Good Neighbors

When the Phoenix home market was at a low back in 2010, Jen called me one day with an idea. Why don’t we go together and buy a house?

Bill and I had seriously considered buying a home a few years earlier, back when the market was high. We were wise enough to put the idea on hold. When Jen presented us with the notion — and after much consideration — we jumped on the idea. This led to that, and pretty soon the three of us were the proud co-owners of our Mesa home. It was perfect for the three of us — two bedrooms, including a split master — a nice little office, and a small but pretty back yard.

But here was the thing: I was retired, and Bill worked from home — or frankly, wherever he was at the moment. Jen, on the other hand, still worked hard for her money and was some 10 years or more away from retirement. So for the past 10 years, Bill and I have spent winters here, while Jen came and went as she was able.

The bottom line: We never had to spend too much time together in the same house.

But as you might remember, she arrived with us on Christmas Day, and prepared to have her knee replaced. She had the surgery here instead of Fort Collins because we have such a nice little house with no steps to climb. Oh, and she has two sisters and a daughter who could provide her with excellent tender love and care.

I’m not afraid to tell you that I was a bit worried about how we would all manage living in such tight quarters. Don’t get me wrong; we love one another and get along just fine. But she has been single for almost 20 years and has her own way of doing things. Bill and I have spent a number of winters here, and we have settled into a certain kind of way of life.

Who will cook? Who will buy groceries? Will her habits make me crazy? Will the way I spend my days make her pull out her hair? Will Bill’s boxing make her scream? These were all things I worried about for months when I would wake up in the middle of the night and wasn’t concentrating on concerns that my grandkids will end up being serial killers or bank robbers.

Now, nearly two months into our cozy lifestyle, I think I can say for all of us that we have done remarkably well. Of course, it’s easy for ME to say that on MY BLOG. Perhaps if she had a blog, she would be begging for suggestions on how to commit murder without getting caught.

We share cooking, taking turns preparing meals. Not necessarily a firm every-other-day situation, but as life (including such things as physical therapy, grandkids’ soccer and baseball games, dinner dates with friends, etc.) dictates. Jen and I both keep a running financial total in our head, and for the most part, I think costs have evened out. Every once in a while, I will wake up in the middle of the night (assuming I’m not worrying that my grandkids will drop out of college and sell drugs for a living) and remember that I owe her $24.78. She might even sometimes gently remind me.

Bill has taken things completely in stride. He refers to us as his sister wives since we both nag him in our own special ways. Those of you who know Bill understand that not much gets under his skin. He’s even grown especially fond of Jen’s dog Winston, who eagerly greets him every morning…..

…..and vice versa.

Jen and Winston will be in AZ until the beginning of March, and I think we are going to be just fine until then, and after as well…..

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