Hey, guys, its Iris Green with Military Home Base. And we’re bringing you our new series, My PCS Story. Where we talk about military spouses and veterans. And what they went through on their PCS journey in hopes that it can help some of you answer some questions about experiences that you’re having or may have. So, today we’re with Trish Hershfeld. And Trish is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. She works with me. She’s my assistant. And I can never, never be rid of her. She has all my passwords. Not that I would.
Iris G.: She’s fantastic. So, today we’re talking to Trish about her PCS and the PCS she has coming up. So, Trish, talk to me a little bit about your first PCS. How long ago was it?
Trish H.: We’re going on three and a half years, now.
Iris G.: So, you’ve only moved once, right? With the military?
Trish H.: With the military, once, yes.
Iris G.: So far?
Trish H.: So far. We’ve probably got about four total moves left. And I am very scared for our upcoming PCS.
Iris G.: So, I know you can’t really talk about where you’re going, but we know it’s overseas.
Trish H.: Yes.
Iris G.: And I know you’re super excited about it. And we were able to track down another spouse that came from the place that you’re going to. So, talk to me a little bit about your first PCS. How was it? What challenges did you have? What do you wish that you had known before you started this journey?
Trish H.: For me, it was about housing. I knew that there was going to be a really long wait. But I didn’t expect it to be 14 months, for just me and my husband, no kids.
Iris G.: Yeah. And that was to get on base, right?
Trish H.: Yes, that was to get on base. And we had lived off base at our last duty station before this one. And it was fine because I was from an hour away, I had grown up an hour away in Maryland. So, I kind of still knew the area. But, here, coming to MacDill, I really wanted to stay on base, just for the safety of knowing where the PX is, where the commissary is. I wouldn’t have to travel far. I could stay in a safe zone.
Iris G.: Right.
Trish H.: But that was unrealistic. When we came down here to bring my husbands car, we went to the housing office, and they suggested that we look at apartments on this list they had. And a lot of the apartments on there let you pay a thousand dollars in advance to break the lease when housing was available. Well, we stayed in one in St. Pete. And we lived on air mattresses and air furniture, like chairs. Actual chairs filled with air for a whole month, before we finally got a house. We ended up buying new construction.
Iris G.: And you guys had pets at the same time you were living on this inflatable furniture, because you have cats.
Trish H.: Well, we had the two dogs with us. And then, thank god for my mother-in-law because she kept the two cats with her until we got a place.
Iris G.: So, how long were you essentially homeless when you got here? And just for those of that don’t know, Trish is currently at MacDill Air force Base. That is in Tampa, Florida.
Trish H.: Yes.
Iris G.: So, talk to me about that.
Trish H.: So, we found the apartment probably two or three days after got here. And we just immediately left the housing office sad because we couldn’t get housing on there. And we went to this apartment building and they offered the thousand dollars to break the lease and we signed it right then and there. We were able to do our deposits and move in, in a couple days.
Iris G.: That’s pretty good. Because some people have to stay in temporary living situations for sometimes weeks. And by temporary living, I mean like hotels which, if you’ve PCS’d with dogs. Yeah, more than one dog. I have four, Trish has two. It’s not fun sharing a hotel room with all of your animals. But, it’s something we pet lovers must deal with when we PCS. Did you guys run into any issues with breed restrictions or anything like that when you were looking for private housing?
Trish H.: We did not, because we decided not to rent at all. We were just going to buy. And we looked at a few places but we were at a time crunch because our goods had to be delivered. Like, it was either put them in storage and then move them on our own later, or just get a new construction because we knew we could move in within 30 days and just have our good delivered. And of course, my husband had to go overseas for work when our good were being delivered.
Iris G.: Of course.
Trish H.: So, I had to unpack all by myself.
Iris G.: Isn’t that how it works? That’s how it usually works, right? As soon as you get in, they’re gone and you get to deal with all the fun of unpacking. Because even though, we all know that the movers are supposed to unpack if we request, the reality is, that doesn’t happen very often. Usually, you end up with all the boxes and paper and the mess left behind.
Trish H.: Yeah.
Iris G.: So, since you had to make that decision so fast, to buy a house, because that’s pretty scary. I mean, you go into a huge amount of debt in a very short period of time with almost no time to think about it. How do you feel about that decision now, deciding to purchase?
Trish H.: At first, it was amazing. We loved having our own home. I mean, the stuff we could do to it was just phenomenal. We could paint, we could build, we could do whatever we wanted.
Iris G.: Right.
Trish H.: Did we do all of that? No. We didn’t do any of it. We laid floors and that was it. And that’s only because we’re planning on selling and we need to keep up with the neighborhood.
Iris G.: Right.
Trish H.: But, now, I’m scared. I’m scared that we won’t be able to sell in time. And I’m worried that if we decide to rent, if something breaks we’re held liable for that. And, I mean, going overseas, that’s just terrifying to leave this home here and worry about tenants. And then to sell it, if we don’t sell it in time, we’re overseas, what are we going to do?
Iris G.: You’ll have a house payment and rent.
Trish H.: Yes.
Iris G.: That’s a lot. That’s a lot to come out of pocket unexpectedly. So, is there anything that you would’ve … Would you have made a different decision looking back?
Trish H.: Honestly, we definitely saved money with BAH by buying. But we could’ve found a home that fit us better, a smaller home for about the same price we paid in mortgage. But I do love my house. I love it so much. We have free rein here. I mean, our community is really nice. They’re constantly building over here. I had my first daughter, or my only child here.
Iris G.: You said first, that suggests there’s another one or something.
Trish H.: No, no.
Iris G.: Just saying.
Trish H.: No, no, no, no, no. Don’t even. Oh gosh. No, no.
Iris G.: She’s going through the toddler phases right now. So, hence this response.
Trish H.: I know, she’s biting and hitting, and I’m just trying to breathe.
Iris G.: She’s hitting her terrible two’s early. Nothing wrong with that. That means she’s an achiever, she’s an over achiever. She’s ahead of her time, her age. So, we know now, from the beginning of our broadcast that you guys are getting ready to PCS overseas to a European country. How scary is that?
Trish H.: I am equally nervous and scared. I’m excited too, but I’m more worried about taking four animals over there and finding housing. And I know that I can still work from there. But it’s navigating that time difference. And taking a child, I wouldn’t even know the first thing about finding healthcare in a foreign country. Or anything like schools. I mean, what age do they go to school over there? Is it the same here? I have no idea.
Iris G.: Yeah. So, one of the fantastic things that we’ve been able to do, partially through the My PCS Story’s, as we talked to spouses that have experienced PCS’s or getting ready to. We are able to match Trish with a spouse that moved here from where she’s going. So, we’ll be connecting you with her, probably today or tomorrow. And she’s said that you can ask her anything. She said, “I hope you don’t expect it sugar coated because I’m going to give it to her like it is.”
Trish H.: Awesome.
Iris G.: And I told her that that’s what you prefer.
Trish H.: Yes.
Iris G.: With your eyes open. So, is there anything else that you would like to share about your story or tips that you would like to share? Maybe a new spouse experience that in their first PCS might find valuable?
Trish H.: My first tip would be find out about housing, immediately.
Iris G.: Yeah.
Trish H.: Figure out if you want to rent or buy. Get a good realtor. Iris Green, if you’re coming to Tampa.
Iris G.: Thank you.
Trish H.: And just get started on those. Because I waited. I figured we’d get there and we’d have housing. Where we were before had an abundant amount of housing. There was no wait at all. And I just assumed it was like that everywhere because it was my first time.
Iris G.: Right.
Trish H.: And ask questions. I mean, I love the wives pages. I can go on there and if I have even one tiny question about dogs, I get a million responses about other things I haven’t even thought about yet.
Iris G.: Yeah.
Trish H.: It’s phenomenal.
Iris G.: Yeah. Our spouse groups are pretty fantastic. Facebook has been a huge boon for a the military spouse community because we now have access to spouses that are living where we’re going to be. They’re doing it right now. They can give us timely information. Timely updates. And it’s a great place to talk about housing, especially, considering what’s happening with on post housing right now, with all of the maintenance issues that you and I see in some of our groups every day. It’s valuable to know if that base is being affected and who is the management company that’s there. So, that’s been a really powerful tool that Facebook … When we did our first PCS, we didn’t have Facebook. So, we flew blind and our first apartment was kind of scary because we had to rent from a distance. So, I hear you on that.
Iris G.: Okay. So, with that being said, we’re going to go ahead and kind of wrap up for today. If you have a PCS story that you would like to share that you think other spouses might find useful, beneficial, amusing, we’re open to funny stories too. Scary, something to watch out for. We would love to hear from you. And remember, Military Home Base brings you home, one base at a time. Have a great afternoon, everybody.