Monday, June 27, 2016

A fine how do you do

Well! my fatheads. This is a fine how do you do. I am distracted because I have to move. I mean, actually move, change house, live in another place. Out of the blue. Granted I was not planning to stay here forever -- so true of all of us! -- but still, another year living virtually in the branches of a magnolia tree, with some leisure to plot my future, would have been nice. How often do we get a chance to look over at a new bird, a chipping sparrow, perched on a branch not five feet away? You can spot them by the reddish orange cap on their heads, and their delicately striped gray-brown wings, gray belly, and tiny size. That is, provided you live in the branches of a mature magnolia.

No more of that. Some sort of glamorous, hard edged property management company has taken over this rustic but agreeable apartment complex, so it's in with the remodeling and stainless steel appliances and charcoal-gray decor, and out with -- well, with the tenants who can't afford the rent for the upgrades. Not to mention that even if you wish to stay, they shall move you out of your unit in order to remodel that, and chuck you into a new one, and you never return to the third floor magnolia tree. So true of all of us.

This gives one the new experience, however, of house-hunting. (One makes the decision: good grief, for that kind of rent, I may as well try to buy.) One learns about mortgage pre-approval, and especially about property taxes, which in the end seem to be all that matter.  One meets realtors, and sees the inside of houses and condos. There is the constant mental grappling with trade-offs, which is of course the basis of all economics. The ease of a condo versus the work of a house; can a balcony substitute for a yard -- perhaps for quite a long time? What's the point of paying a mortgage just for an interior? Then again, who wants to come home from work and do nothing but serve the house? And how is it that Colette ended up in a stone-flagged cottage in Provence, surrounded by lavender and olive trees, all on a rock blown clean by the Mistral?

I believe she is the one who scoffed at Virginia Woolf's yearning for a room of one's own. No, she said, better a villa of one's own, with a cook, a gardener, and a good-looking man.

 She may have said "boy," in fact, but that is hardly an appealing image. I will let you know how the condo inspection goes today ....

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