I was just thinking that around this time last year, we had been here only a month.
I remember the long, hot drive down, with the girls freaking out in the back seat and the smell of dog, and trying to keep my eye on the back of the trailer as it bounced down the highway in front of us.
In Kentucky, I remember our little yellow house pushed back into the woods and the leaf and light pattern that moved over the kitchen floor in the summer.
There was that little hardware store that sold tomato plants and thread and baking tins and scented candles, and I remember the golf course covered by sculpted snow.
And before that, there was Colorado. There was that brief, copper, fire red, clear yellow fall we had after Keith came back from deployment. There were the two weeks Keith came home for Christmas, and there were the four intense summer months we had together before he left.
Mostly, there was the long, quiet year I spent by myself in his house. That house was full of sun all year long and I kept the upstairs windows open day and night.
There was even a window in the shower, and I could rest my eyes on the Rockies while I lathered my hair, feeling the sun and wind on my face.
Before I met Keith, there was a small apartment in south Denver, with my brand new TV and second hand bed. I never spent any time there; work consumed my life. I had lived there three months before I met Keith and broke my year lease.
There was the winter I spent in a house in east Denver, which I shared with the owner, the older brother of a friend. He was Mormon with excellent business instincts and a suspicious girlfriend who was over a lot of the time. She made him clam chowder, standing in front of the stove in her glossy, candy colored heels. I showed her how to make a rue.
I came to that house from one of the best neighborhoods in Denver, where the roofs of the suburban houses stretched as far as the eye could see, and the bright lights of retail stores beckoned in tidy clusters, and everyone rode in their SUVs to soccer games, and then had lunch at Panera's, before going home to grill salmon with mango salsa.
That house stood next to a small play area, and there were sidewalks going in all directions, connecting to bike paths and open spaces and drainage areas that looked like green bowling lawns.
I lived there three years or more. That's about as long as I've lived anywhere. Three years seems to be about the limit, before something moves me on. In two years or so, the Army will move us away from here.
I wonder what it will feel like with Keith retires, and we move to Colorado permanently, in the house we'll live in for the rest of our lives.
I'll finally feel like buying curtains, for one thing. I'll stencil our children's names on the walls above their beds and plant perennials around the mailbox.