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This blog is going to have a little side story in it that will cause you to scratch your head in doubt.  It will, if you are anything like me.  I am scratching my head also, but am seriously thinking about doing it for the practical benefit(s).  Soooooo… hold that thought.

The quest for an affordable paradise continues.  Unless something causes the house sale to crash and burn, I have until March 31 to find a place to live.  Now, don’t let that thought cause your stomach to knot, because I am not losing sleep over that prospect.  God gave me a brain, enough experience in life, to figure things out and to realize that there is a solution to this one.  Even if it means that I have to impose on a friend to sleep on their couch or commute from my brother’s house on the north shore of Chicago, an hour commute on a perfect traffic day, it will be OK.

My brother lives in a neighborhood that once was the housing and stables for Fort Sheridan in the Highwood/Highland Park area.  If I lived with him for a while, I wouldn’t be slumming it, as well as being able to enjoy the short walk to Lake Michigan and all of the bike paths in the area.

The house buyers presented their requests for repairs and credits for my house earlier this week and my lawyer has responded.  We have not received a response to our proposed changes to their requests, but I don’t think that there will be huge issues (did I just jinx myself?).  This past week, I started looking for contractors to get prices to make the necessary adjustments to my house.  That part is painful to this penny pincher, the credits and repairs likely going to be in the $3000-4000 range.  Yeah.  Ouch.  Most of that money is a credit for window replacement, the rest for mold remediation (that is expensive) and an electrician to update the fuse box.  I am debating how I am going to handle replacing some of the framing and drywall in the garage, possibly having some friends who rehab for Habitat for Humanity assist me with that one.  I only have so much cash right now.

Which reminds me — my wife dropped a little bomb on me last week.  She bought a car, from her sister, for our daughter about a year ago.  The price was $2500 for a nice little Nissan Versa.  I agreed to buying the car if my wife would pay for it.  I pay all of our bills from my pay and my wife pays only her car payment, as well as a doctor bill now and then.  I just didn’t have the spare change to pay for a car.  Guess what?  You probably already have guessed.  She hasn’t paid a penny to her sister.  My wife’s net pay is around $2500 a month.  A small amount of discipline would have allowed her to pay her sister for that car by now.  Sooooooo, my wife announced to me that she wants me to pay her sister for the car from the money we get from the sale of our house.  It’s going to look funny to my sister if we buy a car for our son and we haven’t paid her for our daughter’s car, she said.

It looks funny to me, too was my response.  The verdict is out on this one.  The I-don’t-have-to-be-a-nice-guy-any-more side of me wants to tell her to have fun dealing with her sister on this one.  The common sense side of me says that maintaining a cooperative atmosphere might be more important that a little bit of money.

I continue to try to buy a condo at the condos and villas of Emerald Green.  Early on in my search, I focused on Emerald Green because it’s affordable, nice, quiet, scenic, and extremely well maintained by a very active association.  It’s also only a mile away from where I have lived for the last 23 years, a place I dearly love.  I have failed on two attempts to buy a condo there.  Friday, I made an offer on another condo, using another real estate agent who is a friend and is motivated to be a hero for me.  He’s also extremely aggressive, something the guy who I was working with is not (but that guy was a great listing agent).  This one is looking good.  There is another offer besides mine, a cash offer, but my offer is the highest bid, as well as my agent really working on the seller’s agent.  This condo has a direct view of the river, something I am interested in simply because of the therapeutic value, something the months to come will require.

Here’s the story that is going to seem cockeyed to some.  Yesterday, I took a look at another condo in Emerald Green, one that isn’t yet for sale but will be soon.  The owner is the woman I dated seriously before my wife.  I bumped into her (not literally) at a stoplight in town a year or two ago, exchanged phone numbers, talked to her a little bit.  I called her out of the blue when it became clear that I would be looking at a place in Emerald Green, found out that she wants to buy a house, so I asked her if she would show me her place when it was ready.  Her place is in great shape, move in ready.  She owns it.  We could make the transaction without real estate agents.  When I shot her a price, her eyes lit up.  It was higher than she expected, the price I want to pay.

Here’s the kicker — I told her that I would have no problems with her taking her time to move out.  I would move into the spare bedroom in the mean time.  Funny thing is that I trust her.  She trusts me.  Of all the girls I dated before my wife, she was the most laid back and down to earth.. and it’s obvious to me that she hasn’t changed.  So, the idea that she could stick around until she is ready to move was not a bad thought to her.  It helps us both, gives me somewhere to go at the end of the month, gives her motivation to get moving on finding her house.  She would get things like a lawn mower, leaf blower, garden tools, fertilizer spreader, etc.. from me.  By the way, she is looking for a house because her 22 year old son wants to move in with her.

That’s my back up plan should I not win the bid on the condo that I am currently trying to get.  I am real close to having this little piece of the puzzle solved.

The quest for paradise continues.