Mr. & Mrs. Smith Move Out
| Joyce Long
Seeing the “For Sale” sign in our next door neighbor’s yard hurt. Not only had Norm and Phyllis Smith been neighbors since 1989, they, their children and grandchildren felt like family. Yet the shock came when the “Sold” placard accompanied the real estate sign. The Smiths were really moving out. “Panic set in after the house sold in one day,” they said. “Are you ready for this?” asked Pam Ozbun, their realtor. “We’ll get there,” came their reply.
A 30-day whirlwind had begun although the idea of downsizing started a few years ago when the Smiths began making home improvements. After Norm retired in 2005, he finished their basement. His sports “man cave” became a favorite hangout for out-of-town family and close neighbors. Later the couple stripped wallpaper, painted rooms, updated the kitchen with new stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, and installed a new front door. By this spring, the Smiths were ready to move. “We didn’t want to get too far from our good friends. We didn’t want to get away from our comfort zone, so we decided to stay close.”
In preparing to move, the Smiths had visited approximately 20 residential condominiums. Like many retirees, Norm and Phyllis wanted their next residence to be low maintenance. Their decision to buy a residential condominium on Shepherds Way, sometimes called duets, came quickly after the house sold. However, it would require two moves.
In mid-May, they emptied their 2,900 square foot home and transported truckloads of furniture and boxes to an apartment, two rented garages, and a storage unit. Their new 1,800 square foot condominium would be completed in six months. Downsizing first to a 750 square foot apartment had its challenges. For example, Norm’s workout equipment is now located in one of the apartment’s garages. Phyllis explained she doesn’t even need to move the plug when vacuuming. Giving away furniture and keepsakes, even to family members, was emotional. “The kitchen table was the toughest to part with even though our youngest son took it. We’d sat around it for the past 29 years — talking, making decisions, laughing.”
Married for 47 years, the Smiths had never built a home, so construction from the ground up appealed to them. Not only were they able to choose from six floor plans, they also could select carpet, flooring, light fixtures, and countertops. Norm liked the large garage along with the low monthly maintenance fee. According to realtor Pam Ozbun, a limited inventory of residential condominiums in this area makes pricing higher than one would expect. She also advised potential buyers to know exactly what is included in monthly maintenance before signing a contract.
Ultimately, the Smiths felt this move would make the future easier for each other and their children. “That’s what life is — moving on to the next phase. You just have to trust in the Lord in order to do it.”
Joyce Long, Greenwood Middle School language arts teacher from 1992-2000, has called Center Grove home for the past 25 years. Currently Joyce works as the communications coordinator for Center for Global Impact and is passionate about engaging people to empower the poor.