Wednesday, July 5, 2017

You Can't Always Get What You Want

On Monday morning I cycled with my partner, Dwight, on his commute to work. He took the turnoff for work, I continued on to the town of Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka, 18 miles west of our home

On Excelsior's main drag, I noticed the yellow tile shown in the photograph at the top of this post. This tile connects the present-day restaurant to Bacon Drug that occupied this building from 1955 to 1993. Here, in 1964, there was a fateful encounter between Mick Jagger, who had performed at a local amusement park the previous evening, and local savant, "Mr. Jimmy."
Mick Jagger was having a prescription filled at Bacon's Drugstore when he encountered Jimmy again. Jimmy complained to Jagger that he had ordered a Cherry Coke but received a regular Coca-Cola instead, then dismissed his own complaint, saying "You can't always get what you want."Five years later, on their 1969 album Let It Bleed, the Stones released a song titled "You Can't Always Get What You Want" - and references to a drugstore, a cherry soda, a prescription, and "Mr Jimmy." [Wikipedia]
You can guess my earworm as I cycled back to Minneapolis.

You can't always get what you want

We're getting serious about moving from a house to a condominium. I'm post-work, Dwight,  has started to work part-time to ease the transition to a post-work life. This gives us opportunities to realign our lives.
We will no longer be constrained by work hours.
We're getting older; one-level living may become preferable.
We're less interested in maintaining a complicated house.
Our relationship with our stuff has changed over the years; less is better.
We want to travel for up to three months at a time. In a Minnesota winter, where temperatures can dip to -30°F (-34°C), a failed furnace needs immediate attention. It's time to move to a condominium where a building manager can deal with such things.

We're focusing on the Mill District of downtown Minneapolis, bordering the Mississippi River. This is appealing because we feel a strong connection with this place. It's where Minneapolis was first established: there's buildings going back to the early days of the city. There's paths I've cycled hundreds of times. The Guthrie Theater is an important anchor (we have season tickets). Restaurants, Whole Foods and a light rail station are within a few blocks.

The challenge is finding a unit that meets our requirements. We're maintaining a "needs and wants" spreadsheet, but it's of limited help. We had "hardwood floors" as a requirement, but then we saw the beauty of finished concrete in one unit. A badly thought out requirement can shut down possibilities.

A home is not just a list of requirements, it's also a place that enables the processes of living. Business Analysts sometimes specify small processes called "use cases" in requirements documents. "Go for a cycle ride" is a good use case which allows us to review the steps from the front door of a condo to a storage locker to a cycle path. "Stir-fry" translates to one extra-hot burner, and venting to the outside.

We will have to make some alterations to any place we buy. For example, we'll want to incorporate some universal design principles to enhance our ability to age in place.

Our next home will be a compromise. We can't always get what we want, and that's OK.
Mill City Museum reflected in the Guthrie Theater's mirrored surfaces.

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