"A man's home is his castle." -- Old Proverb
"Home...Is Where You Can Scratch Where it Itches." -- Saying on a Coffee Mug
"I turned up your TV and stomped on the floor just for fun." -- BNL, The Old Apartment
Before I even start this entry, let me state my full acknowledgement and recognition of the fact that there are real problems in the world. There are people without enough food to eat, there are people who suffer from physical and emotional abuse from which they can't escape, and there are addictions that ruin lives and families.
And I'm not just referring to places like Darfur, Somalia, Myanmar, or anywhere necessarily far. All of this happens within a 10-mile radius of wherever it is that you live, for certain.
Now that that's been acknowledged, I am going to jump back into the condo v. house debate. A condo is wonderful, of course, when it allows you to live in a central location that you don't have to personally maintain throughout the seasons. It gives you an energy-efficient lifestyle and, if you're in a good spot, saves you tons of trips in the car because you can often walk to whatever you need. Also, condos offer a HUGE security advantage, esp. when they're located higher than the first floor. That's a very important consideration for someone whose work could take him or her away from time to time.
But the big advantage to owning a house is that the space is really yours. That's not *really* the case in a condo for a couple of reasons. First, because you're sharing walls, ceilings, and floors with others; and second, because you can always bump into people in a way you wouldn't inside your own, private home.
The missus and I were just reminded of this during our holiday planning. As the Greater Family has been swept up in Nintendo Wii mania, we were hoping to join the bandwagon by splitting it as a joint Christmas present to each other. It would give us a fun opportunity to get in shape without having to travel to the Y, it's a chance to hone skills that could be used against cousins and nephews on the weekends, and it's just a good, interactive bonding experience in a way that movies and TV shows aren't.
But in the end, we balked.
We've got one great TV, nicely situated on our first floor.
Our first floor is someone else's ceiling. That someone else has a one year-old. Out of respect for this, and the lack of sleep it surely causes them, we are extra-super-extremely careful about noise -- TV volume can't go past 20 and goes off completely by 11 p.m., PT can only happen on the 2nd floor, socks and bare feet only, etc.
Nintendo Wii is an inherently bouncy, jumpy, run-around and get sweaty type of thing. Adults can mitigate that somewhat by keeping their feet mainly on the ground, but nieces and nephews under 10 are too much of a wildcard. In the end, we just decided to say no.
Eventually, we already know it's going to be a single-family home somewhere that we haven't figured out yet. In any case, it's a decision that's at least several years away, as we're still very underwater and I won't have a *real* civilian job until at least 2012.
As soon as we do, I'll realize all the great things about the condo life that I took for granted. I'll grunt, groan, and complain about snow, leaves, new paint jobs, and clogged gutters.
But, on the bright side, we'll have a Wii with Wii Fit. We'll stomp, scream, shriek, high-five and the whole bit.