I really thought I had rejected the idea of keeping up with the Joneses/Kardashians/Whomever.
But I’ve spent the last 20 years exhausting myself to make the house, well, House Beautiful. Some of it was my preference. As in, I prefer not to live in squalor.
And some of it was people pleasing. Which is just another way of keeping up with you know who.
None of my children remember living in a condo. But both kid #1 and kid #2 lived in a 750 square foot, 2 bedroom, one bathroom (didn’t much matter, they were in diapers/pull-ups) condo. With seven cats. Nope, not a typo, we had seven cats and two kids in that teeny, tiny condo.
Stray cats found us. I fed them and took them to the vet. Go ahead, judge me. I was being as kind as I could afford while my very young kids napped. Yes, I was a crazy cat lady.
We ended up moving into a rental house that the parents of my husband’s sister’s husband owned. So my brother in law’s parents. They were nuts, so I hope we’re not still related. We lost a few of the cats there (yes, I took all 7 cats when we moved); then we moved to the ‘burbs. (We still had four cats at that point. Young children not getting doors shut all the way led to all four getting out at various times and eventually not making it home. We were catless for a couple of years because I was in mourning and my kids were too young to understand the concept of pet responsibility. Eventually, we adopted Clementine from another homeschooling family. Then I wandered into Sprouts for groceries while PetCo had an adoption event going on and I brought Anna home…with the fruits, veg, and bread.)
Anyway, I realized recently that my big suburban house was another way of keeping up with the fantasy neighbors. As was my marriage: “We’re celebrating our 20th, 21st, 22nd anniversary this year. La-di-dah.”
I was an idiot.
A very unhappy idiot.
Now we’re living in a 1,200 square foot, two bedroom townhouse (we meaning me, two teens, and two cats). I hope I’m grown up enough to let go of the competition. I love this townhouse. It doesn’t have a yard (hallelujah!). It doesn’t have granite counters (amen!). It’s not too big for one person to clean in less than a day (raise your hands and sing!).
It’s beautifully painted, in colors we prefer. The cats have a lovely (hidden, thank you, Michelle at The Green Study) litterbox and two floors to chase each other through.
I could live in this townhouse until my children put me in a nursing home.
Or send me to the Soylent Green factory.
Either way, I’m out of the race for most amazing house on the block.