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BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE
June 3, 2005
 
The Farm's warehouse is here, a wooden bookshelf in the corner holding our inventory, as well as the mailing envelopes in which we mail the books. My little altar is here, a pair of icons, a holy card, a candle and my Daily Office book arranged on top of a filing cabinet under the window, so I can see outside when I pray. My desk, an old vanity table missing a drawer, is here, holding my computer, and so is my cool new document shredder. My library is here, crowded much too tightly into two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, which also hold old photos of the kids and my parents, all my CDs, the Farm's business cards and notepaper and a tiny music box Anna gave me that plays "Love Me Tender." There is a single built-in shelf, also packed too tightly with more books. The television is here, too, with several shoe boxes full of videos, and so are two comfortable chairs. And a stuffed sheep, who used to appear in all the St. Clement's Christmas pageants. And a hospital-style bedside table from when I was hit by a car and didn't get around much. It is laden with still more books, old contracts, a pile of papers.

That's a fair amount of stuff for an 8' by 10' room. I don't imagine many people outside of New York would think it possible to function here, but New Yorkers see space a little differently, and many Manhattanites could live quite comfortably in my office and, in fact, would find it spacious.

What an enormous house, I say to Q as we drive by the skeleton of a new building on Rector Street. It is one of a pair being built on a lot that used to contain one house -- now there will be two there, this one and another not ten feet away, equally immense. There will be hardly any garden. Half the people on that street are enlarging their houses, blowing out the backs of them to enlarge kitchens, put in family rooms and porches and bathrooms.

Maybe we should redo the kitchen, I say, and Q looks depressed. Or maybe not. Of course, if we did redo the kitchen, we'd have to redo the outhouse, too. The outhouse is our tiny unheated lavatory, clearly installed some time ago by somebody's brother-in-law.

Someday this house will be sold to somebody else. They will paint the mutli-purpled exterior some muted shade, something in a nice beige, perhaps. They will redo the kitchen before they move in, probably bump out the back wall of it and add a family room with lots of windows. They will take one look at the outhouse and put it on the hit list with a shudder, and they will add a couple of bathrooms upstairs. I sometimes daydream about doing some of these things, but do not in fact expect that we ever will. Change is hard. It is much easier just to stay as you are and complain.



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My apologies for not including a citation for the Mass I was listening to while I wrote yesterday's eMo, forcing many readers to write with a plea for its name. It is Guillaume de Machaut's 14th/c Messe de Notre Dame, a Harmonia Mundi recording by Ensemble Organum under Marcel Peres.
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