I got curious after I had done my quick count-on-the fingers. Even though I knew it was a rough count, and probably not accurate since I'm a bit lazy, I still have told at least four people this past week that this latest was our 18th move. So now I have to actually do a real count, and face up to the fact that I have been counting move-across-the-city moves as well as move-across-the-country moves and I feel vaguely guilty about that. If you have to box up and shift all your stuff doesn't it still count? Or do you need the additional bother of a multi-state drive or a long and harassing plane ride?
So, I present the Opera of Life in 18 (or so) Move[ments]
1. New Mexico to California - with all our worldly goods (mostly brand new wedding presents including about 5 crock pots) crammed into a VW bus. Kirk had chosen the apartment without my ever seeing it, so we ended our two day drive in Monterey in a one-room bedroom-cum-everything-else that barely contained us much less the five crock pots. Which led, only a month or so later to:
2. Monterey to Pacific Grove 2 - This one had two whole bedrooms with real doors and was furnished almost entirely with founds and cast-offs. Yes indeed Kirk did come home in utter joy and announce that someone had actually left a "perfectly good" mattress by the side of the road! Imagine! Our first child was born while we lived here, and one of my main memories is rocking it while Kirk meticulously polished his boots. Two repetitive motions; trying to keep sane.
3. Pacific Grove to San Angelo, TX - Our friends from Pacific Grove found our apartment for us, right next door to them. It was Texas in the summer, and since I was no longer working we couldn't afford to run the air-conditioner. In the evenings when Kirk came home from intel school we would put Child 1 in a stroller and go swim in the deserted apartment pool. When we came back we would have to spray down the sheets repeatedly with water to get the bed cool enough to sleep in.
4. San Angelo to sort of New Mexico kind of - Kirk had one more school to go to (and I don't remember at all what it was - some kind of radio school maybe?)in Boston, and as it was only for a few weeks it made sense for me to go back to New Mexico for the duration and wait until he was settled in his final assignment.
5. New Mexico to Wildflecken - Our first Germany apartment was the top floor of a white-stucco house (tells you nothing - every house in that town was white stucco with red tile roof). The town's name was Sandberg, and it totaled about 200 people, most of them retired. The hausfraus had nothing to do but watch each other and make sure everyone was tidying their house properly and on the right day. Until we arrived that is - then they spent most of their time talking about how I didn't hang my bedding out the window on Wednesday (or was it Thursday?). The father of our landlord had a crooked back and walked with two sticks - a gift from the Russians in WWII. He loved Kirk because Kirk was spying on the Soviets.
6. Sandberg to Sandberg - The second Germany apartment. This one was over a cow-barn, on a farm. The actual town was a mile down the road. The landlady was gruff and angry and disliked us because we didn't buy her cheap cigarettes from the BX. At least not very often.
7. Sandberg to... can't remember the town! Block away from the Rhine - The only time we lived in government housing. It was my favorite of the places we lived, but I remember it mostly because of Kirk's unhappiness as he tried to get out of the army.
8. Germany to New Mexico - back to live with my long-suffering parents. We had two small children (aged 3 and 1) and I was pregnant.
9. New Mexico to New Mexico2 - Kirk's father signed over a house to all of his children, allowing us to move out of my parent's to everyone's relief. We didn't have to pay rent, but until Kirk got his commission we were still desperately poor. But it was our own (sort of), the closest we have ever been to actual home ownership.
10. New Mexico to New Mexico3 - Back to the parents (I have mentioned many, many times of the amazing saintliness of my family) while I finished my last semester of college and Kirk went on to Texas for asymmetric warfare intelligence training.
11. New Mexico to San Angelo - We spent four months here. Kirk had chosen a house that was close enough to base for him to bicycle in, and it was horrible. We could run the air conditioner at last, but it was so awfully hot the kids couldn't play outside for more than a few minutes before they would droop in to lie pathetically on the furniture and sigh.
12. San Angelo to Anchorage - Our first Alaska house, remarkable for its emerald green carpets and proximity to the school.
13. Anchorage to Eagle River - Second Alaska house. I loved this house, although there were things about it that were very odd (drop panel light fixture thingy in the kitchen that I never could work out what it was for). This was the house we brought Sophie the dog home to, the house where Child 2 broke its arm, the house where the kids for the first time had dozens of friends to play with, and it was safe enough that they could run around everywhere and I didn't worry. Unfortunately, the owner decided to sell which led to:
14 Eagle River to Eagle River - Final Alaska house. It brought Child 1 to within a block or two of its absolute soul-mate best friend. Also there was a balcony with a view of the Chugach mountains. I remember lying on the couch in dark of night, watching the aurora out the window and talking to Kirk on the phone from Italy where he was planning bombing targets in Kosovo.
15 Eagle River to Newport News, VA - Biggest and most impressive house we ever lived in. We never did get truly settled though. This was where Kirk slept no more than four hours a day sometimes, and we went on long mountain biking trips every weekend while he tried to forget about blast radii, bio-weapons, and terrorist targets.
16. Newport News to Moss Beach, CA - We lived in this house longer than we had lived anywhere else - a full three years. There are only two places that really have felt like home - Alaska, and California.
17. Moss Beach to New Mexico - The move we made when Kirk went missing. I do have a post about that running around in my head. Probably later this week.
18 - New Mexico to New Mexico - This move.
Looks like I can count after all. Eighteen moves. And we still don't feel like we're home. But we're together - and for now, that's home enough.