I’ve been in Lacombe for about 25 years and have yet to fully explore its offerings.
I lived in an apartment initially, first a one bedroom on the second floor with neighbours above, below, across the hall and on one side. On the other side, a set of stairs off my bedroom, which played a squeaky tune throughout the night, particularly the end of the month.
My plan was to be uncomfortable enough to move and buy a house when I had the chance. As it turned out, I had a plan B without really knowing it until a few years later when I signed a lease for the two bedroom unit on the other side of the stairs. Alas, I had a quiet bedroom, and a level of comfort making my dream of home ownership added rationalizations away. But as rent checks went out with nothing in return, my fiscal self said hey, it’s time.
The search was on. I checked ads, contacted a few realtors, went to one showing after another. I didn’t know what I wanted, but when I walked in for a showing brimming with expectations, I’d find out what I didn’t want.
Most problems were design flaws such as a long narrow master bedroom, basement dungeons, or standing on the balcony of a perfect place with a backyard fenced on five sides half covering discarded appliances and cars. After picking through what Lacombe had to offer, I decided to explore options to build.
I reached out to Red Deer, where I grew up, and a family friend in the realty and housing business. He dropped by and we were headed out the door to check out a development, when he showed me a new listing that would be on the way. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted. After an offer and counter offer it was mine.
As it turned out, I didn’t have to get to know all my neighbours. When surveying my new garden, and dreaming of crops to come, a familiar face crossed the alley to shake hands. A golf buddy of golf buddies. One degree of separation in my family of Lacombe Golf and Country Club members. We exchanged obligatory lies and he gave me the lowdown on the other neighbours, and I told him it was my first place and I would be signing the mortgage in the morning.
They say after marriage, buying a house, your first house, is one of the most stressful events in adulthood. When I rolled up to the bank, I had to will my limbs to move. Checking in for my appointment at the bank, the teller’s reply echoed in my head and my inner voice said there’s no shame in running.
I sat for a moment to run through my options, and before deciding heard “the manager will see you now”. I glanced at the manager’s doorway, and standing there with a big fat smile was my friend of a friend, and my new friend from across the alley with pen in hand to sign up for 25 years of easy payments.