Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I AM Living the Monastic Life -Sort Of

OK, so my house is more furnished than this, but not by much!

I first discovered the house in which we now live when I was pregnant with our oldest.  I befriended a woman in my maternity exercise class who was a few weeks ahead of me.  She invited us to her home for the bris, the Jewish rite of circumcision, and I fell in love with the place - the spacious rooms, hardwood floors and large and expansive garden.  When our friends moved away, we expressed interest in buying the house, but they opted to rent it out, not sure if they were going to like living in Teaneck, NJ.  But about 8 years later, they decided to sell. They called and left a message on our answering machine, asking if Jim would like to paint the house.  We called back and said no, we were more interested in buying it.  The people that rented it from them had beat the house nearly into the ground.  The told our friends they had 4 kids.  They really had 11. Our friends would have rented to them anyway, but they would have insisted on more frequent maintenance.   The husband never wanted to bother the landlord with repairs, so he did all the patching himself.  The house was in sad shape but I remembered what it used to look like, and I knew it could be restored.

I thought we should invest in central air.  My husband, who, you understand, lived atop a laundromat for years without so much as a fan, didn't agree.  He thought window units were just fine.  They would be, if they didn't have to wait for him to install them.  There are two times during the year that I advise everyone to hide the women and children - the day he puts up the Christmas tree and the day he puts in the air conditioners.

Fortunately, he got the bedroom units in last week because it's so hot, the devil asked a cab driver for a ride in his air-conditioned sedan. I'm still waiting for hubby to install the downstairs unit.  It's so hot in this house that I hate getting out of my car when I get home because the car is at least air-conditioned.  I no sooner come in the door and into the convection oven that is our house when the question is popped:  "What's for dinner and what time will it be served?"

It's times like these when  I have to remind myself that the Blessed Virgin Mary never threw a pot at St. Joseph.

Lest you think "well, at least you sleep in an air-conditioned room", consider this.  Mr. Eskimo has discovered a nifty trick.  If he opens our closet door to just the right angle, all the air runs into the closet and is blocked by the door from coming into the bedroom.  It's not a big wonder why I never sleep well at night.  It's much easier to get warmer than it is to get cooler and when I suggest he use the comforter, he looks at me like I have three heads.

Sometimes, as we women are wont to do, I think about what might have been had I entered a monastery, and it occurs to me that my life might not be too much different than what it is now.

Rise at an early hour?  Check
Daily Mass?  Check (well, nearly always check)
Simple meals? Check
Modest and simple clothing? Check
Lack of heat in winter?  Check
Lack of air conditioning in summer?  Check
Sparsely furnished dwelling?  Check

All I need is a habit and I'm nearly all set (with a few minor complications, like the husband and kids and job!)


  1. LOL, why do all wives sound like this? I guess I put my wife through hell too. ;) This was fun to read. :)

  2. Ha Ha Manny, I'll bet your wife complains about the volume you set the television at, too, doesn't she?

  3. ...and I only control the remote if none of the men are home or if they're asleep in front of the TV..

  4. How did you know about the TV volume???? You are absolutely right!

  5. Joyce, you are doing more penance than the nuns! Monasteries here in the south actually DO have air-conditioning. If not, with the triple digit temperatures we've been having all month, the nuns would surely BE in Purgatory - at least!

    Come on down and cool off. : )

  6. 'It's times like these when I have to remind myself that the Blessed Virgin Mary never threw a pot at St. Joseph.'


  7. I completely understand- you have my sympathy! I think it would be a nice cold salad for dinner! We have central air but my car AC doesn't work so it's an hour drive home in the 90-100 degree heat with no breeze. Right now there are so many cicadas that you also have to keep the windows up or they fly into your car, and they are really big. There are lots and lots and lots of them. They bounce off your windows, their little bodies tumbling all over the roads. I'm broiled by the time I get home!

    The remote control? What's that? I've never had the opportunity to hold one.

  8. LOL Joyce! I hearby invite your family over for dinner. I feel your pain. I also try to have a reason to go out the day the ac units are put in each year. ANd if you can't make it for dinner, perhaps serve salad and ice cream until the working conditions improve? ;)

  9. Thanks everyone

    When I got home from work tonight, my hopes were raised because the front windows were shut tight. "He put the air in!" I thought. Wrong. He just shut everything airtight. Sigh.

    Kathy, I don't know if could deal with that many cicadias. I might have to move during cicadia season!


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