I’m not sure why everything I do is always a huge production but…
Building and selling my downtown loft, moving and storing my furniture no less than nine times, living with my daughter and her family, and finally landing in this blue mid-century modern building is huge. Certainly, this sequence of events reflects the passing of twelve years, but given that I am an impaired person, I do not think it is a small production.
Impaired folks benefit from living in larger communities. While I completed my downtown loft I began my journey into apartment living. My daughter found me a short-term, studio apartment. So, I moved into the Poet’s District on the Kansas City Plaza into The Robert Browning apartments. For months, I existed with a tiny closet kitchen and an efficient Murphy Bed. The Robert Browning was designed by Nelle E. Peters, the only woman architect in Kansas City in the 1920’s. It is rich with architectural detail that defines the Spanish flavor of the Kansas City Plaza. Here, I first experienced life in a multiple family dwelling. Encountering numerous people during my day was absolutely a total shock! The first time I tried to exit the building I scared myself and another inhabitant mightily as I labored over the mechanics of the front door buzzer, only to discover horrors another inhabitant! I had never lived with other people in my midst. Reviewing my journal entries, I find, We Move In (Again) Someday. Noted are tidbits like: … frantic phone call to Jose, the building manager, (who is part of the Italian Underground with a Mexican education). He was a very attractive man, while friendly at first, hardly gave me the time of day after he discovered that I entertained a black male visitor. Bigots bother me. Then… where is the laundry? Shall I just buy more underwear & move on? Parallel parking after a long, long day at work… 5 X’s around the block to finally find a big spot while two lanes of traffic stop for me as I parallel park. No stress there! Then, journal entry from 12/11/2005, “The stay is ending… I want to be sure to remember some details of the place. I managed to eradicate the “old everybody’s odor by buying expensive candles and burning them for hours on end. Stepping into the airlock just before the foyer the stench of what, apartments have had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is awful! But then… ah, Seville Spain, gorgeous vitreous tiles, navy blue and cream.” A rickety elevator with a sliding door, I remember one like this in a Paris hotel. This brief stay was certainly a trip to remember, the good, the bad, and the ugly but all grist for the mill.
All this occurred as a result of my daughter suggesting that I should sell my cozy Drummond home and live somewhere more adaptable to the inevitable difficulties of my disease. The Kansas City Crossroads was just beginning a gentrification process. Working in an architectural firm, she knew about buildings and a neighborhood in which I would fit. She connected me up with a realtor from whom I purchased an empty shell, plywood, basic plumbing, and studs. I reached him in Israel and began my trip into “warm space build out” in the heart of the Kansas City Crossroads. Here I made some of the best memories and friends of my life. I built a contemporary nest on the second floor of a boutique loft building overlooking the wild and crazy art scene on Kansas City’s historic 18th and Wyandotte. It was grand. I loved the city energy but a tiny building (16 owners) cannot sustain replacement costs of aging elevators. After 10 years there I was forced to sell as I could not climb the stairs as often as needed to live in my space let alone carry up my Costco booty to fuel my fun dinner parties!
I always joke that my dog’s, untimely demise and my mother’s death in ten days to the day I had to put Oliver down, were all signals for me to tackle, The Blue Building project. Animals are not allowed here and my mother counseled me constantly as I considered the idea of rehab. “Just do it! Buy it and make it into what you want. You always do a good job. It will be beautiful!”, she said repeatedly. So last August in one day I finalized the loft sale and purchased the dated condo in this venerable old building (1952) fondly referred to as “The Blue Goose”. Being my typical self I totally gutted the place, removed carpet, entire walls, kitchen cabinets, appliances, pink lavatories and bathtubs. It took 6 months from start to finish. I researched feverishly every accessible detail possible.
I ignored all the comments about all the “old people” who inhabit the place. There are as many old as young I have found. The second month I lived here I had the most endearing offer from a 41-year-old young man. I had to refuse. I just could not see sleeping with someone who could be my son or worse yet one of my students! But how very flattering! He has since become a good friend. He is an accomplished chef and wine connoisseur. All topics I love, not to mention, he has MS. A kindred spirit in the daily struggle.
I have had a most wonderful dinner with two very lovely older gentlemen who live in the condo under me. Construction tortured them mercilessly as we ground down the cement floors for polish. They were beyond patient with my process.
I take comfort in the friendly guards that open the impossibly difficult parking lot door, (the building has a reverse air flow that pushes against the building). The guards call up whenever I have a package delivered or a guest arrives.
The neighborhood is stellar. There is an organic farmer’s market on Saturdays across the street. I love my view of the Trolley Trail from my perch up here on the 8th floor. I could walk across the street to my bank, a grocery, a plethora of shops and restaurants.
Anchored, once again, on the 8th floor of a 1950’s blue metal clad building. It is lovely to be surrounded by my art, my furniture and more new friends. I have even managed to have several dinner parties. The last was a blast.
Somehow, I think this may not be my last landing. There are perhaps, other pieces of architecture on my horizon in my continuing effort to stay active. While, I must say, lock, stock and barrel moving is not for the faint of heart. While we must all keep active, moving homes is a difficult path to travel.
I just returned from a glorious tour on the West Coast. You will not believe where my slow, sexy walk took me this time. Stay tuned for my travels there.
Remember we must, must…Keep Moving!
The Fragile Traveler
#impaired travelers #Kansas City #apartments #architecture