Tag Archives: moving


1 Nov

In January we decided that we would remodel the kitchen and bathroom of the house we purchased after we sold our bootbox of a condo. 

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It both was and was not.

Was because we now have a shower, instead of just a tub, in the bathroom. (I am not a bath person. Baths freak me out.)

Was not because it took 10 months, when it was only supposed to take two.

Was because now we have a dishwasher in our kitchen.

Was not because we had to fire our contractor and piecemeal the remaining work.

I could go on for pages and pages until the end of the Interwebs with this back and forth. But I won’t, because the important thing right now is that what no one ever tells you about remodeling your house, even just a couple of rooms, requires two of the most awful tasks ever: 1. Packing up all the shit in the rooms being renovated and storing it in other rooms of your house, and 2. Unpacking and reorganizing that same shit when the remodel is done.

Now, you might be thinking the same thing Swede and I have been thinking, which is that unpacking all of this shit is a prime opportunity to get rid of half this shit. We’ve been living without it for the past 10 months, right? Clearly we don’t need most of this shit, then. Or even any of it! Get rid of it all! Toss out every single box and bag and precariously packed hanging basket! Burn them to the ground!

Except that some of those boxes contain my Waterford crystal wine glasses, and I’ll be damned if I get rid of those.

And some of the other boxes contain my Le Creuset baking dishes and I will slap you into next Tuesday if you even suggest I part with those.

Thus, Swede and I are now tasked with going through each and every box to determine what to keep and what to ditch. And we have to do this while two small humans demand such things as attention and food and diapers that have not exploded up the back of their shirts like the impervious monarchs that they are.

Nevertheless, we persist. We’re trying to be thoughtful about what we put back in the house and what we donate or toss outright. We don’t want a lot of crap in our house. Because frankly, that’s just more crap that needs to be cleaned. And more time spent cleaning means less time spent drinking Diet Pepsi and watching Hulu while the impervious monarchs nap.

In sorting through the few* boxes and bags I’ve managed to tackle, I’ve tried to take a Konmari** approach to the task, determining whether or not various items spark joy. Yes, obviously the Le Creuset sparks joy. But does my plastic mixing bowl? Not particularly, but at this point, it’s the only mixing bowl I can find, and it works perfectly well, and I use it frequently so there’s no point in tossing it because then I’d just have to buy a new one and that’s a waste of money so the plastic mixing bowl stays. Until I maybe find one of my other mixing bowls at which point I’ll have to reevaluate my feelings on this current mixing bowl.

This is all to say that after a few hours of this process, the Konmari method can suck it. What is a much more appealing method?


Bum to us, though, our town has laws against open bonfires.


*And by few I mean, as of this typing, one.

**I have never actually read any of Marie Kondo’s books, and my understanding of her methods is based solely on what I’ve heard from friends and random strangers and on television talk shows.











on freak outs, animals and otherwise

8 Nov

One thing I was not expecting when we moved was how hard the animals would freak the fuck out.

I knew the move would be an adjustment for them, particularly for the cats, as everyone says* that cats are attached to places, while dogs are attached to people. But what I did not know is that in our first two weeks of living in our new Animal House in Zoolandia (our affectionate nickname for our new town) I would wake up more than a few times with all three animals in bed with Swede and me. The dog, yes—she sleeps with us every night.** But the cats have never—and I mean never—slept in bed.***

The first night I woke up and thought that Swede had piled a couple thick pillows and blankets on my legs. He’s never done this before, and I don’t predict that he ever will in the future, so why this was my first thought I can’t really say except that these things make sense when it’s 2 am and you try to turn over except you can’t because your legs are pinned down by pillows and blankets. Except it’s not pillows and blankets, it’s a large cat, draped over your legs. I managed to free my legs and roll over, only to nearly roll out of the bed in fright, because as I rolled over something jumped off the side of the bed, right at head level.

A ghost? The essence of the previous owner spiriting away after coming to check on us to see how we liked the house?

No, just Lady Gaga Halloween Cat, who had stationed herself near my head to…I don’t know that I’d call it sleep, as I don’t think she actually sleeps. Maybe go into a trance would be a better description. And when I rolled over I must have snapped her out of said trance because she went flying off the bed and into the shadows of the room to hid and most likely further plot her outline for world domination.

On night four, I woke up at approximately 3 am, and reached up to move the pillow that I thought was pressing against the top of my head, and again nearly fell out of bed in fright. This time it was the Fat Cat, who—and this is probably the weirdest thing he’s ever done****–had stationed himself above my head, and was resting a single paw on the top of my noggin. There is little that is as disconcerting to wake up in the middle of the night and feel something furry attached to the top of your head, Interwebers. Believe you me.

And the dog, well, she’s still adjusting to All the Wildlife that she can now see when she positions herself on the couch to stare out the front window. The dastardly birds, the bastard squirrels, and don’t even get her started on the Other Dogs in the neighborhood who deign to walk down her street. This all, of course, when she’s not busy running between the living room at the front of the house and the bedroom at the back of the house, crying, because Swede and I are in separate rooms, and how is she supposed to protect us if we’re in separate rooooooooms?

I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do to help the beasts settle into their new home, besides give them time. Time will help, yes? Yes, let’s hope so. Because we can’t go back to the condo, it’s sold and out of our hands. The good news is that they’re already showing signs of settling in. The Fat Cat, for one, has taken to exploring the basement (and then getting stuck down there when we shut the door). The dog only races between rooms in mild anxiety, rather than full-tilt. Lady Gaga Halloween Cat—

Well, whatever. We all make progress in our own ways, on our own time.


So irritated that we moved them. They just…ugh. They just can’t believe our audacity. 

*I don’t really know who this everyone is. But I heard one person say this one time and it made sense to me.

**Terrible idea, BTW, letting dogs sleep in bed with you. This one in particular because she’s a bed hog, pillow hog, and snores like a g-d Mack truck right in your face.

***Apparently they used to, before Swede’s life had meaning, ie, before he and I started dating. But then here I come along, Jerky McJerkerson who’s allergic to cats and effectively kicked them out of bed. This is a big reason why, for the first four years of Swede’s courtship of me, I’m positive the cats were secretly campaigning to overthrow me as girlfriend and get back one of Swede’s previous love interests, whom I’m told were much more cat-friendly.

****And that’s saying something, considering this is the cat who regularly will sprint out of the room for no apparent reason, and yell—yell—at visitors when they come in the front door.











things i’ve been meaning to tell you: october 2017

11 Oct

ONE: I have some terrible news.

Remember how I was gloating over my awesomeness of keeping a whole one New Years Goal? That I was making ice cream like a champ, and hadn’t missed a month because I’m totally awesome and an ice cream rock star?

I didn’t make a new ice cream flavor in September.


Sure, September was a shitshow of a month, and packed to the gills with our anniversary, Baby McSwedolish’s first birthday, buying a house, selling a house, moving, and driving to Baltimore for a friend’s wedding, all of these things taking place within two weeks of each other.

But that’s no excuse! Because what about those first two weeks of September? Where the hell was I then? I couldn’t have whipped up a quick batch of something to stay on track? I’ve failed you, Interwebs. And even worse, I’ve failed myself.

I may never recover.

Meanwhile, I’m taking suggestions for a flavor to make for October. And don’t you dare say anything involving pumpkin.

TWO: I went to my 20-year high school reunion last weekend. That merits a post of its own, one that I may actually get to at some point. But for now, I’ll just say that it was in all honesty a very good evening, and I truly enjoyed talking to my former classmates. Way more than I generally enjoyed talking to them in high school. Not that I didn’t enjoy talking to them in high school (I generally did, I think? Hard to say, high school was 20 years ago, my friends, and I can’t even remember if I brushed my hair this morning*), but you add 20 years to a person’s life, and they’re bound to be more interesting now than they were then out of the sheer increase in number of days on this planet.

THREE: Have you seen the show Finding Your Roots on PBS? I caught it the other night, and it’s fascinating. I’ve learned all sorts of things about random celebrities, for example, Fred Armisen is not a quarter Japanese, he’s actually a quarter Korean, and there’s an entire museum in Tokyo dedicated to his grandfather. (Why in Tokyo and not in Seoul, I’m not really sure. I may or may not have tuned out for part of the show.)

It’s this exact sort of randomness that I love about PBS, you guys. Seriously. I can’t get enough. PBS is amazing.

FOUR: Since we moved** into a home that has more than one bedroom, Baby McSwedolish now sleeps in his own room.

And it’s terrible.

Not for him, of course, but for me, because every time he whines or cries in his sleep (which he does with surprising frequency. What, exactly, is he crying about in his dreams? He’s a baby. The worst thing in his life is a full diaper or not being allowed to poke the dog in the eye.) it’s amplified by the video monitor that sits on Swede’s nightstand. It used to sit on my nightstand, but that wasn’t working out very well, as I’d lie in bed and stare at it at 2 o’clock in the morning, which, in case you didn’t know, is not conducive to sleeping well. So now it’s out of my reach but it’s still loud when he cries, and my heart breaks even though he seems entirely unbothered by it because he doesn’t even wake up and sweet Mother of God, I should probably just turn the volume on the monitor down for the love of all that his holy and decent and accept the fact that my baby is growing up and clearly doesn’t need me anymore. 

I may need a nap.


*Chances are slim.

**More on that later.



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