Today I Am Home

So my new apartment is in a house that was a small hotel back in the early 20th Century. Wait, do you capitalize “century?” Either way. Now it’s divided up into three apartments. My place RULES, but the walls are pretty thin, and we all share sounds, the people who live in this house.

My landlord said that there are new tenants moving into the upstairs apartment. My apartment is like, a piece of the house that includes upstairs and downstairs. Needless to say, while every place I’ve lived has been a special home at the time, after years of basement apartments and Long Island prices, having an apartment with a staircase at Colorado prices makes me feel like I’ve just arrived at the Warbucks mansion, and I do think I’m gonna like it here.

The new tenants are moving into the upstairs apartment, which is simply the entire, 3-bedroom second floor, minus my bedroom. I hear them next to me in the bedroom, and above me in the kitchen and living room. Which is not to complain. They have been awesome; thin walls are really nobody’s fault, and if they’re not complaining about drunken midnight “Glee” singalongs in my place, I’m not complaining about 5am “Morning!Time!” shenanigans in theirs.

But we can hear each other. And right now, two days before the new tenants arrive, the current ones are moving out. Thanks for the “Free” masking tape signs on all the wooden furniture in the garbage, Current Tenants!

I like that the furniture that used to be in Apartment 3 is now in Apartment 2. It’s just the proper combo of creepy and awesome befitting of Manitou itself. And in a weird, voyeuristic way, I like that right now, I am hearing my neighbors move out of the home we’ve shared together, though we never knew each other.

I was supposed to work at my parents’ business today, but my friend is visiting from around the world, so I’m hoping to get to hang out with him today, and my mom said it was cool for me to do that instead of going in to work. In the meantime, I am sitting in my kitchen, typing on the computer, and I hear them above me. The noises went from clunk, bang, clunk, to sweeping, and now I hear vacuuming.

I’m hearing people say goodbye to a home that tomorrow, will be just a memory, a place they once knew. And something about the whole experience feels very (ironically) quiet, and still. Had I just gone to work, when I came home, the whole symphony of move-out goodbyes may have begun and ended without my ever knowing. But sitting here, listening to it – I realized that for all the times I’ve moved out of places, I’ve never actually heard someone else move out. And there is something so intimate about moving out of a home, at least for me. Hearing my neighbors now makes me remember vacuuming my Levittown apartment. After the brutal moving of furniture and boxes, all that was left to do was clean, and vacuuming is always the last part. The final brush of cleanliness, of removing your mark from a place, passing the home baton to the next people.

As I vacuumed the bedroom of my Levittown apartment, I got incredibly emotional and (shock!) cried. There was no overhead light in the room, and all my lamps were out of the apartment, so the bedroom was lit by the hallway light. My beloved Amethyst Cream walls didn’t look how they normally did, all warm and rich and bewitching by the lamp light. And I knew that once I was finished vacuuming, I would be saying goodbye to those purple walls forever. Even though it was just a coat of paint, the purple made the place feel alive, and leaving them behind broke my eternally anthropomorphizing heart.

Every move out of every place I’ve ever lived has had its own sadness, its own feeling of loss. There was the Hempstead apartment when I was 5 3/4 , at that point the only home I’d ever known. Then the Merrick house when I was nearly 13, the only house I’d ever known.

One reason losing the Baldwin house was so hard for me is that it was there before and after so many other apartments. My first apartment in Plainview with Shannon, my (until now) favorite apartment in Merrick, the first place on my own that really felt like home, like maybe I could do this grown-up life thing after all.

My apartment in Oneonta when I was married, my other Merrick apartment after the marriage ended, the aforementioned purple-walled Levittown apartment – all these places, I lived in the Baldwin house before and after. I had multiple homes, but the Baldwin house was always home base.

Until it was sold, and no longer “mine,” and I got my Lily apartment. It was named thusly by my sister-in-law Amy, after “How I Met Your Mother,” because while all my furniture was there, while it was decorated with all my stuff, and I once again had awesome walls in the form of Jamaican Aqua and Full Bloom, I didn’t live there; I was for all intents and purposes living with my then-boyfriend. And then I was officially living with my now-friend, and I said goodbye to my Lily apartment. That was, until last year, my hardest move out ever. It was pouring rain, now-friend and I were sick as dogs (what does that even mean, sick as dogs?), and we had to take a ton of my stuff to the dump. I watched the bed I’d lived life on from 1999-2010 sink into the muddy earth, and it broke my heart into 37 pieces, not to mention gave me a greater awareness of my carbon footprint.

Nearly a year ago, I said goodbye to my last apartment, and that was the hardest and saddest goodbye of all, but more on that in May. And that was when after all the apartments, and all the retreats to my parents’ house in Baldwin, I once again moved back to my parents’ house, though this time in Colorado Springs.

Now here I am once again, giving it a go in a new apartment. Hearing my neighbors move out (and how much floor is UP there; they’ve been vacuuming forEVER at this point!) reminds me of how lucky I am that at least for now, I don’t have to move out. And I have a Jamaican Aqua bedroom and a Morning Sunshine bathroom. Amethyst Cream reprise in the living room to come.

Whatever the future may hold, today I am home. I am painting my walls and hanging my hat. And it feels pretty awesome.


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8 Responses to Today I Am Home

  1. lisa says:

    Hang up your hat, girlie:)

  2. Mike says:

    Lovely write – at first I was a bit nervous, as I was thinking of the old roadside 40 unit motels out here that are now section 8 meth labs. But, I feel better after reading more…and I hope you make lots of happy memories in your new home…until the next one comes along, wherever that may be – !

  3. Mary Lou Posch says:

    And I’m so glad you’re not having to move out of your new apartment after the threat of having a family of 5 move in! Lovely blog, Judith. You keep writing. One of these days we should have a painting party to get the Amethyst Cream on those living room walls of the Warbuck mansion!

    • judisunshine says:

      Thank you!!! Me too :) And yes please!!! The bathroom actually looks good, but I’d feel much safer with your help in the living room! Much darker color 😮

  4. Pingback: Manitou Don’t Leave | judisunshine

  5. Was this from last time I visited? It’s all like an anniversary of many things!

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