It has been just about two years since we closed on our condominium but only a little over a year since we have actually been able to use it. Recently our oldest son asked us how it felt to own two different homes. For his whole life, he said he had only known one home at a time and acknowledged he always had a certain connection to that home. He wondered what kind of connection we would have to two different homes at the same time. My response was quick and precise—living at the condo was a vacation for me—but I realize this reply requires an explanation.
This story for me started in June 2012 when my wife and I vacationed in Vancouver, British Columbia. She had made us a reservation at the Sunset Inn, a high-rise hotel building in downtown Vancouver.
We arrived very late at night so couldn’t really appreciate our accommodations until the next morning when we were fully awake.
But in the morning as we took in the sitting area, kitchen, and dining area, we realized we had much more than just a hotel room. We had a fully functional one-bedroom apartment, with a balcony and an incredible view.
Usually on vacation, you spend very little time in your hotel room but unlike any we had stayed in before; we found relaxing and taking in the view an important part of our trip.
Our week there was sadly, way too short and when we left, we both commented on how nice it would be to have a place like this of our own.
Little did I know at the time that in the very near future, we would in fact have a place of our own.
In years past, we had explored the idea of getting a condo in downtown Memphis but never very seriously. But in July 2012, upon returning from the gym one morning, my wife asked me if I would buy her a condo in midtown Memphis for a price that was not much more than that of a nice luxury car. Not realizing we could actually get a place for that low of a price, my response was, absolutely!
The first condo my wife found didn’t work out but the second one we saw in the same building did and we got a much better deal, although the second condo needed many more renovations. In fact it would ultimately have to be gutted, which due to numerous delays, prevented us from moving any furniture into it until the following May.
So it was on 13 August 2012 that I met my wife at a coffee shop before we went to close on our new condo. And while we were there, she got a call from her lifelong friend and so got to spill the beans about our condo to her first. After we closed, we walked around our new place and took what would turn out to be our “before pictures.”
We started in the bathroom, which we knew neither of us would want to use as it was since it wearily showed its age in this 50 year-old building. After gutting it…
…we were most pleased with the transformation.
The bedroom was nowhere near in as bad a shape as the bathroom was, but still needed to be completely redone.
The living room was in similar shape to the bedroom, but was completely redone as well.
The kitchen, while functional, was not one either of us would even want to make coffee in and so was gutted as well…
…and completely redone.
And while this renovation work was going on, it was my wife and her lifelong friend, who just happened to also be an interior designer, who were artistically selecting the colors, materials and furnishings. Although not all of the furniture would be delivered until December 2013, it was the night of 31 May 2013 that we got to spend the first night in our newly decorated condo. And this time I was more than happy to make us coffee in our kitchen.
So while our condo has been completely redone, this still doesn’t answer the question why I feel like I am on vacation whenever we spend time there. Well the fact that everything is brand new means that I don’t have any ongoing maintenance items to frequently take care of like I do at our 17-year-old home. And with no yard and no pool that I am not responsible for, I don’t have outdoor weekend chores to attend to when we are there. There is one word that aptly describes this feeling for me—free. The freedom you feel when you are in fact on vacation.
One of my favorite activities at the condo is sitting on the balcony in the morning, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, reading, and listening to soft jazz music. The cool of the morning is only enhanced by the chirps of birds in the park-like setting behind us and the sound of an occasional train whistle from the railroad tracks ½ mile south of our condo, one of my favorite sounds in the world.
After we bought and redid our condo, I learned that it had been a lifelong dream of my wife’s to have a place like this of our own. And it makes me extremely happy to know that we have fulfilled that lifelong dream. But for me, even though it hasn’t been a lifelong dream to own a condo, vacation time has always been my favorite time of the year. And so now I get to be on vacation every week, whenever we drive to the condo to spend the night.