Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 31, 2012

ROOT: A real estate lecture

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I’m sitting here listening to the remnants of Hurricane Sandy whipping around outside and I am reminded of how lucky we really are. As usual, watching the hurricane on the news and looking out my window are two completely different things. When I see it on the news, I see millions of people without power and thousands of homes underwater. When I look out my window, I see a lot of leaves I am going to have to rake when this all clears up.

I am certainly not trying to make light of the storm. If you lost power or had any kind of inconvenience thanks to the tail end of Hurricane Sandy, then my prayers go out to you. I would imagine that there is no more frustrating feeling than having your power go out or your roof cave in right in the middle of a big rain storm. I hope all is well with everyone and that everyone comes out of this unscathed.

Events like this always make me remember how lucky we are to be living in this area. People can point and laugh at our weather and economy all they want, but we have learned how to handle both of those situations. When it snows, we shovel it. When the bills arrive in the mail, we ignore them and they go away for another month. When the weather goes from 75 degrees down to 30 degrees in a few hours, we turn on the furnace. We can deal with all of the problems that we get here and we can deal with them pretty easily.

We even get our share of earthquakes, apparently. Although, I have to admit that I never felt or heard anything with our earthquake last week. That is not the first earthquake I have heard of happening up here, and we are even known to get the occasional tornado. My heart goes out to the people that have experienced loss due to any one of our natural disasters, but we have to realize that it could always be much worse.

When we turn on our televisions in the morning and click over to the news channels, we watch footage of a mudslide in California, a killer tornado in Iowa or a crushing hurricane in North Carolina and we think that it must be awful to go through that. But we are usually able to say that from a distance, and it is usually a comfortable distance.

You know what I don’t understand? The areas that get hurricanes, earthquakes, smog and mudslides are in the areas where the real estate is really expensive. An earthquake and a mudslide can happen at any time and destroy a lot of homes. Forest fires also take place near areas where real estate prices are way up there. Hurricanes pound the same part of the Gulf of Mexico every year and that land is mega-expensive.

We get snow every year and our real estate prices are nowhere near what those other places are. Really? People would rather pump out their homes and buy new furniture every single year than pay one of the neighborhood kids to shovel out their driveways? Snow is actually very cleansing and it adds a touch of beauty to the air. It can get really old when February rolls around, but it is also not going to rise up and bust out your windows.

So I guess that is our burden to bear and the rewards for bearing it. We put up with snow from November to March/April, and the cost of living in this area stays well below what it is in most other parts of the country. That sounds like a fair trade to me. If that means I have to put up with a nasty blizzard every two or three years, then I can do that. If it means I get to live in an area where the leaves change color during the fall and there is that great smoked cherry wood taste in the air from the end of September to the beginning of November, then that is the burden I will bear.

I tell you what; I would rather live like a king on a pauper’s salary in an area where we have to tolerate the occasional snowflake than live like a pauper on a king’s salary in an area where Mother Nature swallows up my home on an annual basis.

God bless to everyone that felt Hurricane Sandy’s wrath. I wish the best for everyone.

George N Root III is a Lockport resident and expert on living like a king while getting paid like a pauper. His column appears every Wednesday through rain, sleet, hail, snow or dark of night. He can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net, even when the power is out.