THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- AUGUST 29, 2020
Over the past several months I've watched way too much television. You too? Part of that viewing has been taken up with a few hundred episodes of various house hunting shows. You know, the ones where buyers are shown three choices and they pick one.
In our abode we lump all these shows together under the title “stupid people,” as in “let's watch some stupid people tonight.” Why? Because the people on these shows all seem to operate according to the same rule – always pick the property that makes the least sense. Because of this, it's almost impossible to watch these shows without putting on your wise guy hat.
First off, let's get something straight. The biggest mistake all these folks make is not checking with you or me before making a decision. See, we have an unlimited supply of common sense and impeccable taste. We know what's best for them. Conversely, they are clueless most of the time.
For instance, say there is a couple who needs a house for themselves, five children, a grandmother, and a goat. What we know they need is a home with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a first-floor bedroom for the grandma and a big back yard for the goat. So what do they inevitably choose? A house with two bedrooms, a half bath, and a cement yard. Then they utter that ridiculous phrase: “We can make this work.” Listen to us. No you can't!
And why do they think they can make this work? Because they are going to renovate, move walls and add bathrooms. Of course they have no construction knowledge whatsoever, but that's what YouTube videos are for. Right? Wrong! Listen to us. You are delusional.
Hey, looking for a high rise apartment in downtown Chicago? Of course, the couple “needs” a wood burning fireplace. You're on the twentieth floor. Firewood runs about $200 for a half face cord in Chicago. Where are you going to keep the wood; in that parking space that cost you an extra $20,000? How are you going to prevent the other thousand people in your high rise from “borrowing” your wood? How are you going to get the wood up to your apartment and where are you going to store it once you get it there? What are you going to do with the ashes? Listen to us. We are trying to save you from yourselves.
How about those folks looking for a tiny house? They'd like a full-size bathtub, a gourmet kitchen, room for a yoga studio and storage for a hundred pairs of shoes. About 200 square feet should accomplish this, right? So the first thing they say when they enter this shoe box is “this is tiny.” Hello! Check the name of the show.
Part of the reason for wanting a tiny house is so they can be independent. This is why nine times out of ten they park the thing in their parents' back yard.
They also want independence so they are not tied down to (you know) an actual job. My favorite was the guy who planned to support himself by being a freelance bongo player. Really? When was the last time you thought to yourself: “I have a hankering to go to freelance bongo concert.” Listen to us. You are going to starve.
The really stupid people are the ones looking for accommodations in foreign countries. I say this because these nitwits make all Americans look bad. Like, they want a three-bedroom, two bath, place with “charm” in the center of Paris or London for $200 a month. Oh, and did they mention they are bringing their St. Bernard along?
They inevitably learn that $200 doesn't even cover your croissant bill in Paris, let alone rent. The real estate agents, although trying to be diplomatic, are incredulous that anyone could be so removed from reality.
Listen to us. We know much it costs to live in every European city. We have that Internet thingy and can look it up. Apparently, you have never heard of this high-tech maneuver.
Oh, and what are you going to do for a living in (say) Amsterdam? Easy, right? You're going to become a photographer and take pictures of the city and sell those photos. Well, good for you. Amsterdam was founded in 1275 and it's lucky for you that in the 745 years since no Amsterdamian has thought to take photos of their city. They've all been standing around waiting for some American “genius” to swoop in and deliver them from their ignorance. By the way, it's also lucky no one visiting Amsterdam has ever brought along their cell phone. You know, those gizmos with built-in cameras.
Finally, there are shows that focus on just one house. Some people feel like they need to be more self-sufficient, so they seek to find houses off the grid. Better yet, they even attempt to build their own. Again, a standard rule comes into play: “Always start building too late in the year to have the house completed before bad weather kicks in.” Apparently, building is more “rewarding” when done during a monsoon or blizzard. You and I know this is goofy, but no one asked us.
Location is key in real estate, so these off the grid homes are usually so remote to get there takes a plane ride, train ride, boat ride, a dog sled stint and finally a string of pack mules. Of course, the structure needs to be large enough so “we can entertain friends.”
Listen to us. Your friends are not coming. They may say they'll visit you, but they won't. When push comes to shove they will opt to spend their vacation time at a resort with a spa, pool and indoor plumbing. Someplace where before happy hour you don't have to forage for snacks and shoot something in order to make your own jerky.
After watching these shows, you can take off your wise guy hat knowing that you've earned a rest. Being the voice of reason is hard work. Go forth and watch something that will put you to sleep in your recliner, which at this time of year means reruns of Countdown to Christmas movies.