While in Iraq, she purchased this city-home in Houston, a two story attractive residence that resembles a townhome, but it is not a townhome.
|For blocks and blocks, it looks this way in this area.|
|Pretty, but crowded!|
|I can't imagine having this view from my Master Bedroom window.|
The house next door is so ridiculously close that you can see the
siding very clearly. The neighbor's tiny "backyard" is also in view.
Even more amusing, is that about 10-15 years ago, this area of Houston became such a hotbed of real estate desire that developers began rushing in to put up anything they could conjure and the mish-mash of architecture and time-periods between each neighboring house actually made the neighborhood look confused and without much direction. I'll be kind and say that it looks "eclectic."
Here are a few houses, all in the same neighborhood.
Years ago, it seemed that this area would maintain a focus of historic architectural preservation, but that lofty ideal has passed by the wayside. Greedy development took over. Today, this area is congested to the hilt, yet there is a severe lack of space for traffic flow and parking. Many of the quaint historic homes of great beauty have morphed into gaudy monsters trying to gulp more square footage. After all, value in this area strictly comes from square footage, so the more they can get, the higher the value.
But, every time we drive into this area, I immediately begin to feel claustrophobic. I cannot understand WHY anyone would would WANT to live so close to others and live with the chaos of trying to maneuver your way through nearly impassable streets.
Once inside your home in this area, you have no peace. Harsh sounds from the world outside are constantly loud and intrusive. Sounds vary from Interstate traffic to trains to never-ending nearby construction, then you have the neighbor's music; it would make a nut-house seem peaceful.
Views from any window only highlight a neighbor's home. Everyone is jam-packed in together so that every tiny bit of real estate is capitalized upon. I look at this area and wonder...Why would anyone WANT come home to that kind of life?
|View from a living room window downstairs.|
Perhaps these personalities need this frantic, compressed kind of energy around them in order to remind them that they are "important" and "present" even when they aren't at work. Perhaps? Or, maybe they need to feel lost in the world and not as noticed, maybe this is more likely when you are stuffed into one place with so many others.
|Pretty home - but guess what the view is from the front door?|
Yep, the view is of the neighbor's garage door.
|A closer look...the view from the front door - of the neighbor's garage.|
I do get very claustrophobic just trying to absorb the jam-packed
homes in this area. I don't see this as "pretty."
There was a time in my life when this kind of lifestyle could have been acceptable, but as I've grown wiser, I've learned that the frenetic pace of city life can leave you drained and feeling empty. The excitement of a city can be nice, but the best part is being able to step away from it after the excitement is finished.
|On our way to a client's house located in the downtown Houston area.|
Our huge Dodge truck could barely fit down the "roads" in this neighborhood. I shudder to think of how difficult it would be for emergency vehicles to respond in this area.
Again, my client's place is not considered a townhome. Can you believe it? Since these residences technically do not share any structure walls, they are considered single-family residences. But, they are built only within inches of one another. On the little drive-way that is directly in front of their homes, there is only enough room for one car. Sixteen homes must share that tiny drive-way for their collective comings and goings through the remote-controlled gate at the end of the drive-way.
To me, this is a typical example of how people love to state that they live in a "gated-community" but they ignore the fact that their criminal surroundings cannot be kept out by a pretty iron gate. Can you imagine the determined burglar deciding upon one of these homes as his target, then he encounters the gate...does he say, "Oh darn, this is an impossible task; an impenetrable, beautiful fence is blocking my way; I cannot rob any house behind a gated community." Well, if someone thinks this, then they need to do their criminal activity home-work. A gate gives a false sense of security. Period. Silly city and glorified suburbia thinking.
It's not that I have anything against gates. Gates do reduce traffic and this is a hindrance to a would-be burglar, but it is not a cure-all security feature. Usually, a determined criminal will find a way for him to get on the other side of that gate. However, for this area of my client's home in Houston, it is well known, but not openly discussed, that these gates are valued because they help keep out the heavy homeless population that roams this area.
Regardless, I like gates, especially the kind you find in the country at the entrance of your property. For us, a gate is to keep people from driving onto our property, but I know it won't keep out anyone who is determined to be inside the confines of the gate. At the client's place, over the years, many times I've stood here in this Houston neighborhood and have been amazed that these people paid BIG MONEY for this kind of cramped lifestyle AND they pay a VERY large monthly "maintenance" fee to their Homeowner's Association to boot...so that the gate can remain operational.
Since we were going to be at this client's house for a few hours, we had to park. Deputy Dave decided to use the garage for what it is made for...parking. In his expert truck driving mode, he backed into the "two-car" garage. I was on pins and needles, I could feel the walls and the ceiling pressing upon us. More claustrophobia. In fact, the garage was not large enough for him to park his truck fully inside the garage. Here, at this beautiful place smack in the middle of the city, the garage was rather tiny. The front end of our Dodge Truck had no choice other than to stick its powerful nose out at the edge of the garage. The garage door could not be closed. More importantly, not one neighbor in this sardine-packed neighborhood came out to see who we were or what was going on at this house. I guess people pretended to not see the huge Dodge suddenly protruding from the garage of this home. What's up with that?
|The Dodge Ram backed in to the point of touching the back wall|
inside the garage and there still isn't enough room for it to be contained.
When we left, I was thankful that we live in a Houston suburb. Living in a city just outside of the metropolitan area gives us a bit more room to breath. This is awesome. We may still be uncomfortably close to our neighbors, but at least we have our own driveway that is as wide and as long as the entire drive-way for sixteen of those inner-city residences. Regardless, I can't wait to move to our own little farm in the country --- the land is waiting for us, but I'm glad this stage in between is not with us stuck in the middle of chaos. Thank Goodness we don't have to wait for Biff to park his Porsche so we can go buy a carton of milk at the corner store for Gucci prices and this means stepping over the homeless guy on the store's sidewalk as his hungry pit bull sits next to him. Think this is a joke? I should have taken more pictures.
For some strange reason, that just isn't appealing to me.
|COMING HOME TO THIS IS THE BEST!|
It's so nice to be home and to enjoy the chickens in the backyard. I'm inching my way out of the city and my patience is wearing thin. One day, I'll not have to go to the city so often; I can't wait!