Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm out of touch... I'm fading fast... I no longer get it...



Euthanize me now.

Do you ever feel like that?  I have a feeling it could happen, and soon.

I've been thinking of McMansions ever since I read what seemed like a defense of them by another Catholic blogger - I can't recall which blogger it was, but she's more a professional type blogger who happens to be a real writer - I think she actually writes for a real publication or two, and may even have a real published book or two.  (So she's kind of old fashioned that way - get it?)

Though I say I don't get it, I think I'm learning - pretty much what I knew already.

Yesterday I learned why young professionals can't hold a job - they finish and move on.  I wish I knew that terminology when I was working, and I'm sure some of the people I didn't hire would have appreciated it too.  My apologies.

See how out of it I am?  Even religion is passe - it's spirituality grandma - no one needs a church.

I knew this day would come.

Signed,

Looking forward to the apocalypse.

Photo:  I found it on a blog called "Subrealism" - is that not the best word?  Anyway - I reprint below the post it illustrated.  (It's from 2009, so I'll bet the author has been replaced with a pod-clone by now.)
Beneath the finely groomed blissful suburban fa├žade of America lurk desperation, denial, hypocrisy, and anger. The kids of suburbia today have an entirely different reality than the suburbs I grew up in during the 1970’s. The Ozzie & Harriet idealized version of suburbia from the 1950’s has degenerated to the Green Day nightmare vision of today. The suburbs have mansion-like homes with spotless interiors, entertainment centers, three car garages, manicured lawns, and no soul. The children of suburbia have been brought up on soda pop and Ritalin. They come home to empty mansions, as both parents must work to pay for the glorious abode. Our homes have gotten bigger and better, while our lives have gotten smaller and less satisfying. One third of all children in the United States are growing up in a single parent household. Many kids feel angry and disconnected from their families, friends and home. Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. The kids feel rage and hopelessness at their existence in a suburban nightmare. There are 2 million children who take Ritalin every day. Is this because they truly have ADHD, or it is the painless way out for overstressed suburban parents?

My parents both grew up in South Philly. My Dad had a good secure job with Atlantic Richfield and they took the leap to the 1st ring of suburbs outside of Philadelphia in 1955. They bought a 1,120 sq ft row home in Collingdale for $10,000. It had 3 small bedrooms and one small bathroom. They raised three kids (and three dogs) in this home and my Mother still lives there today. I shared (not happily) a 100 sq ft room with my brother and when I was six, the boogeyman who lived under the bed. We had a double bed, two bureaus, a nightstand, a bookshelf and a desk for studying in this room. When I walk in the room today, I wonder how we possibly shared this small space. Prisoners at Guantanamo have more space. In the summer, with no air conditioner upstairs, I’m sure it got as hot as a Guantanamo prison cell. The walls were so thin between row homes I knew what the people next door were thinking. People never moved. We were a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone. You could depend on your neighbors. There were cookouts, holiday parties, and you could ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar. If your son (me) fell through the basement stairs and cracked his head open on the concrete floor, a neighbor would drive him to the hospital. The fathers went to work. Mothers worked at home, because they could. Mothers were there when the kids arrived home from school. No one was divorced in our neighborhood. All the kids went to the same school. No one was diagnosed with ADHD. I cut our lawn with a manual push mower. Times have surely changed. Bigger hasn’t translated into better over the decades. - Subrealism

32 comments:

  1. You know what kills me about these places? You never, ever see anyone outside enjoying their manicured yard. In Maryland most of the McMansions have these elaborate gazebo affairs attached to their decks. It has become an obsession of mine to spot a person standing in one of these gazebos, yet I never have. My husband has forbidden me from bringing it up anymore.

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  2. Julie, that's an excellent observation. I've noticed it in my neighborhood, too (I go power walking most every evening) and there's lots of cars zooming here & thither, but no one playing in the yards or hanging out. My 1960's old-fashioned ranch-home neighborhood is being surrounded by the McMansions & it's getting scary.

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  3. Reality Check time2:21 PM

    Question: What is a McMason? Please define

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  4. RC - you'd have to leave your Kenwood one to find out.

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  5. RC - Welcome back! They always come back. That';s what I tell the curious ones. You drop me, but you always check back. Thanks friends. ;)

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  6. Speaking of Kenwood - do you know most those folks in Kenwood are paying anywhere from 8K - 12K in property taxes for the privilege? And that's for the low end houses in Kenwood. How about 63K for yearly taxes on Lake of the Isle Blvd? Seriously!

    I hate McMansion neighborhoods. Ugly and sterile.

    I could have written the above thingy except there were just two kids. Our house in Highland was considered large. Oh yeah - it was a duplex to boot. My dad saw the wisdom of having the rent pay for the house. And we always had stable high-end renters, too. One doctor and his wife and daughter lived there for years and years.

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  7. Adrienne - I know! It's crazy, insane - but exclusive. Haha!

    I have to go mow my expansive lawn now.

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  8. Reality Check (2) Ck'g Reality3:22 PM

    RC -1 didn't return, but RC- 2 enters ... just wondering ... don't know Kenwood, but from the chatter the Kenwood folks better watch their backs. Anyway, what is a McMasion?

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  9. Just in a goofy mood ... ya know .... was thinking about the 'nastiness' of the assumptions project on all people who live in 'big' homes w/manicured lawns ... "realty check" just entered into my mind ...

    T ... I have lived in very small houses and have lived in what folks would say larger than average homes and it always amazes me the assumptions that came with both. And, the disdain for manicured lawns w/pretty gardens ... I laugh. I love beautiful gardens and well maintained lawns ... any each to their own ... but know there are some most generous folks who live in large houses ...

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  10. I'm just thinking out loud... err, online.

    Pushing buttons, pulling dandelions, picking up candy wrappers on the boulevard, wondering why...

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  11. I rather prefer the "protestant confiscated abbey whereas the altar is now my bed and the sacristy my bathroom" to the McMansion. I'm so high maintenance.

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  12. RC2:

    In American suburban communities, McMansion is a pejorative term for a type of large, new luxury house which is judged to be pretentious, tasteless, or — especially — incongruous for its neighborhood. Alternately, a McMansion can be a large, new house in a sub-division of similarly large houses, which all seem mass produced and lacking distinguishing characteristics, as well as at variance with the traditional local architecture.[1]

    The stunt word "McMansion" seems to have been coined some time in the early 1980s.[2] It later appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1990[3][4] and the New York Times in 1998.[5] Similar terms include "Persian palace"[6], "garage Mahal," "starter castle," and "Hummer house."[7] An example of a McWord, "McMansion" associates the generic quality of these luxury homes with that of mass-produced fast food meals by evoking the McDonald's restaurant chain
    -wiki definition

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  13. Kenwood! You guys are funny. I remember taking walks around Lake of the Isles when I lived in "The Wedge"... Nice neighborhood. Great place to walk...splurging to have lunch at the "Dao" or whatever it's called... beats the hell out of Richfield. The first place I lived in Minneapolis was renting a room from an elderly lady on Blaisdell across from Augsburg Park in a Ranch house neighborhood with no sidewalks...that's what I hate about most suburban neighborhoods...no sidewalks and no character. Give me a 1920s tudor cottage (smaller the better)in a walkable neighborhood with an actual grocery store any day. I don't like big and palatial. I like small, old and quaint. Why would anyone want an acre yard to keep mowed if they're not even enjoying it? It seems it's all about show.

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  14. Badger - your high maintenance remark inspired the Dangerfield post. Haha!

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  15. "garage mahal" - snort/chortle.

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  16. I love that one - garage mahal - never heard it before.

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  17. Terry, you are literally a topic of conversation in my living room right now. We are trying to figure out if you are on drugs (or if you were on drugs if we would be able to tell) or if we are all to stupid to understand your posts. I mean, not this post, I laughed really hard at this post. I've never physically met a real writer but I assume they exist. But the other ones, you know, the scary ones.

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  18. That's so cool! Nope Badger - I do not even drink anymore - I'm pretty much living on fried brain cells, I think.

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  19. No wonder you always ignore me when I try to get you to go to Psycho Suzi's with me!

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  20. 'Hummer house' - very descriptive! I like small and quaint too, but I must insist that all the plumbing and electrical supplies work. I can get really cranky ... and air conditioning too.

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  21. Shouldn't we mind our own business? We look down on the guy living in the trailer and look with raw envy with the woman who actually has space to move around in her home.

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  22. Dymphna - Amen

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  23. Shouldn't we all just mind our own business? Whatcha doin' writing and reading blogs then?

    You touchy suburbanites, you. ;)

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  24. Ah yes, the obligatory walks around Lake of the Isles - and Harriet and Calhoun. And I loved the wee, typical Minneapolis stucco Cape Cod we lived in then with more charm in a single gable than in an entire McMansion. But, I can't say I regret leaving the Twin Cities . . .

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    1. The twin cities will always have a special place in my heart. It's home to me in many ways.

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  25. I live in a little stucco cottage type house. I like little places - Ideally I'd love to have a Carthusian-style cell and garden for a residence - with a window into a church so I could see the tabernacle.

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    1. I love little stucco cottages. I always wanted one with an English style flower garden around it surrounded by a stone wall and climbing roses and fruit trees. Maybe in heaven.

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  26. Forgot to add - people are building McMansion style houses in town now too. My friends in Kenwood rennovated one of their bathrooms for the cost of a luxury suv, a couple years ago they remodled their kitchen for the price of a small family home in town. Just two men live there.

    Not envious, not jealous, just noting a fact.

    The economic problems of our country appear to have little to no affect on some people.

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  27. ... touchy suburbanites ... well, I'll be ... its because I haven't had manicure in months...

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  28. Our little Cape Cod was in Fulton which was peppered with stucco houses. And they all had dark brown trim. I don't know about now, but a McMansion would've stuck out like a sore thumb then.

    That Minneapolis stucco . . . When I watch reno shows on TV, I can always tell when they are in Minneapolis. Through my rose colored glasses, they were nice working class neighborhoods with charming houses.

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  29. I decided not to do my luxury SUV post.

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  30. I used to share a stucco tudor house which was a little too big for my tastes off the Minnehaha parkway on Elliot Ave south. It was a nice neighborhood. I used to ride the bus to work. One of my favorite houses is on the corner of 50th and Nicollet I think. a little big for my tastes but it was cute. Had a lot of character.

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