Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Advantages of Aprtment Living

Today I turned on my heat for the first time this Fall! This is surely the latest in the season I've ever gone before first turning it on, but it illustrates the benefits of apartment living compared to single-family home living. I discovered after moving into my apartment in 2000 that utilities are significantly lower, which makes sense when you consider how exposed a house is to the elements. Here, the rest of the building offers help in the heating and cooling process. Plus, my apartment is on the Southwest corner of the building, which is said to be the ideal location as the afternoon sun offers significant heating help.

I think the movement toward single-family home living got started after WW2, when millions of returning veterans took advantage of the GI bill to buy houses. Looked at in this light, it is a fairly recent phenomenon, and perhaps will turn out to be a passing fancy. Personally, it was not until I was 54 years old that I discovered that I much preferred apartment living, but, as they say, better late than never!


Today's Phrase: "Share and share alike"

I Samuel 30 tells the story of David's revenge upon the Amalekites, who had burned down the city in which David' two wives lived. Some of David's men were too tired to go on the raid, and stayed behind at the base camp. After recapturing the spoils, the men who took part in the raid did not want to share the booty with those who stayed behind. But David says "For the share of the one who goes into battle shall be the same as the share of the one who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike". I Samuel 30:24.

How interesting that a principle of equality and sharing should come out of such a bloody Old Testament story! Jesus re-emphasizes the principle with a parable in Matthew 20 about a vineyard owner who pays everyone for a full day's work, even though some only worked a partial day. When the full-day workers complained, the owner points out that they received what they had coming. It is no harm to them that he chose to also give full pay to the others.

How often do we feel envious of others, for no good reason? I am reminded of Opinion Line callers who called to complain about an Andover family who received a new house in an "Extreme Makeover" episode. Along with the house came other benefits, such as payment for the kids' college educations. People complained about this. But why begrudge somebody else their good fortune, if it's no skin off your nose? Shame on those callers!

The phrase "share and share alike", is used in many wills in the United States, as in "I leave all my property equally to my two children, share and share alike". In my experience parents usually do want to treat their children equally, even though inevitably some could be considered more "deserving" than others. Indeed, a recent couple who were leaving their property to only one of their two sons felt funny about it, and they took pains to explain why. One son was very well off already and had no family, while the other had a lower-paying job and had a family to support. The well-off son specifically requested that everything go to his brother. I wrote all of that explanation into the will, so that there would never be any misconceptions about why it was being done, and the clients were quite happy with the resulting document.

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