2011-06-02 / General Stories

A Cave-inn

We visited an underground house the other day. It is an interest of my husband’s. He says it’s because he wants to save money on our electric bills, but that is just how he sells it to me.

Most men were born to live in caves. It is where they feel most comfortable. If it weren’t for women, mankind would still live in caves. We wanted windows so we could let the light in. Thanks to all that light, we now see every speck of dust on every surface. Maybe there are some advantages to cave living.

I went along to humor my husband, but also to ask the questions that wouldn’t occur to him like, “ How do you get rid of the stalactites?” and Do your pupils stay permanently dilated after living in a cave for a year?”

When we pulled into the driveway, we saw a Spanishlooking hacienda, complete with curved arches, stuccoed walls and terra cotta overhangs. Behind the arches was a sheltered patio and behind that, a bank of tinted windows.

Looking around, I thought, “So where’s the cave?”

The owners came out to meet us. They didn’t look like cave people, so they must live in the hacienda.

I was in no real hurry to see the cave (ok, underground house), so I was more than happy when they invited us into the warm and cozy hacienda. It was absolutely breath-taking!

The living room was huge with a 15-foot domed ceiling and the modern look of hardwood floors and perfectly matched but comfortable furniture. They had a fireplace that they said was “just for looks,” because they hadn’t used it in 22 years. The U-shaped kitchen featured the same high ceilings as the living room. It also boasted beautiful cabinetry and opened to a cozy dining room.

The huge windows in the front of the house combined with the high, domed ceilings gave the house a feeling of lots of space and light.

The bedrooms each had those huge windows and high-domed ceilings as well. The bathrooms and the laundry rooms were the only rooms that had no windows. I always thought that windows in bathrooms were kind of silly anyway. What’s being done in a bathroom is private. Why would you want a window in there?

These hacienda people were pretty smart. The cave people could probably learn something from them. This was the way to live! The sun, the space, the airiness.

My husband started asking questions about how much the electric bill was for this house, as if that mattered. Look at this place! Who cares how much the electric was? Our gracious hosts gave us an impossibly low figure. I thought, that was probably just for lights. They wouldn’t need any during the day because of those huge windows. They must use natural gas for heating this amazing place.

Nope. No gas bill at all. Huh? Beautiful and inexpensive living? How could that be? And when would we be seeing the cave?

I nudged my husband during a discussion with the owners about geo-thermal heat and solar power. “ Where’s the underground house?” I whispered.

He stared at me as if I had lost my marbles. Then he gave me a pointed look and rolled his eyes. After thirty years of marriage, I recognize that as the You-arebeing stunningly-ignorant Look.

This? This was the underground house? No way! Where were the stalactites?

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com

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