The other day I shared this very serious and very complete guide to Posting/PCSing on the PMQ for two page. It occurred to me however that I’ve never seen a serious – or better yet – humorous version for the Canadian Forces. I decided to “get on that,” and so, I bring to you: The Unofficial Guide to CF Postings!
Anyone who has moved with the Canadian military knows that all moves are handled by Brookfield, and we’ve all seen their handy-dandy handbook that has precious gems of wisdom like “don’t forget to rewind and return any videos.” Needless to say, it needs some up-dating. In combination with my own advice, I’ve out-sourced this article to the pros – you, my fellow spouses. Here are a few tips to add to the handbook:
1. Declutter, declutter, declutter. It’s essential so it bears repeating. Try to get rid of as much junk as possible before you move, otherwise, you’ll be opening boxes at your new place wondering where the heck to put that weird pumpkin paperweight/memo holder, the mallard-shaped shoe buffer and warrantees/instruction manuals for products you never even remembered owning in the first place. Consider a garage sale or seing if anyone locally can re-use it! #reduce #re-use #recycle
2. Empty your garbage/recycling/organics bin before the movers get there. Seriously. I know this is veering into urban legend territory, but a friend of a friend’s garbage apparently got packed up during a military move, and they had to unpack the stinky mess upon arrival at their new place. Put a garbage bag on the floor on packing day and let it be known that this is the garbage and it is not to be packed.
3. If you have kids, take full advantage of any “child benefits.” Ok, these might be in the handbook Brookfield lets you download, but sometimes they are not obvious. For any hotel stays with kids, you’re most likely entitled to a suite instead of a regular room. Also, your childcare should be reimbursed on moving days. I wish I had known this. With your child safely at a babysitter’s or at daycare, he won’t pee on the floor of your new place while the movers are bringing in boxes. Better yet, you won’t have to scramble to find something to wipe up the mess before someone slips and breaks their neck [hypothetical scenario].
4. Give away anything in bottles. Brookfield won’t move them, and it’s just not worth cramming it all in your car. I’ve had friends ”marry” shampoo bottles that had tiny amounts left in them in order to make one weird shampoo cocktail. It’s insane what you can accomplish when you don’t have kids eh? That’s time they’ll never get back.
Most people also think you can move all of your alcohol bottles. I know parting is such sweet sorrow, but trust me, you can give away that bottle of Fireball that has about 2 shots left in it. Better yet, have a party to get rid of all your alcohol! You’ll be the coolest kid on the block. *if you’re local, watch for an invite to a bar emptying party!
5. Really check what can and can’t be packed. Ammunition cannot be packed. Seems obvious enough. However, nail-gun nails are considered ammunition. During a military move, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law had to use precious, precious car space for a big box of nails.
6. Make sure all items are accounted for when you arrive and unpack. It takes forever, but make sure you reaaaally sift through all that packing paper to make sure nothing is hiding in there. I lost a silver leaf-shaped plate that I bought at an antique store during our last move. It might have gotten thrown out in the mountains of packing paper, I’m not sure. All I can say is, why was my poor plate sacrificed, and not the mallard shoe buffer?
7. BRING TOILET PAPER. There most likely won’t be any when you get to your new place, be it a PMQ, an apartment you’re renting or a house you just bought. After a long journey, everyone will need to use the bathroom. Avoid a crisis. Put at least one roll of toilet paper in your car. This advice applies to HHT and DITs too: empty homes don’t usually have a fresh role, and someone always has to pee.
8. Get your mail forwarded – it’s covered by one your financial purses. We are still getting official-government-type mail, packages and letters for the person previously living at our place. Either he thinks it’s normal that he has not gotten any mail for the past year and a half at his new place, or he is actually still here and living in the big pine tree in the back yard, and we just didn’t notice.
9. Get your new and old place professionally cleaned. We didn’t know we could get reimbursed for this until the last move. Game changer! Ha ha! I’ll never clean again! …What? It’s only for the move, not forever? Ah. Bummer.
10. Remove all old Brookfield stickers once you have actually checked to see everything arrived at destination. If you have moved many times in a few years like we have, you may have some items kicking around with old moving stickers. Take those off before the new ones come on to avoid confusion. Alternatively, as a time-saving tip, keep all stickers on everything forever, as you’re bound to move again soon anyway.
11. Get the wine in the box, not by the bottle. While you’re at it, get some fun bendi straws so that when you and DH are lying on the couch you’ve made from the cardboard boxes, your straw bends to reach the wine – not the other way around.
12. Make sure that if you have any delicate crystal glasses – that you received for your 25th Wedding Anniversary for example- that the packers do not place them in a box filled with cast iron and/or electric frying pans. Better yet, make sure they don’t waste time wrapping batteries and matches (although separately).
13. Pack your own bedroom side table. Enough said.
14. Come to think of it, put all the valuables you’ll be bringing yourself, in a separate room with proper signage indicated that nothing in there is to be packed.
15. Totally expect to have deep marital conversation about marital committment around 0200 outside Moosemin,SK after missing a turn off and now trying to find a hotel. The topic of conversation will be about your apparent lack of support for his career choices.
PS – whatever you do, do not under any circumstances use the visual backdrop provided by your geographic location (where are you again?) to drive home your point of view! Big mistake.
16. Seriously contemplate “losing” some items in the move, it happens all the time right? Things like a picture of Marilyn Monroe that your husband inexplicably adores – that is the height of 19 year old girl chic – go missing during moves all the time. Or those really ugly teeva sandals with the toe cap.
17. Consider what you will do if your cat/dog escapes from the car at a gas station in Manitoba while filling-up, and you’re halfway between here and your final destination. Preventative measures like a roomy pet crate, or a harness attached to the back-seat are always a good idea.
18. Pack one box of items that travel with you in the car. Things like lightbulbs, a shower curtain and towel/bathmat, and the ever valuable toilet paper. Even if theun-packers “un-pack” those boxes for you, the last thing you want to be doing, is searching for those items 5 mins after all the local stores have closed for the day.
19. If you’re new to your location, while on HHT/DIT take pictures of all the local places that deliver food (make sure you get the phone number in the shot). This will come in handy for those first few days when your fridge is still empty.
20. Inquire with your phone provider if they have mobile internet sticks or hot spots so that you can have wi-fi when you arrive. What on earth are you supposed to do if you can’t watch Netflix/Crave/Shomi within minutes of arriving? More importantly, what will the kids do?
21. Make a spreadsheet of everything you own, and update its contents regularly. That way, three houses in, you can consult the record to remember if you got rid of that pillow you’ve been looking for, or if it’s a move casualty.
In the same vein, take photos of big ticket items and any existing damage on items.
22. If your husband is deployed while you are selling a house in the country, make sure you know how many lids are on your septic tank.
Because there comes a point, in the midst of digging a hole in your yard, when you pause to Google that question and wonder which direction you should actually be shoveling… or if you are about to make a jigsaw puzzle out of dirt.
23. Consider what you’ll do when your wheel falls off halfway to the airport in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and have a car load of luggage, kids, the dog, the cat and a kennel so big the whole family could live in. These things really happen guys!
Have anything you would add to the list? The more humorous, the better! Post in the comments below, or better yet, head over to Kim from She is Fierce’s page for an equally funny take on the CF posting!
N.B – I had a ghost writer for this article! The lovely and beautiful Sophia Akl ghost wrote in large part the first 10 pieces of advice, and I edited for coherence.
“Sophia Akl is a bilingual science writer and editor hailing from Kingston, Ontario. The self-described pastry-enthusiast lives in Québec with her military husband and two small kids. Her hobbies currently include cursing winter and dreaming of spring.”