Esther and Me Ch. 01bySlirpuff©
Chapter 01: Gardens and Esther
They say sixty is the new forty but I don't really believe it. The only ones that do are living in a fantasy world, and I've met more then my share of them lately. Reality hit me right between the eyes when I turned seven years old. I found out there was no Santa Clause or Easter Bunny, not to mention the Tooth Fairy. She had bit the dust the year before. I've lived nearly sixty years and at times I feel every day of it. I can still do many of the same things I could do as a twenty or thirty year old like running a marathon; but I do them a lot slower than I did back then. Do I have regrets in my life? Who doesn't? But after thinking about it long and hard I finally figured it out. If you ponder over 'what if' instead of saying 'I can' going forward, you might as well climb in that oak box and call it quits, and I'm nowhere ready for that just yet. So, I get up every morning and go into work and give them a hundred percent because that's what they're paying me for. The best I can figure, I've got just over nine years until I retire and can do basically whatever I want. Will I make changes in my life? Hell yes. I think the first one will be to move out of this damn retirement village my wife talked me into moving into a couple of months ago. You see, she took an early retirement and is having the time of her life here, and me, I hate it more each day. Will I change my mind? Who knows, I might even do it earlier with or without my wife, Sarah. Only time will tell.
We had a perfectly good house. It was ninety-five years old and was listed on the historic register in our town. True, there were a few pain in the ass regulations you have to abide by, but owning an historic home adds nothing but value to it. The little bronze plaque on the front of the house tells who the original owners were and the date it was built; it lists us as only the second owners. Over the last twenty years we've rewired the place, upgraded the plumbing to bring it into the twenty first century, but left the outer façade alone so from at least the outside it still looks original. Two years before we sold it we repainted using three original Victorian colors. It was beautiful especially with the white picket fence in front. The only problem we ever had was when we needed a new roof. We went round and round with the city about which shingles were acceptable for our house since they no longer made the ones that were originally on the house. Finally they approved our choice and I decided that was the last major thing I was going to do to it. So with only five years left on the mortgage I figured I was home free. I never knew there were already plans in the works, and if I'd known I'd still be in that house; and where would my wife be? Who the hell knows?
How she talked me into selling our jewel and moving into this place is still a mystery to me. She must have spiked my beer with something, that's the only thing I can ascertain. Don't get me wrong, this place is almost brand new but is just about half the size of our old house. However, with the kids gone we didn't need four bedrooms anymore, but the quality is far below what I am use to. It looks pretty but it is in no way as solid. I had plaster walls and ceilings and now I've got at best half-inch dry wall with ugly textured ceilings. It looks something like that damn popcorn they used to do in the seventies. The appliances are a step up from what we had, but who needs a gourmet oven and stove? Hell, for just the two of us, and as much cooking that goes on in this place, a microwave and a hot plate is about all we need. The dishwasher is nice but the refrigerator is something out of Star Wars. I don't need or want two kinds of water or need three types of ice cubes. And how often am I going to leave a message for my wife on the voice recorder in the door? Give me my old side by side that has an inside icemaker, kept my beer cold, and I'll be a happy camper. Oh well, I guess I'm stuck for now, but not happily.
When two of Sarah's best friends sold their homes and moved into Temple Gardens last year she was crushed. They were still only twenty minutes away by car but the way she carried on you'd think they had moved halfway across country. My wife had worked for the school system so when she got enough points, years of service combined with her age; she took their early retirement package. My only condition was that she wouldn't continue to spend like she was working because she'd only be making a little over half of what she had been with her pension. That lasted for all of nine months. Then all I heard was that she needed new sports and casual wear outfits. I always thought she looked good in her shorts and tee shirts. I admit though, I knew little or nothing when it came to fashion, but I soon learned. Where you could buy shorts and tee shirts at Wal-Mart, casual outfits came from the mall or small boutique shops with big price tags. Don't get me wrong, she looked good in them but to me she looked much better naked.
When she started spending her days with her old friends at their new homes I was happy for her. When they got Sarah into line dancing, playing tennis, golf, and other social activities I got a little concerned. But when I came home to an empty house and a damn note telling me my dinner was in the microwave or oven I got pissed.
"Sarah, don't I even rate you being home to have dinner with me anymore?"
"Steve, I knew I was going to be late, so I made sure to have your dinner ready before I left for Connie's."
"Pray tell, what was so important at Connie's that you had to be there until," I looked at my watch, "eight thirty four?" I asked.
"Our line dancing group was performing at the town square at six tonight and I just had to be there. You wouldn't have wanted me to let them down, would you?"
"Sarah, I don't give a tinker's damn about your line dancing group, your golf, or tennis buddies until it starts to effect my life. What you do during the day is up to you, but when I come home after working all day I don't appreciate being greeted by a fucking note on the microwave."
"Steve, that's kind of rude."
"Rude or not, I don't appreciate it and if this was the first time I wouldn't have even said anything, but it's happening more and more. Why don't you just move into Connie or Judy's spare room for Christ's sakes," I said trying to hold my anger back but failing miserably.
"Look, I'm sorry and I promise it'll never happen again. Why didn't you eat and come join us?"
"The last time I tried that, your group had moved locations twice and you weren't answering your damn cell phone. I'm not about to go looking through the whole community for my wayward wife."
"Well, I'm home now, so why don't I get us both a glass of wine while you take a shower upstairs?" That was her way of telling me that I'd be getting lucky tonight. I guess I could have pissed and moaned a bit more but then I'd probably not get dessert. I took the shower.
The wine was good and I made it even better by dribbling a little on each nipple and more than a little onto her pussy. Like I said, there was no way I was giving up my dessert. We had a good sex life. We didn't do it every night like we had when we first got married, and although it wasn't as intense, I made sure she always got off no matter how long it took. Me, I was always more than ready and even though I probably wasn't as hard as a steel pipe anymore, I got more than hard enough to get the job done.
She liked oral sex and wasn't shy about asking me for it whenever the mood struck her. However, giving me a blowjob was an entirely different matter. She would only do it for just so long and after that all she did was complain that it was uncomfortable at best. In other words, I'd better get off quickly or I wouldn't get finished by her mouth.
Tonight she was primed, it only took me about five minutes to get her to climax the first time with my tongue and fingers. With me being rock hard I skipped any chance at a blowjob and literally plowed forward, so to speak. As worked up as I was, and even though I thought about my sixth grade nun and the proposal I was finishing at work, ten minutes later I was coating her insides. I know she loved me and I know I loved her to death even though she tried my patience at times. We held one another for the next twenty minutes before she said that she needed to get cleaned up and rushed off to the bathroom. Life was good but most of all it was easy being married to Sarah. After so many years together we had a tendency to finish each other's sentences and I thought I always knew exactly what she was thinking. I found out later I was very wrong about that one.
When we became joined at the hip with her Temple Gardens friends I just went along for the ride. Dinners out, barbeques, shopping excursions, and weekend get-a-ways all made us a tighter group. When we added two more couples to the mix and started to go to the activities in the town squares I suspected nothing. Hell, the car shows, art fairs, and food functions were all things I enjoyed. I wasn't much of a dancer so when they played music and people started to dance I did my customary three slow dances and watched while Sarah kicked up her heals with this group or that. Was I jealous? Not on your life. I knew if I didn't let her out there she'd pester me to death, so I went with the flow. Well, at first anyway.
Things came to a head when they all wanted to go to a restaurant in one of the town squares one Saturday night. Someone made reservations for ten and when we got there the maitre d' wouldn't let us in. I guess this restaurant was only open to those people who actually lived in Temple Gardens. Our group said that we were their guests but he flatly refused to seat us.
"Come on Sarah we're out of here. I wouldn't give them our business if they got down on their knees and begged me now." The other couples apologized and I told them it wasn't their fault and not to worry about us, we'd surely find something to eat elsewhere.
"Steve, if we lived there we wouldn't have to worry about it," she said feeling me out.
"And if pigs flew I'd always have ribs but that's not going to happen either. Our house would never sell in this down economy, and if it did we'd lose our ass. Besides, there are a lot of restrictions that I don't know if I could live with." We ate the rest of our dinner in silence.
Nothing happened for about a month. We still went out with the same group, plus or minus a couple here or there, and then it happened.
"Steve, what would you say if I told you we have a buyer for our house?" asked an excited Sarah when I walked through the door Friday night.
"Whose house and what buyer?" I was confused.
"You know how we always get those flyers about how this or that house sold in your neighborhood and if you're interested call this realtor or that one? Well, I called one that came in the mail a couple of weeks ago, and he did an appraisal on our house. He told me that there were a lot of people looking for houses like ours and that we could get top dollar even in this down market."
"Sarah, didn't you even think to ask me if I wanted to sell?"
"Steve, I was just seeing what our place was worth and you know, day dreaming about it."
"Day dreaming is thinking about what if, you took it a lot further than that."
"All right, I did, but he called this morning and said that he has two couples interested and would like to give them a walk through this weekend. Isn't that exciting?" Sometimes there isn't an easy way to say things, you know that?
"Are you fucking nuts? Why would I want to sell? I love this house." That started an intense four-hour discussion on why I should.
I've got to hand it to her, she did make some valid points; the girl had done her homework. The amount we'd make from the sale of our house would more than pay for anything we'd replace with it, and we could throw the rest in the bank for a nice nest egg. Our current house was too big for just the two of us, and the utilities costs alone were killing us, at about four hundred per month since we had old wooden double sash windows and no insulation in the walls. The yard took a lot to maintain and our neighborhood was getting older.
"Sarah, it's an historic neighborhood. It's supposed to be old."
"Steve, when you retire, are you going to want to maintain this house? The house will need painting in a couple of years and wouldn't it be nice to have something new that we didn't have to worry about? I know you like it here, but won't you at least just think about it and look to see what we can get?"
Saturday morning we met with the realtor. He showed us comparables and what he thought would be a good price. He said that he had two offers and that it could be all said in done in two months. When I asked what he charges for a sales commission I about shit. When I told him that it would be two percent less or nothing we finally agreed upon one and a quarter.
"Why don't we look at what's available in Temple Gardens? I'm sure our friends will show us around." Yeah, I sure as hell know they will, I thought to myself. I went in a different direction.
At the Temple Gardens sales office I saw the big layout on the wall. It was enormous, like a huge city encroaching on three different counties. He said that they were on their ninth expansion and that they'd secured enough property for three more.
"This is the largest home development of its kind outside of Sun City in Arizona. We've got sixteen golf courses, twenty-eight tennis courts, six man made lakes, and two town squares with shopping and restaurants. Outside of that, within five minutes, there is every type of medical facility known to man in three business complexes, and next year we're breaking ground on our own hospital. Once you move in, you'll never have to go anywhere else to get what you need, We are pretty much a self providing community."
The one thing I didn't like from the start was that there was only one real estate office that was allowed to market all the new or used properties. And the list of restrictions seemed to go on forever. I tried not to be negative but it just looked like the developer still had his hand into every facet of this community. He had to be making a bundle. When he asked what we were looking for, Sarah brought out this typewritten list. As I said, she'd done her homework.
We looked at the models and although they looked nice they were nothing special. When he asked what price range we were looking at I told him no more than a hundred and seventy-five thousand, this would give us a nest egg of almost eighty thousand. He brought up what he had in that range and the general location in the complex.
"Steve, that one is only three blocks from Judy's house." How convenient I thought sarcastically to myself. "Let's go look at that one," she said all smiles.
At least this one wasn't as sterile as the models. It had a few nice personal touches and even a hot tub on the small patio. It still looked small to me and everyone thought I was nuts when I asked to look inside the attic.
"It's really not an attic," the realtor explained. "More like a crawl space between the ceiling joists."
"I just want to see how much insulation is up there," I told him. There was only six inches of blown-in fiber insulation. I found two other problems right off the bat and concern showed on my face.
"This is a used home. There are bound to be a few problems," he mentioned to me, all the while taking notes.
"Does this house come with any type of warranty, and are the owners willing to fix any and all problems?"
"Mr. Moore, I'll have to get back with you on that after I check with them, but most owners usually are willing to work with prospective buyers." I told him I wanted to see at least three more properties.
He showed us three more in about the same condition and one with about a thirty thousand dollar higher price tag. That one was a lot more to my liking. I guess the adage, you get what you pay for is true, at least in this case. After about four and a half hours running around he took us to dinner. We talked price and location and when I told him I'd be paying cash his eyes lit up.
"We maybe can work out a better deal on one of the older models we currently have in stock near the town squares. They usually have all the upgrades and are sold furnished," he said now licking his chops.
"Well, for the right price my wife and I are open to anything."
The house was three blocks off the first town square that was built. It was a model but had also been used as a rental on and off over the last five years. It came with a two-year appliance warranty along with the usual manufacturing quality warranty. It had two bedrooms, two full baths and a small den or television room. The kitchen was open to the large family room so it made it look that much larger. With the two-car garage it had everything we wanted or needed except the pool.
"You can put in a small pool," I was told. "But per building community requirements it must have a screen enclosure." This was the first of many things that would work its way under my skin to eventually make me grow to hate living there, but at the time everything looked pretty good.
For the next week Sarah, Judy, Connie, and their husbands all ganged up on me telling me what a great place it was. The realtor kept asking if I needed any more information and that he had two other couples looking at the places he'd shown us. Finally, I bit the bullet. If Sarah was going to be spending all her time here anyway, I mine as well be within walking distance of finding her when I got home from work.
Within two months, our old house was gone and we'd moved into our new home. I worked out a deal to have them repaint the kitchen and family room a pale coral color. We ended up having a garage sale to dump all our unwanted furniture. I found out after signing on the dotted line that yard sales were prohibited at our new place.
Even though I'd added twenty minutes to my daily commute, it seemed to be working out better than I'd imagined. Sarah was more than overjoyed and I reaped the benefits almost nightly the first couple of months. At one point I even had to tell her I had a headache. The first major problem came when she wanted a golf cart. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, owned a golf cart. The whole place was set up with golf cart lanes and in the evening there were ten times the number of golf carts compared to cars on the roads. We had two cars and one of the restrictions was that no vehicle could be left outside the garage on the driveway. So, if we got a golf cart, I'd have to do something with one of my vehicles.
"Steve, why don't you sell that mustang of yours? You hardly ever drive it, and we'll probably use the golf cart ninety percent of the time, anyway."
"There is no way I'm selling my car, it's a classic, for Christ's sakes. It was the first Cobra Mustang they ever built. I'll find a place where I can store it, but I'm not getting rid of it." Women can be so dumb sometimes. It cost me almost a hundred a bucks a month for storage but it was well worth it.
Most nights after dinner, Sarah wanted to take a walk down to the town square and listen to the music or walk through the shops. It was fun at first but after a while it was just an excuse to walk off our dinner before bedtime. Sarah still got in a few dances every night. We made new friends daily but like I said before, I'd do my couple of slow dances and then watch as she kicked up her heals. The one thing I realized the first night was that in the town square and at every function they openly sold alcohol. I guess with people driving golf carts instead of cars they thought they could drink as much as they wanted, and many did. I don't know how many accidents they had every night, but there had to be at least a few the way people slammed down the drinks. So while Sarah danced, I drank. That's how I met Esther.