Adventures in Adulting

Last weekend I was in Minneapolis visiting a friend from high school – sorry for no post! This week I have fewer excuses, other than helping someone move far away. By far away I mean we’ll now be a half-hour vs. fifteen minute drive apart – no kittens either, boo! But as he points out, he’ll be saving loads of money this way, and, even kittenless, his new roommate is awesome.

Meanwhile, while some people are saving gobs of money by changing their living situation, I seem to be stumbling across new ways of spending it now that I’m a homeowner. For example, my AC unit needs to be replaced. Please don’t ask me how much it will cost, but rest assured that it is way more than anyone wants to spend on something so unfun – the only thing equally dreary would be some sort of egregious car repair. You know, something crazy expensive but still cheaper than buying a new car.

Already my AC unit has caused quite the saga. I realized something was wrong because there was water dripping from my ceiling. (Astute readers of this blog will note that this is now the second time I’ve had water dripping from my ceiling, and I hope will agree with me that twice in one year for this sort of thing is really quite enough.) When the plumber came and discovered that the issue was with the AC unit, he advised me to call the AC repair people, for which there was a several day wait. Naturally when the repair person came, he discovered that it was beyond repair, and so on and so forth. It’s now been two weeks that I haven’t had AC, two precious weeks during which if I’d contacted the replacement AC guys to begin with a new unit would already be on its way to me. Instead, since I only agreed to a bid on Friday I am still five weeks out from tomorrow.

Thankfully it hasn’t been too hot yet, and I still have my old window AC unit tucked away in my closet. Now I need to figure out how to install it properly – last time I could fake it by propping it up on an outside brick, and this time I don’t have that option. Also, it’s fine that I never got around to repainting my walls. The removal of the old AC unit will mean that a portion of my ceiling will be going with it, and I’ll need to hire someone else to come and put up drywall afterward.

Adulthood is fun!

(For real, though, I’m doing very well by and large, and if these are the types of lemons that life is handing me, I’ll take ’em.)

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Weekending

Remember how I was itching for change two weeks ago? Well, for the moment I have tried to deal with this feeling the way that all usual people do – I got an extreme haircut. Something “sassy for summer,” that’s what I told the lady at the salon. Now my hair, which was fairly long, is now a bob above my shoulders and only mostly fits into a ponytail. I love it. I feel sassy. Plus, now that the heat is arriving with a vengeance, I really appreciate having less natural insulation.

I’m sorry I didn’t write last weekend, but I had such a nice time that you’ll have to forgive me. On Saturday I had the most slothful day in recent memory, in which all I did was go to Pilates, make fancy cinnamon swirl bread, and then eat it while watching Game of Thrones. (I’ve never seen Game of Thrones before, which means that I have five seasons to get through before watching the season premiere in a few weeks at a friend’s house.)

Then on Sunday the weather was perfect and I repented for my sins by going on a morning jog and taking a long walk to scope out art at antique shops, followed by an amazing performance of Carmina Burana at the Kennedy Center and an al fresco dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant with a certain someone. Ah! it was lovely.

The reason why I’m writing today is that I actually have another wonderful weekend in store. Tomorrow we’re going to Baltimore! We already have tickets to visit the aquarium, and we’ll be spending the night and making a real mini vacation of it. I am so excited!

Behold the welcome
and longed-for
Spring ushers in joy,
purple flowers

fill the meadows
And the sun brightens everything.

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Windy Days

Have you ever seen the movie Chocolat? It’s the one that takes place in a small French town and stars Juliette Binoche as a chocolate maker and Johnny Depp as her guitar-playing Gypsy lover. As someone who enjoys chocolate, anything even vaguely French, rocking manouche jazz, and Johnny Depp, this movie has always spoken to me.

Plus, I’ve always been sympathetic towards the main character, Vianne – she is a bit of a vagabond, moving from place to place with the north wind, helping heal people through chocolate. In the movie, the north wind is portrayed as a powerful physical and spiritual force that continually presses Vianne onward, never letting her settle down.

I can identify. At times some weird sort of supernatural energy overtakes me, and I have the deep, profound urge to GO. (I also like chocolate.) In the past I’ve been able to cope with this feeling through drastic changes in scenery. Thanks to my mortgage, this isn’t quite an option anymore.

Don’t get me wrong – I truly adore my one bedroom co-op. It’s my little haven, my home base. Plus, I enjoy living in DC. The city fits me well, and I still feel like I have so many opportunities here that I don’t want to leave anytime soon.

But I can feel a disquiet beginning to haunt me again. My soul is restless. I am yearning for an adventure. Hmm, what shall I plot next…

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Another Doozy

I had a doozy of a week. Last weekend, if you recall, my mother was in town helping me with move-in activities. (No kitchen has ever been so organized, I assure you!) While it was great having her in-town, we were definitely going at our organizational and miscellaneous shopping activities nonstop. Then, Monday morning, my supervisor stopped into my office to let me know that my colleague had come down with the flu, and requested that I to go to New York City in her place to attend a conference. So, that very day I race home, pack up my things, and hop on the train. After an exciting and very busy two days, I return home Wednesday night. Thursday I’m in the office, and then Friday I take a day of vacation so that I can hop on a bus and spend a long weekend in…New York City!

It was loads of fun. We ate many delicious things (Fabulous dumplings! Amazing bagels! Exceptional ice cream!) and saw many wonderful things (The Strand Bookstore! MOMA! A standup comedy show! Art galleries!) but I am glad to be home. My fingers are crossed for a nice, quiet week.

 

Squeezing In

Last weekend after spending half a day trekking out the ‘burbs to pick up the bar stools, I declared myself done with all remotely labor-intensive home-related projects for the time being. After all, I have a bed, a couch, chairs, and a rug. I figured the rest would fall into place eventually.

It turns out that the future is now.

On Thursday night my mother arrived in town, a physically small yet spiritually vast bundle of energy. After dinner at a good BBQ place across the street, we stopped into the hardware store and emerged with a glorious potted palm taller than me. Once we arrived home with the palm, all of the furniture in my main room had to be dramatically rearranged to accommodate the tree. Before I left for work the next morning, my mother waved one of two shopping lists in front of my face that she had drafted after I went to bed the night before.

When I came home yesterday, more furniture had been moved and the lists were lengthened. Last night I woke up at 1 am (to be fair, that’s only 10 pm PST,) to find all the contents of my kitchen cabinets out on the counter, and my mother scrubbing out the insides of my cabinets.

My mom is having a blast.  I am in awe and need coffee.

All this considered, I figure that this may be the only chance I have to squeeze in writing a blog post.

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Looking Ahead

This week I am more excited to think about what is coming up rather than what has already happened. It was a long week for various reasons, and I was tired often and rather out of sorts. (This, despite the excellent highlight of finally getting a REAL BED and two REAL PILLOWS!) I am eager for a new week and a fresh start.

List of Things I Am Looking Forward To Starting At This Very Moment

  • Buying a couch: It won’t come for 6-8 weeks, but still beyond exciting!
  • Framing my art: I bought a print ages ago, but it’s still rolled up in a tube rather than on my wall.
  • Picking up my bar stools from the store: It will be so nice to sit on something other than my little futon.
  • Assessing organizational needs, buying things to address these organizational needs, and organizing: The stuff piles in my place are driving me absolutely crazy, but it’s hard to put things away when there’s nothing to put them in. This is my top priority tomorrow.
  • Making Brisket with Apricots + Prunes: While I don’t cook meat often, I have been in a domestic mood lately and feel like cooking something savory that will take all day long. My grand plan is to cook the brisket while I’m on tomorrow’s organizational and cleaning streak.
  • Visitors: My mom is coming for a visit! I am so excited! My sister-in-law is coming for a visit! I am so excited! While I have to accept that my place will still be far from done by the time they get here (gahhhhhh) I am looking forward to their company and having some emotional support with home improvement projects.
  • Visiting: I am visiting New York City at the end of the month for a weekend getaway. I can’t wait to eat everything and see see all the art, as well as escape my home improvement projects.

(p.s. I’m also looking forward to having internet, but let’s not go there.)

At least I’m more moved-in than I was…

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Stuff.

Oops. The last time I posted was January 30th, and today is February 20th. So much for writing more often, as I always promise I will do. This time my excuse is that for the first two weekends of February I was busy packing up all my worldly belongings in preparation for my move on the 28th, and on Friday night I arrived in California, where I will be until Sunday morning.

Packing is such a disturbing, exhausting, satisfying process. Each time I pack up for a move, I wonder how I’ve managed to acquire so much stuff. I remember arriving in DC with two checked bags, and now I have seven large boxes! For someone who had long aspired to the life of a nomad and living out of a backpack, I don’t really see this as a good thing. I’m glad that I’m only moving to a one bedroom apartment, which will help place a reasonable limit on the amount of items I can possibly acquire. I can only imagine what it would be like to try and move a whole house filled up with dreck.

In fact, by far my favorite part of packing is getting rid of things. For me, packing feels like the best, more thorough spring cleaning imaginable. I love filling up bags for Goodwill, tossing bags of trash and recycling into dumpsters, and leaving furniture outside of my apartment building for my fellow furniture scavengers.

This time I am particularly thrilled to get rid of almost all my furniture. Farewell, ugly old bookshelf from a former roommate! Goodbye, cheapest wobbly IKEA table! Go to the devil, evil uncomfortable IKEA bed and mattress! The only pieces of furniture that I’m bringing with me are two lamps (found on the street), my tiny futon couch and dresser drawers (Craigslist), and my nicer IKEA shelving (new!). Now that I am officially definitely not leaving DC any time soon,  I am thrilled to start over and get furniture I actually like, instead of things bought out of urgent desperation or cheapness.

This means, of course, that for all I say that I love the minimalist lifestyle and aspire to fitting my life into a rugsack, I am currently engaged in the process of buying or considering buying very large, expensive things over the next few months, including:

  1. A queen sized bed with a real honest to god non-IKEA mattress – hallelujah!
  2. A nice couch whose cushions don’t slowly and aggravatingly slide off as you sit on it, unlike my current baby futon
  3. A coffee table – so adult, right?
  4. Two area rugs – one for my bedroom and one for the large main room
  5. Window hangings – since I have no blinds but I do have neighbors
  6. Bar stools – because I will have my kitchen island and not much space, I’m skipping a table for the foreseeable future

Toss in some queen-sized sheets and a mountain of plants, (I will have natural light! So much natural light! Good riddance, you dark studio apartment cave,) and I will be home sweet home!

That is, once everything is painted. Maybe.