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My Perfectly Problematic Pandemic PCS

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

Hello dear readers! I am very excited to share my recent moving story. It had its ups and downs but was overall pretty decent. This move was different for many reasons, including the fact that it's the last move for my family since my dad will be retiring soon. Civilian life here we come!

It all started in May. We were getting everything ready, the tenants had moved out of our house, and we were in the middle of our pre-move prep. We started cleaning the house and going through our belongings, the usual spring cleaning. I like to call it The Cleansing because we pretty much go through every box and bin and drawer we own and throw out trash and get rid of things we haven’t touched since we first moved there. Everything was going well; we started planning for movers and getting all of the necessary forms to move. Then it happened.

The property management company we had used for our house did a checkup after the tenants moved out. My parents have been renting out our house since we moved out of it 8 years ago. We hadn't had a problem with any tenants before, besides one that was super picky, but nothing wrong with that. That was at least, until our most recent tenants. We find out from the check up on the house that it was trashed. There were fleas in the carpet, holes in the doors, the walls and baseboards were dirty, there was cat pee or a chemical smell in the garage and backroom, vinyl flooring was torn up in the backroom, crusty appliances, all kinds of bugs everywhere, and a bag of white powder in the chimney. Half of these things were only discovered because my extended family went to paint and put in the new carpeting.

Before we knew about the situation with the house we had planned on putting up new paint, replacing the carpet with wood flooring, and putting carpet squares in the bedrooms. We were going to do all of this since my dad was retiring and my parents were going to be living in this house for the rest of their lives. They wanted to make the house comfortable and look the way they wanted. Most of my mom’s side of the family works in construction so they offered to help. My mom paid a lot of money for the materials by themselves, and we didn’t take into account any heavy damages to the house because when the rental property supposedly did their “check-ups,” everything was good.

Our neighbors/long-time friends told us that our former tenants kept the outside fairly clean. We were also told that a lot of people would come by the house and one of the tenants would often be out late in the woods mumbling to herself. A few more things that we were told was that the same tenant had been arrested (possibly for drugs) and they had more than the one pet. They only listed one pet on the lease, and while more wouldn’t have been a problem if they'd just asked, our tenants didn’t clean up after them.

By this point it's July and we have two weeks before we are supposed to move. My parents had been working with the property management company throughout June to get a cleaning crew and exterminator to come by. The people the property management company paid didn’t do squat, so my mom’s extended family ended up doing most of the cleaning. We are ever so grateful for everything that they have done for us. We were very lucky to have family living only two and a half hours away that offered to help us. My extended family started working in June and had mostly everything finished by the time we got there. Everything would have gone a lot smoother if there weren’t bugs, because then our family could have stayed overnight to get the cleaning done faster, but nobody wants to sleep with creepy crawlies everywhere. Not to mention that they have jobs and could only come during the weekends to do what they could. Again, we will forever be thankful for our family's help and we wish we could do more to thank them.

One week before we leave good ol’ Arizona and move to North Carolina and our family has all of the walls painted, along with the flooring in the kitchen and bedrooms done. My mother and I are furiously cleaning our AZ house the week prior so we don’t have to pay any money for a cleaning crew when we move. The movers arrived at the house, packed everything in three days, and loaded everything in one. Our 400+ boxes were on their way to storage, and with that, we were ready to leave. But of course, we met another challenge. Our moving truck driver had quit his job two weeks prior and we were not notified; instead, we found out after my dad called to verify everything. Originally, we were told that since we didn’t have a driver, they wouldn’t be picking up our stuff until a later date. We started to panic because we were supposed to clear the house and our lease Friday before leaving that Saturday. Luckily, everything was sorted out and our stuff was picked up on Thursday to be put in storage.

For my non-military readers or readers who have never moved before, you have to have the house inspected before you can technically leave. To terminate your lease, someone has to come by and inspect the inside and outside of the house to look for damages and stuff like that. Each base is different and each inspector is different as to how picky they are about housing. We grabbed a list of things to clean from the housing department and thankfully it was pretty simple, with things like wiping down the baseboards, cleaning the appliances, pulling the weeds in the yard, picking up dog poop, scrubbing the doors, mopping the floors, and repainting walls. We didn’t change the wall colors so we didn’t have to worry about that. We cleaned our house ourselves because it was cheaper than getting charged. I remember it was something like $100 an hour for someone to pick up dog poop, and that was not something we were willing to pay for. One more thing is that there is a weight limit on your household goods. If you go over, you have to pay for everything extra. With my dad’s job in the military, we got something like 16,000 pounds. We were under 2,000 pounds. I know that might not seem like a lot, but when you think about packing up your entire house, it starts to add up.

Finally, we were on the road! Two vehicles, with my dad pulling a trailer holding our German Shepard, and my mom and I following close behind with our cat and Beagle. We made it from Arizona to North Carolina in 3 days, driving for 10 hours that was interspersed with gas and food stops. The first hotel we stayed in wasn’t the best, but the second hotel was great! Since this was our fourth time driving cross-country, I have gotten used to getting into a sort of mood when we go on these long drives. I spent most of my time checking on the pets, eating snacks with my mom, drawing, and doing things on my phone. It was so nice to see grass and tall trees. While Arizona is beautiful, I missed my grass. The first day we drove through the rest of Arizona, New Mexico, and halfway through Texas. Texas usually takes two days to get through so we tried to go as far as possible. The second day we made it through the rest of Texas, Louisiana, and stopped near the Mississippi-Alabama border. The third and final day we finished driving through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and finally, we had made it to North Carolina.

We got to our house at around 9:30 pm and we were greeted by a blackout. When we last lived here, we never lost power, and now we show up to a house without power. As if another thing can go wrong. We didn’t even know the power was out for the neighborhood until we went to turn on the lights and found out they didn’t work. I remember thinking that it should have been brighter outside, but I figured one of the light poles was out. Then we put two and two together with the sound of our neighbor's generator and realized our power was out. There were still bugs everywhere and we ended up calling Orkin to send someone to come by later that week. Another funny thing about us moving is that every time we were about to leave to move, it would hail. Every single place we lived, it hailed. It also rained the last time we left North Carolina, and when we were driving back, three storms converged into one. It was very interesting because we hadn’t driven in rain like that for three years.

A few days later, and we ended up getting our furniture and household goods. The flooring in the living room and hallway wasn’t finished because it had not come in yet. We ended up putting as little things as we could in the living room and put most of it in the garage. Unboxing was a success because only one thing was broken; a single glass pane, nothing too expensive. We went down to the local Lowe's and got it replaced. The next day, our family came down and put the flooring in and we had a nice time just catching up. After that, we got to unpacking. I am always super excited to unpack my room because I get to redecorate and make my room look the way I want it. I finished most of my room in two days. We found a few more boxes of mine in the garage but there weren’t too many big things in them. Then we put everything up on my walls and I helped my parents unpack the rest of the house.

Now, three weeks later, we are pretty much finished. There are a few small things here and there but that will be put away with time. We dropped all of our boxes and other recyclables at the dump. My dad left a week ago to go back to Arizona and finish up there. We moved early so I could start my junior year of high school on time, which doesn’t matter much with the pandemic. My dad is currently living in our camper with our German Shepard and our new addition to the family as of today, a dark brown and black kitten. He is doing well, and my mom and I miss him terribly. We'll be back for his retirement ceremony in October, so to my friends out in Arizona, expect my company! At the end of the day, we faced many challenges, but we found good company and good memories in doing so. That is all for now, have a lovely day and expect another article talking about how this move affected me mentally. Make sure to eat and drink something today, and take a well-deserved nap!

Au Revoir Mes Cheries,

Artistic Starmaker


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