Jewish World Review August 20, 2004 / 3 Elul, 5764

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

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 plenty big.

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 in-home theater.

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 North Carolina.

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.

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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 as well.

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 Sears Tower.

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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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.


© 2004, Lori Borgman