Done with Moving?

On Sunday I came home from California, on Monday I went to work and finished packing and cleaning, and on Tuesday a man with a pickup truck helped me move all my worldly belongings from my sad dark studio to my cheery light-filled one bedroom co-op. We were done by noon.

Standing in that room, surrounded by boxes and plastic trash bags, (er, I ran out of boxes,) I was ready to keel over from hunger and felt quite overwhelmed. Since the place hadn’t been inhabited in ages, a think layer of dust was on everything except the new gleaming wooden floors. Thank goodness for my friend, who in my hour of need, came over during lunchtime to provide emotional support and make me a sandwich, as well as wipe out all my kitchen cupboards. My other first step was cleaning out the bathroom. I sort of wish I had taken a picture of the toilet so that I could convey just how nasty it was, but some things are best left to the imagination.

To be honest, I still feel overwhelmed when I think about how much needs to happen with my new place. I still have no internet, (the connection was covered over with drywall!) no bed, no chairs, and no curtains. My fridge is practically empty. Only yesterday did I put up a shower curtain. At some point I should reorganize my closets in a manner which makes sense.

And yet, I am very happy. I love my new home. I still think the apartment’s layout, with a tiny bathroom and bedroom but a large central space with lots of closets, is great. Yes, only from certain vantage points in the bedroom can I see trees, but my rooms are so bright that houseplants will thrive. I can’t wait to fill my new place with friends and memories. You are all invited.

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.

Join the ACLU!

I know it’s been ages since I last posted, but I’ve been extraordinarily busy on all fronts. Last weekend (was it really only last week?) I had friends in town and went to the Woman’s March here in our fine capitol. I’ve also been out dancing a fair amount, work has been busy enough to warrant bleeding over into this weekend, and I have, um, experienced a dramatic uptick in my social life. What’s more, I am buying a flat! It’s a tiny little 600 square-foot shoe box of a one bedroom co-op, and it will be mine, all mine! I am thrilled. I will be even more thrilled once I “close” on it, the new floors are installed, the electrical work is complete, the broken garbage disposal is replaced,  and I get around to repainting pretty much everything. The time-consuming joys of home ownership are already revealing themselves to me.

I am acutely aware of how while I am so happy for so many reasons, the world is going to shit. A megalomaniac narcissist is screwing with our democracy and making decisions that are detrimental to the wellbeing of my country and the world at large. Anyway, all of this is to say that yesterday I finally put my money where my mouth is and joined the ACLU. I suggest that you join, too! It feels awesome. Donate to the ACLU here.

Once you’ve given money to the ACLU, you can do as I did, and relish the knowledge that you are supporting the front line that is actively protecting the free world against evil, and make roasted mushrooms on toast.

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Grow a Pair! Power to the Pussy! You Do You-terus!

Cozy

It is snowing outside, and I am drinking hot tea while snuggled under a blanket on my couch and listening to jazz music. This morning I went on a run. My tummy is full of popovers and Oregon berry jam. I feel at peace. I do not particularly feel like writing a blog post. However, if I put off writing a blog post until tomorrow, I can’t imagine it happening at all. Tomorrow I will be drowsy from staying out until who knows when tango dancing, I have a visit to a potential new apartment (trying not to get my hopes up, I’m worried I’ll fall in love with it and not get it,) and I’m going to a Teach-In on Civil Liberties at the renowned DC bookstore Politics and Prose.

So, a blog post. Our trip to Argentina was amazing, it was beautiful, and it was needed. Highlights included eating many tasty things, hiking through outrageously amazing scenery, and long days warm weather, maybe in that order. I feel absurdly lucky to have been able to return to one of my favorite places in the world, and to share it with my mother. I wish I could do it all over again, although perhaps not the missed airplane connection (sorry, Papa)!

Pictures with some commentary are below.

First off, breakfast:

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Next, the Perito Moreno glacier:

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Ice cave under the glacier: dsc_0533

While we spent most of our time in the mountains, a lot of Patagonia is flat, dry steppe. That bright blue lake you see below is fed by glaciers, hence the amazing color.   dsc_0554

Some mountain pictures:

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The area around the Estancia where we stayed looked like this:

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Finally, baby cows: dsc_0746

It was a little tough to come back to real life, especially to flat, mountain-less DC. West Coast, someday I will return!

Drippy

Right now I am hiding from my problems in a coffee shop. Unlike usual life travails which have the ability to follow you around no matter your change of place, this problem is very stuck in one geographical location: my kitchen.

Last night I was midway through my Single Women Empowerment Movie Binge Watching Session (I had finished ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and was halfway through ‘Eat Pray Love,’) when I heard a bizarre sound coming from my kitchen. At first I thought I had left something on the stove, but when I rushed over I saw a small crack in the ceiling with a little water dripping through it to land on top of my cabinets.

“[Expletive],” I thought. I contacted my landlord via email to let them know what was happening, and went back to my movie.

About half an hour later, I heard a new, louder dripping sound. I went back into the kitchen to investigate, and saw that a new crack had appeared, spanning the kitchen ceiling, with a lot more water coming through, this time landing on my floor. I put bowls under the leaks, and called the emergency contact number for my landlord.

I was told to go upstairs and let my neighbors know about the issue, and that someone would be by tomorrow morning to check it out. “Er, it’s really a lot of water,” I said, watching the water plonk into the waiting bowls. “Ok, I’ll come by this evening,” replied the guy on the line. “It’ll be a while, though – I’m in Baltimore dealing with another urgent problem.”

I went upstairs to knock on my neighbors’ door. No answer. I tried again and again, without luck. I can’t say I was overly surprised, since the only times I’ve knocked on their door before has been to politely ask them to turn down their thumping base at 11:30 pm on weeknights. I am not sure they like me.

Of course, when I came downstairs, yet another crack had appeared, in a totally different part of my kitchen, dripping water on top of my fridge. I got out another bowl.

I finished the movie.

At this point, the water had mostly stopped dripping, and the only real sign of problems were the long lines spanning my kitchen ceiling. So I called the handyman back, and let him know that we could both wait until the morning.

Morning came. By the time I returned from my jog, the water had returned with a vengeance, a steadily dripping into all three bowls scattered around my kitchen. I gave one last call to the handyman to let him know that things were getting even worse, and I fled.

Now I am happily ensconced in a nearby coffee shop, very glad that A) this is not my problem, B) the leaks are in the kitchen, and not over my bed, and C) this did not happen while I was in Argentina.

Of course this occurs right when I’m considering home ownership. Hmm.

Being Alive

I’m back in DC after a nice week-long visit home. Ever since I arrived back in DC I’ve been tango dancing practically non-stop, which I’m not sure has helped me acclimate to the new reality, or if it’s just a way for me to not think. Either way, I suppose it’s doing something – I am feeling very well.

This feeling has also coincided with/been abetted by my new Barbara Streisand phase. Somewhat ironically, I’ve found myself happily leaping around in my little apartment to ‘Being Alive,‘ but I really do feel gloriously alive. I have no idea what in the world will happen next, but I am so eager for the crazy unknown ahead.

Could it be? Yes, it could. Something’s coming, something good, if I can wait.

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Uh.

I am definitely not over the election. My sleep schedule is still whacked out, I have lost my appetite, and I have not been able to bring myself to listen to NPR since Tuesday. This is really saying something. I typically sleep like a baby, I always thought that people who “lost their appetite” were secretly dieting, (but I’ve actually lost my appetite for real! I never knew this was actually possible,) and NPR has been the soundtrack to my life, morning and evening, seven days a week.

I am scared for myself, but even more so for my many friends who are immigrants and belong to minority groups. I am particularly worried for my black male coworkers. I want to run around giving hugs to the women wearing headscarves on the streets. I am so sad and frustrated that my countryman voted for a misogynist, raciest asshole that was endorsed by the KKK and who will do little for the working class who helped elect him.

I know as time marches on, I will be out there, protesting and doing what I can, and certainly making plenty of donations to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. But in the meantime, I am trying to lose myself and not think at all. I’ve been tango dancing more than in ages. Today I went to the National Gallery of Art and looked at beautiful things.

I am also more eager than ever to go to Argentina with my mother. I want to get lost among the cobblestone streets of Buenos Aires, ride that rickety subway line, and visit the mountains in the south that I have never seen. I want to submerge myself in memories and Spanish and eat steak and drink cheap red wine. I want to run away.

I will come back and fight, but right now, I want to run away.