You never know unless you ask

No, I didn’t ask for the job I interviewed for this week, although that would have been the bold, sales-trained thing to do.

Instead I asked the old landlady if, instead of waiting for her to write us a check for our security deposit, I could just have our last rent check back since, believe it, she never cashed our May rent check. In a month when we paid an even bigger security deposit for the new place, a pet deposit for the new place, all of our regular bills, and a prorated rent to move into the condo on the 15th, the shoebox rent check of $1,300 was pending all month long, to my aggravation.

Of course I phrased it more diplomatically in my email, presenting it as a way for her to “not have to deal with running to the bank” when I know she’s “so busy” and thinking this would “make it easier for her and works for us, if it works for you.” Sure enough, it worked for her, so I left the walk through yesterday evening with our full security deposit in my little paw, wrote VOID across the check and the carbon copy in the check book, and took the husband out for dinner.

And with that, we’re officially done with the shoebox era. With Dietrich’s help I’m spending today unpacking our final boxes at the condo, setting up the desk in our new work-area corner of the living room, washing floors, and reveling in the fact that I don’t have to drive anywhere today to move boxes. Welcome, June!

No word from the interviews this week. I did end up wearing the same suit with a different, though still black, shirt to Round 2 yesterday. No one gave any indication that they suspected or noticed I’m 23 weeks preggo, although I do think the congressman himself might have noticed. The ball is in their court though, and I really don’t know where it’s going to land. I’m not worried, just curious.

And now, back to Agatha Christie and unpacking the boxes. A girl’s gotta rest after a week like this.

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What’s this I hear?

That’s right, it’s the rumble of our little dishwasher, automatically washing away the final remnants of dinner and breakfast, saving me and the husband the time and backache of hand-washing everything in a travel-size sink in a basement.

What else do I hear? The chirping of birds and the pitter-patter of rain dropping outside our open windows. And the occasional clunk of the vacuum against a baseboard as the cleaning people spruce up the hallway outside our door, keeping this place fresh from wall to wall.

What didn’t I hear? I didn’t hear our old landlady barreling down her uncarpeted stairs beginning at 6:45 this morning, apparently acting out the part of both wildebeest and pursuant pack of carnivores. And I didn’t hear her tearing around the kitchen talking baby talk to the cats and plunking their large ceramic bowls around the dining room. And all weekend we didn’t hear her put her phone on speaker phone and conduct personal conversations, both sides of which we were privy to thanks to speaker phone and conversation partners who shout into the phone as loud as the old landlady does. We also didn’t hear her running (yes, running) from one side of the uncarpeted house to the other and eventually out the door, with which she wrestles for many loud minutes because the handle is broken and one must open and shut the front door with a firm grasp on the deadbolt thingy.

Yes, yes, with the help of two fine friends and a U-Haul pickup truck, this weekend the husband, Dietrich and I moved into the condo with the green ceiling and haven’t looked back.

Ok we have to look back a little bit because there are a few things left at the old place that we need to pick up, and we still have to clean there, but we are sleeping, eating, and yes, watching TV (free! reception!) at the condo and we could not be happier. Last night the husband and I went grocery shopping and not only did we buy enough food for a week, but we bought milk in a gallon jug and we also bought ice cream. Two of them. Mostly because we could, and partly because I’m pregnant. Dear freezer, I love you.

This morning begins my second last week at the new old job, and I am working comfortably from our dining table with an internet connection we’ll be sharing with our new friendly neighbors for pennies a month. We met these neighbors, a young-but-older-than-us Christian couple who said they were praying for another young Christian couple to move in. Boom, here we are! When we got home from the grocery store last night, they had left on our doorstep a small vase of purple tulips and a note saying ‘welcome to the neighborhood!’ Thank you, we do feel welcome.

Today, in between press releases and newsletters, I’ll be looking for summer work, hanging a few things, and unpacking the clothes we have managed to bring over so far. As I said to the little sister this morning, I’m very tempted to call Goodwill and tell them they can have everything left in the basement but since many of my clothes are still there, it’s probably not prudent.

Then the shoebox cleaning will commence. The husband and I are neat people, and I enjoy cleaning and keeping things clean. So imagine our surprise and disgust when we moved furniture and found green mold along the baseboards, and piles of dead roly-polys in corners we assumed were clean like the rest of the visible shoebox. Dis.gus.ting.

But that was the old place and this is the new place. The paint we’ll be keeping is perfect, the paint we won’t be keeping also looks pretty dang good, and the bathroom is basically my dream bathroom (I’m easy to please), with subway tile half-way up, a high ceiling, a window that is shaded by a huge holly bush, and robin’s egg blue paint that covers the top half of the walls and the ceiling. A modest but sophisticated vanity and a mirrored medicine cabinet with a new light fixture above make it a wee water closet I don’t mind visiting in the middle of the night.

…the middle of the night which is now only disturbed by bathroom visits and not by the landlady’s cats chasing mice they snuck into the house to play with after midnight. Ahhh, bliss.

It’s curtains for the shoebox

The little shoebox was rented yesterday to the second person to do a walk through. Probably not the way I would have handled renting out the bottom half of my home, but hey, I’m not the landlady and it’s not our problem!

The new tenant signed a one-year lease and currently lives with her parents way out in the middle of nowhere. Sounds to me like a prime candidate for moving in before June 1 and helping us out with the cost of two apartments for two and a half weeks. We shall see.

This weekend the husband, Dietrich, and I are off to the farm to see the husband’s family and watch his brothers in a play. I like that people won’t be walking through our little home while we’re gone, as was the original plan.

And so it’s curtains for the shoebox! I can’t say I’ll miss living here, but I will always appreciate what this tiny little place represented for our little family. And in three weeks I will appreciate living above ground, where the spiders aren’t so numerous and the daylight shines in through windows that open.

It’s the final countdowwwwn

Anyone know that song?

Today the shoebox is auditioning for new tenants. The landlady posted it earlier this week on some eco website she’s part of and immediately had a handful of calls. Yesterday she posted it on craigslist and immediately had more calls. Today between the hours of 4:30-7:30, she has 12 people coming to look at it.

And what a lovely sight they will behold. In order to avoid a rushed cleaning and packing like we had when we moved out of the carriage house, I have started already on the cleaning and packing of the shoebox, doing something every day to bring us closer to leaving here with the turn of a key. This means that the place is cleaner right now than it was when we moved in, and our already pared-down possessions continue to shrink in volume as I come across things we have lived comfortably without lo these six months.

The husband and I rented the shoebox sight unseen, which was as much a gamble for us as it was for the landlady, I admit. It really has worked out, all things considered, and I hope it’s a great little landing pad for another person or couple.

But in less than three weeks we get to move on to bigger and better and we’re excited. Not because bigger is necessarily better, but because I am really really really tired of having to kneel down to see anything in the fridge and then wedging the “freezer” shut with a clothes pin while I’m down there. I hope the shoebox doesn’t show anyone that “talent” while it’s auditioning today.

My second first day

Today was my second first day at my new old job. It feels SO good to be working again.

Yesterday I zipped over to Target for a few things I would need, pictured below. My priority was a planner, which I had not acquired during the first eight weeks of the year because I had nothing to plan. Double bonus–now all the planners are dirt cheap.

The fact that my lovely planner and pretty notebook coordinate was purely an act of the clearance rack gods.

One nice thing about working from home is that I could pick out a notebook that’s a little more girly than I would have been comfortable toting around the House of Representatives. Yay. And the pen is not new, since we are still being frugal in the shoebox and I’m recently a big fan of using things until they break, wear out, or are otherwise defunct. The pen still works, so it still gets used.

And let’s be honest, there are lots of nice things about working from home. I know that I am truly blessed to be doing a job a love, being paid for it, and having the luxury of showering on my lunch hour. I am thankful for these things.

On this second first day, I banged out an op-ed, wrote a press release for a new rep, watched session, updated a few things, installed a few other things, and generally got up to speed with no issues. Tomorrow, who knows? I hope it’s more of the same, if not busier, since I do have a whole notebook to use up.

I recuse myself

The little sister:┬áHi! How’s it going?
Me: Don’t ever move here. You’ll cry every day and not know where you are or how you got there or how to get back.
The little sister: Oh no! What happened?
Me: I’m lost. I went to Target to return something and thought I’d stop quickly at the mall because I know where it is in relation to our shoebox.
The little sister: Ok.
Me: I should have known better. I ended up in Arlington Cemetery, on a one-way road with no lighting and no idea how I got there.
The little sister: Ah! Then what?
Me: Then I drove backwards out of the cemetery exactly the way I came and stopped when I realized I was on a ramp that, mercifully, put me back on some highway.
The little sister: Oh good! So are you on your way home now?
Me: No. Now I’m in the biggest Macy’s of my life and I have absolutely no idea how I got here.
The little sister: Oh, buddy!
Me: Or how to get out again.
The little sister: Ohhh no.
Me: I was driving in the direction of home and thought I would go a new way and just drive past the mall. Suddenly I was in a parking garage that connects to a condo building and big signs saying NO U-TURN were all around me, and other drivers blocked me from behind, so I went in.
The little sister: And now you’re in a Macy’s?
Me: Yep, now I’m in Macy’s on an escalator longer than the National Mall. Everything looks the same. I have no idea how to get out. It’s like a casino. I’m in retail purgatory!
The little sister: Could you ask someone for help?
Me: No. These people can already tell that I don’t belong here. They’ll tell me to take my winter boots and go back to the Midwest.
The little sister: They might help.
Me: No. Someone will push me down the escalator, I know it.
The little sister: Where are you now?
Me: I’m still on the escalator. I’m going to live here.
The little sister: What are you looking for?
Me: Right now I’m looking for the men’s department. Since I have to pay to be in the parking garage I don’t want to be in, I’m trying to make the most of it. Alas, I’m at the top of the escalator in front of signs that say Executive Offices and Fine China and Crystal.
The little sister: Uh oh. That’s where it’s all quiet because old ladies work up there.
Me: I know! Shh! I’m getting back on the escalator now. If I call you in a half hour, I’m still riding the escalator. Send Nathan in to get me. He’s still at work.
The little sister: At 8 pm?
Me: Yes. This day isn’t going the way anyone planned. My palms are sweating.
The little sister: What signs do you see now?
Me: Buffalo New York, 5 miles. Wait! I see the sign for men’s! I’m going that way.
The little sister: Did you find it?
Me: No, damn it. I’m in cosmetics now. I’m sweating through my coat. My main reassurance in moving to a big city was that at least the signs are in English. Fat lot of good that’s doing me now. I’m recusing myself.
The little sister: I hope you can laugh about this tomorrow. I’m laughing about it right now, in fact.
Me: You won’t be laughing when I send you a Christmas card from my new address inside Macy’s. You’ll never see me again.
The little sister: I’m going to the mall now, too. But I know how to get there and how to get out again. I’m sorry for you.
Me: I’m sorry for me, too. Ahh!!
The little sister: What?!
Me: I touched one shirt and now the whole pile of them are sliding out of their stupid plastic cubbyhole and piling up at my feet. I have no friends and I now I have to live at the mall and pick up the shirts I spilled.
The little sister: It could be worse.
Me: …
The little sister: …
Me: I just wanted to return the money holder Christmas cards to Target.