A guest post from Chip Scanlan:
For 15 years, my family was blessed to live in a beach house that sat 84 steps from the pearly sands and azure waves of the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s West Coast. It was a roomy Colonial, with four bedrooms and three baths, more than enough space to raise our three daughters.
But as children do, they grew up and out. One married and headed west to Montana with her new husband; her twin moved to Richmond, Va. to pursue a career in musical theatre, while our eldest decamped close enough to return weekly to do her laundry. A story familiar to Baby Boomers like Kathy and me unfolded. By 2011, we found ourselves rattling around in a beloved home that was too big for us and too expensive to maintain. A For Sale sign sprouted in the front yard and after a year waiting for a buyer and looking for a replacement, we sold the house and Kathy found a bargain replacement: a fixer-upper with 3 BR, 1.5 B and 1,000 fewer square feet in a quiet, leafy neighborhood ten miles west of the beaches in the city of St. Petersburg. We moved in while a small army of workers replaced the roof, electric, AC, restored the original hardwood floors, IKEAd the galley kitchen, then added a shower to the downstairs half bath and, finally, expanded a tiny living room by glassing in our front screened porch. With a Miniature Schnauzer rescue named Leo for company, we were cozy, but our empty nest was quiet, very quiet, too quiet. Continue reading