Happy July, friends! I’m coming at you from our 5th temporary living arrangement since moving out of our Virginia rental, our final stop before moving into our on-base house later this month (not that anyone is counting!) Since my emotional well is practically empty from 5+ weeks of living cooped up with my 3 crazy kids, I was tempted to skip this month’s behind-the-blog update (out of fear that I’d do nothing but complain). But then I realized it was a great time to plow through some questions you’ve submitted on my “Ask Megan” form. So if you need a little respite from your kids (or work or family or roommate or whatever!) driving you crazy too, slow down, grab a snack, and catch up with me!

Megan from The Homes I Have Made

Catch up on past Coffee Break posts HERE!

Q: I’d love to see what it’s really like removing some of that “removable” wallpaper!

A: I documented taking everything down in our Virginia home and have full posts dedicated to removing all the wallpaper, peeling up the wallpaper floor, and taking down all the Command Strips. Most of that info is coming later this month, so keep an eye out for it!

Q: Do you have to repaint/patch walls after every move? What about other projects that have unintentionally damaged a home you are leaving? How have you handled that?

A: Walls and holes depend on the house and the lease. When living on base, we only have to patch holes that are bigger than a quarter (so we can usually leave most holes) and prime any painted walls (because they paint each house fresh during turnover). When we rent privately, we typically have to fill every last hole and paint walls back to the original color. Depending on the situation and what kind of timeline we’re on, sometimes we do it ourselves and sometimes we hire it out.

We work very hard to leave the house exactly (or better) than we find it. And I take a lot of pride in knowing that not a single project I’ve done has created any permanent or problematic changes to the house that we couldn’t fix. Yes, we’ve had to hire repairmen and painters every now and then, but I’ve worked with a lot of products and completed a lot of projects to know what I can and cannot un-do successfully. At this point, I don’t really take on a project unless I’m 100% sure it’s removable.

That said, things do go wrong outside of our control. Movers will scratch floors, stains won’t budge from carpets, paint cans spill on garage floors. Although these things haven’t happened to us much; when they do, we usually just have to pay the fee and move on. In this last check-out from our Virginia home, there was a carpet stain that couldn’t come out (by us or the professionals), so we had no choice but the pay the listed fee and go on our way.

Q: I’m unfamiliar with how the US military works. Will you keep on moving as long as Greg is in the service? In Spain, military families only move when the service member gets a promotion (so not aaaall that often) and actually sometimes they stay put until retirement!

A: Typically, a service member will move every 1-3 years; and most orders (assignments) are job-based instead of rank/promotion-based (although that sometimes happens too). A service member will get orders that align with the specific job they are going to. Most jobs are 3 year orders; schools tend to be 1 year, and the job Greg is currently in will be a 2-year assignment.

That said, just because you get a new job within the military, it doesn’t always mean you’re moving. When you’re assigned to a larger military base, it can be easier to get a different job and stay at the same base (and therefor not have to move). There is debate if “homesteading” (staying on one base for most of your career) is a good or bad thing since, at least in the Marine Corps, they like to see you have experiences in lots of different geographical locations.

Q: What are you looking forward to about the area for your move to the new house?

A: There’s not much in Jacksonville, North Carolina to look forward to. It’s a rural, military town…without a lot of “big attractions.” But that’s okay right now, because we are really really looking forward to being back on a military base where there are lots of friends for our kids (and us!)

There is something really unique and fairly magical about on-base communities. We’ve been off base for a while now (7+ years), so our kids haven’t really known what it’s like to walk out your door and meet dozens of kids just like you (military kids). We all simply can’t wait to be part of our military community again.

Q: What do your kids think about being a military family?

A: In some ways, I’m not sure it’s really something they are aware of. They know Dad is a “Marine,” but my two little guys (especially) don’t understand what that means (in terms of a larger organization, service to our Nation, etc). This is also the first move for both of them (my middle guy doesn’t remember a thing about our last one because he was too young); so now that we are moving to a large military base with lots of Marines, military culture, etc…they might start to become more aware.

My 11 year definitely understands and takes a lot of pride in his Dad’s job and our role supporting him. But he’s also the one starting to feel the “pain” of our military lifestyle. He’s moved 5 times already and will be going to his 5th school this Fall. These last two moves, he had to say goodbye to friends he really loved; which he hated every bit of. The older he gets, the harder the moving becomes.

Q: Living on base/military housing pros and cons?

A: I actually wrote a whole post about that! You can read it HERE.

Q: Do you limit yourself on how much you are willing to decorate a new house because you are pushed to move so often?

A: I also answered this one in another Coffee Break too; see it HERE.

Q: Where is your dream retirement town, state, or country?

A: We actually have NO idea! I keep telling Greg he can’t retire yet because we have no clue where we want to land. Well…we do know we want to be on the East Coast somewhere, but we don’t have anything pinned down beyond that.

Having done this for so long, it’s actually hard to wrap our brains around being able to make our own choice (instead of the Marine Corps telling us where to go). As retirement inches closer and closer, this conversation is starting to come up more and more. So while we don’t need to figure it out just yet, it’s time to start paying a bit more attention to our options!

Q: Love to see another update on how you’re doing with the outfits!

A: Yes! I get questions about my Capsule Wardrobe all the time! I plan to do an update once I’m no longer living out of a suitcase. In short though, I still have a very limited wardrobe, but I shifted to more of a “uniform” approach than the capsule wardrobe (on the suggestion of many of you awesome readers!)

Q: Are you taking dance classes? Are any of your boys interested in dance classes?

A: I’m not, and we’re not (Greg and I). The last formal dance class I took was my senior year in college (20+ years ago now!) Greg and I took ballroom dance lessons for about a year before our oldest was born; but that’s now been over 10 years too!

On the rare occasion we do get out on a date night, we tend to stumble into a local square dancing/contra dancing/line dancing group for the night and work up a good sweat. Greg is also more-than-eager to spin me around the kitchen whenever a good song comes on. But nothing formal…not in a very long time!

As for the boys, they love our family “dance parties” that we usually do to clean up on Sunday nights (when the house is trashed after being home all weekend). But I haven’t really considered signing them up for formal lessons nor have they asked. We’ll see!

Well, that was fun! Sometimes I’m not sure what personal stuff to chat about, so I love answering things you guys really want to know! If there’s anything you’d love to see me chat about in future Coffee Breaks (e.g., military life, Mom life, blogger life, wife life, etc), drop them in the form below!

Please Note: There is no email address on this form, so if you ask a really specific questions about a product or post, I can’t get back to you. Please leave those kinds of questions in the Comments area, and use the form below for broad topics or questions you’d love to see me cover in depth…Thanks!

That’s all for this month! Fingers crossed by our next Coffee Break, I’ll have some glimpses to share of our next home!

See You Soon!