I am officially moving into a new house in 2 days, and I am so excited I could vomit. To call what I am living in currently a “house” is to play it pretty fast and loose with the English language. I mean it’s actually a former barn that was turned into something that still looks like a barn, but is now technically able to house humans on the inside as opposed to livestock. When I say “barn”, please do not picture an adorable bright red barn out of a charming old painting. It is just wood half-heartedly painted gray maybe 4 decades ago, with old junk around it and termite-rotted front steps. When I was offered it as a place to temporarily crash while I was looking for a job upon my return from Hawaii, I had grand plans to clean the place, fix up it up, and make it livable. Then I walked in, quietly and quickly realized that I had no power here, and instead carved out a tiny corner of the place and made it as not-disgusting as I could. Meaning I cleaned up the mouse droppings, the grime, the spiders, both dead and alive, from a space big enough to put 2 mattresses down on, and about 2 feet of floor area around those mattresses. I found an old splintered side-table among the junk and put my TV and a blu-ray player on it, 2 feet away from my bed. And that is where I have stayed. There is a path from my bed that leads to the bathroom (I shower with mold and insects, and would sooner chug raw sewage than try to take a bath in that tub) and back, and that is the extent of my foray into the rest of the place. I knew an impossible task when I saw one. So throughout my job search and subsequently as I began work at a new job, my home life has consisted entirely of Netflix and my laptop. Lots and lots of Netflix. One of my favorite hobbies is cooking, and while there is technically a stove in the “kitchen” I was informed upon moving in that to turn it on is to risk a Michael Bay-like explosion every time. So it’s been all microwave, all the time. Since September.
It’s funny, I lived in many similar situations growing up and they were entirely normal to me at the time, but upon moving out and getting a decent job as a teenager I was able to, with a constant stream of roommates over the years, afford apartments that were at least clean and safe. I became accustomed to that. Clean and safe. It’s worth noting that at least I still have the “safe” bit, and that’s not nothing. Although we were mostly poor growing up with 6 kids (4 in the house) and a single mom, my mother occasionally made enough money to live in decent places, but something in her just couldn’t do it for very long. She is a hoarder just shy of the caliber it takes to get on that television show and it probably also had a lot to do with her martyr complex, but I’m not here to talk about those things and it isn’t really relevant to this thrilling story. The point is, you would think that after this many years of NOT living in garbage heaps I would have been miserable here and don’t get me wrong- it was not a party and I am ecstatic to be leaving but I honestly think part of me was able to somehow regress to my childhood state of acceptance of my situation, better than someone who has never lived that way at any rate. Almost like my brain just kind of went “Huh, I guess we’re back to this now. Okay, weirdo.”. I am so very lucky this little interlude did not coincide with any serious bouts of depression, because this is the type of place that would nudge anyone over the edge if they were already peeking over it. So that is how I have been living for the past 5 months. I am ready to leave.
[NOTE: Here is the part where I state that I completely understand that many people do not even have a roof over their heads and I am very lucky to have had a place to lay my head while I looked for a job, lack of heating and presence of actual living reptiles in the form of lizards in my room notwithstanding. I fully and sincerely acknowledge my privilege in all of its many forms. We good?]
I am moving into a little 2-bedroom house not far from where I currently am and while it IS small I find it pretty damn adorable. This is the first time in my adult life I will have a yard and washer & dryer of my own. I have mostly lived in apartments so those things were always shared with the entire complex. They seem ridiculous luxuries for me to have ALL TO MYSELF. This place has a legit, actual white picket fence, the idea of which brings me endless amusement. But the really great part is that I will be puttering around a house again. Keeping it clean, decorating it the way I like, cooking meals for my sisters, and being able to have a place for my 2 bratty little felines. The place I was living wasn’t safe for them because of all the rodent feces, mousetraps, and places for them to get stuck, so they have been staying in a trailer at my mom’s house. I am so excited to get them back. I am so excited to have a little place I can be proud of and comfortable in, and even a spare room for my friends and my cousin to sleep in when they visit me. I CAN HAVE VISITORS AGAIN. I can put chairs in the yard and sit in them and look at the sky and drink wine. I can do my laundry in my own house instead of paying for the machines in a common laundry room or schlepping my laundry to my sister’s every weekend. Most of all, I can at least FEEL like I have my shit together again. If it seems silly to you that I am this excited about 850 square feet, well YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE, MOM.
You guys, I have a YARD. Renting or not: I am a grownup. And it only took 34 years.