My husband grew up in Vermont’s Green Mountains with a view of Snowcats grooming ski trails. I was raised in a modest Boston suburb where I would pick white lilacs from my bedroom window and play tag on a decent-sized, but unwatered, lawn that, thanks to the summer sun, would crunch under my feet like potato sticks.
But when it came time to buy our first home, my husband, Brien, and I found ourselves looking in neighborhoods named Apple and Pear Tree in a world away from leaf-peeping, ski-country New England — the Las Vegas desert.
The home prices and the Frenchman Mountain location had already drawn us away from our comfort zone, and the next thing we knew, at 26 years old, we had purchased a white-stucco, two-story home that was three-quarters of the way built. We picked out the carpet and the linoleum. And we also had our own piece of land — with desert plants we knew nothing about, a paltry patch of grass (with a sprinkler system!), and two skinny trees out front —
A little more than a month after purchasing it, in 1996, we packed up everything we owned in our one-bedroom apartment in Henderson, Nev., and moved into our three-bedroom Las Vegas home. Packing didn’t take long. We had a particle-board bedroom set, a yard sale couch, and a kitchen table from Montgomery Ward. No curtains, just cavernous empty space greeted us, along with glaringly white walls (most of which we would remain too intimidated to paint). What we had a lot of was first-time-home-buyer jitters and a home in a California style that was foreign to us.
Our education as homeowners began immediately.
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