Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bucket List #1

Bucket List #1: Have a house on my own name less mortgage


I’m a Northerner. In order to say that I have made something out of my life, I need to have a house under my own name. That’s the number one priority of a true northerner. Everything else is secondary. Without it, one has no right to do anything else. Or rather, everything else is a pointless indulgence that borders upon the fringes of madness.


Let me clarify this. A house is the foundation upon which we build our dreams. If you don’t own your abode, you will always be faced with Damocles sword hanging perpetually over your head. After all, you can be evicted from your residence upon the mere whims of your landlord. And when old age comes; when your body can no longer work for your monthly board and lodging expenses, where will that take you. An old infirm invalid cast to his lot upon the cold gutters of nameless alleys left to rot in some dank city somewhere? 

Everything fades but a house is one of those things that we can find solace in. Even when we are spurned by society at large, within the four walls of a residence we call our very own, we are kings. If we are denied this, we are nothing more than pitiful creatures left to the mercy of an unforgiving world. And the world is a scary one that cares for nothing but its own concerns. It has little room for those who cannot ride with it.

Unfortunately for me, the cost of building a house is beyond my reach. As of the moment, despite my rather nice middle class salary (which is way above the average salary for professionals in the country);  I am painfully unable to afford even a lot (at least in the city). That’s the unfortunate truth and it sucks, big time…

In retrospect, I am rather thankful that I am unable to afford one right now. I’ve realized that I am not really prepared for the next steps that will come inevitably after the owning of a house. And, I am really not a city person. I am more of a rural, pastoral kind of guy. I have no intention of devoting my life to the rat race inherent to city living. I prefer the slower pace of the countryside. And I crave the anonymity of wide empty spaces still ruled by nature.

My dream house is not that ambitious. I will probably remain alone till the end of my days and thus the need for a large abode is unnecessary. I envision a small house nestled in the middle of a pine tree grove somewhere in the mountains. If possible, I’d like to build it myself (save for the foundation laying and the walls as well as the roof). There would be a spacious porch raised above the earth where I can place a rocking chair in. Upon opening the door, you will step down to a cozy warm den with worn down comfy sofas and bean bags. 

A driftwood coffee table overflowing with magazines and printed papers is found on one side. Above the fireplace, you will see a large abstract painting I’ll sit down to paint someday flanked by grotesque sculptures of nameless creatures of fantasy. A ‘gusi’, my sole inheritance from my grandfather would be right smack in the middle. Scattered around in no obvious order would be pedestals holding anime figurines and tribal art pieces sourced from bargain bins and flea markets. The huge dormer window that lets in the light during the summer months would be draped with heavy indigo curtains that keep the cold wind during the ‘ber’ months.

If you continue through the book lined hallway, you’ll come into the study, a gloomy room with books for walls and unlighted display cases for more anime figures. Ruling that room is the huge mahogany desk piled high with unfinished manuscripts and half filled crossword puzzles. A PC workstation and a low lying lamp are the only concessions for modernity there. It would be heavy with the smell of ink and cigar smoke (if I take up that indulgence during old age which is probably unlikely since I gag at the inhalation of tobacco smoke) and crisp paper. On one side, there would be a violin stand (whether there would be a violin there or whether I would be able to play it would be subject to debate).

If you go back to the den and proceed to the right, it will lead you right into the kitchen which also doubles as the dining room (after all, being alone would probably make it the smallest of all the rooms). A few cutlery, an oven for that rare pudding and roasted chicken and a retractable dining table should do the trick. There is a stairway leading down on one side. If you follow it, it will lead you to the basement slash laboratory and of course the john. Despite whatever may happen, I will always be a chemical engineer at heart. I once did not appreciate the nuances of this profession but the years had made me fall in love with chemistry. No, I don’t harbor any illusion of becoming a renowned chemist but that laboratory would be serving as a small diversion for my mind from time to time.

Going back to the den, you will notice a small stairway leading up. If you follow it, you will come to two rooms: the one on the right is my room which out of decency, we shouldn’t enter. The one on the left, however, is a guest room slash store room during those rare instances of having a guest call over. If you follow the small corridor to its end, you will come out of a small secluded veranda facing the back. Another Lazy – B would be there for warm summer months. Stashed on the side is a small astronomer’s telescope (If when the time comes, I can afford one). This veranda overlooks a small clearing down slope which is my little organic farm.

Oh yeah, the hot tub. One of the indulgences I’ll give myself. Who says that its only women who love lazing around hot tubs? Men too (although not as long as women do). During those rare instances where I accompanied field trippers and I got billeted in four star hotels with hot tubs, I’ve found one of my indulgences which I promised to give myself when I reach the twilight of my years.

If we go out of my small house, there would be a small workman’s shop at the back. There, you’ll find a carpentry shop. Now, I am not really a carpenter but when I grow old someday, I need to have a source of exercise. Aside from the farm down slope, the carpentry should do the trick. There I will fan my delusions of being a wood artist (wherever that will take me).

This dream would probably cost me around two million pesos (including the farm, the land title, the house and all its contents). That would be around forty five thousand dollars ($45,000) which is fairly manageable (I hope) for the next twenty years of my life.

And the good thing about it: It would be all mine. 

All mine…

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