Words Like: Big and Mansion, are Relative terms By: Lori Loesch
The soap dish was laying on the tiled bathroom floor, far away from the bathtub, where it was last night. My first thought was; how did it get over there? Next thought; I’m glad I purchased the rubber one. I have learned to be practical, and more realistic, in living my life.
I can afford the fancier soap dishes, and I have in the past. When we moved into our “Dream Home”, fancier soap dishes were in order. Seven years later…Boy, I’m glad you can buy rubber soap dishes, these days. No broken pieces of ceramic on the floor.
Let’s talk furniture, I suppose we can afford new living room furniture, we desperately need new furniture. It’s been seven years…and again, I think back to the “Dream Home”. We couldn’t, wouldn’t, put the old black leather, living room furniture, with the whitish, cat claw marks down the arms and backside, into the dream, living room. That just wouldn’t do, so we bought new. Oh, how I fussed to keep the new couch clean. Fast forward seven years, we added life and a new puppy! A small German Shepherd puppy, that will someday soon, turn into a big dog. We started out wanting him to be an outside, farm dog. One that stays in the yard, knows his boundaries, and protects those boundaries. Well…that never materialized, it was a good thought, though. He has been in the house, since day one, the kennel worked for a while, then my husband said that, what’s the point of having a guard dog, that’s not able to protect us, because he’s in a cage? So Max, the small puppy, was anywhere he wanted to be, couch, bed, and chairs, dirt, hair and all. Today the new couch looks a lot like the old black, leather one, except that my other German Shepherds were not allowed on the furniture. I must have…no…I did loose my tougher self, after I had my daughter at age 42. Keeping up with a 4 year old and a puppy and six cats………Oh, I lost myself there! Big dog = Big messes. When Max walked through the hallway, his big bushy tail, wet and muddy, hit the wall, leaving a big muddy print, of Max’s big bushy tail!
I remember how I felt about my Dream Home, and the newly painted, not off white walls. I had picked my favorite colors, and I loved how each room turned out. Beautiful, I could not have been more pleased. If you have painted before, then you must know that mixing colors and painting them on the wall, doesn’t always turn out as you had it pictured. The walls were “art” to me. Yes, “Art”. No haphazard pictures hanging on the walls. No stickers, drawings, or scribbles on these walls. I kept pens, pencils, crayons, thumb tacks, and tape out of my, at that time, three year old daughter’s reach. I wanted to enjoy the simplicity of the walls in all their colored glory.
When I was in my mid thirties, with my first born son, waiting each morning at the bus stop was like watching a parade of expensive cars drive by. We lived in State College Pennsylvania, a small college town, with much wealth and beauty. There was one lady that lived in the development above us, the wealthy neighborhood. She drove a brown Rolls Royce. The only Rolls I had ever seen in town. As the months went by, and winter approached, I watched as she drove past the bus stop, each morning. The Rolls had a large dent in the passenger side door. Each day there seemed to be another ding added. She drove, parked, and used her Rolls Royce. It was just a car, like my Subaru. I should tell you that growing up in my family, a nice car was treated with respect. You didn’t drive it in the rain and you parked it over the winter. My family put more respect into material things than they put into people or animals.
My husband lived a practical life. He bought a new Mazda truck for work. The first thing we did in that truck was, drive out to our friends farm, to pick up a load of manure. I couldn’t believe he was going to use a new truck like that. From that point, when the manure dumped from the backhoe bucket, thumped with a thud, into the perfectly, pretty blue, truck bed, my life was changed. Cars were meant to be used, not kept clean and new forever.
Back to this dream home. My husband is a developer/builder. He takes a small plot of land and makes it a beautiful development for families to raise their children. It is a good feeling when families are so happy to purchase their first home. When we built this dream home, we put the best that we could afford into it. There was talk among my husbands’ associates that they wanted to tour the house. To see their products in the finished home. I felt like the house was on tour and I would need to keep it looking like a show room. I stopped living in my house. It didn’t feel like it was mine. It felt as if I were living in someone else’s house and I had to keep everything new and not worn and used.
Seven years later, I can say that I’m treating this house a lot like I treated my last house. I’m living in it. The hard wood floors, next to the sliding door, that’s always left open to the outside elements, is water stained and worn. I like it that way. It is our life, and, it’s ok. The scratches show how we lived our lives and I remember when that big scratch across the living room floor was made. The cabinets, which were top of the line, are scratched where we pull them open. I think it’s neat. I can see which drawers and cupboards we use the most.
We live a practical life now. Plastic, rubber, nothing ceramic. Even the butter dish was put out of commission. A greasy, ceramic, butter dish, sitting on top granite countertops, is not how I like to live my life. We have a plastic one, and it works fine, better even, than the expensive one. When it comes to drinking glasses, they must be glass. I just do not like to drink from a plastic cup. We buy sturdy, not expensive drinking glasses, and I gave up the porcelain sink, for the silver metal one. I was breaking a lot of glasses in that sink.
I kept my good jewelry in the jewelry box to be worn for special occasions, thinking that I’ll never loose a stone or break a necklace. Today I wear my favorite, jewelry everyday. What good is a beautiful piece of jewelry if I keep it in a dark box? Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. What good are the fruits of our labor if we don’t put them to their intended use?
Practical; Yes, Boxed; No. My daughter has always played with the dolls that relatives bought her for Christmas, and wanted them kept in a box, waiting for the day when they will be worth money. When they voiced their disapproval of me allowing her to play with the dolls, I kindly told them that if they wanted to buy my daughter a doll that was not to be played with, they could keep it for her at their house, and give it to her when she was old enough to understand; Doll = Box = No Play
When I clean the pond pump, I walk through the house in my Duck shoes, covered with Walnut tree leaves and wet grass. Across the marble and hardwood I go, leaving a trail of wet leaves and grass, behind, in and out, back and forth, because that’s just how I roll. Fussing to take off my shoes every time I must go inside to retrieve something, is exasperating!
Do I want to live in a perfect, showroom home? Yes. When I visit friends that have that perfect, everything in it’s place home, I do find myself feeling envious of them. No clutter, no piles of paper on the granite counter tops. Do I even have granite countertops? They look like paper tops to everyone. Things sitting on top the counter, you know, things that we need everyday, like, bug spray, Afterbite, hand creme, a microscope, because I love to check out cool bugs under the scope. The iron and ironing board are sitting on and under the granite counter top. I don’t have the energy to put it away every Tuesday after I iron my son’s dress clothes. Why not keep the iron and ironing board in the laundry room, you ask? My son, who is 21 years old, says that if I keep up with the laundry, I could do the ironing in the laundry room, and keep it set up in there. Yea, right!
I am coming to terms with how I live. My son’s friend, who also cleans homes, for a living, was flabbergasted when she walked into our big house that some have called a mansion. I don’t. Mansion is relative, small is relative, everything is relative. Her expression was, “I love you guys, you live in your home!” She turned around, taking it all in. I could tell that she couldn’t believe her eyes. She thought that our home would be like the ones she cleans, it isn’t.
A home should be a place to relax and live in, a place that you want to come home to. I feel ours is just that, lived in and comfortable.