Whats in a Care Package?

The famous care package. I hate that word, why? Well, it usually goes accompanied with the dreaded “D” word, Deployment. But none the less, it is an imperative thing, and if this is your first time with a deployed loved one, you may have many questions.

The question I get asked the most is how often they should be sending a package. I like sending a box every other month. Of course, this all depends on the length of the deployment as well. If they are on a four-month deployment, I would probably just send one box instead of two.

As for when should, the first box be sent, considering that you can never know exactly how long the mail will take to get there, I like sending the first package by the end of the first week that they leave. My husband is Navy and when deployed that means being on a ship in the middle of nowhere. So mail can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to get to him.

Now for the good stuff, what goes in the box?

– Well, there is the basic, like underwear. Yes, i send underwear every package because I have heard horror stories of the laundry room, so my husband gladly tosses the ones he has and uses the new ones.
– Shampoo. Sure they sell stuff on the ship (or base, depending on your situation) but many times the things they sell are essentials, and maybe your package receiver has a specific unique brand they prefer.
– Undershirts
– Socks
– Then it’s the special and unique things that personalize each box. For my husband it is Mio. You know those little squirt bottles that flavored water. I send ten at a time, and he shares with his shipmates that don’t receive packages frequently.
– Takis, if you’ve never had them think spicy cheese but better. A must for him.
– Peanut butter M&M’s. Can he get them on the boat? Sure they are basic enough BUT its easier for me to send him a big bag than him having to buy smaller bags regularly.

So it all comes down to personalization with a few necessities. Find out what your service member needs, and add a few things they might like and would put a smile on their face.

Have tips or ideas for a blog post. Message me, and I may just make a post devoted to your questions or ideas!

Happy Shipping!

Michelle

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Express shipment for OCONUS PCS

So that day has come, it is time to decide what to pack for your express shipment. The main question is, what can’t you live without? While you may want to say everything, you may have to narrow it down a bit. Here is my list of musts for express shipment.

– Plates, silverware, and dishes. Ok, this is more of personal preference. Realistically you could always go to the commissary and get disposable plates, cups, and silverware.
– Some pots and pans. Don’t take all now, you will still be living in your home for a bit so send maybe one pan and one pot to help you get started in your next location.
– Some Mugs, cups, and glasses.
– A few Bath towels. Oh sure, you could buy more, but it is an expense that can be prevented.
– A few sets of sheets & blankets. Very important, especially if you are using loaner furniture. This will help make your place feel more like your own.
– Kitchen towels & pot holders
– Kitchen necessities (Wine bottle opener, bottle opener, can opener, sharp knife or two, etc.)
– A mop/broom/vacuum. You will want to clean sooner rather than later.
– Mattresses w/ accessories (pad, box spring). This is one of those things you can hold off on if you are ok with using the loaner furniture for a bit longer.
– Folding chairs, small tables (until your other stuff arrives)
– Small, simple tool set (hammer, pliers, etc.)
– Sports or exercise gear or baby toys and furniture. Won’t normally have space for both, so it’s time to choose which you will pick.
– Coffee maker. In my household, this is very important.
– TV, you want to take at least one. Especially if you have littles.
– Desktop Computer w/ accessories (cords, printer, etc.)

What to pack in your Suitcase for that Oconus PCS.

It is time to start separating for belongings for the impending move. Here is my list of things to take with me in my suitcase and carry on.

– Your important documents (include IDs, wallet, cash, passports, travel information, contact information, copies of Orders, etc.) I may be a little crazy here, but I create a binder where all of this goes in. Also, keep this on your person at all times.
– Personal toiletries
– Medications & small first aid accessories (bandages and the like)
– Clothing for travel and arrival (plan for hotter or cooler weather than you are used to as well as a variety of events such as more formal occasions, swimming, etc.)
– Shoes for travel and arrival (a pair of casual shoes, formal, and utility should do, the rest I feel comfortable sending with the rest of our belongings)
– Entertainment for the trip and arrival until your next shipment comes (books, magazines, toys, laptops, tablets, mp3 players, etc.) If you have a baby, or child with you, be sure to make some more space for their toys as it tends to comfort the littles to have their things with them.
– Chargers for all electronics you are bringing with you (with adapters if needed)
– Valuables you are not shipping or storing
– Any specialized gear you might need (child seats, health-related equipment, things for your pets, etc.)
– Inflatable mattress/sleeping bag pads w/ sheets/blankets. Keep in mind when deciding if you want to take the air mattress with you that there are lending lockers where they can assign you temporary furniture until yours arrives. You may, however, want to make sure you take at least one set of sheets with you.
– Pillows/travel pillows

All of this said and done, most of these things you may be able to buy when you get to your destination. However, with an overseas move, you may have a lot of unexpected expenses so taking as much with you as possible will help.

Good Luck!

Michelle

Household goods shipment (HHG)

So your express shipment has left, and your luggage is packed (maybe), so al that is left is your HHG shipment.

Oh sure it’s easy to say (write), but getting to that point is a whole different story. Here is my basic outline of what goes in your HHG shipment.

– Small kitchen appliances
– All the rest of your cooking gear (specialized pans, etc.)
– The rest of your plates, dishes, silverware, etc
– The rest of your clothes
– Extra blankets, pillows, and sheets
– Extra towels
– Large Furniture (chairs, couches, loveseat, etc.)
– Sports/exercise gear (the big stuff)
-Guest bed
– Desks
– decorations & artwork
– dining table & chairs
– bookshelves
– The rest of your games, entertainment, electronics, etc

Ok, so this shipment is probably the easiest thing you will do in your whole process of PCS’ing. Everything that didn’t meet the cut for express shipment or your luggage goes here. So if you are just reading this to get an idea, remember while hectic now it will all fall into place. For those of you already here, take a seat, breath in and out slowly, and have a drink. You are one step closer to being in your new home, and most of the stress (should be) is gone.

Best of luck on your move!

Michelle

Overseas Medical Clearance

So the good news is, that if you are reading this, you now have a letter of intent to go to your overseas station. Welcome to the chaos that will be your life until you get to your new home. My hope is that I can help you out enough where things will be easier for you than they were for me.

Let me start by saying each and every case is different, especially so depending on the military branch you belong to. We are Navy, and while you may or may not be this should still serve as a basic guideline for you.

Your first step will be getting the paperwork for the overseas screening. In our case, we had to pick up a packet, fill it and then it was entered into a computer system. Only once that had been completed did we get scheduled for our appointments. Depending on how busy your medical is, your appointment may be scheduled for a few weeks off. Keep in mind that from the moment your service member receives the letter of intent they have 30 days to do their screening, and the dependants have 90. So do not panic when your hear your service member’s appointment is four weeks before your own.

If you are completely cleared by your installation with no medical “issues,” then the process is very easy and straight forward from there with nothing more for you to do on your part. However, should there be something in your record, i.e., depression, thyroid things like that, your medical packet will be sent to the overseas installation to be reviewed. At that point it is a case by case scenario and what capabilities they have to treat you.

For pregnancy, it depends on where you are going. For example, I am going to Iwakuni Japan; they have become more strict as of late and only medically clear women who will be in either their first or second trimester when arriving. If you are in your third trimester at the time of arrival, you will be rejected for clearance and would need to travel at a later date. As for if your service member gets extended at the current command or they leave before you, i do not know. I believe that too would be a case by case scenario and something that should be brought up as quickly as possible.

Dental: This aspect is much easier. Minor things like cleanings and fillings can be done overseas where the dental provider will clear you. If an extraction is needed, they may ask for it to be done stateside before departure.

Have a specific question or concern I did not cover? Please feel free to message me, and I will get the answers and either respond to you directly or write a new post on it.

Good Luck!

Michelle