When I first found my apartment, it was pretty trashed; the
ceiling felt low, the work by my crazy landlord–laying the tile and doing
whatever weird things he was doing–was still in progress and his funk of crazy
covered everything with a sticky kind of sheen. But I knew it had potential. It
felt like it could be, someday, a very lovely house filled with loveliness, and
it would be a real home kind of place, once I scrubbed out the nuts and
wackadoo, and filled it up with all the stuff I dragged from California behind
me, because that was what everything I brought was for–to surround me with the
familiar, fill up my house with the things I love, to anchor me.

Of course, living in a sea of boxes did nothing to help me
feel at home. It mostly made me feel a little bit crazy, surrounded, stir crazy
and needing to escape. It was not an aid
to my happiness, in other words. It did not cure my S.A.D. Crazy! Improbable.
Hey, why didn’t I just, you know, unpack? That would be a bright and logical
step, wouldn’t it? But it felt overwhelming. Giant piles of boxes in every
room, every room needing to be scrubbed, me in bed with the covers over my
head, and hoping it would all go away and then everything would be easy and
things would immediately get super excitingly better and so would I.

Every day, I put "unpack" on my to-do list, and
every day, I found much much better things to do than unpack–there were
emergency freelancing projects, and things to be written and other things to be
researched and the Internet to look at and a couch to lie down on and naps to
take because I was so wretchedly sick. I will give myself a pass on the
wretchedly sick.

No, you know what, I’m going to give myself a pass on all of
it. Maybe I should have been more on top
of things, and maybe it would have been the smartest thing in the world to get
it all out of the way and get myself settled and get on with the business of
getting happy and figuring everything out and curing cancer and solving
mysteries and saving the world. Maybe. But I didn’t, and that isn’t going to
change the past three weeks. It’s going to make them feel worse, and that’s
really not what I need. What I need to do is be thrilled that finally, I took a
day for myself and puttered and got some work done and wandered around the
house and ran some errands and then came back and finally, at long last,
finished unpacking.

I scrubbed the bathroom, and unloaded the giant box in front
of the door. I finished scrubbing the kitchen cabinets and the floor and the
stove, and I unloaded the four giant boxes stacked in the hallway, and I
cleaned up the living room and I pretended that my bedroom looked just fine
with clothes strewn everywhere, and my house is that much closer to being
totally and completely my home, and all mine, and beautiful. And man, is my fat cat so much happier,
without the chaos and the things falling over and the mess. I feel like a
better owner, too, and that’s just all fancy, lumpless gravy.

Things still need to be done–curtains need to go up in every
room, because I have a ridiculous number of naked windows. Pictures have got to
get hung, because bare walls are depressing and echoey. I need a bookcase so
that I can unpack my office area, I need a vacuum so that I can put down my
ridiculously dusty rug. I need to add things to my to-do list that I’m actually
going to accomplish–hardware and tools and a sense of purpose and a feeling of
great and remarkable accomplishment. Then I will shop for chips, and dips, and
many kinds of alcohol, which the state sells but not in grocery stores (weird), and I will throw a party. It
feels like time for a party.

4 Replies to “unpacked”

  1. Yay Anne!!! You did it!!! We both pulled out of a winter slump at the same time–you unpacked–and I finally scheduled a therapy appointment, (with a NEW therapist) AND I’m getting an OIL CHANGE for the car! Both LONG overdue, wooohoooo! Yay us!!!

  2. Three weeks? Pfft. That’s nothing. Now if you said you were still tripping over boxes and tripping out your cat after six months, I might pull up a chair and say, Honey, we need to talk. But three weeks, plus you were sick to boot? Cut yourself some slack, sister. This was a big move, and it takes a while to get settled. You’re doing great.

  3. YAY TEAM! That’s awesome!

    I, on the other hand, have lived in my apartment since September 2003 and have hung only 1 picture in all that time. Last March I finally bought an over-the-couch type print and three seagrass bulletin boards…and they’re still leaning in my hallway. My excuse is that I need to re-arrange the furniture first.

    Three weeks is awesome. Seriously!

  4. Three weeks?! Whatever! I moved three months ago and still have (6) boxes left to unpack and not a single picture hung. It takes time – go easy on yourself.

    Congrats on the big move and pulling out of your winter slump. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

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