Thursday, February 28, 2013


Really - it was fancier than this!
I don't think it is as simple as envy.  That suggests that I want what someone else has and maybe that's a small component of the feeling.  Wistfulness is a part of it.  Missing what I once had, even if it was less grand. Sheepishness or something  that's short of embarrassment is there, too.

These were my feelings last night when I walked into the home of a book club member.  A home designed and decorated in a style nothing like mine but in such an obviously expensive, no holds barred extravaganza of molding and cabinetry and designer excess that I was a bit awestruck. 

Since we host the club meetings on a rotating basis and we now have 20 members (!) I may end up moving before it is my turn.  If not, I have no idea where I will put them all.  My little house was overflowing when we had 10 members. It isn't like I am the only member with a small home. One member regularly hosts in a restaurant rather than try to make the logistics work and I could do that.

Part of my chagrin is that we rent and the home has not been well maintained by the owners before  we moved in or since.  At the very least it needs paint and it's long overdue for  a lot of updating and repairs beyond what Tom is willing to do out of our pockets - because we have already done quite a bit of that. So these things are not in my control.  I don't want to go around making excuses for the "substandard" place in which we live but it is always in my mind when people are over.

The wistfulness comes because we had really nice homes in the past.  Not only spacious, but nicely decorated and maintained.  We have never had high end interior designer budgets, but then again, I don't really have a taste for a lot of frou-frau and embellishments.  (Twice I have visited the houses we sold after the new owners poured a lot of money into them and for the most part, I think they were nicer before all the moldings and granite inlays and such were added!)

I enjoyed my nice homes when we had them and was aware of how fortunate we were.

I was willing to give up our last house for the little rental because it was in support of Tom pursuing his dream of a law practice. And 10 years later I am feeling, well, tired. 

Maybe what it boils down to is loss. I don't see an end to our financial stresses.  I don't see a time when we could own our own home again and have the ability to paint and choose window coverings and light fixtures and all those silly things that I feel so shallow just writing about but still somehow have a hold on me.

So I guess the feeling isn't envy - I don't want what my book club member has. I want to have something that is my own again.

1 comment:

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

This is a hard one to deal with... we rented for many years (either on our own or directly from the military), but the last 3 houses have been ours via purchase. When we lived in NoVA, we chose to live a safe, secure area (no gang activity) but my husband would joke that we brought the median income down to a lower level by our presence. There were some incredible houses... and then there was ours, with "experienced" furniture.
I don't know how I would react to going back to renting, but I have a local friend in that very boat right now, and I know how frustrated she is feeling.

I also know how I feel when I visit a sibling who lives VERY "comfortably"... I don't want such a fancy kitchen or even the gorgeous vacation home, but there are some bits of envy present, regardless of how I think I should feel.

Everyone makes different choices. Some of those choices are our own, some are made by others, and some things aren't choices at all but circumstances beyond our control.
Here's hoping that you can make your home a place of comfort and refuge for you & your husband.
Those who have trouble with anything beyond that don't deserve to be welcomed into your home. (JMHO)