Tag Archives: moving

photo friday: so the unpacking is going well

19 Jul

A month after we moved in, our stuff finally moved in with us. I hired two guys who were not a little reminiscent of Lenny and Squiggy to pack up the U-Haul at the storage units, and then unpack it at the condo (re: haul all the heavy, bulky furniture up the stairs and maneuver it onto elevators and down hallways.)

It was probably the best $200 I have ever spent.

But now all of our belongings, as I’ve mentioned, are dog piled in the middle of the living room in various states of disarrayed unpacking. I’ve tried to persuade our belongings to unpack themselves, but they’re having none of it.


So I’ve decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.


Listen, boxes, if you’re not going to unpack yourselves, could you at least move over a little so I can set down my glass of merlot? Much appreciated. 


5 things you learn about yourself when you move

15 Jul

*And by you I mean me


One: I have an inordinate amount of chonies. Like, in the high 40s to 50s number of pairs.

Why? When? How? did this all happen? I have no idea. And that is the number AFTER I got rid of a bunch of pairs.

Speaking of which: What, exactly, does one do with old chonies? It’s not exactly something I’m comfortable donating to Goodwill, but the waste-not-want-not side of me felt terrible tossing an enormous mound of chonies in the garbage. (I stuffed them in an old grocery bag, and tied them up before tossing them, lest there be some sort of snafu on garbage day, and chonies suddenly flying willy-nilly all over the street.)

Then again, I just got done saying that at one point I had close to 75 pairs of chonies, so it’s entirely possible that the whole spend-thrift/waste-not-want-not attitude is completely lost on me.

Two: I have an obsession with organizational containers. The better to organize the aforementioned 50 pairs of chonies, of course.

Three: There is no non-awkward way to try and be helpful to your movers when they are packing and unpacking your U-Haul truck. In times like these, I simply retreated to my resting state, which in this case meant sitting in the cab of the U-Haul with my Kindle. It was either that or hover off to the side of the truck while trying not to get into Lenny and Squiggy’s way as they hefted furniture, incessantly asking them, “Are you guys okay? Are you sure you don’t need any help?” Particularly when, after the fifth time you’ve asked them that, their eyebrows are clearly saying, “NO AND STOP ‘HELPING.’”


Kindle in the cab it was.

Four: There is no good way to unpack boxes.

Oh, you think you are going to be all methodical and organized about it, until you’ve unpacked three boxes and realize you have way too much crap and why didn’t you thin it out before you moved it all, oh, wait, you did thin the herd of kitchenware and office gear and chonies and winter scarves and you STILL have too much crap, and hey, wait, you should corral all the crap together in coordinating rooms, so best if instead of trying to unpack one box at a time you half-unpack several boxes at once searching for crap that goes in specific rooms because it’s all packed in a jumble, until you sit down in the middle of it in despair and decide that the best idea of all would be to get a pizza and move into a NEW new home, one that doesn’t have any crap whatsoever and you can just start from scratch in acquiring new crap.

Five: I hate moving and I’m never doing it again.

conversations, part IV

19 Jun

At the end of April, Swede and I finally emptied the Walnut House of our belongings in preparation for the Great Closing and Move-In of ’13. In the span of 24 hours, and with the help of my dear friend Panda (who actually LIKES packing) (whuuuut?) (and without whom I would have had a total nuclear meltdown), we stuffed all of our remaining belongings (re: 95 percent of our stuff) in a UHaul, and drove it back to Chicago.

Including the cats.

To say that the two felines—one of whom had left Walnut House approximately never times—disliked the journey fro DC to Chicago would be a gross understatement. They yowled and molted all over the fucking place for the first 90 minutes of the trip, until blessedly Lady Gaga(1) gave up and crawled under Swede’s seat and did not reappear or make a sound for the next 14 hours.(2) The other one, Fat Ass,(3) finally calmed the hell down as well and rested on the seat between us for awhile until he felt he’d given me a sufficient allergy attack,(5) at which point he, too, crawled under the seat to hide. But unlike his silent cohort, Fat Ass would poke his head out(6) every once in awhile and meow, the cat version of “Are We There Yet?”

Each time he’d poke his head out, I took it as an opportunity to have a chat with him about the House Rules for our new home.

Me: Listen, they’re not terribly different from the last place, so you shouldn’t have any trouble following them.

Him: BlinkBlinkBlink

Me: Play dumb all you want, but there will be no jumping on the counters, no scratching of the furniture, and you are not allowed in the human sleeping quarters.

Him: Mrow?

Me: No, you are not. You do not get to make me allergic while I sleep.

Him: Mrow.

Me: Also, you should know that there is in fact a Kitty Jail in the new place. So when you start acting up, don’t think the Big Man with the Deep Voice won’t throw you in there.

Him: Meow.

Me: Except this time it’s a laundry room rather than a basement. And Guerilla Ninja Cat under the seat there will love it—there are all sorts of shelves she can climb and we’ll put things on them that she can hide behind. You, I suspect, will hate it.

Him: Blink

Me: On the plus side, there is a balcony where we will let you frolic, provided you don’t eat anything we plant out there. Just stay away from my chives and basil, okay?

Him: Mrow. BlinkBlinkBlink Mrow.

Me: No, don’t worry—the balcony is nothing like jumping out the back window.  First of all, there’s a barrier. Second, if you did jump off, you’d be screwed, because we’re three floors up. So I recommend you just hang out, sun yourself, and be your usual, lazy-assed self, okay?

Him: Mrow mrow.

Me: Great. Now go crawl under the seat and make sure Lady Gaga isn’t dead.

Him: Mrow.

Navigational Cat

Navigational Cat says get off at the next exit, he needs a frosty.



(1)Her name has been changed to protect her innocence tand reflect the fact that she’s not a little off-center.

(2)We were mildly worried that maybe she’d worked herself into such a later that she’d had a heart attack. Thankfully, she is just extremely skilled at Being Quiet. It is one of the many reasons I’m convinced she’s part guerilla warrior.

(3)His name has been changed to reflect his current state.(4)

(4)For the record, SWEDE gave him this moniker, I did not. It’s his cat, so he’s allowed.

(5)I made it all the way whopping way to Breezewood before wearing contacts was just too much to handle with my watering, puffy eyes, and I tossed them out and put on my glasses.

(6)In case you’re wondering why these cats weren’t tranq’d and travelling in carriers, I will only say this: we tried. It didn’t work very well. And Swede and I happen to quite like our skin without accompanying scars from where those assholes tried to cleave out the Grand Fucking Canyon with their claws.(7)


3 things people don’t tell you about house hunting

29 May

In late October/early November, Swede and I launched The Great House Hunt of 2012. Though with only two months left in the year, it quickly became the Great House Hunt of the 2012-2013 season.

A couple months ago, on a chilly, gray Saturday, the very last place we looked at that afternoon turned out to be a keeper, a potentially sweet little home of our own.

I say potentially because we placed a bid, that bid was accepted, and we’re through the legalities and paperwork and supposed to be closing this afternoon. And while it’s been comparatively smooth sailing so far, the real estate market is so screwy and foreign to me that I probably won’t believe the place is really, really ours until two months after we move in our furniture. I’m not completely convinced that after they hand over the keys they’re not going to jerk them away as if attached to a fishing rod.

Anyway, my obvious trusting and positive outlook aside, having never been a house hunter before, this house-hunting escapade has taught me Things.

Many Things. But here, I’ll just tell you a few.


1) Everyone has a “thing.”

As a first-time homebuyer, you will look at eleventythoumillion properties, and not only will they all start to look the same after awhile, you will come to find that there is some random home component that absolutely annoys the pants off of you every time you see it. For me, it was full bathrooms right off the kitchen. I hate it. The thought of having to go through the kitchen to take a shower was just a little too reminiscent of having to trot down the hall in my college dorm to use the bathroom, except instead of a hallway, it was a kitchen, which also just seems unsanitary to me.

For Swede, it was fireplaces. Specifically, fireplaces that took up precious square footage in condos that were tight on space to begin with. Our realtor eventually started giving Swede a little grief about it, and every time we’d walk into a new condo, he’d look around and immediately pout out, “Oh, good, Swede’s favorite, the fireplace.” Surprisingly, our potential new home does, in fact, have a fireplace. Swede doesn’t seem to mind.


2) It’s not dissimilar to online dating.  

It’s true. From my (albeit brief) experience, house hunting shares a startling amount of commonalities with online dating. You cruise the sites (real estate or dating), you see something (or someone) you like, you reach out and hopefully get a showing (or a date).

And even the fibbing about size is there! This guy over here says he’s six feet tall, but in person you realize he’s actually 5’9, and you know this because you yourself are 5’9 without shoes but are currently wearing three-inch heels that put YOU at six feet, and your eyes are directly in alignment with his hairline.

Oh yeah? Well that condo over there says it’s 1,000-square-feet, but really it’s only 900, because the inside of the walls don’t count as living space. Also, you are using the term “steps from the lake” in a very judicious manner, condo listing. Not cool. I may have to report you.


3) Despite a market rife with tragedy, it sure can be a bitch to even see some of the properties out there.

Missing lockboxes, wrong keys, no-shows. Just a few of the issues we encountered in touring homes. Or, trying to tour homes. If we were slated to see six homes on a Saturday, we more often than not ended up seeing only four, five if we were lucky. This wasn’t the fault of our realtor, mind you, but the fault of the sellers’ realtors.

I found this quite surprising—given what you hear on the news, the real estate market is just starting to edge its way out of shambles. I figured, then, that agents would be lunging at any chance they got to show off their clients’ (home) goods. But in reality…not so much. It struck me as incredibly irresponsible, but helpful in a way. After all, if you can’t be counted on to make sure that the correct key to your client’s place is in the lockbox,* then I don’t think I can count on you to handle any further negotiations in a functional manner with MY realtor. I’ll pass on your property, thankyouverymuchandhaveaniceday.

Having now gone through a house hunt, I am now the wiser if and when I ever go through one again. And if you’ve never house hunted, now you’re a little bit wiser, too.

You can thank me later.

Coming soon: All You’ve Never Wanted to Know About Closing on a Home.

*I can understand it happening once. But when my realtor calls to alert you to the issue, and we reschedule a shower for two days later and it’s STILL the wrong key? Here, let me slap your forehead for you. I promise to be gentle. Maybe.

perspective: so there was that

16 Mar

Last weekend I packed up my entire apartment, stored a large portion of my belongings in The Swede’s basement and house, packed a smidge of it in my car to drive 700 miles with it to Chicago, and left some things behind to sit and wait, lonely style, in my now nearly empty apartment because it couldn’t fit in the car and The Swede promised that when he got back to DC he’d handle it and turn in my keys for me.

And after that, we drove 12 hours from DC to Chicago.

And then after that, it was my birthday. (32 is a weird age. Anyone? Anyone? It’s kind of like turning 23. It doesn’t really mean anything. It’s certainly not bad, it’s just…32. But at least I got a pedicure.)

And then after that, I started my new job, where I proceeded to accidentally use the men’s bathroom on the first day, and on the second day, broke the heel on my boot when walking the eight blocks from the train to my office.

So it’s been fun.

I could dwell on all of these mishaps and go all DRAMA!! and Panic at the Disco!! on everyone, but I won’t. There was some drama the couple days leading up to my departure from DC, but it wasn’t actually so much drama as it was weepiness. (It happens.) And it’s been terribly strange to be back in Chicago. A large part of me feels like I’m on a weird vacation of some sort, which kind of makes sense, seeing as how for the past five years every time I’ve been here it’s because the situation has been just that—vacation.

But the reason I won’t dwell on the dramz is because as hard as it was to leave DC, I know I made the right decision. I can’t tell you exactly why, I just do. (I’m not hiding anything from you, Interwebers, it’s just I’m going on gut here, and if you’ve ever followed your gut, you know what I mean—that indescribable feeling of calm and satisfaction that you are probably crazy to feel, given outside circumstances, but there you have it, calm and satisfied = your picture in the dictionary.)

So instead of drama and WOE TO ME, I HAVE MOVED! AM SAD! CHANGE IS SCARY! GAAAAHHHH!, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes about the city to which I’ve recently returned, a city I have always loved and adored. I read this awhile ago, and I’m not sure who the writer was on the article, or what the article was about, but it comes from a magazine called FastCompany, and I feel it is simply so, so appropriate for me right now. Maybe it is for you, too, even if you don’t call Chicago home.  

“What any Chicagoan will tell you is that the past is very much the present. It doesn’t go away. It shouldn’t. In fact, that’s Chicago’s lure and its beauty: Its ability to take what was and figure out what could be.” –FastCompany magazine