By: Heather Somaini
The wedding was over and everyone had gone home. It was just us again. Life returned to normal. But the one thing that had been fairly consistent for me was that nothing stayed normal for long.
About a month after the wedding, my upstairs neighbor decided that my condo remodel had negatively affected their unit and sued me for damages. It had been a long-standing feud and this was the final straw. My lawyer recommended that I move –no settlement of this lawsuit was going to change the fact that I still had to live underneath them. Tere and I talked it over. I was going to make a good profit if I sold the condo. Tere was sick of the close quarters and we had planned on buying a house together anyway. It seemed like the time was more than right to make a change.
We sold the condo in maybe a week – shockingly fast with something like nine bidders. We started looking at houses. So many houses! We bid and lost on house after house after house all over town. There was even one house that we wanted so badly that driving by it today makes me cringe to think that I blundered the negotiation. Our realtor was at wit’s end and about to tell us to take a break from house hunting. But all three of us knew that we had one last weekend to find something, go into escrow, and close before we had to move out of the condo, so we went out with a renewed sense of purpose.
In one day, we found and bid on three houses. But there was only one that I really wanted: Jupiter Drive. It was in Mount Olympus, a kitschy part of the Hollywood Hills that was ripe for a facelift. I loved it. An L-shaped, 3500 square foot, one level, mid-century modern with a city lights view through Nichols Canyon. Oh, did I mention it hadn’t been updated since 1970 and the owners had passed away at home? Avocado green tile, a gold lamé master bath, and a boarded-up pool – it was perfect.
We started remodeling the day we moved in and didn’t stop for nine months. Tere hated it. I wanted to do as much as I could myself – Tere wanted to write a check. I had massive plans every weekend with trips to Lowe’s, lumber and granite yards, back-breaking work and meals from Ralph’s. The kitchen was essentially ripped out and useless for five months. By the way, it’s kind of amazing what Tere can make on a barbecue grill with one gas burner!
Every weekend was brutal. We didn’t see our friends for months and we never went out to dinner that required more than paint-splattered clothing. We felt like we were perpetually bruised, dirty, and exhausted. I would sit down towards the end of each day and just stare out at the city for what seemed like hours and then fall asleep. After especially hard days at work, I would come home and just pound a sledgehammer into the wall that needed to come down – very therapeutic.
I was always pushing to do more. I tore down a wall, rewired every new light fixture, and recycled every appliance and fixture that we didn’t want to people who did. We painted virtually every wall and I even helped install the kitchen appliances. Every bit of tile, cabinet and carpet was picked by us. It really was OUR house.
At the nine-month mark, we needed to celebrate. We were finished with everything but the master bath, so we left it so everyone could see what the house used to look like and we threw a party!
Our housewarming was during one of the worst rain storms in Los Angeles history. Everything backed up. We had a plumber working up until the guests arrived. It was a great soiree with amazing food, great friends and our brand spankin’ new house. It was the first of many in the best space EVER. Life was good.
A few months later, we were able to resume our normal lives again. But it wouldn’t stay normal for long. I was bored. I needed a project. I had become used to having a weekly plan and I wanted a new one. I knew Tere wasn’t ready but I did it anyway.
I went to the California Cryobank website and started looking for a donor….babies.