By Mary Lynn Bruny

Man, has it been stressful lately. Here we are heading toward month seven of the pandemic (with all the other related horrible happenings as well), but I think it’s the fires that have put people over the edge, mood wise. It just feels like new disasters are constantly being heaped upon us. What next? Swarms of locust? We all need to do what we can to relieve stress. For my husband and me this means looking at real estate.

Yes, both of us are real estate junkies and have been for decades. We have a bad habit of buying places every four to seven years, fixing them up, then deciding to move for no apparent reason except we want change and a new project. We don’t cheat on each other; we cheat on our current home. My husband always instigates these moves, enthusiastically pitching me until I jump on the nutty train with him. The man can sell meat to a vegan.

Like many people with an addiction, we seek out friends with similar passions. One of our best friends, Judy, is even with us in number of moves. It feels perfectly normal to all of us that we do what we do, that we have packing boxes stored in the basement, that a fun Sunday is going to open houses, and that we all know exactly what properties are for sale in several zip codes.

I do freelance projects for a local real estate firm. Talk about geeking out over your work. I’m like a pig in mud, actually a pig in an outdoor studio with rustic charm. So my work, along with hours perusing properties on Zillow and attending open houses scratches my real estate itch. But this is not the case for my husband.

He works like a dog (devotedly and consistently), while I work like a cat (occasional big bursts but mainly meander about with a semi-sassy attitude). He dreams of a beach property as a retirement escape from years of work travel and stress. To unwind, he watches HGTV shows about remodeling ugly properties, especially beach houses in various locations.

As a person who has redone many homes, these remodel programs annoy me to no end. In two weeks and for $13.47 they entirely renovate a place. They just happen to find all these amazingly interesting decorating accessories at a local warehouse, along with having a slew of artisan friends who in a few days custom-make exquisite pieces. “Well, it was a lot of hard work these past weeks, but the elbow grease really paid off. We were a bit upset as we went over our $13 budget, but we think the antique shiplap ceiling was worth the extra 47 cents.” Give me a break!

We are going into year seven of our current house (that we have remodeled and I love), and I can tell my husband is getting antsy. I walk unannounced into his office and he closes the screen on his computer. When a man does this, it usually means one thing. But I know it’s not the case here; I’ve seen this behavior before.

“Whatcha looking at there, honey?” I ask him. “Oh, nothing,” he sheepishly answers. I give him “the look.” You know, that look we give our partners, the one with the raised eyebrows that says, “You best explain or there will be hell to pay.” So he opens the screen. It’s not a ratty looking beach house as I expected but a downtown loft. This surprises me. “Just hear me out on this one,” he says. The nutty train is at the station once again. Lord, help me!

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn is a Boulder freelance writer. Contact her at [email protected].