It’s October. Holy shit, it’s October. And somehow, between the last article (dating back to February) and now, I’ve changed jobs (more on that later), bought a house, traveled to Italy (more on this later) and I’m three week away from the Marine Corp. Marathon. Time flies!
Somehow between new job March madness, the sweat storms of April the lead to progress, and the long stretch of warm summer days, I forgot to stop, reflect and write. There is much to reflect on, but for now, perhaps the biggest change has been the purchase of our first home.
I never thought I would own a home. I’m a California kid who spent years in the Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose), and just a few months ago I turned over my New York driver’s license for my current Illinois one. Having lived in two of the highest prices housing markets in the world, the thought of buying a home was never real. Really. Owning a home was a part of the American dream that didn’t ever seem obtainable, and so I never dreamed it. Until I moved to Chicago.
Getting older, slowing down and finally living in a city that seemed to support and value the simpler parts of life, like summers spent on the lake chasing fireflies, I slowly started to change my perspective. As my first year passed living in Chicago, I began to think what if.
Without going into too much detail (we’ll save that for a later date), what if turned into let’s look and let’s look turned into let’s see if this is financially possible, and if turned into we can. Unlike other home ownership stories, like Megan Gilger from Fresh Exchange, we were lucky. We looked at less than a half-dozen homes when our real estate agent (yes, we had one of those – that’s a story too), called us to check out a house that was going on the market soon. We walked in, looked around, and walked out. We were in the home less than 20 minutes. When we got into the car, we both looked at each other waiting for someone to say something bad about the place (because it’s not uncommon to debate a.k.a. argue about the details). Yet, we had nothing bad to say. It was the one. And it was – we made an offer, offer accepted, and in just about 30 days we received the keys to our home. This one:
Owning a home is like a relationship. Garance Dore wrote a great article on just that, and Erin from Apt. 34 had some great tips to offer on home ownership. And so our relationship with our new home is just three months in. We didn’t by a new home. Our house is more 100 years old. The previous owner had two dogs that destroyed the hardwood floors, dumped cat litter down the bathtub (plumbing nightmare), covered the bedroom walls with wax (I’m just as confused about this as you probably are), and worked for a sex shop. Really. The first day was spent cleaning dog shit, sex toys and condoms out of the backyard and basement. Every home has a story, and our certainly comes with an “interesting” one.
But more importantly, with 3 stories, 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a 3 story deck and large cement pad that needs to be converted into a garden, our to-do list is ever-growing and most days a bit overwhelming. Yet with every ounce of sweat, frustration and tears, there is the ever-present awareness that we a building a place of love and rest for us, our friends, family and future dog (fingers crossed).
top image: one kings lane