This House is Not My Home

A mineature house with lights as part of the Trail of Lights in Austin, Texas

I’ve got a friend who insists she is going to win the Publisher’s Clearing House. Every year, she’s mad about it and goes on and on about how this year she’s going to get the big prize. She has visions of that black van, those party balloons, that game show host like character showing up at her door, ringing the bell with the cameras rolling, and jumping up and down while meeting the prize people with glee. She’s convinced. It’s going to happen for her one of these years, she’s sure of it. While I do my best to dissuade her from spending any of her not-yet-gotten winnings, I have to admire her spunk about the whole thing. I mean, she’s really convinced she’s a winner and they just have yet to pull the black van into her driveway.

Now me on the other hand, I’m convinced I’m going to win another contest. No, I don’t have fantasies of the black van running about the place, though I would welcome it, let’s be clear. I would so grab those balloons and run out of the house jumping for joy in my pajamas (and you already know how I feel about wearing my pajamas outside now, don’t you?) But, somehow, I just don’t see this in my future. Maybe because I have always been particularly fond of architecture, or maybe it’s because I’m just warped in a slightly different way, but somehow I’ve always envisioned myself winning some kind of dream home. Yes, it’s a house for me, my friends. If I am to win anything (which, let’s face it, I probably never will) it would be some kind of a house. I don’t know why, but I’ve always envisioned myself winning a house. Not like I could carry it home in my purse, but there you have it.

Every year, the good folks over at HGTV do just this. They give away a house. They have a contest called “Dream Home” where they give away a fully furnished home, complete with a car, and about enough clams to pay for the taxes and insurance for maybe the first year. Every year they do this. It’s amazing really. As you can imagine, why, I’m convinced I’m going to win.

“Pack your bags!” I tell my Publisher’s Clearing House winning friend. “I’m moving!”

Sometimes, she falls for it. Usually, she doesn’t. This year she flatly said to me, “Where is it this year?”

“Montana,” I said, “Whitefish, Montana.”

Now, I don’t even know where Whitefish, Montana is. Heck, I can barely find Montana on a map and, if I’m being frank, I often confuse it with Wyoming. Aren’t they both kind of square? Quadrilateral shaped states aside, I’m moving to Montana, I’m sure of it. Pack your bags, here we go! Montana. A cabin in the mountains, out where nobody can hear you scream. A quiet little get away from the noise and pollution of the city. A cool place to visit in the summertime. I bet it’s all of that and more because it’s a dream home.

You can be certain I’m never going to actually win the dream home, but it’s kind of nice to think about it for a little while. I love architecture, and I like the idea of thinking about what a “dream home” might be like. Would it have a big bathtub? Maybe an old-fashioned claw foot tub or a fancy new soaking tub? What about the kitchen? A chef’s dream complete with a high end stove and a monster pantry space? Would there be exposed beams and fancy lights? What about a cozy nook and a comfy fireplace? I think this is why I fantasize about this “dream home” in the first place. I guess I like to think about these things, as I’ve always been a fan of architecture. A “dream” home represents a blank slate of sorts. An empty vessel. A place you get to imagine, to envision, to fill up even, with your own hopes and aspirations. What would you put in your dream home? Would you make it a quiet place, a solitary refuge from the daily trials of life? Or would you make it some kind of entertainer’s paradise, a place in which to host a bevy of extended family and friends? There are so many possibilities here. What about the design? Contemporary? Modern? Rustic? Maybe you fancy a farmhouse or one of those old Victorians? And where would you live? A ski chalet? A quiet place out in the country? An urban retreat next to everything but yet somehow away from it all?

It’s an endless source of imagination really. It fills me with a sense of wonder and, I suppose, this is why every year I think I’m going to be the big winner. I guess really, deep down inside, I don’t want to actually win the big “dream home,” no, I really just want to think about what it might mean to dream about a home. That’s kind of better than any contest really, although, I must confess, I would so grab those party balloons and run down the driveway in my pajamas if the opportunity presented itself. 

My dream home, what would it be? It’s hard to imagine really and, I guess, when I really sit down to think about it, I’m not sure I would want to win somebody else’s vision of a “dream home” although I sure do enjoy checking them out every year. And you know, you just know, that one of these odd years, why, I’m going to win myself that fancy new “dream home” now, don’t you? 

Yeah, right. OK, I’ll stop now. Dreams aside, that house is not my home.

Until next time…

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