The housing boom and crash of the last handful of
years has allowed so many Chicagoans to become homeowners for the
very first time. Short sales, foreclosures and homes with
questionable amounts of squatters have been snapped up like the
last bag of Garrett's Popcorn. Unfortunately, a lot of these people
are painfully idealistic and thus wholly unfit to do anything but
rent. Here's how to tell if you're one of these unfortunate
-Whenever friends, family or a creeped-out delivery guy
visit your home for the first time, they're regaled with
descriptions of what you plan to do to each corner of the house.
("See that hole there? Someday that's going to be a marvelous
skylight. Or maybe a dumbwaiter. It's so fun to dream!")
-There are doorknobs that you fully expect company to
never use, let alone touch. (The words "cabinet," "window" and
"room with the weird smell" can also freely be exchanged.) Sure,
you'd love to have a perfect home (read: one without a door
requiring the equivalent of a secret handshake to open), but every
single time you attempt to fix one of these problem spots, a major
sewer pipe downstairs - say- explodes. And in terms of resale
value, you've always gotta go with the raw sewage first.
-You mark the passage of time by major household projects.
(You: "What were we doing last April?" Me: "Well, that was right
before the new windows but immediately after all of the mold was
treated." You: "It was also Easter." Me: "Right! And we celebrated
by putting a working light switch in the dining room!")
-Your frame of reference for "It's not so bad" begins to
border on delusional. Did the previous owners accidentally cut
through third-floor support beams? Do the only working fans
attached to the 6 foot ceilings slice down at a 45 degree angle,
potentially decapitating guests and/or other passersby? ("It's so
not an issue because this is [kind of] a great
If you've identified yourself among this type of
homeowner, fear not. There's help - as long as you have a
disposable income. But even if not, self-reflection is always a
good thing, right?
Besides, after word gets around about your terrific new
abode, those pesky "visitors" may not be as much of a problem as
Keely Flynn is a Chicago playwright, freelance writer, and blogger living with three young children, an extraordinarily tolerant husband, and two cats who just try to make it through the day without being ridden like ponies. Check out her personal blog, lollygagblog.com.
See more of Keely's stories here.
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