Checking Out The House
by Tim O'Connell

So our old friend calls us last Sunday and tells us that he may have found the perfect house for us. We’ve known him for almost 20 years and one of the few real friends that has stayed in touch through all the military moves. Our daughter and son-in-law went over to see the place; they think it’s perfect. Daughter sends pictures and friend sends contract. Credit Union jumps in with a fully pre-approved application. Wow…looks like this is happening. But wait a minute…I put in for leave and get it and then drive my happy butt ten hours West on 80 then 84 because, I’m not signing for almost a quarter of a million bucks for a house that I haven’t at least walked through. I guess it’s the old cold warrior in me…trust but verify.
I LOVE driving I80 across Wyoming. I know, call me weird, but the prairie changing to buttes, changing to mountains is one of the most calming and centering drives I know of. Even wired on two Full Throttles and a Diet Coke, I feel calmer than I have in forever…even Utah didn’t bring me down. It’s the Mormons. They make me nervous.

Driving around with my daughter has been amazing too. The town’s changed, but it’s still pretty cool. The mountains to the North have a fresh dust of snow while it only rained down here in the valley.

There are more Moxie Javas than Starbucks and for me, there’s no better coffee shop. They play better music and they’re coffee doesn’t taste burnt. Starbucks suffices but it’s not Moxie.

And there are at least four diners I know of that serve up the best breakfasts ever. Rae Dean’s has the most amazing chicken fried steak I’ve ever tasted. Tender, crispy, and juicy with real cracked pepper in the white gravy. I had it for breakfast with a couple of perfectly basted eggs and just right crispy hash browns.

And the house? Well the neighborhood is mostly 60s and 70s ranch houses and it sits on .21 acres of REAL grass that used to be mostly alfalfa back in the 50s…it helps to have a realtor who was a teenager in the area you want to move into…they know all the weird stuff. You have to be military to understand that getting a house that doesn’t have a dead lawn is such an amazing happening. I just walked around the lawn and it felt amazing to my feet…it was aerated in the past year, felt amazing. Three bedrooms on the main floor. HUGE kitchen dining room area with big and deep cabinets. The back yard is big enough to put in a flower garden, a vegetable garden, a Zen garden and even an octopus’ garden in the rain. Two old growth trees take the edge off the sun. The moxie.jpgbasement is laid out a lot like the main floor and is fully finished…including another fireplace and kitchen. No one can legally live down there until we get either a window deepened or an entrance dug…but that’s for later when Boyo is tired of us and we’re tired of him and he wants to move out but isn’t 18 yet.

I drove around the town today, checking to see if old favorite places are still there and wondering which direction I want to take for my second career. Taking another government job seems the safest bet, but too easy and I’m not sure I want to make my whole life about federal service. There’s nothing wrong with it, I’m just not sure if I’m more tired of the military or of the bureaucracy. And I know there’s bureaucracy no matter where you go, but Uncle Sugar tends to really know how to do it.

I’m not sure how I can make this make sense to folks who haven’t spent their whole adult life moving, but to actually be buying a house somewhere we know and are comfortable with feels amazing. Getting ready to leave the military feels like I’m losing about 100 pounds off my shoulders.

Right now I’m sitting in one of my favorite Moxie Javas, sipping a double mocha and enjoying some of the fastest wireless I’ve ever seen, and listening to some of the weirdest coffee orders I’ve ever heard. Some white kid with dreads just ordered a lowfat soy chai latte with…lowfat chai? The gal behind the counter doesn’t even know what that means. And Fall Out Boy just came on over the speakers. Yeah…June can’t come quick enough. I might even freak out my old Sifu and drop in on Monday Night Tai Chi and Chocolate Chip night.

Oh…I just remembered…this is being posted on Valentine’s Day…otherwise known as Hallmark’s make or break day. Give your sweetie a shnogg and let him/her know you lover them. You can’t go wrong with an appropriately timed shnogg.

Timmer knows good coffee, and good people, when he finds 'em.


Oh for the love o' Pete...

Next time I use the word "amazing" more than once in a post, just slap the crap out of me.


I feel you about buying a house, Timmer.

Being a military brat and doing a decade's active-duty service, I find it hard to settle.

Now that I'm a DoD civilian, we have the opportunity to settle down. We've been on the verge of buying a house twice here, but we just can't seem to make up our minds about staying or going. At least you guys settled on a place. Both the wife and I were "brats" so we don't have very strong ties to anywhere.

I'll buy a house some day.


That's cool, congratulations man.


house insurance


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