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Relocation, relocation, relocation…
So it was after about 20 plus years in the game of baseball, married to Jamie, that I decided to start counting back all of our moves. After all, we met in Chicago and were supposed to live happily ever after there. We both had our dream jobs…Jamie playing for the Cubs and me working in TV. But, it was only a month after we were married that we were traded to Texas, and there began our journey of 84 moves! After that many moves, I am often asked for advice and examples as to how I made relocations work for our family. Some thoughts…
I used to drag boxes to UPS. Then I thought it was great when UPS would come to the apartment or house to pick up the boxes. My moving style evolved over the years. I am very fast at cutting tape with my teeth, and purging stuff accumulated in a baseball season. I need a day to unpack, and at least one run to Target to make anything feel like “home”. In fact, our kids often will talk about the places they miss, even the smallest of places, and I proudly take credit because everywhere we went, I made it feel like home.
Another ritual I incorporated for the kids was that every time we were leaving for spring training, or the season, we would bring in sugar cookies shaped and decorated like baseballs. The kids and their classmates always knew it was time for us to go be with Dad. Randomly I would also bring team trinkets back from spring training for the class so the kids could connect to the kid’s Dad’s team.
At the end of most baseball seasons I would donate most of our in-season household things and toys to local charities. I also found the season to be a good time to buy those “Barney” sheets the kids always wanted – they could get them but then didn’t have to bring them home.
I definitely became a pro at packing and unpacking. Only during the last few years in Philly (around move 79 & 80) would I sit down in my closet unpacking and literally cry thinking “I am not sure I can physically do this anymore”. Our moves ended at 84! 84 times where I literally packed and unpacked boxes! We should have invested in UPS stock! We chose to be together every place of Jamie’s 27 year career, and so my kids have learned great life skills for adapting no matter where we are. As long as I had foil on the windows or even invested in blackout blinds, I could get them all to nap, and stay on the baseball schedule. As long as we were near a park to play, or for Dad to get some “play” time with them, it felt like “home”. We ended up the longest in Seattle, and that’s where we stopped the 3 moves a year, once we made that our off season home. Up until then, we moved 3 times a year – to spring training, to the team city he played for, and then back home to Indiana. There were a few seasons during which a couple more moves were added when he was sent up and down to the minor leagues, yet we only had two in-season trades – one from Boston to Seattle, and the other from Seattle to Philly!!! Every move I definitely preferred doing it all myself (especially without Jamie). I had a system. He was best at the grocery store runs anyway, and getting the pet food (yes we took them with us most places too). These skills have made me VERY organized in a house now that has only 5 of the 8 kids living there full time. Our adjustment now is to keep cleaning things out a few times a year, even without those 2-3 moves a year. I can’t stand clutter…no wonder!
Looking back, I can’t imagine how much easier my life would have been, or how much money I would have saved, if I had known about The Dingman Group, one of the select partners of Spouses in Sports.
The Dingman Group is the nationwide leader in pro athlete relocation and, on average, they can help you save around 15-20%! When a player is signed to a new team, released, traded, or moving for in-season/off-season, their group manages the relocation. They manage the process of 1) buying/selling/renting homes, 2) household goods packing/shipping, and, one of the hottest topics among spouses, 3) vehicle transportation.
The Dingman Group works with over 450 athlete clients across the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLS. They work through athletes, advisors, spouses, other family members, and team personnel to save money for families while also making relocation easy, stress-free & timely. Check them out at www.dingmangroup.com!