“I’m glad she made that trip.”

I’m in the Lone Star state.  Three cheers for arriving safe and sound.  I’m the girl in the teeeeeny-tiny Toyota amid all of the giant trucks, with the oversized aviators on.  (Texas really is big sky country.  It’s ridiculously bright, all the time, because it’s so open and flat on the highways.)

You know you’ve spent too much time with your parents when you suggest –and prefer– that they go off to Borders so that you can watch the Jersey Shore guys sing “T-shirt Time!” while you blog on the floor of your unfurnished apartment.

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that I have no furniture?

Or clothes, kitchen supplies, or general necessities for living?

OK, I have some pajamas, minimal electronics, make-up, and a duffel of mismatched athletic wear.  And a pair of I-Passed-the-Bar knee-high brown leather boots.  They’re pretty fabulous but they don’t quite class-up the athletic wear; trust me.

My things were sent packing in a moving truck paid courtesy of my firm.  (Thanks!)  That was on the 22nd of December.  I was assured that my things would arrive in a timely fashion — potentially before we did, in fact — and accordingly set up a reserve delivery date in case that happened.

That day was yesterday.

The specifics concerning how this happened aren’t all that interesting, but suffice it to say that instead of setting up the apartment or opening boxes, we’ve spent a great deal of time puttering around and doing what can only be described as camping out.

It’s all supposed to arrive late next week.  (Sigh.)

I made a trip to the outlet mall to pick up some things in case I have to start work sans clothing — and everything else — but I’m hoping that doesn’t happen.  It was also a great excuse to drop a lot of money on sequined business wear, my new favorite trend.

Special thanks to B, who brought me over my old comforter and some necessities.  (“A knife?”  “How else are you gonna get the boxes open?”  “Ohhhhhhh!”)

The car ride was generally good.  Not a lot of traffic, and overnight stops in Tennessee and on the Texas-Arkansas border were pretty pleasant.  (Kennedy Center Honors in a comfy bed with some hotel tea?  Don’t mind if I do!)

Notable stops?  Graceland — the former home of Elvis — carefully disguised as a very large house behind a brick fence in the middle of a crumbling, dilapidated street in a forgotten corner of Memphis.  This is a nice, wordy way of saying that the street is really, reeeeeally sketchy, and there’s no way that it looks even remotely similar to what it must have looked like in its heyday.  There’s even a fenced-in pile of rubble with a broken sign that looks like it was laid to rest long ago atop the pile that says “Graceland Hotel” to drive the point home.

The tour down Elvis Presley Blvd. begins with some rag-tag street signs missing a few key letters, followed by a strange trip down a deserted street that’s lined with Elvis’s airplanes parked curiously close to the road, and is topped off by a little side street in front of the main house that’s only purpose seems to be shielding the gawkers unwilling to pay the $31 entrance fee ($31!!?) — namely, us —  from real traffic, as they drive slowly and scan the property without fear of being rear-ended.  (Fear of being robbed — no such buffer.)

The house also had what can only be described as a shit-ton (I love this word; forgive me) of Christmas decorations that looked pulled straight out of the 70’s.

Conversation between me and my father:

“Do you think Elvis put those up?”  “When, like 30 years ago?”  “No, like last week.  Of course 30 years ago.”

Mom:  “Well I don’t think he put them up this time.”

Thanks, Mom.

The Clinton Presidential Library was markedly better.  I am a big fan of the Clintons for many reasons I’d be happy to tell you about in some other post.  The library being on our route was a nice coincidence; Little Rock is so tucked away (read: remote) that I’m not sure anyone would ever venture to it unless truly Clinton-obsessed, or by long roadtrip.  (We worried at points if we should fill up the car for fear that no gas stations would be around for hours…)

The library complex is well-planned; its entrance is practically next to the incoming highway, and the volunteer staff is bursting with southern charm.  (“Weeelllllcome to the Clin-ton Pres-e-deeential Lie-brary!  Your first stop over  to mah right is seee-cur-i-ty.  Thaank yew for comin to see us!”)  I had a conversation with one security guard that started with him telling me about Clinton’s last visit to the library (“He’s real personable.  They had a party for us volunteers and he came and gave a nice speech and thanked all of us.  I just opened the door for him and he shook my hand and asked my name.  Nice guy.  That kind of thing must get really tiring.”) and ended with him giving me his barstool so that I could take a better picture.  (Thank yeeeeww!)

Most interesting?  The interactive screen with the official schedule for each day Clinton was President.  I punched in a few days I thought might have curious items on them — inaugurations, holidays — but couldn’t recall any of the days that might be truly fascinating — the impeachment, namely — and mostly poked around.

Off days — usually Sundays — were mostly Jog – tba.  Golf – tba.  Other days were planned to the minute.  11:55: THE PRESIDENT (always capitalized) walks from entrance of hall directly to front table.  Do not work tables.

I imagine all the good stuff is redacted, anyhow.  (Or listed as Golf – tba?)  Notable displays include Hillary’s Grammy for It Takes a Village, and some personal correspondence — one with Elton John’s home address and phone number scrawled across the top — definitely by some staffer charged with finding this info — which my mother found particularly amusing.

Truly, I’m a little disappointed if that’s truly the real Grammy and not a duplicate.  It’s…a… GRAMMY!  GRAMMY!  I know you’re the Secretary of State, and your husband was leader of the free world, but THAT’S YOUR GRAMMY!  (“When you won the state speech tournament, they gave [your coach] a duplicate plaque.  Don’t you think there’s like 8 of those things somewhere?”)

Thanks, Mom.

The gift shop is also curiously detached from the library itself; one has to take a large golf cart-like car (with zip-up sides!) to the very (very!) quaint shop a block away.

And by quaint, I mean red brick, awning, and adorable.

I wondered if it was seperate because:

1. Gift shops can be construed as tacky?  But this one isn’t, not at all.  Flower planters and rocking chairs outside, adorable souvenirs with a healthy mix of charitable memorabilia and art pieces inside.  And y’know what’s never tacky?  Revenue.  The VATICAN has an attached gift shop.

2.  Maybe they just wanted you to ride in the little cart, which is driven by a friendly older gentleman who makes pleasant, yet enlightened conversation with his passengers.  (Did I mention that he also wears an adorable little conductor’s hat?)  It’s situated across from some cute little restaurants, just far enough into downtown that it might cause you to venture around — perhaps another reason it’s there.  As far as fare goes,  I recommend The Flying Fish — a little local joint with colored Christmas lights, greasy catfish and buckets of tartar sauce.  Mmmmm, tartar sauce.

I came home with a poster that reads “Let’s Party like it’s 1992!,” a stuffed donkey with a t-shirt that reads “I miss Bill” (blue, of course, though they had red ones), and my very favorite magnets ever: one of a law school Bill and Hillary (who is, btw, clearly carrying a stack of law books — one with the red covers and black band that any of us would recognize), and another, an early photo of the Kennedy family.

They are the only items decorating my apartment at the moment, which is quite funny.

Though I didn’t fill out a comment card — despite the urging of the staff — I would have liked to have seen a lot more about the Clintons as people.  As children, some blurb or display about the President at Oxford or Georgetown, as Governor, little things like that.  The place has a definite “head of state” vibe (recreations of the oval office, etc.), and a random sprinkling of personal items that weren’t quite personal enough. ( Example: saxophones that had never been played; not that anyone would have noticed.  My mother, a band teacher by trade, gawked and said with a bit of condescension “don’t these people know that he didn’t play the alto sax?  These are all altos.  And this one is nickel plated.  Nickel plated!  That’s amazing!  But you know it’s never been played because the acid in your hands would have left marks…”)

Oh, Mom.

At any rate, it was an excellent time.

And Mom has just returned from Borders.

She brings with her a calendar of 365 Lawyer Jokes (thanks?) and a hot chocolate (thanks!).

And it’s back to camping.

Think Inside the Box.

Today, I turned everything I own into something that looks a little like this:

This is just one room.  The kitchen and family room look nearly identical to this one.

Oh yeah.  All my clothes are in the kitchen.  I’m sitting at our table eating some rice and staring at all of my suits.  It’s odd.

Moving is something I’m accustomed to, as are most grad and post-grad folks.  When filling out my respective bar applications, I had to list each place I’d lived during the last 10 years.  It took days to track everything down, and necessitated a thorough search of my undergrad’s Res Life website, as well as a call to my grandmother so that she could read me the items she’d crossed out in her rolodex.

While I’m not always sure exactly where I … or my stuff… have been, the actual moving also presents a lot of questions.

Do I really need a red feather boa? (Yes.)

Mardi-gras beads?  (No.)

8 pairs of pants I can’t fit into anymore?  (Mixed verdict.)

A George Foreman Grill? (Yes.  This is why those pants don’t fit.)

Deciding what to take has always been a battle.  You don’t want to over-pack, but the realization that you will be leaving and, for the first time, hardly ever coming back, hits hard.  And makes you throw a healthy amount of unnecessary trinkets into the boxes.

I knew today that I was moving for good when I packed away a scrapbook or two.  They’ve never made their way into the boxes; they are the sort of thing I take out when I am at home, on vacation, and feeling nostalgic.

My nostalgia won’t intersect with my parents’ home for quite some time.  The cost, distance, lack of vacation, and most importantly the workload will keep me away more than I’d like.

The boxes don’t really bother me; they’re a staple in my life.  Eating all of the perishables is also old-hat.

But when a friend calls, and invites you to her birthday dinner two plus weeks away, and you remind her that you won’t live here…

And when your speech kids say with enthusiasm, “but you’ll be here for districts, right?  State, right?” and then you have to tell them that no, you won’t be back…

…even though you’d choose watching them raise their arms and voices in victory over most anything…

you realize that not only is your stuff in those boxes,

but your life is, too.

Get it while it’s hot, folks.  Curtain closes on the 27th.

If I Had $1,000,000…

Sorry for the hiatus.  In all of my searching for things to do (and the accompanying vow to write about them), I managed to find too many things to do.  I re-joined the church choir I loved so much in high school.  I’ve been spending a lot (a LOT) of time with the speech team.  I spend a lot of time with my Grandmother.  I make donation trips to Goodwill like it’s my job.  (Goodbye, college/law school dishes!  You were always too heavy, but it’s been nice getting to know you.  Goodbye, best-but-ugliest-toaster-ever!  Someone will take you home, love you, and you shall make them perfectly browned english muffins!)  I’m meticulously picking out good gifts this year to make up for my usual last-minute ones (you like pajama pants, riiiight?  I’ll …get you some of those!  At the sale!  After Christmas!).  Apologies go out to my sister, a great gift-giver.

I’m also continuously shopping for furniture that one can bear to both sit on AND look at — this is much more difficult than it sounds.

(OK, maaaaaybe I’m also watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother when I should be writing, but Neil Patrick Harris makes my life. LEGEND — wait for it…)

One of my favorite people, B, loves HIMYM.  One evening, in an attempt to get me to watch it, he beamed and said “it’s a group of good friends doing fun things, trying to make it in life.”  (Luckily, B is a lawyer and not a salesman.)

If you watch the show, you know that NPH’s character Barney often tells folks to “SUIT UP!”  Men, women, children; it makes no difference.  “Suit up” is the universal request for readiness for the night ahead.  For ridiculousness.  For life.

I told one of my speech girls to “suit up” this week.

I’ve been coaching for a few months now, and I’m happy that I’ve developed enough rapport with them to do the things I used to do as a competitor.  (And to tell them to SUIT UP!)

One memorable speech tradition is the monkey.  It’s a mid-sized, stuffed toy officially named “Congo” (according to its tag), but it’s always just been… the monkey.

The speech monkey, that is.

The monkey was given to me by my good friend S as a gift before a high school theater production.  After deciding that it was good luck (and because we really dug that song “If I Had a Million Dollars,” in which the Barenaked Ladies promise to “buy you a monkey… haven’t you always wanted a monkey?”), it made the trip from tournament to tournament in my bag.

After a while, it became a thing of sorts to rub the monkey for good luck.  To take pictures with the monkey.  To do inappropriate things with the poor stuffed creature behind my back.

There is a picture of the monkey at my 16th Birthday holding a $50 bill, some lottery tickets, and a first place trophy (not my own; I wasn’t that lucky that year).

Taken that same day, one of our friend M jokingly trying to light the monkey on fire.

Another of my speech coach holding the monkey.

One of a piece of paper unknowingly attached to that coach’s backside.  …The paper of course bears a photo copy of the aforementioned picture of the speech coach holding the monkey.  Kind of like the Colbert portrait where Colbert’s portrait is in the background.  And so on… and so on…

There’s also one where one of our more colorful friends licks the monkey.  (I think there’s supposed to be some joke that I write here about licking a monkey; you can just fill that in yourselves.)

On my “good luck” notecard before the national qualifying tournament, my coach wrote only one line:

“Uh… would ya like to buy a monkey?”

(It’s apparently some sort of Letterman reference.)

By the end of my four years on the team, I’d amassed an entire album of pictures of team members with the monkey.

So as I packed my bag for the tournament last weekend, I grabbed my stuffed good luck charm and threw him in my bag.  Instead of oatmeal pies and scratch pads, I now carry binders and stopwatches.  But I thought that maybe, just maybe, they’d take a liking to that damn monkey.

I showed the team my album of pictures, and tossed the monkey to a student.  It made its way around the cafeteria table in much the same way it had before.

Monkey on the head.

Monkey-as-baby.

Soon after, I had a new batch of pictures.  And while the faces are different, all of the important things are the same.  The pictures all tell the same story.

It’s a group of good friends doing fun things, trying to make it in life.

SUIT UP!

“I don’t keep up with the Joneses, I am the Joneses.”

I’m always amused by what’s on television during the holidays.  On nights like tonight, there’s always a mix of family-friendly selections; things that everyone will watch begridgingly, but no one would ordinarily choose for him or herself.  If you’ve watched television at any point in the last year, you’ve seen the offerings about a million times.

If you’re been unemployed and own a DVR, it’s closer to two million.  And one.

Not that we know anyone like that…

Tonight’s rejected selections:

The Thanksgiving Play episode of Everybody Loves Raymond:  Family banter ensues.   Mother-in-law joke.  (Repeat.)

Khloe Kardashian marries Lamar Odom.  Kourtney looks better preggers than most of us do in real life.  (Mason is now nearly a year old.)  Khloe’s gigantic rock of a ring continues to blind me.  (She’s now lost it once already.  That we know of.)  Kim says “Reggie” 14 times.  (Some things never change.)

Larry King, with guest Jack Hanna:  Even I couldn’t watch this one.

So what did our household end up watching as we set up the Christmas tree?

The Real Housewives.

Thanks to a rare evening when the whole family is in one room, and my taste for all that is Bravo, my parents are now familiar with, and fascinated by the whole spectacle.  So while your house might have had Christmas songs and egg nog, we had margaritas and mudslides (“You two are going out to buy LIQUOR!?  You drink LIQUOR?! Take your FATHER.  THERE COULD BE …DRUNKS OUT THERE!  YES, at the grocery store!”) and I got to hear this:

Q: “Is that woman wearing a wig?”   A:  (Of course she is!)

“That woman is a LAWYER?”  (Thanks.)

“Do any of these women work for a living?”   (They’re on this show?  Does that count?)

“I thought Kelsey Grammar was divorced?” (He is.  But not here.  No, Mom, it’s a really long story.  That’s his ex-wife.  Wife.  SHE’S HIS WIFE ON THE SHOW BUT NOW THEY’RE DIVORCED!  I don’t know what happened, Mom!  NO THEY DONT SHOW THAT!)

“Does this women really think she can sing?  I mean this is fake, right?  It’s all fake?”

Mom is just a little Tardy for the Party, you could say.  And that’s just fine.  In fact, that’s just about right.  I’m not sure what I’d do if Mom and Dad knew these things on their own.

Cheers, everyone.  Get your ornaments out, the final trimmings on your famous fixings for tomorrow (mine have a big “DO NOT EAT!” sticker affixed to the top), and don’t forget to wake up for the parade (my fav!).

…Oh…

…and watch out for the grocery store.

There’s always free cheese in a mousetrap.

Edit: These aren’t posted in real time; my apologies.  I wrote and collected some blogs while traveling last week, and didn’t want to post them all at once.  That’s another way of saying “I didn’t want to pay for airport wifi.”

My travels took me to a number of cities this week.  Here’s the quick and dirty:

Parma:  This is what you’d expect from the name. Of course, on our chosen day, the national arts counsel closed a number of art museums in an attempt to emphasize what would happen if its funding continued to be abysmal.  Other cities managed to keep attractions open, but threw black sheets over a number of exhibits.  (Presumably the good ones?  Exhibits, that is.)

Is it worse to get into the museum and find everything covered in sheets, or not get into the museum at all?  Hmmm…

So what did we do?  We ate cheese.  Lots of it.  With honey, with balsamic reduction, with lemon pineapple chutney. Bestfriend insisted that the latter smelled and tasted like Pine Sol.  I don’t dispute that.  We had chunks of cheese, slices of cheese, we sucked soft, warm cheese off of the rind.  We ate the entire antipasto dish likely intended for tables for 4.

Whoopsies.

Rimini:  So… we missed our connection and ended up here.  It was all a bit unclear how this happened (as things tend to be in Italy).  Nowhere on the ticket did it alert us to a train change, and nowhere on the journey was any announcement made to the effect of: “we know you don’t want to go to Rimini…as no one wants to go to Rimini in November… so you should probably exit riiight about… now.”  The ticket booths usually warn you of this; maybe we missed it?  Once we realized that we were an hour past our intended exchange, we hopped off and decided to make the best of it.

Rimini is a small beach town, akin to Sanibel, Florida or a more eclectic Virginia Beach.  It has quaint little 50’s changing stalls and seaside restaurants, and the town itself is mostly filled with hotels.  What isn’t a hotel or a resort is a coffee shop, costume jewelry shop, or beautiful apartment building (Maybe they’re condos?  Vacation houses?  It’s unclear.)

We walked along the mostly deserted route to the beach until we found a suitable coffee shop.  This one has made my list of favorites because it offers free service (one must pay to sit down in such places on occasion), larger glasses, and brightly imprinted multicolored packets of sugar.

I did not take one in every color and put each gently in my purse.  They are not in my bookbag en route to the US of A.

Venice:  Tourist town.  Smells like Sea World.  I am convinced that there are no Italian families that live in Venice; it’s just a giant, real-world Disney Land.  Most of the proprietors speak English.  All of the shops sell the same tacky Venetian masks and fake Murano glass.  It’s all stamped “extra EU,” which means it was made outside of the EU.  I finally piped up and asked about the origin of a piece I was ready to buy.

Made in…

America.

I had to put it down.  There was something terribly tacky and inefficient about my buying an American product in Venice only to bring it back.

The city itself is stunning; it’s generally picturesque at every turn.  Long canals with gondoliers dressed the part, narrow paths that masquerade as streets, and beautiful views of the water all around.  Bread shaped like, you guessed it, fish.

We opted to eat lunch at a small, local place off the beaten path.  While the menus were written in too many languages to be a true “local” joint, the tables were wooden and creaky, the jars on the shelves were just the right amount of new and used, and it tasted relatively good.  It loses marks for its lack of toilet paper and workable locks on the bathroom stall.

Bestfriend has a friend, P, who has a “traveling triumvirate.”

Toilet paper.  Soap.  Working water.

It is surprisingly rare how often one finds a place missing one or all of these things.

…Maybe they should put a black sheet over all of the toilets.

I’m sure he just forgot your hut number! Or was eaten by a lion!

I suppose you know it’s been a successful vacation when your blog mistress hasn’t written since the first week of her adventure.

Allow me to rejoin your world.

I’m coming at you from the Bologna airport, where I am waiting for my flight to London.  Another quiet, industrial building with large aisles.

My time in the airport was spent with an Italian man named Lucca, a quiet, well-dressed man in his thirties who, at first glance, looks like Charlotte’s second husband Harry on Sex and the City.

Upon hearing me speak English, he asked if I was from the United States.  He seemed friendly and harmless, and so when he took a seat next to me in the waiting area, I wasn’t as taken aback as I would have otherwise been.

Italian men are both attractive and pleasant.  It’s nothing like what I expected, which was… well…

Unfit to print.

He tells me that he has been learning to speak English for 4 months, now.  We trade stories about the difficulties of our respective languages (I have trouble with verb endings; he never remembers to use the word “it,” which doesn’t exist in Italian.  Things simply are.  Or is.  It doesn’t mean a thing (…if you ain’t got that swing… do-a-do-a-do-a-do-a-do-a-do-a….).  He says that he also has trouble “when two words together can mean something different than they mean apart, and so I have to make sure not to pause too much or I make no sense.”

Like “Watch Out!”

…I’d never thought of that.

He tells me that he thinks I am “oh so very lucky.”  When asked why, he says that I grew up speaking English, “the most important language in the world.”  I tell him that I am embarrassed that most Americans grow up only speaking that seemingly important language, and little else.  He tells me that he is also learning to speak German.  “It is so close, you know.  And the Germans, they speak excellent English.”

He tells me that Italy is a wonderful country and that he is proud to be Italian, save the politics (“the mafia,” he says a bit loudly “is everywhere!”)  I chuckle, thinking of my hometown and how it too was run by the Italian mafia.

I keep this to myself.

He asks what I liked about my trip. I speak slowly and with short phrases.

“In Italy, everyone makes time for things.  For lunch, for family.  In America, your time belongs to your work.  To your job.  It does not matter if you have a family.  The people who work in shops do not get time during the day for lunch like they do here. I eat my lunch at my desk.  I run errands during my free time.  There is not a certain time you must do things.  Everything is open all of the time, but it means that you must be responsible for everything, to everything, all of the time.”

If you don’t know already, most shops in Italy are closed during the afternoon.  Moreover, most eateries don’t open up until very specified times that are the universal lunch & dinner hours.  Not only was I always hungry at the wrong time, but I tried to go to a certain shop on 4 separate occasions, and I found it closed each and every time.   Ah, it’s 2pm.  Ah, it’s too late.  Ah, it’s lunchtime.  Ah, it’s Thursday.  (…THURSDAY!)  I resolved that it was a sign that I didn’t need to buy anything at the awful euro to dollar exchange rate.

A joke often repeated on my trip to bestfriend:  “Remember that time Italy was closed?”

Frequent Question:  “When do people buy things over here?  How does anyone expect to make any money?”  Quaint answer: They don’t.

This life/work response was also what I told bestfriend’s roommate, who also speaks a bit of English.  She has a thick, southern Italian accent, but knows a number of English phrases, which made her speech much more authentic.  “I love Sex and the City!” she tells me. (Imagine her sounding like this, though: “Zye louve Zex and Za Cittee!”)

Yes, Ludavica.  We love it too.

As an aside, Ludavica tells me that in Italy, “He’s Just Not That Into You” is called “He Does Not Like You.”

Ha!

(“I do not know whyeee zee American men no want to marry.  Een Italy, zee men marry no problem!  Someone to cook, andz clean, zey wan zat!”)  I follow by telling her that in America, men have learned to cook and clean and that they would rather watch American football than marry. She laughs loudly, and I laugh loudly. She seems to understand what I’m getting at.

My airport friend tells me that he thinks family is important, and that he lives in a flat above his sister.  Who lives in a flat above his parents.  Lucca has a girlfriend, who he will marry next May.  They want to honeymoon in America, but are concerned that two weeks is not enough time to travel everywhere they want to see.  He likes Massachusetts and the east coast.  He’d like to see San Francisco.  I tell him that there are lots of wonderful things to see within driving distance of the east coast.  DC.  New York.  Chicago.  I realize that they are sort of similar.

He also needs a new passport with a magnetic strip, which, apparently, we require, now.  “For the 2001.  For the security.”

He pauses and says that he does “not understand why people would want to hurt others.  To leave their families. Everyone has problems, but you must work them out.”  As an American, I seem to be the target of much sympathy with regard to September 11th, particularly in airports.

“I leave to go get newspaper, I leave bag.  I will be back.  There are no explosives in there or anyzing!”

He tells me that he is thankful for the Italian way of life.

“In May,” he says, “I will live with my wife and be very happy.”

I guess he hasn’t seen “He Doesn’t Like You.”

“Everyday Use. Guest. Fancy Guest.”

Bestfriend and I have taken a break from our travels and have spent the last two days desperately searching for my new abode.  I will be relocating for my job beginning in January, and finding a place promptly is essential, as the leasing process is necessarily slowed down by the fact that I can’t simply walk into the complexes and sign on the dotted line.  It is even more complicated because I haven’t seen many of the places in question.  I am relying on the wonderful and charitable B to check out the final contenders.

I spent most of yesterday convinced that I had found the industrial studio of my dreams.  My hopes were quickly dashed by Googlemap, which revealed a large highway just outside my would-be window.  Conveniently, of course, the highway is nowhere to be found in any of the official photographs.

Another set of downtown lofts were vetoed after they turned out to be in a desolate, crumbling part of downtown.  I just can’t park in an alleyway.  Can’t do it.  Not late at night, nor in heels.

Bestfriend hates that I have vetoed these locations, as my safety is secondary to style.  Or so he jokes.

After scouring everything and finding few places that are both convenient to live and convenient to commute from, I’ve whittled down the choices to two less than desirable options: Commute or Cost.

Cost:  One unit is in close proximity to work, and has a live/work mixed use development feel.  The town I’m moving to has very (VERY) little that one can walk to.  Sidewalks simply aren’t a part of the master plan, and highways are a way of life, even to the closest of destinations.  This complex is the only area in the city in which you can walk to places to eat or shop.  Having spent the last 7 years in remarkably walkable — near perfect, I might add — college towns, this is a huge draw.  It will, I am hoping, help me venture outside my apartment even after a long day.

Downside? It is painfully expensive.  It’s also missing amenities that one would expect with such a price tag.  Example: No washer/dryer.

Commute:  The apartment with everything comes with a commute I’d rather avoid after (or before) a grueling day.  With the commute comes additional costs: loss of sleep, lots of gas, and the need to exercise my poor driving skills on a regular and prolonged basis.  On the plus side, it is homey, closer to B, and comes with a washer/dryer and attached garage.

And still, I can’t make up my mind.  I’ll attribute this to the fact that neither option is palatable right now.  Neither option is what I’d hoped for, nor have already decorated in my head.

I know that it’s just an apartment, but when you’re starting your life over in a  city by yourself…

sometimes the apartment needs to float your boat.