Six years ago, Genna said to me, "If you can find me a house I like in an adult community in central New Jersey, I'll retire."
I jumped at the chance, because she was working as a teacher in a private school and wasn't appreciated. This private school charged a fortune for tuition and payed a pittance for teachers' salaries. The operation of the school was a combination of Keystone Kops with the politics of a banana republic.
I got to work. Googled developments around Rutgers University, my alma mater, because Genna always said she'd like to retire near a college town, and we had for many years gone to sporting and cultural events on the campus (the art museum is a best kept secret little treasure).
I found a development at the other end of the same county, took Genna to the site for a visit, and she fell in love with the place. We picked a parcel of land, chose a model style, put down a deposit, and listed our old house on the market. This was all done just in time for the housing market to put on the breaks. We did manage to sell our old house in time to pack and move out about three weeks before our new house was ready. Genna, George and I were able to rent a smaller, much smaller unit across from our new home. Just three weeks, and we'll be in...
The builder went bankrupt.
We only kept in the rental what we thought we needed for three weeks.
All our other stuff was packed like a giant sardine can.
We were in the rental we unaffectionately started to call "The Hut" for one-and-a-half years, during which time we had to wade through the muck of bankruptcy court, get most of our deposit back, then find another home by a builder who wasn't going belly up.
You've heard it before, but it's worth repeating. Be careful what you wish for.
Genna and I felt sorry for the people who had already closed on their homes, and were stuck in the half finished development which had a very slow chance of ever being completed. Especially Fred, my next door neighbor. He and his wife were very sympathetic to our plight, but we felt worse for them because they were stuck there. For all his kindness, I took Fred to a Rutgers men's basketball game, for which I had season tickets. During previous games, I would spin our tale of woe about The Hut to my seat mates in front of me, Craig, Edie, and Joey.
Fred and I arrived at the game before they did, but when Joey arrived he said, " How is everything in that dump you're living at? What do you call it, The Hut?"
Fred said next to nothing to me for the rest of the game, on the way home, and for the rest of our time at The Hut.
Another adage you've heard needs repeating here. Things like this work out for the best. We found a nice development on a street with much more privacy, and the nicest neighbors, including Mike and Donna, as well as Kerry and Brad, from the Hut development.
More on them later.