Today, I was thinking about all the things that go into building a house: wood, stone, mortar, drywall, insulation, wire, plumbing, along with the steady process of planning and overseeing it. And then, my thoughts turned to how much more than materials goes into making a house a home: love, laughter, sharing, good food, family, friends and time.
So we’re buying a house. Other than posting a bunch of photos of what it looks like now, which is nothing like how it will look when it’s done, there’s not a lot to say until we get started. That’s what made me think about what brought us to this point, Jeff and me, and how, while it may seem like we got here pretty quickly – after all, we only met a little over a year ago – in reality, a lot transpired to bring us together. So, I was thinking, maybe the first thing to share isn’t what’s new, but how we got here in the first place.
Ask us how we met and Jeff with his love of all things media and on-line will say enthusiastically, ‘On Match!’. That’s where we both were, profiles posted, in January 2009. I actually noticed him first – on page 35 of 50 pages of recommended matches. He was wearing a purple striped shirt and I thought he looked like a ‘player’. He thought I looked a little cranky, but liked that I knew how to hang a door, had won a jalapeno pepper eating contest and could make a mean fish taco and margarita. Something about his profile made me smile. He said there was a ‘soundtrack to his life’ and that he was looking for a ‘short term relationship or a long term friendship’. The second sentence made no sense at all and made me laugh. He said to ‘wink’ if I liked what I saw so I ‘winked’ and then waited. He wrote right back – he’d die if I posted what he wrote (and so would I – but that’s how these things start – you get silly like you’re 12 all over again and just realized that boys/girls are not as gross as you’d thought when you were 9). We had a date. A really nice date that involved talking four hours straight over tapas until they closed the place down. We walked to catch cabs and our teeth chattered (and it wasn’t because of the cold).
Over the next few weeks we spent a lot of time together and learned the stuff about each other that you do when you meet at 43 and 45 and have a whole lot of catching up to do. One thing became clear – we’d lived in all the same places, often at the same time. There was so much we had in common and places we’d both lived that we marveled how come we hadn’t met sooner. The conclusion was, it wasn’t the right time but that the universe was trying to bring us together. States and cities we have in common are: CA, NY, PA, IN, OH – NYC, LA, PHX. My brother went to ASU and was the same major as Jeff but a couple years apart. We were both at Cirque du Soleil in Battery Park City on the same night in 1998 and sat near each other. My brother and his wife live in Mesa, AZ where much of his family live. Our parents were raised just hours apart from each other. His doctor’s office is on the same floor of a building on 21st Street as one of my best friends who I often visit. After 9/11 he lived over a restaurant right near my office and on the way to work.
We also imagined what it would have been like if we’d met in our twenties. First of all, we would have looked like this:
To be honest, we’re not sure we we would have liked each other if we’d met in college. I was an art major and categorically loathed fraternities and sororities – he was president of his fraternity. I liked artsy, leather jacket wearing, intellectual types – he wasn’t sure of his type of girl, was a business/marketing major and is convinced he would have been intimidated by me. Wild card is, we liked a lot of the same music then and now.
We both got married to other people, had two kids each – and then our marriages didn’t work out. We both wondered if it was possible to ever meet someone we’d really be happy with. And then we did.
So this is the two of us, but that’s not all – now there are six of us. That brings us to how we came to buy a house. Four kids + two adults = house. No matter how you add it up in NYC, we need space if we want to bring it all together. Jeff had fantasies he’d win the lottery and we would buy the place next door to him. A mansion sized fixer upper listed at a mere 2 million. He’d talk about what we’d do with all the space, how we’d lay out the rooms – dreaming. Then one day, the for sale sign came down while he was away in Texas. When he came home and realized, he looked it up on line just to see if it was sold and it was. Curious, he looked at all the other listings the agent had – one of them happened to be 112 2nd Street. “Hey Elizabeth, look at this one.” We went to the open house that Sunday and made an offer the next week on the house.
Our kids are beside themselves with excitement. We all are. They each have their little ways of being happy about it. Two year-old Ava just loves when we’re all together and one day, while playing with her Lego’s, she started to name each of us, Lego by Lego, “Baba Jeff, Ma-EE, ME-ya, Ju-yen, Ay-fa and Matz.”