Thursday, January 31, 2013

grumbling about whining

I've been spending time with my family in Michigan this month.  I drove my parents down to see one of my sisters and, while there, joined them all in watching a number of shows on remodeling homes and house hunting.  One of them was Love It or List It; I don't remember the other titles. 

I really enjoyed watching the remodeling.  The possibilities and the creativity they use in these spaces entrance me, and I always end up thinking, "Ooooh, I'd like to try that."  I love making things.  I remember trying to sign up for a class on cabinet-making once, but it didn't work out.  My sister got all the decorator genes, but I still enjoy watching what others can do in that area, especially when they make a dark room into something light and airy.  Some of it is truly beautiful.  And it's just fun to see the transformation take place.

But the house-hunting part of those shows, that's another story.  While I was watching couples - always couples - hunting for homes, I was appalled listening to their comments.  "Entitled" doesn't begin to cover it.   I'm not quite sure what a young couple in their early twenties is thinking when they're looking at a big, beautiful house and complaining that they don't like the colors of the paint inside.  Can of paint, anyone?  And that the bathroom is "so eighties" - too dated, just awful.  And those cabinets are dreadful, and the kitchen is tiny.  Except the kitchen isn't tiny, and the cabinets are ordinary wooden cabinets.  OK, so it's not their dream kitchen, and they'd rather have different tile. I can understand that.  That's why God made Home Depot.  And they can look at more homes if this one won't do.  But when the rooms are actually fairly spacious and the appliances all look to be in excellent condition, to criticize a house in such a way that you'd think there were tiles falling off, cracks in the ceiling, bulbs hanging from wires, rusting appliances and wood rot just strikes me as somewhat offensive, not to mention whiny. 

I know, I know, I live in Haiti.  I react more to these things now.  I've seen houses there smaller than some of these living rooms (mind you, I've also seen mansions in Haiti).  Reverse culture shock.  Even so, I've heard similar comments from others, so I know I'm not completely out of touch with American reality.

Then there are the house hunters who decide to go over their stated maximum budget by $20,000 or so.  "But it's the perfect home for us!"   Hope no one gets laid off... Does anyone remember the housing crisis? This kind of thing helped us all into this financial mess. 

It concerns me that we need everything to be big and beautiful right away.  No waiting. No working towards it slowly.  Nothing is good enough.  I deserve it all, and I deserve it now.  God forbid my counters be less than granite or my stove be ten years old.  I know what I want and I want it now.  It's rather like the adult version of my annual childhood Christmas request for a swimming pool and my sister's request for a horse.  Not a clue of what was reasonable.  I eventually got an inflatable wading pool and she got plastic horses.  That was reasonable.  Starting out in a home that isn't a McMansion is reasonable, too.  To say the least. 

I hope these couples will be happy in their new homes.  I really do.  And I can imagine what fun it will be for them to move into a new place and envision the new possibilities as they take shape.  I hope, too, that they appreciate what they have, whatever it is.  I hope we all do.  We've all received so much. Anyone who can read a blog post already has more than most in the world.  Do we know it?

Yes, I know this is part of what sells the shows.  Reaction. 

And I hate to hear myself sounding holier-than-thou.  Complaining about complaining is still complaining.


I wonder if we can learn to state what we hope for without disparaging what is. 

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