I’m sure most of you have pined after me, wondering where I went and when I was coming back. Or if I was the guy who left to get a pack of cigarettes never to return. Well, I’m back, and I’ve missed you at least twice as much as you’ve missed me. I’m back and writing to you from a new location. I moved at the end of 2018, which was an opportunity for both convolution and introspection.
There are a lot of great things to be mined from the process of moving, and I’ll be getting to those in this tale. But let me be clear about something first.
Moving. Fucking. Sucks.
You have to pack shit. And trash shit. Then haul shit. To unload and store shit. Then haul shit again. Then unpack shit. Then buy shit. This is the very definition of a shit show.
But I get ahead of myself. Before the packing shit, there was the notification that my lease was not being renewed at the apartment I’d called home for five years. I was notified by email, along with everyone else in my complex. My landlord decided it was time for him to upgrade the entire set of buildings and double the rent. I don’t blame him, even if I do think “double” is a little ambitious.
The only thing worse than moving is moving when it isn’t your choice. I loved my apartment, and all its quirks. I loved my neighbors, and all of their quirks. I loved cheap rent that hadn’t increased in five years.
I wanted to be proactive, so I set to the packing of shit early on. I started with the back of the closets, where the stuff I forgot I had and never used took up residence. I was merciless in my rulings of what got to go with me, and what was sentenced to the curb.
My gavel and I loomed over the rest of my possessions as the packing of shit continued. Most of the furniture I owned was well past its expiration date. It was also very heavy, and not worthy of reaching the hauling shit phase. The lumpy 25-year-old bed, kicked to hell dining table, and built in the stone age dresser went to death row.
Then there was the couch. A couch that had been rode hard and put away wet every day for 20 years. A couch so tattered and torn that it had to be smothered in slip covers and blankets to prevent anyone using it from being scratched to the point of needing stitches. A couch that had been referred to as “Iron Maiden,” “Demon Couch,” and “Venus Fly Trap” by those unfortunate souls subjected to it.
I hauled that fucker out to the curb myself the day I moved and had to resist the urge to light it on fire.
Speaking of flames, a few things added fuel to this particular fire at this point. Through a set of circumstances way too complicated and interlaced to try to get into, it turned out that I was going to be without a home for a month. My old lease ended in October. The new one didn’t start until December. This technically rendered me homeless.
But I’m me and I have kick ass friends. I actually house sat for one friend for a week and stayed a few extra days before couch surfing to the Tyndall house to await moving day. I had a great time at both places and love all these friends dearly for taking me in. I truly am fortunate for the people I have in my life. Plus, I got a lot of doggie snuggles. And who doesn’t like doggie snuggles.
That being said, being in the space between homes leaves you feeling discombobulated. All your routines are jumbled, and you have a constant feeling of being slightly off-balance.
That was never more apparent to me than in my writing. I wrote virtually nothing while I was packing. The working, packing, and feeling of exhaustion that went with those took up most of my time. When I was staying with friends, I did write, but it was all garbage (part of it could be I was giving one of my novel ideas, Sins of a Smaller God another go, and although the premise has legs, the path to get there is elusive). Always one to look for silver linings, I embraced spending time with friends and taking stock of routines and the things I wanted to change, tweak and add in my new place. I also learned a few new tricks as a result of observing my friends in their natural habitat.
Moving day finally came and I managed to get all my shit (what I had left) hauled up into my new place (except for the newly acquired bed, I didn’t get that until the next day) and quickly set to unpacking my new space and making it feel like a home. A home vacant of furniture, cavernous and dead inside. But still mine.
I started with the essentials, getting the internet up and running so that I could watch TV. Priorities.
And that’s when the power went out. In the building. On the block. Through the neighborhood. Navigating the halls of a building you don’t know in the dark to drive through a neighborhood with no streetlights. There’s a horror story there that I need to write. Because it was fucking creepy.
Since I had thrown out most of my shit, unpacking didn’t take too long. And unpacking what I had planted the seeds of feeling settled. It also gave me an opportunity to honestly assess what I needed to turn my apartment into a home, which became an interesting exercise.
Did you know you really can find anything on Amazon? Anything. My fully furnished apartment (complete with couch, dining table and wall mounted flat screen) is proof of that.
I threw out my battered and broken stuff knowing it would force a fresh solution for a new home, and it is very evident that I made the exact right call.
And it was cathartic to see this apartment become a home as these things came in, got assembled, and put in their place. I started to feel more and more settled in with each passing day.
Of course the last piece to arrive was the couch. Because of course it was. It had a very broad expected delivery date. It actually arrived on Christmas Eve.
Before you go thinking that this is some Hallmark movie shit, you should understand a couple of things. First, I fucking hate Christmas with a fury rivaling God’s own thunder. This was not a Christmas miracle, this was shipping logistics. Second, I had a friend coming in town that night, and I barely got this fucking thing put together before he arrived.
That being said, it is glorious and wonderful and I am writing this from the comfort of the increasingly broke in chaise of the sectional. I have a feeling that this chaise is gonna see a lot of reading and writing time moving forward.
This apartment is the perfect blend of cozy and spacious. It feels good to be home. And it feels good to be back.