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  • Kate Forest

The American Dream

Owning a home is the American Dream. And like George Carlin said, “They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

When Husband and I started looking to buy our first house, our eyes were bigger than our energy for home maintenance and repairs. His brand new post-grad school job would allow us to afford a large suburban home in a great school district. What more could anyone want? I’ll tell you what we want, an apartment on the 10th floor of a high rise.

No leaves to rake, no snow to shovel. No constant maintenance on a charming 100-year-old house with beautiful woodwork that needs dusting ALL THE TIME.

I work full time. My husband works full time. Our house demands constant attention. There is the daily and weekly cleaning: 2.5 bathrooms and the aforementioned woodwork. The expected maintenance: the seasonal swapping of storm windows for air conditioners. And the sporadic but traumatic events: leaks in the “beautiful” slate roof that crumble my son’s wall apart, various pumps and machinery malfunction in the land of the spiders (also known as the basement.)

Our house is a toddler with a stomach virus. Constant low-level whining for snacks and Candyland games with explosive episodes that require rapid containment response with lots of bleach.

But when we walk in from the cold and are greeted by the ancient corgi who guards the front door. When we walk upstairs and the finial on the staircase comes off in our hands (a la Bedford Falls). When we sit down to a family game night, destined to end in game pieces hurled at siblings’ faces… it’s home.

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