On January 8th, 2010 (Elvis' 75th birthday) my friend James Varnum and I formed an LLC at my cousin and lawyer's office and then directly after (about two hours later), we closed on a building! James actually paid for the building with his life savings, but it's listed under our company. I'm still amazed that he did that, but it was just one link in a whole magical chain of events. Everything about the process has been graced with serendipity, from meeting James all the way up to having people want to help us with the application for the bank loan. We're finding that the people who do hear about our ideas want to help make them happen. We're so lucky! But more than anything, I think that our plans are going to be so good for the community that there is a lot of good karma surrounding what we're doing.
James sent me a message on Facebook on July 18th that said this:
James Varnum Two things:
I'm down for CO in August. When you wanna go?
Also, I have an apt building in the paseo you should see.
I can remember seeing the message on my phone while on family vacation in Greece. We still haven't made it to Colorado together, but that building at 612 NW 29th Street is the exact one we bought! And even though my cousin John said that we shouldn't fall in love with a building, I can't help it. Even in its run-down state, I can see it as it will be when we're finished with it and when there is so much life and happiness pouring through its rooms.
I knew that something special was going to happen one day last summer when I sat with James on the wicker swing in my back yard. We were drinking wine and talking about our ideas for the future and I just felt it! Everything seemed electrified! We've developed an awesome friendship and the work that we are going to be about, saving an historic building and starting something that will help OKC to be more vibrant, will lead to one of the most exciting and rewarding collaborations of my life.
I have a huge amount of respect for James and for his ideas. He inspires me to learn new things and to seek out creative ways of approaching life. He also challenges me to face my fears and to grow. I feel like a kid who is discovering the world! The more James and I spent time talking after that day on the swing, the more I knew that we were kindred spirits. We aren't one hundred percent, exactly alike in our thinking, which is a good thing. Because of that, I get to learn from him and hopefully he learns from me too. I am, however, usually amazed at how similar our visions are...especially when it comes to this building. And we have so much in common, but I'll make that a subject of a future blog.
Before we even talked about design, I was conjuring up ideas in my head about how we should lay out the floor plan and how the space should be used. When James did eventually draw out his ideas, they were exactly like mine. It makes me really happy that he respects me enough to want to work with me, because I feel that way towards him. I know, without any doubt, that we are going to do great things together.
And the ideas we have for what we are going to do with the building...well, those are so exciting that I think they'll have to wait for the next post. But I will say this. When (not if) our plans become reality, they will change our community for the better. We're going to revolutionize our community...and we're going to start with the Paseo.
I'm so excited!!!!