Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Onto Oklahoma

“What if they fail us? Then what?” I asked Tom as we stood in our empty house in Wyoming.

“They won’t,” Tom answered.

I started to nibble on my fingernail. There is no way I’d ever bother with a manicure. It would be destroyed in less than an hour. “But if they fail us—”

“They WON’T.”

Tom was probably right. We paid for a cleaner, after all. See, when you live in base housing, you have to clean the house before you can move. Some people do it themselves. Other people hire cleaners. Like us.

“They’re here,” Tom said, staring out the window.

Sure enough the housing vehicle pulled up and parked in the driveway. I chewed my lower lip. This was it. The moment of truth.

It was a woman and a man. The woman looked friendly. For some reason I had pictured an old woman who would swipe her fingers against the counters searching for dust. This woman was young and I watched as she started opening and closing kitchen cabinets. She didn’t say much, she just walked around and checked things off her list.

“I’m nervous,” I whispered to Tom.

“It’s fine,” he assured me.

The woman went into the garage. We followed behind her like lap dogs. She opened the back door and opened the trash can.

“Did you wash this?” she asked, her eyes narrowing.

Oh no.

I knew Tom had washed it a few days before but who knows if the antelope messed with it?

“I did,” Tom confirmed.

“There’s a residue that needs to come off,” the woman said.

So we had to wheel the trash into the house and wash it off in the kitchen since our hose was packed.

That was fun.

The plus? That was the only problem she found. As soon as she checked that we cleaned the trash can, she signed us off.

“You’re free to go,” she said.

It’s a strange feeling handing over the keys to your home that you lived at for nearly five years. I felt my heart squeeze.

“What’s wrong? You do know we passed,” Tom said, easily handing his key over.

I tugged the key loose from my keychain. “I know. But this is the house where we brought our daughter home from the hospital. I still remember walking through the front door and setting her over there.”

I expected Tom to be moved. Instead he was like, “Could you hand her the key so we can go?”

I passed the key over to the woman. “I’ll miss this house.”

She didn’t seem moved either.

She just pocketed the key and handed us over the paperwork that showed we were cleared from the house.

It was no longer our house.

It belonged to the military again.

We headed for the front door. Before I walked out and turned and stared at the empty walls, at the indentations where our couch used to sit, of the spot where Natalie started to walk....

“Amber. Are you coming?” Tom was sitting in the car.

There was the spot where Natalie smiled for the first time. Where Tommy wrote his first sentence. The kitchen where Tom swung me around and said he’d love me forever..


“I’m coming.” I blinked and closed the door for the last time.

Tom noticed I was down when I got in my seat. “It’ll be okay,” he said. “It’s time for a new house. In Oklahoma.”

I nodded. “I know. It’s just…this home has so many memories.”

Tom backed the car out and I watched the house. There was the front yard where Tommy learned how to ride a two wheeler bike...

“But I guess it’s time to make new memories. In Oklahoma. So goodbye Wyoming house. You were good to us,” I continued.

Tom frowned. “I recall a lot of things breaking down in this house.”

There was the issue with the sink. And the toilets that seemed to always run water. And the carbon monoxide alarms would always go off and I’d think we were going to die in our sleep....

Still. I’ll remember the good, not the bad.

“Onto Oklahoma,” I said to Tom with a smile.

He smiled back. “Onto Oklahoma.”


  1. Onto Oklahoma and more wonderful memories!

  2. You will make wonderful memories in Oklahoma too!

    But I understand what you mean about feeling badly leaving the house that was so good to you. I keep doing the same thing in my house, even though my parents will still live there, it won't be my room anymore (my brother is taking it!)

  3. I always thought moving was so bittersweet. I looked forward to a new base and new experiences, but I always hated to leave our home (although I don't know why, because our base housing was always crappy. One was so old that it was torn down immediately after we left, one was so infested with termites that we had to move, and one had the same floors as the hospital).

    Oklahoma is going to be great. You guys will love it. :)

  4. That's got to be hard. But still, YOU and your FAMILY is what makes a house a HOME, and soon your HOUSE in OK will be a HOME, too. Good luck!

  5. Moving is HARD! I have such awe and respect for you guys that do it regularly. Good luck with Oklahoma. I'm only moving 2 streets over and I can barely handle the emotions.

  6. No matter how much a house may have bother you, it will always hold the memories of your family and time together. Soon your house in Oklahoma will hold memories for you too :)

  7. I've been living in our current house for 9 years. That's the longest I've ever lived in a house in my entire life. I like this house. But I'm kind of tired of it. I'd probably move in a heartbeat.

    Once you've grown up in the military, the nomadic life stays in your blood.

    On to Oklahoma!


  8. I completely understand the "letting go" process when you move. Growing up in the military myself...well, we never did get the chance to put down much in the way of roots. A few years ago I had to say goodbye to my very first was one of the hardest moments in my life.

    Can't wait to welcome you to Oklahoma!!!

  9. Yay on passing the inspection!!

    I know it's hard leaving, but you will make new, great memories in OK. :o)

  10. :( You made me get teary eyed! Shame on you!

  11. They made you wash out a trash can??

    Unbeleivable... but then - how do you throw one of them away?

  12. Men are so insensative sometimes. I would have been a little sad too.

    Best wishes in the OK.

  13. Screw that woman for not understanding your sentimentality...I hope she's cursed with trashcan residue that can't be washed off!

    Happy moving and wonderful new memories!

  14. Those will be memories you will cherish forever. We moved 9 months after our daughter was born. I was so sad to leave her room that we spent so much time making sure was perfect for her to come home to. Now it's time for new ones!

  15. thats so sweet! And you'll always have the memories. Good luck in in the new house and with making the new memories!

  16. I had the exact same feelings when we moved 1.5 years ago from Detroit to Philadelphia, leaving behind the house where we brought home each of our children from the hospital. It was so bittersweet. I stood in my oldest daughters room and cried when it was empty. I still miss that house and all of the memories it held.

    Thanks for your blog. I'm not sure how I discovered it, but I read it every day and love it.

  17. You know what they say, "Memories are made to be broken."

    Or maybe thats rules.

    I think the other one only applies to Alzhiemers patients.

  18. It's funny...I hate the act of moving, but I love having a new house to play with. :) Hopefully Oklahoma will be just as good to you!

  19. This made me tear up. It is hard to leave those memories behind but it is so much fun to look forward and start making new ones.

  20. Life in Oklahoma makes some awesome memories!

  21. ...where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. Are you at Sill?

  22. I know how you feel when you are leaving your house, but that's life. We need to accept that things, people or even our life's would come and go. I know you will have a good memories in your new house in Oklahoma. :) Think positive and be happy all the time.


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  23. Its sad to leave a house where you made so many memories but you are going to make a lot more in a new house.

  24. very sweet, I have only lived in apartments that were not what I wanted so I was always happy to leave however we are in one I like now so I'm sure I will be sad to leave it. It's good you have your memories and you will make many more in OK.

  25. I can't imagine having to move at someone else's will. Thank you both for everything you do for this country. :)

  26. This as a beautiful post, and so YOU. Funny, insightful, honest, funny some more. Loved it. Maybe it'd help to think of the memories as staying in your family instead of being left behind with the house.

  27. I always get sad leaving houses. Lots of good memories. But you'll make more!

  28. Hugs! This made me cry, because I know exactly how this feels!! It seems like you're always saying good-bye....and get to say hello too...

    ...on to Oklahoma!

  29. It sounds like you already like OK much more than Wyoming!

    Congrats on the move!

  30. Leaving anywhere is always hard. I'm looking forward to hearing all about Oklahoma. Good luck!

  31. I cannot imagine military life. At all. Hope the new house becomes just as special for you as the old one was...

  32. what a great post - it was very heartwarming...hope you make wonderful new memories in Oklahoma...

  33. hard to leave behind those things, but you'll always kepp the memories! Oklahoma will be great! :)

  34. When we sold the house I grew up in, when I was twenty, I knelt down in my old empty bedroom and said a little prayer. That a piece of us would remain there forever. Corny, but I needed that, some way to honor this of rite of passage.


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