the simple minded suburbanite


Giant Wardorobe
October 12, 2009, 4:21 pm
Filed under: culture, suburban, suburbanite, volntary simplicity | Tags:

“Nobody has these giant peices of furniture in their homes anymore but, somehow, you make it work!”

Ahh, yes.  A compliment, I think, for my gargantuan supposed to be bedroom armoire, turned family room armoire and my design ability to make due with it.  The hulking piece of wood that wouldn’t fit up the stairway when we moved into this, our adorable older home in the equally adorable neighborhood where we currently live.  Imagine towering pines, a muddy river aflow with weekend kyakers and fishermen.  Picture perfect frame homes, windows lashed with shutters and window boxes.  Brick walkways.  Petunias.  Sodded lawns. 

Imagine also, if you will, the underbelly of a community not all too dramatized by Desperate Housewives.  Not all too produced by The Real Housewives of the…whereever.  Could be anywhere.  Everywhere.  Even here.  Especially.

My husband, my three little boys, our old dog, and I moved into this pretty, little yellow house on my birthday four years ago saying, “There’s lots we could do with it, but nothing that has to be done right now.”  We were happy.  We had found a solid home and a warm community where our boys could run across backyards and ride their bikes to friends’.  People made us pan after pan of brownies, welcoming us.  We were finally settled and chatted over details of  slowly creating our dream house.

“Slowly” is a big, bad, dirty word here.

“Slowly” nothin’.  Homes were being gutted.  New homes were being added on top of old ones.  Yards were being leveled and replaced with golf-course caliber greens, and in some cases, actual private putting greens.  Roof ripped off.  Garages turned into play rooms.  Guest rooms into closets.  Kitchens turned into emporiums.

“Slowly” got no place here in the suburbs except to seperate those who can (apparently) afford to renovate in the swoop of a wand  from those who can’t. 

But, we got the slows.  No way around it.  And finally, after a couple of years of saving, me working a side job, many “gotta fix” projects, and taking advantage of recession retailers’ desperate sales, we finally bought new family room furniture.  Monumental!  We were so excited!  And it wasn’t cheap (to me, anyway).  We got nice stuff.  Just the right buttery color.  Ample seating.  Style.  Situated neatly in the room.  I’m in complete acceptance that whatever it is we purchase, it’s going to stay with us for a long, long time so, we gotta love it, it’s gotta work, and it’s gotta last.  Thus the centerpiece of the family room, the monstrous armoire.

A purchase made several years ago with a small, four-figure inheritance from my great-grandmother.  I made sure we spent the money on something we would keep with us for a long time.  I felt and feel this honors my great-grandma’s (love ya’, Lu-Lu-Belle!) memory as well as the hard work and sacrifices she made to save her pennies and be sure that all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren never went without. 

Do I still LOVE the armoire?  Not so much.  It’s more traditional than I am.  It fit the style of our first home much better and, to me, does suit the bedroom it was originally intended for better than the family room.  I do love some of the newer, sleeker, mid-century modern sort of styles that are hip, now.  I realize that flashing your flatscreen equals shouldering your new Prada bag, but, the armoire’s not going anywhere.  I don’t think we could even get it back out the door.  And why? really.  Why would I ditch a perfectly well-crafted piece of furniture for a pottery barn television stand that I will not like in two years either.

So, what did I say to my neighbor who insisted on seeing my new stuff (the hood was buzzing when they saw the Bassett truck pull up in my driveway) said, “Nobody’s got these giant peices of furniture in their homes anymore, but somehow, you make it work,” Did I respond…

“This is a reminder to me of  my great-grandmother’s love and generosity.”  NO.

“This is a classic and never goes out of style.  Money, apparently, doesn’t buy you taste.” NO.

“I think it is ecologically, financially, and morally irresponsible to continually consume and discard.” NO.

 I said nothing, because I am too slow.

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