Saturday, May 28, 2011

Drawn to Scale

I have chocolate tonight! I don't eat milk chocolate - dark only.  Unless it's an emergency.  This is very dark with cherries and almonds:  a "Thanks" from a tutor that I mentored a little last week.   Love brand chocolate includes a love poem in the wrapper.  I have a closet passion for poetry, and wish I had more time to read poets.  Sometimes the chocolate wrapper poems are so good that I clip them and hang them on my computer at work.  Tonight, it was Jonson's schmaltzy, "Speak to me only with thine eyes."  Never mind!

I spent the day returning phone calls, rating resumes for Mark's job, contacting people to set up interviews and writing my grant applications.  One guy wrote on his resume, "uncanny interpersonal skills".  I imagined his first day at work:

Holy shit, Kate!  Did you see the way that the new floor manager dealt with that disgruntled employee?!? Wow!  That was amazing.  Almost cosmic. UNCANNY!

And according to Sara, I had a cow.
"Mom had a cow!"
"I did not have a cow!"

This apartment is 857 square feet, so I have to think carefully about how to make good use of the space.  Lucky for me I lived so many years in a little cabin - I got really good at this.

Tape measure in hand, we went to check out our miniature abode. We were a little pressed for time, so I got on the chop-chop.  "Sara-boo, can you please take the other end of this?  Pull it over to that wall there."  The unit is on the top floor, so it includes a place for fake-fire.  "Hey, Mom, where's the balcony?"  I was jotting down figures and did not look up, but gestured absently with a flap of my hand.  "Over there." "Where?  No it's not."  "Huh? Sure it is."  I actually hunted for the balcony, like it was hiding or something.  The model had a balcony, after all.  Hmmm... No balcony. No balcony?  [Alarm bells!  Whoop!  Whoop!]  The girl needs a place to be outside!  Now I will be cooped up!  Not only am I a little prairie dog, but I'm a prairie dog that will NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY! 

This was enough to stir the assertiveness of even this okey-doke Wisconsinite.  Normally, I would not have made waves; but this time, I called up to the leasing office. 

"We seem to be having trouble finding the balcony."
"Oh, we don't include balconies in the third story units.  But there is a fireplace..."

Oh, goody. 

I was sweet and polite, but I told her in so many words that I wasn't going to be living in this unit.  They had another one on a second floor, so it had a balcony. "No fireplace, though..."  Fuck the fireplace. (I didn't say that, but I thought it.)  The apartment with the balcony is an extra $30 a month, though, because the appliances are new and the cupboard fronts are upgraded.  (Grooooaaan!  They've got me over a barrel!)  I'll do it, though.  For the balcony.

I have to think about packing.  My little entitlements:  50% of all household Q-tips.  Half the peppercorns! I would have written this off as too trivial to matter, except that I am actually going to need all this shit, and I don't want to have to run to the store on the sudden realization that Si got sole custody of the  olive oil. I have to think about moving.  Our trucks have caps on them, so the bed, the futon...  Awkward!  I need a couple of strong guys and a truck.  I can't decide whether to rent a little cube van?  Hire a student who has a van and a buddy?

There's a lot to be done/considered:

  1. There is no coat closet or place for boots, etc...  I'm thinking, board-mounted hooks on the wall by the door.
  2. I can have a nice, big bookcase if I take the one from downstairs:  it is not pretty, but it has a low profile - only comes out 10 inches from the wall.
  3. Sofas are big.  There is no better way to suck the roominess out of a room than to plop down a sofa.  I could do without, I guess, but then where do I flop when flopping is required? AND, if I want to try, I need a couch.
  4. My dining room area is super-spacious because my table is going to be a 3 x 3 folding card table.  Actually, I may set up two of them, to make it look a little more generous.  Or maybe the sofa would fit in there!  We could sit on it to eat, then rotate it for lounging.  It's not heavy. 
  5. I'm not interested in having TV, but I'd like a TV set that the kids can use for playing Wii  and watching movie rentals.  But a TV takes up space, and if it is going to have a Wii, it needs to sit at a thigh level.
  6. All dressers will go in the closets.
  7. My room will be a little funny, cause I'm going to put my desk in there, as well as the Clavinova. I know - I should leave the Clav behind until later.  But what if the kids are not there and I feel lonely and at loose ends?  I could practice!  I'm taking the guitar, as well.
  8. I'm gonna have to get bunk beds for the kids.  Priority one!I can't fit a desk or anything in there until I solve the bed problem.  Maybe one of those that lofts a single bed so a double bed or a desk can go under it. 
  9. The kitchen is pretty good; but the bright, fluorescent lighting is soulless and depressing!  I'm going to put a little  lamp in there, to turn on if I'm just making tea or something.  Cozier.
  10. Can I bring my antique cedar chest?  It takes space, but the storage would be awesome. I could put art supplies, games, etc... in there.
  11. I'm gonna need A LOT of milk crates.  I spent years and years furnishing with milk crates, lumber and cinder blocks.
  12. What if there is no light over the dining table!?  The electricity was turned off, and I didn't think to check.
  13. How does one recycle in an apartment complex?  Get a newspaper? 
  14. What about the other things I may need but not have? Salt and pepper shakers.  Support from my friends, family, employer and acquaintances, some of whom must think I'm crazy.  A hand mixer.  Something to play music on.  Emotional strength.  Clarity in my relationships. A shower curtain. 


  1. come to japan... that space will look so much bigger when u return!

  2. JY's right, Kate. Even tiny apartments in the US are way bigger than those in Japan and England. Sheesh! If I designed a layout like that for one of our clients they'd hit the roof! They'd try to get at least two apartments in there.
    As for American houses … My entire home (considered spacious for England) would easily fit into the entrance hall of my friend Robyn's house in Ohio (sad but true).
    Enjoy playing with all that space!