We made an offer that day; we absolutely kissed on the first date.
A month later, I peed on a stick and confirmed, proof-positive, that a gummi bear with a heartbeat was squatting in my uterus.
Our relationship with our new home shifted spontaneously and inexorably.
The sparkling granite dulled. The spiral staircase loomed like a deathtrap as my belly expanded. That extra room? Not so extra anymore.
We spent our first Christmas in our new home, as flying to see my parents in Ohio was impossible at this late stage of my pregnancy. My in-laws stayed with us for five days--alternating shades of cozy and crazy.
Still, hosting a major holiday in one’s home for out-of-town visitors solidifies a few things. You test the bounds of your home. You appreciate the warmth that it fosters when company comes. And then you appreciate running naked victory laps when they finally leave. Your home sees it all and loves you just the same.
Early in the new year, my water broke in the condo; my husband was working a night shift when it happened. I lounged on the futon, watching latenight episodes of “The Golden Girls,” aware that the next time I would lounge on this sofa, I would have a new housemate.
A week later, we brought our gummi bear home. She was perfect in every way.
She learned to crawl on the living room floor, she took her first steps rounding the corner into the kitchen.
During our third year of homeownership, we brought home a boy gummi bear. He slept all the time, which was a blessing when my husband got double pneumonia. He was out of commission, in horizontal position on the ground floor for a week while I tried to keep our children from sliding down the spiral staircase.
With 4 people living within 1200 square feet, friends often asked if it was time to upgrade. We resisted. Investments aside, we didn’t feel ready. As with any relationship, one knows it’s time to move on when one stops growing. It wasn’t time to break up with the condo yet.
And then it was. The condo seemed to initiate the break-up. The once shiny floors now caked in cereal puffs started to rebel like something from a Ray Bradbury story.
I accepted a job in Tennessee and we began to search for a tenant to occupy the property.
We packed our life into boxes once again. The aura of our home reminded me of when my parents had separated and when I had left for college. The feeling was palpable: Life in this home was never going to be the same.
Three young men became our tenants. We immediately received calls and e-mails from other residents in the condo building. The tenants were out of control. The whole building reeked of marijuana, the walls bumped from their loud stereo bass.
Our anxiety was only surpassed by a deep feeling of sadness. The home we had loved was now being exploited. Like hearing an ex had entered into an abusive relationship.
Deciding we could no longer assume the role of out-of-state property managers, we listed the condo for sale and there it remained with a For Sale sign in the window for almost 2 years.
Single white-walled condo seeks new love. Attractive features, interested in spending the best years of your life with you.
We closed on our condo yesterday. Short sale. We got nothing out of the arrangement other than our memories and the peace of knowing that someday our home might become a happy home to others. Somehow, after all we endured: threat of bankruptcy, foreclosure, expensive repairs, battles with insurance, lenders, the net result makes us feel very rich indeed.