My first dining room set, purchased in May of 2008, and my color-inspiring Starbucks poster.
In June of 2007, I tearfully left my mother's house, the same little yellow Cape Cod she had brought me to straight from the hospital when I was born. Even though I knew it was time for me to leave, it still hurt my heart to do so, despite the fact I was 25, a college graduate, and gainfully (and painfully) employed. My new place was located in a building called "The Arms" and had a fraternal twin, "The Manor", next door. "The Arms" apartments all boasted more closets than some older home have. My one bedroom has seven!
To help cheer me and my new digs up, a couple of friends and I set to painting the place in shades of cinnamon and gold, inspired by an old Starbucks poster I had literally saved from being thrown in the trash heap. The barista laughed when I said I wanted it. He was busy thinking of the latest latte to care about the PR campaign push for Chai. Playing "HGTV" design stars, my friend Lori and I chose two shades of happy from the picture and headed to Home Depot. With help from Giddel, the apartment was transformed into a warm, cafe-like environment. I went to Wal-Mart and got frames, lamps and shower curtains. A woman I knew moving to another state donated almost all my living room furniture and some other pieces. My uncle gave me his guest room bed, which allowed me to finally be free of a twin bed for the first time in my life.An artist friend of mine gave me a painting he hadn't managed to sell, and I happily hung it above my couch.
A set of dishes from Randy, glasses from Ron, and before I knew it, the apartment felt like home. It was almost home. But with just me and some cool stuff taking up space, it wasn't. So in an attempt to rectify that, I invited friends over.
I was a Charlotte- Carrie hybrid for my "Sex & The City" party in May of 2008.
Some came for video games, others for a glass of wine. I threw a good-bye party for Giddel when she moved to Virginia, and then a "Sex & The City" party when the first movie was released. I had plenty of solo girl fun, but it still wasn't home.
That all changed, of course, just a week after my celebration of single. I went to a local diner with Keiron on our first date. It would be my last first date.
Things were kind of crazy when K first moved in after we were married. We still watch a lot of "Seinfeld" reruns.
Even before we married, K did his part to turn the apartment into a home. Regular bouquets of flowers brought life to the place. Being the computer whiz that he is, he quickly upgraded me from the old 2000 Gateway pictured above to a new, sleek black Dell, with a nice flat screen. He brought lots of little things, too. A shelf/key holder for the hall, a wine bottle opener, an ironing board. He didn't ask me want I needed, he just made a mental note, of say, me taking a knife to a bottle of chardonnay to remove the cork, and the next day, there would be a new little gift.
K at work in the kitchen.
Once we tied the knot, the apartment became very homey. Pictures of his family mingled with mine on side tables, souvenirs from around the world brightened up shelves. The biggest change was his presence. The smell of his body wash in the bathroom, or curry in the kitchen. Hearing the tapping of his fingers typing away at a keyboard.
K introduced me to the wonders of "green sauce" for cooking meat.
Making things more cozy was the increase in family visits. My sister and her husband and their kids. Sleepovers with my nephews and their cousins. And every year, our hosting Thanksgiving dinner (we'll be passing on that this year, though). Friends visited, too. Giddel, her sister and kids. K's co-workers. The apartment no longer was spic and span neat like when I lived alone, but the random things left behind- my niece's baby bib, my godson's sippy cup, a Tupperware container from a Thanksgiving guest- added character.
Thanksgiving 2008: Pictured, clockwise from left, my brother Joe, me and K, my brother's son, Nate, and my sister's husband, Manny.
Last week, I started going through one of the seven (!) closets, looking for clothes I don't wear anymore that can be donated to our church. It also will help with the massive job of packing we have coming up. It is the beginning of the end. In the coming weeks, books will be placed in boxes, along with games and pictures. The giant Bob Marley print will come down from the hall, one of K's contributions to the decor. The cinnamon and golden hues will be whitewashed. Things will be reset to 2007. What was once my bachelorette pad and became our home will have vanished. Our home at "The Arms" will be just a memory.