I have a confession to make: I am going back to Florida. Two thirds of my family will be joining me in this excursion; Matt, Jackson and Justine cannot join us. My pouting has subsided. There will be other years.
Our little corner of the South was purchased after a few rough hotel stays in Florida. One featured simultaneous bouts of a stomach virus with three boys while staying at a Galt Ocean Mile condo. Another was a week at The Breakers of Palm Beach. Management made it clear our kind did not belong in their hallowed halls. A unit at my parents’ place was available, and was cheap. The building was grudgingly complying with the new law restricting “seniors only” buildings. They felt the same way about my 3 little boys as The Breakers did, but we bought our way in. The place kissed 6 figures: Steve just missed his goal of buying for $ 99,999. We have been using it as the Dahlhouse South since 1992. Steve has used it as his Winter Bachelor (ish) Pad for the last 4 years. Since I own 1/5 of my late Dad’s condo, the kids will stay there. We are echoing the winter visits undertaken when the boys were babies. Then toddlers. Then puking boys. Then Palm Beach “Delinquents”. (No one told Mike he needed to wear gloves to play croquet; they about died when he went to the driving range)
It is not the glamorous West Coast of Florida. It is Pompano Beach, the town that gentrification forgot. Hurricane Wilma took a swipe a few years back, and our sister building took a hit. We were 100% spared. The beach is a block East, and the view is of the yachts, rafts and kayaks floating by. There are two small bedrooms, two retro baths. Not enough closets to really live there. It is perfect. Glorious memories have been made there, will be made there.
We picked colors from the sun and the water, yellow and blue, and added a dose of country French whimsey. We found a guy who would do a budget rehab. (thermofoil cabinets, formica, warehouse carpet, outlet tile) Then we went home. We trolled our basement and storage spaces for stuff to ship down, and put it on a Ryder. Bought beds and a couch. By season’s end, we were liven the dream. We still are.
I love that we can be ecstatic in 850 square feet..plus a rocking porch. I love that Steve has been the driving force in picking out the stuff we live with. When I go down, I defer to his pillow stacking methods and cupboard organization. I asked him if he wanted a Keurig, and he demurred: he likes the 20 year old Mr. Coffee. It fits.
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