Happy March, friends; and welcome back to another Coffee Break! In this month’s behind-the-blog chat, I’ve got some really random musings for you, including how I might have missed my calling as a hand model, the (surprising) things you’ll find on a military base, and if we ever get to keep our rental “updates” in place. Let’s chat!

Megan at computer

(Surprising) Things You’ll Find On Military Bases

I was recently sitting at my son’s basketball practice, watching some active duty Marines and Sailors coach the little kids. And it got me thinking about how on-base living really is a self-contained eco-system. Not only are we living in and among people of similar ages, interests, and careers, but we also have (pretty much) everything we need without leaving base.

Having grown up around and on military bases for most of my life, I perceive these “amenities” as commonplace; but it occurred to me that anyone not affiliated with the military might be surprised at what all is contained within the gates of a military installation.

So here’s a quick list of some (non-military) things found on (larger) military bases. While some you’ve likely heard of (like the Commissary and Exchange), there might be some surprising ones too!

  • Shopping
    • Commissary (Grocery Store)
    • Post Exchange (PX/NEX/MCX) – general store for clothes, home items, electronics, toys, gifts, etc.
    • Gas Stations & Auto Repair Shops
    • Retail Stores
    • Florists
  • Health & Fitness
    • EMS Services
    • Hospitals/Clinics – for active duty and families
    • Dental Clinics
    • Intramural Recreation Sports (for active duty)
    • Fitness Centers/Gyms
    • Pools (Indoor and Outdoor)
    • Hiking, Biking, and Fitness Trails
    • Basketball and Tennis Courts
  • For Kids
    • Schools (Preschool through High School)
    • Chid Care Centers
    • Youth Recreation Sports (e.g., soccer, basketball, etc)
    • Outdoor Camps and Activities
    • Playgrounds
  • Recreation
    • Movie Theaters
    • Bowling Alleys
    • Golf Courses
    • Hotels/Lodges
    • Restaurants (fast food and sit down)
    • Party Rentals (e.g., tables, chairs, etc)
    • Outdoor Equipment Rentals (e.g., bounce houses, kayaks, boats, etc)
  • Other
    • Libraries
    • Churches
    • Counseling Centers
    • Legal Services
    • Post Offices
    • Barber Shops
    • Dry Cleaners
    • Static Displays (e.g., military vehicles, aircraft, etc)

Military friends – if there’s anything I forgot, feel free to add to my list in the comments!

Hand Model

It’s funny what memories stick in your brain. When I was a sophomore in High School, I (kinda sorta) dated this guy who said I should be a hand model. He thought I had the prettiest hands and should model jewelry.

I (clearly) didn’t follow that career path; but every time I look at some of the pictures here on the blog, it makes me chuckle. Because in a sense, a hand model I am! Maybe I didn’t miss my calling after all, lol!

How I “Re-Charge”

A reader recently asked: “What do you do to “recharge?” And how cooperative is your family?”

The running joke in this house is that I don’t re-charge. Greg always says that I need to take some “Chillaxium” for my chronic inability to sit, chill, and relax. While he is very content to “chillax” the day away, I usually last about an hour until I am up and busying myself with something.

So in part, the answer to this questions it that projects really are one of the main ways I re-charge. I am much more content futzing around with a disorganized closet or tootling around with my Cricut machine than I am sitting playing a game or watching a movie. The creative, problem-solving process really does “light my fire” so to speak, both energizing me and giving me a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Megan hanging wallpaper mural panel

Over the years, Greg has come to accept that this is just the way I’m wired and is usually pretty content to let me do my thing (as long as it doesn’t involve him…too much!) Although, he did just recently mention that I’m exhausting to live with! 🤔

That said…when projects are quite literally my job, the creative burnout can also be very real. In fact, one of the most clear indications that I need a different kind of re-charge is when projects don’t appeal to me at all. It’s then that the paint brush and label maker get replaced by long walks, early bedtimes, more reading, and less screen-time.

Do We Ever Get to Leave Rental Projects In Place?

Another reader asked: “Do your landlords ever see your projects and improvements and ask you to leave it rather than undo before you move? For example: Why would they want the grungy shower curtain rod back when your black wrap made it look great!?” (This reader is referring to this bathroom makeover!)

I can’t tell you how many friends, family, and readers have said to me over the years: “It’s such a shame you can’t leave everything in place. The next people would LOVE to have all the changes you made!” And it is a bit of a sad irony.

While most renters would rather something (the changes I make) over nothing (a bland, boring house), very rarely do we turn over so immediately with the next tenants that they get to see or agree to any of the updates we’ve made. We usually have to start putting things back well before new leases are signed.

There have been a few instances when we were asked to leave some updates in place:

But that’s not much, huh?

The truth is, we go into every single project knowing full well we will have to un-do it. And honestly, I’d rather it that way.

We work very hard to leave our homes better than we found them; and I want to be able to fix things that don’t quite “un do” as expected. I’d hate for someone else to “inherit” a problem they didn’t anticipate simply because I had a crazy idea and they chose to keep it.

I also don’t ever want to be accused of “damaging” a property or lose our security deposit simply because we left something in place that we perceived as an upgrade. So as a rule, we un-do everything, even if it was an improvement (yep, including the shower curtain rod wrap – which was a total pain to get off, by the way!)

A lot of my neighbors keep joking about the “lucky” family who will get this house after us. But the reality is…when the time comes, it will most likely look very similar to the house we inherited (just with better light fixtures and bright white trim 😉)!

Megan changing lightbulb

Ask Megan

You guys always ask the greatest questions, and I love answering them! If you have any topics or questions you’d love to see me cover, submit them via the (anonymous) form below. Then keep an eye out for answers in upcoming Coffee Breaks!

Thank You!

Before signing off, I wanted to quickly thank you ALL for the outpouring of love and support you showed me on the last Coffee Break. For months, I was too scared to admit to myself AND you guys that I was struggling with burnout. And I was even more ashamed to admit that I needed to scale back.

But you guys really “showed up” for me in ways I never anticipated; and all the emails, comments, and message refilled my proverbial cup over and over and over!

In recent weeks, I have felt my usual creativity and productivity slowly returning; and I thank you all for your role in that! Hugs! ❤️

See You Soon!