YDU: To Pick One House Not Three?


Not quite two and a half years into being at our first duty station, I am sitting in my third home. Yes, third. Here is how it took me three tries to finally be in a home that will satisfy our needs in the long run. Hopefully.

HOUSE #1:  We chose home #1 before visiting the same half of the country as our duty station. I met a nice, classy Army wife and chose our home based on her analysis of the area. We also were able to find a nice place under our BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing).  The first nine months there were fine because my husband was deployed. Reunion revealed a 40 minute commute to post. Add that to the notorious long workdays and we ended up stressed, tired, and frustrated. We also spent the difference in housing prices on gas.

HOUSE #2:  So we moved on post. Luckily, the government paid for this move. We moved into a brand new three-floor townhouse on post. It was fabulous, minus the awkward room shapes, endless construction across the street, and lack of space for our new baby. When our 5-year-old was ready for Kindergarten we found out that the post schools are not fantastic. Private schools run between $4,000-$16,00 yearly. Also, an upcoming promotion will leave us with wasted BAH. Knowing that within our current BAH, we could have a nice house, good school district, reasonable commute to post, and money in our pocket after the upcoming promotion, we couldn’t afford NOT to move.

HOUSE #3:  So we moved off post. The government did not pay for this move. We did it all. My husband had no idea how difficult it would be, because he wasn’t the one there when the linebacker- sized movers called in backup to move us into post housing. Front load washing machines are not made for moving up and down three floors. I went from feeling nostalgic about our post housing to never wanting to see it again. Ever. I don’t even know if I want to go visit my neighbor after this move.

Here I am, sitting in my family room at our new house, traumatized after three moves in less than three years. I love this house and I love this city. If I don’t feel the same way a year from now, that’s okay, because we will be PCSing. Next time, I’m not putting a deposit down until I am sure I've covered all the potential needs we'll have for our stay so we pick one house, not three.

Kristen Ford lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children. Her degree in Forensic Accounting took a backseat to being an "Army wife" and stay-at-home mom less than four years ago. She enjoys taking advantage of the fresh, organic produce that the PNW has to offer and the overall healthy lifestyle there.  Her main goal at this point in life is to raise her family as "normal" as the military lifestyle permits.   

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