Here we are, facing another move. We have moved so many times here in North Carolina. When we moved here from Hawaii, we moved into a 2-bedroom apartment on the third floor. When we found out we were having twins, we moved into a 3-bedroom apartment on the first floor in the same complex. Then we got a dog and the twins became more mobile and it did not work for us any longer. When it came time to renew our lease, we declined and moved into a 3-bedroom house out in town with a fenced in backyard and playroom. The house has worked great for us! Plenty of storage room in the attic and garage and plenty of room for our boys to play, inside and out.
As you know, my husband was picked up for the STA-21 (seaman to admiral or "officer's program") program. This June he will have served 9-years enlisted duty in the Navy. When he graduates this August with a degree in mechanical engineering, he will be commissioned as an officer and need to go through power school and prototype again, this time on the officer's side of things. He will also need to complete Submarine Officer Basic School (SOBC) sometime in there, which is a 10-week course in Connecticut. We know he will be doing power school in South Carolina and we suspect he will be doing prototype in upstate New York. We won't get orders for prototype until after he finishes power school and we probably won't hear about power school until closer to his graduation. From the sound of it, SOBC can be squeezed in while waiting to start prototype or after completing prototype.
Our lease is coming to an end this August. We planned on extending our lease or doing month-to-month until my husband receives his orders. Then we got an email that threw all our plans into confusion: the homeowners are returning early-- this September-- and will not extend our lease past when it ends this August. We emailed the property management company to see if there is any way the homeowners would let us stay longer if we paid higher rent and were declined. My hubby contacted his lieutenant and detailer to see if it would be possible for him to class up for power school in October. If not, we would like to find out what our class up date so we can find new lodgings accordingly (are we looking to rent until December? February? Later?). His first choice class-up date was October anyways, his second December, and third February. However, we have heard both power school and prototype are backed up right now. We are still waiting to hear back from the Navy. (Please be understanding, Navy!)
So our big dilemma is that our lease is up at the end of August and we could still be stationed in North Carolina-- without orders-- until December or later. That means we need to pay first and last month's rent at the new place. We need to find somewhere that accepts dogs (pet deposit and monthly pet fee). We need to buy boxes, rent a truck, find people to help us move, and probably get a storage unit until the Navy gives us orders and we move from North Carolina to South Carolina. The best thing financially for us would be if the Navy gave us orders for October and we could use those orders to move a bit early when our lease expires in August; this would totally eliminate the extra in-town move. The sad thing would be moving away from all our local friends earlier than we had anticipated.
My husband and I feel that we have learned a lot from all this moving we have done during our three-year stay in North Carolina. We could not have helped renting the wrong place when we first moved here. We rented a large 2-bedroom apartment expecting to have one baby-- not twins. We should not have moved to a 3-bedroom apartment from there; we should have moved into a house. And from this house, there is no way we could have known the homeowners would be returning early. We were told that they were going abroad for a couple years and we were their first renters. It feels like Murphy's Law: everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. We tried very hard to rent the right places for our family and just have not done well at it! Maybe the next time we rent a house out in town we should only rent rental properties and not someone's home they plan on eventually returning to? We know all too well plans change.
We debated when we moved here if we wanted to buy a house or not. We really liked the house prices here in North Carolina. The single thing that held us back was the uncertainty of selling it when we were ready to move. We knew that we would only be stationed here for three years, which still does not feel like very long to buy a home and then sell it. After seeing some of my friends deal with renting out homes they bought at past duty stations, I knew that was not a project I wanted to undertake right now in my life. We plan on having more children and it will be an adjustment for our kids to get used to Daddy being back on submarines when the time comes. We also knew homeschooling was a real possibility. With all of that on my plate, I did not also want to be managing a rental property in a different state. So I said that if we bought a home, I would want to sell it when we moved. This made us a little nervous, as we have never bought or sold a home before. Neither of us wanted a piece of property to stand in between us living together-- me and the kids not being able to move with him because the home hasn't sold yet. We decided against buying and instead rented. With all these moves we've done now in this one state at this one duty station, we are wondering if buying a home, no matter how long it took to sell, would have been the less expensive option. It feels like a gamble.
Regardless, we spend so much money moving. Hotels. Take out. First and last month's rent. New closet organizers. Curtains. Door mats. Bathroom mats. Kitchen mats. Pieces of furniture to fit that new strange corner in the living room. Pictures for new, awkward walls. Throwing out and re-buying the food and cleaners the movers won't pack. From New Hampshire to Hawaii. From Hawaii to North Carolina. From apartment to apartment to house to who-knows-where in North Carolina. And we still have the move from North Carolina to South Carolina in front of us. And then South Carolina to New York. And New York to wherever his sea duty station is. Such is the life of a military family!
My blog posts on the STA-21 program:
And, our story, in "About Kimber"