Title: Own Your Own Home by Ring W. Lardner
Location: Google Books Date: 1919
Satirist Ring Lardner (1885-1933) is best known for his humorous observations of the sports world, but Lardner looks at the “sport” of building and owning a home in this 1919 selection. Fred Gross and his family are tired of living in a cramped urban flat and decide it is time to become home owners in the suburbs. In a series of letters to his brother Charley, Fred documents every rocky step of the way – from buying a lot, dealing with the bank for financing, problems with the architect, a flooded basement and leaky roof, and even getting along with his new neighbors. If you have ever built or remodeled a house you will find Fred Gross a kindred sufferer.
Chicago, Jan. 21— Dear Charley. They got me all most drove crazy & if any body ever says to you build a house bust them in the jaw. The archateck keeps ringing me up on the phone all the wile a bout 5 times a day & asking do I want this or that & what do I know a bout it & he is getting payed for doing the worring but in sted of him doing it he lays it all off on to me, some times he wants to know do we want a tin or ivory bath tub & its in the contrack for us to have a ivory bath tub but when I tell him that he says I thot you might of wanted tin because ivorys going to cost more money & when I say what do I care what it costs because all I half to pay is what the contrack calls for then he says the price of ivorys went up & we cant put it in for the money I thot we could so I & Grace argu it out & then tell him to go a head & its $25 or $30 more or what ever it is.
Then he keeps wanting me to tell him if we want tliis or that & how do I know what is it we want when its all in the contrack & he should ought to know with out bothering me. & besides that the real estate man told me that taxes was pretty near nothing in Allison but I got notise to day that I owe $40 taxes & if thats pretty near nothing Im glad it aint no big amt.
Then an other thing when the archateck drawed the plans he made a misstake a bout putting in the radiators for the hot water heat & he aint got enough of them in & hes going to put in 2 extra Is and he aint told me yet what that will amt. to but it will be a plenty.
Where I was going to lay a side $80 per mo. I aint laying nothing a side & they dont seem to be no chance of ever saveing a nickle un lest we dont eat nothing & you know Charley I wasent never the man to starv my self to death. I told the man down to the bank a bout the radiators & the bath tub & he says I should ought to of had some sort of writen contrack with the archateck so he couldent keep hanging them things on me all the wile but its to late now & any way I guess they wont be no more trouble tho I wisht they would go a head & not worry me to death asking them questions.
Rgds. to Mary.
F. A. Gross