Ha! Yeah – me!
The “worst client ever” was finally closed, by, well, myself.
I took the plunge and it feels great. So this week I’d like to share with you the entire process from start to finish, completely exposing all facets of my life and business in the process…
Our little blog boy is all grown up!
It seems like just yesterday that “Worst Client Ever” hit the front page of my blog, and readers were telling me just how picky I truly was.
Well all that changed last week when I purchased a new condo; one that I feel I can comfortably live in for the next 3-4 years in “the next phase of life.”
The actual see-offer-buy process itself only took twelve hours or so, but it’s not the deal that I wanted to talk about today. It’s everything that comes before it.
I’m not the only person in the city that is afraid to move; and I’ll admit it now – I was probably a little fearful of leaving the comfy confines of 230 King Street.
This condo has been my life for the last four-and-a-half years. I’ve woken up in this condo over 1500 times, and gone to sleep in it just as many.
I have lived in this condo for almost 15% of my life.
Numbers only tell part of the story, however. I’ve certainly watched myself grow as a person since I’ve been here.
I remember in April of 1992 when my father went out one night after my parents had “looked at a house.” My parents did this a lot through my childhood, or at least it seemed that way. My Dad would ask my Mom, “Do you wanna go look at a house?” I always wondered just what they were doing. Was this a hobby of theirs? Did the exercise serve any purpose? They seemed to do this with regularity but yet we remained in the same home.
I loved my home; I had been there since 1980 and it was all I knew.
My bedroom was no more than 8 x 8 feet, and my little brother’s room was barely large enough to fit a bed and a desk. I remember our basement was wood-paneled like every basement in the 1980’s, and our carpet smelled like cheese.
The thought of moving had never entered my mind, but what did I know about houses and living accommodations? I was just a kid! I didn’t make much of it when my father went out and didn’t come back for hours and hours on end.
But later that fateful April night when the house phone rang, I was eager to pick up and see just what my Dad was up to.
“Fleming residence?” I answered, being somewhat silly and playful as my brother and sister watched.
“Hey buddy,” my Dad said. “Is Mom there?”
I wasn’t about to hand the phone over to my Mom just yet. “What happened, Dad?” I asked. “Did you go to see a house?”
There was a long pause. One that I can’t put into words but when I close my eyes, I can picture everything about the situation, and I can visualize my father even though he was on the other end of the line.
That pause lasted a good five seconds, and then he said, “We bought it.”
I dropped the phone – which was pink, by the way. It was a hand-me-down from my sister, but I didn’t care because it was my first phone.
My jaw dropped as well, and even though my brother and sister stood there smiling and waiting for me to fill them in, I immediately started to CRY.
I cried, and cried.
I began to panic, in fact. I started waving my arms up and down like “make it stop.” I eventually crawled up in the fetal position on the carpet and continued to cry.
I know – I’m a huge wimp.
But the thought of leaving 128 Parkhurst Boulevard scared me into submission. It was all I ever knew, and I felt like my whole word was changing.
When the “FOR SALE” sign went up on our lawn the first day, I came home and took it down. My Mom caught me, and told me that I’d better stop before my Dad found out.
We were going to be moving to a house that was four times as large, and yet, I dreaded the move like it was the end of my life. It haunted me every day.
Eventually the big day came, and I got to take the day off school to “help” the movers, which really meant going to Pizza Pizza on Bayview and playing the WWF Wrestling arcade game for three hours.
We moved in, and it took a few months before I realized just how amazing a change this was going to be. I had been so fearful of letting go of the old house, but the new house was superior in every single way.
It’s like having a penny and refusing to replace it with a nickel. Although that analogy could be misleading, since it’s not just about the size, value, and stature, but rather the memories and comfort that existed in the old house.
Over a decade later, I went through this all over again with my “new” home on Bessborough Drive. My parents had split and I was living alone in the house with my adult brother and my adult sister, and even though I had started my career and life as an adult, I still held on to that home.
Paying all the utilities, taxes, and associated costs, it cost the three of us more to live in that house than it would have cost for all three of us to purchase our own houses and pay the mortgage, but yet, we remained.
Eventually, my brother bought a condo downtown, and I followed suit a week later. My sister left for an apartment about four month after that, and we sold the house to a developer who knocked it down to the ground.
Each of those two moves was tougher than the next, and I can’t really explain why.
Perhaps it had to do with age or my place in life. It was tough to let go as a 12-year-old child the first time around, but I didn’t have any choice.
I think it was more to do with the memories in the residence, and from age 12 to 24, I had a lot more good times than I did from 0 to 12 (most of which I can’t remember anyways).
I always knew that leaving my first condo would be difficult as well, but I had no idea just how tough that would be.
Some of the best years of my life were spent in that house on Bessborough – living in a childhood home as a young adult, but I think I had even better times in my condo over the last five years.
One of my friends once remarked, “Living your 30’s is great – because it’s just like living your 20’s except you have money!”
I have to say that he’s quite right, and I built the foundation for the rest of my life while living in this condo.
But living in this space was only ever “meant” to be short term, and I feel like I abused the privilege.
Without divulging too much in the way of my personal finances, I can say that I’m not paying much of a mortgage at my current residence, and it often made me wonder why I didn’t buy a place that was twice as large (and cost twice as much), and just have half as much equity.
It’s a very small condo – 585 square feet, but as I’ve explained about a thousand times, I have a 440 square foot terrace that is my entire identity.
I never felt as if I “needed” a larger space until I had been here just over two years, and then I started to realize that perhaps it’s a bit beneath me.
And again – I don’t want to come off as pompous or like I “deserve” anything, I’m just saying that affordability is a factor in what somebody lives in, as are a host of other factors including age.
At 25 – 26 years old, this was the perfect place for me. But at 31, it’s not.
Just as I held on at Bessborough too long, I feel as if I’ve held on here at 230 King Street for perhaps a couple of years longer than I should, could, or even would have – had the “right” unit come out.
And that’s been precisely the issue in the last couple years: I haven’t found anything that I like.
I always said that if I did move, I’d want something similar to what I have now. I’d want to stay in the area, but I’d want as large a terrace as I have now, and at least 1,000 square feet inside. I have to keep my age and my life cycle in mind and recognize that I likely won’t be in my next place for longer than 3-5 years, but the flip-side is unbearable: living in my current condo for yet another five years!
I don’t have enough closet space, my ceilings feel like they’re caving in, the things I gave up in order to move into this space are things I long for now (like not having to store half my possessions in my mother’s basement), and I feel like I’m at the point in my life where I could benefit from an eight-person dining room table!
Dammit, I want a ten-person sectional couch! I want something that I can define as “me.”
For years, I was defined by my beautiful 440 square foot terrace and the barbecues that I’d throw for friends and family.
But in the last eighteen months, it’s become painfully apparent that I need a new definition of myself…
(TO BE CONTINUED)