Sunday, August 13, 2006

New House

"Our House" -- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (So Far, 1974)

Cover art by Joni Mitchell---did you know that?

Rob and I moved into this house about five months before Haley was born. That makes almost 9 years ago; easily two (and close to three) times the number of years either of us has lived in a single structure. I love our house, I love our neighbors. The family immediately to our right built at the same time as us, the last two houses to be constructed on our street; they had their first baby (a girl) six weeks after Haley was born. We love to sit on our decks and chat across the fence, barbecuing and sharing pitchers of margaritas. They're also my primary jazz friends and we've shared cds, magazines and festivals together.

The rest of the neighbors are great, too, and our kids all run in a big pack with the older ones looking out for the littles. Very nice.

I want to move.

I never thought I'd actually say that; I used to have bad dreams where my favorite neighbors moved away... Here are the things I love about my house:
spacious, great floor plan, great quality construction, good neighborhoood, the trees I planted on each of our daughters' first birthdays and on Beth's birthday the year after she died, the garden that Rob's Mom has lovingly cultivated all these years, reasonable location, two very nice downstairs "sitting" rooms for separation of groups when needed. Like when Rob watches noisy sports allllllllll weekend long and I just want to be quiet with my knitting or reading. Or the kids have friends over and I don't want to watch The Princess Diaries again.

And the things I don't:
outside of the master bedroom, closet space sucks, it needs a second stairway, lot is too small (1/4 acre), back of the house is virtually nothing but windows (pretty) with southern exposure---too hot (always) and impossible to control the brightness (blinding) in winter.

There's also this big issue (for me) of the kinds of kids mine are exposed to. Let me be very clear: I wouldn't change a thing about our neighbors or their kids. They're perfect and our parenting styles/expectations for behavior are very much the same. But up and down the streets, in the halls of schools, there is too much affluenza, senses of entitlement, parents constantly lobbying for more, faster, better. And badly behaved, over-indulged, spoiled, ill-mannered kids.

A Long Drive
Last night after visiting with a friend and driving toward home in Rob's extremely lovely car, I decided to take a long drive. I used to do that a lot in Tallahassee. I didn't have much discretionary income, but gas was a LOT less than 3.21 a gallon so late in the evening, either by myself or with a friend, I'd grab a Coke Slurpee and go for a long drive around back roads. I'd scope out routes for bike rides, noting shoulder width, good shade, or just ride and sing with the radio.

One of the things I do love about living here is that in about 25 minutes, I can be in DC and have just about anything you'd want from a large city. In about 7 minutes, I can be in the middle of nowhere; big open spaces with animals and trees. So last night I spent about an hour and a half driving down roads I'd never heard of and enjoying the lovely weather---about 60 degrees and clear. A sure sign that summer will eventually yield to my favorite season of all.

I guess that's why I've decided that Rob and I should sell our house. We should exploit the over-inflated market, leverage a bunch of equity and buy a nice-sized parcel of land (2 - 3 acres?) and build a house with better closets and multiple stairways. And a big, big, big, backyard facing a stand of evergreen trees. House nicely situated back from the road. I want neighbors, but they could be a little further away. I think we could easily break even on this transaction and be within ten minutes of where we are now. All we'd have to do is buy that parcel adjacent to the County Correctional Facility.... Still, its a nice thought to explore on a late-evening drive with the windows down.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young---protest songs
So as I was driving last night I was listening to a 70's station on XM. I was struck by the quantity and breadth of genres represented in protest songs. Particularly the volume of R&B-ish protest songs around the Viet Nam war. Of course there were plenty of rock-ish tunes. Is it because I'm kind of out of the loop with respect to today's R&B that I just think that genre isn't cranking out any war-focussed protest music these days? I don't really count Pink's "Mr. President" song becuase no matter how she tries, she's really not black. Country music seems to always be taking on issues of unemployment and taxation, rarely touching the issue of war. Rockers wanna get high and stay home, not get shot at so they protest war.

I was listening to John Legend yesterday. His music is smooth and appealing but almost all of his songs are about cheating and talking your way out of it when caught. Am I wrong? Is there a political awareness of our situation reflected in R&B that I haven't caught wind of? Are the neo-soul guys doing this? Does neo-soul even exist anymore?


Melissa said...

I think the Oxygen network must have talked to you in their most recent study about Women and what Women want... Now I know you like your diamonds too :)

NEW YORK - Diamonds are no longer a girl's best friend, according to a new U.S. study that found three of four women would prefer a new plasma TV to a diamond necklace.

The survey, commissioned by cable television's Oxygen Network, which is owned and operated by women, found the technology gender gap has virtually closed with the majority of women snapping up new technology and using it easily.

Women were found on average to own 6.6 technology devices while men own 6.9, and four out of every five women felt comfortable using technology with 46 percent doing their own computer trouble-shooting.

Anonymous said...

I can understand your feeling of wanting the best for your family but remember the grass isn't always greener on the other side. There are always problems at school, different problems maybe but always problems. What you have in your little neighborhood is special. The fact that these kids have been friends for life is special. Make sure moving would be the best thing for everyone and not just a long drive in the country wanderlust. Are the girls going back to school this week or do they start after Labor Day like Carrie? Have fun.

LYFE Donna

Kathy said...

There are a hundred really good reasons, like the one you point out, to not move. Chief among them is what it would mean for Mary who shouldn't have to endure another move in the years she has left.

I just really loathe overbearing parents.

The girls go back on the 28th; they're very psyched but Lindsay is heading for a rude awakening: she thinks she's going to school, too. She insists that's the case. I'm expecting a bus stop tantrum....