saditycents











“Twizzle Twazzle Twozzle Twum, Time for this one to come home.” There used to be an old cartoon that featured “Tootle the Turtle.”

Tootle Turtle

Tootle would always get himself into all sorts of scraps in alternate worlds and on adventures and Mr. Wizard would summon him home. Well that time has finally come home for us. My husband has served in the US Air Force for twenty years. For us that means, he is retiring and we are re-entering the civilian world. Mr. Wizard was always trying to teach Tootle that he was best off and safest in the comfort of home. While I admire the lesson, I don’t know if we are ready to fully embrace it. We are leaving the military; my husband after 20 years of service, me after almost 30 years as a dependent. Yet neither one of us are mourning. We are excited for our next adventure. In the mean time, of course I will provide resources for this transition.

To start off: Here are few tips when deciding how you will move and what you are entitle to for the final PCS:

    1. Who should we see before retirement? There are some mandatory appointments that the service member must attend before the final out processing is complete. However, you’d be surprised at how few spouses think to go to those appointments as well. So far we have been to about five appointments and/ or classes and I am always the only spouse. If you can’t accompany your service member through all of the TAPS process at least go to these classes and meetings:
      • Survivor Benefits Plan – There is a face to face meeting that requires both of your signatures. If your SBP counselor doesn’t insist on your presence, insist on  it for yourself. You want to be able to ask all of your questions because the SBP is a one shot deal. Once the paperwork is signed its hard to undo. Granted you have to give your consent to be cut out to of the plan, but you may have other questions about remarriage after death, protection for future children, etc.
      • Boots to Business Lecture- Even if you are not sure you want to start a business. Its good to know your options. There are so many programs out there to help veterans and their military spouses start businesses that you should really just take advantage of good information.
      • 10 Steps to a Federal Job – This is a great job for both members of a military couple. Often retirement can mean a change in dynamics. Spouses who haven’t worked in a long time, may consider full-time employment now that moving every few years isn’t a factor. Federal employment is always a consideration. It’s the closest you will get to a military career, and for some veterans and spouses that is comforting.
      • Budget portion of TAPS – In many military families the spouse takes care of the finances because they are the consistent partner on the home front. Thus, its so important that spouses get involved in the transition budget portion of transition training. One, so you can help fill any gaps on your existing budget and financial plan. Two, because its your future too. Don’t leave your service member to create a mock budget that has no relevance to your real life. Take the help and make your budget as realistic as possible. It may be difficult to get advice later.
    2. What entitlements are available to me?Separating or Retiring Military Service Members

      Are you separating or retiring from service? Read more on what you need to know regarding your travel claim at the end of your military service. You are authorized the following entitlements:

      Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT)
      Plus (Per Diem)
      Dependent Travel
      Personally Procured Moves (PPM)
      Advance Payments

 

  1. Where will the military pay to move me? If you are,
    • SEPARATING: You must complete your travel before the 181st day (6 months) after your Separation Date on your orders. And, your travel is limited to your Home of Record (HOR) or your Place Entering Active Duty (PLEAD)
    • RETIRING: You must complete your home of selection (HOS) travel one year from the retirement date on your orders. Your travel is not limited to your HOR or PLEAD. You may claim travel to any location within the U.S. you are planning to reside after retiring
  2. How long am I entitled to military pay or a military move after retirement?
    • According to the regulation that governs military travel, your final move must be made within one year of your retirement, unless you apply for and receive an extension.
  3. How much can we make if we move ourselves verses have the military move us? PPM or DITY moves are known for making the service family money. But this may not always be the case because there’s no set rule that you will make money. Instead you make the best decision base on the information. Here are some resources to help make that decision:

 

Resources:

https://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/travelpay/armypcs/endofmilitaryservice.html

http://www.belvoir.army.mil/jppsoma/files/FAQ/retirement%20entitlements%20info%20paper.pdf

http://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/retiring-from-military/qb-how-long-does-a-retiree-qualify-for-a-final-pcs.html

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Well we are setting up a new home! Yay! Of course our stuff is currently “unaccounted for” by the military. Boo! However with the little bit I have I am working to set up house. When I packed I made sure to have a few things in a suitcase called “household.” People laughed and said it was overkill, but considering that our storage was never sent from the government storage facility and the household goods, which we received confirmation of arrival for is now missing, I think I made the right choice.

Some of the things I packed were :

  • A plate, bowl, and a set of eating utensils for each household member
  • A cup and a mug for each household member
  • A pan and a pot
  • A large spoon (I bought a knife upon arrival because we had to take a plane)
  • A set of sheets
  • Air mattress
  • A pillow for each household member
  • Two sets of towels for each household member
  • A travel blanket
  • A large blanket
  • Dish towels
  • Manual blender bottle for my shakes


{June 13, 2016}   Military Spouse: PCS Packing

It seems like just yesterday, I was moving 6,000 miles from home to with my hubby in a foreign land. And now here we go again… Tis the military wife life. The first time, hubby and I were moving from two separate locations, so this is our first office PCS together. I’m excited yet daunted. Per everything military nothing is happening on time and yet our deadlines are quickly approaching. We are a month out and no official orders, what this means in terms of moving is that no movers can be scheduled, no housing can be arranged, no plane tickets can be secured, no storage drop of dates can be planned. So in the mean time, I will organize my house so that no junk is moved back across the world. Welcome to my PCS packing….

Packing System

  1. Massive Shredding Project – I am working my way through all of my files to shred repetitive and unnecessary documents. I’m throwing out old bills, junk mail, and anything that I won’t need for taxes in the future. This graphic from H&R Block is my guide right now.
  2. Military Files – My husband has nearly two decades of documents. I quickly learned that me asking him to pare it down was not working (he’s been planning on doing it since September). Instead I went through them in sessions and left piles labeled by topics across the living room floor. One, my husband doesn’t like a mess so piles of paper across the floor had to be dealt with. Second, my husband doesn’t like his military documents out in the open, much less on the floor. For about three evenings he came home and sorted and shredded his papers. Each evening he came home a new set of piles was waiting. It was tedious on my part, but I am determined not to move back to the states with the same cluttered boxes of paper he came with.
  3. Filing System – In the midst of the shredding project and any paperwork save by my husband I revamped our filing system by buying portable filing cabinets, colored files and using a filing system designed just for us.
  4. Memories & Art – While I’m at it I am organizing postcards, stickers, magazine cutouts, and digital pictures that represent our time here. I am trying to make a memory book for each year to journal our life together. I also am keeping memory boxes for those sentimental things that just can’t be scanned and uploaded.
  5. Small electronics – Items such as our roku, apple tv, gps, etc. we will need before our home goods shipment arrives so I didn’t want the movers to pack them. I used an old box to store them until I packed them our suitcases, so they were in one spot. Then I used quart and gallon size plastic sandwich bags to keep all cords, remotes, and gadgets together. I labeled each bag. If we still had the box I put them inside the boxes. I also labeled all the remotes and cords so that if they were separated I knew instantly which gadget the item belonged to.
  6. Clothes-  Today I removed all of the clothes from my side of the closet. I separated them into summer, winter, workout, and other. Then I divide my summer and winter clothes into casual and professional. From there I reviewed each item for holes, wear and tear, and general unpresentable features. I then made a pile on the floor of everything that was going to good will. Everything else I organized and put back in my closet. Summer clothes in one section to be pack in the carry on (it will take home goods about 2 months to get to us so I need all my clothes for the season). Winter clothes were place in another section to be bagged and prepared for TMO to pick up.  I then marked on a Goodwill tax form everything I was donating. Now my tax form is already prepared and my closet is cleaned out. And I have an accurate record of what I donated.  I did the same with workout clothes and later hubby’s clothes.
  1. Shoes –  Anything worn or damaged went into the donate pile and then was recorded on the Goodwill tax form. Anything with a shoe that was a duplicate or too similar in style and color also went into the donate pile.
  2. Kitchen- I separated unopened or gently used dry goods and spices to be donated to a local ministry that feeds a large number of people regularly. I also developed my dinner menus to reflect the perishable goods in my fridge and freezer about a month ahead of time. Anything leftover I also set aside to be donated. Then I decided on a few pots, pans, and dinnerware to keep aside, just in case our household goods weren’t delivered for a few weeks. I don’t want to be in a position where I have to buy everything because we are without kitchen supplies for several weeks. Also when we packed our suitcases I designated one just for household supplies we would need such as: kitchen supplies, a bathroom supplies, two sets of towels for each of us, computers and electronics we would want right away (roku, dvd player, extension cords).
  3. Bathroom- About a month in advance I stopped buying large amounts of my favorite items. Then we switched to the large supply of hotel shampoos, lotions, and soaps, I have collected over time. I also put them in our travel toiletry bags and made an airport toiletry bag since we spend about 15 hours in route from South Korea. In the checked household suitcase I put anything I thought we would need for a few weeks. I only added it if we already had it, this was to avoid throwing it out. Things like toilet paper I didn’t pack, its easy to get that. But special hair products (since we are moving to a rural area), skin care products, towels, sheets, a blanket, and a couple pillows.
  4. Vacation- Because we are taking our vacation on our way to our new base (this is called leave-in-route) we packed a separate bag just for the trip so the other larger bags don’t have to be riffled through while we are traveling. We are landing in Seattle and then leaving most of our bags with my parents. Then we are traveling to New York for our vacation. We will return to spend sometime with family, reusing our vacation clothes and the collect our car which my parents have graciously stored for us and finish our move to our new base.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of how to do a OCONUS to CONUS move, but these are the specific highlights of what we did in the packing process to make it easier for ourselves. I hope it helps.I have all of the resources I used for this move here: https://www.pinterest.com/carynragin/pcs-to-conus/

 

 

 



It’s all the rage on any military spouse blog: The PCS (Permanent Change of Station) Binder. It’s a lifesaver, a God-send, everything that you could ever need for a PCS. Honestly, this is only my first PCS, so take this with a grain of salt; but I spent more time preparing my PCS folder than actually utilizing it. However, I can see the purpose behind it and it did bring a measure of comfort to one such as myself who has an over-planning, anal, type-A personality. So you may find it helpful. I keep it now as my military folder, because you just never know when you need information quickly and its a ready made filing system. I didn’t use a binder per se. Instead I used one of those plastic accordian folders. I felt it traveled better than a folder (being that is literally more flexible) and I didn’t have to worry about things like passports or paperwork falling out of the plastic lining. I used the folder the most upon arriving on base and getting my SOFA stamp and ration card.

Folder Sections:

1) Personal Records

– Passport

– Driver’s License and Paper Copy

– Military ID card and Paper Copy

– Birth Certificate

– Social Security Card

– Marriage License

2) Travel Documents

– Flight Itinerary and receipt

– Storage and Shipment form: Basically a receipt of our storage shipments

3) Orders

– 5 copies of service member’s orders with my name on them (I had several copies, but I wouldn’t leave a copy with civilians. All they need to do is verify the information on there, because of OPSEC you really shouldn’t let them keep a copy of the orders themselves).

– Service member’s last Leave & Earnings Statement (LES)/ Pay Stub

– Record of Emergency Data (RED): This is a print out that shows that I am listed as my husbands beneficiary and emergency contact

4) Medical 

–  Tricare and Dental Log-In information

– Paper prescriptions for any medication

– (Optional) Health Records: Some people put health records, but I had my log-in information to my medical organizations, so I felt this was sufficient

5) Legal

– Power of Attorneys

– Spouse Dormitory Visitation Letter: My husband obtained permission for me to stay in his dorm with him while we looked for an apartment.

6) Receipts & Misc.

DSC03487   DSC03486

Here are a couple websites with other examples of PCS Binders, you can find a bunch more here on Pinterest, these had the most pins:

http://arillablog.com/2014/02/20/building-a-pcs-binder/

http://thevollmerfamily.com/MajorMom/2010/11/the-vollmer-pcs-binder-tm.html

http://sunflowerspluslove.blogspot.kr/2014/09/pcs-files-master-pcs-binder.html



et cetera