The Hallway of Doom

This is how I refer to the dark, narrow hallway that leads to the bedrooms in the house my parents are about to move out of.

It wasn't until I moved out of my parents' house and lived in other houses that I realized how much a physical environment can affect your life. The house my parents have been living in for 25+ years is an 80s ranch built by a builder that cut as many corners as possible (no vent in either of the full baths, but one in the half-bath...huh?). They moved into the house for many of the right reasons: good school district, quiet street, enough bedrooms, etc.

But when I go to visit my parents these days, I feel claustrophobic because the only place in the house to sit down and be social is in the den in front of the blaring TV. The kitchen is in the middle of traffic coming in from the garage, so I can't comfortably socialize with my mom while she's cooking, or vice versa. There are always people or dogs all over your ass walking in both directions. The kitchen table is stacked with casserole dishes, etc., so dinner is eaten in front of the TV in the den at the coffee table, which I can barely tolerate. I don't like to eat dinner with my elbows on my knees. And a large portion of the square footage of the house is occupied by the formal dining and living rooms, which serve as storage areas. We eat in the dining room once a year at Christmas, but the carpeted floor makes it difficult to move your chair without shaking the china cabinet. There is a back deck, but it's not covered or screened, so most of the year, it's unused. Needless to say, this house cannot comfortably accommodate the growing grandchild population.

Luckily, my parents are moving into a new house in about a month. Their bedroom is on the opposite side of the house as the other bedrooms, so no more tip-toeing into my room after Dad has gone to bed. There is no separate dining/living room, just one large dining/living area with the kitchen overlooking we'll be able to spread out in the space and be social at the same time. The kitchen is not in the main traffic path, so my Mom can work in peace while interacting with everyone at the same time. Plus, I think my parents will be much more at ease in this house because it will be so much more enjoyable to live in, whether they realize this now or not.

While I always look forward to visiting my parents, I have never looked forward to going to their house. I am glad that will finally change.

mark, Jun 27 2005 2:59PM

do you know if the new house is built over a pet, or indian or regular cemetary? that could spell trouble. i'll take a badly ventilated bathroom or two any day over a house full of spooks.

Ann, Jun 29 2005 3:42PM

I think the house might be built over an indian, but I'm not sure if he's a Native American or from the country of India.

(After writing this article, I started to feel bad about my complaining because there are so many people in this world that don't even have a roof over their heads, period. I am definitely grateful for what I have and the way I grew up.)

spaceneedl, Jun 30 2005 7:30PM

mark...elle-oh-elle. ann, if you're going to be a pundit you'll have to stop apologizing for editorializing. my parents have lived in the same house since 1973 and show no signs of moving out. the home clearly was built on the site of a glue factory. it also suffers from an acute lack of feng shui, which may explain my early aversion to chinese food. but i digress. congrats on your parents' new digs.