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Price of my dream

April 11, 2012

I spoke with a real estate agent today.  No, we’re not moving.

Just the opposite–we’re staying put.  I needed the marketing muscle that comes with a real real estate agent.  No part-time, doughnut eating housewife who does it in her spare time.  I need someone to sell my land.  The sooner the better.

My land.  Nothing much more than a sorta-trapazoid shaped plot of scrub grass and weeds.  But it’s mine.  And now the time has come to sell it.

The lot is unique in a couple of ways.  First, it’s in a nice subdivision.  Second, it’s a corner lot with western and northern exposures, a gentle slope front to back.  It overlooks a picturesque little pond.  One last thing, there’s a taxiway spur that dead ends in the backyard.  Yes, my land is at an airport.

Some call these places “fly-in communities”.  Whatever–it’s a utopian idea straight out of a Popular Mechanics magazine from the late 1940’s.  Imagine a grown up little boy (yours truly) winging his way across this fine land in his comfortable and well-appointed personal aeroplane, gliding smoothly to a feather light touchdown on the macadam, taxiing said craft to a spacious personal hangar.  Press a button, the door rises, taxi right in.  Me, the missus and kiddies trot inside our cool mid-century modern home.  Nifty.  That’s what I dreamed.

All of this seemed possible during the summer of 2001.  Me, finally flush with a great job at the world’s largest airline.  A training date to fly the B757/767 hither and yon coming that fall.  Hell, my brother the architect even said he would design my house for me–gratis.  I just needed some land.  I found it.  I bought it.  I recall hoisting champagne flutes, toasting the day with my folks out there in the middle of the lot, in the middle of the weeds, July 2001.

Only two months later it all changed.  Everything.  And 8 months later I was furloughed (the first time).

I found new work.  Bought a loft.  We married.  We procreated.  I changed jobs, hoping for a better quality of life.  A little more time at home, perhaps.  Kat and I would sit at the kitchen table, me hunched over a calculator, pen and paper.  Could we still build at the airport?  Maybe…  Design home with brother, sell loft, move in with my folks while home is constructed.  Not too big.  No McMansion.  Not necessarily cheap, but still doable.

Then the housing market collapsed.  A modest little ranch was offered to us for a great deal (at the time).  It would be in a good neighborhood, good schools, close to my work.  We could remodel.  But not build.  We moved there.

But it was even further away from my land at the airport.  And my airplane I still owned.  And then I got furloughed again.

Then my son Alex was diagnosed with autism.  Suddenly, the proximity to services, doctors, special schools, therapists and clinics were very, very important.  I sold my airplane.  We squirreled away money.  Still, red ink appeared on our ledger. The land would have to go.

I gritted, gnashed my teeth and fought for it, fought to hold on to it.  I paid the mortgage, taxes and fees.  I rationalized making it work, protecting it.  This was my dream, remember?  Not without a fight.  I bitterly fought.

I was a fool.  Who was I kidding?  How could I justify such an extravagance?  Short of winning the lottery I would likely never be able to afford to build/live on my land.  That’s how much pilot pay at the major airlines has eroded.  My family needs the money.  That’s reality.

Which is why I met with a real estate agent today.  She’s got a prospective buyer for my land, she says.   Let’s hope she can sell it.  At the price I’m asking for it, I will take a loss.  It’s a great price, I guess.  It’s the price of my dream.

  1. Rob permalink

    Great post! It says a lot about the industry and about you.

  2. I remember your plans for that land. *sigh* I’m sorry you have to give it up. But you never know… someday you may still wind up in a house at the end of a little airstrip. 🙂

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