Sunday, January 2, 2011


The Christmas tree has been dragged from our living room and thrown unceremoniously to the curb. It was carted off by the sanitation engineers masquerading in our city as garbage men and will be ground to pulp and recycled as books for poor children and paper bags for grocery carrying.

The circle of life, indeed. I’m sure the tree would not have elected to have already completed its trip around the circle, but no one asked it. I mean, what are you going to say? “Excuse me, Tree, mind if I cut you off at the ankles and shower you with trinkets and tinsel?” Be serious. Even if it had the ability to decline the offer you still would have chopped it down and turned it into the gaudy centerpiece of your living room.

Because our tree is gone, the dog’s bed can return to its normal placement by the fireplace hearth. It is a large bean bag chair, and likely more comfortable than my own sleeping quarters. For several weeks Zen’s bed was crammed beneath the piano so the Christmas tree could stand near an outlet. Gotta have those bright lights burning to help dry out the tree as fast as possible.

With the dog bed returned to its proper place, the coffee table can now sit squarely in front of the couch. It had migrated a foot or so to the left (or to the right if you are sitting on the couch) so that passersby could make their way through the living room without stepping on the dog or banging a shin against the table.

Everything is going back to their original places, which is important to someone like me who desires order more than anything else. More than truth, honor, love, or cash, I desire order.

Okay, hold on a sec, that sounds bad. Makes me very shallow. Let’s go with cash first, then order, then all that other unnecessary nonsense. Truth and honor . . . please. Next you’re going to tell me I forgot about justice.

No I didn’t.

Now that the holidays have been obliterated once again, I have returned to my regularly ordered world, and I recall that we have more room than we need. We don’t have shelves covered in doodads, and there is actually room in each room to walk around. The most egregious example of our un-American behavior is that we can park two cars in our two-car garage. Scary, isn’t it?

In 1992 Kristin and I fell prey to a common illness: buying as much house as we could afford. It’s what the real estate professional said, it’s what the mortgage lender counseled, and truth be told we were greedy enough to swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Even if we could have done with less.

We had one kid at the time and were moving from a small two-bedroom, one-bath home. We didn’t need to go five-three with the new place, but we did it anyway. Yes, two more kids came along, and isn’t it nice that they could each have their own room, and its not like the house is ginormous, but I am firmly convinced we could have lived the last nineteen years just as well with less square footage.

After all, one kid has flown the coop and the other two will soon follow. I have learned to divest myself of the things I do not need and so my pile of possessions has slowly dwindled. I have actually removed shelves from the garage due to lack of use. Kitchen cabinets look sparse to the average American, but hold everything we need. I don’t need separate exercise room, office, sewing room, and guest room.

What I really want to do is downsize in a big way. I truly aspire to live in a tiny house. Less unused space, and even better: less space to put unnecessary things. I am leaning toward the 89 square foot model. That’s right, an entire house in eighty-nine square feet. Smaller than most bedrooms. The thought makes the average American slightly sick to his stomach. It makes me swoon.

It’s got everything: a front room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. There’s even a fireplace, and some sort of sleeping quarters. It could be problematic if you have to sleep in a vertical position, but I suppose I could get used to it. Best of all the whole place comes mounted on wheels, kind of like my childhood Radio Flyer wagon.

Ahh, memories.

There are a few roadblocks before the big move can take place, summarized as wife, two teenagers, dog, and too much stuff. These can mostly be solved by throwing out, growing up, and passing on. Just depends which method should be used for which item. Although I’m pretty sure if word of my plans gets out nothing so drastic will have to take place.

They’ll just gang up on me and make me move out on my own.

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