Ever since I moved to the suburbs from Chicago, life seems subdued – but in a good way. I love the endless parking, large backyards, farmers markets, light traffic, and endless forest preserves. It is more peaceful and serene than what we were used to. While in the ‘burbs it is unusual to hear the familiar background noise of horns honking, ambulances flying by, and police sirens, that you get used to while spending 7 years in the city.
Living in Chicago was somewhere between awesome and awful. Awesome in the apartment, awful outside. We had the top floor of a 3-flat with every appliance brand new, newly built, a rooftop deck overlooking the city skyline – yep from the Hancock to the Sears (yes, the Sears, I don’t know if Willis will ever feel right) casting a magical backdrop upon our moonlit sky. So why would I move? What a great place to have! Along with the awesome place, we were in a terrible neighborhood.
Not like the South Side “Chiraq” as some call it, not that bad, but somewhere in between. In Chicago you could live in the nicest area and two blocks away is a nasty part of town. Unfortunately that’s where we were located. I was scared to go outside at night (ok fine, during the day too), terrified of the people who walked past our front gates. I never thought I would call 911 as much as we did. My beautiful brand new car was broken into, trespassers on our roof at 1am on a Tuesday night, old bullet holes on the house behind ours, copper pipes stolen out of the house next door, and no, they didn’t turn the water main off first. After the owners of the 3-flat secretly foreclosed on the building, we were gifted with the surprise of reams of legal papers citing all of the tenants names – prompting our searching for a new place and we were tired of throwing money out the window in rent. We wanted to invest in our future and become homeowners – one goal of mine I thought was still so far away.
Anxiety and worry flew out of the moving truck as soon as it hit the highway. Hello new house, vast overgrown garden, rusty basketball hoop, gated fence, and new neighbors (all of whom are at least 20 years older than us).
No one ever tells you that when you buy your first home and move out to the suburbs that it is not like an episode of Cougartown where you meet your best friends, hang out drinking wine, and call yourself the ‘cul-de-sac crew’ or Modern Family where every day is a new funny adventure and everyone is at home in a perfectly clean and gorgeous house. In my mind I had assumed it would be like a 1950’s scene where you go to the mail box and the neighbors are watering their lawns, riding bikes, and picking up their parcels. A social scene where you go to your neighbors house for dinner or afternoon tea. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Welcome to homeownership, trading rent for mortgage payments, marriage, DIY renovations, gardening, cooking, fitness, cleaning, filling an empty new house, decorating, etc.
Welcome to Life as a Suburban Housewife.