When Anita walked into the closing, the first thing we noticed was the fire orange hair. The second thing we noticed was the extremely heavy makeup. She was obviously a bit flustered, and really ready to have this over. She carried a large handbag and was wearing a leopard print shirt.
We knew that Anita and Liz, her realtor, had been through their paces trying to actually accomplish what they agreed to accomplish in the purchase agreement and inspection objection. It turns out that the basement was never permitted when it was finished by Bruno, and while it wasn't a big deal to Anita and Liz when Liz helped Anita purchase the house 10 years ago, it was to us. And with good reason. When the county inspectors came out to clear the permits, there was a LOT that required be done, since everything had to be done to current code. This wore them out, and Liz and her husband went over the top to assist Anita, who must be in her mid-70's, to get things finished, right down to still putting in outlet covers themselves as we did our final walk through.
As we sat in the closing, we tried to get to know Anita a bit. Anita has had a fascinating life. I'm not sure if she's ever been married, but she made it clear that her "companion," who was 84, was not her husband: "we're not married or anything like that." She was a travel agent by profession, and had gone all over the world, even kayaking in the Antarctic. Her companion was a former opera singer, who performed with the Houston opera, among others. He toured with the company, which included his wife, who passed away in Italy while performing. Its unclear how they met or how long they had been together, but they split time between a home in Florida, what would become our house in Colorado, and a house he owned in Florida.
Three weeks before closing, he had a heart attack. Anita informed us of this in a matter of fact way, and then told us, "so it's time for him to go to assisted living." We assumed that this would be in Florida, where they maintained residence, but no. "His kids are in Denver, so he'll go there. I'll probably stick around until September, get him settled. Then I'm going back to Florida." No emotion, no regret, just the facts.
She told us about the fantastic parties she held at the house, especially on the fourth of July, where 50 people or more would gather (which in part explained the totally stocked wine closet in the basement). She was the one that put in the fantastic outdoor kitchen: a large area on the east side of the house with native stone for flagstones, counter, grill surround and fireplace and chimney. Its awesome. Turns out, the guy across the street - who is selling his place and apparently put in an outdoor pizza oven - is a stone mason and did it for her.
She never lived in our house full time - it was always a part-time home for her, likely mostly just summer. She did at some point live in Texas, although I don't know if that's where she's "from." The never living in Colorado thing turn out to a be a bit of a point of contention - as a non-resident, she was told for the first time at closing that she was going to have to pay 2% of the purchase price in sales tax as a part of closing. Without batting an eye, she looked at the woman facilitating our session and said "well, you'll have to tell me how much that is, and we'll see if I have the money in the bank. If not, well, you'll have to wait." The woman told her that they would just take it out of her proceeds, but I get the impression Anita wouldn't have backed down.
She told us about her love of opera, and the arts community where she lives in Florida. She may be older, and may be leaving her companion behind (I really think this was a "while the good times last" kind of arrangement), but I don't think she has any intention of leaving life behind.
Let the good times roll, Anita, let the good times roll.