Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Second Home


In another reality, I am super rich. I’m talking Bill Gates/Mark Cuban levels of rich. I’m talking Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark stacks of cash. And because I’m super rich, I own lots of homes.


I own a very large and spacious mansion among the redwoods off the Northern California coast. It combines the amenities of a home and a theme park.

Further down the California coast around Catalina is my yacht. I humbly call it my boat but it’s big enough to host a party with all the Laker Girls. And frequently does.

Over on the east coast, I have a home off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It’s  a bit more homey than the California complex but still large enough to host a hide and seek sleep over with a bevy of Victoria’s Secret models.

Up north, I have a high rise apartment overlooking New York City while I have a cabinesque home hidden among the trees and twisting roads of the New Hampshire countryside.

Across the Atlantic, I own an upscale townhome in London and a chateau in France. The chateau is my favorite because my maids wear classic French maid uniforms.


In  this alternate reality, there’s a lot that goes into managing all of these homes but that’s OK. As I am super rich, I have people.


“I’ll have my people take care of that.”

“I’ve got people to look into this.”

“My people will call your people.”


But that’s an alternate reality. In the alleged real world that I’m writing this in, I am not super rich and I do not have people. Whatever must be done either gets done by me or it don’t get done.


And in this world, I own two homes.


One is familiar to readers of this blog. I refer to it often as the Fortress of Ineptitude. It has floors, walls and a roof and anything more complicated than that, I do not understand. If something breaks, I ask the question, “Can this be fixed with duct tape?” If the answer is no, the it stays broken.  To be honest, I was never meant to be a homeowner. I wanted to live in a big city high rise apartment like Bob Hartley in the Bob Newhart Show or Mary Richards in the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Instead I have a house in the suburbs with a yard and hedges which I consider arch enemies.

No, I am not at heart a happy homeowner.


And I own two.


The other home ownership came about due to circumstances surrounding my parents. In order to make sure they qualified for a variety of benefits needed to help maintain their health in their declining years, their home was moved to my name. I never really considered it my home. It was still my parents’ home. After my dad died, it was my mom’s home. My name on the deed was a formality and one that quite frankly I would frequently forget.


Last year it really hit me this was my home when it began to leak very badly during heavy rains. The roof needed replacing and it would fall on me to get it done. Not just to keep my mom safe and dry but, to be honest, it was an investment that needed protecting. Because at some point, sooner or later, and I sincerely hoped it would be much, much later, I would need to do something with that house.


My mother could not live there forever. Advancing age and the toll of worsening Alzheimer’s precluded her staying in that house, even with in home care. So my mom is in assisted living and the house of my childhood stands empty. My nieces go in to clean it; it’s amazing how dirty an empty house can get. A grand-nephew keeps the grass mowed. I stay there when I go to visit my mom. It is quite the surreal experience to be in the home of my childhood, much older now and alone.


The house remains a shrine to my mother and to my father before her. But it isn’t a shrine that can stay that way forever. For now, I keep the lights on and pay the taxes and the insurance but there will come a day when I will need to do what grown up homeowner types do all the time: I will need to sell it. I suppose there are people to help with that.


But not now. Not yet.


No, I am not super rich and no, I was never meant to be a homeowner once, let alone twice over. But for now, I guess I own a second home.  

I would prefer to think I'm just keeping watch over the house while my mom is away. Yes, that's a lie but it helps me to cope.


My mom when she lived in her own home
with her cat, Oreo J. Bonkers.

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