I saw someone’s house the other day that had a big second-floor deck that looked right onto the street and directly into their neighbor’s house. Who would go out on such a deck? I guess if you wanted to smoke, maybe, but are you going to sit out there and stare down into the front window of your neighbor? Seems like the person would go downstairs where there was a fenced yard and hang out in private. The only reason I could see for that deck was a builder thought it would be a good selling point, “And here’s a deck right off the master bedroom!”

Earth Day is bound to be coming up sometime in the future, and everyone is always talking about ways we can conserve or live more sensibly. Someone needs to inform builders and homebuyers that they really don’t need a lot of this useless window dressing.

Like fireplaces. What a waste. They’re messy, practically worthless for actually heating anything, and most of them don’t ever get used. You know why? Because they smoke like a…chimney. Light one up and you get a smoke streak on the wall above the fireplace. When we bought the house we’re in now, the bricks surrounding the fireplace had been painted white, and they were so streaked it looked like black sunrays.

And why do we need all those extra rooms? I’ll tell you. Because most of us have so much junk we have to have separate rooms for everything – a sewing room for our hobbies, entertainment room to fit a wall-sized TV, exercise room to collect spider webs, mudroom to hang coats and keep mud out of the entry room, and a bonus room to stick our children so they don’t bother us. Remember old timey shows like Happy Days where families hung out TOGETHER in the living room? They watched the same shows on a little box of a TV and enjoyed the shows as much as we do today. Maybe more, because today it’s embarrassing to watch TV with your children in the same room. Even if you’re watching a G rated show, the commercials are often R rated. Drives me nuts.

And since when does everyone need their own bathrooms? I remember growing up and having only one. Someone was always banging on the door wanting in. One of my best friends had eight people in her house, with only one bathroom. Today everyone has their own, or only has to share with one other person. Our friends have a vacation home with six bedrooms and six bathrooms. The house sits empty most of the time, or just the two of them go over for a couple of days here and there. There must be hundreds of dead trees sawed up to make that house.

I wonder how many kids these days have missed out on the experience of shifting from one leg to the other, trying to hold it while they wait for the bathroom door to open.

I remember my dad had radar for whenever we went in the bathroom. I barely got the door shut he started pounding on the door needing to get in. “Hurry up and get out of there,” he said every single time. My husband is like that, too. I think it’s a guy thing. They don’t want to have to share their throne.

I also remember little turf wars with my brother when I’d take extra time to get something done in there out of spite. He did the same thing to me. My kids do this too – brings back good memories to hear them screaming at each other and pounding on the door.

So in honor of Earth Day, whenever it might be, I hope you will reconsider trying to have it all and keep up with the trends, and the Joneses. Many of the things I thought I needed in life weren’t necessary after all – like boots that I rarely wear, towels I only have out for decoration, my children. Just kidding on that last one.

The thing about life is, it isn’t about things. I just made that up – profound, huh?