A funny thing happened on the way to building a pergola this summer. We bought a condo. Yes. A condo, as in condominium. Here’s how it happened.
I live in a state of constant searching for new exhilarating challenges while at the same time having to manage the boring but important parts of life, such as arranging for food, shelter and clothing. In earlier years, having library books helped balance out the folding of the cloth diapers. Making a spaceship out of an appliance box negated the emotional effects of having no disposable income. Painting the workbench in the storage room purple took my mind off the fact that teenagers were driving my car so often that I had no chance to go anywhere. Learning to knit brought solace as I started the eventual highly successful transition to becoming part of an empty nester couple.
Today, having fewer hands- on responsibilities gives me more time to practice my Magpie lifestyle which includes indulging myself in little dreams which may or may not come to fruition. The idea of buying a condo as a getaway spot has been one of those “Wouldn’t it be nice” kinds of things. Fun to think about, but impossible financially. Fun to think about, but too much responsibility. Fun to think about, but impractical.
Though I don’t care to my have fantasies deflated, for a time all of the above mentioned objections were true. A luxury condo would be out of our range unless we rented it out, which would require that we furnish it nicely and deal with management people. And where would the condo be? We love the mountains, but the closest mountains would require a bone rattling drive over Arkansas roads. In the other direction if we were to drive to East Tennessee, we might as well drive to North Carolina. Since two of our three children live at opposite ends of the United States, how often would we want to make a twelve hour drive to a mountain cabin? And a long weekend? Fuhgeddaboudit!
One morning while we were still building the pergola, I glanced at a real estate site while drinking my morning coffee. Condos. Memphis. Wha? What? Wait a minute! Here was a one bedroom condo, perfect for a weekend getaway. In walking distance to the theater and restaurants. Balcony. Swimming pool. I KNEW this was for me!!!! AND THE PRICE WAS MORE THAN RIGHT !!!
Adrenaline flooded me! My knees were weak. My fingers longed to press the “Contact me” button, but I made myself wait until my husband got home from the gym. Then I nonchalantly asked the big question. “Honey, Would you buy me a condo if it only cost XYZ%$?” “Oh, certainly,” he replied. YES!!!!
And so a new adventure was born! I had to make an appointment, the first one without my husband because he was, um, building me a pergola. I was sold. We went back together. We both were sold. Of course, as I so quickly remembered, buying real estate can never be totally smooth. The first unit, which had been upgraded cosmetically, was taken off the market. Ouch. We regrouped, and looked at another unit, which we bought.
Everything in this unit needs changing. EVERYTHING!!! But what fun it will be! The first unit was move in ready, but I wouldn’t have chosen those particular upgrades. I would rather make my own choices. For me it is like having a brand new house, choice wise.
We plan to use the condo as a weekend getaway. Not every weekend, but lots of weekends. Before, we often didn’t go into mid or downtown as much as we wanted to because we didn’t always feel like schlepping back to the suburbs at midnight. Or to be perfectly honest, 10:00 P.M. Now we can have an evening out and when we are tired, the condo is only a few minutes away. The more we think about it the more fun things we think of to do.
We have owned the condo now for about two weeks. Tonight after walking somewhere nearby for dinner and over to see Legally Blonde we are going to spend our first night there. We’re packing light: Air mattress, sheets, pillows, toiletries. I suspect we’ll have glass of wine on the balcony where we already have two lawn chairs, and welcome ourselves to the neighborhood. Sometimes dreams do come true.