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TODAY

Monday, April 22

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Airbags

You know that feeling, that restless feeling you get sometimes? Where your skin is too tight for your body or your ambition is just completely misdirected? And to fix it, to make it right again, you need to make some serious, fundamental changes to your life and how you look at it? This is the week that Alex Paulsen did just that.

He can't really tell you why he felt so driven to post and respond to a flurry of ads. Maybe it's the well-worn divot in his couch or his nephew's photo on his desk. Something. But at the end of the week, Alex's life will be different.

We begin with the ladies. Alex is a cute enough guy, but his real selling point in his kindness and stability. In fact, there are two ladies in his office who feel quite partial to him at the moment. But one's married and the other is significantly older than he, never mind that he's never realized it anyway. But after a year of not dating anyone in particular except for a few first dates with girls he met in bars or through friends, Alex decided to turn to Craig.

Are you smart and sporty? - 28
My best friends are in love with their girlfriends/boyfriends, and somehow, I've been left behind. It's hard to be a third wheel and I'm realizing that I have to try something different, so here I am.

Since I feel obliged to talk about myself, I'm 28 years old, single, never been married, a college graduate (honors in history), and employed in the field of medical research. Regarding appearance, women usually say I'm boyishly cute and don't look my age. I love sports (especially tennis) and I'd like to meet a woman who likes walking near the lake, reading, and seeing movies.

Let me end this post by emphasizing that I'm NOT looking for a one-nighter. I really am a family-oriented guy who's attracted the wrong women in the past.

Maybe you'll be different?

Alex hit post and almost instantly felt that it wouldn't work. But nonetheless he felt compelled to check his email every 10 minutes, between commercials or bites of pasta. A few bites, nothing interesting. A girl in Northbrook with a kid. A recent DePaul grad that Alex nixed because she mentioned "partying" in her reply. Somebody who responded with a really long, crazy poem. No. He hadn't yet tried looking in the women seeking men section, but figured he'd save that disappointment for tomorrow night.

$1325 / 2br - Sunny, Top Floor, 2BR + Office, Steps to Metra/Brown Line
Wonderfully sun-filled 2BR + Office in the heart of Lincoln Square. This 1500 sq ft unit is securely located on the top floor of a wide and tall classic 3-flat. This spacious home features 8 rooms, 3 closets, a pantry and a sun porch.

Steps from the Square and both the Metra and Brown Line train stops. This beautiful space offers great natural breezes and direct sunlight. This unit features a renovated bath and eat-in kitchen, rich hardwood flooring and trim details throughout. Also included are gas forced-air heat, ceiling fans, a huge backyard and free laundry.

Rent is $1325 plus utilities. This distinctive classic is located at 2214 W. Ainslie St. between Leavitt and Bell. Call 773-555-5555. Small pets OK.

Step two, the apartment. It was high time that Alex moved the hell out of the Southport/Wrigleyville area. No more drunks pissing on his lawn or never finding a parking space. He craved the quiet of the suburb where he grew up, but instead started looking at Lincoln Square/Ravenswood. It was leafy, with big old places and lots of shops and restaurants.

When he saw the apartment, with its honey-brown wood trim around the doors and windows, fresh paint, and nicely buffed floors, Alex took it immediately. The office would come in handy when he worked from home one day a week — something he'd gotten his boss to agree to that morning. And the second bedroom? Perfect for TV watching, leaving the living room for cards or parties or whatever.

The best part of the neighborhood was all of the moms walking their kids in strollers, with the big dogs lagging behind.

Pier One 3 week old couch and coffee table - $1000
Just bought 3 weeks ago...moving need to get rid of

A $1260 plus value all yours for $1000....nothing wrong with anything

Cash Only 312-555-5555 Must pick up

Westcott Couch Mocha Sumas Coffee table

Sumas Pedastal also available not pictured

Alex wanted to get rid of the crappy old parents'-basement furniture he'd been living with since college. The coffee table was nice and the couch looked stylish and comfy. He contacted the poster and asked if the Pier One stuff was still available. She tersely said yes, and Alex said he'd pick it up that evening. He borrowed his friend's pickup and cruised over to Lincoln Park. On the way, he thought about what was wrong with his ad. Maybe the trite references to the lake or the boyishly cute thing. Maybe his job didn't sound lucrative enough.

He knocked on the apartment door. Claire answered it, puffy-eyed and sad, and beckoned him in. Boxes were neatly stacked against one wall, across from several large shelves full of records and books.

"Wow, looks like you still have a lot of moving to do,” said Alex.

Claire looked at him with red, watery eyes and burst into tears. "It's not my stuff. It's my boyfriend's. Ex-boyfriend's."

She collapsed back into sobs and Alex didn't know what else to do besides give her a hug. Claire resisted a little, but sank into his shoulder at last. Alex patted her back and surveyed the titles on some of the record jackets. Rush. Was Not Was. The Yellowjackets.

Claire took some deep breaths, and slowly pulled away from Alex. "I'm sorry. It was just a total shock and I had just bought all this furniture."

"Are you leaving town?" Alex asked.

"No, just over to Lincoln Square. But I don't want to be reminded of him at all," she said, very tall now, and quite pretty.

Alex thought that if Claire looked this lovely when she was sad, then he would love to see her laugh. So he suggested that the couch and table stay with her, that she shouldn't let her ex win, that he'd even help her move. And gradually, over a few months, they grew closer and closer. And one day, after their usual Tuesday night Scrabble game at the Daily Grind, Alex finally kissed Claire. It never occurred to him to keep looking for his future on Craig.

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About the Author(s)

Shylo Bisnett loves ironing, baking, gardening and being a naughty housewife. Let her know what you think about Public Notice at .

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