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Frame: Save Me

October 26, 2010
tags: ,

A few months ago, I finally closed on the condo I’d been trying to buy for the better part of a year. (Note: when you see the words “short sale” in real estate: run, run away.) As part of the mortgage process, I had to purchase condo owner’s insurance to protect me in the event of flood, fire, or zombieland.

<Begin brief lesson.>
You see, the master insurance for a building only pays to rebuild your unit as a livable space, it does not allow for the replacement of things like appliances, furniture, or personal belongings (clothes, jewelry, etc.). When you buy your condo owner’s insurance, you have to take stock of what you have and what it’s worth, then decide on a sum of money that you think could replace those things, were they all to disappear in a cloud of pestilence.
<End brief lesson.>

It is an interesting exercise to go through everything you own and assess its value, or decide it has no value, or realize it is invaluable.

signing the downpayment check

Personally, I like to think of myself as a well-organized pack rat. I may hold on to artifacts, letters, and mementos- a trait bestowed upon me by my mother-  but most of these things are carefully stored in files and boxes labeled “memorabilia,” a compulsion given to me by my father. I amass my share of stuff, but every few months I have a pretty intense “where did all this stuff come from?” fit that purges a good bit of it. But the seashell from Plum Island, the stained meatball recipe, and the pressed mimosa flowers will always remain- I can see myself trying to stuff my pockets full of these irreplaceable bits and pieces before exiting my smoking building, should that day ever come.

Since I bought the condo insurance, I’ve run through the emergency scenario of trying to rescue my priceless possessions a few times, but I always get bogged down in the practical details. How much time will I actually have? How much can I carry? Will I be going out the door or the fire escape? Will I have time to throw a few less breakable things out the window to collect later so I don’t have to carry them? What will the weather be like that day?

However, as much as I treasure my photos, threadbare t-shirts, and scraps of paper with faded handwritten notes, the thought of waking up one day with absolutely nothing is interesting. It’s not that I secretly yearn to live some completely ascetic existence, it’s the thought of a fresh start. The idea of being forced to let go of everything in your past and focus only on the future is pretty compelling.

In the end, if my building was on fire, there’s only one thing I would grab- and it’s not my favorite cookbook, my grandmother’s teacups, my best earrings, or even my laptop. Happy Birthday Zucca, I hope you’re content knowing that even after all of your bitching, shedding, and early morning eye-pawing, I choose you.

zucca bazooka

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