I’d like to think of myself as a pretty level-headed, optimistic person. I surround myself with level-headed people. For instance, when Strand, Kat, and I climbed Mt. Whitney, there was one point when I looked around, and thought, Wow. I love all of the Women of Winesday, but in terms of survivalism, if things go wrong here, being stranded on a mountain with a nurse and an intensely practical ex-NCAA Div-I athlete is pretty ideal. We can handle anything! Bring on a the thunder and lightning!
But level-headed and optimistic or not, I have had a rough year.
In the continuing spirit of 2011 sucking, my management company didn’t send me a renewal lease for my apartment. I had decided not to buy a place when I got divorced — primarily because divorce costs a fortune, but also because I didn’t know what I was going to do, or where I was going to end up. Yesterday, when the management company finally did send the document over, it was less than 24 hours before the expiration of the lease, and the terms were so far beyond the pale of acceptable that I didn’t know what to do.
Was this (another) sign that I should leave New York? Maybe, but it was rather short notice.
Of course, I did what Practical Meredith would do: I called my broker; I set up an emergency appointment; I went home; I emptied pretty much everything in the drinks cabinet into one of my heavy crystal tumblers (which I briefly contemplated throwing in frustration), and I called my parents.
(I also took to Twitter, and started shoving random things into boxes, but that’s a sort-of embarrassing aside we’ll leave out for now).
I’m not a bad person. Why does this keep happening to me? I sobbed.
My mother didn’t have an answer. I don’t think I’ve ever called my mother crying in my adult life, come to think of it. Not when I got divorced (I told my parents months after Andrew and I had split). Not when I was going through treatment. Not when I was sitting in a hospital bed after having been hit by a car (my mother was the one crying then).
But this…this was too goddamned much.
I love my apartment. I live in a beautiful, pre-war building; Bauhaus design in the weird little lobby. I have a living room that is down a few steps, bordered by the original-to-the-apartment wrought-iron railing; I have these big, beautiful beams running through the apartment; cream colored walls; crown moulding. I have a little “den” area at the end of the foyer leading into my tiny kitchen. Beautiful appliances; a gas stove that maintains a perfect, accurate oven temperature. A gigantic bedroom; en suite bathroom with under-sink storage (this can be a rarity in New York).
Absolutely no closet space, but hey, it’s a gut-renovated pre-war apartment. No ventilation or view; but a girl can’t have everything. There’s a problem with the wiring and I’ve gone through about 50 lightbulbs in 2 years (including fluorescent ones). My electric bills are over $150 a month.
But I love this place. I hate everything about the idea of leaving it. Much as I hated everything about the idea of leaving my Worth Street apartment.
Maybe I won’t love a new place as much, and it will be the thing that gets me over the hurdle of leaving NY. But maybe it’s also time for me to move out of my first post-divorce place; maybe this is the shedding of that skin of holding on.
I guess this is “moving on.”
Your grandfather would say: You don’t have a problem. You have an opportunity, my mother said.
That made me feel better for a moment, until my crazy brain got caught in the feedback loop of You stupid SOB, I would just like to have you tell me that yourself and instead you had to go and DIE on me, oh my GOD why is everything so disappointing?!
My mother continued, with sort of a chuckle, And it’s not a problem if you can throw money at it.
She was only half kidding; the comment was tongue-in-cheek. The problem was something that could be fixed by spending a little bit of time and money. It wasn’t something that was life-or-death.
The big things in my life are all going right. But this thing — it felt awful, and like one more bit of expensive crap that didn’t need to be happening at a time when I could’ve just used a little less chaos.
If I can sort this at the last moment, I’ll stay. But if not, I’ll have to go. And I’m dreading it.
Remember that fortune? The one that I didn’t understand at the time? I get it now.