Doug and I married in the fall of 2003. We had a little one-bedroom apartment that was decorated in the odd fashion of wedding-gift serving trays mixed with hand-me-down lumpy couches, as I’m sure is a fairly customary tradition for young couples.
That was the year we paid off all our debt together, so we didn’t do much in the way of personal decorating.
We had trouble finding how our different styles could coincide. Doug liked clean modern lines and industrial steel, like The Modern in Fort Worth.
My childhood dream house was cozier.
Our cozy apartment kitchen was big enough for only one person at a time, and I stuffed wedding gifts into a high cabinet in the bathroom.
With each passing anniversary, we wondered if the next year might be the year we found a house to be ours.
Year 1 — “Maybe when our job situation is more clear…”
Year 2 — “Maybe as soon as the housing bubble bursts…”
Year 3 — “Maybe we just needed a new couch instead of a new house…”
We added to our apartment a little at a time, first a table, then a couch, and then a painting. We watched friends find houses of their own, but we moved to another apartment, and then another.
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It’s odd what you remember about a place. My memories of the apartments that Doug and I have lived in are frequently marked by food accidents. The first apartment where Doug shoved an entire bundle of cilantro down the sink disposal using a plunger. The second kitchen where I repeatedly set toast on fire (actual flames coming from the bread). The third where Doug made a cookie pie and then dropped it fresh from the oven, all over the floor, with much howling from our three-year-old.
When we became pregnant we felt like we were almost expected to find a house to settle down and grow our family, but it didn’t seem like the right time. (It still doesn’t, in case you thought that’s where this story was going. We just renewed our lease.)
This story ends where this blog begins: finding a way to settle into a temporary place.
Becoming familiar with Craigslist as we traded stuff we didn’t need anymore.
Planting a ridiculous number of container plants, and even naming the big ones.
Not letting an apartment kitchen hinder me from trying my “home experiments,” like canning jars of kumquat jam that no one wanted to eat.
Finding parks for my little one to run around outside, since I couldn’t shoo her out the door into a backyard.
Keeping track of our child’s growth by marking lines and writing dates on beige painted walls, even though they will be covered with another thin layer of beige paint as soon as we move out, in time for the next tenant.
Liking our things, but holding on to them with a loose grip.
Being reminded all the while, with every longing, that this earth is not our home.
A better place awaits.