Saturday, December 5, 2015

Going Home

We've led the life of nomads.

Before meeting Philip, I lived on Gears Road and Champions Green in Houston, Hahaione Street, Kuhio Avenue and Hobron Lane in Honolulu.  Together, Philip and I have lived on Brown Way in Manoa Valley, Lalo Kuilima at Turtle Bay, Fieldtree Drive in Humble, Breezin Court, Walden Elms Court, Wynnoak Circle, Herald Oak Court and Kittiwake Court in The Woodlands, as well as Camden Road in Lincolnville, Maine, Syrcle Drive, Davis Street and Baublits Drive in Pensacola.  17 homes in 32 years, move after move after move after....

The final move is upon us and it is the fulfillment of a 25+ year plan.  On or about the 15th of December 2015, Philip, Maxxi, Lulu and I will be packing up for the move to a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condominium in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta.  We will divide our time between Atlanta and "Blew Inn" at Navy Point, Pensacola, in close proximity to both our families.  Since Philip only has 2-3 more years before retiring, now seemed like the best opportunity to settle in to our retirement lifestyle, while we still have the vigor and motivation for such an undertaking.

As I write, a work gang is hammering away on the new roof at Kittiwake Court where hail damage was discovered during the property inspection.  Nearly every aspect of this particular move has flown in the face of conventional home buying and selling wisdom; from time of year, to market realities, to the number and scope of obstacles to be overcome in the process (the roof replacement being just one).  When we submitted our "contingency" offer on the Atlanta condo which so perfectly fulfilled our wish list, our agent's broker intimated to her that "it will never survive the due diligence period", meaning that there was no way the seller was going to remain faithful to our offer when something better came along.  I think the broker underestimated the influence of a personal relationship, like the one that Philip, my best friend Steve, my mom and I cultivated with the sellers during our 2 visits to their home, soon to be ours.  It may be unconventional for real estate buyers and sellers to have personal interactions but it felt right to me and obviously, to James and Connie, our sellers.  In subsequent days, Connie has instructed her broker that she, James, Philip and I will work out the niggling details that often accompany home ownership transfers.  And we have.

The terms "house" and "home" are not equivalent in our language, nor most others.  Philip and I have lived in many houses.  Only a few felt like home.  We left those that did with regret; we remember them with fondness and nostalgia.  The others felt more like glorified hotel accommodations, frankly.  What is the difference?  Often it involves events and other people.  Sometimes, it's just an indescribable feeling.  In any event, the difference is noteworthy.

I remember the feeling I had when Connie, the owner, first opened the door to the condo on Lenox Road.  It was warm and welcoming, like Connie.  The place had a soul and a personality.  It felt perfectly appropriate that its owner was showing us around, rather than her agent.  It's well-located, one level, high-ceilinged with large windows, spacious, updated, secure, well-priced, a niche of pastoral calm in the hustle-bustle of the big city.  It's exactly what we were looking for.  But it was the feeling we got when we walked through that door that sold us.  I think that all three of us, Philip, Steve and I, were sold immediately.  Our agent arrived after we'd seen most of the rooms and was somewhat flabbergasted at the relationship we'd already built with Connie and James who, coincidentally, are moving up one floor in the same building to a larger unit.  Philip said it best, "it just felt like home".

During our first visit, we also met several of our potential neighbors, all of whom were warm and welcoming.  Laura, who'd been sitting at the concierge desk when we entered the building, is a long-time resident who was relieving the concierge for the day so that she might attend a family function on a scheduled workday.  We learned later that Laura's adult daughter is a federal judge in Houston.  Every detail served to confirm our initial feeling.  Beautiful building, great location, perfect unit, wonderful people.  Home.

At 7:54am on a Saturday morning, I'm watching some very industrious roofers (they didn't stop hammering until dusk yesterday) as they help us to meet a very improbable timeline as we embark upon what will likely be the most momentous move of our lives.  Undoubtedly, more obstacles lie ahead.  Surprises, often unpleasant ones, are the hallmarks of big moves.  Philip and I will meet them as we always do:  with determination and resolve.  This is no hill for a climber.

No matter how seemingly perfect, it isn't "place" that makes a house a home.

1 comment:

  1. It's where both your hearts are, Tony & Phil! Happy Golden Years ahead!
    x0x's, m


I welcome your thoughtful comments, whether or not they support my message. If I didn't, how could I continue to grow?