Sunday, January 13, 2013

Moving On.....Packing and Painting

The time has come for us to move home to begin a new and the longest chapter of our healing. We are packing up boxes, cleaning out drawers and painting walls. Yes, we are painting, it's just a little touch up paint here and there. My friends and family are upset about two things the moving and the painting. I am going to explain a little bit of this in the hopes of reassuring them we are ok. ;)

My military friends are upset because they feel the military should be moving us home. Chaz and I 100% agree. Here's why they are not, or should I say this is what we've been told. First we were told this was not a "normal" PCS (permanent change of station) move so we are not entitled to the move. It's funny that I have Chaz's orders on me that state otherwise. And we were never officially moved up here from Campbell. We were only moved here on paper. Just saying...

Second we were told if we use the military to move us home to TN then we lose our final retirement move. Since the furniture in our apartment belongs to the Army and we only need to move personal belongings, it makes more sense to use that Army move for when the new house is built. We have a 2 story house full of furniture and all sorts of things so it makes a lot of sense to get the military to move that for us. Chaz and I feel if we chose the MD to TN move over the move to the new house that we would be wasting our move option.

Third we were told an exception to policy would be denied due to budget cuts. We would have two moves within a year and that just wasn't going to work, so we had to pick one. Because of these three reasons, Chaz and I decided to drive up and bring my car up here January 2.

Our friends are flying up the morning we drive out/ Chaz's actual retirement date. We must be out of the apartment on Chaz's retirement date, which is the same day our friends fly in. We'll pack as much in the cars as possible Friday night and hit the road when our friends get here. We are stopping half way sleeping and then finishing our trip home the next day. Already all planned out, no big deal.

Now the painting, why are we painting? We were told we are responsible for it. We were told either we do it or we pay to have it done. Our friends have paid between $250-$600 to have this done in the past. Well we are building a house right now and are about to face a pay cut for an undetermined amount of time because of Chaz's separation from service so we need to save money where ever we can. So Chaz is painting while I am packing. He's done a great job for a guy who hates painting. And it's just touch up painting. Luckily our building was nice enough to get the paint for us.

Last night I was resting after our busy day because my back hurt. I realized this is the fourth time I have moved my family with little to no help in less than two years. I moved us out of the hospital, thank goodness I had a squad leader to push the cart I had loaded. (That's sarcasm by the way, he was a total jerk about the whole thing.) He actually unloaded that cart because he said it was almost three and they were leaving for the day. He put all those boxes just inside of the door of the Fisher House room we had and poor Chaz couldn't get inside. After dumping the boxes off, he rushed us to WTB and passed us off to someone so he could leave. When we were done with all of that I had to move all the boxes around so Chaz could get into our room.

Next we BRAC'd so we had to move from Fisher House to Fisher House for that one. Luckily a friend who has become an even better friend really helped me with that one. She and I knocked that one out quick, like within hours. It helped that I mailed a bunch of our stuff home with the BRAC.

Then I moved us from Fisher House to apartment. Chaz's squad leader at the time actually helped me move. He was a big help. He brought his truck and we got everything in two trips. He even helped me move furniture around to help Chaz get around better and everything.

Now we move home. We did get authorized for mailing things home. That is a huge blessing. Currently I have 15 boxes to mail and plan to get more boxes today. Yes we have to get the boxes. We tried to get them from WTB but the supply guy was out of them and has to order them, so off to Home Depot I go today. Once again, no big deal here.

Our commander did call us last night. I will be the first to tell you that she is awesome. She is super sweet and has done a great job for being here for just a few months. She's our third commander and is my favorite by far. She was not thrilled to find out we were painting and moving everything and that we didn't have help. I told her this was our fourth time and she seemed shocked. I told her to enjoy her weekend and we'd talk more on Monday. 

As I had a few minutes to think last night, I realized this is total BS. I realized that our wounded deserve better. I started thinking about all the families that have gone before us. I started thinking about those who will come behind us. Then it hit me, the people assigned here to help us have no idea what all caregivers really do for our wounded. The very next minute I realized I have a wonderful husband who does and really appreciates and loves me. He sees all of my hard work and his smile, hugs and love are enough thanks for this girl. 

I realized that basically my hubby is told that they are done with him and he needs to figure it out and paint the walls as you head out. Chaz has no legs and a fused elbow. He can't help me. The girls can only help me so much before they could get hurt. Trust me though, Chaz and the girls are very helpful, but trying to juggle all the paperwork Chaz has to do and all the moving we have to do is overwhelming. Then knowing you have less than a week to finish it all is just insane. The military tells these guys what they have to do to get out of here, but so much of it falls on the caregiver to get it finished. How crazy is that?

In my situation, I stopped receiving NMA (non-medical attendant) pay a year ago. Another wife decided it wasn't fair that I was able to keep my business and be an NMA, so she whined to WTB. WTB called me in to tell me I had to chose between my job and NMA pay. I laughed and told WTB to keep their money. A piece of paper and $71 per day, that I am legally entitled to, doesn't make me a caregiver and will have no barring on what I do for my family.

Something tells me the commander has her eyes open now and we'll get out of here with no problems. She and I are a lot alike. She and I get things done while shaking our head at the ridiculousness of it. I really feel like I can leave here because she and a few others are here taking care of these families.

At the end of the day, my back hurt from the moving. My heart hurt from thinking about the others. My brain hurts from the overload of BS we have to shovel through. I do believe our wounded deserve a few breaks and helping them move home is one of them. I will throw a moving party and get our stuff squared away. In the meantime, I am going to start working on how to help the families who come behind me. They might not have enough able bodied friends here to help them move and it is our responsibility to get them safely to their new normal.


  1. Jess, you ROCK. Thank you for sharing y'all's journey. So many people "assume" that our wounded warriors and their families are taken care of in all facets of their needs, and nothing could be further from the truth. It is a crying shame how much is left to those who are already overwhelmed by the situation they find themselves in because of their loved one's sacrifice for our country to handle on their own. Thank God you have been strong and capable enough to handle all that has been thrown at you and your family while Chaz has been recovering. And you are a strong advocate for those who don't have the same well of strength to draw from.

  2. Not sure how I stumbled onto this site. My heart goes out to you as a caregiver. Your husband is very lucky to have you. And I am sure he really does appreciate you and all the help you give him. It has to be a team effort. I think it is horrible how we treat our service men and women. They have given up a lot by leaving their families, friends, husbands, wives and on and on I could go. Yet when they get hurt, it seems like we don't make it very easy for them. Just think of those who have no family or family willing to help them go through all the paperwork and hours on the phone trying to get through the red tape. Tell your husband thank you for me for serving our country. Hope you can finish up these final things for your move!!

  3. Our Savior is saying these words. Know that I'm here praying! As usual I just don't have words for what you're going through and how you're being treated...again!
    Revelation 21:5-7 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
    My email address

  4. Continuing to lift up prayers!
    2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
    My email address

  5. The only refuge we ever need in any storm! Praying as always!
    Psalms 46:1-5 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
    My email address

  6. Continuing to pray!!!!
    Psalms 46:7, 10-11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.(10-11) Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
    My email address