Well, I have some good news! Looks like we found an apartment for a reasonable price. We really didn’t want an apartment, but it’s tiny and it’s doable, and we haven’t seen it yet so I already have my hopes up. It could be bigger than I think, but the description is 18xsomething so I can’t imagine it will defy my expectations. It’s in a complex with 6 other apartments; also something we didn’t want. There are no dogs allowed, another thing we didn’t want. But hey, it’s somewhere to live for right now. Somewhere for us to get our feet on the ground and not feel like going out of the guest bedroom we’re living in will result in awkward conversations and possibly tears because we’re living in someone else’s home. Oh wait…that’s just me. Eric is actually friends with these people. I’m just the leech attached to him.
Eric is a volunteer fire police officer. He knows the friends we’re staying with from the firehouse. They’re super sweet and just as fowl-mouthed as we are which makes any social interaction comfortable…that is, provided I’m with Eric and I have something to color/crochet/look at while that happens so I don’t think of myself as generally inconvenient during that social interaction; which happens a lot.
“Oh, I need ice for my drink but the freezer in our room doesn’t work. Oh well, I can’t just go downstairs like I own the place and get some because someone is home and might see me. Guess I’ll have to drink some tepid water in silence.”
“Oh yeah, I need to go to the bathroom four steps away from the room I’m in now. Better make sure I silently close the door so the dog doesn’t bark and possibly wake up the person that’s home.”
“Oops, I forgot to ask Eric to take the trash on his way out this morning. Guess it’ll sit here until he’s home and I’ll just beat myself up about the fact that I’m not comfortable enough around other humans to use a trash can.”
If you haven’t noticed, I might have a twinge of social anxiety. I think it’s safe to say I can diagnose that for myself.
The saving grace of living with these friends, however, are their animals. They have a calico cat and a small dog (of some breed I can’t spell from Norway). Shelby and Dakota. They’re fluffy and sweet and really friendly. It’s nice to see an animal here or there and pet one whenever they’re around. Animals are insanely calming for me. Unfortunately it makes me miss my baby, Nemo. Nemo is an Australian Shepherd mix of some kind. He’s my boyfriend (and I don’t have the heart to break up with him so don’t tell my husband). Currently, he’s trapped in my mother’s house being schmoozed and loved and fed over there while I wallow away my worries with another dog 1/4 of his size. I feel like I’m having an affair.
Nemo has been there for me since I was at least 10 years old. He knew my father so it must have been before the divorce. He’s been the fluffiest, sweetest, cutest, most annoying dog ever and I miss him so much I can’t even bear to think about him. I put him out of my mind until I see him in person. When I finally do get to see him, we cuddle on the hairy floor, the hairy couch, and my hairy bed. I take him on walks, feed him food that he shouldn’t have, and love him more than anyone ever (sorry to the family members that actually live with him).
I also have two cats. Sophie and Esther. They’re sweet too, but way less cuddly. Sophie, my cat, only snuggles on her terms. Shelby, on the other hand, just sits on things and doesn’t care either way if you pet her or not.
Being at this house though has given me such a necessary distraction from the situation that I’m in. Thanks to friends like these, homeless doesn’t even feel like a legitimate descriptor. We have a home, not a house…so I guess that means we’re house-less instead. My mother always taught me (throughout the 8 or so times I’ve moved in my life) that a house is not a home, it’s the people you share it with. Now, if you know anything about me, you know I don’t do cliches. So, when she said this the first few times I waved it off and said “yeah yeah, I know.” It wasn’t until I was living in hotel rooms for an entire summer with her that the lesson really sank in. The moment it became a reality was when she and I were laying on the floor of our new apartment getting ready to sleep off a long day, with only the boxes that could fit in our car surrounding us while we watched The Big Wedding. It was then that I felt truly at home.