Mountain cabin

A house in the mountains.

Last weekend I learned a valuable lesson — the hard way. Again. It seems to be the only way for me to really learn a lesson.

To circumvent my readers from having to encounter the same thing, I’m going to impart my newly gleaned wisdom from said experience here: if something doesn’t taste quite right, don’t just eat it anyway. Otherwise, you may end up on the bathroom floor for two days in an all-out battle with the belly, which I lost.

As I began to see the light at the end of the eternal tunnel of toilet trepidation, I eagerly returned to my work. Unfortunately, what I really didn’t count on was the post traumatic food poisoning symptoms, or PTFPS for short. This includes, but is not limited to, foggy thinking, dizziness, dehydration, headache and fatigue. Thus, when I hopped into my truck and headed to the gym early the next morning (always a good idea to work out directly after puking for two days), I found myself parked in front of my office instead. It wasn’t my intent, but, through my cloudy and disconnected haziness, my trusty truck took me there. It’s my second home. Later that day, I headed out to meet a client to drop off a key and I found myself pulling into my driveway instead.

What is it about home that is so appealing? The common sayings about home abound: “There’s no place like home.” “Home is where the heart is.” “Home, sweet home.” The Astros and Dodgers just finished playing in the World Series, a game in which you score when a runner makes it home. When someone comes to stay with us we tell them to “make themselves at home.” Where is home for you? Is it where you were born? Is it where you are now? Is the definition the same or different for you every day? Suffice it to say, the definition of home is much more than just shelter.

Regardless of where you call home, there is an undefined emotional pull toward it. I was born in Salt Lake City. There is something familiar about it when I go there. A certain nostalgia exists and I feel comfortable. I spent my adolescent years living in Bountiful. I did not experience an overwhelming amount of joy during that time, so when I go through Bountiful, I generally go directly through. I do not stop. I do not pass go, I do not collect $200. I will, however, eagerly help people buy or sell a home there. It just won’t be a place that I choose to buy or sell one for myself.

For college, I went back home to Salt Lake. I rented a little basement apartment with two other girls in the avenues, accrued a ton of parking tickets for parking on the street during winter, and I walked to the U of U for classes. I occasionally did my laundry and lived on ramen noodles and apples from the tree in our landlord’s backyard. That was home.

My home now is in Layton. That is where my family is, as well as much of my stuff. I am also very comfortable in my office in South Ogden, as well as my mobile office — my faithful black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

Much of the time, our homes become an extension of who we are. It is why we either decorate or don’t decorate. It is why we either water and mow our lawns or let them grow out and die or even xeriscape. It is part of our identity. Yet, as a mobile society, we don’t change when our home changes. We just recreate that extension in a new domain. We might tweak it a little, or update it, but it will always tell a story about us as individuals.

Realtors have the distinct pleasure of watching people on this journey. It is truly a privilege. After all, when the proverbial chips (which tasted bad and you shouldn’t have eaten) are down, there’s no place you would rather be than on your own bathroom floor when they come back up.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or

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