Details, details, details

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2018 - 12:00am

What happens when you get married as late as I did? Perhaps the biggest problem is where you will live. In our case Loy lives in a two-bedroom condominium that he owns. He has lived there for many years and at our age it is difficult to change habits. Especially for him. He is around six years older than I.

On the other hand I live in a big three-bedroom condominium that I rent. It is a beautiful place with a wonderful view, two verandas, five bathrooms and a huge kitchen. I have lived here for only three years. But I have moved homes 36 times as of last count. I love moving homes, rearranging and reinventing my life with each move.  

 When we decided to get married, we only thought about not committing sin. We were too involved in that to worry about all the other details. Like where would we live, for starters. Initially we thought we would live sometimes in his house and other times in mine. We decided to entertain in mine because it was so much bigger. Our friends all said “You mustn’t let this place go. It’s beautiful!” But my landlord decided to raise the rent by 10 percent, meaning I’d better think about earning 10 percent more money just to be able to stay. That seemed like too much work.

Why did I rent it in the first place? When I had a stroke, I remember being in the hospital and hearing a male voice say, “Tweetums, you will live to be 69.” I was 59 then and I knew in a hazy way that my children had disagreed with each other during my stroke. Coming from a family (my mother’s) that got itself involved in a gigantic inheritance battle over my grandmother’s estate, I decided I didn’t want to leave any property to fight over. I was just going to rent. Now that I knew I had only 10 years to live, I would just rent.

But guess what? I lived past 69 and now, at soon-to-be 74, I am genuinely happy about my life with my husband. But we have to find a home. We thought about finding a retirement place in Tagaytay but after going there a few times to look around, we changed our minds. We saw beautiful homes but they were in places that were so deserted we would have to live in them alone with beautiful empty houses as neighbors. Or they had too many stairs. In the end we decided not to live in Tagaytay. We could spend weekends there, stay at the wide assortment of hotels available. But we did not think we would enjoy living there full-time.

Finally, I decided to move closer to Loy but have a place of my own still. I remembered seeing a rent-to-own ad at Loy’s condominium. That place has a North Tower, where Loy lives, and a South Tower where I could see myself possibly living. I looked at one-, two- and three-bedroom units. In the end I decided I wanted to rent-to-buy a one-bedroom unit in the South Tower. The rent plus dues were much cheaper and in the end I would own the place. Maybe I can bequeath it to my grandchildren who now and then come to the Philippines to visit. They can live comfortably at my small pad. Also Loy offered to convert his guest bedroom into my workroom for me and my crafts. That offer was more than acceptable. Having my own unit in the South Tower and my work unit in the North Tower sounds exactly like me. I always want a place of my own that I can decorate as eccentrically as I choose. The smaller it is, the more eccentric it will become. I can see Loy and me still living in two places, sleeping one night here, the next night in the other place, always just taking care of each other in a together-but-independent fashion. I think I will love it.

 But right now I have given notice at my current apartment, where we sleep less and less. I am measuring my furniture to see what I will keep and what I will sell. I know I have to sell two guest beds that are wider than the standard single with dramatic headboards and pullout beds underneath. I am thinking of moving all my big stuff first — my bed, my refrigerator, my sofas, etc., then move the little things daily until I finally will have moved everything by the middle of June when my lease expires.

 If you’re thinking of getting married at the age of 60 and above, remember you read this piece. Think about what you really want and go for it, as complicated as it seems. These are details we sort of forget when we get married late, simply because we’re trying not to sin.

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