My Happy Life

Welcome to Mars

Our new Chicagoland life is very different than our Colorado life. To be expected, right? But, the best way I can think to describe it is — different planets. The amount of difference and change is so much, my mind almost exploded.

Welcome to Mars (known to some as the greater Chicagoland area)

When people ask what is different between my home 3 months ago and my new home, I have to wonder, what is the same?


Chicago Living Lesson #1: Exchange Rates

No, I’m not talking Euro and Yen.

Would you exchange your soul for a 400 sq. ft. Studio Apartment in Lincoln Park, across from the Theater? Or is your soul worth more like a 2-bedroom a block from Wrigley Field? It makes me wish I had more than one soul to give.

Gas is much more expensive than Colorado, and then, it can be a whole dollar difference in the city versus 15 miles away in the suburbs. Depending on your car’s mileage, it could be worth the trek.

Food and furniture are actually cheaper, but not how you might expect. It’s cheaper because the options are infinite. They have discount stores all over the place. Honey, booze, dining chairs and dog food. If you know where to look, you can spend a LOT less on your daily needs. I now go one place for vegetables, one place for canned goods or milk. CostCo really isn’t such a special thing anymore, because we can find things cheaper elsewhere.

Grocery cart

Taxes are higher. We went from 7% in Springs to a wavering 10%. What’s a wavering tax rate? I made it up, so try not to quote me. It means if you’re buying food, you get one rate, if you’re buying tissues, you get another, booze, another, cars, another. I’ve seen as low as 9% and as high at 10.75% so far.
And housing taxes for homeowners? They go up by thousands each year. I’m not even exaggerating  I have never heard of a city wanting to get rid of its people, but Chicago seems to be trying and succeeding with their deadly tax rates.


Parking spaces… Parking spots are about as rare as a natural blue diamond. It costs just as much. It’s just as coveted. It’s just as small.  And it’s just as unreasonable to think you’ll ever see one. When I troll around looking for FOR RENT signs, I keep finding signs for PARKING spots or a GARAGE spot. And the price is what I was hoping to pay for a whole apartment.

{Wrigleyville Photo Source}

Guess who’s planning on becoming a one car family as soon as possible!

Traffic enforcement will break your bank until you figure it out. If I got a parking ticket in CO, it was $20. I got one here and it was $100.
I was always amazed at the way the Red Light seemed completely optional in Colorado. I saw so many intersection accidents and you always knew, it was someone trying to blow the red.  Here, you’re crazy to blow a YELLOW. It boils my blood because I’m not even a red light runner, but you have to stop a full 3 seconds before you turn right on red. Shhiiiiittttake mushrooms. I haven’t done it since the first ticket I got, but they’re about a month behind on notifying, so I still get $100 tickets for all my right on red violations.


They may not be able to stop the thugs from killing each other, but you better believe we are the most traffic conscious drivers in all the land.

Dear wedding guests- TAKE NOTE! $100 and no mercy. Stop. Count to 3. Fluff your hair. Breathe deep. THEN turn right on red.

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