Monday, August 28, 2023

Home Away from Home

We sold the house we owned in Point Richmond a few years ago. It was a beautiful home and location, but it wasn't convenient for visiting the kids and family. Since then we have been on the lookout for a place near the kids. We looked at many homes, enjoying open houses in the area, but grew to realize that a "sometimes home" (especially at Oakland, CA prices)  just wasn't practical. After several years of looking for condos, one showed up on Realtor in October when I just happened to be in town. It seemed perfect. 

The condo is on the ground floor where the umbrella was set for staging.

The condo is on the ground floor, straight ahead

A huge selling feature was the parking area between the buildings and the street, and a nice large, open grassy area. 

The condo is 890 sq ft

It ticked a lot of boxes:
      • .4 mile from the kids
      • 1 mile from our other son
      • four different grocery stores in under a mile
      • walking distance to BART
      • convenient bike trails/bike friendly streets nearby
      • more than 1 bedroom
      • off street parking for a car in a dedicated spot
      • restaurants & coffee shops in under a mile
We decided to buy the condo and closed on it near the end of 2022. Before the condo was in our plans I had already arranged a trip to Las Vegas to see friends. Once we had the condo, it seemed like a perfect time to fly on to California. The Mister, who detests flying, suggested that he drive out to California bringing some items we had in Florida that we'd like to have in California, so he left a bit after me, and showed up a few days after I arrived. 

Our first night in our new "home away from home" did not go especially well!

I carried the key that was labeled "California Storage" with me. I met the movers there the next morning, only to discover the key did not open the lock. Since The Mister had signed the contract, only he could sign a form to have the lock cut off. He showed up that evening and we spent our first night on a borrowed inflated mattress with borrowed linens. We had a borrowed chair and occasional table. We had an office chair and a few other items brought from Florida and a few bins we could also use as tables. It was in the low 50's and rain had set in... and the heat didn't work in our condo - it was cold! The next day our neighbor leant us two space heaters and we discovered that The Mister had the key to the storage lock on his key ring! 

We made a trip over to the storage unit once the rain let up and brought back a few items that we hadn't packed very well, and that might not withstand a trip with the movers, who arrived the following day. 
Our condo was suddenly filled with whatever was left over when we sold the house, and couldn't seem to part with. We had a surfeit of chairs - we had enough that we could invite the whole family over, and still have spares!

The Mister takes a brief nap!

I guess we still need to unpack and organize a bit more!

After a few days of sifting and sorting, unpacking and unloading (we filled the trash bin) we were somewhat settled.

We entertained the family for Christmas breakfast. 
They walked over from their house, in the Christmas PJ's I gifted to them the night before!

After the rush of Christmas we bought a few things to make our condo a true home away from home.

We found an inexpensive love seat and a table we can use in the condo or out on the patio,
and I ordered some curtains and a rug online to add a pop of color

I found a lovely hutch at a used furniture store.

I added some bright color for the bath.

Guest bedroom now has a day bed and trundle sandwiched
in along with my craft and sewing table.

We love being in Oakland. We have had so many wonderful opportunities to see the family and to experience "city life"! 

Reading on the stoop with the granddaughter

Enjoying an "art in the park" installation down the street 
from the kids' house

I never know what I will discover when we are walking in 
the neighborhood! This particular evening an older gentleman
(who am I kidding? He was the same age as me!)
was making huge bubbles! The dogs were intrigued!

The dogs love walking by this fence just to see what might
pop out of the opening in the fence! 
Sometimes it is this kitty, at other times they find a small dog!

There is a huge dog park near the condo. We generally stop there
at least once a day on our way to see the kids.
One night I counted 30 dogs!

We love our condo! There are 16 condos in all. Most are occupied by young families, so we always hear children playing (sometimes crying) and there is a lot of activity. We have a nice patio, and the family enjoys coming over. With all of the other kids in the complex, our grands have the opportunity to come over and play in a safe environment. 

The dogs have room to romp in the condo, and once in a while,
when no one is in the community yard, I let them run all 
over the place!

Many of the families use the common area for get togethers. 
We had a "End of summer, back to school and farewell" pot luck
shortly before we left. 

We are also delighted to see our younger son more often. He often comes by on his way to or from the grocery store and stops in to say "Hi".  On occasion he has also brought us a sweet treat from the bakery for breakfast!

We closed up the condo and packed up our RV last week. It's time to head back to Florida and get in line for doctors and dentists. I'll miss the condo, and most certainly the kids, but it will be nice to be back home with our friends and activities that we enjoy there. However, I already have reservations made to fly out in October to enjoy another week in our "city" place!


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