty station, I already miss my friends in Texas, many of whom are also moving this summer.

I look forward to returning to Texas some day in the future, seeing even more of the great state, meeting more friendly folks and feasting on more barbecue. While the constant gypsy-like lifestyle of moving with the Army isn’t easy, I’m very thankful for the time we’ve had in the Fort Hood area. A piece of my heart will always be in Texas.

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