Brace yourself. You already know what’s coming. Breathe with it. Accept it. Welcome it. Yes, Chris and I are back in Minneapolis. The stars aligned and we went with them. That’s as close to fate and astrology as we get – the rest is sheer project management. Our life on a spreadsheet, thanks to Chris.
Once we committed to the move, we jumped on a wave of inertia and never looked back. It’s been a flurry of flights and pet travel arrangements, Craig’s List furniture sales, trips to U-Haul for supplies, boxing and crating of belongings, and a continuous sync-ing of schedules to keep us both on track. But at the crest of that wave of inertia? THE PURCHASE. Yes, all caps. THE PURCHASE. Who am I to turn my nose up at an opportunity to take advantage of our nation’s first-time home-buyer tax break? I mean, I can’t get a break elsewise, right? I’m an adult gay male in my forties with a solid income, no dependents, no legal recognition of gay marriage in site, and no assets to my name. I’ll take any tax break I can get… even if that means I have to move to across the country to get it done! So, we built in another layer of stress (because that’s what we’re good at — layering stress), and added a home purchase to the move spreadsheet.
For us, a house and yard don’t quite fit, yet. While I’ve made it clear that I love all things with roots and leaves, and could spend hours in a yard or garden, I’m still a city boy at heart — elevators, parking garages and multi-unit dwellings just feel more like home. And, of course, the style of home we would really like to enjoy is well beyond our price range (I label them ridiculously expensive, while Chris refers to them as “aspirational”). So, the perfect mix for us is a loft-style condo, preferably in a converted warehouse so you get some wonderful mixes of old and new.
In typical Chris fashion, our hunt for the perfect condo in downtown Minneapolis began in earnest online. Every night we would sprawl on the living room rug in our NYC apartment and review the updated listings, buildings, and city maps to find the right location, right price, right size, and right space – all tracked in a formulated spreadsheet that weighted our choices based on price, square footage, amenities and FHA approval (one word: Chris… that’s why I love him). In the process, we found the right agency (Hoffman Parkin) realtor (Scott Parkin), and the rest was history. A painful, emotionally scarring history, but history nonetheless.
We flew to Minneapolis to spend a weekend looking at our top picks, with a few additional properties thrown in by Scott for good measure, and put in an offer before we headed back to Manhattan. Come on, did you really think we’d stretch this process out? Really? And you know Chris? Unfortunately, that offer met a few hiccups – okay, gulps and burps, followed by a few bank snafus – okay, serious screw-ups, followed by few weeks of blame game and make goods – okay, the bank ate crow, followed by a promise to close before the end of April… We crossed our fingers. Made deals with God. Smiled and said hello to strangers on the street. Helped perfectly healthy individuals cross the street (that met some resistance). It all worked. I flew back to Minneapolis, stayed with the fabulous Mathe Family — the absolute gods of hospitality, and we closed on the condo yesterday. My wrist is still sore from the number of required signatures.
The entire process has kept me sleepless and skinny (I’ve dropped 8 pounds and counting… well, make that 4 pounds… the Mathe’s know how to grill a mean steak), has helped Chris and me discover more passionate levels of arguing than I ever imagined possible, and has me truly wondering what all the home-owning hoopla is about. However, any residual pain subsided when I saw that the monthly mortgage on our Minneapolis condo would be $1,500 less than the monthly rent on our Manhattan apartment – and give us three times the amount of living space. Yeah – now THAT’S what the hoopla is all about! That’s the break we’ve been looking for. And we’ll take it.