# # The Necessary Year - Day 20: Defining the Parameters (part 3): Home Sweet Home

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Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

The Necessary Year – Day 20: Defining the Parameters (part 3): Home Sweet Home


(this post is part of an aborted 1 year experiment in material abstinence I called The Necessary Year)


Ah. The residence. Shelter: one of my base three requirements. Talk about a necessity – especially up here in “dang, is it raining again?!?” country.

For the past ten years, I have been living near and working in a community that has a lot of folks living what the rest of the US would consider alternative (if not just outright whacked) lifestyles. I don’t mean same-sex partnerships or tinfoil hats (although there is plenty of that around here, as well) but living with a concerted emphasis on being “green”, with “green” meaning everything from how they try to live in harmony with the environment to the color of their teeth.

The area’s eclectic collection of lifestyles run the gamut from your average, SUV driving, red-meat chowing, reality tv watching Americans to the purposefully homeless and hairy iconoclasts who live off the land (or busking, hand-outs, and dumpsters) and own no more than they can strap onto their backs or bicycle trailers.

Living around these latter folks, who may be more than a little ragged around the edges yet profess to not only be happy with how they live but also successful, one cannot help occasionally question what, exactly, is necessary in a home – or if a stationary home is even necessary at all!

For a man in my position, however, I am afraid it is. I somehow think that expecting to keep a computer, stereo, and my accumulation of musical equipment in good working condition in a refrigerator box-cum-studio apartment behind the local hardware store, is a bit of a stretch – not to mention the complaints I’d likely hear from my 13 year-old daughter (the little ingrate).

So, I want a permanent dwelling of some sort. The sprawling building I presently call home could easily house three or four families the size of the one that occupies it now, and I have grown weary of such a lifestyle. I do not need a foyer, vaulted ceilings, or enough space to form my own army. These things have always been unnecessary for me – after having lived that way for a decade, they have become unwanted.

In a perfect world I would just march right out and buy myself a home rather than have to step into another money-wasting rental but, unless the happy, gilded, doubloon fairy makes a surprise visit sometime soon, that option is simply not on the table

While a studio apartment of modest size would suit my needs quite well, having a teen aged daughter makes an enclosed bathroom and sleeping area a necessity: A traditional two bedroom house or apartment, then.

If I could somehow locate a three bedroom, or a two bedroom house with a work area of some sort, this would be even better but I can get along with just the two bedroom for the time being. My own sleeping area can double as the studio space I am thinking of, if need be.

If there is one area that I have been absolutely spoiled these last ten years it would be that I have once again been allowed to live as I was raised: out in the country where a fellow can urinate off his deck without fear of offending anyone (well, outside his roommates, that is).

However, as discussed prior, the down-side to living outside the city limits is the amount of driving such a situation can entail so, for a person attempting to curtail unnecessary expense, a sort of compromise is in order. The best I could ask for would be a place that has a small plot of earth for a garden, which I could use to supplement my diet.

As we’ve decided that my appearance plays a role in the job I deem necessary for my life, I think running water is important. Running water also plays a role in keeping disease at bay and it’s wonderful in facilitating that morning cup of joe I’ve been so magnanimous as to allow myself.

Speaking of hot coffee, at this time I prefer to allow some distant plant to pollute the environment while I kid myself about the cleanliness of the electricity, as opposed to creating my own, smoky, wood-fired energy at home to brew said beverage.

And back to the computer, music, and daughter: electricity is so entrenched in my view of what I “need” that there is no getting around it. Not that I waste it needlessly (can you waste it needfully?). I was raised and continue to be one of those busybody freaks who shuts the lights off behind him (or you) when leaving a room, run the thermostat like Scrooge (preferring to don more clothes than nudge the tempie up when I feel a chill), and eschew such things as long showers or leaving a television set on to entertain the plecosthemus.

Alright then: we have an abode, running water, and electricity. What else could we possibly need?

I know: stuff!

I have plenty of stuff already, more than plenty, truth be told, but my collection of belongings runs the gamut from useless to ridiculous. Very little of what I presently have do I need thus, when I get my own place in the near future, I am going to have a series of rather rude surprises when I realize just what it is I no longer have – but have come to enjoy and, in some cases, feel I need.

When I moved out of the house as a teenager, my parents provided me with a bunch of cast-off stuff that was none too fancy but suited my needs to a “t”: dinnerware and bedclothes that had been relegated to the back closets or family camper. When I got married, however, these ratty, bachelor pad accoutrements went the way of farting with indifferent gusto at the dinner table.

Since then, I have become accustomed to eating with matching plates, glasses, and flatware; cooking with specialized tools that I’d previously assumed a regulation pan or spatula could handle; bathing with washrags and towels color-coordinated to match the room; sleeping on similarly color-coordinated sheets and pillowcases, and so on.

Perhaps you would imagine me spoiled by such pampering but much to the contrary. I look forward with honest eagerness to doing most of my shopping for said items at the bargain bins and Goodwills of my local region. The more haphazard and eclectic my dinner table looks, the happier I will be. The more make-do (and do-without) I can accomplish in the act of daily living, the stronger and more inventive I will become.

Furniture, in general, I have no fear of wanting as both the household I am leaving and my parents, who are selling their second house, are overstocked and have offered to help me fill out the holes I discover in that area. I’m honestly more afraid that I will have to refuse much of what I am offered rather than that they will not have what I need. It may be a little like trying to get one drop of water out of a full-open spigot!

If there is one luxury (okay, two) that I am nervous about missing from my home, however, it is a clothes washer and dryer.

I happily hand wash and dry my dishes, I do not require a riding mower, I sent back the personal manservant/toothpaste-tube squeezer that Prince Charles lent me, but I do not like laundromats and I view a washboard as a driving hazard or a musical instrument – not a viable method of cleaning one’s clothes. So … if there is a big purchase in my future, it is likely to be this set of machines.

(to be continued)

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2 Responses to “The Necessary Year – Day 20: Defining the Parameters (part 3): Home Sweet Home”

  1. Me says:

    Are you uncomfortable in the laundy-mat environment?
    Forced to see other peoples dirty articles of clothing; while their dirty undergarments beseech your wandering eyes attention?
    Or is it simmply because it costs so much to keep pumping quarters into a machine that will never fully dry your stuff; amd you are left with a big steaming heap of damp fabrics?
    Both reasons being valid; which one is it? 🙂
    PS. I hate the laundromat and am forced to be a part of this redundant spectacle every week!

    • cae says:

      I find laundromats to be even less interesting than doctor’s offices. The inefficiency of the whole thing – time, money, laundry – drives me mad. I’ve been forced to use the laundromat exactly twice in my life and I found it tedious and embarrassing. I imagine I could get used to it, however, and it does sound better than wandering down to the river to beat my clothing upon a rock.

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