Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Verona

After the drama with the neighbors, I started looking on Craigslist. I wanted to see what was out there. Do I want to move again??? Hell no. But I refuse to live like I have been living over some pettiness. I called this lady about these apartments, and they were cheap and right around the corner from campus. Out-of-state tuition?? Ha! Yet still close to work. I am pumped. I am psyched. I am ready. She knows I am a UC student. She knows what I am looking for. We meet to see the apartment. It is way too small for us. I think she homed in on the "student" part of our conversation more than she did the "Respiratory Therapist" part. As in I am not on a student's normal budget, nor is a tiny shabby apartment going to do for me and my family.
She can tell by the look on my face that I am not thrilled, and asks if I have time for one more. I tell her yes, but am really reluctant. If it looked like that, I really would have rather gone home to my mounting pile of schoolwork.

We follow her through this really horrible area of town, and I am chain-smoking, getting scared of the place she is going to show us. We end up parked on the street on this corner, and I look all around us at the different buildings.Which one. I see this one out of the corner of my eye, and don't really look that way because I couldn't bare the disappointment if she told me I was wrong. John is sure it is fate because in the courtyard, there is a flagpole. Underneath Old Glory is none other than the flag of the United States Marine Corps.

I ask her which building we are going to, and she points. I am sold.

We walk through the wrought-iron gate, past the fountain in the courtyard. The looping driveway, where others are not allowed to drive cars unless moving in, is the perfect opportunity for my son to have a place to ride his scooter and bike this summer. It is beautiful. My breath catches in my throat. My eyes cannot leave the arches on the balconies.
We enter the building and climb the marble staircases to the first condo she wants to show me. It has old-world charm. But it is not perfect. In its state of oldness, it looks kind of shabby. I am thinking is we can make it work with decor. I love the building. She can tell by the look on my face that I am not completely in-love with the living quarters, and says she has another.

We climb three flights of the marble staircase, my hand brushing the mahogany banisters and get to the very top floor. We pass through the beautiful front door. My heart melts.

There are two closets in every room, with custom cabinetry and chests in each. I can see my purses lining the shelves. There are enough that I could have one for shoes, one for handbags, and one for clothes, and still leave enough for John and Evan. I actually open the leaded glass French doors and step onto the arched balcony I was admiring from the courtyard. My office in this little house??? No. I can see myself out on this stone and brick balcony with a cup of coffee, studying or reading, or just getting peace from the chaos of my life. It is a cocoon for me. But alas, I must go inside and see the rest of the space.

The bedrooms are enormous. The hardwood floors in much better repair than the house we are in now. There is a huge dining area between the kitchen and living room with a gorgeous view of the street. My office. Built-in bookcases line the walls in several of the rooms. The future home of anatomy/ physiology, biology, chemistry, pharmacology.

We pass under the antique light fixtures, through the scullery that she calls a "pantry" (a long narrow room lined with cabinetry and counters on both sides, with a bracket for hanging pots and pans, into the kitchen with the worn floor, enough to look rustic and weathered, but nothing I would change. There is this huge cabinet mounted under the window, and she explains to Evan that this is where the milk man used to deliver fresh milk to the families who lived there. I love that is still there. Evan pokes his little head inside, fascinated that there used to be a day when you could not pick up a plastic jug of milk at any store.

I wish I had the words to capture the beauty of the place. Although it is in this enormous building, the space is huge. Our place now is huge, and you could fit three of this one in it. Even though there are many other tenants, it feels like a safe haven. Like we are removed from the rest of the world. Quiet, secluded. Home.

Now for the logistics of the thing. I developer bought the building. One by one, he is gutting the old and remodeling them into modern, gorgeous condos. The new is just as beautiful as the old. The new are selling for about $200K. We can rent one of the old because he is in the process of selling the ones that have already been flipped. He is not flipping any more until he sells what he has. The rent is about $20 cheaper per month than what we are in now. In the long run, with me paying out-of-state tuition, it will save me about $18K in the next year alone, without putting me too far from work. The downside is that, if all goes according to plan, the condo would only be available to rent for about 2 years.
But there is a kink in the works. The new ones he is selling for $200K? They are condos, as in divided into rooms. There are a couple that are loft-style. No room divisions. The same size, but other than the bathroom, no walls. The same finishing touches otherwise. The lofts that he has have roof access in addition to the balcony (the same balcony I love). There is one that has no roof access. He is selling that for a disgustingly cheap rate. As in my car was vastly more expensive than this piece of property. With that being said, if I hired a contractor to create rooms out of the vast empty space, I could still have this gorgeous $200K condo for about the cost of having a nice vehicle. And it would be mine. If I keep my payments about the same as my rent is now, it would be paid off within a year or so. In other words, by the time I finish my undergraduate work and face entering med school, the burden of paying for housing would no longer be mine to bear. I could stop the insane hours at work at the exact time when I needed to. This falls into my plan perfectly. And we would be owners of a luxury condo in my hometown, Cincinnati, right around the corner from UC College of Medicine. You see where I am going with this.

Worst case scenario is we apply and get to rent one of the beautiful places until they are ready to do the work to flip it. My fear is that if I do this, I won't want to leave.

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