After closing last night at Starbucks, I had to open this morning (also known as a 'clopening', which is never fun). And after I finally got off work around 930 this morning, I had to finish up at the old apartment.
Today was one of those Saturdays when you knew you had a day's worth of stuff to do... finish the apartment, turn in the keys, unload the car, take the old dryer to the Shelby County Landfill, go to a birthday party, and all that stuff... but remarkably, I found a few minutes to toss in my final thoughts about the old apartment, or as I affectionally called it, The Casa de Pesos. Yes, I know that literally means "House of Money", but considering we were living on the edge of GuadalaHoover, it seemed to fit.
Anyway, it was kinda bittersweet. Don't get me wrong, I love The Cabana, but in this entire two month process, I've always had the apartment access. As of 11am this morning, that ended.
This whole thing has been a series of phases, really, with Phase 1 being the preliminary move... you know, the house details, the confirmation that we were in fact moving, the gathering of boxes, the beginnings of the packing, the switching of mail, all that stuff.
Phase 2 was the actual move-in, and the initial unpacking of essential items--toiletries, clothes, dvds, remote controls, that sort of stuff, while Phase 3 was the finishing up of the apartment... the cleaning, the removal of everything, the pulling all the nails out of the wall and such. Phase 4 will be the thorough unpacking of everything else at The Cabana, and finally, Phase 5 is the big ol' cookout we'll have in May, opening the doors to one and all.
Steps I've climbed thousands of times. But no more.
The Lovely Steph Leann had completed the clean up on Friday night, so all I had to do was pick up a few remaining items, that being a small ladder, some wire shelving, trash to throw away and a few other odds and ends, then go to the office and turn in the key.
I walked slowly up and down the steps several times, each trip carrying more and more, which decreasingly affected the stuff left. Finally, all that was left was a package of bubble wrap and some kraft paper, both of which we'll be donating to KT and JR for their possible move. I strolled through the now empty apartment, still seeing the four small indented circles where the bed sat in the master bedroom, close to a large rectangular imprint where the dresser stood for almost four years.
In the living room, several small circles gave me an idea of exactly where our couch was placed a month ago, while in the guest bedroom, four large circles told me that the guest bed, sitting on four risers to give us extra room underneath, was heavy enough to leave a mark.
Is this picture of a blank apartment as weird to you as it is to me?
It kind of reminded me of The Deuce, though it was a little different then. Back then, I was the second of four to move out... Tom had fled earlier to shack up with Jill, whom he'd married a month earlier. I had my bedroom at The Deuce emptied on February 27th, as on the 28th, I was also getting matrimonially blissed. Michael and Shawn finished up The Deuce, and still I don't know who was last.
Today, though, in the Casa de Pesos, I was last. It was strange, as this apartment, for all its faults and all its stupid bike-in-the-parking-lot leaving children and all its old-lady-making-Cinemax-noises-at-3am neighbors, was a good place to live. It served its purpose. And today, its over.
We had multiple Christmas gatherings, Oscar parties, birthday events, a wedding shower for DeLisa and her man Nick, two different Flood (nee Disciple Now) groups, and in our kitchen is where I met one of my new best friends, Little Sister Ashley... and 12 months later, twenty feet away, that same new best friend lived in that bedroom for two months while she got on her feet in a new town.
I was there a month before The Lovely Steph Leann was, as she was in Atlanta, living with friends and desperately looking for a job in The Ham. Friendships forged, marriages strengthened, lots of hugs and kisses, and some crazy games of Risk, Attacktix, Disney Trivial Pursuit (Uni-donkey, anyone?) and Phase 10 were had at The Casa de Pesos.
I rolled over the Speedbumps From Hell one final time, stepped into the office and dropped off the mail key and the door key. Of course, I know of at least four other people who have a key, but I had the master, and its now out of my hands. And you know what?
It's bittersweet, but I'm okay with it. Onto Phase 4.