When I started packing up my apartment two weeks ago it felt like waking up from a coma. As I wrapped a picture frame in newspaper, I stared at the empty box below me. I realized that I had absolutely no memory of packing up to move from my old house to the apartment.
I knew that my friend and her mother had helped me, and that they had patiently wrapped so many mason jars and glasses in newsprint. I knew I had done a lot of the packing myself in my usual way, but I couldn’t remember how I had packed anything. Things went into boxes some how and came back out of them, but I had no idea in what order or fashion.
How did I get here? I didn’t know, but it was time to pack up and move again.
When I closed on my new house early last month, the mortgage broker asked me what my plan was. Pen in my hand signing the papers, I looked at her. “My plan is to buy this house.” That was as far as I had gotten.
After the movers had left on Friday with all of my belongings stacked up against the wall in boxes and furniture dropped in awkward positions, I realized that was still as far as I’d gotten. I bought the house, and I have no clue how to live in it.
Of course, there is lots to love about my new abode… that’s the reason I bought it! I sat in the yard with the dogs, and watched Eliot trotting around through the leaves and Pascale running wild circles with a soccer ball the previous owners left. The second night, they found a opossum walking the fence line and decided our new nature preserve was the best place ever. Though I’ve made almost 0 decorating decisions, I happily plopped my ribbon jars on the mantle of my second living room and decided I would decorate it with all things equestrian. I also never understood how fabulous it was to have a garage. Garages… who knew?!?
Even with all the plusses, the house feels so foreign. When I met my (super friendly) new neighbor, he asked, “So who all is moving in with you!?”
I put my hands in my pockets and tried not to sigh. “Just me and the two dogs.”
When I walked back into the house, it felt empty. Large, empty and cold. I bumped up the thermostat a bit, and wandered around my many rooms taking stock of all the things I wanted to fix. An hour later, it still felt cold. I walked back to the thermostat, and noticed the temperature barely raised two degrees. I bumped it up again, and then tried to take a shower.
Key word being tried.
One phone call to my father later, the dots started to connect for me. I had forgot to get the gas turned on. No heat, no hot water and no stove top.
What happened next can best be described as the biggest pity party I’ve had in months. I crawled into my bed (under four blankets) and refused to see any hint of a silver lining for hours. Tim would have never forgotten to turn the gas on. He always took care of all the utilities for us. Having to do all of this on my own was unreasonable. There was too much to paint. Too many little issues to address. The house was obviously infested with opossums. I hid under my blankets in my loathing and resolved to forever live alone out of boxes in my large, cold house like some kind of deranged hermit.
This lasted about three hours until I got bored. I got out of bed, put on my “I have zero fucks left to give” footwear of choice, fleece lined crocs, and I went to Home Depot.
Nobody judges you at Home Depot for wearing crocs. It’s my new favorite store.
There I picked out “Warm Marshmallow” and stuffed my shopping cart with a 6′ ladder, paint rollers and brushes. I got home and tackled the ugliest room in my house, the laundry room. In my red fleece pajama pants and an old t-shirt of Tim’s, I started painting the small room the way he taught me when we painted our first home together years ago.
Cut in by hand. Buy expensive brushes, they work better. Don’t paint so slowly – you’re doing a wall not a portrait. Fill in with the roller. Don’t put so much paint on the roller. Clean your brushes off carefully when you’re done. When you think they’re clean, rinse again… they hold more paint than you think.
I sang softly to myself, sitting cross legged on the floor in my pajamas while I painted the baseboard. I don’t know how I got here, but I will learn to love this house.