when you least expect it… Evanston home for rent

Evanston home for rentWhen you least expect it, expect it.

Somewhere in my youth a character (movie or cartoon) uttered this line and here so many years later it trips off the tip of my tongue with an ease of expression that defies explanation. I pull the line out like a badly accented Clousseau with profound regularity whenever something happens that is a surprise.

Like when friends down the street decided to pack up and head west between when school let out and when we head back in about a month. A job offer materialized, considerations were considered, choices were made and, voila, there’s a garage sale and going away party before they hit the road in a couple of  weeks time with a bevy of boxes and belongings associated with having three kids and living nine years in their Evanston home.

When you least expect it… life is fully of twists, curves, dead ends and new beginnings… it doesn’t always go according to plan (if there is a plan in the first place). But what we hope in those instances when something unexpected occurs is that we are among and amid a so-called state of grace, a sense of no matter what happens everything is and will be fundamentally fine.

What we also hope for is that there is somewhere to turn to get answers to your questions. And so for my friends who have an idyllic Evanston home for rent they have me to ratchet up marketing and send out the Bat Signal to attract to their loved and lovely home some great renters.

That’s what we always want when it comes to real estate questions – a person to whom we can turn for results, a person who we can trust to get the job done. That’s why I have such high marks among my clients because they know that I will do just what I say I will do. And I will do it in such a manner as to seem seamless. That’s the case now and it has been the way I have conducted my business for more than a decade as one of the most prolific brokers in Chicago and the North Shore. If this sounds appealing to you when it comes to your next home, I urge you to call me  at 773.848.9241.

And in the meantime do let those among your circle know about this remarkably attractive home I have for rent at 3604 Thayer in Evanston, just a block from the pool and the same distance from Lovelace Park. It’s a welcoming home with 3 beds and 2.5 baths, a finished basement and flowing floor-plan with a great private patio and delightfully verdant front and side yards. Click here for more pix and fuller description.

A Day of Summer in Chicago and the North Shore

zip lineA tangible sadness lurks at the edges of my thoughts when summer hits a certain point of waning more than waxing. Days trend more to the start of school rather than the endless array of off-day possibilities and popsicle parties, zip line rides, tree fort climbings, wet walks back from the swimming pool and wiffle ball tossing. I recognize the presence of this shadowy intruder and try to think to myself “thanks for the info…”

Rather than banishing the thought and pretending that it does not exist I try to allow the poignancy of the moment to emanate and then we carry on with our itinerary as we experience summer in Chicago and the North Shore. “Wave your freak flag,” I tell Jackson and Lucas.

The point of this Royal Tenenbaum admonition is to live life fully, with hilarity and without apology, to enjoy and to grin the entire time. Or as folks way back when said in an another language, carpe diem.

jump ropeYesterday was a good expression of this full-throated philosophy of summer in Chicago and the North Shore as the zip line buzzed early in Wilmette, leading to a foray in to Chicago to visit a new locally owned pet shop in Edgewater (Ruff Haus on Granville), a visit to the Edgewater farmers’ market, a perusing of dollar books on Sherman in Evanston (next to the Trader Joe’s), an unplanned stop to pick up mid-century dining chairs at a sidewalk sale on Dempster for our furnished rental in Chicago, a brief rest at home in Wilmette and finally a bbq back in Chicago to celebrate a friend’s professorship.

Needless to say the ride back to Wilmette when all was said and done had son one in full tilt snooze while son two followed as soon as Nicole carried him upstairs. Good appetites for food, fun and friendship punctuated by endless games of tag in and out of the house added up to a restful slumber that continues even now as I write this short note before I head out to my Lincoln Park open house.

Today likely will be more of the same with a beckoning backyard and Centennial Pool a two-minute bike ride away. So as summer in Chicago and the North Shore sails beyond its midpoint we will continue to hoist and wave our freak flags as we glean satisfaction and gladness with each passing day.

Don’t forget – I specialize in Chicago and North Shore real estate… so call with any questions you have about buying or selling a home – 773.848.9241. Or email me directly!

natural beauty (and natural mosquito repellents)

echinaceaSomehow I thought the polar vortex was supposed to put the kibosh on mosquitos? Maybe it was my upbringing which taught me that sacrifice leads to gain. Or maybe it was my adult sensibility which relies on karma (sometimes instant) which would suggest that after the brutality of the winter the summer months dwelling in Chicago and North Shore real estate would be a breeze in which mosquitos would not be flitting nor feeding.

Whatever I assumed or for whatever reason the truth is otherwise. The mosquitos are not only out, they are out with a vengeance, running amok throughout Chicago and North Shore real estate. And it’s not just nighttime sorties that these winged critters are flying. With the brazen appetite of those which are hungry for our collective blood, they are showing up to the party ever earlier to make their “pointed comments.”

Like most of my fellow countrymen, including those in zip codes 60614 or 60091, I am keen to respond to the most dire of threats in a meat-eating and fist-clenching manner. More often than not we are a people who roll up our sleeves and combat the problem, whatever that problem may be. With mosquitos, though, rolling up your sleeves only exposes more flesh to be bitten so maybe a different approach works better?

With this in mind I bore in mind something Nicole mentioned yesterday. “Basil,” she said, is a natural mosquito repellent.” And so this morning fresh from walking my dog down our tree-lined street in Wilmette and spotting a gorgeous cluster or echinacea I decided to engage in mosquito warfare via a more genteel venue – google.

And so I set out to find natural mosquito repellents.

After the briefest of glimpses online to figure out natural mosquito repellents to bring zzz’s to the buzzing mosquitos the most natural and organic response includes planting (or tabletop centerpieces) of basil, citronella grass, rosemary, lavender, catmint or scented geraniums. Mosquitos, it seems, don’t like how these robust and delightful plants interact with their sensitive snouts.

But bearing in mind that bug bite injuries may already be on hand (or arm or leg) before the plants hit the ground, let me leave you with a couple of easy home remedies to combat the welts after they have arisen: tea tree oil, aspirin (crushed and applied as a paste to the bug bite area), salt (also applied as a paste), lemon juice, ice or aloe vera. In some way shape or form each of these when applied to the bite will mitigate it and make either subside the swelling or relieve the itching.

So now you have a fighting chance when it comes to mosquitos give yourself the same chance when it comes to finding your Chicago and North Shore real estate. My direct line is 773.848.9241. Email me directly! I will answer all of your questions about buying or selling a home.

Unseasonably Cool at Evanston Camps

view from the beach to the cityLakefront in Evanston.

61 degrees. July 15th.

It is an oddly contoured summer on the North Shore, in Evanston and in Chicago in general. There’s been no run of days in the upper 80s or 90s and many more days barely at or under the 70s. I can’t say that it feels like fall but instead is reminiscent of a missed spring when days might lurch forward as if to reach a temperature higher than what the thermometer reads.

You know the days I mean – when from the inside of the house the sun is full-fledged in the sky and shadows are cast in utter magnificence and the intimation is that outside it’s warm if not hot. And as soon as you walk out the door you realize it’s not hot but more toward chilly… and more toward a coat of some kind being a good idea.

That is what today is like as Lucas plies his craft at a tennis camp at Northwestern in Evanston and Jackson does the same except that he is sailing. Thus the lakeside picture above from the Northwestern Sailing Center where really the temperature is meaningless to the gathered kids who can generate warmth from laughter associated with new friends and enjoyable activities no matter the milieu.

And from children are truths of life lent.

The truth is that it is not cold but just a little unseasonably cool. And overcast skies are simply an interlude until the sun returns (which it will). Life, I suppose, is simply an interchangeable and ever expandable sequence of connect-the-dots… wake up connects to breakfast connects to legos connects to packing the bag connects to heading to camp connects to arriving at camp connects to camp activity connects to pick up connects to what’s next and next and next…

And so it goes…

And even with new things there is a similarity to old things and these things coax in the brain a kernel of recognition which allows us to proceed into what is new with a degree of reliance on what already has been. And so today which is cool can be compared to yesterday which also was cool but not so much so that we could not do what we wanted to do.

Even in the midst of last winter’s reign of subzero days where I live in Wilmette we were able to establish certain cadences and rhythms to live life on life’s terms. Sure, there were limitations but hills were still sledded, snowmen still built, dogs still walked… life went on.

And on this mid-July day with some five dozen plus degrees life goes on in Evanston, in Wilmette and in Chicago. Later today I’m sure a gaggle of kids including mine will thrash and splash at Centennial Park Pool down the street by as these kids adhere to the modicum of not sweating the small stuff (which would be challenging with 60 degree temps.

So hats off to these intrepid youthful mentors as they urge us to enjoy no matter the climate or cloud cover…

By the way, if you are ready to buy or sell a home in Chicago or the North Shore don’t hesitate to call me at 773.848.9241. Or email me directly! With more than 10 years’ experience as one of Chicago’s top residential brokers I assure you a seamless and satisfying experience.

thoughts on what makes a home?

openhouseMy open house sign sits in front, dappled by the sun and urging passers by to enter. For a moment I sit on the steps and take it in, the cascade of sounds from nearby Penny Park and the restless crickets who engage in full-throated choruses of what it is to be alive in the midst of a fragrant and green summer.

Being alive is any number of puzzle pieces… when we are young it’s recess and Saturday morning cartoons, ice cream sundaes festooned with elaborate toppings of whipped cream and cherries and snow days (of which there are simply never enough). Several years later it’s making the team or going to the dance or fitting in amid the lumpiness that can be adolescence. Up the ladder we climb to college and jobs and choices and families…

And as I sit on the front stairs of this home for sale in welcoming and delightful Evanston I think to myself of a fairly vital piece of life’s puzzle – home. What makes home?

For some it’s a humble place typified by the doily-knitted phrase “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” Whether humble or not or whether like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” we chant over and over “there’s no place like home” when we are far from it or fearful, home truly is where the heart is. And where there is heart, there is love.

Home is the place we love and where we are loved… for who we are and not for what we are not. What we want in a home is a place to be, to be accepted both by our kin and, we truly hope, by our neighbors. Home is where we yearn for well-being and safety, where we hope, as parents, that our children will nestle their roots of youth to cast strong tendrils down so as to reach up with confidence and zest for the star and beyond.

As I sit for moments on the sunny and warm front steps that would urge any sensible cat to a long and earnest purr-filled stretch and slumber I am invited by the cheery voices of the children at the nearby park and, I imagine, yards up and down this tree-lined street to imagine that this is such a home where a heart can be invested and many happy returns will be harvested. Of happy summer block parties despite too much 80s music. And mirthful trick-or-treating with homes dripping with seasonal decorations. Of winter carols sung and mugs of hot chocolate sipped with neighbors who are friends. And with children that your children grow up with as treasured friends forever.

Home… it inspires any number of thoughts and beliefs… and for a few moments today as the sun makes me smile and the sounds of the neighborhood prove to be a chorus of warmth and possibility this is my brief sense of what a home is…

To find your new home don’t hesitate to call Tom McCarey at 773.848.9241 or Email me directly! I will be pleased to lend more than a decade’s experience as one of the city’s top brokers to help you find your new home.

from half a country away… selling 1, 2, 3 and 4 homes

cousins lookingin the lone star state enjoying double digit temps and the warmth of a family hug. all good on the road as the boys enjoy what i think is called the “mid winter break.” almost shakespearean, the name of the break… but the true place for the intrigue of a shakespeare play is the chicago housing market where aspirations rise and fall with the daily tally (limited) of what is available and who pulls the trigger first and with the greatest velocity…

as we headed out of town friday my day started with an early morning trajectory on the front end of two closings – one of a condo in lakeview (my listing) and the other a new construction home in elmhurst (my buyer). both rolled according to form, without a hitch and new keys to new doors presented at the title company table. this, of course, does not sound the least bit like the old bard (unless you consider selling a luxury condo full price during a holiday week a bit of a dramatic downstroke).

i suppose friday’s drama was limited to the road we drove out of town between bloomington-normal and st. louis where a veneer of snow married to a stiff wind left the road way clotted and slick and punctuated by cars in the ditch and jack-knifed semis. odd to drive by at a crawl and spot a prius in the median, elbow deep in snow and the windows fogged by a driver still in the driver’s seat… glad to report that we were observors and not participants. Continue reading

green eggs, metaphors, judging and accepting

Dr_Seuss_Green_Eggs_and_Hamway back when
to sam i am
a suess critter said he did not like
green eggs and ham
funny it was
when all was said and done
suess dude found green eggs
to be number one
to eat with a smile
wherever he’d go
i guess it just goes to show
it’s better to speak from what you know
than what you think
(or what you think that you know) Continue reading