Sunday, October 17, 2010

Epic Tale of an Easy Move

I wrote most of this as it was happening and before I knew it it was 4 pages long. I figured I’d go back and edit it down but now I’m feeling too lazy, so I’m posting it in its entirety. I encourage all but the most dedicated (or bored) readers to scroll for pictures and ignore the rest.

Friday, October 1: “Easiest Move Ever”

Friday after work I met Robyn at my building to pick up the keys. Then it was down to Columbia city to meet Casey and Joseph and load our cars with my well-packed goodies which I had arranged on the stairwell for easy transfer (plus M’s truck with my sweet new dining room chairs). Joseph described it as the easiest move ever, which I’m totally grateful for because I hate asking people for help. (I will never move without movers again – see why below.)

I think Casey and Robyn were competing for most hard-core mover. I frequently saw each of them stack a heavy box on top of a heavy box (Casey: “It’s not that heavy”) and hoof it up the 2 flights of stairs to my apartment and sprint back for more, while I was totally gasping for air with my one box.

The time span between when we started loading in Columbia city to when we finished unloading in Capitol hill – including 20 minutes of drive time – was 1.5 hours. Not bad! I meant to take pictures but it went so fast I didn't get a single one.

I took Casey and Joseph out for Mexican at El Gallito afterward, and had taken Robyn to Catfish Corner before… I may or may not have had two heavy, fattening dinners. But hey, it was moving day! Which I applied, more or less, to the whole weekend.

Saturday: There’s always time for acupuncture and a party (especially if you have movers)

Saturday was jam-packed. It was my last night/morning a the Columbia city house, which naturally started with waffles and acupuncture (where I got extra needles for ‘energy’ and ‘stress’ to help me through the move). After that K and I separated our kitchen items and I packed more of my stuff and headed over to Capitol hill (with a pit stop at Lowe’s) to clean the disgusting carpet pads before putting down my gorgeous Persians. (Did I mention it’s been a lifelong goal of mine to own Persian rugs, and I realized that dream thanks to this awesome woman? She only sells hand-knotted rugs and it was so fun choosing which ones to get.) I bought a huge “palace rug” and a runner with bats embroidered into it for protection, both from small villages in Iran. So awesome. Here's the palace rug (it's 12 feet by 9 feet):

K came later to help me put away my new kitchen and unroll and position the Persians, and then – bless her- came BACK (with Toddler J, snacks, and flowers) to help me decide where to put the furniture. Which brings me to… the furniture.

Robyn and I had gone to Sansaco the weekend before where I bought, for the first time in my life, new furniture. I got a micro suede chocolate brown chaise lounge couch with a huge ottoman. It is so, so comfortable.

I also got a bedroom set (of which only 2 of the 6 pieces of furniture are actually in the bedroom and I sold the frame that came with it), and a big, beautiful, dark wood trunk. I also bought a new bed. Not only was all of this delivered to me, but I talked the furniture guy into swinging by the Columbia city house to pick up a dining table and a desk that K generously gave me on ‘long-term to permanent loan.’

Can I just say that I have never been so happy to pay for a service?? For $200, two people who were not me or any of my friends or family hoofed ALL MY SHIT up two flights of stairs, removed the packaging, assembled items, and positioned it all exactly where I wanted it. I gave them each a sparkling water and a $20 tip and we were all happy.

I spent a lot of Saturday making discoveries about my new space, some delightful like my vacuum fits perfectly in the little closet next to the door. So does Toddler J:

Also, I have adorable kitchen cabinets that open every which way, and my bathtub is abnormally large. Others not so great, like my showerhead still wasn’t fixed; the toilet doesn’t flush properly; there is only one electrical outlet in the bathroom and it’s near the ceiling; and I had measured poorly and although my dresser fit in the closet, the drawers couldn’t open (nice work, Arch). It’s fun discovering all the personality traits that make me feel more and more intimate with a space I hope to occupy for a long time. I might even throw a “it’s been 6 months and I’m not moving!” party.

Saturday night was Robyn’s 6th annual wine party which is always a scene unto itself. I double-whammied Robyn since not only did I NOT help her with the party, but I made her help me move as well. Mad props, RB. The party, as always, was a ball, and even though I was exhausted I was among the last to leave, and even gave people rides home. Despite a new, comfortable bed my calves were aching from all the up and down. From my front door it’s 2 flights of stairs up, but from my parking garage it’s 4. I will become very intimate with these stairs over the next few days.

Sunday: IKEA yes, football no

Once my legs were appeased by aspirin, I slept well in my new bed in my new room and woke up later than usual on Sunday morning (“usual” and “late” being relative since I woke up before 10, whereas not 2 years ago 10 would have been early) and, failing to get a hold of any of my football buddies I decided to take the plunge and go to IKEA, thinking – naively – that I would make it back in time for the 1:00 games.

Oh, IKEA. What a trip that place is. It’s so freaking huge. I started getting discouraged when after 30 minutes I only had 1 thing in my cart and had to stop for fuel at the café – I resisted the 15 meatball special (and by “resisted” I mean “gagged at,” especially since one could, if one wanted to further clog an artery, add 5 more for $2) and got a bowl of Italian wedding soup which probably had my weekly sodium allowance but I felt better and continued on the trek. By the time I got to lighting I was super punchy and going through the curtains was an utter blur, but I somehow managed to make it home with a cartful of mostly relevant and useful items, 2.5 hours and $500 later. Considering the most expensive thing I bought was $40 (and the next most expensive was $15), that was a lot of hoofing up the stairs from my car to the apartment. Here's my receipt, for posterity:

It’s funny… I’ve moved an average of once every 6 months for the last 5 years. But never once during those moves did I have to furnish an apartment. I completely forgot how much STUFF you need in a household. Ok, “need” is totally relative because I absolutely did not NEED a dining room table runner or candlestick holders or under-cabinet lighting, but I wanted them to make my apartment feel more like my home.

I spent a good portion of the rest of Sunday scraping IKEA stickers off all my purchases and screwing the knobs into the 25 drawers on my dresser, sideboard, and end tables, and didn’t watch a minute of football. I did, however, win my fantasy game, which made me the dark horse winner two weeks in a row.

Monday: Back to work and finding things to put in all these drawers

I wasn’t rested when I got to work on Monday but I was thrilled to be walking to the office, plus I was pretty well moved in, except for my bedroom which was a disaster. The apartment has been painted so many times (and the wood has warped over the years) that nothing closes like it should, and the bar to hang clothes on in my closet was so abnormally large and so coated with paint that it was impossible to get a hanger over it. This – along with many other things – will get fixed on Tuesday.

I spent a lot more time unpacking and organizing Monday night after meditation class. A lot of my giant bins have been packed for a year – since I left for Argentina – and it was a little like Christmas opening them up. Some things I was really excited about, and others I was totally baffled by why I had saved them in the first place.

Late Monday evening my friend Brian came over to assess some projects I’d asked for his help fixing. I gave him my keys for him to come back the next day and go to town.

Tuesday: 95% done. Awesome.

True to his word, Brian spent the better part of the day working on my apartment. He: installed a new closet rod (hanging up clothes has never felt so good); sanded down several surfaces so doors would close properly; hung a shelf above my stove (which involved some customizing); hung lighting under that shelf; and installed a new faucet since I didn’t like the one my kitchen came with. He also solved a conundrum with a lamp in about 30 seconds that I spent a good 15 minutes scratching my head over.

I also (finally!) got the landlord to get the maintenance guy to fix my showerhead, and it was my great and pleasant pleasure to realize that, despite being on the top floor on a hill, I have very reasonable water pressure!

Meanwhile, Brian and I went to my friendly neighborhood bar, the Redwood, literally a block away. I bought us drinks and dinner and then he finished up the last job and we each went on our merry ways. Thanks for coming through for me, BK!

Tuesday night I finally felt like I could do two very important things: go grocery shopping and do laundry. I needed all the basics so even though I spent $100 at Trader Joe’s I came away with nothing for lunch the next day, but did stock my wine cabinet and bought multiple types of oils, condiments, and dried goods.

It’s hard for me to settle into a new kitchen since almost everything I cook is a combination of random ingredients in my fridge plus standards in my pantry. Since I have no random ingredients, plus no spices since I can’t find spice jars I like, cooking is almost impossible. But once I get started, watch out! I have a feeling great things will come from this kitchen.

Once I got home and hoofed my groceries up the stairs it was time to start laundry. Luckily I secured both detergent and a roll of quarters from the store. The building has 3 washers and, I am embarrassed to say, I occupied them all at once. But it was late at night and a special circumstance – I had to wash all my linens and towels that had been sitting in storage for a year, and I had to get it done before Thursday to accommodate an incoming guest. I swear I’ll never do it again! No one seemed to be waiting in line so I think I got away with my laundry faux paus.

Wednesday: Market dinner and the last 5%

Wednesday I met K to show her the mostly finished apartment and then we headed to the farmer’s market and made dinner, a Wednesday night tradition. We made tuna ceviche and chicken tacos and it was delicioso. I also picked up (almost all of) the rest of my stuff and the last big missing piece: my plants! My windows felt naked without them and they really make the space pop.

Last thoughts

I LOVE MY APARTMENT. It has great light, layout, energy. It’s spacious but cozy and not only does everything go together, but it’s all my taste and style. Minimal but comfortable. Dark woods, browns, and reds. Soft lighting. I do still have to think about hanging up some wall decorations of which I have plenty, but I’m in no hurry. For now I’m letting the rugs and the plants be decoration enough.

With all things considered (including movers and other incidentals like feeding my friends who helped me) I’ve spent 10% of my annual income on this move (living the American credit card dream) but considering I bought all new furnishings plus an entire household of random goods I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

There's no place like home!


Anonymous said...

Welcome back...
Nick Chou :)

AmberAnda said...

Congrats on your new place! I feel like you've stepped into a new phase of adulthood by buying your own furniture and a huge Persian rug! That IKEA receipt is hilarious. I'm so happy for you and I cannot wait to see your lovely apartment. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

It looks amazing, Elizabeth! I would welcome you to the adult world of solo living and real furniture, but I'm not there yet myself. My roommate and I are entering our third month of couchless living here in Baton Rouge...Mwak!

Daruma-san said...

I love your apartment too! - Morgan