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After almost 30 years of married and military life, two Army colonels are giddy with excitement as they get ready for the first home of their own
Date published: 12/2/2012
"When you haven't seen each other in months, and you get 30 minutes together to talk, right there on the tarmac, that means a lot," she said, adding that she has seen these "small kindnesses" often during her career. "You do the best you can to help each other."
The Everetts have had a variety of roofs over their heads, including tents and military barracks.
When they were fresh out of college and new to the Army, they lived in a two-bedroom apartment. They couldn't afford furniture and sat on the floor.
They eventually enjoyed a four-story duplex built into the side of a hill in Germany, a converted barn in Belgium and houses in Europe so colorful that they looked as if the Easter bunny did the decorating.
But every home belonged to someone else, be it Uncle Sam or a foreign landlord.
'IT'S TERRIBLY EXCITING'
As the Everetts contemplated retiring, they thought about settling in Europe or going back to California, where she grew up and both attended college.
Michael was familiar with the Fredericksburg area because his mother, now deceased, and brother lived in Stafford County.
He heard about the brownstones being built at Amelia Square, where Fredericksburg Hardware used to be. Kari was in Germany, and he sent her architectural renderings of the community, pegged as the place "where luxury and sophistication reside."
The two felt that "Fredericksburg was calling out" to them, Kari said. Last summer, after much discussion, they made the decision to pour their life savings into Unit 3, a four-story brownstone for about $800,000.
About the same time, Michael got the chance to turn his hobby--military paraphernalia--into a job. He retired from the Army, moved in with his brother and started working at Johnson Reference Books and Militaria in Stafford.
He drives past the construction site once or twice a day to look around and talk with builders.
"It's terribly exciting," said Michael, whose eyes twinkle at the mention of Colonial red bricks and burnished wrought-iron banisters.
He sends regular updates to Kari, who's stationed in Germany, then will be in Georgia until later this month, when she'll retire after 30 years.
She's 52, and Michael is 51. He served for 29 years.
'I WILL BE THERE FOREVER'