Thursday, December 5, 2013

Movin' On Up

I've mentioned a couple of times now that we've been super busy this autumn. The main reason was that we moved! We're still in Pittsburgh, but in a different part of it now. Let me start our moving story with a bit of a flash-back. Three years ago, we were living in a super small/dark/generally-crappy basement apartment far away from everything (except a job I had left long before).

The entire living room from the front door, and the entire kitchen from the living room

Our friends, Ben & Anne, owned a lovely house in a down-and-out neighborhood. They were passionate about helping to revitalize the area. They shared it with her mom and his brother. When Mom decided to move out, they offered us her room. The rent was very low, so we could use it as an opportunity to catch up financially. We said yes.

The house on move-in day, and Shane in our tiny bedroom wearing a hat
(Incidentally, the picture on the left is the reason I don't wear pants in public anymore.)

We stayed for two and half years. In that time the brother moved out, Ben & Anne themselves moved out, and three more friends moved in. Our friend Dylan bought the house next door and filled it with people in a similar way. We had a little almost commune happening. It was great! And it was very hard! Looking back, I see that it was also very good for us. We grew a lot there.

Our steampunk Halloween party! (sorry for the blur...)

Then Shane and I went on vacation. When we got back, it became clear to me that it was time to be just the two of us again. I talked it over with Shane, and he agreed. I spent the next week cruising Craigslist in my spare time. Shane called half a dozen of my leads on Friday night, and we spent Saturday apartment shopping. One of the wonderful things about this move was that there was no time limit. We knew if we didn't find anything right away, it would be OK.

The first place we saw was just like our old apartment. It even had the same ugly green carpet! We couldn't leave quickly enough. We spent some time in a comfy little coffee shop double-checking the listings. Then we went to another appointment. This one was more promising. The walls were yellowed, and the carpet awful. But the landlord said he would put down new hardwood floor and paint.

From the Craigslist posting. Taken before the previous tenant moved in.

We told him we'd think about it, and found one more place across the street. We called the number on the sign, and a salesperson from the management company was there in a half-hour. It was much more expensive, and not much nicer. That night, Shane Googled the management company and found out they have a terrible reputation. Of the three places, we had a clear winner, but was it worth jumping on? We gave it a few days of thought, and decided it was. The next Saturday, we went back to sign the lease. The floors were already done!

Shane and the landlord looking over the lease, with new floors and seriously scary walls.
And my excited-to-have-a-new-apartment face at the train station afterward.

We waited until the middle of October to move. (The first two weekends of the month were filled with parties!) I spent a lot of that intervening month going through boxes. Because the house was fully furnished when we moved in, most of our things had stayed in the attic. I went through everything we owned looking for things to get rid of. I found a ton! We have learned a lot about living simply in the last few years, and it shows. I was surprised by how many times I thought "Why do we have this?". Once I was satisfied, we moved everything to the front porch, and asked the VVA folks to come pick it up.

The work in progress filling the dining room, and later on the porch: ready to go away

Shane booked the pick-up online Sunday night, and they came by Monday while we were at work. The way all that stuff disappeared seemed like magic! Still, some of my childhood things were hard to get rid of. I took pictures to remember them by, and tried to keep in mind how I felt at the end of Toy Story 3.

When moving day came, we had tons of help! YAY FRIENDS!! Matt and Brandi (and Elie) and Al helped us load the truck. Neil helped us unload, and Beth helped with everything. I didn't think we'd be able to get it all done on the first day, but we did! When we took Neil and Beth to dinner, we discovered a fantastic Indian restaurant just down the road. The next day, we had still more amazing people who wanted to help us. Jenn and Derek assembled our Ikea bed and wardrobe (and more). Kira washed most of our dishes and then helped us drop off the truck and run to the grocery store. After the weekend was over, we felt super tired and very well loved.

The living room: still too much stuff, and the Ikea parts and wardrobe manual.
(I found them days later. The incredible Jenn and Derek flew without a net!)
The wardrobe name is appropriate because that's what assembly makes you feel like: a DOMB├ůS.

I can't wait to show you how the place looks when we're done putting it together! We're mostly there now. I cleared out the last of the boxes a few weeks ago, and spent a good deal of my Thanksgiving weekend hanging things on walls. I even put up the Christmas tree! I think the apartment is really starting to feel like it's ours. That really means a lot to me. It's a feeling I've been chasing for a long time now.

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