Ship that POV
As we continue to prepare for our move to Germany, we recently put Pistol Pete (our grey Hyundai Sonata) on a boat for Germany. The process, though seemingly simple, turned out to be anything but. Allow me to explain...
STEPS FOR SENDING YOUR POV (Personal Vehicle) OVERSEAS:
Go by the TMO (Transportation Management Office) on base months in advance to get an idea of how all this works. Get a piece of paper with the contact information for the VPC (Place you will actually go to ship your vehicle... not sure what it stands for... no wait, its called the Vehicle Processing Center). Call and find out it's the wrong information but eventually figure it out due to your uncanny investigative skills. Read and re-read the novel of a website with step by step instructions, print them off, highlight the important parts and start getting the car ready.
Take Pistol Pete to a dealership for the once-over to make sure he meets all the crazy German car standards. (Don't believe me? Click here)
Wait for your orders since you cannot make your appointment with the VPC until you have orders... wait some more. Wait a bit more and then keep waiting....
Wait just a little more...
GET YOUR ORDERS AND JUMP UP AND DOWN! GIVE YOUR HUSBAND A BIG SMOOCH AND THANK HIM PROFUSELY EVEN THOUGH HE HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW QUICKLY YOU GET YOUR ORDERS BACK BUT YOU ARE JUST SO EXCITED BECAUSE THIS MEANS YOU CAN MAKE MOVES!!!
Quickly jump into action, get Pistol's windshield replaced, get an oil change and tire rotation, cap off all the fluids, wash and detail the car inside and out, make your VPC appointment, make transportation arrangements from their office to the airport since you will no longer have a vehicle, book your flight from DFW home to Little Rock and then send in ALL of the pieces of paperwork required so they can verify you have everything you need prior to your appointment that you made for the day after tomorrow because you don't want to get to Germany and not have a vehicle and unfortunately you have already passed that deadline in all the waiting so you have to MOVE MOVE MOVE!
Get an email back that says your orders in fact do NOT state you are eligible to ship your POV even though you KNOW you are.
March into the office (not even sure what its called) that can help me fix this, ask for an amendment to the orders. They will tell you they are processing it, take your cell number and promise to call once they have them finalized. They don't call. Wait until 30 minutes before they close to swing back by and find out they have in fact not processed anything. They THEN choose to send the email off to the "Man in the Sky" who approves all military orders (because according to them its their fault anyways and they have to be the ones to approve the change anyways). So you call the "Man in the Sky" but they won't talk to you because you are just a spouse and you try to explain to them you husband is 20,000 feet in the air and cannot actually get on the phone right now and you have a flight booked for tomorrow and really need help on this. They don't budge.
Leave your husband about 18 text messages regarding the situation and ask he calls you immediately. He calls as soon as he lands, then called the "Man in the Sky" who simply tells him we will not have orders for 5 business days. (#husbandoftheyear #patience)
Go home, cancel your flight, cancel your VPC appointment and cancel your ride to the airport. Sulk a little for what a crappy day its been and oh by the way you have had family in town the entire time so you try to put on a happy face and say "its all okay".
Get a call from your husband no more than 30 minutes later saying that we got the amendment... I repeat, the orders amendment is in his email RIGHT NOW.
Sigh. Cuss. Drink.
Re-book your flight, re-book your appointment, and re-book your transportation to the airport and re-send in all the paperwork again for the day after tomorrow because time is of the essence but you are scared to shoot for tomorrow in case there is another problem.
2 days later, drive 5 hours to Dallas, get the car washed AGAIN for good measure, take it to the VPC and try to laugh about the journey that got you here. Meet with the wonderful people, have everything go swimmingly because you are THOROUGH and thought to bring paperwork they had not even asked for originally but now you need (WIN). Get the car inspected in the hottest warehouse on the face of the planet. Sweat a little. Or a lot. Check all the boxes, kiss Pistol Pete goodbye and hop in your cab to the airport.
Arrive 5 hours before your flight because the 4pm, 6pm and 8pm flights were all full when you booked so last minute so you are on the 10pm. Barely miss the 4pm flight but ask to be put on standby for the 6pm flight. Eat dinner at TGI Fridays in the airport, do a little work, wait a little more and when they start boarding the 6pm flight lose all hopes and dreams when you are 8th in line for standby on a very small plane.
Then... beyond all odds as if God wants to personally reward you for a job well done despite all the crap you had to deal with this week... THEY. CALL. YOUR. NAME (Well they say "Ci-Ci" but you have learned to respond to every possible variation of your last name) so you JUMPED UP, shout for joy, grab that boarding pass so fast you give them a paper cut (not really) and leap onto your flight!
Cruise home knowing you have mastered the universe and gone where no other military spouse has gone before nor will ever go (not really). Land, be greeted at the airport by your handsome husband and precious pup and smile :)
Relish in this moment, because tomorrow the list is even longer. It's PCS season and now you have your orders. You are moving international so you will continue to get mixed information and will have to go over and beyond the call of duty to get it all squared away in time. But you can do this, because you are an organized tiger of a military wife. GAME. ON.
(If you made it this far I want to say thank you for joining me on this comical journey. I wanted to write this more for my own memory because years down the road I am sure I will laugh and think "surely it was not that difficult of a process" but it in fact was a bit of a roller coaster. I hope you do not take my sarcastic tone as complaining... there are a few things about this system I would change if it were up to me, but I am thankful for a military that even offers to pay for one of our vehicles to make it to Germany. It will be a huge help and we are very grateful)