(Really) Real Estate

In March 2010, when I was 26 years old, I bought a house. It seems like such a bonkers decision to me now, but at the time, it made perfect sense. I wanted to move out of my apartment, and I was pleasantly surprised to find I could afford a house for not much more than my rent. (Oh, Springfield! God bless your reasonable cost of living!) I had a good job that was not far away. I had a serious boyfriend, and we had made plans.

photo (8)A lot of things have changed since then, as they do. I moved into my current place last summer, but I didn’t find any takers for my lovely little house. So here we are four years after I bought it, and I’m more than ready to be rid of the mortgage and memory-baggage associated with 2502 N. Campbell.

Summer’s supposed to be prime house-selling time, so for two more months, I’m trying one final push before I resort to renting.

It really is a great little house.

I could tell you all sorts of things that were wonderful about the time I lived there. Owning a home, MY home, by myself, as a single gal. Nothing like it! It’s the big things like painting the walls or throwing parties, and the small things like the little cat door leading to the laundry room or the left-hand doorknob that turned the wrong way and always, always confused people.

pianoI could tell you about the Ozarks springtime tornado warnings, huddled with my cat in her Pet Taxi, while KY3 newscasters told me what to make of the ever-greening sky. The particular bad-weather nervousness that I only felt inside the home that I owned. 

Or the 30 Rock finale party, where one of my lovely friends actually made Cheesy Blasters (thanks Meat Cat!), following the sing-song instructions: You take a hot dog, stuff it with some jack cheese, fold it in a pizza: And you’ve got Cheesy Blasters! They were wonderful. And awful.

The singularly grown-up thrill of purchasing my own absurdly expensive washer and dryer that looked like outer-space machines.

All that was worthwhile. But there are plenty of memories I’d be content to move away from and permanently close the door. It feels melodramatic but it’s also just true: I can’t help but associate the house with the relationships that ended when I lived there. (Counting only official, capital-R “relationships” that ended: There were three.) R.I.P. R.I.P. R.I.P.

The moments of overwhelming sadness while I was moving (brief, but unpleasant) took me by surprise. While boxing up my life there, I opened up forgotten feelings.

photo (5)Like that first “I love you,” after the first time “we” had people over. Or was it before? Couldn’t tell you for sure. But I could tell you where I was standing (at the sink), what he was wearing (a light blue sweater), how he acted (gravely serious) and how I felt (caught off guard).

Or, with that other person, who expressed his feelings in different, while still meaningful, terms when he told me: “I need you to know I’m about to poop in your house for the first time.” (A significant moment in the life of any couple, we can all agree.)

Or with this other one, as we sat across from each other on my bed, exhausted and numb from one-too-many last straws. When he said, “I just want you to be nice to me.” And I said, and meant, “I don’t want to.” (You’ve seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, yes?)

Criminy.

So you should buy my house, is what I’m saying. You seem like the sort of person who’s ready to make some new memories of your own.

Did I mention the kitchen cabinets?
And the spacious backyard?

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F is for Family Resemblance

My mom is 32 years older than I am…always has been. It’s a fact. So it makes sense that we aren’t always on the same page about things. Lately we’ve disagreed about church attendance and appropriate levels of dating anxiety, just for example. But tonight at HyVee (and you guys, just to add to the collective goodwill in Springfield toward this grocery store: it is the shit. [ps Mom wouldn’t enjoy me saying “the shit.” Sorry, FLJ.]), I caught a glimpse of one way in which we are 100% alike.

We met at HyVee after work for some shiny new salad bar. This was Mom’s first venture to The Store. After we ate, we explored the aisles and walked away with some treasures (most notably: Nut Thins. THEY HAVE BBQ FLAVORED NUT THINS THERE. See: “the shit”). On our way out, we spy a cell phone in the parking lot. For a minute or two we plot what to do: leave it there in case they come back? place it on top of the car it’s next to? take it inside?

One thing I know for sure: many of my RA-friendly tendencies came from my mother:
The craftiness and impulse to make things for others.
The good-kid social butterfly-ness.
The impulse to help people, even when I don’t have to.

Those instincts came into play for both of us tonight, and we walked the phone back inside to the customer service desk. And wouldn’t you know it…there’s a lady there (older, a bit scattered, and, if the aforementioned car was actually hers, a bit of a hoarder) looking for her phone. The HyVee guy behind the counter makes the connection, and Mom and I—much like an overly-enthusastic Kristen Wiig character farce—go, in unison, “YAAAAAY!” Just as excited as we can be. In the front of HyVee. Not an ounce of shame.

(In our defense, it’s rare to so immediately experience the happy ending to a random act of kindness. And also we’re weirdos.)

This, I owe to you, dearest mother. Some of my favorite parts of myself: the part that returns the cell phone, and the part that isn’t afraid to say, “YAY!”

A Running List

Tonight I went on my first long run in a long time. It’s one of the best things I do for myself. Here are just a few reasons why:

→ I get to feel like I’m in my own movie montage, the kind where the main character is Getting Her Shit Together. You know, high energy girl-power tunes blare as she burns photos, gets a haircut, and takes up fitness anew.

→ It’s how I meditate. Heard a Buddhist nun speak on campus a few weeks ago, and she said one of the main benefits of meditation is getting the mind and the body on the same page. So often our mind is anywhere else except where we are at that moment, but we find peace when mind & body can exist at the same place and time. (It sounds super fu-fu, but think about it. How many times does your mind wander during the day? Wouldn’t it be nice to have it learn to sit still?) Meditation is syncing your mind & body in stillness, and running is meditation in motion for me. My legs are moving my body forward, and so my mind moves forward as well.

→ I stumble upon questions like: “gee, I wonder where that Corona bottle / discarded Plan B pack / stuffed animal ended up on Kearney Street?” Life is just full of fun little mysteries.

→ I sweat to lyrics like these, and in doing so, shed some toxic emotions:

I’ve got the world in my hands, a master plan, but I don’t know why I keep callin’ why I keep callin’ yoooou… (Kanye)

Give me something to believe in, ’cause I don’t believe in you anymore, anymo-o-ore… (Maroon 5)

You triflin’ goodfornuthintypeofbrotha, silly me whyhaventIfoundanotha?… (The Warblers, BeyoncĂ©)

It seems that good “oh, uh-uh, no you did NOT!” songs like to repeat, drag out and/or truncate words (a practice which Wikipedia tells me is called “G-dropping” or, more accurately, G-droppin’. How gangsta is that!). And even if you aren’t feeling the exact sentiment of these lyrics toward any person in particular, there’s still something highly satisfying about them.
Society allows you a little self-indulgent vengefulness when your heart is broken. It’s one of those unwritten social loopholes, like pregnant ladies farting in public or elderly racists.

No matter where we fall on the relationship status scale, (from [I’m so Happy & in Love!] to [Please, point me towards the nearest bridge, so that I may jump or set it afire.]), I think we all secretly hope to someday have the chance to Beyonce someone (to the left, to the left), and we hope in that moment to find the most perfect and absurdly hurtful thing to say.
And then we get to walk away in slow motion, with bouncy hair and Michael-Bay-approved gritty lighting (and, if appropriate, explosions in the background).

That's right, go ahead and get gone.

Life’s not like that, of course. And I don’t really want it to be. But it can be for a little while, in my imagination at least, when I run.