Shopping for a new house these days has been a cryptic adventure. As I peruse the printouts on various properties, I am constantly reminded that times have changed. Apparently, so have the names of the rooms that fill the average home.
Enclosed porches are now "Florida Rooms," and master bedrooms have become "Owners Retreats." The modern bathroom is big enough for the Dallas Cowboys, and the "Luxurious Garden Tub" could accommodate a sliding board.
Model homes, decorated beyond the hilt, will sometimes place a pair of champagne glass by the tub, just to remind you how dull your own life is.
Ironically, the rudest treatment is reserved for the room primarily used for: the toilet, aka, the "Water Closet."
As an architect's afterthought, the john is often squeezed into a tiny enclosure the size of a broom closet (which is now the "Utility Room").
As I wander aimlessly through the bathroom maze of his-and-her walk-in closets, I ask myself, "Can I convert from the linear sink-toilet-tub layout I grew up with? Can I get used to drying off without bumping into the towel rack?"
I tell myself, "Yessriee!"
The depression concerning my present living situation intensifies as I meander through these tantalizing mini-mansions. I gasp at the "Breathtaking Loft" and drool in delight at as I enter the "Huge Country Kitchen."
The efficient design also includes "Formal Dining" and a "Cozy Breakfast Nook." At present my meal time is neither formal nor cozy, but I'm ready for a change.
I soon discover two "Living Areas" are at my disposal, and picture myself gliding back and forth between them. Living is serious business, so why not have an extra spare area? I'll just add an extra couch and love seat into my loan.
Visual accents can be notice on the "Decorator Wallpaper," "Ceramic Tile Entry" and "Handcrafted Woodwork."
Outside I marvel at the beautiful landscaping, all of which is guarded by a "Stockade Privacy Fence." I imagine a wild band of renegades being stopped cold on the other side.
After a few months scanning the properties, I become an expert at cutting through the fluff. One floor-plan has a "Spectacular Game Room," which is nothing more than an architect's miscalculation. The steep roof pitch has created a room that measures six by 20 feet (a mini bowling alley, perhaps).
Another model offers "Bright Open Design," which upon closer scrutiny reveals the house is too small to include walls between some of the rooms, let alone hallways connecting them. So how can I effectively escape to my "Owner's Retreat" if it's only two steps from the "Living Area"?
I understand that a "Motivated Buyer" is downright desperate. Why else would he allow complete strangers traipse through the place on five minutes' notice?
I also observe that older house have often been ruined by owners who try to make the house too comfy. It is beyond me why someone would cover his entire patio with Astroturf.
Times may have changed, as well as the jargon, but I am determined to be patient.
What's this? A new subdivision? I think I've finally found what I've been looking for: Oxford addition phase 23, with "High Efficiency Heat and Air," "Thermo-pane Windows" and "Atrium Doors."
Vote 'yes' on school bond
As a graduate of Norman Public Schools (NPS) and a parent with a child currently enrolled in NPS, I strongly urge the community to vote "Yes" on February 12 for bond propositions one and two. Norman schools have a history of excellence and continue to rank as some of the best in Oklahoma. We all take great pride in the quality education students in Norman receive, but we cannot become complacent. We must continue to invest in safety, security, facility improvements and instructional materials so we don't lose ground. Our district has grown, our infrastructure has aged and our state government does not provide funding for the improvements we need. So it is critical we pass the bond proposals to fund the five priority focus areas prioritized by NPS based upon a facility assessment and input from parents, teachers, staff and community stakeholders.
Projects in the five main focus areas: Safety and Security; Instructional Materials; Transportation; Fine Arts/Athletics and Maintenance need funding so the district can continue to provide a quality, safe education for our students. Great effort was spent on developing a plan that addresses critical needs and upgrades. For example, an innovative approach to maximize funding would place art facilities that also serve as storm shelters in every facility in the district. Additionally, school playgrounds across the district would be upgraded and feature shaded structures and safe, accessible surfaces for students with disabilities. The bond proposals also include textbooks, upgrades to instructional and student technology as well as ensuring that every elementary school has a music room. Our students and teachers need these upgrades and a vote for the bond proposals will ensure this happens.
It's often said a community is only as strong as its public school system. Let's continue to show our teachers and students we support them. NPS is seeking approval for a targeted sinking millage rate of 30 mills, which is a slight increase of previously approved bonds and aligned with Norman's peer districts. The bonds are valued at about $186 million. With passages of these two bonds, a typical homeowner will see an increase of only about $44 per year. Aren't our children and grandchildren worth it?
Please turn out and vote on February 12. I urge you to vote "Yes" for our students, teachers and community.