I believe that when someone asks me to do something for charity, it’s a good thing to say yes. It’s a karma thing. I don’t want to screw around with my future or afterlife. I’ve got a nice fluffy cloud envisioned…So, my husband and I were surprised and honored when we got a call from Pillars asking us if we would put our house on their annual house tour fundraiser. My initial response was “no.” But after giving it some thought and polling the kids, who all said “bad idea,” my husband and I agreed to do it. We felt it was for a good cause and we’d be motivated to “finish” the house. The great thing about charitable giving is that you get back much more than you ever give.
In May, we were at a party given for the house tour people and met a LaGrange couple who put their house on last year. The husband said, “You’re crazy but it’s a great experience. You’ll be glad you did it.” I responded, “It’s not easy, my husband is waving our market-ravaged college accounts under my nose and telling me to stop spending money on the house.” He looked at Frank and said “College smollege, you can’t do that to her while she’s getting ready for the house tour.” He then proceeded to tell me he didn’t sleep for forty-eight hours before the tour because he was putting in a patio. During that time his wife told him she needed a big painting for the living room. He did that too. It was dripping the day of the tour. They both agreed the experience was a blast and well worth it. By the way, their house looks great.
I don’t know who suggested us for the house walk and will probably never know. I now know why. When you nominate someone to put their house on one of these things, you’re asking them to clean out stuff and make repairs they’ve put off for years. You’re asking them to do landscaping, paint touch-up, frame artwork, replace curtains and buy knick-knacks to fill in the blanks. I blew the budget my husband and I never discussed, so I had to do some of the work myself and skip the carpet cleaning. That turned out to be a good thing. Who cleans carpets before hundreds of people tromp through their home?
Friends came to my rescue to help get it all together. My landscaper showed up with mulch when my lawn guy didn’t. After the tour, I came home to a house that was as clean as I left it. I could’ve cleaned the rugs! My wonderful head docent had nothing but rave reviews.
One of the most gratifying things about the experience was having my painter, builder and landscape designer, all who I recommended to be sponsors for the tour, thank me for giving them such a great opportunity.
I’d still like to know who suggested that our home be on the walk, not because I want to wring anyone’s neck but to thank him or her for allowing us such a great experience. We’ve enjoyed the process, improved our home, did some good, but mostly, met some great people. I wish I could do it again next year!
Originally Published in The Doings Newspaper in Hinsdale, IL