Monday, February 15, 2010

Home Sweet Home

After almost five years together, my partner TJ and I decided it was time to purchase a home. In February of 2008 we found this little beauty near downtown Orlando, FL. It was a small craftsman home: approximately 1,000 sq. ft. Despite its size, it had some remarkable features: beautiful landscaping, high ceilings with rafters in the living room, and a lakeside view from the backyard.

With its yellow exterior and wraparound porch, it later seemed to us to be the little brother of Carl Fredricksen's home in the Disney/Pixar film "Up." The similarities didn't end there: Like Carl and his wife Ellie, TJ and I are adventurers at heart. Unlike Carl and Ellie, we have been fortunate enough to live out our dreams. We travel as often as we can and fill our photo albums with both potential and realized dreams.

One of TJ's biggest dreams has recently come true. Since deciding to continue his education in 2004, TJ has dreamt of becoming a Foreign Service Officer. The process of becoming an FSO is a long and arduous one best left for a later discussion. What matters is that it is a much coveted position and, having earned his BA in Political Science and an MBA, TJ was primed and ready.

TJ reports for duty on Tuesday, February 16, 2010. What this means for us is that, only two years after purchasing our first home together, we have had to say goodbye to not only our house, but to Orlando, "The City Beautiful," my home since May 2003, and TJ's home since September 2001. This new experience is more than a training period in the Metro DC area. It is the opportunity to travel the world and live in exotic, sometimes dangerous locales. We will not be returning to the "Up" house anytime soon.

The circumstances that brought us individually to Orlando were very different, but the reason that we stayed was the same...for each other. We have decided to rent out our home and to hold on to it for now as a potential retirement property. Perhaps one day, if and when the attachment wears off, we will decide on an alternative course of action.

We have been in DC now since Thursday. On the drive up, we discussed where we would tell people we were from if asked. I spent the first 23 years of my life in Texas. TJ spent the first 17 years of his in Alabama, and the next 3 in Colorado. Four days ago, it was by those states that we chose to define ourselves. Now, if asked, we will quickly and proudly state that we are Floridians.

1 comment:

  1. Your house is cute. I could only wish ours were such a manageable size. Now that I'm working two jobs, going to school 1/2 time, and running 3 FSOA study groups each week in addition to my overbooked volunteer schedule with the local community theatre and Red Cross(yeah, I'm a little crazy), I clean NOTHING now. Seriously, if I'm home at all, it's to assess how well the maid has cleaned or the kids have messed it up. It's sad, really. Adam, bless his heart, can't get motivated to do much cleaning unless I'm there beside him to cheer him on. Oddly enough, I think I do better with loud music and nobody else.
    Anyway, I'm talking about you, not me...geesh! So your house is cute and I'd gladly trade, but you wouldn't want to shovel the snow off of my sidewalk in the winter. :-) It can be several feet sometimes...and it lasts ALL winter...not a day or two...ALL winter. DC snow's got nothing on an Iowa winter. Just wait until you guys get posted to Iceland or Canada. :-P

    On the kid front, I have to say it's been one of the best and worst decisions. It absolutely gives you something in common with nearly everyone else (which, in a world full of people completely focused on their kids makes a big difference). While I intentionally took teen boys and have a very specific list of reasons why (that I won't go into here), I do not assume that's the right solution for everyone. Adam and I have different parenting styles and this has proven to be a challenge for us as a couple more than once. Sometimes, these things are easier to work out when the kids are growing up versus when they are grown up, since teenagers will use this to their advantage. I can go into a lot more detail on that too, but probably not in a public forum. Either way, I do not think having kids are for everyone and I certainly wouldn't encourage you to pursue it if you have any doubts. I'm a bit annoyed that childless couples are sometimes marginalized and so rare. You are a whole person without children and the world could do with a bit of a rest.