Ah ... home. That word holds quite a different meaning for an Army Family.
If I am envious of anything in my civilian friend's lives, it is the ability to put down roots. Although a little thing called BAH allows us to always reside in adequate quarters (more so now that we've promoted a few times ....), there is no such thing as "a permanent home".
We're at the age where the majority of our friends outside the military are beginning to chose their homes. For them, it involves looking at things that will matter 5-10 years in advance : School districts for children that are not yet born, what the projected property values are in 10 years, how long it will take to do all the renovations that the couple desires. Although people do buy houses that they wont live in forever, most couples do not buy a home with the thought that it'll do "for now".
The majority of our friends who are in service will not buy a home. We fall into that category, at least for the time being. Although it would be amazing to walk into "our" home, we don't have the stability to make that a good decision. Military couples have to face a unique lifestyle that involves the very real possibility of being uprooted at any second. That sort of lifestyle does not always promote a positive buying environment, and most of us will continue to rent or live in on-post housing.
Some military couples will buy houses. For some, its a good investment. For others, they get more for their money when paying a mortgage as opposed to wasting away in a rental home. Whatever the reason for buying, these homeowners also face a unique challenge - instead of renovating everything to their own desires, they always have to think "Will this change to the home still let us rent it out/ sell it soon?".
With that said, the picture of the day is of our current "quarters" decorated for homecoming day. A summer homecoming was the perfect time to hang banners, plant flowers, and share our joy with the whole neighborhood (who probably couldnt have given a shit less).
This is home, for now. In the 4 years weve been in the military, weve lived in 4 different homes. Ive learned to arrange furniture to fit different rooms, hang pictures instead of painting, and I have more curtains and throw pillows than Bed, Bath and Beyond. Although it can be stressful to be on a first name basis with U-Haul, I can say that I never get bored with our house .... before I can do that, we move. And not only that, but you learn to make home truly "where your heart is" .... even if your heart, and your two big dogs are sleeping at yet another Extended Stay.
You learn to view every rearrange as an adventure, to explore your surroundings before they change, and that its perfectly acceptable to buy and sell the same twin bed 3 times on LewisYardSales.com .....