The Real World: when does it stop feeling like playing house?
February 26, 2011 § 17 Comments
You could say that as a kid I had a wild imagination. I didn’t just play house with my sister. No, no. She and I were sisters who had been married to army men who were both in the same platoon and had been recently deployed after we each gave birth to twins. Oh yeah. We didn’t play house. We rocked house. We imitated super-long-distance telephone calls from an “imaginary” place called Kuwait (it was the Gulf War, after all). We received heartbreaking letters detailing how our wonderful husbands had lost their lives serving their country. And then, we two sisters were alone in the world, against all odds…with our four babies.
Imagine my surprise when, after I got married to Robert, I came to realize that my childhood play failed to prepare me for what real marriage is like.
I mentioned on Valentine’s Day that Robert and I were saving our money to get a breakfast room table. Last Friday, we visited a good number of furniture stores in search of the best table. Saturday we bought it. It’s gorgeous, has a table leaf so that it can open up to an impressive 54 inches on all four sides, and we purchased two additional chairs for a total of six. Extravagant? Not so. When my parents come to town, we often have to eat in separate groups–four at our little teensy banquet table that we have now and two on the couch on top of (very nice) TV trays. When our new table is delivered a week from today, we will be able to seat eight people comfortably around the table. (We didn’t get four additional chairs for a total of eight because we couldn’t quite afford that.) I cannot wait until we receive our table and can finally entertain on it!
Today…today, we took a road trip around our little town and grabbed a bunch of brochures…on local houses. Our eyes were opened as to the expensive areas, the expensive floor plans, and the expensive amenities that we originally thought we just had to have. (I so want a two-car garage!)
After we returned home, our heads swimming, I realized we were going about this absolutely backwards. This isn’t like shopping for shoes or couches. You can’t just go browse around town and compare prices at each location. This is a situation where you have to know the amount of money you have in your pocket and select a house that fits that budget. (Although I trust most of my readers aren’t condescending, please allow me to remind everyone that I have never owned a home nor looked into owning a home. I’m a renter, through and through. This is my first foray. Be gentle in mocking comments. ;)) So, we’ll need to make a trip to the bank and speak to someone about home loans.
There’s some work to be done before we do that, but at least in the meantime I came to realize that Robert and I are on similar pages in regards to size and type of house we’d like to settle into (at least as our starter home). One of the things we have to accomplish before we sit down with someone at the bank is a salaried job for Amanda. That’s going to be part of my project over Spring Break in a couple of weeks–look for work after graduation. (I’ve already offered before, but seriously…anyone want to pay me about $30,000/year to read Shakespeare to you in your living room? I do voices and funny arms and everything!)
But here’s my greatest curiosity. Robert and I will celebrate our second anniversary in May, but I can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that we’re grown-ups. Sometimes, most of the time, I still feel like we’re playing house. It doesn’t feel real. These past few weeks, looking at grown-up furniture to put in grown-up houses, I somehow felt like an even younger version of myself than I am. Is this our lives, really? Are we really talking about furniture and houses and cars and…babies? While it’s exciting and thrilling, it’s also surreal.
When does it stop feeling like we’re just kids playing house?
(P.S. I finished and e-mailed off my introduction this morning around 10 a.m. I’m actually…fond…of it. That’s an unusual thing for me to feel about a piece of academic writing, but I can’t deny it. These next two weeks are really crunch time while I work on drafting the next chapter. If I can meet this goal, then by Spring Break, March 12th, I will have a half of my dissertation drafted.)