Wednesday, November 27, 2013

where I will no longer live

We've been asked to move out of our apartment. It's a long story, but the relevant facts are that we caused some damage to the apartment (leaking air conditioner, which we did not know was leaking or causing damage), and that the landlord never felt we kept the apartment tidy/clean enough. The latter has to do with the fact that the apartment has always been too small for us. When we first moved in, we had to put a lot of stuff in storage, and when we were unable to pay the storage, we lost it all. Even so, what remained in the apartment was not neatly storable and we certainly did have clutter. Not insane clutter, but clutter.

You have to figure that two middle-aged people who have all of their belongings in their possession (nothing stored in parents' attics etc) and who have some interests (reading, music) are going to have a lot of stuff. A lot of what I lost in the Great Storage Disaster was years and years of writing, many cartons of books, a lot of CDs and albums, a collection of baseball cards and a collection of postcards, and similar items. Barry lost some papers and all of his vinyl. While this was a lightening experience in some ways, it would have been nice to have the choice to keep some of these.

We've been sorting and clearing and throwing out as we look to move, and I'm starting to have a better understanding that I need to let go of a lot of things. As attached as I have been to my "stuff," it's clear that we'll never have a large enough home to make use of all of it, or store it neatly. I got rid of all but 100 or so books, pretty much only keeping those that are out of print, autographed, or books I worked on as a publicist. We got rid of a lot of CDs. We got rid of a lot of clothes.

As we needed to raise a good deal of money for the move, I sold my collection of 7,000 vintage bottle caps in one lot, to a collector in Germany. I kept about 20 that I'll display at some point. That was a little wrenching, but the truth is that it's all been packed up for about nine years, and I haven't had the money to add to the collection. It also turned out to be the single most valuable thing I owned.

Apartment-hunting is a hopeful and depressing thing. We saw a large, beautiful apartment in a great part of Bath Beach and put in an application, only to be turned down for poor credit. We've only seen one really bad neighborhood (Ditmas Park), but quite a few bad apartments. And there's no finding an apartment without a broker any more. There actually may be no obtaining a decent apartment without a co-signor, and it may be difficult to find one. Everything is much tougher, even since our last move eight years ago.

Although we were originally asked to move by the end of November, we asked for and were given until the end of December. Then the landlord called and offered us two months beyond that. This makes it less impossible but still hard.

The other bad part of this whole thing was that when we were asked to move out, the landlord decided that "cat" also had to go (we always told him we had only one although it was actually three), so the girls have been with Rochelle for about a month and a half, keeping company with her four. It's been a godsend - we couldn't have afforded to board them. But it's hard to have this kind of stress without the comfort of the cats. I've been visiting every couple of weeks. Maya won't speak to me, which just breaks my heart.

Other things go on, nothing too world-shattering. Barry and I celebrated our birthdays earlier this month with minor festivities. Things go well at both our jobs. I'm still reading and seeing movies and making jewelry.  Hard to balance mind and body, as always. Peacefulness is elusive. I want to make some changes once the move is behind me.

When I was looking to sell the bottle caps, I did approach V. by email, first time in five years. I caught the hobby from him, and felt it would be right to offer them to him first (also, I knew he would be able to afford them). He emailed back and said that he was in a cash crunch and couldn't buy them right now, but would I like to have lunch? I said I'd have to think about it, and never emailed again. I'm still patting myself on the back for that one. If he had said some small thing along the lines of "I've missed you" or "I've been thinking about you," I might have given it some slight thought. Maybe it was self-centered of me to contact him about the caps, since I was only interested in turning them into cash, but it was such a small instance of self-centeredness by comparison to the years and years that I let him take without giving. I'm really glad I didn't give in to a nostalgic blindness, nostalgia for the times that I enjoyed his company and believed we were friends, and conveniently forgetting how badly he treated me and how many times he hurt my feelings. I think that toxic mess is thoroughly out of my life.

And here are some of the scans of selected corks that I prepared for prospective buyers: