My million dollar home
From Newt’s Notes Column, September 15, 2002
It must be nice having a million-dollar home.
You know, one of those places that you and 50 of your favorite guests can lay their head at night and dream of Rolls Royces, gourmet meals and having a butler named “Jeeves.”
You know … a house with 10,000 or 12,000 square feet of living space (depending on your personal preference, of course).
This house has, say, 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, a stately façade, an Olympic-sized swimming pool shaped like the state of Texas and surrounded by hedges, and a palatial dining room with chandeliers, ceiling murals and a 10-foot-long dining table.
It must be nice to have personal tennis courts, an indoor gymnasium and impenetrable electrified perimeter fence.
But then again, maybe it’s not so nice.
I mean, who cleans that place? Oh, I guess it must be nice to have a housekeeper.
Well, who mows the grass? Oh, I guess it must be nice to have a gardener.
But how do you find a missing cuff link in that cavernous place? Ah-ha! I found one negative to having a million dollar house.
D Home and Garden magazine recently came out with its September/October issue and the cover boasts that this is the magazine’s “Million Dollar Home Issue.” Inside are pictures of ornate interiors and exuberant exteriors, sculpted and set into place by the rich and famous of the city of Dallas and its surrounding cities.
My “house” offers a stark contrast to that of the magazine’s focus. I doubt if they’ll be knocking on my apartment door, asking to photograph and report on the plush interior of my palatial place.
I mean, I think the ochre and green of my 20-year old recliner offers a stunning (if not delightful) contrast to the royal blue and red Tartan blanket hung on the wall behind it. Or, my forest green, red and blue plaid couch and slate blue curtains.
Not only do I have style, I have all the other components a homeowner could possibly want.
Want entertainment? My 13-inch TV, discount stereo and acoustic guitar provide all the entertainment a man cold possibly dream of.
Want luxury? My place has plenty of that – a dishwasher, a garbage disposal, four closets … I live as a spoiled man.
Want privacy? All of my doors close, the mini-blinds are only missing a few shades, and my neighbors moved several months ago.
Want exercise? Why go for a fancy indoor pool when you could have an outdoor one 25 feet from your doorstep? And there’s an exercise room one apartment block away and a playground within walking distance.
OK, maybe my apartment isn’t quite as ornate as a million dollar house, but it is all that I need to be happy.
I may not have 10,000 square feet, but my 665 seem to do me fine. Who needs that extra space, anyway?
All that really matters to me is that I have at least four walls, a roof over my head, and a bed to lay my weary body on whenever needed.
Sometimes I wonder why we Americans put our priorities in a superficial order. Looking good seems to have gained as much importance as feeling good.
But our priorities are in things that can easily be consumed by a fire and rendered valueless. What, then, of our million dollar mansions? Gone up in smoke.
I try my hardest to place my priorities in those things that are untouchable by fire, natural disaster and the greedy hands of greedy men.
I thank God every night for the things he has blessed me with, including my $550 apartment. I thank him for the clothes on my back, for providing the car I drive and getting me to my various destinations safely.
I consider my poorness to be a blessing. It is teaching me self-control, patience and faith in God. Would I like to be rich? Sure. Who wouldn’t? But I must learn to give thanks for where I am. That’s where I must live my life – in the here and now.
I consider singleness to be a blessing. Though I despise it, I realize that I am learning how to take care of myself in a variety of ways.
I consider family to be a blessing. I know that not everyone has a good relationship with his or her family, but I am thankful that my clan has a strong bond.
And if my apartment was to burn to the ground tomorrow, I thank God that I would still have my family, my friends, and my faith to live on.
And that spiritual and emotional foundation is a million dollar home to me.