Jewish World Review August 20, 2004 / 3 Elul, 5764
It's a small world, but they wouldn't want to paint it
Our house may not look huge from the outside, but trust me, it is
enormous. Granted, it's only a fraction the size of some of these swanky
new houses that look like convention centers, but nonetheless, our house is
Despite our home's ample size, when all five of us are home there
are days when we do feel a bit cramped and crowded. Someone mumbles about
needing a basement. Someone else wonders how we have managed without a
recreation room, a pool table and ping pong table, while yet another party
questions how much longer we can survive without a plasma television and
Someone else mentions that the family room is too small to
accommodate a small party for 500 close friends, while another voice
suggests the possibility of knocking out a couple of walls and building on
a small addition. Say, something in the modest 8,000- to 9,000- square foot
range and throwing in an in-ground pool and tennis court as a reason to
come home from college.
Some days, this entire family carries on like this house is so
dinky that it's a marvel the city zoning commission gave us a street
address. Why, the way these walls are closing in we should all be
medicated for claustrophobia. Come to think of it, it is probably just this
side of a miracle that the five of us have been able to live in these
tight, cramped quarters without elbowing one another on an hourly basis.
Now, witness this. The minute I mention cleaning the house,
something strange and mysterious happens. Something along the lines of "The
Twilight Zone." The house, which only minutes ago was judged to be on the
cramped and confining side, instantly mushrooms into an expansive villa
twice the size of anything the Vanderbilts dreamed of slapping together in
Dust the furniture in every room? Ha! I might as well announce
that we are going to wipe every speck of sand from the Sahara desert.
Vacuum? Was I serious? Surely not the entire house in one day.
This house, the very same one that sometimes cramps our style and
provides minimal personal privacy, is now the size of the Roman Coliseum.
Oh yes, did I want they should sweep that out as well?
Wash and wax the kitchen floor? Sure, and they'll be happy to hose
down Buckingham Palace if I think that needs it, too. And, maybe the track
at the Speedway could use a wax and polish.
It's not just the inside of the house that has a way of
fluctuating in size; the lawn has a bizarre way of shrinking and expanding
When it's time to mow and trim, the yard swells from an average
suburban lot to acreage suitable for a thousand head of free-range cattle.
And when it's time to wash the windows, we might as well be talking the
Take a little advice from a homeowner who lives in a house that
can go from cracker box to estate in under 60 seconds. If you hear
grumbling that your home is cramped and crowded, don't call a remodeling
company; just set a vacuum cleaner and a sponge mop in the middle of the
living room floor.
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© 2004, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.