How to live in an empty room

Because we lived in a pretty big building, the management offered to put us up in an uninhabited apartment until ours got cleaned up and repaired. Well, or at least until someone else moved in. That first night, after seeing our possessions covered in dust, dirt, and concrete, we grabbed our air mattress and took our suitcases up to the seventh floor, where we would “live” for 10 days.

temporary home

temporary home

I’m really glad that I’m writing this 8 months after it happened. If I were writing this on January 1, I would sound emotional and anxious. But instead, I look back on this time with something more similar to nostalgia. Sure, we didn’t have a functioning kitchen, internet, or overhead lighting. But our day was simple, straightforward. Go to work, grab dinner somewhere in the neighborhood, and then work on cleaning and packing until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore.

And once we learned that our apartment manager was giving us a free pass out of there, with no financial penalty, we had a clear goal: find a new apartment. If there are just two things I get excited about, they are change and goals. Driven by both excitement and unease, I committed myself to the emergency apartment search. We started looking for a new place to live on January 3, just in case we could get out of our lease, and on January 8 we signed a brand new lease. But that’s another story.

mission accomplished

old apartment: mission accomplished

I’m at the point now where I say things like, “Remember when we lived in a room with an air mattress and a dog and a suitcase? That was great.” And it’s funny. It’s a great story. It reminds me that we really don’t need very much, and in fact the times in my life with less stuff have been the most interesting. By the time day 11 rolled around and we moved into a nearby hotel (paid for by the apartment building), having a TV and a bed that we didn’t have to blow up felt luxurious. I want to always remember that feeling.

I’d like to give a shout out to the local Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Panera (aka St. Louis Bread Co.) for providing us with so many evenings of food, wifi, and warmth. And to the upcoming blizzards to hit Boston in February 2013. Seriously, if this all happened during a blizzard, I’m not sure what the tone of this story would be.


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