We don’t need a bigger house. Our house is 1300 square feet on three levels. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms. We have two parking spots for one car and we have a storage room that is bigger than the main floor bathroom so it holds a lot of beer making supplies and children’s clothing. We have a patio to hold the barbeque and the worm composter and the 4,533 bubble wands from the many lost bottles of bubbles.

Yes, our house has enough room for us. What it does not have is corners and doors. The kitchen, living room and dining room are all one big room on the ground floor. The staircase just keeps winding up until you get to our bedroom, which is loft-style. The children’s rooms and the bathrooms have doors, that’s it.

This is the thing you don’t consider when you look at real estate and the real estate ad says “Open plan.” Doesn’t that sound nice? It’s open; like the plains, like your liberal mind, like your favourite store on Boxing Day. Open also means: in plain view. Within earshot. You are looking at the people in your house all the time, unless they are sleeping, in which case you are probably sleeping too; what a waste!

When we visit my parents in their old house, the children vanish for minutes at a time. They go around corners, into other rooms, up and down hallways. They close doors and open them again. Sometimes, as many as fifteen minutes will go by before I see them. I firmly believe this is good for the soul. I know they are safe. I can hear them pattering away on the wood floors and of course I can hear them bickering. But I do not need to see any one person for 13 hours straight a day, even if I am related by blood and chose to stay home with them full time.

Yesterday, SA and I had a lengthy conversation in the bathroom on the main floor. It was not the first time. Neither of us was using the bathroom for a bathroom-like purpose. It is just the only place we can go to have. a. fucking. conversation. (Other than the door that goes outside and if we went outside, they would come after us. [You know, the children.])

It is possible to feel quite trapped within an open plan, if it is one of Those days.

We make our phone calls from this bathroom. We hide in there. I have considered – but never done it – taking my laptop in there. Sometimes I feel like I should put in shelves and books and snacks and a sign on the door that says “No Children Allowed.” But they can’t read yet.

I do have a solution, though not the energy to execute it just now: clean out Fresco’s room, move both boys in there, have Trombone’s room be the playroom / guestroom. Yes! I am going to do this by last Christmas!

I also have a fantasy. It is a basement. This basement has old, roughed-up gold carpeting and an old tape player and soft soccer balls and sheets to make tent forts and pillows to toss around and a bookcase full of toys and books and a table with pens and paper and the walls are covered in nasty wallpaper that no one cares about. There is a bathroom down there with a toilet, a sink, some soap and a towel.

Here’s the best part of my fantasy:

“OK, you boys go play in the basement until suppertime.”

Oh god. Isn’t it amazing?

Someday. Not soon, but someday. Hopefully before the children are 6 feet tall and can’t fit in a basement anymore.

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