Goodbye, Belmont Street

After much packing and back-and-forth schlepping, I thought by Sunday that I was finished with the old apartment. I had spent the weekend scrubbing it down, wearing out my sponge-wielding hand until the wrist became numb, and collecting all sorts of last-minute items that were left lying about now that the furniture was gone. When I brought over a rental car to handle what I’d guessed would be the last load, I had to extend the rental period by an hour because, of course, there was way more stuff than I’d expected. Since not all of it was in boxes, there were many trips up and down the stairs of my old building, and much playing of real-life Tetris as I wedged a miscellany of items into the tiny car.

It was the next day—yesterday—when I remembered the one thing I had left behind: that stupid bathrobe hanging on the back side of the bathroom door, hidden from my view as I passed that door with every trip in or out of the apartment. I was too pre-occupied (and maybe a little stubborn) to go back for it right away. Monday was my day of vacation from work, an expanse of time that I planned to consume by putting together my new home. I needed to situate the furniture, unpack what boxes I could, do some laundry, and go to the store for some basic household items. I did it all, and felt satisfied despite the fact that I’d forgotten (again) to eat a decent breakfast or lunch.

Today I went back to work. Afterward, I visited the old apartment one last time to retrieve the bathrobe and to slip my old keys (in an envelope) under the landlord’s office door. As I passed the mailboxes on my way upstairs, I was pleased to see a note from one of the residents asking the building’s third-floor occupants to have some respect and keep the noise down. The noisy ones were the people who lived directly above me who’d apparently decided, about a week ago, to start playing loud music and walking heavily at delicate hours of the night. I hadn’t bothered to complain because I would be leaving soon, but I wasn’t surprised to find out that somebody else had.

My ties to that building are now severed. It has taken a lot of work, but despite the busyness of the past few weeks I’ve hardly noticed a feeling of being overwhelmed. The decision to move was completely my own, and I did everything necessary to follow through on it—with no hesitation. I was fortunate that all the work didn’t have to be done in one day, and to have a crew of friends helping out with the heavy moving, but it was all orchestrated by me. Alone, I used a pickup to haul several loads of boxes to the new apartment. Alone, I brought home an IKEA kitchen cart and started assembling it; alone I realized, halfway through, that it was a piece of junk and should be returned. Then I found a nicer cart for sale on Craigslist, bought it, and carried it home without help.

Alone, I went to Budget on a Saturday morning and picked up the keys to a moving truck that was at least three times bigger than any vehicle I’d driven before. It was even bigger than the type of truck I had reserved, and I was so afraid that part of me wanted to return to the office and refuse to drive it. But I didn’t (largely because there was no viable alternative). Though I was nervous behind the wheel, I maneuvered that thing down Portland’s narrow streets without leaving anything broken in my wake. It was actually pretty fun.

I’ve done it; the hardest parts are over. I still need to pay myself back for all the costs I’ve incurred, but I might cut myself slack during the next month or so. Shopping for new-home necessities is too much fun.

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