“I’ve always felt very temporary about myself.”

I’m not putting up the Christmas tree this year. It’s in storage at my parents’ house, and my roommate’s cat is apparently a climber anyway, and… it just doesn’t feel like the place we live is “home” enough to really undertake seasonal decorating.

It’s been a rough six months at the Satellite of Love. We went from two healthy full-time paychecks to two part-time paychecks, and from jobs that were stressful but tolerable to jobs that are just stressful. We’re both in relationship limbo to varying degrees. The cats still hate each other and can’t be allowed to interact lest blood be shed. We’ve never hung any art on the walls in the living room, and one corner of the living room has turned into de facto open storage.

My bedroom feels like home, at least. Warm, dark lighting, textures in linen and fur, colors in fawn and rose and sky, burnished brass and dark walnut. Although my financial situation and the nature of renting in a high-rise didn’t allow me to go quite as far as I’d like making the place special, it’s enough to seem like a real place where I really live. Wherever I wind up next, the current contents of my bedroom constitute the belongings I want to live amongst.

But it feels like a holding pattern. And that makes sense: this was meant to be a time for me to recover myself and my life. I guess I’m a little impatient with that process. And the line from Grosse Point Blank, as the lonely assassin eyes a stable suburban existence with equal parts longing and dread, keeps coming to mind: “I’ve always felt very temporary about myself.” Of course, being now substantially older than Martin was in the film (which is a terrifying thought), I have learned the hard way what a temporary thing stability really is. Like many things in life I’ll never have, though, it will never stop feeling like it’s only just beyond my grasp.

“Everybody’s coming back into town to take stock of their lives. You know what I say? Leave your livestock alone.”


So clearly I should ditch all this stuff and become a minimalist

There’s a weird pattern that’s emerged in my life over the last year. I don’t know if it’s actually a pattern so much as a coincidence, but here goes: within a week of getting all my art finally hung up on the wall, some catastrophe at least raises the specter of having to move months earlier than originally planned.

Back in January, having moved into our apartment seven months before, my boyfriend and I finally finished hanging the art on the walls. It was less than a week later that he came home and said he wasn’t sure this relationship was what he wanted in his life.

A few weeks ago, I decided to stop faffing about and finally get some stuff up on my bedroom walls. A few days later, my roommate got unexpectedly laid off. Now we have to consider that we might have to break our lease if we can’t pay the rent. We’re obviously hoping it doesn’t come to that, but it’s a bit of a deterrent to further nesting on my part.

Head. Desk.

So yeah. Maybe I’ll just have a big yard sale, get rid of all my Edison bulbs and gold paint, and just keep a mattress and one IKEA nightstand. That would probably be better.

Spaces, like species, evolve slowly

My desk has been disappointing for a while. This doesn’t have to be the case.

It doesn’t fit in my room, but roomie TC and I have no need for a dining room, so we turned that space into an office/guest room. So it currently houses my desk and her desk and the extra bed. And very little else except clutter, at present.

So I decided to try to do something to bring beauty and character to the space because it looked like this:

Desk covered in crapJust depressing to look at, isn’t it? It made me feel powerless in the face of inertia. I get enough of that in the rest of my life: my apartment will not yield to entropy. So the first step was just to get all the crap off it:

clean desk

Then I decided that Marvin could live there, as a weird little inspirational sprite:

desk with Marvin

Now… what? Now the creative part has to happen. And it has to happen for cheap.

One thing I have in my possession already is a roll of black contact paper. Which means I can create a removable vinyl sticker, so long as it’s not bigger than two feet in one dimension. So I’m considering, since I can’t afford another pharmacy lamp (having blown my budget on my bedroom), I could create a silhouette of one. That’s a thing the cool kids are doing now.

But I also need to bring my signature aesthetic to this space. Given that the desk is modern and white, and the wall is “neutrals-mean-universally-appealing-to-realtors” beige, and the room has a gigantic (and lovely, don’t get me wrong) modern high-rise window across one entire wall, flooding the room with sunlight, there are some challenges to doing the thing I do.

I need to consider my assets: a big bin full of fabric, albeit not more than about three yards of anything. Enough to make at least a little bit of curtain, maybe? And maybe do some low-rent upholstery (I have a staple gun, nothing can stop me now) on the desk. I can also probably spring for some more contact paper, so I could put a pretty metallic, like a steely silver, on the little white metal IKEA drawers. And possibly the desk legs? Oh, I could also paint the chair, give it a little flavor.

Oh, here’s a weird thought for the good folks of IKEA Hackers — would it be possible to just replace the legs altogether? like with pieces of wood? So long as they have that one screw in the base, I wouldn’t think there’d be anything else special about the IKEA table legs. Hmm. A trip to the salvage yard and/or hardware store may be in my near future.

Great day in the morning, victory is mine

Recently I got word that my request to move to part time at my day job was approved. From now on, I’ll work 3.5 days a week there, and have 3.5 days a week to… be productive in other ways that I need to more concretely plan now. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted — the job felt really oppressive, which made it really hard to get things done. I think this will make me a lot more efficient at work, so it’s really a win for everybody. And will certainly allow me to get a lot more done here in my little virtual nest, which thrills me. More to come!