Homeownership: not all it’s cracked up to be

As previously mentioned, we’ve upgraded from renters to homeowners. It seemed like a good idea and, you know, everybody’s doing it.

Here’s the thing. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. There are a lot of things they don’t tell you when you’re signing those papers and handing over your first born. (Kidding, guys. My dog is fine.)

Number one: your garage isn’t your garage.
One of the “non-negotiables” during our house hunt (more on that later) was a garage. We’d been living at an apartment complex with a garage so we’d grown accustomed to covered parking and all that Jazz. However, what your realtor, title company, mom and dad, the man upstairs, etc. will fail to tell you is that you will have so much CRAP stored in there – the bikes you bought because you moved to the suburbs, mulch and weed killer because, oh yeah, you have a yard now – the boxes you failed to unpack because, well, who cares?

Number two: the non-negotiables
Finding a house that met all of our wants was impossible because, well, we aren’t millionaires yet. But our needs were pretty much met. We needed two bathrooms – don’t judge me –  YOU try living in literally 700 square feet with one bathroom and a man who eats 12 times a day, and let me know how it goes. We also needed a decent sized backyard – again – YOU try living in a 5th floor apartment with a tiny dog with a bladder the size of a lima bean and also a fiancé who brings home stray dogs for fun. The garage mentioned above was also on my list – eyeroll. And I really wanted an open-concept home so that I could yell at David from the kitchen to pick up his socks in the living room. This is what dreams are made of y’all. Most of these “needs” came back to bite me but whatever.

Number three: the yard
The funny thing about grass is that when it rains, it grows. We didn’t have a lawn mower because our hardwood floors at the apartment – oddly enough – didn’t grow any grass. Luckily for us, my grandpa owns a landscaping company – Hercules Lawncare (shameless plug, let me know if you want his info) and he was able to add us to his weekly route.

Number four: the utilities
Wouldn’t you know that it is significantly less expensive to heat and cool a brand new (tiny but well-insulated) apartment than it is to heat and cool a still-kind-of-small, much-older, two story house? If y’all could see David’s panic when we got our first electricity bill for our “open concept, natural lighting,” house, you would’ve died. The man went out and bought black out curtains and firewood and basically anything else that can protect us from the sun and/or wind. We live in a dungeon now, it’s fabulous.

My point is this, we love being homeowners – or, uh – living in a house. It’s the “being homeowners” part that caught us by surprise. Regardless, it’s bragging rights. We did it! We have a mortgage and we are slaves to the bank now – JK guys it’s not that bad. Plus our apartment rent was higher than our mortgage, so there’s that. More space for less money.

P.S. For anyone who doesn’t know, my fiancé (who gets to be the butt of a lot of my jokes and stories on here) David is a cooler, even funnier version of Chip Gaines and he did basically gut and re-do our entire home (I don’t recommend anyone living in a house while it’s being remodeled but that’s beside the point). Click here to see before & after pics of our house and Click here to see more of his work, or contact him!

Inevitable social stigma accompanies Ebola virus

Samantha Arriola and Edith Emeralda / Contributing Writers

Ike Isedebe was at the movies with a group of his African American friends when one of them sneezed. Someone replied, “Oh, Ebola, get away from me,”  said Isedebe, who is a member of the African Studies Organization and the chief of staff of UNT’s Student Government Association.

Of the 36,221 students enrolled at UNT, 3,081 are international, according to the International Student Statistical Report from the fall semester of 2013.

Esedebe has family from the United Kingdom as well as Nigeria, which is one of the top 10 countries represented at UNT. Only 7 percent of international students are from Africa. While the disease has become widespread in West Africa, the social stigma around the Ebola disease has become extreme at UNT and in the DFW area.

“It may have been a joke, but still, it’s a touchy subject,” Isedebe said. “Due to stereotypes and how society views things, people naturally associate [Ebola] with darker skinned people.”

Amanda Parent-Brito, a UNT Resident Assistant of Mozart Hall, voiced her opinion on Isedebe’s experience.

“Nobody should assume that only dark skinned people have it,” Parent-Brito said. “That’s really racist.”

Parent-Brito is from Dallas County and has family in Irving.

“A lot of jokes come from serious situations, so people will joke about it because it’s been so talked-up, but they need to be careful with what they say,” Parent-Brito said.

The ongoing situation is comparable to the stereotype that people use when relating AIDS to gay people, or SARS to Asian people, according to Beverly Davenport, an anthropology professor at UNT.

“Diseases get stuck onto a given group or ethnicity. Even though the problem extends far beyond those groups, the stigmatic disease remains,” Davenport said.

The Electric Eagle, a university satire and humor publication, published an online article about a UNT fraternity student who had been diagnosed with the Ebola virus. According to Herschel Voorhees, the director of clinical studies at UNT, the Health and Wellness Center received numerous phone calls in relation to this article.

“There are a lot of people that are very concerned about this disease,” Voorhees said. “But hopefully they won’t sensationalize it too much…Students just need to be more aware of what’s going on in the world.”

Voorhees said the healthcare system in the U.S. is more advanced than that of West Africa, so the disease isn’t as easily spread here. Students wanting to learn more about the disease can use sources such as the Health and Wellness Center or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Click below to view slideshow by Samantha Arriola and Edith Emeralda

Ebola and its Inevitable Social Stigma