Saturday, July 23, 2011

Other people's houses

The latest Southern Living arrived a few days ago, an event I always look forward to. I generally thumb right to the recipes--they have some wonderful ideas, and I've cut out and saved lots of recipes in my appalling collection. But this time I looked at some of the houses--a summer cottage that someone enlarged and turned into a permanent home on retirement, an indoor/outdoor dining space added on to an existing structure. I drooled over these picture-perfect settings, barely able evene to imagine myself owning such gorgeous property and living in it.
Then today I went for a tour of the two-bedroom 1920 house, carefuly redone, that a friend of my daughter's has just bought, and I drooled again. A perfectly landscaped backyard with an outdoor bar and no grass--rocks and flagstone. Built in sub-zero refrigerator, built-in gas stove, lovely granite counters, a butler's pantry, and even a fireplace at eye level in the master bedroom (if you were lying in the bed). Final touch, for me, was lovely roofed porch. While I was happy for the new owner, I felt a pang of envy and wondered if I would have fallen in love with the house and bought it--which is what she said happ ned to her. But I came home to my comfortable red brick, with its welcoming porch, and was glad to be here.
Truth is that I'd like to live near water and I don't--not for water sports but to sit and stare at it. And another part of me would love to live in Santa Fe. But I live in Texas, which right now is damned hot, but I love it. My house is comfortable--folks usually rave about it when they come in, though to me it's time for a thorough redo that I can't afford. But it has a good kitchen--not counting the fact that I can't have a gas stove. It has plenty of space for kids and grandkids, and it has a grand front porch on which I entertain--though not this summer with our never-ending heat wave.
I don't really want to move by a big body of water, even in the cool North though that's tempting, and I don't really want to live in Santa Fe. My children and grandchildren are in Texas, and in Fort Worth I have a great network of friends. I used to think about moving to Santa Fe, but I knew deep down I'd be lonely and bored. In Texas I have connections I've built over forty-five years. You don't walk away from such a life easily--or at least I don't. I don't have that much adventure in my soul.
Maybe other people's houses always look better to us, and we should--brace for a cliche--learn to bloom where we're planted.

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