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Not many broken bones get credit for buying a house. But that’s just what happened.
It all began with a brand new relationship. Jamie and Paige were living in different cities. They were single, newly retired and looking for companionship. Each had decided to try meeting someone online. Long story short: from the moment they met, their mutual attraction was immediate, compelling and irreversible. The match was classic: a shared enchantment leading to a promising romance.
Within weeks, the two were constantly in each other’s company. Their love flourished. Each was happily surprised to realize they couldn’t bear to be apart.
A few months into their relationship, Jamie invited Paige to spend a few weeks at his place on Otter Lake. She accepted. A week later, Paige was meeting Jamie’s long time friends John and Marie who also had a place at the lake. Three days later, the four decided to hike into picturesque Johnson Cove. The day was sunny and warm: perfect for a hike under the forest canopy of pine and spruce trees en route to their destination.
It happened on the way back from Johnson Cove.
The trail was rugged and treacherous in places. John was in front; Jamie was bringing up the rear. Paige was just behind Marie on the narrow trail. The two were deep in conversation about a mutual interests they’d just discovered: organic foods and healthy lifestyles. In a nanosecond, Paige had slipped and fallen headfirst, backward down the slope, landing on her back on sharp rocks beside the trail. A large stone forming part of the trail had given way. Her left foot became entangled with her hiking pole. It threw her upside down on the steep slope. Jamie, Marie and John quickly helped her back to the trail and sat her down. It was clear she was hurt. Paige had suffered a series of painful scrapes and small puncture wounds on her back. Luckily, there was no indication of broken ribs or other serious cuts. First aid appeared to be all that was needed, along with a short rest.
We agreed to move on to where the car was parked when Paige stood, preparing to go. She discovered her left foot would take little weight. Her ankle looked normal. Marie was a retired nurse and checked Paige’s foot. She suspected a sprain somewhere else in the foot, perhaps something worse.
The four decided to rest Paige’s foot a bit longer to see if that would help. Jamie and John visually scanned the forest floor trying to locate tree saplings they could use as improvised stretcher poles. Within a few minutes, Paige insisted she could make the half-mile to the parking lot. And she did, being the plucky woman that she is. A few days later, however, Paige and Jamie were in the local hospital. Paige’s foot was not healing; it appeared worse. X-Rays of the ankle showed nothing broken. A sprain was diagnosed. Rest and ice packs were recommended. It was not great news for an active and much in love couple impatient to do more and more things together.
A few weeks later, with Paige’s ‘sprained’ foot showing signs of improvement, the two decided to go kayaking – yet another of their many shared interests.
The location was convenient. Jamie’s place overlooked a wide natural beach. Their kayaks were on the beach. Steps angled 25 feet down the face of a steep slope from Jamie’s place to an old grass-covered service road. From there, another three steps, made of large flat stones dug into the sandy soil, led down to the beach.
Paige was still favoring her injured left foot. Regardless, she insisted on helping to carry down the various kayaking paraphernalia needed (and legally required on that lake): paddles, life jackets, water bottles, whistles, floats, backup paddles, pumps . . . you get the idea. Arms filled with equipment, she was careful to limit the weight going onto her left foot. Her right foot stepped on the second flat stone. It gave way. Down she went. Medical attention later confirmed the fall had severely sprained her right ankle.
Now both of Paige’s feet were injured. It was mid-summer and the outdoors was beckoning both of them. The answer was obvious. Activate yet another shared interest: exploring. But this time, not on foot, of course. For the rest of the summer they drove and explored widely. For what purpose? The time had come to consolidate domiciles. Each agreed they shared too many addresses: Paige’s condo in the city, Jamie’s suite in a nearby city, Jamie’s place at the lake, and a joint down payment on a winter property in Tucson, AZ. Four addresses were a bit much.
Thousands of miles and somewhere between 40 and 50 houses later (they lost count), the two found a home that combined just about every single feature both wanted, needed and hoped for in a home. They bought it. It could be said, they jumped in with both feet.
They didn’t know it, but their story wasn’t over quite yet.
Later that fall, while visiting her mother on the other side of the country, Paige’s left foot became increasingly painful. Not a good sign. This was the first of her feet to get injured. Suspecting the sprain had flared up Paige made an appointment with a chiropractor.
After a preliminary examination, the chiropractor sent Paige to the local hospital emergency department. There, an x-ray revealed what the chiropractor suspected — the second metatarsal bone in her left foot was broken. Little wonder her foot had been causing her such discomfort, despite her attempts to conceal it. The bone had been broken for more than three months, ever since the painful tumble on the Johnson Cove trail. To her chagrin, Paige was obliged to wear a cast protecting that long-suffering metatarsal on its flight back to the home that it had helped to buy.