Lists and an update

September 20, 2012

Thanks so much for all of the supportive comments to my last post. I really was in quite a panic, and your kind words really helped. A lot. Now, I’m less panicked but considerably more weary. We’ve gotten a lot done this past week or so, and I still managed to turn in my book review on time, for which I am going to pat myself on the back.

Over the last nine days, I

  • found a new place to live
  • packed up the china, kitchen appliances, and breakables
  • packed up all of my clothes except a few that are in a suitcase
  • cleared out closets and dressers and shelves and cupboards
  • talked with my two-year-old about why we were putting everything in boxes and about how we were moving to a new home
  • kept putting dinner on the table, helping Dot get dressed, bathed, to school, and to bed on time (mostly on time, anyway)
  • held tight to N

And N

  • found a good storage space
  • moved out all our furniture (with some, but not much, help)
  • got us lots of good boxes
  • met with a lawyer to figure out the legalities of our situation
  • packed up his downstairs office
  • packed up most of downstairs and re-organized the rest for ongoing packing
  • pushed through tiredness and stress and withdrawal day after day
  • read bedtime stories to Dot every night

We did all of this with the help of my good friend who lives on the west side of the state, and who drove over to spend a glamorous weekend packing boxes, helping to load and unload heavy furniture and chasing after Dot while we packed boxes. She also brought us salted caramels, red wine, and made sure that we took time to feed ourselves during our Saturday and Sunday pack-a-rama. She lifted my spirits and brought me Thai food and took me out for a margarita lunch. All of which helped tremendously. My mom is coming out this weekend to help us with loose ends. I am incredibly lucky in my friends and family.

I still need to

  • pack up the rest of the closets
  • corral and pack up the flotsam – toiletries and dry goods, books that hid from our first boxing, blankets and bedding that were in the wash, clothes hooks, the shelves my father installed in Dot’s room, shoes, etc.
  • make plans for the cats so they are safe and cared for between the time we move out and the time we move into the new place
  • call our new landlord and solidify our move-in date
  • clean out the refrigerator
  • arrange to have our mail held and forwarded
  • arrange to cut off the gas and electricity
  • remind N to change our phone, internet & cable
  • keep positive and calm for N and Dot
  • take care of myself so this cold doesn’t get worse
  • resist the urge to leave secret messages for any new renters in drawers and cupboards

The new place has less charm and sunlight and much less storage space. It turns out our little rental was quite the bargain except for, you know, the judgmental, malevolent, and skeevy landlord (skeevy isn’t a term I normally use, but I think it applies to someone who hangs around his renters’ home and in their backyard unannounced and without forewarning). However, there is a mountain ash tree growing in the front yard of the new place, and a rosebush by the front door which gives me a happy feeling. Our new landlord seems very kind and who is going to let me paint the place any colors I want.* It is also right next door to a school playground we like, and not far from downtown and other parks. And, dear friends, it has a dishwasher.

N also arranged for a building inspector to come look at the place we’ve been renting, which turned out to be genius. There is no way we can be charged for any future rent now because of the code violations found by the inspector. Of course, once our landlord receives the inspector’s report, he may be very angry at us and his current dislike for us may turn into something stronger – we suspect he thought he’d be able to milk us for rent while he fixed the cracked foundation at the front of the house. And he probably won’t be able to rent it to anyone else until the code violations are fixed. Which is a little more serious than we were hoping for, but that’s what you get if you try to take a Chicago boy to the mattresses.

I am still not sure why this landlord dislikes us so very much. We pay our rent on time and we don’t talk to him that often. I suspect some of it may be town and gown stuff, but neither N nor I is the sort of academic who rakes in the big bucks and/or turns our nose up at anyone who doesn’t reside in an ivory tower. It bothers me, however sad that may seem, that he doesn’t like us, and that this led him to leap on the opening to evict us in a way that (I think) most people wouldn’t. Our neighbor across the street told N that this guy “has always been a dick” but that he also doesn’t make these decisions alone – apparently he’s part of the sort of church that is very active in its members’ lives and the church probably had a lot of say in this as well. Which is pretty horrible to think about, honestly. The idea of a group of people (who supposedly to take to heart Christian values of love and compassion, of mercy and forgiveness) discussing my family and N’s achilles heel and deciding that we were heathen sinners not worth compassion, feels like an invasion of privacy and a slap in the face to my malingering faith. It may not be true, and I hope it isn’t true, but I’m tempted to leave little Blair Witch-styled figures made of twigs and rune stones tucked into the corners of the house out of sheer naughtiness.

I am going to try to transplant my clematis into a pot, and pray that it lives, though it probably won’t. I have better hopes for my little rosemary plant. My new rosebush is already in a pot (and into an early autumn flush of blooms, which is pretty delightful). I’ll leave the lavender and hope someone takes the time to water it a little. I really have loved this little house. I hope the next people who live there take good care of it and have better luck than we did.

* I’ve been dreaming about being able to paint my living space for a long time. I’m thinking of covering up the dark avocado “accent” walls” and putty-colored walls with some yellows and blues. And Dot has already asked for yellow on her walls (that’s my girl!).



  1. That’s a lot – and having moved countless (well, actually 16 times) I know how much work is involved. And with a toddler, no less – good on you. Hang in there and hope you new home is well, home to you all.

  2. Oh my. I really do admire you Erica. Good luck with the ‘need to’ list but I suspect you are doing just fine. So glad that you have friends and family to help and to bring yummy goodies.

    Boo for nasty landlords, yay for code violations (he does kinda deserve it you know?), yay for leaving Blair Witch-y stick figures and secret messages (see previous) and sending good travelling wishes for your clematis and happy paint planning vibes. Good luck x

  3. Thank heavens for wonderful friends and family. I second Cathy’s boos, above, for your soon-to-be ex-landlord and the holier-than-thou church people who may have been behind this (and these people call themselves Christians??). Sending you prayers & good thoughts for lots of sunshine, literally, figuratively and paintwise, in your new home.

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