In 1991, when things were getting serious between Dawn and me, she announced that someday we’d be moving to Pennsylvania. My retirement plans centered around a small house in Northern California, but I humored her. It wasn’t until she took me back to meet her parents that I realized she was serious.
At first I didn’t believe the house was built in 1760. (Remember, I’m from Los Angeles, where we demolish any building more than 50 years old.) Dawn told me about her grandparents buying the place in 1941, and how she grew up on the farm, and how she knew as a child that she would someday live in the mansion. (She grew up in a small house nearby.) Well, when she put it that way, I couldn’t very well squash her dream, could I?
After her grandmother passed away, Dawn’s parents did not move into the mansion – they were perfectly happy in the small house nearby – so it sat vacant for nearly twenty years. Dawn and I talked about retiring there, but it started to become evident that the house was not going to wait that long. Then in 1998, Dawn’s father passed away, and her mother was all alone, and we knew it was time.
But before we could do anything, we needed money, so we started saving every dime. After five years, we thought we had enough to do everything. Then the contractor pointed out we needed to replace the electric, plumbing, roof, and septic sytem…