Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why I Should Pay My Mortgage: Reason #23

When my mostly white galoot of a hound goes galloping across the side yard as I stand watching--coffee cup already clutched and brimming--through the toastier side of the veranda picture window in my boxers and nightcap, all I can make out through the Chicago pre-dawn snowscape is a snout and three brown spots darting from pine to pine. We both know it's sub-zero outside but the animal has his own morning ritual--a personal call to duty marking his American Bulldog territory in chemical union with the less domesticated denizens of the adjoining Cook County Forest Preserve; racoons, possums, gophers and such. Basically, they just pee all over each other.

The truth be known, this is one of the main reasons I begged my wife to buy the house in the first place. I love my dog. I hate walking him in the winter. I no longer have the patience or thermal body make-up to dawdle from tree to tree to and back again on my end of the leash, waiting...anticipating...begging..."Elvis, take a dump already! I'm freezing!" He's on dog time. He does what he has to do, when he has to do it. No sooner, no later.

Forest Glen
, as I've written many times before, is a bucolic little alcove tucked in a residential nook between the Milwaukee District North Metra tracks and the North Branch of the Chicago River. We love it here. We are demographically in the city of Chicago but mentally in Mayberry RFD, or at least this is what I'm told by our more urbane, fairer weather Lincoln Park/Old Town acquaintances. It's a 22 minute train ride to Union Station and a 22 second walk to Nature. It's where a guy can stand at the window in his boxer shorts and nightcap watching his dog walk himself at 5:45 AM. And it's the best and only reason I can think of today to get dressed, drive to the Bank of America branch on Clybourn and North Avenues, and make my December mortgage payment, which, by the way, is about the price of two round-trip Business Class tickets to Rome. Every month. Go figure...then again, don't bother. We all have our own financial beasts of burden to, well...burden

"Elvis...HURRY UP!!!" I yell through the frosted window as he sniffs around for the perfect spot, still putzing. He is such a putzer, that dog; definitely not built for condominium living, that's for sure. Not in the dead of winter anyway, which like I said, is one of the main reasons I put a contract on this house to begin with. After this month's payment we only have 345 more to go. That's 28 3/4 years. I'll be 81 and Elvis will be 35 (245 in dog years). Mona, of course, will still be 37. I should have done the math, I suppose, but I didn't. I follow my heart, not my accountant's advice; always have, never will. Besides, we're dead for a long time I've heard...

Geno Petro

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