We've all heard of "
The phrase was coined in none other than a comic strip. Comic artist Arthur R. Momand created the "Keeping Up With the Joneses" comic strip in 1913, and it went on to span 26 years in print and syndication in newspapers across the country. ( - from Brass)," the idiom that describes trying to keep up with the standard of living of other people. It's a pretty commonplace expression, but do you know where it comes from?
|Click to enlarge. Image from Stuff By Cher|
When I started this blog in 2009, it was all about books. Writing reviews and entering reading challenges brought self-imposed pressure to read more, know more, impress more. Writing posts became a chore and, honestly, I never impressed anyone with my knowledge of or opinions on books. Over time, I discovered that the posts I really enjoyed writing, and reading on other blogs, were the ones about family, foibles and folly . . . the stories of life's silly, mundane or even embarrassing moments. Slowly, this blog has moved away from books and towards reality. Trish's post made me think I need to take it a step further. So, if you have a moment, come on in and get to know the "real" life at Green Acres.
When Dave accepted the job here in 2011, the owner of the business offered to rent us a house he owned out in the country. Anyone who's ever moved a distance that makes commuting impossible (we moved 500 miles) knows that finding a home with only a day or two to look, and an impending moving date, is a huge stress. The offer of a decent rental home was a blessing. Once we got here, we discovered that we love living where our nearest neighbor is a mile away and the only sounds you hear at night are the coyotes, so we dubbed the spot Green Acres and decided to stay.
If you've ever seen our namesake TV show, you know that, while it was Oliver's dream, it was not a show-place. Neither is our version. Our home was built in the 1960's (-ish) and hasn't been updated since. The living room has aqua sculptured carpet, the kitchen has brown/gold flecked linoleum, the bathroom walls are covered in green tile. All the windows were bare, so I reused curtains/drapes from our previous home in the living room, even though they don't quite fit. Two years later, they haven't been changed, and the bedrooms still don't have curtains over the cheap mini-blinds that were here.
Speaking of bedrooms, we only have two, with one small bathroom between them. So, when the kids come home, they sleep on air mattresses and we ration shower time. The Americana fake-quilt on our bed came from a 4th of July sale at Wal-Mart and there's an iron-shaped melted spot on the guest room rug from when I had my sewing area in there. My sewing "room" is now in one corner of the un-finished basement - concrete walls, bare joists for a ceiling, a very, very worn carpet remnant on the floor, and a view of the treadmill and stacks of laundry.
We recently purchased a "vacation home", but it's a used pop-up camper. Our "good" car is a 2006 Mustang, but the car I drive daily is a 1999 Concorde. Also:
- There really is crud around my faucets most of the time.
- You could assemble a Pekingese from the wads of dog hair under my bed.
- I leave clothes in the dryer for days because I hate putting them away.
- I let the dogs get on my couch.
- We don't have a dishwasher so there are almost always dirty dishes on my counter.
- There are bags of recycling stacked in the garage cause I never get around to taking them to the recycling pick-up.
- And I let the trashcan overflow until Dave empties it cause I don't like doing it.
On the other hand:
- The bed spread is pretty. I like it!
- The aqua carpet actually goes well with my furniture.
- My clothes are never wrinkled because I can re-tumble them before dressing.
- The dogs are loving companions.
- Sewing - even crookedly - gives me joy.
- The house is full of books - more joy.
- Did I mention the peace and quiet?
- The camper is big enough for two people and two dogs and takes no time to set up.
- We have lots of space to garden.
- At least the recycling isn't in a landfill.
- And, no one ever died from a little crud around their faucets.
I have never been a fan of recreational shopping, the precursor to Pintrest browsing. I'm perfectly content when I enter Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond, but a total failure when I exit because my home isn't filled with all those beautiful things and I can't afford to make it so. But...my home IS filled with beautiful things. Things collected through thirty years of marriage and raising a family. Some of them are worn, and some of them don't match, but they have a story. And the money saved by not replacing them with show-room furniture pays for trips to see our kids and grandkids, tickets to shows or K-State games, sewing supplies, books - oh, and college!
The key is in being content. Would I like my house to be spotless? Yes. Would I like to drive a new car? Certainly. Would I like to have a closet overflowing with stylish clothes? Of course. Am I willing to change the ways I spend my time and money to get any of those things? Evidently not.
So this is me - a less-than-June-Cleaver housekeeper, a crafter with little artistic talent, a bookworm who usually prefers a paperback romance to the classics, a Wal-Mart bargain shopper, a gardner without a green thumb . . . and content with all of it. Well, most of the time.
*Name that tune.