Home is not where I am right now. Four months ago we sold our home, our house, in San Jose and moved into these apartments, also in the city, while we continue to look for our dream home, the home of our hearts.  We went from a 6,000 sq ft lot with a 2,500 sq ft house to a 700 sq ft apt surrounded by, well, cement and lots of other people. Most of our stuff is in storage. Our desks. Our  ergonomic office chairs. My art supplies. My blue and white collections. The tole trays that hung on the wall. The artwork chosen so carefully over the years. My husband’s D&D books. Most of his cookbooks. Yes, it is only stuff but it was the stuff that surrounded our house, the stuff that hung on the walls and filled the shelves and helped turn our house into a home.  We could have brought a few things with us, things to hang on the walls perhaps and try to claim this sterile space as our own but I confess, it was too hard to make those sorts of decisions in the last days of packing to get out of our house before escrow closed. And even then there are things we brought to the apartment that we eventually had to move to storage because there wasn’t enough room. And we pay $500 a month for the privilege of not having our stuff with us. Seems like there is good money to be made in renting out storage units.

Yes, this is a bit of a whine because we have been here long enough for the novelty of it all to wear off. I miss my own office space and I know my husband misses his. I miss my own dirt to dig in and funny things like the hose at the kitchen sink or my own washer and dryer and walls that aren’t white. I miss having a day when I can just let Zoey out in the yard because I am head down to the computer and want to keep working but she needs to take care of business and while we are here, that means putting her on a leash and going for a walk. And yes, walking is good and I am walking more now than I have in years but I am just going to say it, I am tired of being here in this apartment. Very tired of it all. And I know it could be months, another year even, until we find a place to buy.

It’s hard to wait.

Right now the kitchen table that used to sit in the sunny breakfast nook is being used as a desk by my husband, for both his work and home computers, and my corner of it is an end table for my phone and coffee cup. I work with my laptop on a lapdesk which is balanced between my legs on a pillow because I can’t have the weight of it all on my legs or my knees.

Another thing I miss. My big monitor. Editing photos on the laptop is hard. Every flat surface in the apartment is covered with just the day-to-day living things. Zoey’s leashes hang on the coat rack along with the bags for grocery shopping, the hats for walking, the backpacks and computer bags and the occasional coat all piled on top of each other out in the open because of course there is no coat closet in the hallway to keep these things out of sight. So much visual noise. Toilet paper and paper towels are stored in the only closet we have, in the bedroom. Houseplants are taking up valuable surface space and I am about ready to move them out to the patio (where they will slowly die or collect bugs or both) because I could use the space they are taking up but they also soften some of the sterile feel of the place so I keep flip-flopping back and forth.

If you have to live in an apartment it is not a bad place to live. If you follow me on Facebook you’ve seen the pictures and you know there are lots of dogs around and Zoey gets lots of doggy social time. It’s nice place to live but it’s not home.

Billy Joel has a song about how the person he loves is always his home and if I were a better person I would say to my husband, “This is enough. I have you, I have Zoey, it’s okay.”  And most of the time it is. But I do not want to grow old and gray living in this apartment.

The silver lining, because of course I must look for one even while I whine, is that we are learning what stuff we truly miss and what stuff we will be able to let go of in a new place.  We are learning how much space we really need to live in and how how we want to fill it. We are weighing our wants and needs and, luckily, we are both on the same page with about just about all of them. But that knowledge can’t help us pick a home in a real estate market with so few options in the areas where we want to live.

I have never been good with delayed gratification.

More silver linings. There is more time to do things because there is so much less upkeep around the apartment. I spend the time walking and writing and taking photos. (I do not spend the time making art because, see above, art supplies in storage. I did not think I would miss it as much as I do.) There are lots of dogs running around which means lots of opportunities for me to practice my photography skills. There’s a pick-up game of Ultimate Frisbee twice a week which gives me more photography practice. On Sundays the food trucks from Moveable Feast are here and we can walk down to the park and get something to eat and listen to the music and watch the kids chase giant bubble across the grass. My husband and I are both introverts but being here, taking Zoey out to visit with her doggy friends, it is helping us get better at speaking with strangers, making small talk. Hubby is a mile from work. There are swimming pools and water fountains and plants and fitness centers and maintenance men to come fix things when they break. They even replace the light bulbs.

Sometimes looking for silver linings is not enough. Sometimes it is all we have while we continue to find our way home.

Home is not where I am, yet.




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