Impulse Control

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In truth, I haven’t always exercised the best wisdom when I buy things.

In fact, the bigger the purchase the wonkier I get. Several years ago I bought a Mazda RX7 simply because I was utterly amazed by the headlights that winked open as you started up the car. This cool feature distracted me from a far more important fact. I couldn’t sit upright in the car unless the sunroof was open. My torso is apparently freakishly long and no matter how I angled the seat, my head poked out of the roof.

Snow and rain were particularly bad days for me.

With this purchasing history looming over me, buying a home is sketchy territory. I can be impulsive and a 30 year mortgage gives you a lot of time to reevaluate your decision-making skills.

To ensure that emotions wouldn’t take over the buying process and to avoid another “shame buy” I sat down and crafted my house hunting wish list.

  • A guest friendly home with 2-3 bedrooms.
  • A small yard, since I don’t own a lawn mower.
  • A pool, water is like Prozac for me.
  • A big tub (same reason as above)
  •  An open floor plan with lots of light.
  •  A renovated space – so I can just move in and do all the fun creative stuff.

After my plane landed in Sarasota I met my realtor Rachelle Prost. We had only communicated by email and phone so I was completely unprepared for what she looked like …which was a Ralph Lauren equestrian model. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a low, smooth ponytail. She wore black riding boots over her camel colored leggings and a fitted jacket that emphasized her nearly nothing waist. I started feeling old and large. “Maybe she’s shallow.” I  thought, hopefully. Nope, not a chance, she was kind, calm and a well informed Sarasota native.

She handed me a thick blue folder of my house picks and hopped into her immaculate Lexus. For the next several days we zipped in and out of countless homes until I narrowed the search to 2 possible nests.

One house was huge. It was in foreclosure and needed no renovations. In fact, it still had that new house smell. There was  brand new carpeting, fresh paint, stainless steel appliances and a beautiful pool. Plus, since I am acting like a non impulsive grown up now… the price per square foot confirmed that it was a total bargain.

Now, the other house desperately needed a new kitchen and both bathrooms begged for a total makeover. Stenciled green ivy was spilling down the sponged tan walls. The flooring was an awkward combination of tile and wood. Oh, and it was more money and much smaller than the other house. It also was the brightest most beautiful space. The double front doors swung open to reveal a wonderfully open room with a wall of windows that looked out to the aqua pool. A majestic banyan(esque) tree proudly occupied the back yard.

I made a mental list comparing the two properties. There really was no contest. The foreclosure home was the way to go. I made an offer. That night I laid awake paralyzed in worry that they might accept it.

Fortunately they didn’t. After a deep exhale of relief, I bought the sun filled, impressively dated home.Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 8.45.33 PM

You may wonder if I learned anything about attempting to use my head and not merely my heart. I actually think I have.

I am pleased to report to you that I was wildly attentive to many annoyingly mundane details with this purchase, like do I need flood insurance and is the airconditioner going to expire before the milk in the fridge does.

It is just that in the end, after crushing all the logical details I realized  that I would rather live in a sun filled home with an awe inspiring tree ( that I secretly named Rooty)  than live in a well priced investment property.

Sometimes you just have to trust that pesky voice when it says “this feels right”.  Then make quick friends with a herd of carpenters, painters and handymen.

The barefooted designer,

barefoot

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It’s time…

Swing

Lots of people love the four seasons.  Myself, I am not a big fan of winter when all signs of life are expunged from the landscape. Bare branches, brown grass and birds hauling ass south are distressing signs for me.

For years I have dreamt about moving to Florida.

Here’s the deal, I need light and the Boston winters don’t bring out the best in me.

Some people handle the Arctic conditions brilliantly by making kale soups or get all crafty. Not me, I stay in my bathrobe with a frighteningly large supply of blue tortilla chips and binge watch Netflix.

It’s not pretty.

I would like to say that the 10 feet of record-breaking snowfall this past winter made me finally rent a U-Haul and head to the Sun Coast. It didn’t.

Or that the massive search for new job that had palm trees in their zip code finally materialized. Nope.

What finally motivated me to move was that I stopped knowing if I would live long enough to be an old lady.

I got diagnosed with Cancer.

Now, before you have even have a nanosecond of sympathy for me, let me also share that I had the absolute best cancer that anyone could possibly have. It’s true.

If you have to be struck by the cancer bullet this is the one to have.

My Harvard schooled protege of a Doc found a cancerous tumor on my ovary and took it out.

Pouf done. No radiation, no chemo, just several weeks of wonky tests to confirm that I didn’t have more tumors lurking on other parts of me, which I didn’t.

With that euphoric news I was given permission to go live life.

Envisioning a shorter life span is a great way to prioritize your to do list. It was obvious that NOW was the right time to go find my place in the sun.

I sat down at my kitchen table, spread out my bank statements and tallied up my worth on a pink plastic calculator. Then I booked a flight to Sarasota Florida.

You may wonder how I picked Sarasota from all the other orange tree towns.

What I love about SRQ (as the hipsters call it) is that it has a bit of everything and I am a curious chick.

Downtown has fun eateries that range from thatched roofed tiki bars to white table-cloth farm fresh eats.

There are guitar picking joints and an opera house.

The beaches have white powdery sand and aqua warm water. Siesta Key (part of Sarasota) gets a shout out nearly every time some travel paper writes about what “Top Beaches” to tromp off to.

John Ringling, the circus mogul, spent his winters there and in 1920 he bought up lots of land until he molded Sarasota into a vacation hot spot for himself and his wife Mable. Decades later it is a go to destination for massive amount of pasty Northerners.

Now that I can see myself living, I can see myself living there.  SRQ here I come.

So, I am off to find a new nest. Wish me luck. I’ll write to you and let you know what I find.

The barefooted designer,

barefoot