First came the packers- Dustin and Chris, who were very nice. How many clothes does a person need? I had cram-jammed them into a suitcase and still they sprung out from corners and curled up in drawers. There is nothing like packing up and carting everything from one place to the next to make you realize how absurdly bountiful your possessions are, how your cup runneth over with things and stuff and more things. The suitcase bulged with the supply I'd need for the meantimes, the times while we were still gypsies traveling and sleeping and traveling, and then Chris packed the rest. I was embarrassed to find out that he couldn't just leave it all in the drawers where I'd left it. Nice as he was, it was awkward that I'd left some slinky, lacy specimens haunting the drawers. (Something to remember for next time!) What a job it must be, as a packer, seeing all the preposterous amount of possessions that people fill up their lives with, and getting to touch and handle and wrap up in brown paper and hide away in blank cardboard boxes!
The Humble Abode, the Pilot said, had gotten a lot more humble. One day we threaded our way in and out of great towers of boxes– we still had a bed, and a couch, and a table, and chairs to sit on– and then, next day, it was all gone, leaving only blank walls, and the undesirable ability to now see just how many cricket corpses were tucked away in the corners and under surfaces that were no longer there.
I remarked to the Pilot, one morning, that I did not feel at all grown-up enough to be co-responsible for the moving with him. Moving is undoubtedly an extremely Grown Up thing to do, and I half-expected my parents to come and supervise and arrange for the little things like lunch, and tips for the packers, and things like that. But they didn't, and we did all that. There is no shortage of horror stories about moving with the Air Force– I have observed that telling them can be almost a competition, each participant listening and ready to one-down the opponent with a worse story of loss, breakage, or theft. The Pilot kindly sat me down and explained that our move was not going to be perfect, something would go wrong, but it was all just stuff, and eventually it would all work out. It is very good to be married to someone like my husband when you are moving.
People say that a drawback of Air Force life is the constant moving. I have decided it's better to look at the advantages. The most obvious is that you don't have to pay for it, and if you move anything yourself, the Air Force pays you! Also, there is no shortage of other Air Force wives who have done the same thing and understand it all. It is delightful to have friends who offer to house you and your husband when you have been left bereft of all your furniture and would otherwise have to sleep on the air mattress surrounded by dead crickets. That is what my friend Ashley did, and it was from her delightful guest bedroom that the Pilot and I oversaw the last odds and ends of our preparations, made appointments to look at houses, and prepared ourselves to shake the dust of Wichita Falls off our feet forever.