Wednesday, December 19, 2012


As always I seem to be scrambling to catch up on things, namely this outlet I’ve created here. From work, to school, to moving, (twice in a month!!!) to traveling to both Ireland and Atlanta for my best friend Kat’s wedding, training for an upcoming marathon, and completing another year of NaNoWriMo’s writing challenge, life has been a wee bit hectic. Looking back, what had happened was... The apartment I found on that belonged to my landlord wasn’t available until October 1st. Jeff and I needed to be out of our respective places by September 1st. My roommate Dana found a cute one bedroom in Rogers Park and Jeff’s roommates were still looking for a place. When Jeff and I decided to go look at the apartment my landlord said he’d give it to us first if we wanted it but we would have to let him know that same night. At least ten other people including us were there to see the small two bedroom in Wicker Park. I wanted it immediately mostly because of it’s location, but I also liked the actual space. Accepting this offer meant we’d have to move twice in a month and we didn’t know where we would live for the month of September. My landlord said he had a small one bedroom we could rent for the month. This was less than stellar but it was something at least. After looking at the place Jeff and I went to dinner to mull over this decision. I was “yes” all the way but he was taking a little longer to decide. Finally...he agreed, I called my landlord and it was set. The next day at work while telling my co-worker Audrey this, she mentioned that she was looking for someone to take care of her cats and apartment for the...entire month of September because she was taking a month long trip to Spain. We jumped on that like white on rice. Moving day was a disaster for Dana and me. (and possibly Jeff if you ask him...) Our movers showed up 5 hours late, looked at our stuff and said there was “too much” and left. The freakin’ left!!! Thankfully Jeff’s roommates had their moving truck all night. He drove over to help us first move Dana to Rogers Park, then come back to my apartment, sleep for a couple of hours and get up to move my stuff into the storage unit Jeff rented for us. Dana and her boyfriend rode their bikes down to help us and so did Jeff’s roommate Micah who had to take the truck back to the rental place. Jeff and I cabbed it with a month’s worth of clothing up to Audrey’s apartment in Rogers Park. She just so happens to live down the street from Dana’s new place! It was so nice to be somewhere else for a moment after all the crazy of apartment hunting, packing and moving. During our time in Rogers Park, I ran along the lakefront path, Jeff visited his cousin Nick and his wife Becky every Sunday at the Rogers Park Farmers Market, we discovered new coffee shops and restaurants, getting to work was a breeze but getting home from school wasn’t so fun commuting with everyone who was getting off of work by the time I was getting out of class. Living with Jeff was smooth sailin'. I was expecting some kind of transition phase where we were getting used to each other’s habits and such but nope, it was as if we’ve been doing this all along. I would feel my entire being light up at the sound of his keys in the door when he arrived home from work. We cooked together, talked, watched movies and settled into our temporary space rather quickly. Audrey has two cats, Kitterham Lincoln and LG. Kitter was not pleased to see us. Most of our time together was spent watching him hiss at us until I left for Ireland to attend Kat’s wedding and upon my return, Jeff and Kitter had totally bonded. Ireland was beautiful. I spent the day in Atlanta with my family before flying out to Dublin with Kat's parents. From there her dad drove us three hours north to Limavady, the quiet, tiny little town Kat's now-husband Gordon is from. I was there for five days. The weather was gross except for the day of the wedding. (Jeff's 34th birthday)The sun came out and blessed us with slightly warmer temperatures and beautiful pictures. The next day we went on an epic tour with the best man, Keith. He drove all the Americans around showing us all sorts of interesting places such as Giant's Causeway and the Buschmills Inn. I went to sleep at 11:00pm and woke up at 2:30am to drive back to Dublin with some friends so we could fly back to Atlanta. I don't remember the last time I was that tired... October came in a blink of an eye. Jeff, his cousin Nick and I moved our stuff out of storage and into our apartment. I stayed in Rogers Park for another week to take care of the cats as Audrey was still out of town. Jeff’s mom flew in for a brief visit and at the end of the week, I had moved out of Audrey’s and into our place. A few days later I turned 31. Things were still effortless. My parents came and helped us paint our living room a week after my birthday. Jeff and I began the never ending search for more furniture as I was dying to get rid of the couch I brought with me that was left over from my first Chicago apartment. We settled in nicely, thankfully agreeing on how we wanted things done and slowly getting unpacked. I was thrilled to be taking the high speed train to work and to brew my own coffee at home after Jeff taught me how to do it the way he does it at work instead of getting up crazy early and heading downtown every day.
November began along with NanoWriMo, the 50,000 words in 30 days challenge that I did last year. I decided to write a different story this year and not focus so much on the hair industry. For whatever reason, this proces was nearly effortless. I woke up at 5:00am every day, made coffee and breakfast and wrote for an hour or so before heading out for a run. (I’m running a marathon in Jacksonville Florida in February.) Words spilled out of me and onto the once blank screen of my computer. I loved it so much. It felt like someone had given me CPR after a near death experience drowning in an ocean of “what am I doing with my life?” Twenty five pages in, I had an odd feeling that I should back up my work. Now. I tried to shake it, tell it it was being ridiculous, that my plan last year was to back up every fifty pages and I would do it again this year. The feeling persisted and I’ve experienced it enough to know not to reckon with it. I backed up my work on a Google doc. Meanwhile, at work, we were getting ready do put on a hair/fashion show at a venue not too far from our apartment. The proceeds from the tickets and raffle tickets we sold were going to be donated to an organization for children with Down's Syndrome. This is the first event I've actually cut hair for. I used to want to do this when I first started out in the hair industry but was told "no" so many times from my previous employer that I stopped asking. I decided to ask one more time as I don't see my career in hair lasting another 12 years. I was accepted with open arms and swept into the more creative aspect of my job. It was exhilerating to see my model on a stage, to know I created that shape on her head. However, it did not fill me up in the way I expected it to. My mind had still been wondering..."what-if?" It thought that maybe I'd still want to do work for various shows and or teach but no. The night was fun but that's all it was. .
I wrote ten more pages of my novel. On a Friday afternoon I went out for a run, feeling full of love for our apartment, for Chicago and for Jeff. It was a beautiful day. He and I went out that night getting drinks at a bar downtown and went to the movies. We walked to the train afterwards, went home and got ready for bed. I wanted to take my computer to work the next day to write before my first client and walked into the living room to get my backpack. I had left it next to Jeff’s propped up on the couch. As I walked in I noticed my notebook and a text book were on the floor but there was no backpack. Jeff’s was there though. I stared at this scene thinking it was odd. There was no reason for either of us to take my things out of the backpack and move it. “Honey, have you seen my backpack?” I asked him. He came out of our room and stood with me. “No...” he walked into the second bedroom. Nothing. I’m still staring at my things on the floor knowing something isn’t right. Jeff joins me, his big toe tapping the case that covers his computer. It’s gone. He makes a beeline for the window, the one with the faulty latch, and finds it cracked open. We stare at each other in disbelief. Someone just came right on in and took our things. My camera, computer and a few small things were in that backpack. This is the second computer Jeff has had stolen in Chicago. I raced around checking for other valuables grateful to see they’re all there. We walked to a police station to file a report and sadly walked back home as there isn’t much that can be done. Sure we were glad we weren’t home, we weren’t hurt, they didn’t ransack the place and didn’t take anything else but our lives were on those machines. My trips, and other memories are on the laptop along with those ten pages I didn't back up. A day later I had to leave for Atlanta for Kat's wedding round two. My grandmother was in the hospital for a broken hip. The day I arrived was her’s and my grandfather’s 63rd wedding anniversary. I had to blink back my tears at the sweetness that they are. She told me he spoils her so much that she’s desperate to get home and out of the care of the people in the hospital because he does everything better. He brought her flowers and has stayed with her as much as he can. Before the wedding, my sweet parents replaced my computer. I met Kat and Gordon at their place, cut his hair, got myself and Kat ready and we were off again! The ceremony was short and sweet. I danced with my parents, met up with friends I haven’t seen since I moved away and had a ball. The next morning I was up at 5:00am and heading back to Chicago. I passed out. I lost four days of work that I didn’t back up on my old computer. Days after getting back to Chicago, the rage I was unable to feel upon realizing our things had been taken was ever present. I again, tried to remind myself that at least we weren’t hurt and we still had everything else but that wasn’t calming me down. I shared all of this with Jeff and he also aired his feelings as well. In the days following this I didn't sleep or shower unless he was home. My overactive imagination was running away with me and all rationality at any chance it got. I would perk up at every little noise and stare at the window that is finally latched properly thanks to Jeff pushing all of his weight on the damn thing making it shut and lock properly. Thoughts of quitting this November writing challenge crossed my mind. I had already lost so much time and work. The idea of quitting though was more painful than trying to catch up so off I went, writing as fast as my fingers could go before the sun was up every day. I tried to spend more time on my days off with it until one day, I was back on track again. I experienced only two days of hating it, telling myself that my project was stupid, pointless and I was a shitty writer. Last year, there were more like two weeks of that nonsense. I got over it, wrote anyway, and finished on November 26th, four days early. The next four days were devoted to finishing a five page paper for my humanities class. The entire month went by in a giant whirlwind. So here we are in December. School is over for the semester. I am not increasing my work hours as I'm determined to enjoy the holiday season for the first time in twelve years. Jeff and I will be staying in town. I'm looking forward to baking, writing, drawing, relaxing for now...oh and Christmas shopping. So much Christmas shopping. Wish me luck.