We loved that place -- and spent several weeks a year there the first few years, and took friends and family up. I manged to get elected President of the Homeowners Association when the building was finished, and served as President on that board for 10 years, so I learned the building and it's operation inside and out. It was truly a second home. When the opportunity to buy a second quarter in that same unit came up, we took advantage of it, although the purchase price had increased significantly from what we'd paid for the first quarter, we still figured it would be a good investment. This entitled us to two weeks a month, and made us half owners in the unit. While we didn't use it that much more, but it made it much easier to schedule our time up there, and provided us with enough income to pretty much cover the mortgage and condo fees, and it kept appreciating in value.
We also got married up there -- we were the first same-sex couple to get married in the town of Whistler once the law changed in Canada. And like anyone with a second home, we had our rituals -- stopping for groceries on the way into town, unpacking the truck, opening up the storage closet where we kept our personal items and putting them out. Right after we'd get there Tony would do an "inspection" of things around the building. It drove him nuts if there was graffiti that hadn't been cleaned up, or painters tape left from a touch up. In fact there was one bit of painters tape around a light left over from the construction days that was there for 10 years and every time Tony would comment on it. "Mister President" he'd say, "will you please get the building manager to take that tape down". I swear that painters tape drove him insane -- and I'd have reached up myself to take it down but it would have required a ladder.
The first night there we'd always walk to the village and eat at Mongolie Grill, our favorite restaurant in town, and we'd make a run to Cows the quirky Canadian ice-cream parlor. We'd walk the village shops, eat at familiar places, and spend long days skiing in the sunshine down "Burnt Stew" which was Tony's favorite run. We even subscribed to the Whistler newspaper and had it mailed to Seattle. We thought of ourselves as Whistler residents.
I only went up one other time after that -- when I cleaned it out and put it on the market in February of 2011. It wasn't a hard decision to make. The economy tanked and the value of the place dropped. And when you are in a recession -- coupled with a requirement now for a passport to cross the Canadian border, and $4.00 a gallon gas, and a Canadian dollar that is worth more than a US Dollar, people just don't go up and go up on a whim or on ski vacations, so rental revenue was way down. It was costing me anywhere from $600 to $1200 a month depending on revenue and the exchange rate. I wasn't using it -- there's no one in my life that skis, and I don't want to go up alone for five or six days.
I got word today the sale closed and it's official -- there's a few dollars in my Canadian bank account and it's showing the mortgages have been paid off. It's bittersweet. I'll miss it and the times we had -- I won't miss the expenses. I'll miss the friends we made who live and work in the building or in the village. I'll miss the two of us skiing down endless runs off Whistler Mountain in the Spring sunshine and seeing who had the biggest plate at Mongolie Grill.
Last year, as I was carrying out the personal belongings and taking a last look around the place, I noticed that the painters tape that was around the light in the stairwell that drove Tony nuts had finally, after 10 years, been removed. It was a sign I think. The building was saying time to move on.