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On Moving, Growing Up, and Other Disasters

So needless to say, poetry did not happen this weekend.

That’s because my roommate Chelsea and I spent all day Sunday moving into our new apartment. It took us three trucks, two cars and one SUV, and two of the trucks had to make a second trip. We had a lot of help from our wonderful friends and family, so the process of actually transporting everything went pretty quickly and pretty smoothly. There was, however, one minor casualty: Chelsea’s desk bit the dust in a nasty cornering incident. Our new place is a circa-1900 duplex with narrow stairways and even tighter turns. I think that they must have just built the furniture in the rooms way back when.

Of course, after everything was in the new house we faced the monumental task of reorganizing all of it; provided we could find it, of course. Chelsea and I knew which of our boxes we had packed, and what was in each box; but the darling people helping us didn’t, so kitchen boxes ended up in the living room, bathroom boxes were in bedrooms, bedroom boxes were in the kitchen, etc. Then there were the inevitable organizational tiffs about how best to arrange the furniture and the cabinets. After many, many frenzied hours failing to prioritize, Chelsea and I went to Walmart to try and pick up some miscellaneous things we needed, like Command hanging strips and extension cords and things of that nature. This was a bad idea. We ended up getting the wrong things because we went to Walmart at 10:00 at night and we were so tired we could hardly walk.

I don’t work Mondays, so I spent yesterday running around town trying to find more necessary housewares and things. When I wasn’t doing that, I was unpacking, curling into a little ball on my bed, unpacking, fighting with absurdly placed shelves in my closet, and more unpacking.

It’s amazing how much stuff a person can accumulate in a year. When I graduated from college a year ago, I could fit all my non-furniture belongings into my Hyundai Elantra; PLUS some small shelving. This year, not so much.

The bulk of my stuff came down to two things: clothes, and books. The books are obviously self-explanatory. My library is my pride and joy, and I don’t care how many people tout e-books to me. I am a collector and few things thrill me more than to see my collection growing, even if it means I have to buy another bookshelf soon. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment to see my wall of books, and the great thing about books is that you don’t need any kind of wireless signal or cord to enjoy them, which is useful when your internet provider takes four days to transfer your service to your new apartment.

The fact that I have so many clothes shocked me for a minute. I like to shop and I buy fairly regularly, but I also cull my wardrobe often and make frequent donation runs to my local Goodwill. I’ve always kept my closet fairly trim. The past few months, however, it’s been getting fatter by the slightest increments.

The reason for this is my job. When I was in college and immediately post-grad, I was working in restaurants where I wore a uniform. Later I had a job in a pet shop that didn’t require a uniform, so I could just wear my own casual clothes. Now, however, I work in an optometrist’s office. Our dress code is not very fancy by any means, but I still need blouses instead of shirts, slacks instead of jeans, nice knee-length skirts, cardigans, etc. etc. Since I started here in January, my clothing purchases have been almost exclusively office wear. So now I effectively have two wardrobes: office and casual.

This, more than almost anything else, made me realize that I am a grown-up now.

It might sound silly. It is. I admit it. I don’t know why it seems so significant. I guess it comes down to self-presentation. In my casual wardrobe, I veer towards a strange combination of edgy bohemia. It’s been very fun for me to class that up (not that it wasn’t classy before…) for work. I can tell you it’s definitely taken a vintage turn. I am all about the skirts and the little black pumps. This may also be due to my recent discovery of Mad Men.

I guess the best way to explain the sense of adulthood it gives me is to say that when I dress for work, I don’t feel like I’m dressing up or putting on a costume. In college when I went business casual it never felt quite right. It was at odds with the very relaxed style I had then. Now, it’s not that my casual style is less relaxed; it’s more like I’ve got a better sense of how I fit into the office scene. It also helps that my boss encourages me to be be fashionable, because as someone who is helping you choose your next pair of glasses, I want you to trust that I will keep you chic. So I get to inject a lot of my own style into my work wardrobe.

And that’s really the way things should be. It gives me a sense of visibility in my job, which was the exact opposite of a uniformed job. I am Caitlin, and I am an optician, and I wear pencil skirts to work.

6 thoughts on “On Moving, Growing Up, and Other Disasters

  1. Enjoy it while you can. On the other end of the spectrum, moving is a hassle I have come to loathe. I believe we should be able to park ourselves anywhere for a few hours and a domicile would grow out of the ground around us — with flatscreen tv and a four-burner Char-Broil on the porch! As far as wardrobe? Just finding anything to fit is an eyeopener. And don’t you believe a WORD about “stretch-fit!”

    Good luck on your new place and new job. Get those hot buttered poems out of the toaster, once you find it, that is.

    1. Yeah, I’m definitely tired of moving. This will be my 13th residence in 23 years. A few years ago the SciFi channel had a little commercial where a lady parked her car and it folded up into a tiny box that she put in her purse–I think that something similar should be invented for moving. Just put a little box in the center of each room and it unfolds and engulfs everything and then folds back up for easy transport!

      I hear you on the wardrobe too! I have a skinny waist and long legs, which people THINK is the proportion clothing stores carry most, but trust me, they don’t.

      Hopefully poetry will resume today. Thanks 🙂

  2. I completely agree. There is something about getting business-casualled up for work. Especially when you get to choose what you wear. I hope the rest if your move and unpacking went well.

    1. Yeah, it makes a huge difference! Thanks 🙂

  3. “It fills me with a sense of accomplishment to see my wall of books…”

    Absolutely. Boxing and moving the damn things does demonstrate an advantage of ebooks, but the labor is still worth it for some. I’m currently between places and my books are now mostly in storage, which kills me. My tangible bookshelves sort of center me the way an ereader never can. Besides, when people come over, I want to say “and here is my personal li-burry,” and point to the books. A Kindle lying on an endtable doesn’t have the same effect.

    1. I know! I thought of this when our book club meeting tonight ended with a twenty-minute perusal of my bookshelves. I was so proud.

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