So a few weeks ago, my husband and I bought a house. A very ugly house. A very very ugly house.
Each time someone asks me about it, I must insert that adjective into the conversation – just so that everyone is on the same page. It’s ugly.
There’s an old real-estate adage “Worst house, best street” and that somewhere down the line, it will turn out to be a good investment. God let’s hope so because right now, I’m having nightmares about babypoop brown brick and lawn full of prickles and mission brown mosaic tiles and woodgrain linoleum floors.
Everyone seems very excited for us; they’re all making positive, encouraging noises, just like they are supposed to.
One friend asked me if I was excited (about the house) yesterday. And despite an overwhelming compulsion to placate and say what they wanted to hear (yes), I paused to think it over and then answered:
I’m not excited; I’m anxious and until yesterday, I wasn’t sure why. I had started to worry that it was one of those gut feelings you get when something’s about to go horribly wrong, but it’s not.
I’m moving to the suburbs.
There, I said it.
The reality of moving to the ‘burbs has me in a bit of a spin. I love the city I live in. It’s a very special place and there’s nowhere else you can get the lifestyle in the world. I’m not knocking it. But I wouldn’t say this city is bubbling with culture at every turn. Or history, or quaintness or…a certain…je n’est ce qua you find in Edinburgh or Florence or Melbourne…so, I’ve worked very hard to feel comfortable and culturally plugged in living in here. Our first apartment was a little bit urban and central, our current house has been quite eclectic and vibrant, and my previous place (going back a bit to single days) was bohemian and slightly odd…and now I’m moving to the suburbs…the real ones…with a house on a bloody cul de sac!
We’ll be the youngest people on our street by several decades and I can already feel the deathly quiet creeping up on me…I’m afraid of becoming boring and detached and pedestrian inside my own brain. I don’t want to become ‘suburbanised’…
I know it’s silly. I know that I can make an effort to stay connected to the cultural bits and pieces I love so much but it’s going some rationalising for by brain to conquer my pathetic creative heart.
So, here I go:
A very large backyard for our giant baby golden retriever.
A garden full of native plants, trees and flowers (and birds…for the GBGR to chase…).
A project to transform something ugly into something not so ugly (seriously…the abject horror of this house is almost unbelievable).
A three minute drive to the beach.
A roof over our heads to call our own (which means we have jobs that pay decently, which is a blessing in the current climate.)
Today, we chose a new type of drought tolerant, shade and sun friendly, dog resistant lawn. I bought two gardening magazines. I spent an hour in the paint shop choosing colours to makeover the babypoop bricks. We bought a very expensive vacuum cleaner and looked at lawnmowers that cost more than my car.
Today, I embraced suburbia. I can appreciate it without being consumed by it. It’s ok. I’m ok.
So – what do you need to rationalise? Go ahead – try it.
PS. I also bought tickets to see the a play vaguely related to Shakespeare next week (just a dash of…je n’est ce qua?)