A House is Just a House

4 Mar

I live in an area surrounded by giant houses.  We had no idea where we were buying during that weekend real estate extravaganza I mentioned in “Moving…On.”  I love where we live and I adore our friends in those big houses.  However, I have never, ever wanted one.  I have friends whose hobby literally involves house maintenance and house decorating and care.  I appreciate this and admire the beauty of it all.  However, I hate house care and maintenance.  Both Sirskatesalot and I want less of it.  We are terrible with house maintenance like vacuuming behind the refrigerator every six months, cutting back trees, retouching paint.  How boring…we live near the beach and the mountains and have fun kids.  Who wants to stay inside and take care of a structure?.  Ugh, B-O-R-I-N-G!  I want to go.  I want a comfy space, large enough for two big dogs, two big kids, a kitchen for baking, but nothing more.  Really, there is a whole world to see.  Sometimes a house means seeing less of that because it is necessary to spend so much time maintaining that house.   I don’t want more time at home, I want more time exploring and enjoying.  Taking care of a house is not exploring and enjoying.

Homeownership is great, I’m not trying to knock it, necessarily.  I like our home, I keep it tidy, we use the heck out of it with friends and kids and relatives and fun, but it is a house.  It is only a structure.  I feel like some people around here treat it like the universe.  This is sad for many reasons, but one of which is that it is who occupies the house that is of interest, not the house itself.  I gag when I am asked if I want a “tour” of  a home I haven’t been in before.  Ahem, no thanks. How about a cup of coffee and some interesting conversation.  If you have seen one marble bathroom and remodeled kitchen, you have seen enough.  I want more travel or time to do new things.  Or, I am happy to sit at the beach for hours and hours.  I am not happy to organize, maintain, stay at home.  This is not a judgement, this is a preference.  However, I do sometimes feel sad for people I know who stay behind the Orange Curtain most of the year, perfecting their houses to the point where they have no time for friends, outings or travel because the structure has taken over.

A structure is just that.   A few walls to keep us warm and give us space to be a family.  A friend of ours just lost his structure in a natural gas explosion on the east coast (you can Google it…mind-blowing photos). Crazy and scary.  But this is just a structure.  The relationships and the world are still out there.  Just a little rebuilding is needed.  Don’t take these structures too seriously or you might find yourself voluntarily imprisoned in them.  Be careful what you wish for.

3 Responses to “A House is Just a House”

  1. Eve Alosio March 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    boosybostwick, Often times I read your posts and I have to respond. A House is not a home without the warmth of family, friends and yes a few dogs- to me. Having been through life changes that effected the family’s change of residence, I saw the different impact it had on all of us. Our large English Tudor 6,500 sq. ft, beautifully and elegantly decorated home, held a family that was struggling. Struggling in the pillars of a crumbling, unhealthy marriage. I saw it behind the doors of other big houses. It was beautiful and I enjoyed part of the process because it reflected my color sense and creativity, but it was too consuming.-and too big! The outside custom paint color took precedence over my birthday lunch celebration years ago. The demands of bathtub, tile work and plumbing, took too much time when bringing home a brand new baby from the hospital and dealing with a brief bout of postpartum. I also saw how it affected the people around us, they must have thought how could these young people afford this home and furnishings? Well it came at a price and it was provided for by parents who meant well. But it was not our earned money and a man and woman must start out as a team. The only team playing here actually was the work on the house. However it took on too much importance to someone who valued big expensive things. In the end it was sold for a lot and provided an opportunity for me to take care of my kids full time following all the changes they went through. One child mourned the house more than the other. One was so young she remembers less than the others. It is only plaster, and wood, ect.

    Material things start to own you. I always say no matter where i live it is going to be comfortable and pretty. No matter how big it is. I agree if you have seen one custom marble bathroom (we had 7 bathrooms) and custom kitchen you have seen them all. The house no longer owns me. It serves as a reminder of another life and a job done well. But no house, car or material possession is worth the price when you are in a no-win situation. The kids have their memories and we moved on to smaller, healthier home. I got the kids and the dog, we made it through the eye of the storm and have flourished.

    I learned to appreciate what I have. Home is where the heart is- corny as it sounds- it is true. Eve

    • bossybostwick March 5, 2013 at 5:05 am #

      Eve, you explore all this eloquently and obviously have clarity that is often muddied around here by big walls and big furniture 😉 The team effort is key and the fact that material goods can own and define you is true and scary. You are so right that a home is where the love is and size does not matter at all, especially to kids. I am so impressed with your strength and your kids are amazing.

      • NTP March 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

        Well said Eve and Bossy. I used to see places that would always be beyond my reach and feel sad, not any more. You have to be happy with what you have and focus inward not outward. Our neighbors, whose house is perfect and was purchased at the highest selling price in our neighborhood were telling my mom about their planned $400,000 remodel. Ridiculous. When is enough, enough? Come look at our non grass in the front yard. We may not have much curb appeal but my Easter and St. Patty’s Day decor and great home cooked meals and treats are worth the price of admission to my house!)

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