Struggling economy makes apartment life seem attractive

Monday, June 30, 2008 | 11:56 a.m. CDT; updated 11:27 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 11, 2009

There have been very few times in my life when I’ve lived in an apartment. I’m the type of person who has always preferred to live in my own home. You could say that’s because I like having things my own way, and you wouldn’t be wrong. I also have never and really don’t think I could have a house in one of those subdivisions that are governed by a housing association. The very idea of someone telling me what colors I could or could not paint my house is unimaginable.

Most of my homes have been located in areas where I have had good neighbors. Only once did I live in a neighborhood where people engaged in a lawn-care war where they fought tooth and nail to have the best lawn manicure in the block. It was never too early or too late to mow if it meant yours would be the shortest mowed grass. When I moved out of that neighborhood, I made sure my next house had a concrete patio that occupied three-fourths of the backyard because I wanted to have as little grass as possible, so I could avoid the competition.

One reason I like living in my own home is because I enjoy entertaining friends. I have always enjoyed card games and board games, and my friends and I would take turns providing the hospitality. I also have a number of hobbies, such as refinishing furniture, making lampshades and soap and sewing, so I need a lot of room to take care of my stuff. Besides that, I have many relatives who live out of town who like to have a place to stay when they visit.

I could argue, of course, that if I had lived in apartments, I would never have had room for my lifetime of accumulations of which I am constantly trying to rid myself. To be honest I still have some of my possessions from my first home, which was three houses ago. The problem is, I like my stuff, so naturally it’s easy for me to hold onto it while I acquire still more. And let’s face it, I have collected everything from kitchen antiques to vintage jewelry. I’d probably have to rent an apartment for my collections alone.

So, what’s the point? Well, as bad as I hate to admit it, this summer has just about soured me on the whole idea of homeownership. In the first place I love nature and am surrounded by trees and natural plants and vines. With the amount of rainfall visited upon us this season, I am literally in a jungle, which would require every minute of every day to keep reasonably cleared. Outside household repair is out of the question since there is never enough days without rain to complete anything. Add to that the cost of living brought on by gas prices and it’s hard to be inspired. In any case, I find myself dreaming of Geronimo the cat and I luxuriating in a cozy apartment, with me picking up the phone and calling a landlord when the sink is leaking or the closet door is stuck. It just seems to me that things that were once so easily gotten in hand have suddenly loomed out of control for me and many of the people I know, young and old. So many are out of work with no possibilities in sight and extra money is unavailable. Even if your own situation is fairly stable, things are not at all well, with some family members, neighbors and friends.

Of course, it would probably have been a better idea to foster such thoughts of moving out, at a time when the housing market was healthy.

But actually the economy has to do with everything. In a sound economy, the dissatisfaction would probably never have arisen. On a bright summer day in any other year I would have been horrified if anybody had suggested apartment living to me.

It may just be the troubled times that are driving many of us to be willing just to cut our losses. I hear people saying every day that they truly believe that our country will never fully recover from the personal and collective crises that we have endured lately. So, I suppose, that we all must decide how to best handle our individual situations and proceed in whatever direction that seems advisable for the sake of our own well-being.

Of course, we still have with us those that believe that if we elect one political party or another, they can assuredly lead us out of our difficulties. Those of us who remain unconvinced certainly hope they are right. It would definitely be wonderful to look forward to the coming day when we could operate our vehicles on some form of fuel for less than $2 a gallon.

At the moment, I’m having difficulty convincing my friends that I am really clearing out my house. They don’t seem to want to accept the fact that it took me many years to acquire all my treasures, so it’s bound to take me a little while to find a new home for them.

Personally, I think I’m making headway considering the fact that it rains every few hours.

Now, on the other hand, if I could only find a volunteer crew? But no, somebody might mistakenly throw away a valuable book or a Griswold skillet or a piece of the lingerie my Aunt Mary made by hand for me.

No, I guess, I’ll have to handle this awesome task all by my lonesome self.

Nevertheless, I’m determined to get the job done. So, check with me next, well, next... . Just check with me, okay?

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at


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