Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Viva La Packout! FS Blog Round-Up Week-ending 7/29/11

UAB, HHE...OMG.  It's summer, and while for many in the FS, that means vacations and home leave, for others it means PACKOUT.  If you're like us, no matter how excited you are about the next post, you dread the deadly PACKOUT.  Because you know that despite the best of planning, many things will be lost, broken, eaten, forgotten.  You will ship the wrong things and store the items you need the most.   What you think should get there quickly (UAB) will end up being NOT AT ALL WHAT YOU NEED.  Four months later, the stuff you really wanted and needed...will end up arriving with your HHE.

Or how about the $$$ you unload out-of-pocket before packout getting all the stuff you need for your next post?  Target, Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco.  We've all been there and we've all spent Way. Too. Much.  And then thought of more of what we'd need after leaving the store.  Now, I'll admit - we're newbies to the overseas packout.  We have, however, made two domestic moves in 1 year, and it was...painful.  The first move, we got our orders a mere three days before the moving company arrived to pack our stuff from Ohio to Los Angeles.  I, personally, was PSYCHOTIC.  The fact that my husband still speaks to me to this day after the way I reacted to the first moving cluster circus really speaks of his awesomeness.

On arrival to L.A., our UAB arrived just a few days after us.  The moving company (only one guy) arrived with our TV (65 lbs) and our two boxes of clothing that we thought we'd need.  The clothing boxes were encased in a metal cage.  Not to mention the moving dude refused to haul the TV up the stairs to our second floor condo.  I told him I wouldn't sign for delivery until it was in my living room.  Needless to say, he figured out a way to get it up the stairs.  As for the boxes encaged in a weird metal-basket-weave thing (why I didn't take a photo, I'll never know), I used a crowbar to cut into the open spaces and dug our items out.  One by one.  Ah. Memories.  Thankfully, our move back to Ohio just one year later was uneventful and easy.  Although 1 1/2 years later we still have many things still in boxes.

So here we are.  Just 5 weeks out from our first overseas packout.  I thought this week, the theme for the FS blog round-up could be packout, since my mind is certainly on it, and so are so many other's...

The McDaniel Family is a good seven months from packout, but already losing sleep over it.  I feel your pain!  However, Juliana is much smarter than I - she's got her lists in an excel spreadsheet.

Nomadic Dan at 110to220 has a great archive of blogs, beginning from May when he arrived back in the States but his unaccompanied luggage did not.  My favorite?  The adventures of his car going mudding. But don't giggle too quickly, because here's what happens when things go wrong.  Thankfully, every State Department fairy tale has a happy ending, and shortly he will be reunited with his vehicle and scooter.

Rebecca at S as in Smylie pulled an archived feed for packout shopping/retail therapy support!

The Benily Family has had some difficulty in the past with their packout's transit when some much-loved items never arrived.  Sadly, later when they went to inspect some items in storage, they were moldy and ruined.

As for suggestions for packout success, the Kern Family provides visual aids! Lists! And tips!  I will be using their system for sure next month.

Becky at Small Bits pulled an archive for us, from recent organizing and downgrading and sorting in prep for their packout.  They're in transit from post to in-between-post to post.  I also love the ideas and suggestions she has for keeping kids busy with minimal stuff while waiting for transit!

Special thanks to Sadie for taking the time to put into words her emotional experiences with packout.  Her 1-year anniversary in Saudi Arabia is coming up very soon.  Sadly, her very sweet pooch, Hattie, passed away this time last year.  Here is her touching tribute to her wonderful pet.

What about pack-in?  Hello Talaly has received their UAB!  Merry Christmas!

Well, That Was Different is currently in 'recovery' from their packout and arrival to post.  As they like to point out, things happen in three's.  And here they are, coming up for air!  I like how this blog points out that nowadays it's so easy to keep in touch that goodbyes are different than they used to be.

Got kids?  (We do!)  Here's 3rdCultureChildren's post on dealing with packout and suggestions on how to let your munchkins be involved.  Really really good stuff!

And lest you start to think packout is all work and no play, There is Fun to Be Done's poetry about the 'Night Before Packout' reminds you to stay sane.  And happy.

In other non-packout related news...

I've received a couple of recommendations on this post.  Hannah at Young Millimania Across the Globe writes a great piece about how she is feeling right now with her Dad in Iraq while she's in Amman.  I love this blog.  She touches on some really great points about what's 'home'.  Thanks, Hannah!

Ok, I'm outta here.  Thanks for all the submissions, FS Bloggers.  You make this Round-Up thing easy!

If you would like your blog to be added to this submission or if you have a recommendation for an add-on, please email me! I will happily add it to the feed.

My hubby's UAB from Baghdad.
Obviously still in the living room nearly a week after
he's home. But why unpack what's just going to be re-packed
in a mere 5 weeks? Besides, it's an awesome shelf for keeping
stuff away from sticky baby fingers.  Obviously.


  1. Nice job, Heather! And congratulations on getting the husband back! Always a great feeling! Thanks for hosting this week's roundup!

  2. Soooo glad I'm not packing out this year!

  3. Thank you so much for what you said about my blog. That was really nice of you.

  4. Heather, thanks so much for the very sweet mention and comments. (I've been offline this week and am just now getting to read blogs again.) Great job!

  5. Great round-up! I love reading your writings!