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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Searching for "Home"

Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey
(Except quoted lyrics)

You and I have memories
Longer than the road
That stretches out of here
Getting nowhere on our way back home
we're on our way home
we're going home

--"Two of Us" 

Written by Boney M

Shopping for a new home is an experience that touches a person on so many levels, and engages most of the baser emotions. "Home" as a concept is something quite different from "house." A house is just a structure, a place where a person sleeps at night. A home, on the other hand, is so much more. It is a structure, true. But it is that place where safety and security provide a place for love to exist, even to flourish.

Home is where we go when the world has turned against us, a door to shut out all that creates the miseries of our lives. It is where family lives, where all can be sure that love trumps judgement.

So when we shop for a home, we're not just looking for a building to contain us and our stuff. We're looking for that one place where we can be..."us."

Like many, I have had in my mind, and perhaps in my heart, the place I have always dreamed about. Some of the details change, but I know that it has a big front porch, with white posts and a pair of rocking chairs where we can pass a pleasant evening. The interior details I leave to Cheryl, except that I'd like to have a room where bookshelves line the walls, where a desk and computer wait to give life to the words that flow through my brain. I'd like the house to have a sense of style that touches the past without surrendering things like in-the-wall wiring for electronics and computers.

Oh yes, and a garage big enough for two cars and a place to store a motorcycle during the winter months.

I know Cheryl has her thoughts about what she wants, but I have a hard time pinning those down. I know that she likes an open floor plan, with as few walls as possible. She'd like a single-story because she gets tired of stairs, or at least having the master bedroom on the main floor. Other than that, its a bit of a mystery.

We've been shopping for a new home for a few months now with one of three results. Either I like it and she doesn't, she likes it and I don't, we both hate it, or it's too darn expensive, or too far out of town. It's been really hard to pin the tail on the right donkey, so to speak.

It's rare moments like this when I wish I was independently wealthy and the price (to a point) wouldn't matter. But that's fantasy. And this is real life.

The whole matter is complicated by the thought that I may be transferring again in 3 - 4 years, so perhaps I shouldn't be looking for that something in which I'd be emotionally as well as financially invested. We want to retire in Las Vegas, and that's really where I wanted to go in the first place, but unfortunately, it just wasn't in the cards this time around.

The other big question is whether to rent or buy. Here in the virtual shadow of the Nation's Capitol, the differences in cost between renting and buying aren't significant enough to sway the argument either way. Of course, a lease is a lot easier thing to get out from under than a mortgage when moving time comes. The thing is, all the experts whom I've queried (and there's been a long list of them) say the same thing -- that the market here has gone as far down as its going to go, and is starting to creep back towards positive territory. Because of the constant in- and out-flow of people, the market is pretty strong, in that there's always people looking to buy. So, in that light, we'd be foolish not to buy and therefore miss out on what looks to be a promising return on our investment. It's also possible that things could go even further south. But I've always lived by the dictum, "Take not counsel of your fears." To seek reward entails shouldering risk. That's simply the way the game's played.

We will find a place, one way or another. And one day, hopefully sooner rather than later, we will find that perfect piece of heaven we can call home.

At least for now.
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