Life with a Gator
15 years ago, I bought a third floor, triple exposure, walk-up condo in the heart of a college town. It offered a daily workout with the stairs and amazing treetop views but there was no outside space, among other things.
Flashback to the night before the move to the condo:
My brother is a Mensch. He flew into “help me move”. When he offered his services, he thought he was helping me “settle in” my new condo. He was wrong.
The afternoon before, he arrived at my apartment to survey the situation. I assured him that I was in good shape.
Bro: “Where are the boxes?”
Bro gets on phone: “Dad, she hasn’t packed anything, there are no boxes!”
My dad, his then-girlfriend and my brother scoured the neighboring towns for crates and packing vessels to enable safe transport of my belongings. I just pointed and they packed. Really!
A few days after getting organized in the second bedroom of my new place, I saw a massive object on the floor. I thought it was a mangled car tire. It wasn’t. It was a condo warming present from my brother and the perfect gift for one without an outside space.
“Gator” was with me for 15 years. I frequently stubbed various toes on him and was always looking for creative ways to give him “his space” but still allow me to have mine. Over time, I had Gator and garden-themed art to make him feel more comfortable.
This past fall, the death of a close family friend propelled me to move into a new chapter of my life. It took me six months to de-clutter my condo but ended up selling it in five days after it hit the market. Gator needed a new home and fast!
When I told my brother that I would be giving Gator up for adoption, he was sad. Thankfully, in fluke-like fashion, I was talking to a colleague at the water cooler. Somehow gators came up. I told him my challenge of finding a new home for my gator and he was truly enthralled as he already had wrought iron art in his yard.
I transported Gator in a heavy cardboard box to work and said goodbye to him…Believe it or not, I really was sad. I always mocked my brother for giving me that gift, but I guess I really liked it. By the way, my sadness quickly dissipated when my colleague sent me a photo of Gator’s new home.
Gator has started a new chapter, too, and this is where he belongs.