Coming to Wesley Homes, Part 3


Too Good to Be True? Part 3 by Pat King, Wesley Homes Des Moines resident Mary Therese, Lynn and I toured the elegant dining room (yes), vast library (yes), the Leisure Level with a space for shuffle board and ping pong (not for me), anytime free yogurt, coffee, cocoa (possibly), resident-run closed circuit TV studio (absolutely), plant room (maybe), wood shop (no), weight room (to be decided), thrift  stores (yes) and an art studio (never). At home I went over the stack of info Lynn had given me that promised Wesley was a place for people who loved life. It said that Wesley employed a top chef and served three nourishing meals a day. My apartment would be cleaned every two weeks, and flat laundry would be done for me. Handymen would hang pictures, make changes and repairs. There would be activities, trips and programs. Wesley was happening so rapidly I realized that I hadn’t done much praying about it. So to begin, I made a novena, which is nine days of prayer, asking for direction. I discussed it thoroughly with my older sons. Their father had put them in financial charge before he died. Next, I called the real estate agent who had sold my husband, Bill, and me the condo four years before. With a tiny frown, she said the market was slow. Although we had paid $345,000, we put the price at $325,000. Meanwhile, Wesley came up with a 25-page contract for me to read and sign. I read it four times, but honestly, what did I know about contracts? I wanted to make the move, but I had to understand what I would be signing. I overnighted the contract to Bill in Hawaii. At the same time, he left Hawaii for California. Now I had to wait for him to get back home, read the contract and get back to me. I took a discerning friend to see the Wesley apartment and she pointed out all kinds of various advantageous I’d missed. “I’m so happy for you,” she said. “Don’t be too happy. Bill hasn’t read the contract.” Finally Bill called, but he was using his “work voice”.  Oh, oh, not a good sign.  “Am I going or not?” I asked. “I need to talk to this Lynn person about the contract,” Bill replied. Bill and Lynn went over the contract: every page and apparently every word. Meanwhile, I held my breath and prayed at the same time. What was Bill going to say? What would be the answer to my prayer? Next came the devil’s advocate(s). “Really, why would you want to leave your beautiful condo and view?” This was asked by everyone who came to see my for-sale condo – agent and client alike. Me: “It’s time for me to move on.” “Mom, why are you leaving the place Dad picked out for you?” Me: “Honey, your dad picked this place out because it was what he wanted.” “Do you really want to live in a place with a lot of people?” Me: “That’s exactly what I want.” “Are you sure about this?”  Me: “Yes, I am.” From an outspoken friend: “I think you’re making a mistake that you’ll have to live with the rest of your life.” Me: “What if it’s a mistake staying in the condo for the rest of my life?” “Did you pray about this?”  Me: “Yes.” “I mean really pray about it?”   Me: “I have.” Later, I wouldn’t be so sure. Finally, Bill called from Hawaii with his news. “The contract checks out. Go for it.” If I ever said “Whooohoo!”, that would have been the perfect place. Bill continued, “Wait 60 days to move in. That will give the condo a chance to sell.” But despite open houses and neurotic cleaning, the condo had no one, absolutely no one, interested in it. Lynn had said that I could put down 20% of the Wesley buy-in price and pay the balance in twelve months without interest. I guessed I could do that. Lynn had papers for me to sign. My doctor’s report assured them I was healthy. My finances checked out, although no one seemed to realize that my condo was diminishing in value every day.  I paid the first 10%, agreed to pay the next 10% on August 23rd and planned to move in August 25th. Now I began to doubt. Basic arithmetic told me it would cost $700 in HOA fees, taxes and electricity every month the condo sat empty.            I’m making a mistake. I know it. I shouldn’t be selling in an unstable market. Did I really pray about this? I didn’t seem to know anything for sure. I agreed to lower the asking price. I visited my friend, Ting, the one who said she was so happy for me, to talk about a potluck dinner. Instead, I put my head down on the corner of her davenport and poured out my concerns. “The condo isn’t selling. I’m stressed from keeping it so clean, from not being sure, from doubting and from making up each morning and trying to be upbeat. It’s making my forgetfulness even worse.” I let it all pour out. Ting, a school teacher in her former life, put on her school teacher voice. “Let’s look at this. You’ve wanted to go to a retirement community. You’ve got the finances (as soon as the condo sells). Your son has given you the go ahead. Wesley is a lovely place.” I left her home, and felt a tiny bit better. But on the walk back to my condo I began to think it over – again. What if I’m making an appalling error? Can I stop right now and call it off before I get in any deeper? Next Thursday: A Few Bumps Before the Finish Line  

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