Saturday, October 25, 2008

settling in

Maybe you wouldn’t know it by the looks of the place, what with the stacks of still unpacked shoeboxes of miscellaneous trinkets and supplies, and the still very blank walls all around, but it has been six weeks since I moved into my new home. It really was a great find, a charming studio in an old (1930s-ish) yellow stucco building right in downtown Palo Alto.

It’s lovely to have my own space that I don’t have to share with anyone (besides a troop of little ants that snuck in to join me for a couple of days a few weeks ago): no coordinating shower schedules, no fussing over other people’s messes, no dress code, no worries about suiting another’s taste with what I watch or listen to… you get the idea. Little things, really, but still something of a revelation when it’s the first time you’re really on your own. There will probably be days when I get lonely, but so far it hasn’t been an issue, since I am too (happily!) busy settling into my new town, my new job, my new life.

My mom and dad, in their overwhelming generosity, flew out from Maryland to move all my boxes of stuff from my grandmother’s house in Sacramento to my new place in Palo Alto and to get me all set up with new Ikea furniture. My dad was nice and let me try to help assemble things, but then he and I both realized that I am rather power-tool-challenged, so he took over and I stuck with pieces that needed only to be popped or twisted into place. Kind of sad, I know. I did stain my wooden kitchen cart last Saturday, and it turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

I think the trick is that if a given home improvement project can be done by hand, I can probably handle it. If it involves an electrical source of power that is in magnitude far greater than what is natural, then there are conflicts. I mean, power tools essentially do traditionally manual tasks, only faster; so what’s the rush? Time doesn’t exist, anyway.

I am always reaching toward home, though the specific reference point for that concept may differ depending on the city or the year or the state of mind that I am in. There are many facets to the act of making a home out of a mere crashpad and junk locker. Two of those are to give everything a special place where it belongs, and to maximize the aesthetic appeal of the walls which hold up the roof over your head. So, today I am tackling the tasks of organizing my kitchen and decorating the walls. Overdue, perhaps, but it doesn’t matter. I’m doing it now. Watch this space for before-and-after photos. Maybe. Or maybe you’ll just have to come to California and see it for yourself!


chrome3d said...

1930-ish house sounds so cool. I like to live in old houses too, because they have settled in their surroundings.

Ben Cluff said...

I miss California and the charm of those old apartment buildings and houses. I also miss the afternoon sun and watching it sink into the sea. California will always feel like home in a way. I'm glad you're enjoying life there.

Heatherlady said...

What a beautiful place to live. Very good for the imagination!