Monday, March 9, 2009

The Loosers Club

First an apology goes out to my readers for the lack of fresh posts lately here at swampstyle.
It is not that the mojo is gone or that i am out of ideas, it is that sometimes a hobby must take a back seat to work at the office and chores around the house. And no, this post is not about bloggers or average menches or about people who go to casinos or watch allot of hi-def TV.

It is about owning a house.

Florida Guaranteed... to get tented for termites.

Not to go too far into the background but I was born in Cuba to a family that owned not only their homes in town but also rural land farms as far as the eye could see. Then the Castro revolution appropriated every bit of private property in the name of progress. Think one giant island land-grab ,foreclosurestyle, at gun-point with no course for reparation. The houses and acres are still there but my family dynasty is mostly evaporated.

The littlest day laborer... I think wee can.

Consequently I grew up in miami swamp-poor with diminished expectations of what I could attain in adulthood from the prospects of the american dream. For too many the much touted dream has become in reality a ball-n-chain of consumerism and a life of hard work just to stay afloat. Consider that natural law will often prevail as our founding fathers knew very well that the enshrined "pursuit of happiness" is directly proportionate to owning a piece of the pie. The reason land is called "real estate" is simply that it is physically real as in the dirt beneath your feet is real.

After Andrew... building the garage to code (aka "the bank vault").

"The ownership society" is now a debunked republican catch-phrase-con-job that has in fact become a nightmare of insurmountable hurdles, obstacles and tribulations that has brought record-setting foreclosures with no bottom in sight. The greed and deceit of a few have drained our community of vitality and hope, thanks in no small part to the very de-regulated institutions that were entrusted to facilitate that dream. The banks, with the help of the real estate industry, own just about everything from Key West to Alaska. On the street where i live in Surfside there are four houses unoccupied and in disrepair bought by flippin' flippers at the height of the housing bubble. I guess people get what they deserve.

After Wilma... if a tree falls on your neighbors house, who clears the mess?

But the focus of this post is not about the housing market hardships we face as a nation. It is about the "bricks n mortar" of owning a house on a lot in a suburban setting in a town that is in fact an urban jungle. Homeowners know what i am talking about. Some homes are relatively low maintenance while others are constant piles of repairs and chores. Sooner or later every house will need work. When it comes to home improvements there is never an end in sight and you'd swear it was a conspiracy by Bob Vella, HGTV and Home Cheapo.

Dirty Jobs... some schmuk will do it.

The housing gods must have been looking down on us because, while renting, we happened upon a very nice old neighbor who was ready to sell at a very reasonable price. Without an ounce of haggling we stuck a deal, were able to get a loan when the banks were acting responsible, and soon joined the Loosers' Club.

With an ear to the ground and a critical eye on the abuses and blunders of the past eight years of Bushanomics, we saw dark days ahead and were somehow able to pay of the mortgage, cancel the Citizen's insurance legalized extortion and are now able save to send the kid to college.

The Bees are Back... thank gawd they aren't africanized!

I call it the Loosers' Club endearingly because, though owning a home may be an added responsibility, it is still worth working for. It is what most people want. With a measure of realistic skepticism and fiscal restraint, the ownership society is actually a good idea.

Home-wrecker / Re-builder... loose some battles, win the war.

When talking to young adults about their dreams and ambitions there is a sense of lowered expectations for living accommodations in a world that is increasingly demanding and downright inhospitable. If you are looking to change your primary residence, it is a renters paradise out there. Or do as Bob Hope and Johnny Carson used to say, "Go where the houses stop, and start buying".

Maybe the sweet bees have the right idea... build more waxy condos.


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