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Friday, September 21, 2007

Drips, Drabs And Confessions

I know...I know...I have been a horrible blogger this week. Few posts and even fewer comments on YOUR blogs. I have been visiting but in drips and drabs or drabs and drips. I had neglected to mention (and only will now as explanation) that all of us have been ill. Just some wicked little virus that swept through and wrecked havoc on our sinuses and respiratory systems. And you all know what that does to little asthmatics like me. So, all is better on that front. No worries. And I know you understand that I have taking care of the little man (my nephew Boo) this week as well. His Mommy and Daddy have enjoyed a much deserved vacation but I know that he will tickled to see them and they, him. My little guy is a whirling dervish of energy so, I am sad to report this, almost 51 year old is pooped. I love being with him but I *am* pooped. Whew. Add in the fact that our air conditioner bit the dust..uh huh. Just 5 and a half years old, from a MAJOR manufacturer with a wonderful track record, and it is a goner. A *flukey* thing or so said the repairmen. Yup, I think that *flukey* is the professional term for it. Some costs will be picked up by the AC manufacturer/builder thankfully. Still, it had to be replaced. It is still very warm here and allergy levels sky high...sooo...have I complained enough yet? Okay... Then I got myself in a big funk and I really hate myself when I do that. It does not happen often but when it does...wham. I have worked through it, am over it, for the most part, but am also just so ashamed of myself. Heartfelt thanks to you dear Kari for the sweet emails...I will get back to you this weekend okay? So, here is the story, edited to protect you from boredom. What? Too late for that? Um...well, here goes anyway. I became terribly unhappy with my home. Uh huh. The home I really do love with all my heart. I began to fixate on all of the things that are wrong and nothing that is right. Every day I see how magical so many homes in blog land are and mine just began to seem so dull, so unimaginative, so plain. I began to fixate on every ding, every scratch, every minute wrong and fantasize that many of you live in sparkling clean, beautifully maintained homes that have every bell and whistle possible. See? Pretty awful isn't it? Then I ran into one of those, "so sickening sweet SAHMs that you could strangle her" that live across the way...the way being, "across the big road, you know, in the *nice* houses!". Uh huh...her definition. After hearing how *my* neighborhood has just the "cutesyish little places imaginable", I was also faced with her open mouth gape when I told her that no, we do not have granite counters or wood throughout or a whirlpool or a theater room or a 4 car garage or a custom designed closet and dressing room. I just do not know how I can face the dawn each day. I should be shot I guess. That was a joke you know...still, instead of laughing it all off as a very sad and superficial woman who will never know some of the pure joys that I have experienced, I let it get to me. Uh huh. Right between the ears and straight into the old ticker. No sarcastic comeback, no witty retort. I just turned tail. Turned and walked away, like a coward with tears in my eyes. I SHOULD be ashamed. Living in a small house (By typical US standards anymore) is what I chose. I like small. Really I do. But why am I valued less because I do? Are we perceived as having less money? That may not even be the case, evidenced by the high fore closure rate on those huge homes. When did we become a nation that judges one another in this manner? Maybe we always were. And I hate that. Detest that. But that ego crunch took on a life of it's own and I began to nitpick my dear Rabbit Run Cottage, finding fault with nearly everything within and outside of it's walls. I so want to add my personal stamp on this place, the tile, brick and wood floors. The stone counters, wonderful light fixtures, new paint, wallpapers, moulding, wainscoting...the little touches that add so much. I live in a standard home yet dream of living in a vine-covered 1940's Cape or a 1930's Tudor cottage. I used to be so proud of each little home I created over the years. I took unexceptional, typical box apartments, rental homes, condos & base housing and made it ours. Now, in a house that we OWN, I am still waiting to do so. Why? Simple enough, time and money. There is never enough is there? Spare time totally eludes me now and spare monies? It comes in drips and drabs now. Would I give up the adoption expenses, college fees, music/sewing/art lessons, school fees, school clothes, orthodontist visits, toys, games and all the other things that eat away at our extra funds? Not on your life! And I would not give up one second of the time I spend with my Mother, nephew, kids, family and friends to have more time to do what I passionately adore. Still, it eats at me occasionally. Gets inside and gnaws away... Now you see where the *I am so ashamed* part creeps in. I chose to be a stay at home Mommy and am so lucky to be able to do just that. For now, I am needed by this black haired beauty and my silly, spinning top of a nephew. I treasure the time I spend each week with my mother. Still, this choice does come with a price and that price is home remodeling. It will come, in those ubiquitous drips and drabs and I must be patient...patience having never been one of my steadfast virtues. For now, if the question of travel or home re-do is asked, I will choose the travel. My children (Yes, even the, not much of a child anymore, one too) deserve that. And I will remember that I have been so lucky to be able to make the choice of staying where I am most needed. I am lucky enough to be able to own my home and not to worry about from where the monies will come to pay for that privilege. My home may be cutesy and small and standard issue but it keeps us warm in the Winter, dry during rain storms and safe at night. There are no bombs exploding outside and we all have enough to eat. Safe and clean drinking water flows through our faucets and our school district is one of the best in the country. We have access to excellent medical care and yes, can afford to replace even an air conditioning system when needed. We have cars to drive and a good bus service when we choose not to. We have a nice washer and dryer and that alone is a luxury to me. I lived in apartments and base housing without one for years and became well acquainted with laundromats! Yes, my home now lacks granite counters and state of the art appliances but we do have a nice refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher and I am well aware of the fact that the majority of the people in this world do not. My neighborhood is safe and filled with neighbors who know one another's names, wave, host get togethers and genuinely care about one another. My house is not exceptional and will never be featured in a book or magazine (And yes, that was always a dream of mine) but it does say "Glad to see you" each time I walk through it's doors. It embraces every part of my soul. It lets me be me and each member of the family (including the 4 legged ones) enjoy it and feel comfortable within it's walls. It is where we spend time as a family, celebrate holidays, order pizza, argue, cry, laugh, welcome friends and dream. It is our haven. Our standard issue, cutesy, tiny, unexceptional haven. Which, in itself, makes it pretty exceptional now doesn't it?

23 comments:

T*mmy said...

I'm going to start with a confession and this is Not to make you feel better or worse....

I'm Tammy and I envy your home...it is beautiful...every nook and cranny that you show to us with your wonderful photography skills.

As for me, sometimes I think blogging makes us "feel" bad about what we don't have when we should be celebrating for one another...does that make sense?

Now...go brew a cuppa and think "happy thoughts"...
Love YOU!!
:)

Gretchen said...

Agree completely with T*mmy. I love your home. But, I think (no, I know) it's you I love, Sue. It's your personality. Your beauty through sacrifice. I was just telling a friend of mine (who, BTW lives in a million dollar plus home) that we're just going to put off furnishing and decorating until the kids leave. Her home is gorgeous, and, the only reason I don't hate her is that she's gorgeous at heart. She's been blessed, and I can't possibly begrudge her that. Though it would be nice to have what she has...

We were able to buy a beach house this summer. On the other end of this thinking, I was almost ashamed to mention it to any of my friends because I feared that we would be judged for such a blessing. Tough for me to think of enjoying my beach house with all the suffering (not only in Dafur) all over.

I've been blessed. I don't deserve it (any more than anyone "deserves" anything, can't earn it, and, most of all, can't claim it. What I can do, is be generous, be thankful, and above all, hold it with open palms.

I totally get your funk, though, Sue. Hang in there. Will send up a prayer for ya. xxxooogretchen

Rose Mary said...

Ahhhh. . .I have been there, too SusieQ. . .several times. I understand totally~and yet, like you, I always end up with the same thankfulness and conclusions that you voiced. And I do get ashamed of myself for thinking it, too.

You have a beautiful, unique home, filled, most importantly with the people that you love. And things that you love, too--which I am so happy you share with all of us who stop by your sweet home. Who can really want more?

My home may not be the neighbor down the streets 'taste', but then, I don't want her home, either. The inportant thing is that it is truly a HOME and not just a HOUSE. Have a great day, Susie Q!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Susie, so you're just being honest..nothing wrong with that. I tell ya, I think many of us have suffered from envy & seeing what others have & wanting more than we have at the moment. I don't have granite counters either, although I would dearly love them. They are not in the budget for a long, long time. I hear you on time & money..takes both! We have a nice house & there are things I'd love to change too, but for now, I'll be thankful for what we do have.

You know, I think with the internet & all the HGTV we've all been watching for SO long, it does create a sense of discontent for all of us. We have to just come back to reality & learn to be thankful in the small things that we are given. Believe me, my life is not all roses either. So, dont' think for a minute that others out there don't have bad days. We certainly do!

You do have a completely charming home..small or not. It has your wonderful stamp on it & YOU live there & you are such a delightful, friendly, warm & loving person & I'm proud to call you my friend, dear Susie.

Hugs & have a happy weekend in your cute & charming home!

Rhoda

Kari said...

Oh Sue! Where do I start? First of all, I guess I could start with a confession. (I really hate having to make those, you know?). But here goes...I feel the same way about MY house! I look at everyone's homes - INCLUDING YOURS - and think mine doesn't "measure up". And I, too, have worked very hard in every home we ever had to make it comfortable AND beautiful and always thought I was successful. But that was BEFORE blogging! Now I see so many beautiful homes and I look at mine and go "ugh". As in "ugly". After reading what YOU'VE been feeling, I think we should just go with "it's the menopause talking". That's why we're suddenly feeling so bad about our homes! Go with me on this...lol. I KNOW how lucky I am. I do. This house we're in is the BEST house we've ever owned. And I'm constantly thinking that I liked our last house better. I decorated it better. It was more homey. Something. It's always something. Heck, have you seen Kat's house (Just a Beach Kat). My GOSH! THAT'S a big, honkin', fancy house. But she's so gracious, unlike the hag you encountered, that I never feel like I don't measure up with her. Some people feel the need to make others feel bad in order to make themselves feel good. Lucky for Blogland, Kat is NOT one of those kinds of people. Sadly for you, you had to meet a person who is. You keep your chin up, rest assured that calling your home small, as you always do, doesn't convince any of us that your house is less than perfect and know that YOU are what makes all of us happy anyway, not your house. Your house generally just leaves us all feeling envious. lol Now send me that rude, hateful, uppity woman's address because I'm gonna go smack her around for you. I'll show HER not to treat my dear friend badly. (and tell Grace to get started on sewing me a nice sling for the arm I'm sure to break over that woman's head!).
Your envious (and happy to be so)friend,
Kari

Rosemary said...

Wow,
Now that is pouring your heart out.
I'm right there with you. Your house is really great. I always think so when I read and see your blog. Whoever said small is bad. That is why I named my blog petite maison. My house isn't the biggest or the smallest in the neighborhood. I don't care either way. I like it the way it is. I am still dreaming of my granite countertops. Don't know if or when I might get them either. Who cares though. I always have a list going with what I might want to get sometime. That doesn't mean I will. We should all appreciate what we have, whatever we have. So yay for us! I know some people like that lady. I prefer nice sweet down to earth people.
OK, I will stop now.
Have a great weekend in your lovely home.
Rosemary

Sheila said...

You are honest enough to admit what we have all felt at one time or another.
But as one of your commenters here has already said, the most important thing is your house is a home. All the money and granite counters in the world cannot change that.
I bet if you knew Mrs 4 Car Garage a little better you would know that her BIG house is a substitute for everything you have and she wishes she had.
I admire your taste and the way you have put your home together, and aspire to come even close to achieving a look like the one you have created.
It's obvious that you count your blessings, and that this phase you are going through is just one of those end of season blips. Get your Fall things out of storage, and start decorating for Halloween. I WANT pictures.
love and big hugs
xxx

Dawn Bibbs said...

WOW...now that was DEEP!!! And I must say, that I'm impressed. I feel ALL the things that you feel about your home...I just don't think I've ever put it in perspective quite the way you did. Thank you for helping me see that it's ok to have a house that functions as a HOME. I've told you before, that everytime I see pictures of rooms or things in your home, I feel welcome. And I've never crossed the threshhold, or the state line for that matter, of where you live. But again, I feel welcomed. You have nothing to prove to those who don't walk in your shoes, eat at your table or sleep in your beds.

I'm so sorry that you haven't been feeling well. And I truly hope you're feeling better now. I've missed you.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend...Lord knows you deserve it. Take care, my friend.

smilnsigh said...

Oh Hon, wish I could come by and give you a hug. There's been a lot of this off-one's-usual-self going around of late, it seems. I've been ballistic and I keep reading more and more gals, who have been having their own troubles. And now you too.

-sigh- Well, as I try to gain my even keel again... Try and try and try... I guess I should be comforted by the fact that I'm not alone. Lots are trying to find their even keels again.

May we all accomplish it! For our own sakes. For our family's sakes. For our friends sakes. And for our Blood Pressure!

And!!! I am in lust for your smaller house!!!! You know that. I'm constantly coming back to the refrain of how I have to make believe we live only in the rooms we now use and it's my way of getting past my 'Cottage Want'!

Both E. and I would like a Cottage, and we can't do such a move. -sighhhh- So you go kiss your walls and tell them, there's an old gal who's in lust with them. :-))))

Hugs,
Mari-Nanci

Andi said...

So glad you're feeling better. It was so nice that you could look after your nephew while his parents got some vacation time.
Now Sue, your home is so totally awesome...everything about it is just wonderful...with the exception of the broken AC. I tend to moan and groan a LOT when I'm hot!

And I try not to yearn for the belongings of others but that little black and white doggie lamp is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. If you would be so kind as to share where you got it I would be forever grateful.

PEA said...

I have a house that's only a thousand square feet and I've never had a dishwasher..does that make you feel better?? lol Oh Sue, what you are feeling is what we all feel at one time or another...you wouldn't believe how many times when my rich relatives are around, I feel like the "poor folk" because they have big houses, furs, diamonds, etc. But those things have never really interested me...I just putter around my little home adding my own personality to it and if anyone doesn't like it, I do have 2 doors they can exit of! hehe Don't feel ashamed, my friend, we've all been there..now I wish I could go smack that woman that treated you like that...grrrr! The pictures you've shown of your home are WARM and LOVING and COMFORTABLE and so YOU...don't ever change anything:-) xoxo

Valerie said...

you know what i love best about your home?

you live in it.

and that ol' PITA broad's house will NEVER EVER have the love or joy yours does.

or the happiness.

i love you!!! have a hundred hugs - on the house!

Jen said...

I can relate to what you're saying but remember what really makes a home a home; it's what lives in it and the love that fills it.

I live in a community where I'm looked down at and I'm sure often referred to as "trailer trash" and I can say in my heart that I am far far from it. I am a good genuine person and I live here because it's what we can afford. We chose to live here....and I have a very nice house considering it's a manufactured home.

And you know what genuine people like me say about the *itches like the one in your neighborhood- well, use your imagination Sue.

I think your home is so homey...I also admire your pictures of it.

justabeachkat said...

Sue

Wow...first, I appreciate your honesty. We've all been there for one reason or another. It's okay to visit Funk City sometimes, but don't unpack your bags. Hehehe!

Why, oh why, do some people want to make others feel bad? It's just plain rude and mean. I'm with Kari...I'd love to go whip up on that meany!

I love people for who they are, not what they wear, or drive or where they live or work, etc. It's the person. It's their heart. And I love your heart. I love coming for a visit. Because of YOU!

Extra hugs for you sweet friend!
Kat

Terri said...

I hear you sister!!
We have had some houses I loved and some houses...well, not so much. But I tried to make each one a home. Between the expense of raising 5 children and all the moves and the cost of living going up and up...well, some days I just want to sit right down and have a pity party for myself.

But, then, like you, I sit down and count my blessings and realize how rich I really am. And I wouldn't trade my life for all the money in the world.

Hope you and yours are all feeling better now.
God bless.
Terri

extra good mom said...

Hey, I know how you feel. Going through those thoughts right now BIG time. We recently moved from TN to MI to be closer to my husband's mom and dad, who are in declining health. It was so the right thing to do. However, we had to leave our VERY comfortable home (aka expensive) and we moved into (sit down for this) a manufactured home. That's right, a trailer. Now, it's a nice trailer - 2200 sq. feet, but a trailer non the less. But this move has allowed me to stay at home while transitioning our children into a new lifestyle and schools. That was so worth it. But, still ... you know. Just know that big houses and stuff do not happiness make. We all know that. It's just accepting when we don't have it, that's the hard part. If it's any consolation, I LOVE YOUR HOUSE! So do alot of people. Sorry this is so long - I identify, sister!! HUGS!

Melissa said...

You are the LAST person in the world I'd expect to hear say those things about your home - but I'm so thankful you have been honest with us. I went through a time when I was really, really discouraged about not owning a home, but then all this foreclosure business started, and the roof on our rental house is in need of replacing, and suddenly renting doesn't seem like such a bad deal after all.

I know I'm about the elenventy-billionth person to say this, but I love your cottage. I love seeing your little tablescapes. I love hearing about the good times you have there. And I love hearing about how much you love your family.

You really are very special, Susie Q!

Mary said...

Dear, dear Sue -- Your house is NOT unexceptional! Just look at the beautiful photos that grace this post! And, as far as I'm concerned, small is beautiful!

I live in a town where there are lots of new, huge McMansions. I'm sure that anyone who sees my Little Red House from the outside would think that it's a teardown. And inside, it's got lots of dents and dings, no closet space and not enough bathrooms, but it's ours, for better or worse...I'm sure you feel the same way about Rabbit Run Cottage.

So make a cuppa, sit in your favorite chair, put your feet up and just take in all the beauty you have created!
xoxo,
Mary

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

I think the woman was just jealous! Because you have a lovely personality that shines right out of your face, a lovely home and a lovely family!! It's obvious to everyone who meets you, how lovely you are (even 'virtually' you can tell!) and she can tell that too, and wanted to put you down! Take no notice-we all love you and your gorgeous, gorgeous (I'd swap with you anyday!) house!!

Terri and Bob said...

Can I make you feel better? Go to my blog, go to the Fall post and enlarge the photo with the Wreath holder on it... look to the left at the crock and what do you see behind the crock??? Yep, a spider web. I almost took the picture off the web, but this is my home! I got a good laugh from it and promptly cleaned up the spider web... but left the evidence for me and now, for you....

I love your home too! I have used plenty of your ideas in my own home.

Plus, you have enriched the lives of others around you... can your neighbor say the same?

SusieQ said...

Sue, this reminds me so much of the time my mother got mad at my Aunt Lena for the way she reacted to Mother's decorating.

It was during the 1950's. Aunt Lena was heavily into interior decorating and had even taken a correspondence course in it. Her house was one of those post WWII models (1 1/2 stories). So, it was modest in size and design. But Aunt Lena knew how to make it look like it should be featured in House Beautiful. In keeping with the times, magazines were perfectly fanned out on her coffee table, and you knew not to pick one up as they were for show only.

Mother was the younger of the two and looked at Aunt Lena as her role model. She sought Aunt Lena's approval then. It happened that Mother had invested a lot of time, thought, and a certain amount of money into redecorating our home that particular year. She fully expected Aunt Lena to be blown away by it all. She expected her to be that impressed. If Aunt Lena was impressed, she surely did not indicate it with her choice of words in appraising Mother's decorating results.

"How quaint." She told Mother after seeing Mother's decorating. Well, Mother knew that "quaint" did not mean the same thing as "stunning", "smashing",
"spectacular", or "exquisite". She knew that it meant odd in an old-fashioned sort of way, or in other words strange. Naturally, Mother was insulted and she sulked about it for a long time.

It is true that Aunt Lena's house was beautiful, but it wasn't homey like Mother's house. It was too sterile. When you walked into Aunt Lena's house you felt like you were walking into a show place where everything was untouchable. You did not get the feeling that you could kick off your shoes, put your feet on the coffee table, and use those throw pillows for their intended purpose to support your head or arms. But when you walked into Mother's house, you knew immediately that this was a home where you could relax. It exuded warmth.

I've seen photos of your home and I think it is smashing, stunning, spectacular, and exquisite because of its homeyness. You have a talent for pulling things together in a way that turns a mere house into a lovely home. I think that is the ultimate goal all of us should have in mind when we look at our houses be they ones with whirlpools tubs or ones with simple soaking tubs. The idea is to take it and make it a home. You have done that, Sue, very nicely.

daisy cottage said...

Dear Sue,
YOUR home, your beautiful, warm and inviting, soulful home is one of my very favorite places to visit...if only virtually - because it is so loved, and a reflection of YOU. Your home radiates - YOU are the lucky one.. and your home is blessed.

xo,
Kim

Sheila said...

Oh, Dear sweet Sue, your home is one of the most inviting, most welcoming homes I've ever seen! It's not the quantity... it's the quality! And your beautiful home certainly has that. Just through your posts, I can just feel the love of your family, and the coziness of your house. Your decorations put mine to shame! I think we ALL go through phases like that where we see all the wrong things, and not the good, but that's just being human! I'd be honored to come and visit your home anytime - (but I probably wouldn't want to leave... you'd be stuck with a permanant house guest!! hee hee!)