I wrote a blog post early in my relationship and came back to it today. Let’s go back in the time machine for a moment…


We all know couples who fall in love get engaged and even marry within two years of meeting. And as time goes by, their relationship changes. They get comfortable. Sometimes ungrateful. Bored. Apathetic. They work it out. Or they don’t.

I am afraid of this. Why doesn’t love last?

I discovered some surprising love research- Romantic love only lasts two years. The spark. The excitement. The “I miss you even though you just left the room.” A shelf life of two years. Sometimes less. You just fall of a love cliff and that’s the end.

Within the first year or two of a relationship, you skyrocket on a protein called the Nerve Growth Factor. You experience a flood of giddy emotions. But after two years max, your body comes back down to “normal” level. You go from heart palpitations to “Honey, can you grab a roll of toilet paper for me?”

love

After finding this out, I began holding on to every moment of my lusty love more than ever. Every arm on my shoulder. Every kiss. Every time I hear keys in the door and the jingle of the dog’s collar when he arrives at my condo. The sound of his voice. His smile in the dark. My sister took a photo of us in the kitchen where he is emptying the dishwasher, I’m making guacamole and the dog is wagging her tail. This photo is a moment- a box of wishes that have come true.

I feel sad thinking one day, it won’t be as special. That I won’t see any of it the same way. The dishes will just be dishes.


Three and a half years in, I can confirm that things have definitely changed. We now live together, so his keys in the door is just what happens every night- I would be worried if I didn’t hear them. I still love hearing his voice- speaking and singing. As for the dishes, he now does them every morning and it’s spectacular.

Yes, science, you were right. We aren’t on the wings of lust like we were when we first met. But we are partners in a way I have never known before. Our roots have grown together and our future is in bloom. And by bloom, I mean we have a growing arsenal of inappropriate jokes that have become both the backdrop and centerpiece for our humorous life together.

As we walked to dinner last night, he put his arm around me. It reminded me of the way I felt when he did this during the summer when we first began dating. I am grateful for the sparks that have led to this moment. I have a partner who is joyful to walk down the street with me, go on trips big and small and take on the world. And by world, I mean that he does all the complicated house things because I have no idea how to affix things to walls, put together furniture without getting frustrated or keep drains from backing up.

So science, you can keep your chemicals. We’re in it for the long haul and we don’t need skyrockets to get there.

 

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fox2When I was in my twenties, I decided to take on a new persona of sorts. I didn’t want to be the girl who blended in anymore. I wanted to be what I referred to as a “vixen.” I wanted men to notice me for my looks and not just find out I was fun to talk to after giving me the benefit of the doubt. So I started dressing in more revealing clothing and wearing a little more make up when I went out. I discovered something about that vixeny greener grass; when I looked that way, I attracted men who didn’t care about much else. Lesson learned. I’m glad I got to hop the fence to find it.

Twenty years later, I have begun wondering about the other side again. Because most places I go, I blend in. Way in. Like invisible. And functionally it’s ok because I’m not looking for a partner or trying to impress anyone, but being invisible can feel a lot like being irrelevant. And that feels awful.

I go to bars with my friends, with my boyfriend. I look around at people. There is no eye contact. I may as well be a ghost. I guess this happens when you’re 40 and you’re not a vixen. I don’t get down about it but wish I knew what it would even take to be visible again.

This week, I was at work and by late afternoon, I found my car with a flat tire. I called my mechanic for help. He drove over to inflate it so I could make it to his shop and get it repaired. When I got to the shop, it was toward the end of the work day and one of his friends sauntered in. I think he was in his late 40’s. He was “old Chicago”, just like me. Born and raised here, Chicago accent, Chicago friendly. We tossed around old Chicago memories and reminisced about Jane Byrne and Chicago Fest. He was genuinely sweet and interested in both how I looked and what I had to say. He was all “It’s lovely to meet you” and “it’s not every day I get to hang out with a beautiful young lady” and “I hope to make your acquaintance again.”

After leaving the shop, I realized how flattering it was not just to have the compliments but to have the attention at all. My hair wasn’t washed. I wasn’t wearing make up. I made no fashion statements. And I was still visible.

The next day, I discussed the exchange with a coworker who is also in her 40’s. “Ya, I’m invisible too,” she shared. And she is tall and stunning and I felt so much better not to be alone under this cloak.

On Friday night when I went out, I took my new confidence as a semi-visible woman and did my hair, wore make up and put on an outfit that was both fun and authentic. While I didn’t stand out, I didn’t disappear. I drank. I danced. I enjoyed the company of my boyfriend and friends. Men asked my girlfriend and me to dance. Men talked to us at the bar. I wasn’t haughty or inappropriate. But I was there. Present, visible, relevant and without a fence in sight.

 

 

I try not to be a “thing” person. Things aren’t people or experiences or emotions. If I lose, break or otherwise ruin a thing, I don’t want to feel hurt. However, I do have a favorite shirt, a favorite jacket, a favorite pillow, a favorite plant and many other cherished things. They’re my favorites because they’re hand picked by me or by someone close to me. I’ve attached emotion to them. Emotion creates energy. And energy goes into the thing- both positive and negative. I am unfortunately still holding on to some negative clutter as well as necessities, like an alarm clock and a few different sized wardrobes. I didn’t really think about the effect these negative items were having on me until I got rid of a significant one- my old car.

Whether I wanted to admit it or not, my old car had a lot of baggage. I inherited it from my mom, though it was before she passed away. She was too sick to use it any longer so I paid it off and used it to get to her house from the city. This car was a means to an end, in too many ways. And because it wasn’t a car I ever wanted, I just tolerated it. While it enabled me to do things like grocery shop without a backpack and go places without calculating bus and train transfers, it was just a car. The line between A and B. A silver 2002 Toyota Corolla. The most popular car. The most generic car. The Smith of cars.

When it had troubles, I resented it. At times I thought about getting rid of it and not having a car at all. But once you own a car, it’s hard to go back to life without one. So I persevered.

Last month, when I could no longer justify the cost of making repairs, I knew buying a replacement was inevitable. Sticking to a conservative budget helped considerably narrow my car options. My list “must haves” included:

  • A hatchback, so that I could load things into my car easier
  • Some sort of aux connection to listen to music through my phone
  • Heated seats, because Chicago
  • A sun roof because it makes summer way more fun
  • Not silver
  • Not a Toyota

I had it in my head that I would get a Mazda CX5. The lines were sexy and it met all the points on my checklist. But after trying this car and a few others, I didn’t feel certain that it was the clear winner. My sister, and car-buying co-pilot, suggested I try the Ford Escape, which was a smaller version of the Ford Edge that she drove for work. I grimaced. At first glance, I thought:

  • This is an SUV
  • It’s way too “mom”
  • I don’t want this car

escapeBut to rule it out, I had to try it. So when it was my time to take it on a test drive, I got in, put on the turn signal and peeled out of the Carmax parking lot. This car was different than the others and different than I thought it would be. As I drove a very short distance, I had the biggest, dumbest smile on my face. Like, when you meet someone and you are CRAZY about them. In this car, the seat felt better. The ride felt better. The dashboard looked better. Everything about it made sense. And it had a PANORAMIC SUNROOF.

I took a week to think about it. Even though I risked someone else buying this car while I was thinking it over, there would be another one out there. It’s certainly not as stressful as buying a home or a formal dress.

The following weekend, I visited a Ford dealership to test drive brand new models. I debated the merits of buying a newer car and weighed the price tag that came with it. I worried I would regret the loss of disposable income and owning more car than I needed. So now the decision was clear- my sister and I returned to Carmax, where I traded in my old car for way more than the bag of Skittles my sister thought it was worth. The old car was now just a credit. The baggage was released. A weight was lifted. I would now get to buy a car of my choice.

I named it Gary.

At the end of the day, it’s just a thing. But it’s special because my sisters generously helped me buy it so I could avoid financing. And it’s not only got working brakes and air conditioning, but also a bunch of tricks like a large digital display, navigation, remote start and keyless entry.

I have never felt this way about a car. I think it’s because I decided to love this car allow myself to feel all the feelings. I bought Gary Weathertech mats to protect the floors. I placed a mango candle in the cup holder so Gary smells fruity. I keep the gas filled above the half mark at all times. When I’m parked at work or running errands, it feels like I have a loyal buddy tagging along, waiting for me at all times.

Gary reminds me that loving something doesn’t mean the thing has to be lovable, though this car is pretty lovable. Loving something (and someone) means that I decide to love it. Or not love it. Half-full vs half-empty.

Gary reminds me to keep an eye out for the things I love most and to let go of the things I’m keeping for the wrong reasons. I feel gratitude every time I drive, think about driving or simply think about how fortunate I am that this purchase was possible.

And now I don’t have to just focus on my destination; I can love the journey too.

attemptWhat would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

The answer to this question is your life’s journey. Isn’t it amazing? One question and there’s the answer.

Knowing where my heart lies inspired me not only to follow it, but also to start a new kind of project. It’s about what you can do if you CAN fail. Failure is part of the journey. I’m not talking about epic, hungry and destitute failure. Simply, this-is-far-from-my-best-work, kind of failure. It’s the Betamax of failures.

I start my project by unwrapping nine 4” x 4” canvases. I have owned these blank canvases for six years. I didn’t want to use them for fear of ruining or wasting them. I didn’t have an idea for their potential so they just sat. And sat. And moved to several homes. And sat some more. And so did the rest of my  canvases, my art paper, my art supplies and all the other pieces I’ve collected throughout the years.

The moment I remove the plastic from these canvases is like opening a present, one I gifted to a better version of myself. A version I had finally decided to be.

One would think that going to art school would give a person creative license and freedom. But instead, it made me a perfectionist. Everything had to be an A+ assignment. I have spent years watching un-art schooled friends create works of art, completely unaware and unbothered that their work was not perfect. I wanted to be this free. The splash-paint-on-a-canvas type. So I take my first step and begin opening tubes of paint.

I buy more brushes and more paint. I buy stencils for my nerdy designer side. I buy more modge podge. I begin exploring all the colorful beads and trinkets I had collected over the years as actionable items instead of a dusty collection for a rainy day.

I make palettes out of old cardboard pieces, a spray booth out of an old box. I rummage through my drawers and bring everything out into the open.

I begin experimenting with paint and masking tape and stencils. Nothing looks pleasing. The paint and stencils don’t work the way I hoped they would. I go back to a few canvases every few nights and look at them. What do they want to be?

I take a walk and pick up a newspaper. I cover most of a painting I had started with a collage of cartoons and color from the publication. And beads and some gold chain sticker. The underpainting showed though like a light through a crack. It is better than I imagined. I could never have tried to get to this point. It just happened. I know now that I have to go in without expectations and just let each piece take shape on its own.

I begin trying other experiments with crepe paper and rhinestones and wrapped gold string. I mix new colors. I mask more shapes. I’m detached from the outcome. I am having fun. I spend a whole Saturday half watching Netflix and working on new ideas.

heart

With license to fail, I can fail masterfully. Fail as part of the journey. And have fun and perhaps encounter some happy accidents along the way.

img_7538Dear car,

It was unfortunate that we met the way we did. You, sitting nearly dormant, driverless for months. Me, averse to driving. We were an unlikely pair. Forced together by necessity, I was so unsteady at the wheel the first time we drove, both scared and careless like a teen with a new license. Little did you know you would never be returning home again, except for visits.

It was the worst part of my life and I dragged you into it. The long trips back and forth from Chicago to Glenview. You, holding a bag for me so I could throw up on the way, completely unaware of my own impending stroke. I was only able to focus on the last month I would have with my mom, your previous owner.

At first it was comforting to have you- you are something of hers that would be with me every day. But cars aren’t sentimental. They are just steel and paint and plastic that breaks. You were however, a new freedom I had never experienced. I would no longer be dependent on anyone to take me anywhere. Only dependent on me and of course you. Not only could I carry myself from A to B, I could take others. I could be depended on. I’m sure my mom would be happy to know she enabled this wonderful unintended but important independence.

Car, we have a lot of fond memories. You took me to marathon training practice. You took on road trips. You took me and countless friends to social gatherings. You were the thing I loved most about my ex-husband; he taught me how to park you and also made a hand drawn map to Ikea to keep with you at all times. I have packed you full of groceries, alley finds, pets, and most notably suitcases of sex toys during my late sales career. You were amenable to the ex-boyfriends changing your brakes and oil and patient throughout Chicago’s worst winter storms. And the blowtorching. Sorry about that. You got me where I needed to go and I was always grateful.

But the repairs have become too frequent. And each day seems to bring a new quirky problem to light. I know some of them were my fault- like when I barreled into a snow drift and took a chunk out of the front bumper. Or when I managed to get into a fender bender in the parking lot of the National Safety Council. And even early on when I first drove you in the city and brushed a brand new parked car. And now you’re 14. You’re not a little kid. You have begun acting out. The check engine light is on. The brake light is on. The A/C is out. The armrest that has come unhitched. And the cassette player, just because it’s a cassette player.

Your days are numbered.

The moment that pushed me to it was when your brakes decided to quit and I was forced to simply glide my way to the mechanic. I always knew I would drive you til the bitter end. And now that time has come. I hope you find a nice mechanic who will believe in your potential, fix you and give you your next 90 thousand miles. Farewell, old friend.

 

We all have relationship baggage. One of my biggest carry ons comes from an old boyfriend who grew up in a world where women must not have bodily functions. So in our relationship, he did not want to acknowledge any of the 3 P’s- peeing, pooping and periods.

tpAnd I get it, but these things are real. They happen. And they happen to me. I didn’t want to discuss them over dinner, I just didn’t want to have to hide them entirely. To preserve the relationship, I agreed to keep this illusion alive as best I could. But of course, I had digestive issues and kidney issues and that damn monthly bleeding issue. Damn them all.

When we broke up, one of his parting comments was, “I’m just not attracted to you anymore.” And while attraction can mean so many things, I blamed it largely on not being able to maintain the illusion. I vowed “next time”, somehow, I would be more of a lady. A perfect porcelain non-excrement filled lady.

And that I did.

In my current relationship, I did not poo when he was at my house. Not for an ENTIRE YEAR. Finally on our anniversary, it happened. It wasn’t pre-meditated or celebratory,  I just really had to go.

Where did I go all the other times? Here is my shortlist:

  • Jewel
  • Starbucks
  • Bakin’ & Eggs
  • Gym
  • Work
  • Other gym
  • Walgreens
  • Nearly the alley one time

When I told a close friend about this, she was amazed at my commitment and her husband chimed in, “You go to Jewel? That place is horrible. Homeless people don’t even go there.” Horrible, maybe. But it wasn’t my house, which made it ideal.

When we decided to look for a place together, my requirements list began with “more than one bathroom.”I wanted the bathroom to be a non-issue. I didn’t want to wait to use a toilet and worry I wouldn’t make it or have to ask him if he needed to use the toilet before I took a shower. Maybe I wanted the illusion too.

Luckily, we found a place quickly. And that place had THREE BATHROOMS. But in the meantime I sold my place and had to temporarily live with him in his place. For 27 days. With one bathroom.

We were in the adjustment process. We had boxes and misplaced items everywhere. It was chaotic but special. Despite the inconveniences of the cramped space, I had never been happier. Every fucking day. All four of them.

But then there was day five.

“And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”…And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.”  -Genesis 1: 20-23 

It was 8:30am. I really had to go to the bathroom. I thought about either stopping at my old condo (still technically mine until my closing the following week), or just going at work. I thought, “But I live here now. I should go here.” I needed to embrace this. He’s not going to leave just because I can’t make the dinner we ate last night adorably evaporate.

So I got to business and it was fine. But when I commanded the toilet to flush, it did not. Instead, it swirled and filled up with water. And then, it overflowed. Water poured onto the floor on both sides. Water seeped into his bathroom rug. This is the thing of nightmares. I took a deep breath and tried to make light of this. I opened the door and said, “I was hoping to have two years until this happened.” He simply replied, “Plunger is next to the toilet.” It didn’t take long to fix. But I had to mop up poo water with paper towels. And then bleach the floor. And then ask him for a garbage bag for the bathroom rug. And swallow my pride.

Relationship milestones are usually things like first dates, first meeting of families, first holidays. In fact, just the other day, we went to a department store together for the first time. And went grocery shopping for the first time. How. Cute.

After only five days of co-habitating, I clogged the toilet for the first time. And despite blowing the illusion, we’re still okay.

bedroomI have a theory. Three rooms. Three rooms is what two people need to survive in a relationship. It is why I can confidently say my past co-habitation attempts didn’t work. It wasn’t me or us. It was math. Simply not enough rooms.

When I tell people this theory, they assume I mean a number of things that I don’t, such as that three rooms counts the kitchen, living and bathrooms. Three is in fact the number of bedrooms. Three rooms with windows and closets.

Why three?

Because one you share. Room one is your romantic cohabitation. It is the place you refer to when you say you love coming home to someone at night and waking up with them. It is the place you will speak of when you say how you didn’t sleep well because someone was snoring, sneezing, coughing, turning, or being otherwise disruptive. It is where you will have to agree on the furniture and bedding. The one where your clothes will also live. And where no one can get mad at you for being naked, any time of day.

Room two is my room. This is where I’m going to store things I probably should get rid of. I might read here. I might have long phone conversations here. I might start arts and crafts project here and leave them in a state of 25% completion without any progress for months at a time. I can play any music I want in here, even if it’s slightly audible in other rooms. I’m not required to vacuum or dust this room. I can come here when I’m not feeling well. I can come here when I want to feel nostalgic and pretend this is my childhood room, a room where my whole life was housed.

Room three: his room. This is where he will do man things but not like lifting weights because we have a gym membership for that. He will do computer things. He might read. He might make phone calls. He may start a project or two or three. And he will finish them in a timely manner because he’s much better at this than I am. He might want to keep a collection here or start a collection here. And hopefully it won’t outgrow the room. But oh, too late- it has. And that’s ok too.

Having one’s own space is luxurious. I know it’s not something everyone can do or something that everyone would want. But I love the space.Space to miss each other. Space to visit. Space to organize and reorganize or not organize at all.Space to take a pause or take a nap. Space to feel a spectrum of emotions in the stillness and silence of your own breath. Space to bounce off the walls. Space immerse in true self. Space to appreciate space. Space to appreciate everything.

 Flashdance 1983Somewhere on the way to my 40th birthday*, I must have stopped to tie my shoe or been delayed by traffic, figuratively speaking of course. The world seems to have skipped ahead leaving me way behind the times on everything from fashion to technology. When I see women wearing clothes with cut outs, I can only relate to them with memories of what I wore to my 8th grade dance. When I hear about some uproar on Instagram, I can’t remember if that’s the one with the likes, the tags or the filters. Or maybe, it’s all three.

I’ve heard of people exploring their inner child. But right now, I’m most in touch with my inner senior citizen.

Recently, there was a girl at work who was acting peculiar. She was jumpy. She would disappear frequently. She had disengaged from co-workers. In hindsight, there are so many reasons she could have been acting this way. She could have been going through a rough personal time. Perhaps she was battling depression. Maybe it was some sort of irritable bowel thing. But my inner little old lady just scratched and squawked out loud, “I wonder if she’s on drugs.” In a time when so many people are on a myriad of drugs, being on drugs isn’t even a thing anymore. But my Nancy Reagan was firing on all silver cylinders ready to solve the mystery.

The girl ended up finding a new job and leaving. There were no mysterious drugs found and no peculiar behavior that followed her to her next job. Later I found out- she had just been bored.

My old timeyness does not stop here. Remember when Google was just a search? And then how they seemed so generous for offering free email? And then when they made all those cute holiday animations and we were so busy watching bunnies hop into the shape of the logo, they took over the world? And then suddenly you were expected to know the Google suite of tools?

Maybe it’s all easy. For you. But for me, it harkens back to my memories of trying to teach my mom how to use her first personal computer.

“When I click this, it doesn’t do anything”

“I keep pushing the power button but nothing happens.

“Where does it save?”

“That’s the clock.” “It’s unplugged.” “It’s right there on the desktop.”

So it’s only fitting that now I’m the geezer with the questions, “How do you make an excel sheet a Google sheet?” “How can you let people see it?” “Where does it save?” I am hoping no one can see my Google history of questions on these matters. In fact, everyone should get to take their history of questions to the grave. It’s only dignified.

I put on my reading glasses and slowly learned about life beyond “Googling” and Gmail. I invited people to my new document. I watched them add to this document. I hoped it saved.

But my worst old person offense was a recent phone call. On my office phone, the caller ID read “Harris.” I don’t know why a bank would call my work number. No one knows my work number. I don’t even know my work number. It must have been a mistake.

But then I saw “Harris” on my cell phone. I have a bank account with Harris and have recently had a beef about a fee they charged me. But I don’t know why they would call me- they’re the ones with the money, not the beef. I decided to pick it up.

They explained they were calling about a collection. I was mad- was Harris Bank so awful they would charge me fees and then put me into collection? THE NERVE. But it wasn’t that. Different Harris. It’s a debt collector for my last gas bill from my old condo. Oh, that makes sense. I never received a final bill. When they verified my addresses and told me the outstanding balance, they said I could pay with a credit card over the phone. THAT IS SO CONVENIENT. So I gave them my information. They then told me, “There is a $9.95 convenience charge for paying with a credit card.” Not so convenient after all. I told them I would send a check instead. Immediately the woman said, “Let me see if I can get that fee lowered to $4.95.” She was gone for half a second, came back and said, “My manager is allowing me to waive the fee. Great! Though that “Let me check with my manager” line was the oldest trick in the book.

And now I worried this whole call might be a trick too.

I had visions of logging into my bank account to see “0”. I would wonder how I had let this happen. Of course, they had my credit card, not my bank account but still, I felt violated. I realized, “OH NO. This is what happens to OLD PEOPLE.” You hear it all the time- an old person who’s just sitting on their stoop sipping lemonade or in a rocking chair listening to an old timey radio gets a call from a “nice young man” selling one thing or another. Just like that, a poor sweet old person is swindled. Well, today, that was me.

Of course, I do have a shred of life left in me so I called my credit card company right away, disputed the charge and cancelled the card. And maybe it was also super “old person” to get paranoid like this but I’d rather not take my chances, sonny.

*Note: I’m not saying 40 is old. I’m just saying I AM. Also, happy birthday Mom!

rainbowsandpuppiesFor the last few months, there has been one question on my mind:“Why will this time be different?”

How will moving in with this person be different than when I moved in with the last person? The answer is easy, right? I’m moving in with a different person! But what if I was the perpetrator? What if it’s not about the other person but about me? I’m packing the same baggage so the questions still stands, “Why will this time be different?”

I considered seeing a therapist. We will get to the bottom of this. We will dig through the history and find the answers. But I kind of wanted to DIY it. So I just thought. And thought. And kept peeling off the skin on my thumbs, the worst nervous habit EVER. And thought.

Let’s back up. In 2006 when I moved in with and married my ex-husband, I had expectations. They were high- like going from Kansas to Oz high. Things weren’t bad but I thought when I moved into his place, they would be infinitely better. I would feel like I belonged better. Like we loved each other better. Like rainbows and puppies in my heart better.

But they weren’t better. They were the same. And the same felt like a failure. We were confined to a 700 square-foot home. No space. And no rainbows or puppies.

I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. I thought I would feel more accomplished. More validated. Wasn’t this relationship what I had been “working toward” for the whole dating portion of my life, between the ages of 16-30? Instead of complete, I felt cramped. And lost. And oddly alone in this disillusionment.

This time, I know better. We’re starting fresh and getting a new place together. Both moving. Both knee deep in boxes and bubble wrap. This time, I know who I am and I’m not looking for change. I’m looking for the same, just more of it. More cooking at home. More parties. More falling asleep drooling on the couch. More music. More inventions. More bacon. More bits. More us.

And this time, I’m bringing the rainbows and puppies with me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI walk into my friend’s building. As always, there is an entire landing full of shoes even before you get in the door of her apartment. Just inside, I find jeans carefully placed on the dining room floor as if on display- it’s just something she does when she gets new clothes. Blankets lie on the couch. A hairdryer sits on the floor of the bathroom for no current use. It’s clean, but it’s not perfect.

I am so jealous.

My place has only been on the market for three days but it feels like much longer. My furniture is here. My livelihood is not. I didn’t realize how much stuff I interacted with and used until the majority of my belongings were put away, stored elsewhere or thrown out. But even more difficult, anything I do at home has to be undone by the time I leave. Unshower. Unget ready. Unsleep. Unmake dinner. Unlook at the mail. Unremove shoes.

It kind of makes me want to do a lot less of all these things. I haven’t washed my hair since Saturday because it produces less foamy soapy film. I sleep on a third of the bed because it’s easier to put it all back together. I eat packaged meals and keep the garbage under the sink, out of view. I take all the mail and papers with me when I leave- I now have a collection of bags in my car. I wear the same shoes everyday so it’s just a matter of stopping by the same place I left them and putting them back on again.

Seems pretty simple. And it is. Too simple.

Life is messy. In fact, life continues from one day to the next and it doesn’t always make sense to make the bed in between. Or re-sanitize the bathroom every night. Or put every fucking thing back where you found it.

The best news I received today is that there are two showings scheduled for this week. This could mean an offer. And an offer could mean a contract. And I would be celebrated with a big ol’ sloppy mess. I may not even clean again until I have to move out.

I’ve spent so much time preparing for this grand moment. It feels like when someone is taking a photo and you’re stuck in the perfect pose with a perfect smile and then it just takes them 10 seconds, maybe even 20 seconds too long. And your face starts to hurt from smiling but not in that good way where you’re having the best time ever, but in that way the it did when I had to sit for a three-hour family photo shoot when my dad ran for alderman when I was seven. LIKE THAT. I’d include that photo here but it’s in a box somewhere, I think.

Each morning is like packing up from a campsite. I need to make sure to leave it exactly how I found it. Leave no trace that I was here. But this is not a campsite. Or a hotel. Or someone else’s house. It’s supposed to be home and I can’t wait for it to feel like that again.