Since I still haven’t learned how to write short, single-topic posts, I thought I’d just throw in that having a blog, even a neglected blog like mine, is great for many reasons, only one of them being that I’m reminded of how seasonal my urges are, even when living in a place with little drama in the seasons department. Almost exactly one year ago, I was doing a little nesting, spiffing up my patio, cooking. A few years ago, I was hosting a Halloween crafting party with friends, making crock pot chicken and pulling out the spray paint. It’s the time of year for hostessing.
Since moving in to this apartment in August (yes, this as yet really unshared on the blog apartment, despite my sad attempts at floorplan creation in Google SketchUp), there’s been a lot going on, good and bad. New job, going to NYC, insurance fights with my new employer, an astronomical (please, please be a misread!) utility bill, car problems, on and on. Truth be told, I lost a bit of steam (and kinda ran out of money) after the first few weeks and things basically stayed as they were for a while. “As they were” is code for “in huge piles all over the place.”
My mom came to town last weekend. We went to the Austin City Limits music festival to see Sam Smith (plus Belle and Sebastian, Outkast, Beck) and we saw The Drop in the theater (I really love Dennis Lehane) and went to a backyard fire with some old friends of mine, but mostly we spent a fair amount of time making some sense of things around my house. Well, she did most of it and I…I don’t know, directed. And put together IKEA furniture.
It’s always both really nice and more than a little stressful to unpack and have to make so many decisions, to see what all has yet to be finished, all the things I still need to buy. Moving, the entire process, makes me really moody. I do not understand, not even a little, the people who say that they love the “fresh start” of moving. Maybe when I finally buy a house? Probably not.
I am a house person, a nester, someone who owns multiple kinds of spoons for specific tasks. (I’ve been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls this week and there’s a bit where Lorelai is harassing her mother about some ice tea spoons and their relative uselessness. I had to smile—no ice tea spoons for me, but ice cream spoons, yep!) And that is unlikely to change. I do not see minimalism in my future.
And honestly, what’s wrong with that? But moving makes me feel guilty for the things I own, that I end up needing to ask friends for help, that I have more stuff than almost anyone I know. I hired movers, and it’s money well spent. I have plenty of space in this new, comparatively huge apartment. There’s nothing inherently wrong with owning, using, loving ice cream spoons. And yet I find myself having these existential periods of brooding that I just can’t kick, partially brought on by the time of year and partially about moving and transitions and…it just doesn’t make things quite as straightforward as they could be.
So today I unwrapped all of my art, piece by piece. Two big boxes’ worth. It was so fun to be reacquainted with all of it, to see what was hiding behind each blank newsprint wrapper. Watercolors I bought way back in high school, or that someone gave me to remember a trip we took together. Photographs by me and from friends and from old boyfriends and of people I care about. A print that used to hang in my parents’ house. A Christmas present, opened on the same morning that my parents gave me the ring my dad gave my mom when I was born. So many things I love, so many gifts from people who matter to me.
None of them are hung yet, I haven’t decided what goes where. I need to make a trip to Home Depot once I finally get my car back from the shop. The glass broke on one, I need to get some things matted and a few things framed.
But seeing that art laid out, plus the fact that this is starting to feel like a place where I might live and that I might share with other people, got me thinking about what I’ve loved about some past places, especially my last place in Montana.
Which leads me to last night’s dream. I should preface this by saying that I sometimes have really wacky, very detailed dreams, and that in creative writing classes, we were always warned that dreams are boring. Oh well. Here goes.
There’s a lot of weird prefacing that could happen – I was attending a wedding of someone I didn’t know well, there was a courtyard that kind of looked like Chilton because, whoops, too much Gilmore Girls, there were windows on pulleys, they served the cake in huge slices and ran out after one table full of people. That’s a very high level overview. But then somehow it transitioned, with some of the same people, to a wake. At my house, which was very little like my actual house and was instead much more…warren-y. But was a place I hadn’t been for too long, but had settled into. And a bunch of my family members were there, and it was crowded, and there were friends there to support me. (nope, no idea who died. not the point?) My dad was moving things around to more reasonable locations, as he is wont to do, and my aunt was asking my opinion on throw pillows, and people were gathered around the kitchen in that warm cozy way that people do at good parties. I was looking all over for my brother, couldn’t seem to find him, and then he pulled up to the front of the house with a car full of Kokanee in bottles, what we often drink at my family reunion, and it all just felt really familiar. And cozy. In my house, a place where people come and congregate and drink and laugh and tell stories and stay until late. Ignoring the weird death addition there (no idea!), it’s something that was sort of missing, or at least really tough to have, in my last apartment because of its size and location. It was another reminder that making space—for visitors, friends, love—was a motivator for me moving.
So things aren’t done yet. They’re not going to be “complete” any time soon. But I’m excited to kick things off with a little get together this month. To try to get into the habit of having people over, for actual parties and casual dinners, for drinks on the patio and laughs and stories and living room dance parties and movie nights and crowded kitchen gatherings. To not wait until things are perfect and to be OK knowing that things aren’t perfect, or only rarely are. I’ll chip away at things in the next few weeks and it will be a relief to put moving behind me for a while. I’ll hang some art. But mostly, it’s the season for hostessing, for welcoming people to come on over, grab a beer, stay a while.