Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Little Boxes Made of Ticky-Tacky

Last Thursday I decided I wasn’t going to move, I was going to stick it out in my apartment as long as possible. The rent is cheap and to be honest, it’s a beautiful place. Beautiful doorways, nicely worn floors- plus my furniture ends up looking less like an eclectic hodgepodge of flea market finds and more like an eclectic hodgepodge of intentional purchases. In brand-new-cookie-cutter-apartment-complex type places all of my things (the old hats, the antique purses, the stack of old-fashioned brown leather suitcases) look vastly out of place, almost sad and forlorn. But next to an imperfectly smooth wall or a slightly chipped window frame, they look content and at peace. They’re not competing with the fresh white paint and the brand new beige carpet, they’re winking slyly at the creaky floors in the kitchen and the door that doesn’t quite shut in the hallway.

And if I’m honest, I can say that I was a bit reluctant to leave a place I got a tingle in my back about. I found the apartment one evening over a year and a half ago on my way downtown for dinner with a friend. She was setting me up with an acquaintance of hers, one that I was just going to fall in love with and marry on the spot. I was a bit early and it was a breezy late spring evening, so I slowly drove around the downtown neighborhoods. On my way up a one-way street I saw a beautiful red brick building, shaped like an open U with three flowering trees planted down the center of the courtyard. The upstairs apartments all had French doors that opened out onto narrow New Orleans style balconies and I stopped my car in the middle of the deserted street because I knew, with a surety I can’t even explain, that this was where I was going to live. When I walked into the open courtyard I saw a tiny orange For Rent sign in one of the windows and decided it was Fate. I hadn’t even been looking and here It was, the tingly back feeling and a perfect apartment for rent. Done deal.

Two months after I had moved in, my dear friend Lilleeee needed a place to live and she moved into the apartment directly over my head. We used to sit out on our back porches and sip coffee on Saturdays, until her brother moved in a few months later and then she found Jeremy and he moved in too. It’s like the Brady Bunch up there, only with about seven less people, no maid and no creepy incest vibe.

But then I found a leak and then a rat and then rats-sah, which is my way of saying plural rat infestation without having to use that infestation word. Obviously that plan worked out well. And then I found another leak and then the bathroom ceiling popped a zit and then my friend Mr. Mildew took over and it makes me sneeze like nobody’s business. And then my landlord expressed confusion and dismay that it had never been fixed, because he didn’t get a single one of my five bazillion messages or threatening emails, and said he’d get right on it.

That was Thursday, and he agreed to have it all fixed on Monday. The ceiling, the mildew, the chewed up rat holes in the kitchen cabinets. And I smiled and agreed because MY APARTMENT IS SO DAMN CUTE. Plus I’m old and I’m tired, tired of putting my shit in boxes and lugging it across streets and counties and state lines. I have moved house eighteen times in seventeen years. Fourteen of those times have been in the last eight years. That’s a lot of moving. And did I mention that I’m tired. And lazy. Exactly.

But then it was Friday and I woke up and had a back tingle. It was the same kind of tingle I got when I woke up one morning and knew I had new job, a big snazzy new job with a big snazzy pay raise. I hadn’t canceled the appointment to see an apartment on Friday and I kept it mostly out of principle, because I thought it was rude to cancel on such short notice and it wouldn’t kill me to see what XXX.XX amount of dollars would get me in my neighborhood.

I rolled up outside the building on my lunch break with Amanda in tow, because the cardinal rule of apartment hunting is you never go in a locked room with some man you don’t know. That’s not to say I don’t ever break this cardinal rule, but if I have the opportunity to stick to it I’m mighty happy.

I knew the apartment was mine before I even walked in the door so of course it was utter perfection. Big windows, open floor plan, lots of closets. Plus, there is a second bedroom, something that makes me feel very settled and mature. Because nothing sucks more than having your mama come to visit and sharing a full size bed or attempting to get comfortable on The World’s Most Uncomfortable Couch.

So now I have a new apartment. And I’m pretty damn happy about that. Little scared about the one year commitment and all, because I may or may not be utterly devoid of that gene that lets me happily commit to things.


Anonymous said...

"Little Boxes Made of Ticky-Tacky"!!! I love it! How do you know that song? I thought only old dudes like me knew those old folk songs. Pete Seeger rules!

Carl from L.A. said...

It's a well-documented and time-tested fact that things are found (jobs, relationships, apartments, etc) when you stop looking for them.

Congratulations on finding the new apartment. Hope you don't miss the rats-sah too much.

YoJ said...

Well congrats on the new move! Will you send me pics of the new place? :)

birdie said...

anon- I love that song. And "Weeds" on showtime uses it as their theme song :)

carl: very, very true. but the back tingle is kinda fun.

yoj: of course, dah-ling! I'm going to post pictures of the current place as well so everyone can appreciate the cuteness of what i'm leaving behind. and then (once i'm moved in, naturally) pictures of the new place all shiny and pretty.