Although we do not officially have orders in hand, all signs point to us moving this summer to Fort Eustis, Va. We are looking forward to this for many reasons: My husband is from that area and his mother still lives there, as well as his brother and his wife. Another plus is that we obviously know the area and are quite fond of it, plus the schools are generally good.
Also, we will be near the ocean, which we’ve both missed. What is causing me (and dear hubby) some anxiety, however, is the fact that we’ve decided to purchase a house. This will only be the second time we’ve taken this leap.
The first time was back in 2005 when Rob was assigned to the now defunct Fort Monroe, Va., and we set our sights on the historic Williamsburg area. It was toward the end of the housing bonanza and the term “sellers’ market” was never truer. Houses were literally going like hotcakes. We would call about seeing a place and within a few hours, it would be too late — someone else had snapped it up.
We figured this was going to last a while, so when we eventually bought our house, visions of dollar signs ran through our heads as we calculated the profit we would make. Ah, how naïve we were!
There were two key problems here. The first was that we were only there for two years — not enough time to justify buying a house, unless we had been smart and rented it out after we left. And the second was that the housing market bubble broke in 2007 — right about the time we were packing up to return to Germany.
Despite hiring a savvy real estate agent and doing all the right things, our house languished on the market longer than we anticipated. When it finally sold, we had barely broken even. With that lingering bad taste in our mouths, here we are almost eight years later contemplating doing it all over again.
Of course, the economy is very different, as is the real estate business. And we are both older and (hopefully) wiser. But it still keeps me up at night occasionally. What’s tough is trying to find the ideal house from so far away. We are searching primarily on the website Zillow and Rob is wholeheartedly involved in the hunt, even though he’s in Kabul, Afghanistan. He keeps sending me links to houses, asking for my opinions and comments and I’m having trouble keeping up. He is clearly a man on a mission while I admit that I’m dragging my feet a wee bit.
Not only am I dreading the whole moving process because it’s exhausting and just plain hard, but deciding on a house means it’s final that we really are leaving. We have lived here for nearly three years, and I’m pretty sure it will be a difficult move for us all.
My youngest came out of the bathtub the other night crying like his little heart would break. Concerned that he was hurt or sick, I rushed over to him and asked him what was wrong. Between incoherent sobs, he confessed that he was sad about moving this summer.
Truthfully, I was stunned that he felt so deeply about it, especially this many months out. But it really shouldn’t have surprised me. He is a sensitive soul, like his mom, and he has made a handful of close buddies during our time here. On the plus side, he has been lucky enough to attend the same school for three grades — Meadows Elementary.
Ditto for my teenager, who will be finishing up seventh grade at Audie Murphy Middle School soon. Then there’s me. I choke up just contemplating being wrenched from this neighborhood full of wonderful people. Change is coming and that’s inevitable but it doesn’t make it any easier.
But before the waterworks start, let me return to the subject of the house. We have some specific criteria: I desperately want a porch and a sunroom. Rob wants an enormous garage and (in a perfect world) a hot tub. We both would love a big, woodsy yard for Murphy to explore. Naturally we have price limitations. We may have to settle for a lot less down the line.
In the meantime, there are dozens of houses to sift through, assess, and either “save” or dismiss.
Some of the houses are so grand and beautifully showcased that I can hardly imagine our own tired furniture occupying the space. More than a few have dated wallpaper and crazy paint jobs. One of those houses is ours — we just don’t know which one yet.
Until then, I will be here in our Fort Hood house, enjoying our last few months at the Great Place, and preparing for the future.