My friend and I recently attended our local Tour de Starter Castles, beautiful homes mostly out of normal folks’ price ranges. It never hurts to dream. But more perplexing than the upper six digit prices of these architectural wonders was the pristine state of each and every home.
Admittedly, some were brand new and on the market so the spotlessness was understandable. But some of these homes were clearly occupied. The level of cleanliness and organization was overwhelming.
Closets with shoes organized by color, style, and season. Men’s shirts were hung neatly in the closet in color groups, subdivided by tint and hue. Alphabetized pantries. I’m pretty sure the workshop in one of the garages was organized in some form of the Dewey Decimal System.
Were these people for real? Do they devote their entire lives to cleaning and organization?
I surmised instead that these homes must be occupied by some form of alien beings. As we walked through these homages to the architectural gods, I scanned the smiling faces in the highly polished framed photos for evidence of these alien pod-creatures living among us, perhaps identifiable only by their slightly larger heads.
These Hummer Home neighborhoods evidently have some rather strict covenants. Clearly, dogs must be potty trained or a self-cleaning breed because despite the number of dog houses and invisible fence flags, I saw no dog poop whatsoever. Having lived with two dogs the last ten years, I think I’m onto a fairly basic law of the canine world. If you have dogs, poop happens.
The other thing that appeared to be covenant governed was the requirement that the homeowners scour their tires before pulling on their driveways and into their garages. Not one inch of concrete or asphalt displayed so much as a speck of dirt, dust or rogue tire track. I felt bad walking on the asphalt in my shoes and even wore my standard issue paper booties right across the driveway so I wouldn’t leave unsightly tracks.
I also noticed that there was no evidence of children living in any of these homes despite rooms decorated straight from the pages of Pottery Barn Kids. A few artfully placed matching framed photos of children were present in some of the homes though. That explains it. The pictures are much easier to clean up after.
Another abundantly clear fact is that size matters. One house had a great room where you could easily park a Cessna and still have room to throw a dinner party for twelve. Many bedrooms had sitting rooms, probably because they are so large you have to sit down and rest while walking to the closet. The master bedroom closet in one was bigger than my entire first house -– and probably cost more as well.
Another home had a shower in the master bath so big it looked like a carwash, with shower jets pointing at you from all angles. It probably had a computerized feature that would clean your personal undercarriage as well.
So as my friend and I compared notes about the show, we were impressed with the beauty of the homes. But it was disappointing that none of them appeared to be for real people, with real lives, and real checkbooks. Some of us simply have no possibility of a housekeeper or boarding school for the children. I would have loved to open just one closet door and get knocked off my feet when the contents jammed in there came flying out as if spring loaded. In fact, I would have felt right at home.
Returning home that day, I turned into my uneven gravel driveway with the weeds vying for my attention on both sides. I pulled into the dark garage and promptly ran over my son’s bicycle –- the light bulb burned out two months ago. I opened the car door just narrowly missing the pile of wood and tools stacked there for building the deck –- a project started last year.
I thought about how nice it would be to live in a new, clean, organized home. I wished I could put on Dorothy’s little red “Wizard of Oz” shoes, click my heels together and say, “there’s no place like a new home,” and magically find my house transformed.
If only my shoes weren’t buried by the clothes that fell off the single closet bar that snapped last week, I just might be able to find them.