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Rent (not the musical)

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Recently, I was at Target, and I saw a stainless steel toilet bowl brush.

The first thing that I thought was, “I want that one – it’s so nice and shiny.”  Then, I thought, “It’s too expensive – I’ll just buy this plastic one for $2.99.”  And I did.

See, stainless steel toilet bowl brushes are designed for home-owners, people who never move, people who do not have to think about spending $15 on something that in a few short months, they will just want to throw away – because who is actually going to lovingly pack up something designed to scrub feces?

I am an unrooted, unfettered, tumbleweed of a girl.  I have never owned a home – at the rate I’m going, I may NEVER own a home – and in the past 11+ years, the longest that I’ve ever stayed in one domicile is TWO. ENTIRE. BLISSFUL. YEARS. in a studio in the Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle (in Washington, in the United States, in the world).  It was a 1920s building, with crystal doorknobs and coved ceilings and hardwood floors.  Shoot, I loved that place.

But prior to that, and ever since then, I have moved every 12 months or less.

My constant moving, nomadic lifestyle, and sporadic homelessness have led to the occasional identity crisis, the random revelation, and the frequent emotional breakdown to my mother.

But while I have a deep soul-ache for a sense of rootedness and home (oh mercy, do I ever), there are a lot of great things that come along with being a gypsy of a renter.

When the hot water heater breaks, someone else fixes it.  When the window needs replacing, someone else does it.  When the horrible neighbors raise their ugly voices, you just move.  When your mom gets cancer, you just head to Colorado.  When the housing market crashes, you just don’t even care.  You never need to talk about the most boring terms imaginable like “HOA” or “APR” or “HUD” because when you ask yourself “WWJD,” you realize he would just wander the earth loving people*.

Some people think of renting as “throwing money away”; I call renting “exchanging money for freedom and flexibility.”

Maybe someday, I’ll find myself in a situation/season/city where buying a home would make sense – and in that event, I hope that the house has a breakfast nook and plenty of closet space and at least one interior brick wall.  But for now, I rent.

And at least this way, I don’t find myself justifying $15 on a toilet bowl brush.  Seriously, America.

*Not solid logic when it comes to renting vs. buying.  But definitely a truth, in and of itself.

Itty bitty tidbits

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Something I Googled this morning:
Is kennel cough contagious to humans?

Because – bad news – Kodi has kennel cough.  And also – bad news – it is.

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First, “The Pianist” came from Netflix.  Then, “The Piano” came from Netflix.

What in the world.  Why did I choose to watch these back-to-back?  I’m so depressed.  If you happen to know something happy, please share.

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I’m so bored of my running playlist (Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” is only SO inspiring – although, let’s be real, it’s pretty damn inspiring).

What are the best songs to run to?  I’m thinking of utilizing this.

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Sometimes I miss Nashville so much, I can hardly breathe.  The next day, it’s Seattle.  Today, both are very much true.

But right now, in this moment, I choose to be present in this city, on this day, with these tasks, and these people.

I believe that the future holds good things.

But I also choose to acknowledge that the present holds good things.

It is a choice, you know.

So many places

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

I ordered this print from a charming little Etsy shop.

Truer words there have never been.

Hooker House #1

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

I’ve had a number of requests (okay, fine – just two – heyyyy, Greta and Julie!) for pictures of the Hooker House.

I’m one who likes to have things settled just so before a grand reveal.  And because of my persnickety nature and tight budget, it’s going to take awhile before I’m ready to explode our new home onto the World Wide Web.

However, with some help last night from one Jonathan Dalby (who, as I informed him last night, was once called “unfortunately good looking” – congrats, Dalbs), the living room is finally looking pretty complete.  Here’s a glimpse.

I know.  A FIREPLACE.  How picturesque is the Hooker House??

I mean, you know.  For being a garden-level apartment and all.

My new roommates

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

As you learned in last Friday’s video, I now live with my sister Becca in the Hooker House.  Get used to it – I have a feeling that Life on Hooker Street will become a popular subject on this blog.

Aside from time time spent under our parent’s roof, this is the first time that Becca and I have lived together.  She is 3 1/2 years younger, half my weight* and twice my sarcasm.

Becca has a dog, and she’s pretty much obsessed with him.  His name is Gabe, but “The Greebs” is the moniker that’s stuck.  So obviously, I now live with the Greebs, too.

Are you curious about these two new roommates of mine?  Here.  I’ll show you.

Becca and Gabe

And in case you forgot, here is me.

So, yes.  This could be interesting.  ACKNOWLEDGED.

But so far, it’s been fun.

I’m teaching Becca things like “you have to rinse your plastic soup container before you put it in the recycling bin.”  And she’s teaching me things like “this isn’t Auschwitz.”

For all he sheds, and despite the fact that he ate one of my books, the Greebs is kind of becoming my best bud.  On hot days, I walk him the half-mile to Sloan’s Lake where he can swim.  And on the days when I work from home, he never leaves my side.  I talk to him in my voice reserved for dogs (admit it: you have a “dog voice,” too), and when I grab his leash and say, “You wanna go?” he jumps in the air like a kangaroo.

In the midst of so much upheaval and transition in our family, I am thankful for a sister to share a home with.  And despite our differences (which are many), there is a comfort in knowing that at the end of the day, I’m not alone.

Even if it means that my couch – and floor – and car – and clothes – are covered in dog hair.

*Not really.  But basically.

Homeless FTW

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I didn’t know that moving my stuff into storage would cause so many questions.

Oh, you and your questions!

It’s really not a big secret – here’s the deal.  My lease is up at the end of March.  I’ve loved this apartment – truly, more than any other physical space I’ve ever occupied.  But parking is atrocious.  It’s expensive.  And given my bizarre neighbors, as well as a landlord who entered my apartment last week when I was out of town, turned on the oven, and left it on for the SIX DAYS until I returned, I don’t know.  It just seemed like the right time to go.

I thought about finding another place right away, but then I remembered that April is going to be crazy.  I’m driving 5 hours away for a dentist appointment.  I’m going to Boston to see Christina.  Julie’s getting married in Kansas City.  And I’ll be in Nashville for the week before the half-marathon (which I will walk, not run – no shame).  Why pay rent for a month that involves a lot of travel?

So, I moved my stuff into storage.

Totally annoying, I know.  It means that I will have to move twice.  That is the pits.

But then, I think of the money I will save.  And because I do enjoy a small cushion of sweet, sweet cash (that, according to my track record, will probably be spent on some random emergency before I even see it), it all feels strangely worth it.

I’ll figure out the next step, the next place, the next home when I get back to Denver in May.

Now we are all on the same page.  It happens to be blank.  But at least we’re here together.  [snuggle snuggle]

No rest for the weary

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I am having a hard time feeling like The Real Me right now, since The Real Me thrives on routine and nesting and eating the exact same thing for breakfast every morning.  But 2011 has offered no rest for the weary, and no predictability for your truly.

The past few months have been a rough go for The Real Me.

The Real Me likes walking 11 miles a night after work by herself.  The Real Me likes having all of her clothes hanging neatly in the closet.  The Real Me likes a balanced checkbook and a good night’s sleep.  The Real Me likes home-cooked meals.  The Real Me likes independence.  The Real Me likes quiet moments and clear skin and a big glass of water.  The Real Me likes to be home, wherever I have most recently dubbed it.

After weeks and weeks of travel, I am home today.  I am home tomorrow.

And then on Saturday, I am moving all of my stuff out of my home and into a storage unit, and becoming homeless – again.

It’s only for a season, and there are a lot of very good and valid reasons that I’m doing this.  It’s the right choice, and I have to remember that, like many of my seemingly manic decisions, I am, oddly enough, choosing it.

But The Real Me is just so damn tired, and hasn’t packed a thing, and will stay up all night tonight and tomorrow to pack my home away into boxes – boxes that I do not yet have.  The Real Me will cry and swear before it’s all over.  The Real Me will live uncomfortably, and pray that she doesn’t wither away in the midst of it all.

Update: home

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

All of last year, I lived in the apartment above the most silent man of all time.  The only time I ever saw him was when he would stand outside his front door smoking cigarettes with his headphones in, avoiding my eye contact as I would pass him on my way to the third floor.  The bearded mute would never speak – nay, make any noise at all.  For any awkwardness, he was quite possibly the best neighbor I’ve ever had.

I came back after New Years to find that the noiseless hermit had moved out, and been replaced by a frat house.

In the past month, I have occasionally woken up at 4am, wondering why I’m awake.  Oh.  Because there is BELLOWING beneath me.

On Saturday night around 7pm, the hollers had reached a crescendo worthy of an admittedly passive-aggressive stomping on my floor.  Everything fell silent for a moment – until they responded with a broomstick to the ceiling.

Oh hell no.

I left home for a bit, but later that night when I returned, I listened to the crowd of hooligans belt out “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.”  I resolved that if the noise continued past 11pm, I would don brass knuckles and storm apartment #201.

I spent the next 20 minutes pumping myself up for an all-out brawl – but right as I was ready to rumble, I listened to the battalion of delinquents file out of the apartment and down the stairs, heading up the block to the bars on Colfax.  Little do they know that they just narrowly escaped the wrath of a girl with two cocktails in her – just loose enough to not be held responsible for any words or actions.

But last night at 2am – a weeknight, mind you – I was stirred from a dead sleep by yells and laughs and “wooooo!“s.  It was on.  I pulled on my parka over my pajamas, stood in the living room for a minute wishing I had someone to fight my battles for me, and then marched downstairs.

My firm knock on the door was answered by a girl who hid behind it.  She hid behind it.  I never saw her face, but I heard her whimpers of embarrassment to the three men on the couch.  Oh honey, yes, you should be embarrassed.  You should be mortified.  You are sharing a one-bedroom apartment with these goons (do you have bunk-beds? Family bed? I’m genuinely curious), and obviously none of you have jobs, or you wouldn’t be so lively in the middle of the night.

“Hey, y’all,” I crooned.  I often find my alter-ego has a Southern accent.  “My name is Annie, and I’m your neighbor, and I’m so sorry this is the first time that we’re meeting.  But it’s 2am, and -6° outside, and yet I’m standing at your door in my pajamas.  This is how loud you are.  Can you please keep it down?”

Never in my life have I felt so much like an annoying parent-chaperone on a high school band trip.  It was a dark moment for my “cool” factor.

But for my sanity?  VICTORY.

I am switching apartments in a few months, and will no longer have to deal with these ruffians.  Until then, God help them, because these days, my tolerance is wearing thinner than the walls.

Nesting: a (sort of) photo essay

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I made it back to Denver on Saturday night, and when I walked into my apartment, I swear, it took everything in me to not drop to my knees and kiss the hardwood floors.  For all of the trips that I take, I am a bona fide homebody.

Yesterday, it started snowing.  It was pretty and white and wintery outside, so I looked out the window for awhile.

Then, while still in my pajamas, I made my best breakfast, and drank 3 cups of coffee in quick succession.

This is too much coffee, so after that, my hands were jittery.  But I managed to plug in my new Sonicare toothbrush, which I got for Christmas.  It’s changing my life.  I’ll never go back.  NEVERRRRRR.

I looked at my new wall-hanging, a gift from my sister-in-law.  And then my heart exploded with sprinkles.

At one point, I ventured out to buy myself some yellow roses – because according to L’Oreal, I’m worth it?

I opened all of my mail (6 weeks’ worth – Merry Christmas to ME), and loved all of the holiday cards that my friends sent.  I put them on my fridge.

Then, I pulled out my food processor and made almond butter.  I added a little bit of vanilla and cinnamon to make it taste like heaven, that’s what.  I didn’t want to put it in a Tupperware, because please, ugly – so I decided that a glass butter dish would work just fine.

I acknowledge that this totally doesn’t look as appetizing as it is.

I also made chocolate chip cookies.  I didn’t get a picture.  I promise it’s not because I ate all of them – it’s just that they’re now in a plastic bag in my cabinet, and who wants to see that?

I talked on the phone for awhile.  I didn’t get a picture of that, either.  But it happened.

I examined my current physical ailments – eczema on my hands, 5 swollen toes on my left foot (do I have the Gout? I’M SERIOUS), and yellowing bruises on both of my forearms.  All are a mystery.  And again, no picture – but let’s be honest, you’re totally okay with that.

I watched a documentary called “The Art of the Steal.”

Finally, I ventured to the gym and ran 5 miles on a treadmill, which did not bode well for the 5 swollen toes on my left foot, or, incidentally, my mood.  Then, I went to Target and bought graph paper, because how much do I love graph paper?  It’s so regimented and orderly, and when I write on it I can tell myself to “read between the lines” and totally mean it.

That was yesterday, but this is today – and today, it’s 3° outside and I am feeling positively unwell.  So it’s a sick day for me – back to bed to hopefully sleep off the crud (and the Gout).

How’s my living room looking?

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Rather complete, these days, thanks for asking.