Love in the Time of Foreclosure

The future of LITTOF in 2010

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Happy New Year, everyone!

It's just over an hour into the new year and already I feel better.

2009 wasn't an easy year. For us it was mostly defined by losing our house and declaring bankruptcy.... and the subsequent readjustment to a new life. And though that was overwhelmingly challenging, the truth is that it wasn't all bad.

Here are some of the highlights:

We broke our attachment to material possessions
We grew closer as a couple
We were gifted with a beautiful home for two years on an island in the Pacific Northwest
I finished writing a new full-length play
We discovered the depths of our resilience
We saw parts of this country we'd never seen before
We reconnected with old friends and made some new friends too

But the biggest thing to impact my life in 2009 was this blog. I began writing it in 2009. January 9, 2009 to be exact. Here is that first post.

Writing this blog has truly made an enormous impact on my life. As a result, I feel like I have grown as a writer. I've met amazing people through the blog and was able to process some pretty crazy emotions and experiences. As a writer, it is through writing that I grow as a person. It is because of the blog that we have this place to live and that I have more confidence in myself as a writer than ever before.

It's been such a journey. When I began writing it, I had no expectation of anyone reading it outside of my family and friends. I thought perhaps it could help others going through the same thing, but wasn't sure that it would actually reach anyone. My only goal was to write as openly and honestly as possible about our situation.

I'm so grateful to each and every one of you for reading, sharing and commenting on this blog. You've given me strength and self-assurance. I've loved corresponding with readers who write in for advice or just to share that you might be going through the same thing. Thank you for your advice and your support. Thank you for letting me know when it has made a difference for you. Being able to make a difference has been the biggest gift of Love in the Time of Foreclosure.

My realization & the big announcement
Last summer when we closed on the sale of our house, a LITTOF reader joked about what we would call the blog now that we avoided foreclosure. At that point it was obvious to me that I would continue writing, though as our story wasn't over yet and I saw the title of the blog to contain a larger context. Love in the Time of Foreclosure applied not only to our personal story but to the story that Americans were facing throughout the country. This being "the time of foreclosure."

But that comment has been stuck in my head lately. We personally did avoid foreclosure. We are no longer in foreclosure. That story is over. And I don't want to keep living it over and over and over again.

You might have noticed that my blog posts have been fewer and farther between of late. Some of that has to do with the month of December. I was largely unmotivated to do anything. But I had a lot of resistance towards blogging and I wasn't sure why. Until I realized that I'm just ready to move on.

I'm ready for the next chapter. The one that doesn't include foreclosure. By continuing Love in the Time of Foreclosure, I feel like I'm continuing to live back in that time. That very challenging time. And I'm ready to let it go.

What am I saying?

I'm saying this: My first post of 2010 is also my last. At least here. 

Wait. What?

This blog on ChicagoNow will remain in the archives so that old posts can be accessed, but I won't be writing new posts.

What?! Yep. It's true.

I will be keeping the original blogspot site active. It is there that I will post any news updates and possibly occasional articles while I figure out what is next.

But why?

Because it's time. It's a new year. A new decade. And I'm ready to let go. I don't want my life to be forever tied to our foreclosure story. It's just time for me to move on. For us to move on. The foreclosure isn't our entire story... only a small part.

In the spirit of full disclosure and 'telling one on myself', the writer in me has loved having a steady audience and readership for the first time in my life. That has, frankly, made it hard to objectively assess my commitment to the blog. I haven't wanted to let go for fear that I would somehow disappear. That my success as a writer is tied to this blog and this blog alone. As a result I've been clinging to the blog like a security blanket. And that just doesn't work for me.

Last summer we had to let go of our house and most of our possessions. Now it's time to let go of the blog. In order to clear the way for what's next.

And what is next?

Well, I'm not sure yet. I'm still designing 2010. What I know for sure is that 2010 will be amazing. Today we went bowling. I didn't break 100 on the first two games. I flipped a switch in the third. And I stepped up to the line and said, "I'm gonna bowl a strike now." I was completely sure of that. And I did. I bowled a strike. You gotta get, I hadn't bowled one strike in twenty-four frames. And then, just like that I did. That's how 2010 is going to be. Like stepping up to bowling a strike and actually bowling a strike. It's going to kick 2009's ass! I'm sure of it.

This post wouldn't be complete without acknowledging you. Here goes. I'm grateful...

-I'm grateful to ChicagoNow for including Love in the Time of Foreclosure on their site and for welcoming me into the family. I'm grateful to my friend Eileen for suggesting LITTOF to ChicagoNow in the first place.

-I'm grateful to Bob for being my editor and reading almost every post before it went live.

-I'm grateful to my mom for agreeing to write articles on the blog as The Real Estate Mom.

-I'm grateful to the community of LITTOF readers. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share our story and for the fact that it has made a difference for some people out there.

-I'm grateful to Ron on Orcas and Joy on San Juan Island for welcoming us so kindly to the San Juan Islands and for always looking out for us! Thanks for the lamp and the coffee, Joy. And thanks for helping us with the table, Ron!

-I'm grateful to LITTOF reader Judith @theluxpod for sending us yummy chocolate from London and having to disguise the package as "used socks."

-I'm grateful to LITTOF reader Jennifer @loonyladybug for sending us an awesome road trip CD.

-I'm grateful to the owners of this house (!!) who reached out to us and offered us a place to live. You guys have shown us such generosity and trust that we are overwhelmed at times.

-I'm grateful to friend and talented playwright/screenwriter Jennifer Maisel @jennifermaisel for naming the blog. Yep, she's the brains behind the name. It began with the less creative name of simply Steph and Bob. So, thank you Jennifer! For that (and more.)

-I'm grateful to Greg Pincus @gregpincus for his invaluable mentoring!

-I'm grateful to everyone who shared the blog. To everyone who commented and took an interest in our story.

-I'm grateful to so many of you who told me you sent our blog to Oprah or NPR or NBC because you thought it was a great story that should be seen on a wider scale. Your faith in us always made a difference.

-I'm grateful to those of you who said that this should be a book! Or a movie! Maybe one day it will.

-Oh- I'm grateful to Apartment Therapy and CurbedLA for posting about our huge estate sale because I think that really helped spread the word. (Man, that feels like soooo long ago.)

-I'm grateful to the LITTOF reader who bought our white dishes in L.A. (I hope you're enjoying them.)

-I'm grateful to The Story for having us on. That was a lot of fun and really therapeutic, actually.

-I'm grateful to my amazing family and wonderful friends who never once told me I was insane to be sharing so frankly in such a public forum.

This is starting to feel like an Oscar acceptance speech. This is where I look quickly at the monitor and say, "It's saying wrap it up. Uh, um... uh....I'm just so grateful. Thank you."

So that's it. It's been fun.

To catch any future updates, you could sign up for the RSS feed or the e-mail list at the Blogger site. Just look at the right hand column for those options.

Thank you. For more than you'll know.

And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Steph



Does your house have a job?

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

dining_living.jpg

Last year at this time Bob and I were doing everything in our power to save our house. Those of you who have been following LITTOF know this quite well. We tried everything. Mostly what I wrote about was our quest to modify our loan. But what I haven't written much about is our attempt to make our house a star with earning power.

Continue reading...

Dear Secret Santa...

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Santa Claus

Dear Secret Santa,

It is no secret that I've been a bit in the dumps lately. I think you can tell by my posts. December wasn't easy. The reality of being so far away from family, friends and everything familiar finally sunk in. And then the frozen pipes. And the cold. And stress about bills and our debt. And, well, just everything. I fully surrendered to my bad mood. For a solid couple of weeks.

And then yesterday I got a letter that lifted my spirits. Big time. A letter that moved me and totally humbled me. This letter came from the power co-op on the island. It read in part:

Congratulations! You are the recipient of a $250 anonymous donation that has already been applied to your electric bill.

!!!!!!!!!

What an unexpected gift! You truly outdid yourself, Anonymous Donor/Secret Santa. Bob and I are so incredibly grateful for your act of generosity. We have no clue as to your actual identity, but we hope you read the blog so that you will see this thank you. We have no other way to thank you.  And we thank you humbly from the bottom of our hearts. We are so moved and want you to know how much a difference this makes for us.

Not only will your gift help us tremendously with our finances, but you've also lifted our spirits. You have shown us (as cheesy as this might sound) the true meaning of Christmas. Your gift is an inspiration to me. Really. It had me realize that spending so much time being sad that I'm away from my family only limits my scope. I miss what's here. I miss seeing opportunities to get outside of my own head and make a difference for others. Just as you have for me. Thank you for that. For reminding me that life isn't and should never be all about me. Especially during the holidays.

Merry Christmas!

With deep gratitude and warm holiday wishes,

Steph & Bob

A tale of two houses

user-pic
Pam Weinert

House #1 - The traditional sale
Last night I spent some time with a new client presenting a market analysis of their home. My new clients had been listed with another Realtor for over 200 days, and they were frustrated with the whole process of selling their home.
Continue reading...

Why we filed for bankruptcy

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

bankruptcy_sign.jpg

While everyone is shopping for holiday gifts and planning the perfect holiday, I have the perfect topic for discussion: Bankruptcy.

Continue reading...

We have water!

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Ice_chunk.jpg
The pipes thaw
At about 3PM on Friday, water started running through our pipes again. Glorious water! We immediately ran throughout the house and checked everywhere to make sure water was fully restored... and to listen for any problems. Sound of water gushing to indicate a busted pipe. That sort of thing. Luckily, we encountered no such sound.

We did find ice, however, in the water holding tanks. Bob went to work at breaking up the ice so it could flow freely and took a chunk as a souvenir.

It was such a relief to get the water back!

This week we are getting bids to insulate the pipes. We're feeling much better.

Thank you
To everyone who commented or sent e-mails with encouragement and tips on how to avoid this sort of thing in the future. Thank you for caring!



Taking my own advice

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Sunset_JacksonBeach.JPG

Are you happy on the island?

I'll be honest. The answer to this question changes day to day at this point. Well, week to week. Last week I would have answered with an emphatic, YES! Yes, we're happy on the island. It's so beautiful and we're so happy and grateful and inspired and meeting such wonderful people.

But Sunday something changed.

Continue reading...

Design Your Life

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

This summer I discovered the wonderful blog Makeunder My Life - Designing a life with intention by Chicago jewelry designer, Jess Constable. You might remember my post about her Weekly Exfoliations where she passes on or repurposes at least one item a week from her life that she no longer needs, uses or loves. Her spirit inspired me right away. And I had the pleasure of meeting her at a gathering for Chicago bloggers called ChiBLOGo.

All of this is to say that when Jess asked me to do this week's Design Your Life post, I was thrilled! What is the Design Your Life series?

Design Your Life
Every Thursday guest bloggers from all walks of life share their intentions and tangible, actionable ways they design their life accordingly.

You can read my design your life post on Jess' blog here:
Design Your Life: Steph in the time of foreclosure

If you like it, leave a comment or share it with a friend, please. Thank you!

(Shopping tip for the holidays: If you're looking for jewelry for anyone on your list, be sure to check out Jess' jewelry line Jess LC. It's beautiful and really well-priced. Seriously, check it out.) 

The Real Estate Mom's seller's "To Do" list for the holiday season

user-pic
Pam Weinert

Snow Storms Hit The Midwest And East Coast

2009 is coming down the home stretch and making for the finish line. I'm already closing the door on '09 and looking ahead to 2010, and I'm sure you are too. I've been getting lots of calls from anxious sellers who want to list their homes in the new year.
Continue reading...

Small town news

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

masthead_sanjuanupdate.jpg

What's news to you?

Anyone who has lived in a small town knows that news spreads mostly by word of mouth and that the word "news" is relative. The local newspaper here is only published once a week. So the best way to get your news is via online sources. Since we've lived in Friday Harbor I have been relying heavily on an online newspaper called the San Juan Update to keep informed on what's happening on the island.

Continue reading...

Seven ways to be a good holiday gift giver and not go broke (even if you already are)

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

OrnamentCloseup.JPG

Last Christmas we were in pre-foreclosure and this Christmas we're in bankruptcy... so it goes without saying that for the last two years we have had to be creative about our gift giving.

I love giving gifts. Not giving gifts as a way to save money was never an option for me. So, take it from someone who truly has no money to spend on gifts, that it is possible to be a good gift giver without going broke... even if you already are.

Continue reading...

Targeting troubled homeowners or Spam in the Time of Foreclosure

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

I tend to get a lot of housing crisis spam at my loveinthetimeofforeclosure@gmail.com address. Though I don't usually read the messages, today one made it's way to my inbox that I just had to share with all of you.

Here's the message:

Subject: Troubled Properties

Hi, quick question. Would you find it valuable information to know, within a few days, which homeowners have missed a mortgage payment? With credit bureau data, you can be the first to contact homeowners and lenders, long before anyone else knows that a property is distressed. 


Our data is acquired through a soft inquiry on credit reports and is exclusive to one client per zip code. By targeting homeowners that are 30, 60 or 90 days behind on their mortgage, you can eliminate your competition and have months to resolve foreclosure situations. This data is not a NOD list that is public knowledge available to anyone that seeks it. 


If you'd like to get a jump start and contact troubled homeowners at the first indication of hardship, please reply back and I'll send a one-pager with more information. Or, for a more personalized consultation and free count, please call me at 607-759-5058. Thanks.


Warm Regards,

XXX XXXXXX

First of all, this is clearly spam as there is nothing personal in the message. This person has clearly never read Love in the Time of Foreclosure or they wouldn't assume that I would "find it valuable information to know, within a few days, which homeowners have missed a mortgage payment."

Why would I want to know that? Why would anyone want to know that? Well, someone must, I suppose. So this guy sells lists of names, phone numbers and addresses of people who have missed mortgage payments? That's what it seems. But how crazy.

I had to know more. So, I did a little research. Turns out that this person's company is all about marketing to homeowners that are in pre-foreclosure. And they do actually sell their information (including phone numbers) to Real Estate Agents (!!!) so that they can "get a leg up on their competition."

That means that you could be a homeowner who has missed one or two mortgage payments and you could get a phone call from a Realtor who knows that you've missed your payments. Yep. Not your lender, but a Realtor who wants to help you by selling your home in a short sale.

Wouldn't that freak you out?! Getting a phone call from a Realtor (a stranger) who knows you've missed a couple of payments??? It would me! I imagine the call would go something like this:

REALTOR: Hi, Mrs. Walker. How are you today?

HOMEOWNER: Fine. Is this a sales call?

REALTOR: I understand you've fallen behind in your mortgage payments.

HOMEOWNER: Excuse me?! Who is this?!

REALTOR: I'm a Realtor and I can help you avoid foreclosure.

HOMEOWNER: What?!

REALTOR: I know this must be a really hard time for you--

HOMEOWNER: Don't call here again.

REALTOR: You don't want end up in foreclosure.

HOMEOWNER: I'm hanging up now.

Does this disgust anyone else as much as it does me?

I'm just floored by this. I would link to this company's site but I don't want to send any business their way.

One of the managing partners of the company also has a blog all about marketing to homeowners in pre-foreclosure including tips on telemarketing to troubled homeowners (as if troubled homeowners don't already get way too many telemarketers calling) and "gaining the trust of troubled homeowners."

Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!

By targeting you, we're helping you

The blog claims that by targeting people in pre-foreclosure Realtors can actually make a difference for homeowners who are distressed. And maybe it's all coming from an altruistic place (though I highly doubt it), but having been a distressed homeowner I can tell you right now that I would never respond to a cold call from a Realtor who had paid for inside information about my financial distress. Would you?

I mean, is this even possible? I know not all Realtors out there have as much integrity as my mom, but are there really Realtors who would stoop to this level? I guess, perhaps. If this company exists, there must be an audience.

It just reminds me of how we felt when we were going through this. The spam and scams all claiming to "help distressed homeowners" made us sick. We felt bombarded and like it was impossible to find any unbiased advice. This is not the way to help troubled homeowners... by selling their information. It's just disgusting. Or is it just me?

Thoughts?

Mortgage morals

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

New Exhibit Documents U.S. Private Housing Market Since Great Depression

Have you heard about the Associate Professor of Law at the University of Arizona who suggests underwater homeowners should be walking away from their homes in droves, guilt-free?

It kind of has people up in arms. Walk away? Guilt-free? What about morality? Morals don't belong in a decision like this, suggests Brent T. White - the author of the incendiary and extremely relevant working paper "Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis."


Continue reading...

Is this house haunted or not?

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

ghosts_1.jpg

Ever since I first wrote about the possibility of this house being haunted in the post "Day 3 on the island: Is this house haunted?" I've been getting questions from readers, friends and family wanting to know.... well, is it?!

Continue reading...

How to prepare for a winter power outage

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Like it or not, winter weather conditions are upon us. Many have already experienced snow, freezing temperatures and... power outages. In fact, we have experienced two power outages since moving to the island.

Gallery sneak peek (5 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

I'll have some turkey with a side of inspiration, please...

user-pic
Pam Weinert

Thanksgiving... the one holiday we all agree on. It's not religious, its not cultural, it's not political. It supersedes all of those things that often divide us as human beings. Thanksgiving is the one holiday where we do the same sort of thing.

We gather together with people we love and say "thank you" for the sheer simple pleasure of being together and being alive. We all eat the same basic meal of turkey, dressing,green bean casserole, cranberries and pumpkin pie. It's probably the closest thing we have to a National meal.

Continue reading...

Being thankful in good times AND in bad

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

BetterTurkey.jpg

Ever notice how it's so much easier to be thankful during good times than bad?

Of course. That's so obvious it doesn't even need to be asked. Of course it's easier to be thankful when things are going well. But... is it possible to be thankful when they're not? And isn't perhaps more important?

Continue reading...

Hear our story on "The Story"

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Radio_Microphone_medium.jpg
Last Tuesday Bob and I caught the 6 AM ferry (known here as the "red eye") and trekked to Seattle to the KUOW (94.9) NPR studios to talk to Dick Gordon- the host of "The Story" from American Public Media. 

Radio! NPR! So exciting!
(I guess I was just so excited to be there that I completely forgot my blogger duty to take pictures. Sad face.)

We didn't actually get to shake Dick Gordon's hand, because Bob and I were in one studio in Seattle while Dick was in the WUNC studios in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where "The Story" is produced. But it almost felt like he was in the room with us. We were scheduled to talk for an hour, but ended up talking for an hour and a half. Boy, can I talk. A friend of ours asked if Bob was able to get a word in edgewise. And I think he did. But we'll know for sure tomorrow when it airs.

You can listen to our interview online at The Story's website starting tomorrow morning- Tuesday, November 24th.

Or if your local NPR station carries The Story, you can listen live. Find out how by clicking here.

Dick_Gordon.jpg


Honey, let's go shopping at the dump!

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Exchange_seeAttendant.JPG
One thing I truly never thought I would hear myself say with such unrestrained enthusiasm was, "Honey, let's go shopping at the dump!"

But that's only because I never knew a dump could be such a treasure trove. Filled with discarded tables, chairs, clothes, garden tools, skis, kitchen appliances, dishes and games. I simply never expected a place like "The Exchange" at the Orcas Island dump.

Gallery sneak peek (15 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Furniture rescue

user-pic
Pam Weinert

Chairheap.jpg

Image of discarded chairs via Torontoist.


Reading Stephanie's blog and the amazing adventure she and Bob are having on the island has brought vivid images into my head. I love the stories about the found furniture and how it has made its way to the farmhouse. I envision chairs peg-legging their way down the road in front of their house calling out in a plaintive voice,  "Pick me, pick me!"

Each scrap of stuff has a story and I wonder if it will be hard to part with these found items when the time comes for Steph and Bob to move on? Friends generously bring them couches, people tip them off to a great table at the dump, islanders tell them about the exchange. Everyone's getting into the act. Will it be long before furniture is left at their door bearing a note saying:

"Please take care of me, I hear you rescue furniture and will give this chest a good home."

We have a dog we rescued and I think I love him more because he was a cast-off and far from perfect. We've had to work with him, nurture him and fill in missing parts of his history to try to understand him.

Steph and Bob are now furniture rescuers. They're rescuing couches, toasters, 3-legged tables. They're rescuing other people's hand-offs and turning them into loved pieces of their family history. Will these precious rescues, these marvelous make overs, these Eliza Doolittles of the furniture world be hard to part with now that they're one of the family?

I mean, how are you EVER going to part with a couch you name '8 1/2 feet of glory'?!

Really.

-Pam, the Real Estate Mom

Furniture porn

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Our life seems to be mostly about finding furniture these days (couches especially) so I thought I'd put it all together into a slideshow. You've already seen Bob's 8 and a half feet of glory, aka the monster floral couch we got for $50. Now check out our free couches and some before and after pics.

Some pieces I've already refinished, but most I haven't. And I must give a big shout out to Diana Durkes of Fine Diving in Chicago and Garage Sale Warrior for her mentorship! Thank you!

By the way, if you have any thoughts or suggestions on any of the pieces, please leave them in the comments. We're looking for tips!

Gallery sneak peek (9 images):

View the gallery...

The significance of 21 days

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

close-up of a birthday cake with a 21 candle on it

They say it takes 21 days to adjust to any major life change.


Well, yesterday was Day 21 on the island. And I can say without any doubt, I'm adjusting. Even possibly adjusted. On Day 21 I looked back on our first few days here. I admit, I was apprehensive terrified. Of the change. Of the darkness, the quiet, the cold, the rain, being so far away from friends, family, everything I've ever known.... and even terrified of the possibility of ghosts.
Continue reading...

The strangest house I've ever seen

user-pic
Pam Weinert

the_hidden_staircase.jpg
Being a Realtor is never boring.

It might be frustrating, it can be stressful, but it's never boring. That's why I LOVE it.

I was talking the other day about some of the houses I've had listed over the nearly 30 years in the biz. I've had some lovely homes listed, and I've had some real challenges listed, but in all my years I've NEVER seen anything like this house.


Continue reading...

How to get the stuff you need for free

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

free_sign.jpg
Free stuff needed!

It always seems like it's so much easier to get stuff for free when you don't really need it. Know what I mean? And when you do need it and don't have the money to spend, it's almost as impossible as finding a snipe. (Yes, I fell for that as a kid thanks to the combined efforts of my cousin Kerin, my Aunt Susie and Uncle George.)

Anyway, finding the stuff you need for free when you need it can be quite a challenge. But it's one we're embracing.
Continue reading...

This old couch

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.


Sofa_Bob.jpg

Bob calls our latest thrift store find, "Eight and a half feet of glory!"

What would you call it?

Thumbnail image for Sofa.jpg

Cost: $50

Cost to clean: ? (looking into options)

It's dusty. But not terrible. And it doesn't smell, which is good. It's in decent shape for the most part. I know people get freaked out about thrift and consignment store sofas... and I'll admit, I was a bit freaked out by this one. Then Bob reminded me about all the hand-me-down sofas I had in college. This one definitely reminds me of the golden velour sofa we had at 14th and Euclid my sophomore year. (Don't you think, Anne & Brooke?)

Anyway, our new sofa is definitely comfortable and we're really just happy to have a couch.

I've been perusing the archives on Apartment Therapy to find some tips on how to revitalize an old sofa. I definitely do not have it in me to sew my own slipcover. And nice slipcovers are pretty pricey. So I think we might just leave it as is. In all its floral glory.

Unless anyone has any better ideas. Also, any tips for cleaning? I was going to use Febreze and wash it with a frothy mixture of water and soap. I read somewhere that placing a tray filled with white vinegar under the sofa will eliminate any smells (might just do this to be safe.)

Please share your ideas and tips in the comments!



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Fred & Ethel

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

So we've met our next door neighbors and they are lovely. Well, truthfully they're not around much and when they are they're pretty aloof. Sitting in their perch just watching the neighborhood. You know. But that's okay. It's not like we need to be best friends or anything.

At times they can be pretty noisy, but nothing that's too terribly bothersome. Just a little screaming every now and then. 

I have no idea what they think of us. They're pretty hard to read. But I'm worried that they might think we're a little stalkery given the fact that I took a bunch of photos of them one day and I think they might have seen me.

Bob likes them because they're bald like him. And they can fly... like him. Just kidding. Bob can't fly. But our neighbors can. Actually, they soar.

According to the San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce website, "There are more nesting pairs in San Juan County, 89 at last count, than there are in any other county in the state. Washington has more bald eagles than any of the other lower 48 states." Our neighbors, we've been told, are a mating pair. We're not sure if they have given names or not (they haven't been forthcoming with that information) but Bob has named them Fred and Ethel.

Eagles.JPG


Have a great weekend, everyone!



Day 5 on the island: We're on 'island time' now

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Day 5 weather = Sunny & cold

DSC_1298.JPG

On the agenda for today:

1. Get the furnace working
2. Have the chimney checked
3. Go for a run
4. Return the Budget truck

How long do you think that last one would take? Returning the Budget truck?
Two hours? Three? Four? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This errand involves going "off-island." Think more quest than errand.

Continue reading...

Has meth been made in the house I'm buying?

user-pic
Pam Weinert

meth-lab.jpg

Photo credit: Phoenix New Times Blog


The other day I was reminiscing about the first house we bought.

I pictured the contract: One 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper that basically said I, the buyer, want to buy the house that, you, the seller, own.

Continue reading...

Day 4 on the island: Where are the whales?

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Day 4 weather = mostly sunny with a side of hail

rooster.jpg
The day began with the cock-a-doodle-do of a rooster. We woke up in the warmth of the cabin and got ready for the day.
Continue reading...

Fine Diving in Chicago to the rescue!

user-pic
Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

FineDiving.jpg
When I first heard about Diana Durkes and her blog Fine Diving in Chicago, I knew I had to meet her. First of all, what a great concept and title for a blog, right? Secondly, found furniture was on my mind. Our goal was to furnish the house on the island with free or as-close-to-free-as-possible furniture and I needed to learn how to make it look good.

Continue reading...

Most Active Pages Right Now

ChicagoNow.com on Facebook