“Wow, so now that he’s retiring, you’re going to buy a house! You’ve moved so many times, I bet you know exactly what you want," a civilian friend said to me.
You'd think so, right? My friend got me thinking about just how my idea of our perfect house changed during a Navy career.
If she’d asked me about my dream house years ago when I was a newlywed, I would have said I was methodically collecting ideas for the perfect house. Cottage by townhouse by base house, I noted the good and bad features.
At the end of his career, I was confident, we’d have clarified the right sort of layout, style, and features. By that “retirement” day in the distant future, we’d know exactly what kind of forever house to buy.
As our military adventure continued, we never lived in a house we didn’t absolutely love for one reason or another. We lived in some fabulous houses in gorgeous and historic neighborhoods.
We dealt with some quirky houses, as well. Lights shouldn’t flicker if heavy people walk on the 1970’s linoleum, but a great location near the beach can sometimes compensate.
Like everyone who moves on a regular basis, I did pick up ideas for houses. Though it would be a selling point for my dear husband, I’ll object to a room that has been painted battleship gray with actual battleship paint. Similarly, we don’t want a mirrored wall with a built-in 8 track tape player.
Many addresses later, it seems that my studies in pursuit of the perfect house have resulted in a clear vision for our forever home.
But it isn’t what I would have told you when we were first married.
What we learn about homes, when you move as much as we have, is that is that it isn’t so much about the house.
Sure, there are a few good points of houses I’d love to replicate. You can’t have too many kitchen cabinets. A driveway needs to be suited to bike riding, and I now prefer a gas stove to an electric one.
But do I have my heart set on a colonial or a bungalow, new construction or historic farmhouse? They all sound just great.
My dream house will be my dream house because my sweet family will be with me, and my favorite guy will come home to me every night. We’ll plant a garden. When kids say goodbye to schoolmates in early June, we know we can look forward to seeing them all summer and the next school year, too.
Our dream house will be our our favorite house because whether it smells of new carpet or of old hardwood, we’ll be able to mark the kids’ heights on the door jamb. And we’ll do it in pen. **
What are the best and worst features of the homes you’ve lived in?
Amy Sheridan is a Navy wife looking forward to her house of dreams.
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Stives