The next year became a whirlwind of activity. I had my schooling to attend to, a wedding date set for June and we had started to look for rental properties. I had developed a passion over my lifetime for real estate.
Planning a wedding was really not that important to me. Unlike many young girls, I had never dreamed about my wedding day and although I had wondered who I would marry, I did not have an ideal guy dreamed up in my imagination, much less an ideal wedding planned.
Surprising to me now is the realization that I did wonder whom I would marry, but I never wondered if I would marry. I was raised under the assumption that I would get married. Respectable women got married. My grandmother, on my mother’s side, even assured me that I did not need to go to school, because I was pretty enough to get married. Marriage, of course, was the first choice for a woman—or so it was always assumed—so you would only bother with an education if you thought that marriage was unlikely.
Bob and I went to his parents and explained what we could afford, as far as a wedding was concerned. Bob’s mom found our plan unacceptable and offered to pay for a “proper” wedding. I did not care either way. Bob liked to say that he did not want a big wedding, but he only ever said this in hindsight. He did not say that he did not want a big wedding to his mother, the one paying for it, only to his friends and people that he was trying to impress. Going against the grain was always something that Bob liked to do and since big weddings were in fashion, he liked to say that he did not want one.
I remember my soon to be mother-in-law doing most of the work planning our wedding. This was fine by me. I was estranged from my family pretty well, so I did not ask them to contribute and I did not invite many of my friends or relatives to the wedding.
My love of real estate was born during the first house hunting that I did with my parents while I was in grade three. I remember being thrilled with all of the possibilities. I was amazed at how different homes were just in our city. It was difficult to imagine how different they would be across the world.
When we were staying in the townhouses, while I was a young teenager, I was astonished at how much of a difference good wallpaper could make in identical units. Then, later, when my mother bought the large rental property it did not take a lot of intelligence to realize that she had bought herself a solid investment, an income.
My father used to explain to me how much simple inflation could impact the value of a home and that in the divorce settlement he had paid my mother, for her half of the assets, over ten times the amount that he had paid for the house initially. This was difficult for me to get my mind around.
I managed to convince Bob that we should buy a rental property. He was reluctant. He did not see why we should buy a property and not live in it. He did not understand that you could buy one and rent it, especially in a university town. Eventually, he did come around and we bought a semi that was half of an older home, within walking distance of the university. It turned out to be an excellent investment.
The rental property paid for its own mortgage, our rent and went up enough in value over the time that we owned it enough to pay for my student loans completely.
So the summer was a blur of getting married, working at the veterinary hospital as an assistant and buying our first rental property.
Our honeymoon was planned for a secluded cottage in Ontario, right on a small waterway. Friends of mine had let us borrow their cottage and had stocked it with a different, high quality, bottle of wine—one for each night. Our difference in relaxation reared its head again. At this cottage, we were totally disconnected from the outside world. We had enough supplies to last us for the entire time.
I was reveling in how nice it was at this cottage and enjoying our break when Bob got restless. He needed to be doing more. He wanted to read the newspaper and catch up on what was going on. He did not want to stay the entire time. His argument went something like this, “We have all of the gifts to put away. The apartment is a mess. We have a bunch of work to do. We should not stay here the entire time because we’ll have to go back to work and the apartment will still need a lot of work. We should leave early.”
So, once again, relaxation was thwarted. The honeymoon was cut short and we went home early. It did not occur to me that this was a symptom of a larger problem. I can add all kinds of insights in here about what this should have revealed to me and how it was a symptom of a larger problem, but it does not seem fair to judge myself in this way. Hindsight is always 20-20 and I took it at face value at the time. We did have a lot of things to take care of at home.
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