I want a new house. I have sung various versions of this song in the past including “I want a new couch,” “I want a new car,” and “I want a new bed…four poster.” Generally my tune changes when I realize two things. The first is that need and want are two very different things. The second is that when it comes right down to it, I prefer to have money then to spend it. To each his own…and I like to keep mine.
In most cases, however, there is a suitable alternative. When it came to my couch, a sectional circa 1983 covered in burnt orange velour, I purchased yards and yards of forest green pre-washed denim and recovered all eight sturdy pieces. I know that when my mom decides she needs a new car, we’ll do a little switcheroo and suddenly I’ll be driving her gently used hand-me-down. As for the bedroom furniture, the kids and I waited until my husband left the country for work, crept down to Home Depot, and replaced all of the furniture’s hardware.
But now there’s this house…
Could we stay here forever and be fine? Sure. But the fact is that I’m working from home nearly full time now and would love a room of my own. In fact, both Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf suggest that a room of my own is downright necessary. On top of that is the issue of my daughter’s bedroom. My son’s is the same size, but his penchant for collecting things is much smaller so it evens itself out. I dread the “you need to get rid of some of these things you still play with and enjoy” conversations, and we’ve had those more than once.
And then there’s my stuff. I don’t mean the things in my home now. I mean the things that are still in my parent’s home. There are photo albums, letters from old boyfriends, books that my daughter will want in a couple of years, toys my son would play with now, an RCA stereo with speakers that are pieces of furniture in their own right, crowned with a glorious record player on which I long to play Joni Mitchell, The Doors, and Madonna….her first album…on LP.
In my mind, in our bigger house, there’s a room in the basement where that stereo now lives. In one corner, a music stand. In the other, a drum kit. My son and I take lessons together and rock out while my daughter rolls her eyes, violin in hand, wishing for quiet. When we walk to the main part of the basement we find that old couch, its eight ancient squares still perfect for fort building, the vastness of the basement the perfect foundation. Upstairs we find my breadmaker on the granite counter-top. No longer too large, it enjoys its freedom from the basement and once again the house fills with that sweet smell of baking dough while a wood fire roars in the family room’s fireplace, light spilling in from the sunroom windows. The front of the house holds my office, stacks of books, brought out of boxes and dusted, line the white built-in shelves. Up the main stairs, because there are also back stairs in my new house, I find four spacious bedrooms, one with an antique four poster bed, another in pinks and purples with shelves of books and baskets of toys, a third decorated in puppies, and a final bedroom for our frequent guests who finally sleep in peace, no computer clacking away late into the night.
Am I crazy? Am I materialistic? Is it wrong to want plenty of space for the things…the things you love? Should I let go of this vision of my daughter’s room filled with my books and my son dancing to my Thriller LP?
Well welcome to my crazy. Mi loco es su loco…