5

Unpacking and Unboxing

Thanks for all your kind words, friends of the blogosphere; I woke up at 6:00 yesterday morning in Itasca, got through airport security in 45 minutes – record time at O’Hare – thanks to being put in the priority boarding lane, and was dozing in my bed in Madison at 10:30 AM. After a brief lie-down, I remembered that I had to a) unpack, and b) get the mail.

Doing option B first, I went to the mailboxes to discover it overflowing, mostly with bills and junk mail, but also my cousin’s bat mitzvah invitation and my APO Life Member pin. Then, in the package room, a whopping six packages, which I opened in my living room while FaceTime-ing with my dad. Almost like one of those weird unboxing videos on YouTube. Anyway, my haul:

  • My APO Life Membership Certificate
  • A copy of the latest Ecumenica with my article in it
  • Three books (two for class, one as a gift)
  • Most excitingly…my German passport!

So it’s official: I’m published again, a Life Member, and a German, all in the same day.

Then, for the unpacking portion of the evening…

Suffice it to say that after laundering all my trip laundry, I was faced with the task of unpacking. Basically, that meant dumping everything out of my suitcase and onto the floor where it is and will be until I can sort it out.

Let’s see what I picked up along the way, shall we?

  • Postcards from EVERYWHERE (Utah, Wyoming, Maryland, Quebec, PEI, and Boston)
  • Partially-used toiletries
  • Barely-read books, including one I bought in PEI
  • An Anne of Green Gables windchime (PEI)
  • A teddy bear (PEI)
  • Catalogues and a program book (ATHE)
  • Business cards (ATHE)
  • A Canadian flag (PEI)
  • Maps of everywhere
  • Receipts
  • Pens and pencils
  • Miscellaneous pieces of garbage

That’s all folks.

3

Move-In-Ception

Ah, the joys of moving. A shiny, clean apartment that you get to mess up with boxes and bags of stuff, only to clean it up again. In order to set yourself a new schedule, you have to mess up your schedule and your routine, running out to replace things and spending excess money on things just because you need them now. The worst part of all that is you probably had those items before the move, and then they got tossed in a box that you can’t locate or, in fact, tossed in the trash.

I’ve been here in Madison for just over a week. The day I made my last post, we were planning on stopping at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, until our trip came to a grinding halt somewhere between the towns of Adair and Casey, about halfway between Omaha and Des Moines. A blown tire caused a full-blown meltdown from my dad, but for some reason, I wasn’t too bothered by it – it was just a tire, something easily fixable. Also, we were able to safely pull off the highway and into a rest stop which had water, vending machines, and bathrooms. Neither of us got hurt, and we had a car full of food and clothing. That, and the fact that there were three geocaches in the immediate area. After the first hour with no tow truck, I started to get a little worried, especially with my paranoid father lamenting the fact that it was Sunday, and we might have to sleep in the car if we couldn’t get a tow. Fortunately, we got the call that they located a tow in nearby Atlantic and two hours or so after the incident, we were in the back seat of a tow truck on our way to Des Moines, where we got four new tires, even though I had just replaced the tires about two years prior. It was quite a boring hour, but once back on the road, Dad decided that we would get into Madison that night rather than spend another night on the road in Iowa. I was secretly happy, as it meant that I got to see my new apartment. But that happiness faded rather quickly when we got in at 9:45 that night and I realized I had to sleep on the hard wood floor. Ouch.

The apartment is actually a little bigger than we remembered, and it got the Mom seal-of-approval when she arrived a few days later. In terms of furniture, for the second night, I borrowed some chairs, a table, and a teeny, mildly uncomfortable mattress from some storage area downstairs. Coupled with my Target chair and the last of Mimi’s tables (I gave the rest to Najeeb, who lived two floors up from me in Houston), it’s an odd agglomeration of stuff. All my clothes are here, but I’m a few hangers short.  The bathroom is pretty much stocked, except paper goods and some shampoo/conditioner we bought here. The second bedroom is pretty much empty, though currently my clothes are drying in a pile on the floor because the dryers here kind of suck. All my stuffed animals are hanging out with some spare linens in the closet. My living room is a few piles of papers and crap, my winter coat (again, no hanger for it), and a few things lying around like pens and water bottles and my master’s diploma. Whoops. At least the massive amounts of trash and recycling left today, courtesy of me (no trash removal service here). The kitchen is probably the area that’s the most set up, with toaster oven, microwave, can opener, and general kitchen supplies. I bought new dishes yesterday at Kohl’s. All my mugs and glasses survived this move (generally, I lose at least one) and much to my mother’s relief, Mimi’s wine goblets, as well as her wooden salad bowl and tongs, and all her cutlery. The counter space, what little there is, is occupied by appliances, random stuff like cereal and room spray, and this laptop, which was previously in the corner near the router where I sat on the floor using it, not realizing that the ethernet cable was actually quite long, so now I’m in a chair in front of the dishwasher. Behind me are some cabinets with food and supplies and a disgusting little drop-leaf table that is stacked with – you guessed it – more random papers and crap. And some books, three of which I bought at a used bookstore here on State Street. The floor is currently decorated with plastic bags from Target and the stuff I bought tonight. The walls are all just about bare, except for my hamsah that Neta gave me, which I like for some odd reason.

The building itself is pretty nice, if not hot, with fans in each room not really doing the trick. The lake is gorgeous, but I could do with less music and singing from the sorority girls next door. I have cable included (but the TV is with the movers), and cable internet access, although I get my wireless router tomorrow. I’ll probably feel more at home once the furniture arrives, which I thought (or at least hoped) would be this week, until I got the call this morning that it’ll be here Sunday, meaning I have to endure another six days of camping out in a sleeping bag atop a mattress. There is a gym in the building, but the equipment’s not great and some of it was very dirty, so I think that until it gets too cold to walk outside after a shower, I’ll probably just go to the campus gym.

I just went to the Super Target in Verona, where I got about $150 worth of stuff, some which I already know I’ll be returning. I found everything on my list except for matches. Why would a Super Target, which carries literally EVERYTHING, not have a single box of matches?There’s not much storage room left in the kitchen area, although there’s a weird little closet with little shelves by the front door that I haven’t a clue what to do with, so for now it’s got a box of DVDs and my new Chefmate dish set and kitchen utensil set, still in their boxes.

In the past week, I’ve been trying hard to make this place my home, but with my furniture and 14 boxes of books and other supplies, I feel like I’m just squatting in a big cardboard box in the sky. The previous occupants left a microwave oven, which was nice, but then…no food to cook in it. So, we get some food…but there’s no dishes to put the food in. Also, no tongs or oven mitts (though I think I stuck a potholder or two in a box somewhere). It’s a continual game of dog-chases-tail, just kind of spinning in circles until I pass a certain point of progress that will make it feel like a home. Probably when my furniture decides to show up.