Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Greed is Good...

...um, no, it isn't. Its inherently destructive -- it turns one from being a feeling, caring human being into a gobbling, dissatisfied consumer.

I feel like house-hunting is walking in temptation -- the call to want more, more, more and to spend more, more, more. We want a slightly bigger house with a more traditional layout. But if you're going to all that trouble, paying closing costs and moving, why not get more? You don't want to move now and then feel squeezed in a few years and have to buy another, bigger house? I also don't want to be house poor. I like ordering take-out once a week. Besides, a bigger house will only call for furniture that I don't have. Though we could fill it with toys and books[my material weakness].

We have too much stuff. We have so much stuff that I can't find the stuff I want to find because there is other stuff in the way. I don't scrapbook because I can't get to my materials because there is stuff in the way. I have to go out and buy stuff I already own because I can't find what I own. Thats just sick.

Okay, deep breaths. As I begin the process of de-cluttering, I realize we have all we need, if only I could find it. Would I be able to find it in a bigger house? Probably for a few months, then again, maybe not even that long because it would take longer to unpack, so that would become the new obstacle for finding things.

Meredith suggested I read Pema Chodron. I got one of her books from the library, Start Where You Are. I will post about that later. It definitely emphasizes awareness and satisfaction, ideas that at times seem at odds with house hunting.

Some of the realtors get to me. We live on the less prestigious side of a prestigious neighborhood. When we look at houses on 'the other side of the tracks' the realtors seem to always ask if we want to move 'up' for the schools. Ha ha. No thank you, I went to worse schools and turned out just fine, thank you. Sometimes it all seems so fake.

Then again, there are plenty of real people out there with real values and I keep finding them. God continues to be gracious to me though I am unworthy.

Do my posts seem like really bad Faulkner (okay, I've only read Sound and the Fury)? I've got to go back to journaling them first.


clanlally said...

I love George Carlin...."you need a house to keep all your stuff. Then you get more stuff and need a BIGGER house!" It's very true. It snowballs. I am on an ebay jihad right now. I have a pretty sizable music (cd) collection. 500-600 cd's just sitting there. I dont listen to them. I like to look at them and think I am cool. But they're cd's, its not like they're VINYL. That would be a different story. And I stopped being cool a long time ago. :) So I started selling them. Next is books. I have started something. The de-cluttering process. The thing that KILLS me is that we just bought Erin another doll for Christmas. Criminy! She has 3 that she doesnt play with already. A ha! I have a solution. Many used toys will be donated from us very soon.

By the way...with TiVo...instead of spending three hours watching your favorities. You would only spend two by blasting the commercials. And have you watched "Deadwood" on dvd yet? GREAT series from HBO.

Marjorie said...

Yes, its the toys that kill me. Books too, I'm addicted to used book sales. Toys are so much fun to buy and they're inexpensive and fun.

I haven't seen Deadwood but I know people are raving about it.

Anne Zelenka said...

I like your Faulkneresque posts... lots of roughage to chew on. Keeps the blog digestion running smoothly.

Sorry, maybe that's a little too anatomical.

Anyway, I'll go for a stream of consciousness approach because I don't know where I'm going to go with it. I'd love to make a blog post about househunting once I get some thoughts together. Meanwhile I'll put my raw stuff in this salad.

Seems to me there is a difference between improving your situation in a real way vs. either competing with other people or taking on more than you need to be satisfied. Since I've lived in so many different houses, I've experienced both too much and not enough house. It doesn't all come down to size. For me, it's more about function. We lived in an 1100 square foot house that was more functional and pleasant than one 50% bigger. The smaller one had a better layout and we liked the neighborhood better. But it was more expensive--other people recognized its merits too.

I think there are good reasons to consider a different house, whether it's bigger or better arranged or whatever and it doesn't just come down to greed. There are differences between houses and neighborhoods that can make a big difference in your family's quality of life.

Our rental house here in Maui is too much in a way even though it's smaller than our house in Virginia. There are spaces I don't need and there's expensive tile everywhere; it's such a pain to clean. It was built in the eighties, I think, and has such luxuries as a central vacuum and central stereo system but they don't work. They just clutter up the place with old technology.

Hmmm, getting a little too off point here, if there was any point.

I guess my point is that there are better and worse houses out there and it's not necessarily bad to make a change that works better for your family.

But I'm definitely sympathetic to what you're talking about as we are looking at all these fabulous and not-so-fabulous island homes and thinking, "we deserve better... we need granite... we need a two-car garage... isn't this professional-style range amazing" and so on.

Marjorie said...

I like your blog digestion analysis. Some of my posts evince a bit of 'blogointestinal distress' I think!

You're completely right -- its about function. The problem become wanting more and more. I just need to be patient...now!