Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brownstone Dreams and Aircraft Wishes

Patrick and I were talking on the phone yesterday when he happened by this Upper West Side brownstone for sale. While I looked it up online, we were each dreaming about how nice it would be to own a home in New York City.

For a measly 3.8 million dollars, I could be a landlord with a triplex owner's apartment less than a block from Central Park.

I still happened to have the page up when my husband came home. "We should call about it," he said. "How much would the monthly payment be?"

Now before you start hating me, I should mention that it is completely unrealistic for us to buy a Central Park brownstone right now. But maybe someday. Still, owning real estate like that is something my husband has been dreaming about for ages. It is a dream we share.

A guest house in Provincetown. A brownstone in Manhattan. A beach house on Key West. And our own home on Cape Cod. Plus a small aircraft to commute between them all. Those are our retirement dreams.

And retirement in only nine years away. Four, if this downsizing continues and the military offers some good early out packages. (Writing that just completely freaked me out.)

I love to do the math. If we put so much down, and charged so much in rent, our profit would be what? I love to do the math even more than I love to make lists.

Many of my good friends have lists of things they want to do before they die.

It bothers me that my list of things to do is really a list of things to own. Homes. An airplane. And I'll throw a boat on the list to appease my husband.

Besides writing a book and running a race there isn't a single thing I want to do on my life list. Have I really become that materialistic? Have I truly succumbed so blindly to the unfortunate American dream? I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

I suppose the owning of these things is really an indication of the kind of life I want to have. Except for the book and the race, I've already done everything I want to do. I already have everything I want to have. I'm unbelievably lucky that way.

Is it so wrong for me to envision a life where my husband and I get to really enjoy each other? Is it so wrong to picture my friends helping me to run a guest house? Is it so wrong to dream of my family traveling wherever we want, whenever the mood strikes us.

Is it so wrong to picture my grandchildren playing on our beach?

Someday I will enjoy all of these things. While having the resources to start a foundation to support the causes we care about. My husband has worked hard and our family has sacrificed so much in the last eleven years.

Of course he may need to get a second job if we're ever to afford these things. I keep telling him the new Starbucks is hiring. He keeps giving me that look.

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