Someday, the fashion editors at Home and Garden and other such magazines need to get together and do a military issue. Not that I volunteer my home, or anything. I mean, seriously, I have FOUR kids! And a husband! And a dog! My house is never clean enough for people to come and take pictures. It's quite often not even clean enough that I'll open my door and let you in if you visit without calling!
But I'm sure there are some military families out there whom the "Filth Fairies" don't torment on such a regular basis. Since my house would barely make the clean standard for "Cluttered Hand Prints Quarterly", we'll have to settle on using the perfect house down the street.
This idea has been bouncing around in my head a lot lately, for probably the last year and a half. It all started when my brother came to visit on his way from Germany to his current CONUS duty station and we got into a discussion about my decorating.
My decorating, by the way, was described as "Early Harem." Also sometimes referred to as "Hippie." And yes, I do wear beads. But only sometimes.
It's not like I had any choice in the matter of my decor style, though. The knicknacks filling our house all came from hubby's various deployments (as we have not yet been stationed overseas as a family). We have wall hangings from Korea, rugs and coffee sets from Iraq, handmade burqa dolls, bedspreads, and alabaster vases from Afghanistan, and matrioshki and pisanky from Russia. In our entryway we have a framed propaganda poster of Saddam that hubby brought back with him from Baghdad. On the living room wall we have a Batik wall hanging some very good friends brought us from China. And yes, we do have mementos from our sojourn in Texas. As anyone who has lived there can tell you, Texas has a culture all its own!
As much as I like to think hubby and I are "special", the truth is that you see this kind of decorating at nearly every military house you go to; albeit with touches of different cultures. Families who have been stationed in Germany, Britain, Turkey, and Japan are sure to have collected precious mementos that dot their houses and integrate into their family story. And since most of us have been multiple places plus deployments, it's not unusual to see British tea sets juxtaposed with Samurai sword sets. Or Hawaiian shell hangings next to Turkish rugs.
And it's a totally awesome thing to see. This is the real reason I go to those Pampered Chef parties... to peruse other people's knick-knacks (just to keep you in your comfort zone, I am NOT one of those people who goes through the medicine cabinets when I am a guest - it's knick-knack tour only)!
Sometimes, though, my house can be a bit too much for my visiting civilian family members.
"Hey, Kiddo," (why does my entire family call me "Kiddo?" I'm THIRTY TWO years old!), "WHAT is THIS?"
"Um, that's a nonfunctional Argeelah."
"No, it's a Hookah Pipe. It doesn't work, it's just for looks. You know, like the caterpillar smokes in Alice in Wonderland?"
"You smoke this?"
"No, it doesn't work."
"Why do you want it, then?"
"Um, it looks cool?"
"A Samovar. It's a Russian tea making thing."
"Do you make tea in it?"
"No. I don't know how."
So, maybe my decorating is not as functional as it should be. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. And besides, it lets me express my "Inner Hippie."