I’ve been remiss in posting on a weekly basis due to spending lots of time working and reworking our new apartment set up, coupled with a weekend trip home to Baltimore. For being unemployed, I certainly am keeping myself quite busy with rewashing all the dishes, laundering all the sheets and towels, cleaning and generally getting things in working order here in A2 (as we locals calls Ann Arbor 😉 because I’m now counting myself as a local).
All forces are combining to make this new living arrangement 180 degrees different than any other living arrangement I’ve ever had. Take for instance that over the past five years, I’ve been living in a one-story apartment and working full, or more than full, time. Spoiled as it may seem, we had a cleaning lady come every other week. I learned right off the bat that living with a boy is not always as tidy as living alone (and Mark is very tidy by boy standards as far as I can tell). While I wanted to think that I would be working, plus cleaning and doing dishes and changing bed sheets, it quickly became apparent if that arrangement ensued, it was going to be the source of lots of me yelling and being frustrated. So the cleaning lady entered the picture and it was the best decision ever. No fights about who’s doing what chores. Dirty dishes? Oh well, cleaning lady’s coming on Monday, leave ’em. Toilet rings? Yes, I have left over toilet scrubbers from when I lived alone, but they saw the inside of zero toilet bowls in five years. Cleaning lady’s got it under control.
Before living with Mark, I lived in a one-bedroom, one-story apartment in Federal Hill that I cleaned myself. But let’s be honest, it was incredibly sparsely furnished with parents’ hand-me-downs, I never dusted the blinds and I barely made any messes since I spent most all of my time at Mark’s apartment. Sorry Paul for always being there! (Although we did have fun with some crazy debates and good Sunday night HBO and football watching.)
Back to now: I’m not working, living in a fairly large two-story apartment with LOTS of stairs (because there are stairs from the garage to the front door, and then more stairs to get to the living room/kitchen, and then MORE stairs to get to the loft/bedroom). I have purchased all the requisite supplies that I never had: Swiffer sweeper, Swiffer duster, Windex wipes, Pledge wood cleaning spray, Pledge multi-surface spray, Clorox toilet scrubbers and dish soap. As the movers were carrying in boxes around me, I was up and down scrubbing the tubs and showers, dusting the baseboards and fan blades, cleaning the tops of paintings and tables and lamps as they brought each one in.
Once they left, Mark and I spent most of the day unpacking boxes and sorting out where items were going to go (our version of Upstairs/Downstairs). The day after that, Mark went to work and I unpacked the rest of the boxes…good thing we have two stories because the pile of boxes rose all the way up to the second floor. It just became easier to throw them over the railing onto the pile, rather than trying to stack them up from below.
All the boxes unpacked, we couldn’t find a few minor items, such as the harp for one table lamp. So we went through ALL the boxes again: pulling out the packing papers, shaking them out, stuffing them back into the boxes. Mark schlepped everything out to the garage and that was the end of the day.
I came back to the new apartment over the next few days to start arranging things in their proper places and generally clean up. This is where my lack of experience cleaning large areas of real estate really shone. Hard wood floors upstairs require moleskin padding on the feet of each piece of furniture. Luckily we had purchased a rug for underneath the bed, so I didn’t have to clip snippets of felt for that, but for the dresser, chairs, desk, bookcases and tables, I hacked away chunks of padding for each. Apparently my scissoring technique is poor because I quickly developed this thumb knuckle blister. Look away if you’re squeamish. Ouch.
The upstairs in working order, I quickly vacuumed the hardwood and started making my way down the stairs. Oy! Vacuuming stairs! I haven’t done this since childhood! Torture! Our vacuum (also a parents’ hand-me-down) doesn’t have a hose attachment, so I’m dragging the whole upright apparatus across each step, trying to get in the crevices. I thought I had a pretty good method going: swipe across, finish with a perpendicular pull at the end, go next step down. Then I realized that the vacuum was just pushing the bits of leaves and dirt brought in by the movers’ shoes from step to step and not actually picking it up. I went back over the steps on my hands and knees, pulling up any leftover bits of debris with my fingers and putting them in the trash.
Then I went on to the living room (photo at the top of the post). I vacuumed it prior to putting down the couches and the area rug, then I lay the area rug down and vacuumed that too. That was the filthiest because we always ate on the couch at our old place, so you can imagine the crumbs and food particles that got on this rug. And of course the movers don’t care about that; they just roll up the rug, food crumbs and all. In this way, we brought even more pieces of home with us – literally – in the rug. Again, I don’t know if I’m rusty with a vacuum or this vacuum is just terrible, but I swear it wasn’t picking up anything – just pushing around fuzz balls.
Pulling the vacuum seemed to be easy enough but pushing it back across the carpet was sweat-inducing. The handle is broken so it only stays very short, therefore I was hunched over, pushing and pulling the big lug across high pile carpet. I will never again disparage the cleaning lady for knocking the vacuum in to the sofa feet, or the base of the bed, or the dresser, or every other piece of furniture, and leaving marks. It is inevitable an I was trying SO hard not to bump things. Second blister of the move:
Thanks to the generosity of our friends and family who gave us many Target gift cards for our engagement, I was able to purchase a new vacuum! I haven’t tried it out yet, but it was only $40 so I’m not expecting miracles. It does, however, have a hose attachment, so at least I can really get into those stairs.
We also received this awesome Giada knife as an engagement present. I love it! But I hate packages like this that you literally cannot get open and are probably going to cut yourself on the hard plastic trying. Here is my feeble attempt at cutting this open:
Notice the pathetic crack in the lower right-hand corner. Nothing’s getting out of that small hole. Does anyone else find it funny that I can’t cut open the packaging to get to a knife? Can’t it slice its way out? It was really hot in the apartment that day and I hadn’t eaten anything yet, so perhaps my amusement was beyond rational. Okay, I finally got it open.
Do I keep that white plastic bit on there for protection?
Nevermind answering, I already threw it away. But I did have an internal debate and may have texted my sister.
The reality of getting a job is starting to sink in now that we’re back in A2 for a good chunk of time before our next trip home. I’ll write more about the job hunt and the time consumption of wedding planning in the weeks to come, but right now, keeping up with housework is a mild consideration. I think if I went back to work full time at this point, we would definitely need some help around the house from time to time…maybe just once a month to really dust (mini-blinds are the worst invention ever).
So enough of my tsuris….I thought you’d like to see how I’ve gone about putting our place together! In the photo at the top of the post of our living room, see if you can spot the stuffed cayman that my great-grandparents brought back from their honeymoon. My cousin has the dad cayman and I have the baby one.
Here are a few close-ups of the bar I set up in the living room. This is my grandmother Honey’s credenza from the beach house. Parents’ hand-me-down mirror, and stocked with The Glenlivet 12. Thank you to friends and family for all of the great glassware pictured here.
And thanks to my sister for getting those cute H & M napkins printed up. Thanks to my mom to the authentic Scotch Whiskey recipe booklet!
Here is the guest room with my Maryland Testudo pillow on the blanket chest. (It’s a Testudo stuffed animal that turns into its shell to become a pillow!) That blanket chest is full by the way, so if you come to visit in the winter, don’t worry, no one will go cold!
We spent our first overnight in the new apartment last night. It was weird and I couldn’t fall asleep, so I took this picture of the light coming in the window to occupy the time.
It was nice to fall asleep with the windows open, listening to the sound of crickets once again. I haven’t had that since college, living downtown all these years.
Okay, off for my first grocery shopping trip! xoxoxo