is something I've never been, I guess. I can't remember ever living in a house that was fancy; from the apartment underneath a church fellowship hall to a parsonage in Goldendale, a storefront apartment, shared spaces with roommates and a boyfriend, a falling-down house in Colorado (bentonite was to blame), a couple of my own "boughten" houses after the divorce but still nothing fancy. It didn't feel necessary to spend a lot of money on home furnishings or on the structure that held them; it was more important to be cozy and not too expensive.
The house I live in now, I am often aware, is low on the scale of luxury, by Whidbey standards. Nearly everyone I know lives in much more elegant surroundings! And I love visiting those homes, sinking deep into sofas that have no decorative shredding, admiring gardens that are freshly weeded and mulched, decks that are free from the litter of empty flower pots and sacks of potting soil, rooms that are actually decorated as opposed to hurriedly thrown together, office rooms that are vacuumed and dusted, bathrooms with unstained tubs (it's NOT a bathtub ring, it's iron in the water), kitchens with leaky fixtures and very little counter space.
That's a description of my home sweet home: shredded furniture, weedy gardens, littered decks, thrown-together bedrooms, dusty office, stained tub and sink, moss on the roof, you get the picture. But this is the favorite so far of all the places I've lived, even the house in Portland where I lived for only a few years before moving to Seattle.
Last night I hosted the ad hoc task force which is drafting a Covenant of Right Relations for our congregation; each of them lives in a gorgeous home with lovely furnishings and even views of the water. I sometimes wonder what people think when they come to my house for a meeting or other gathering; my house is no showplace---except maybe for the acres of grass, shrubs, and giant trees that form the yard. I hope they don't feel sorry for me and I hope they don't wish I'd live in a more upscale way.
The truth is, I'm living just exactly as I want to. The house is clean and tidy (well, a little dusty with a few dust farts in the corners). I don't have to share it with anyone, so in between visits, the catnip on the living room rug can pile up, the toothpaste spit in the sink can congeal, the dust farts reproduce. It's my house and I love it.
I just don't need stuff, I guess. At least, decorative stuff. Except for the paintings I've bought over the years. And even the paintings are not museum-quality. They're things I've bought from friends, mostly. They have relational value, rather than monetary value. Maybe my house and its furnishings have relational value and that's why I'm happy with them.
The house itself is big enough for parties and potlucks. The deck has hosted a few warm-weather jams. I have room for overnight guests. The place is easy to find and there's plenty of parking. I have nice neighbors. The couches are soft, if shredded. The basement accommodates our band practice and recording sessions. It's a happy place to be, I think.