My deplorable condo

I live in downtown Phoenix. My complex is about half elderly snowbirds who are only here half the year, when they flee the shitty weather of the great white north before they fall and can’t get up. The other half is gay guys with a sprinkling of students from the downtown branches of the area universities. My wife and I are among the very few straight couples under 50.

I rent the condo because I like living downtown, walking distance to the stuff I like to do. It’s old by Phoenix standards. It features chipped, weathered, badly-painted cabinetry from the 1980s. The floors comes in four eras, depending on which room you’re standing in. The kitchen tile is Flock of Seagulls. The living room tile is Goo Goo Dolls. The bathroom tile is Hanson. The bedrooms feature fake hardwood circa Limp Bizkit. I don’t care.

Admittedly, even I have standards. The original dining area chandelier was pretty much Saturday Night Fever, and even I couldn’t take that. It had to go. Out, out, out!

When people in Phoenix ask me where I live and I tell them my cross streets, they always assume I live in the really nice, really new, really tall, really expensive condos just to the south of my complex. I have to correct them, “No, no, the old ugly ones just north of that.” This response invariably pisses off my wife, which is just a nice side benefit.

I’ll eventually buy a condo in downtown or midtown Phoenix. When I was figuring out my VA loan eligibility last week, I had to painstakingly explain to a mortgage broker that I didn’t want a $400K condo in Old Town Scottsdale or a McMansion in the suburbs with the good schools, despite the fact that the “affordability calculator” says I can have one. I just want a modest, affordable condo near the light rail for around $150K.

I am a deplorable consumer.


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