Monday, September 22, 2008

My house is a very, very, very small house...

Six hundred and eighty eight square feet small in fact. Two adults and three cats live quite nicely here. There is a "studio" in the back of the garden where I keep most of my art/craft supplies. The single car garage serves as storage and computer room. I have had 12 people over for brunch and all have been quite content. (I did have to get creative as I ran out of chairs.)
In the summer the large back yard has made it possible to have larger numbers of folks over for parties. I feel quite happy about the size of the house for the most part. Another bathroom would be nice and an actual dining room would be lovely BUT we have lived here for seven years quite happily. Sometimes I feel like I am missing out by not having a bigger house. I am not sure what exactly I feel I am missing other than a larger mortgage, but sometimes I feel not quite an adult. When people hear how many square feet the house is, most get a confused look on their face. Here is an example conversation:
THEM: Surely you mean 1688 square feet!
Me: Nope.
THEM: My walk in closet is bigger than your house!
Me: Yep.
THEM: Yeah, 3500 square feet. All 2.5 kids have their own rooms with internet access and chock full of toys, clothes etc. Gourmet kitchen, not that we actually eat at home much with Buffy going to field hockey practice and Biff going to young Republican meetings along with the dog's yoga class and....whatever other activities fill in their hours.
Another classic conversation is...
Them: You don't have a cell phone? (a panicky look on their face starts to form as their mind kicks into overdrive trying to come up with a translation they can understand. )
Me: Nope.
Them: You mean you don't have it with you RIGHT NOW, BUT YOU DO HAVE ONE?!
Me: talking slowly and clearly...No! I don't have a cell phone.
What really sends people over the edge is when I tell them I don't have cable either. Guess what? I don't want it.
There are so many "things" out there that are considered essential and people blindly accept that they NEED to have them. A large house, a new car every year or so, a cruise (gag!) to Alaska or some other destination . The latest fashions, gadgets, doo hickeys or thingamabobs. What frustrates me is all the talk of wanting things to be different, but continually doing the things that ensure things will stay as they are. Shopping as therapy, recreation and reason for being. Insisting on lots of cheap merchandise, regardless of the true cost to the environment and the people who make the stuff. Having to find room for all the cheap merchandise once it is purchased . Spending more than one can afford to try to satisfy that sense of something missing. Driving everywhere-including the gym to get some exercise. The things we do each and every day contribute to the state of our mental well being as well as impact the environment where we live and around the world. It's great to recycle but wouldn't it be better to not have all of the stuff in the first place? These are things I am thinking about, what about you?


Angelina said...

Oh yeah. I'm thinking about the same things. You know, my favorite house in the whole world had 1260 square feet which was perfect for our family of three. But before we had Max we had lived in many apartments that were the same size as your house. I don't think there's anything weird about having a small space. In fact, I'm embarrassed by the amount of space we have now because I didn't seek out a big house but this was the only older home with a decent sized yard and a good enough kitchen.

With a kid it's nice to have a little extra room because they are like little vortexes of chaos which in small spaces can easily overwhelm us. But even kids don't need much space.

I don't have a cell phone either. I have experienced a lot of the same conversations. I also don't have cable.

You know, if I could peel off one of my rooms and give it to you I would totally do it. But unless there are a lot of things you can't do with your life because of having a small house- don't let other people's notions of what's comfortable make you question what you have. Your heating bills must be tiny. Cleaning your house must be easy. It's like you have the compact existence of a manageable city apartment but with the incredible blessing of nice sized yard. It doesn't get much more ideal than that.

Tonia said...

I would love an extra room of yours. I would have to have a larger house if I had a kid. This house has made me be more organized and get rid of a lot of clutter. Sometimes during the Winter it seems a bit claustrophobic but then come Spring and Summer it seems a lot bigger because I am outside in the backyard. -Thanks for linking to my blog!

Gina said...

Is that your house in the picture? Very cute!! I actually miss my smaller urban house (750 SF, plus basement). I think back on how I complained about things and have since learned ways to maximize my storage. And, what I would do with that yard now!!

I love the landscaping in the picture!

Tonia said...

Thanks! I think it's pretty cute. One of the first things I did after I moved in was to remove the front lawn. I planted lots of herbs and flowers and there are some river rocks placed throughout. Soon after, the next door neighbors, that had just bought right after me, did the same thing and then their neighbors did the same! --tonia