The move to our new rental condo is completed. We still have some boxes haphazardly sitting in parts of the living room, each of us no doubt waiting for the other to take charge of what’s in them. In spite of that, closets are now mostly organized, clothes are settling into their final destinations, and thankfully the kitchen is stocked and back open for business. Life is getting back to normal.
Our new place is slightly over seven miles from where we lived previously. It was essentially an easy move, especially given that our last two were out-of-state ventures. Small kitchen appliances were gently placed on our car’s backseat rather than packed in boxes, and what boxes we did pack didn’t require being taped shut. I would estimate that we probably drove back and forth about eight or nine times over three days, the car loaded each time with just enough clearance to still see out the rear window. On our final day, we had a moving company come for our furniture. All in all it was fairly painless.
Still, it’s yet another disruption. Four moves in four years is wearying, and we’ve certainly found that neither of us has a reservoir of stamina for this year after year. We are getting closer to having a place of our very own, but I think it’s safe to say that we both want that to happen two to three, possibly even four years from now to give us at least an illusion of short-term permanency.
This condo is beautiful. Our living room window looks out on a very large golf course pond that attracts all kinds of water birds. In the last 48 hours we’ve watched anhingas, ducks, egrets, herons, and ibis hunting for food. Fish regularly bob out of the water to our amazement. Two large sandhill cranes — a bird that heretofore I’ve been wholly unfamiliar — landed together right in front of our window in a synchronized display that would earn them a gold medal at any olympic competition. It was breathtaking to watch.
We are again living in a retirement community. The minimum age for at least one spouse must be 55 in order to live here. I will be 56 in December and my bride is at present a mere 54 — a babe in the woods. Unlike at the prior community down the road, I am thankfully seeing other fellow early retirees living here. The hellos and greetings that we are starting to receive are the kind offered to fellow residents as opposed to ones given to an offspring visiting a parent. Someday Gorgeous’ daughter will visit, and she’ll experience the latter kind of encounter (Hi, A).
As with any kind of residential community, there are all kinds of rules to follow. Most of them are amiable, obvious, and have absolutely no bearing on how we tend to operate (i.e. no fishing in the ponds, no strolling on the golf course). Some are for safety (walk on the left side of all roadways), and others are probably controversial or restrictive to other people (no car washing except in designated areas).
The most notorious rule impacted Gorgeous more than me, and therefore gave her the deciding vote on whether we would even live here: a prohibition on all pets. It was my strong desire that we find a place in which she could again have a cat, but it was Gorgeous who liked this place so much that she was willing to set aside that yearning for now.
The dirty little secret of many no-pet retirement communities is that a doctor’s note explaining a pet is required for companionship or stress-reduction will usually sway a condo authority to waive the rule. Indeed, several sources here are telling us that many of the so-called no-pet communities are rife with resident owners who have received such a waiver. We are making a note to find both a savvy real estate agent plus a sympathetic doctor for when it’s finally time to buy a condo somewhere. However, for the moment as renters we have no leverage to pull off such a
My only one comical encounter so far was in obtaining the required wrist bands to use at the various recreational facilities. Because the golf course surrounding the community is open to the general public, they have in the past had problems with outside golfers wanting to cool themselves off after a round by stopping by the pool for a dip. The solution to this dilemma was to issue colored bands for residents to wear while at all community facilities. Yellow ones are for residents, and red are for their guests. Every condo unit gets two of each color.
When I went to the property office to request the bands, I was asked to swear that there were no bands sitting in the unit after we moved in. Once they were satisfied with my response (I have the face of an innocent lamb), a call was made to the former owner to determine if he might still have them in his possession. He said no, that had returned them to the condo association office just prior to moving out, and he further added that he had received his nine dollar refund.
I then watched in utter delight as a literal cat fight took place between the property and condo association offices about whose responsibility it was to issue me these bands. For fifteen solid minutes I listened to an open speaker phone argument about which of the two offices would contact the out-of-state owner who now owns our condo. After all, principle, accountability and nine damn dollars were at stake here.
At one point, I tried to interject that I would be only too happy to pay for the bands myself. But this attempt at détente only inflamed the situation more because of what I assume are long-simmering issues between the two offices. My effort at diplomacy was waved off in a firm manner with an index finger held up to the lips. Finally the condo association, after realizing that I was actually in the office and bearing witness to the debacle, requested that I be immediately sent over to their office and they would provide me with the bands. I did get the bands, but I haven’t seen riveting discord like this since Glengarry Glen Ross was playing in the theaters.
Gorgeous got back into the swing of things today with scheduled readings with clients. I am writing this blog post in my new big office which Gorgeous strangely insists should instead be called the guest bedroom. We need to solve this difference of opinion in terminology. Unlike the principals in the two offices here, I will convene a “Martini Summit” to resolve the matter. I am positive we can come to some kind of agreement so long as the gin is shelf quality and not rail.
Now, what color band does one wear for cocktail hour?