April 8th, 2009
Oh, sometimes I get so frustrated when talking to the Tech Guru. When he gets his stubborn Capricorn goat mentality going it drives me crazy.
We have a not-so-large house that was renovated in the 80s. Poorly done work for the most part, but one of the good things they added, and something we loved, was the humongous master bedroom. It is 425 square feet. I don’t know about you, but I’ve stayed in smaller hotel rooms.
It is one of the few – okay, maybe the only – feature of the house that makes us feel grand. It was, until the kids came along, a sort of soothing sanctuary. We painted it a deep avocado green and have it furnished with British Colonial
crap furnishings that I am now so over. But one of the room’s best features is the windows, which look through a sea of trees. Because our property is on a hill, we look out and feel as though we’re in some sort of treehouse. In the winter, we can see the NYC skyline clearly through the icy boughs, and in summer, the dappled sunlight filtering into our room is heavenly.
You see that I can wax poetic about this room, because I do truly appreciate the feeling it gives me. It feels wonderful.
But you know what else would feel wonderful?
A large room for the children, one in which I could put their curricula, their toys, nice fluffy cushions for them to jump and go berserk on, one in which they could play with their friends or each other while the rest of the house stays relatively sane-looking.
They need the space. They run through the rest of this (small) house like their asses are on fire. As much as I love the idea of having such a large master bedroom, I feel as though keeping it for the sake of feeling like the King and Queen of Fucking La-La Land is not only selfish, but not very forward-thinking.
If we stay here – and as long as I’ve been talking about moving I’m convinced now that we will raise these kids right here in this tiny ass house – it makes sense to give them the large room. We are two adults. We love the space, but we don’t need the space. What are we doing in here that’s so grandiose? We sleep. Big whoop. We don’t have 6 million toys. We’re not entertaining our friends in here. We are not being homeschooled with all kinds of kits and art shit and books and curricula, all of which need their own space. And as for the Tech Guru’s stuff, well, he has his own fucking office already. What is this big huge bedroom doing for 2 adults?
We are being driven out of the rest of the house, and my attempts to make him that if we gave them this room, we could reclaim the rest of the house and have our own room, albeit a smaller one, downstairs, fall on deaf ears. I mention this to him and immediately I can see the goatishness coming over him, he is Master of The House, he is paying for it, and therefore Big Chief Must Have Big Teepee to feel good about self.
Fucking come on already!!!
Let me explain, just so you know, what the rest of the house is like.
Downstairs: A small living room. A dining room. A kitchen attached to a long sunroom or family room. One end of the sunroom includes the requisite beat up kitchen table that we purchased for less than $150 at Ikea so the kids could draw on it, glue on it, paint on it, do whatever, without us having to give a crap.
At the other end of the sunroom is what we call the “play area”, the space in which the kids are encouraged to keep their toys.
This was a lovely and wonderful idea when it was just Punksin, and she was 2 years old.
Now, she is 5.
She has a younger brother who deserves his own toys – not saying he needs his own space, or even a shitload of toys, but he should have a few of his own things. So this space, which was fine for 1 small child, is getting mighty cramped for 2. Not to mention that poor Punksin likes to have a friend over every now and then and finds this small space rather embarassing. And it’s not like they can go outside, because we have no yard, just a big fucking hill that is overgrown with ivy and has no safe passage. So what’s inside is what it is, not only for the kids, but for the friends that don’t come over because we don’t invite them because where would they play? And I am extremely sensitive to this because as a child I had less space than she did. I had no space, hence no playdates. It pretty well sucked and it chaps my ass that this is happening to my kid.
I should add that halfway between the table and the play area is a bookcase, which houses my multitude of cookbooks. Stacked on top of that are two plastic drawer organizers, each one houses about 6 drawers and those are filled with all of Punksin’s school stuff. It is glaringly clear that we’ll have to add another one soon as I start to make my instruction of Pudding more “formal”. I have no idea where that’s going to go as there is no more space on the bookcase. And why did we put it up there in the first place? Why, because there was nowhere else to put it that was above Pudding level and he was going in those drawers on a daily basis wreaking havoc.
There is one minute bedroom downstairs. I think it is literally 13×11 or something. Again, fine for one child, but for 2, unless we do bunkbeds, it’s a really small space. And even with bunkbeds, where’s all the rest of the crap going?
The Tech Guru’s answer is to renovate the basement and renovate the attic and renovate the master bathroom and all this renovation that I have no idea where the money for any of that shit would be coming from right now. I am trying to work with what we currently have, to make this living situation practical and fair for all parties involved. And all he cares about is having a big ass bedroom that he doesn’t even use for most of the day. He’s not even here! We’re here, stuck in this house while he has the car, I’m watching the kids make a mess all over the house and somewhat sympathetic because they need room. He was against them getting a tent from Ikea, for Christ’s sake, although he finally broke down and bought the damn thing. What does he think they’re going to do all day, sit on the couch and drink tea while they read books? They’re 5 and 1!! They need room – and they should be able to have it in their own house.
So it had occurred to me some time ago that it would make so much more sense for us, as a family, living in this house, to give the kids the Master Bedroom. The pros, as I saw it and still see it:
- They get a larger space to accommodate their toys, their playdates and their energy.
- They are closer to the bathroom that only has a tub. (Because yes, our stupid ass bathroom only has a tub and if we want to shower we have to go downstairs to the main bathroom.)
- They have a space which can actually become their classroom. It is big enough that they can have beds on one side, a play area, and a book nook. Actually, now that I think of it, it’s pretty much as big as Punksin’s Montessori classroom at school. I can recreate that and keep all their stuff in their room, removing a great deal of clutter from the rest of the house.
- Doing all of that, we get the rest of our house back. No more toys strewn everywhere with no real place to put them. What comes down goes back up at night. The current play area can be reinvented as a little library or put back to its former role as our lap of luxury with a nice divan laid out – or both.
- If we take the small bedroom downstairs, we are right next to the bathroom with shower. We shower. The kids don’t.
- We are closer to the entries of the house, instead of being upstairs in La-La land while the kids are close to any points of entry.
- With the big bedroom as their room, we can put them to sleep and then make our way downstairs for date night, studying, whatever. As it is now, they sleep with us and will probably continue to do so for some time because we have the room to accommodate it.
The only drawback, and it is of some consideration, is closet space. That bedroom downstairs has one tiny closet that is only useful for someone like Jack Reacher who only owns the clothes he is currently wearing. But with that being the only thing to work out, it isn’t, to me, enough reason to stop from making a change that is in the better interests of everyone in the house. Everyone – even the Tech Guru. He complains about the mess, well, that would do a good deal to clear it up and not have the house looking like Toddlers Gone Wild.
But nooooooo. Because despite the fact that he is gone all day, and despite the fact that I am here all day, seeing these children try to make the best of the indoor space they have because we are stuck here and have no yard either, and despite the fact that Punksin would like to have friends over but has no real place to entertain them anymore, and despite the fact that I am trying my best to increase the complexity and interest level of Punksin’s work and have no idea where her science kits and other shit will go, and despite the fact that I too would love to be able to lie right next to the Tech Guru instead of a 20 month old, no matter how cuddly he is and how good he smells – despite all those things, at the end of the day, although the Tech Guru is only in the bedroom for those hours in which he is sleeping, apparently, that sleeping must happen right here in this bedroom. And all that other shit will just have to be my problem and Pudding’s problem and Punksin’s problem until a hundred grand or so just flies out of someone’s ass so that we can renovate.