Monday, July 18, 2011
McMansions, Spandex, and Brie. Oh My!
Three years ago next month we moved from Park Slope in Brooklyn to Westchester, Katonah to be exact. I am still not exactly sure how we ended up in Katonah. Neither Z-Man or I had ever been here before we decided to make it the ONLY place in Westchester we would look for a house. We knew of one family who had made the same exact move a couple of years earlier. They seemed happy enough, so hell, we would be happy too! This was pretty much the extent of our thoughtful contemplation and neighboorhood research. Instead of calling us morons, let's choose to check the box that reads "Silly first time home buyers", deal? I could expound upon on all we overlooked when choosing our first house, but this should give you a pretty clear picture: The first May we were in the house we had a premature heat wave. I turned to Z-Man with all the innocence of a newborn fawn and said "Honey, turn on the AC please?" He kind of stalled for a minute, I guess trying to recall some of the information we had learned BEFORE we bought the house, and said "Oh yeah, we don't have central AC". Now, being the apartment dweller I was for many years, this was not particularly alarming to me (oh, the adorable innocence...). I would be happy as a clam with window units! Old school style, I'm down with that. Z-Man agreed and went to search out the best windows to plant our soon to be purchased AC units. It was not a good day in Katonah when Z-Man had to tell me our oversized and horizontally sliding windows would not accommodate ANY air conditioning units!!! Insert horror movie genre scream here.
I will spare you the sweaty details of the next TWO summers. Let's just say that I can cross "Sweat Lodge" off my bucket list. We came to our senses and had central AC installed this past Fall. Yes, that would be after I spent a hot summer pregnant in this house. Apparently Z-Man and I lose any sense of logic as it applies to a free standing dwelling.
I still struggle with life in the suburbs. Sometimes the struggle feels like I am a Gladiator in the Roman Coliseum. Sometimes it is just an uncomfortable little whisper that says "what the fuck are you doing here, Woman? There isn't a decent cheese shop for 20 miles, get thee real Camembert!".
I have come to terms with many parts of suburban life, or really Life Not In the City. See, for me the struggle isn't so much about what I have now, it is more what I gave up. I like having a car to drive to the supermarket and load my provisions into afterwards. I just wish the food was from Balducci, not Stop and Shop. I revel in having the space to store enough Christmas ornaments to decorate the Rockefeller Center tree. I just wish I had a Starbucks downstairs instead of a basement.
My two biggest gripes with a suburban life still eat at me, despite my best efforts. The first is this: Many people in the suburbs seem to be suffering with a case of the "Still Not Enough's" Me included (at times, then I punch myself in the gut until I snap out it). Suddenly a 2800 sq ft house isn't big enough. Doesn't everyone NEED a 4000 sq ft house?? This isn't the Middle Ages for Heaven's sake! And while we're at it, my 3 year old luxury SUV isn't as brand spanking new as my neighbor's! Where is the justice?? Obviously this exists in the city to some extent, but it is different. It is more hidden. Maybe that is because the cars are in a parking garage instead of a driveway. Maybe because there is nothing a city dweller is more scared of than a 4500 sq foot gaudy McMansion. I'm no sociologist, but I think I am on the right track.
My second gripe, and the one I vow to never, ever get over or accept is this: When the HELL did workout wear become accepted street clothing?? NO, it is not OK to spend your entire day in clothing meant to wear in a gym! If your outfit contains more than 5% spandex, it is to be removed BEFORE you exit the gym and enter the supermarket. Understood? Jeans, cardigans, and the like are your friends ladies, no need to be scared. I promise.
I am aware of the somewhat condescending tone of the last part of this blog post. Forgive me. We are all works in progress, no? Please send any hate mail to my manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.