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Happily married in two separate condos

My husband and I live in two separate condos on the second floor of our condo building in Largo. We're practically still newlyweds, having said our "I do's" and signed the papers in June 2012 when I was 66 years old and Jack was 75.

We lovingly refer to it as our "geezer wedding."

We sleep at his condo, where most of my clothes and jewelry live. We go to water aerobics across the street six days a week from 9 to 10 a.m., then come back to his condo for breakfast.

Right after that, I walk 57 steps to my condo, the place I call home. It's where I work as a writer and where I prepare my speeches for my other career as a professional speaker. It's where I prepare our evening meal (because I like my own pots, pans, utensils and dishes better than his). I also like being in control of having at least one meal a day that's nutritious for both of us.

My condo is where I play on my computer after my workday is done. It's where I read books, pay my bills, paint my toenails, organize my stuff, make photo albums, read my mail, paint jars, watch TV and entertain our houseguests, who always sleep at my condo.

Sometimes my husband will watch a TV show or two with me, but the minute a baseball, football, hockey or basketball game comes on, he gets that look in his eye that makes me smile sincerely and say, "Bye, honey … see you around 11. Or maybe I'll be over earlier and we can play cards while you watch the game." I can almost see the relief on his face as he gets up and practically trots out the front door.

When I moved to Florida in 2004, I left a six-bedroom home in Oak Creek, Wis., the home in which I lived for 24 years and raised my four children. I sold or gave away two-thirds of everything I owned before moving here.

I brought only the things I loved and wanted around me for the rest of my life, including some antiques and heirloom furniture that my parents had given me during my early marriage years. I wanted to display the hundreds of brightly colored jars I'd been painting for years. I wanted my crock collection.

Jack, on the other hand, is a more modern furniture kind of guy. He actually has good taste when it comes to decorating …it's just not my taste. I love being head of my household. I like knowing that I can buy new bookshelves for my office or new, expensive windows without even discussing the price with Jack. I pay for everything that involves my condo, and he pays for everything in his.

Another reason we live in two condos is the fact that after raising four children, mostly as a single parent and spending most of my life running, running, running to various activities that my children were involved in, I have come to discover that I love being alone. Alone in a quiet condo. No music, no TV, just me and whatever I want to do.

I'm sure Jack would say the same thing about his alone time during the day. As president of our condo association, president of the small pool and clubhouse association, and head usher at our church, he has plenty to keep him busy during the day in his own condo.

Don't get me wrong. I love my husband with all my heart and do enjoy the time we spend together … always from 11 p.m. until 11 a.m., plus back and forth between the two condos many times a day. By late afternoon, I look forward to seeing my man come in the door to have dinner with me.

And I think he's always happy to hear me come in his door at night ready to stretch out on our comfy king-sized bed and do what we do every night of our married life: Kiss good night and reach for each other's hand before falling asleep.

LAT: Living Alone Together

Some 1.7 million married couples, not legally separated, in the United States don't live together — and 730,000 of them (43 percent) are 50 and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Information on older married people living apart is limited, but reasons include jobs in different cities, being entrenched in a household that's too complex or settled to give up; online dating that allows people from all over the country to meet and marry; and technology such as cellphones, Skype and Facetime that allow a virtual closeness that makes separation easier.

Patti Ewald and Caryn Baird, Times staff

Happily married in two separate condos 06/02/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2014 2:25pm]
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