It's Housing Time

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In every person's life there is a moment when decisions must be made quickly following the heart, without hesitation or fear.

This morning I drove to St. Pete Beach, and I knew it to be the view Precious is eager to have, after years of cold winters, forced into a small apartment. So, I decided to take a stroll on the beach, and by the time I was ready to go back to the hotel, my mind was clear. I had to buy the only house that truly stole my heart. Beachfront, seven bedrooms, gorgeous pool, and a private pier, just north of Miami. Miami offers the best combination between New York and Los Angeles --Precious is from L.A.-- and is a good place to raise a family.

By 9:45 a.m., I was checked out, bought two donuts and a bottle of water for the road, and was speeding south.

Although my mind was focused on the house, I found a little corner in my brain for the alphabet game. A tradition in my family that I introduced to Precious. The entire alphabet must be spelled out off billboards by calling the first letters of a word, and players have to read from their side of the road.

A big billboard, advertising the Zoo of Miami, puts an end to the game. Technically the billboard is on the passenger side and, if she were next to me, Precious would have won. I slowly raise my fist half way, shaking it, just like she does in sign of victory. I won this for the two of us.

"Good Morning Mr. Jones, Mrs. Carter will be arriving shortly. Would you like to take a seat?" a longhaired brunette welcomes me to the real estate agency, just while Helen Carter walks in.

"Good morning. I hope you didn't have to wait for too long," she says, handing a piece of paper to the lady who greeted me.

"Not at all, I just arrived," I reply eager to talk business, and close on the house. My mortgage is pre-approved, and I saved enough for the down-payment, so it should not take very long.

"You decided to go for the property on US 1. It's the best house I have on my listing, you will be so happy at that location. Is your wife coming? She has not seen the property yet, correct? You were alone last time, if I recall?"

"I really want to surprise her," I say, while we enter the office.

Mrs. Carter pulls out some papers from her drawer, "Are you sure? It's a big investment, and it's going to be your main residence."

"Positive," I interrupt, "nothing will give me more pleasure than seeing my wife's face when I bring her down here, and tell her that we actually own the place. Of course, she saw the house over the internet and, among the hundreds we went through, this one was her favorite, by far."

"You like fancy surprises, don't you?" she tweaks her eyes, genuinely impressed.

"I like to take care of those who I love," I stare at her. "Shall we get to the paperwork?" I continue before my glance turns into some sort of awkward flirtation.

By the time I pull into US 1, I smell the Atlantic Ocean nearby, pushing the Floridian heat into my bones, while I discover what is about to become my new neighborhood.

After so many years of moving around, finally we are close to having a place we can call ours, where to raise a family together. And there she is, a mansion, emerging from the palm trees in all her beauty. I stop in front of the gate, promptly opened by a smiling Mrs. Carter from the inside. I drive into the looping driveway by the main glass door introducing a large living room, a swimming pool, the beach, and the ocean. All waiting for us.

"This is officially your house," Mrs. Carter welcomes me.

"It's a dream coming true. Thank you for your help," I hold the tears of joy I feel about to come down.

"I wish my husband would surprise me like that," she politely dodges my emotions.

"This definitely is a first step in the right direction," I say out loud.

"I envy you; you and your wife will be very happy here. Shall we begin the tour, so I can refresh for you some of the amenities of the property?" she asks.

"I think I'd rather do it on my own, discovering things as I go, if you don't mind."

She smiles, "Of course not, I understand. Let me just give you all the keys I have, the alarm code, gate and garage openers, and you'll be all set to live in paradise."

Finally, I close the door behind Mrs. Carter, and turning I see my house standing in front of me.

The living room, in its decor and style, reminds me of some prestigious European villa. The kitchen features marble tops with a restaurant-like refrigerator, and a window opening right on the ocean. I already picture Precious looking outside, while sipping fresh squeezed orange juice, and eating pancakes.

The master-suit is on the second floor, and I like that because it gives a sort of private environment detached from the rest of the house. Each bedroom is a mini-suite with bathrooms and walk-in closets, giving family members and houseguests their space.

We often talked about having a large family, and nothing will make me more satisfied than four little rascals running around, resembling Precious and me. This is what life is all about.

Downstairs, besides kitchen, living and dining rooms, there is a huge room, also with an ocean view, where I think I will be spending most of my time. That is probably going to be both my workshop and man's cave. I am not much of the football buddy drinker type, but I recognize the need for a space dedicated to myself, although I already see me welcoming in the rest of the family, every time they knock.

The pool has an abstract shape and a waterfall with rocks on one side facing the ocean, and I am thinking to add one slide for the kids. The spa is separated, three steps above the rest of the patio; and, at the end of the patio, grass, feeling like velvet beneath my feet, leads to the white sand of the beach, just before the sea's crystalline blue water.

This is meant to be a house of joy and love, and I can't wait for our family to start building its memories here.

I pull my phone out of my pocket, and I take a few pictures realizing that now is the moment I waited for so long. Finally, I can show something tangible as a proof of my enduring efforts and recent achievements. A roof over the head is a sign of stability and comfort. A dwelling like this speaks highly, and can inspire and consolidate any relationship.

As I choose the best two shots that show the property in its true splendor, I recall my wife's cell number, I attach the photos, and text:

"It's done. The house is finally ours, Precious, for what I hope it could be a great future together."

I hit send, and the message flies out my phone, which I leave on the kitchen counter. Not even the time to walk away, and I hear the sound of an incoming text. It's her.

"Congratulations on your house, it looks beautiful, and I wish you happiness. We are divorced, please don't text me again."

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