Saturday, October 22, 2011

Baby Kicks, or Dominion.

Baby Kick, the 4th.

First moving in to the our home there was the sense that it was important to "walk the boundaries" - get to know the place. I have noticed i am starting to know the place a little more, especially as I unpack. There is a growing sense or realization that i can do with it what i want as i put things where I want, subconsciously knowing (maybe?) that I can keep them there till kingdom come if I so prefer.

With that sense of "option" coupled with the sense that i am needing to prioritize the big projects, and weigh those relative to daily needs, and all culminating in the exigent necessity to budget my time as certainly as I budget my financial resources, well, i find both a desire to plan wisely and a (suggestion of a) sense of freedom (to do what I want). With local water restrictions meeting a Stage 3 "no yard watering, hose usage, or car washing" level of strictness - and all the attendant concerns for water and future drought shortages and scurrilous neighbors watering - there is a growing sense of place within the community that has me wanting to be more and more active in the community decision structures.

It has finally dawned upon me that there is something to permanence and ownership which allows for a sense of dominion. Growing up it was made clear to me that my house was in all fact my parents house and i merely lived there. Ironically this message was in direct dichotomous sentiment to the attitudes my parents were raised with (and imparted from my grandparents) that the family ranch land would descend down as inheritance to us, the grandchildren. My grandparents are amazed and aghast we do not carry a sense of the land being ours and thus through ourselves into its usage and the projects of the grandparents. I was never certain it would be mine, while they were certain it would be. My stepfather the meanwhile was always making jokes about spending the money which was to be the inheritance from him and my mother.

Older generations obviously had this expectation of things which were owned being passed down; ironically my generation and others understand inheriting the consequences of past generations decisions (environmentally speaking, and maybe financially with Social Security, but I don't know much of the latter).

Suffice it to say there is an aspect / sense of dominion which goes along with ownership of land married to permanence (a sense of). I have come to feel not only thrust into the microcosm of the community and relationships within the cul-de-sac, but also into the greater community, especially as community life bears on personal concerns. Did i mention we were part of a MUD, and it is superbly well run? They genuinely add to the sense of community, the they being the authority figures setting directives and emailing out policy notice updates.

I find, in short, i am compelled to want to be more and more a part of community the more i am with a sense of permanence and ownership.. a sense of right to speak on matters affecting me. I can see why older friends have such strong opinions or investment in policy decisions made by local politicians: it is a right we own, but only feel it as a right relative to the "feeling" of permanence and ownership. Army buddies mention how little Americans seem to appreciate all they have, compared to what they have seen of the world and what other countries have (not), but i wonder if, like not knowing a sense of place from not knowing ownership or permanence, most of us don't have a sense of other rights because we have not developed an equal sense of je ne se quoi (ownership, metaphorically speaking? exercise of them?). I don't use a gun (often) and don't publish much, so these two rights of gun ownership and free speech are not exercised, thus not accorded a sense of importance. It is more than i just don't know what i have until it is taken away, it is that until it is used i don't know what "it" is.

What would dominion (a sense of) in all my rights or privileges look like, i wonder.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby Kick 3

"You can't move a neighbor," as my realtor always said. That, or something like it. The sentiment never stuck with me.

Yet, in this on going experience of transition from a renter's mentality to an owner's mentality a new thought struck me: these people whom I live next to I will be neighbors with for the next 20 years or so - and as such I am plopped into a community. There was, of course, an initial awareness that I am now a tax payer, and have some degree of both vested interest and clout in local politics. That was made more real to me as I contemplated paying our first mortgage payment (replete with a the FHA required additional escrow amount for property tax). But, the fact that I am in community and relationship with people for 20+ years, people whom are in different phases of life, well, that struck me. And these people of whom I speak I will know, I will have friendship or relationship with long term.

Admittedly I was overcome with thoughts of "oughts": i ought to make good friends of them, i ought to take over plates of cookies, i ought to inject my community-mindedness and idealism into their Americanly-sequestered lives. Yeah, I'll tell yah how that pans out.

Suffice it to say I am finding an attitude towards these others around me that deems them and relationship with them as important. Admittedly I should have that attitude with any relationship I intend to keep, but I have historically been one those who (prior to FaceBook and status updates and friends lists) never kept up with friends that moved away. Maybe some of that new awareness needs be seen for that deficiency, but i wager we all know how easy it is to drive sealed in our cars out of the garage, into work and our cubicle cubby holes, back into our garage in our cars, then reside in air conditioned hovels while facebooking and blogging. Ironically, I wager some of my neighbors likely don't know how to email, much less blog.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Baby Kick, pt. 2

So, as of a few, under-rested hours ago we were officially done with the old apartment, having not only moved all our stuff but also cleaned. I suspect we put forth more effort than others, not as much as some - i mean, i cleaned down to the tracts upon which the drawers moved, and every surface including the lip of the inner edge of the front of the drawer. Ok, that sounds a little O.C.D., and also is a little bit of hyperbole: I only did that on some of the drawers, and gave up cleaning the baseboards.

This past week - in one of my fits if needing to touch base with the world in which things seem to be happening, a fit such as drives me to review the Yahoo headlines - i came across an article which struck me as interesting and odd at the same time. It was a New York Times article, i think. It was about a teacher and father of four who was leading his family to live on $40,000 a year, and his secrets for doing so. The gist of the article was it all boiled down to long range planning, and living below means. The article discussed how he and his wife always conferred before any big purchase was made, and how we would sleep on things if he felt impulsive. OK, nothing new, nor incredibly insightful, and with some of it I disagreed (like, the admonition to live without a mortgage (esp. since I just got one)).

The point that stuck me though is that with this house the shift in mentality towards permanence allows, encourages me towards long term planning with the house. Said differently, I feel allowed to long term plan, like, it is not a need-based stratagem nor a fiscal thought but that I am not allowed, able to, blessed to plan long term with this house, and with life now. There is something significant there, though, not so much something of great depth, root-sinking effect.