Moving

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Lists

Monday, May 21st, 2012

The days are flying by, and I wish that every weekend was twice as long.  At night, I crash into bed and stare at the ceiling, making lists in my head of everything that I still need to do, remember, purchase.  While I’m sure that obsessive list-making is a habit of some men, I think it’s safe to say that women have cornered the market on this one.

We moved into a new house at the beginning of the month, and I can’t wait to show you pictures.  It’s wonderful and homey and perfect – or at least it WILL be, as soon as I finish all of the tasks on my list.  We need to hang curtains and pictures, and get an extension cord to run underneath the couch to be able to plug in the lamp, and organize, and paint the bathroom, and maybe the kitchen, too.   But even now, this 1909 bungalow is such an improvement over Hooker Street.

I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit this, but here it is: after years and years without one, I’ve decided that I want a TV.  There are what look to be some great shows coming up, and I’m sorry, but I want to be able to watch them in real time.  A TV is on my list of “things to buy” – but not before porch furniture and a mint muddler.  I have my priorities.

Summer is so close.  Starting this week, we get “Summer Fridays” at work, which means we leave at 1pm.  On my list of “things to do this summer,” you’ll find: Charlie & Julia’s wedding in Nashville, Jeff & Greta’s wedding in Seattle, climb 10 14ers, walk 1,000 miles, turn 30 (SO SOON), and play with my nephews.

On my list of “hopes for today,” it’s this: do not get overwhelmed, keep breathing, and stop making lists.

Home again, home again

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I know that you’ve all been racked with anxiety since I announced that we might soon be living underneath a bridge. You’ve probably lost sleep, your hair, and your minds from the stress of it all.

But worry no more, good friends and countrymen: we found a house.

A HOUSE.

A stand-alone structure.

Do you realize with this means? We will be living in a place with no shared walls, floors, or ceilings. Early in the morning, we won’t hear thundering footsteps. Late at night, we won’t hear screaming babies (or grown-ass adults). We can have friends over and entertain WITH ABANDON.

This house has a deep front porch and a big backyard and a second-story balcony with no railing (read: no adult beverages allowed on the balcony). There are hardwood floors and a bay window, a big basement for storage, a gas stove, and plenty of charm. We’ll have (almost) enough closet space.

We move in 10 days.

I’m going to be bold and just say it: I feel like this move is a game-changer. We’ve committed to living here in Denver, and are ready to live in a HOME. In the 11 months that I’ve lived on Hooker Street, I can count the number of times I’ve invited a friend over on one hand, mostly due to the fact that it isn’t a pleasant place to be (low ceilings and loud neighbors will do that). But hosting and entertaining is in the fiber of my being, and I’m so excited to be able to welcome people in.

We’ll have space to spread out a little bit, and it won’t feel like we’re tripping over dogs at every turn. We’ll have lawn games. We’ll have wine & cheese on the porch. We’ll have fun, and peace and quiet, and walks to Hash (breakfast, not pot).

And we’ll have you over.

Why commitment equals freedom

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Something really remarkable has happened: I’ve stopped thinking about moving.

I know that this is probably foreign to some people, but I have entertained the idea of moving – no matter where I’ve lived – for at least the past 5 years.  When I was living in Seattle, I was thinking about moving to Nashville.  When I was living in Nashville, I was thinking about moving back to Seattle.  Then, in December of 2009, family circumstances took me to Denver – and every day, I was thinking about moving back to Nashville, or back to Seattle, or maybe to Portland, or there’s always Boston…

But I have not thought about moving since November.   For over two months, it hasn’t crossed my mind.  I live in Denver, and I’m not looking to leave anytime soon.

My new job commits me to this city.  And for as backward as it sounds, commitment equals freedom.  I am free from the questions, from the what ifs, from the grass-is-greener thoughts that accompanied having options.  Having options creates the illusion that one can do anything – which, while attractive in theory, can be alarmingly paralyzing.

There is something really good about having fewer options.  Having fewer options simplifies my thought life, and allows me to be present exactly where I am.  Having fewer options makes me say “yes” to all that’s right in front of me.  Having fewer options frees up my calendar, my bank account, and my heart.

Having fewer options actually gains us access to a wealth of experiences, relationships, and resources that are far from pipe dreams – no, in fact, they’re close enough to touch.

If you find yourself having your options whittled down, don’t freak out.  It might be the greatest thing that could happen.

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.

Inherited

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Next week, my mom is moving to Kansas City.  While this is definitely a good decision for her, selfishly, it’s hard on my heart.  I moved to Colorado to be closer to my parents, and starting next week, neither of them will live here anymore.  This brings up all sorts of questions and emotions for me, but I’ve learned enough to know that none of these need to be discussed in a public forum.

Sorry, voyeurs.

Instead, let’s talk about the things that I have inherited from her house in the move.

The most important thing is Kodi the 3-legged dog.  Yes, our little raisin-eyed tripod, the Toad, now lives with Becca and Greebs and me on Hooker Street.  My days of zero responsibility are now a thing of the past, as Becca and I are constantly shuffling dog duties (not to be confused with dog doodies – although, yes, sad to say that those are being shuffled, too).

She is adorable as always, though – and even though I’m now much more tethered to home, and even though she doesn’t really fit into my active lifestyle (she can walk about a quarter of a mile before she’s spent), it’s nice to have someone who’s always happy to see me.

We’ve also laid claim to some killer patio furniture.  Last week, I told my friend Kelli that it was made of cast iron.  “You mean wrought iron,” she stated more than asked.  I was like, “Yeah.”

Now, we don’t exactly live on a picturesque block.  We have a dirty weed yard, and some local dogs peed on my basil and mint plants until they were dead.  The next-door neighbor’s mutt killed a skunk in their front yard, and the carcass rotted in the hot sun for two weeks.  I’m not sure if mere patio furniture is going to, I don’t know, redeem the neighborhood – but it’s sure as hell going to try.

Come over.  I’ll mix you a ghetto cocktail.

Finally, all of the things that have hidden in Mom’s pantry?  For years?  And years?  Mine.

If you know me at all, you know that I cannot waste food.  I just can’t do it.  If food dies, I die.  It’s this deep, fundamental part of my soul.  You think I’m kidding – but I assure you, I kid thee not.  I’m the girl who packs a food box in her suitcase on long trips, just sick at the thought of leaving food behind to rot in the fridge – a waste of my money, a waste of someone’s labor, a waste of, I don’t know, a cow.

I will avenge your death, cow.

Anyway, I now have more canned goods, spices, and non-perishables than I know what to do with.  Apple butter?  Kidney beans?  Chicken stock?  Red chile marmalade?  Canned meat?  Jars of chutney?  Two gigantic canisters of Pam?  If you have ideas for how I can put this stuff to good use, do tell.

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.

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]

These are all of the things that happened this weekend

Monday, March 28th, 2011

It is Monday.  Again.

Monday is a difficult way to spend 1/7th of one’s life.

However, I’ll have you know that the weekend was a raging success.  I moved all of my earthly belongings out of my apartment and into a storage unit – mainly thanks to my mom (who packed my entire household while I worked on Friday), and my dad (who carried everything down 3 flights of stairs on Saturday).

I mean, what would I do without my parents?

Be stuck in this apartment forever until I die and am eaten by wild dogs, that’s what.

For the first time in my life, I rented a U-Haul.  It was 14′ long.  I drove it up and down I-25, and didn’t kill anyone in the process, so I deserve a medal or a certificate or a badge for my Brownie sash or something.

I sold my old car stereo on Craigslist – a dresser, too.  Who’s $100 richer?  [thumbs]  This girl.

When the move was over – and oh Lord, did it take all day – my dad asked me what I was going to do to celebrate.  I didn’t have to think twice: “Go on a walk take a shower shave my legs watch Netflix go to sleep.”  And that’s exactly what I did – asleep by 10pm – what a gift.

The Netflix I watched was “Winter’s Bone,” which, while not exactly feel-good and uplifting, was pretty incredible.  Also, it shows the actual gutting of an actual squirrel, so now I have yet another skill to serve me on the Oregon Trail.  Take THAT, Matt Whitman.

So, that was Saturday.  But SUNDAY?  Was incredible.

First things first, I had clean hair and shaved legs from the night before.  Hallelujah.  I went to church and drank two cups of really good coffee from the coffee table.  Hallelujah again.

After church, I came back to my now empty apartment, changed into comfy clothes, and drove (in Subaruthless) to Evergreen.  This is how happy I felt to be driving (in Subaruthless) to Evergreen:

(By the by, those front seat-covers?  Came with the vehicle and are totally heinous and I’m going to remove them.  JUST FOR THE RECORD.)

Anyhow, I drove to Evergreen to go hiking.  Hiking!  Which I haven’t done since October!  The pine needles… the blue sky… it was like kissing nature on the lips.  With tongue.

Afterwards, I drove straight to Karmen‘s house, where she served me green grapes and crackers with cheese.  Then we walked to a little stationery shop, and I spent $20 on some cards that I cannot wait to send.  Then we walked some more, and we talked about life and love and other enigmas, and I was reminded why I am so incredibly thankful for a friend like her.

Oh, and this whole time, I was wearing that same baseball cap.  Just so you can get a visual.

Eventually, I made my way to Target (girl’s gotta get her eyeliner and Wheat Thins), and then home.  I heated up leftovers, and thought about some new song ideas, and wound up eating some of the aforementioned Wheat Thins with goat cheese on top.

By that time, the sun was setting.  A phone call to someone I am fond of, and then time to go to sleep – in my apartment which, yes, I am still camping in until March 31st.  Hey, I paid my money – I’m going to eke out every last cent.  I am a total squatter – sleeping on the floor, the necessities in a suitcase or two, bottle of half-gone Pinot Grigio in the fridge.

Welcome to my life, y’all.  Pleasure to have you.

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.

Denver 2010ver

Monday, December 27th, 2010

When I moved to Denver a year ago, it was on an open-ended basis – I moved to be close to my family as my mom underwent cancer treatment, but had no idea what the future would hold. I decided to live it up and soak in every bit of Colorado that I could, since I didn’t know how long I would be here. I ran hundreds of miles all over the city, and went to concerts, and climbed mountains, and got involved in a church, and made some friends, and felt grateful every single day to work for a company that made it possible for me to live close to my family during this time.

And now, it’s been a year, Mom is doing awesome (cue the confetti, for real), and nothing is “officially” holding me here in Colorado.

But I’m going to stay anyway.

I’m going to staaaaaayy exclamation point!

I’m going to dig in here, and see what Denver might have to offer me, and what I might have to offer it. I’m going to move forward into the unknown, even when it’s tempting to go back to what’s familiar and comfortable.

Because trust me, both Nashville and Seattle are tempting, wonderful, good options. I have people who love me, and people that I love, and opportunities and connections and community and a heart that bursts at the thought of any number of amazing memories. I wonder if I’m crazy to make a life for myself in yet another city, when I already have ready-made lives in other states.  In a way, it’s scary to think that I’m deciding against these wonderful places that I love so much, because, as Tom Petty says, “Well, the good ol’ days may not return / And the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn.”

But, you know – I’m learning to fly.

And I can honestly, wholeheartedly say that I love my job, I love the mountains, I love my family, and I love a good adventure. Why NOT stay?

This is a good decision.

But friends?  Please come visit me.