SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 @ 10:32 am
Threes



...and I can't help thinking that things happen in threes.

And the third death happened.

But first.

We bought a condo/apartment/townhouse.

But first.

The desert. The cacti. A week in the sun in the desert.

...and I can't help thinking that things happen in threes.

We are standing in the Seattle airport on a two hour layover. For some reason, Daniel decides to check his voicemail. I'm loosely paying attention, eyes glazed over as passengers hustle around us, the sounds of rolling luggage and muffled announcements. He hangs up and looks straight at me.

We should have visited Grandpa last month when we were on the island.

We didn't visit him, and now he is gone. He had been gone mentally for a number of years, so in a way it's a relief. A proud man, a corporate lead, vice president of a crown corporation, smartly dressed, quick of wit, spry with twinkling eyes. That man became a rumpled confused mess. Packing his briefcase every morning, panicking that he was late for an important meeting. Asking why he was being punished and held in this prison: the nursing home. Smart enough to escape, and the police picking him up at the mall, the homeless shelter, wherever he ended up after a few hours of purposeful walking.

We sit in a bar in the airport and digest the news. As the beer settles in, I remember how I wrote about things happening in threes. And here is the third.

Meanwhile, we bought a condo/apartment/townhouse. It's technically a condo, but it's an older un-fancy building so I think of it as an apartment. But it has it's own front door and is two stories (bedrooms upstairs), so I think of it as a townhouse. So I'm gonna call it the condaparthouse. My insides liquefy at the thought of the immensity of the mortgage. I'm scared to leave our little box in the sky, our fancy 550 square foot crisp white condo with a view of the mountains and harbour. But it's just too small, and we've lived in it for two years and are ready to put our feet on the ground and commit to a real home. But still, I love our little place, and it's been so perfect for us, and we've learned to live with so little. The new place is seven blocks away in a lush neighbourhood, two blocks to grocery and every other amenity available. It's located at the interface between multi and single family zoning, so we look out towards gorgeously maintained multi-million dollar character houses. The condaparthouse is not perfect, but it's what we can afford and has some very special features. We viewed it on the first day and made an offer over asking price 12 hrs later, edging out another offer by a mere $700 dollars. The other couple immediately signed a backup offer at our offer price, and then two days later there was a third signed backup offer. All over list price. Welcome to Vancouver real estate.

What I've not talked about is how crazy it was, how this all happened. We were, again, at the Seattle airport on a layover, our flight already boarding, and us on the phone with the realtor adjusting and finalizing our offer price and dates. The plane mostly loaded, and us running towards the gate, yelling into the phone to slap another three grand onto the offer amount, knowing that we were in a multiple offer situation. Sitting for three hours on the flight, holding hands, wondering what was happening back on the ground in Vancouver.

The plane lands. My relatives pick us up from the airport in Phoenix in a stereotypical American SUV. The air is dry and warm, and stars sparkle in the vast expanse of desert sky. No message. We unload our bags at their home and sit down on the bed in the guest room. Connect to the wi-fi. Messages downloading. We got the place! And my insides liquefy.

We spend a strange week in the desert. Simultaneously exploring the state while arranging inspections, financing, and reviewing strata minutes. Staying up late drinking champagne in a concrete wigwam on old Route 66, running the numbers on the contingency amount and talking details with the building inspector. Hiking among soaring cacti, hoping to the desert gods that we aren't making a huge mistake. Hiking deep into sandstone canyons, wonder if I'm being greedy to own a thousand square feet of Vancouver real estate, when we know that we can live in half as much. Wondering what life will be like in the new place, how much light will stream in the windows in the morning, how much we will hear our neighbours, what surprises will present themselves upon possession. To invest so much money in a place in which we have spent a total forty minutes viewing. It's absurd.

And then we're back home, picking up sushi on the way home from the airport. My skin rashy from too much sun, drinking in the cool fresh Vancouver air.

And there you have it. A dead grandfather. A week in Arizona. And a purchase of Vancouver real estate.

...and I can't help thinking that things happen in threes.


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