By Tracy Gulliver, Becketwood Member
I never expected to be a boomerang child, and certainly not in my fifties, so Todd and I appreciated my parents’ invitation to have us housesit over the winter. We hoped a unit at Becketwood would be available by the following spring. Between July and October, we had expressed interest in eight units, all of which were purchased by someone else. We were resigned to waiting at least a year and began looking at duplexes in and around our daughter and son-in-law’s neighborhood.
Between babysitting and holiday travels, Todd and I wouldn’t be in the same location for more than a week during November and December. So to avoid having the mail carriers go postal on us, we changed our address for a second time to Laura and Kane’s where we’d be spending most of our time.
Each week we toured potential rental houses but all fell short of my criteria: within walking distance of our granddaughters, on a low-traffic street, and a boulevard shaded by a canopy of red maples. It also had to fit our budget.
I had spent two years trying to wrap my mind around not only leaving the only home I knew, but moving from a small town to a major metropolis. However, our granddaughters had become a moving force to be reckoned with and our search continued.
We dismissed houses on major thoroughfares. We fell in love with one in a low traffic area, but had to wait for a plane to pass before we could hear ourselves think. Finally, we found a duplex that met all our criteria with an additional bonus of being two doors down from a playground we frequented.
During the month of December I spent three days a week watching two-month-old Maddie. Rather than endure a forty-mile commute each day, we rented a cottage for the month. We attended two more Becketwood open houses. Standing at the sliding glass door of Unit 469, I saw a color-filled sunset that served as a backdrop for the oaks that stood a few yards from the deck. It felt almost like home, but we were sure we wouldn’t have the opportunity to make an offer.
Meanwhile, between feeding Maddie and changing her diapers, I researched doctors, banks, and mechanics. The pharmacy that came highly recommended was situated in the middle of Lund’s. As I wandered the grocery aisles, waiting to have my first Minneapolis prescription filled, I couldn't help feeling that my shopping attire was a little too casual. I needed a fashion consultant who could coordinate a mix-n-match stylish ensemble on a Kohl's thirty-percent-off budget.
My temporary post as nanny would soon end and we would return to our Thursday grandkid sitting routine, but living close by meant that we could see them more often and help out as needed.
Our third address change occurred when we opened an account at a bank and ordered checks to be printed with our soon-to-be new address. We thought we would officially become Minneapolis residents on January second, but then we came to a fork in the road.
* * *
“I’m finished!” I announced to Todd on December 20th. I gave a victory fist pump before ticking off my accomplishments. “We have a new doctor, dentist, and pharmacist. We even have a designated hospital for same-day surgery procedures.” I smiled triumphantly, “and I’ve reserved the U-Haul.”
We spent the next day hauling everything we had taken to the cottage back to my parents’ house, where we thought we’d spend the next ten days. We expected to live in the duplex for a year or two.
Christmas was calm compared to the previous six months, but in the wee hours of the biggest gift returning day of the year, I woke with a start.
“What's wrong?” Todd asked.
“I forgot to order the utilities!” By 8:30 a.m. I had made all the necessary calls and breathed a sigh of relief. Now I could worry about moving during the predicted ten-inch snowfall.
We were to meet our future landlady Thursday night and hopefully clean before moving in. Finally, everything was falling into place. As I gathered cleaning supplies from the catacombs of our moving boxes, I heard my cell phone ring. “I think it’s on my desk,” I yelled to Todd. Meanwhile, I continued rearranging paper towels, window cleaner, and Spic ‘n’ Span.
“Hi Maura,” I heard him say as he walked into the room. “Really?” he sounded as excited as Eloise did when anticipating a trip to the playground. “Are you sure you have the right person?”
“What? What!” I demanded.
Finally, Todd switched the phone to speaker mode.
“Yes,” Maura said, “you’re the next person on the list to purchase Unit 469.”
“The one with the remodeled kitchen?” I asked.
“Yes, that’s the one.”
“Are you sure? Maybe you've made a mistake,” Todd said.
“Yes, I’m sure, and no, I haven’t made a mistake.” I could hear Maura smiling.
“The one on the fourth floor. With the French doors, and the deck, and the remodeled kitchen, and the remodeled bathroom,” I said. “That one?”
“Yes, that’s the one,” she said calmly, waiting for us to regain our composure.
“We’ll take it!” I said.
“I don’t need an offer yet,” she said. “I only need to know by Monday if you’re interested.” We agreed to meet the next evening.
“I can't believe it! I can't believe it!” I said as we danced around the kitchen.
“What do we do now?” Todd asked.
“Oh no,” I groaned. “It’s more a question of what I need to undo!” I cancelled the cable service, electricity, and gas. After cancelling the U-Haul, I called our soon-to-be landlady to tell her she wouldn’t be our landlady after all.
We had scheduled a meeting with Maura instead. We already knew our answer, and by our initial reaction, we suspected Maura knew as well. After inspecting Unit 469 more closely, we knew it would be our new home.
After two years of internal debate, and almost a year living at Becketwood, I know we made the right moves. All three of them.