The whole story is somewhat interesting, actually. A few months back, Katrabbit and I began discussing the possibility of having her move out here to California permanently, but we were somewhat undecided on the date. August was our first suggestion, but I had my doubts, since that was when I knew I'd be starting my practicum and would likely be reducing my hours at work, meaning a decrease in my free time, income, and general energy levels. We also talked about the possibility of making the move in October, after my sister's wedding, and of waiting until Christmas, so that we wouldn't have to fly the two of us back and forth to Carbondale so many times.
But all of this talk became just so much noise, as we prepared for Katrabbit's trip here to visit me at the beginning of July, and considered the possibility of finding a place sooner rather than later. Just before she left to join me here, we hit upon a prospect of getting a lovely two-bedroom apartment on the same day that we viewed it, and I excitedly went to talk to the landlord while Katrabbit packed her things with an eye towards a permanent relocation instead of a week-long visit. Unfortunately, the prospect turned out to be a dud, as the landlord refused to return my calls or make any kind of a commitment, and it was already too late for Katrabbit to change her plans. So out to California she flew, both of us unsure whether she would be staying or going back.
Due to a massive failure of scheduling acumen on my part, the first weekend she was out here happened to be a weekend I was in class, so while I studied infant attachment theories, Katrabbit hit the pavement to seek out lodgings and interview with prospective landlords. Saturday evening, she told me she had a good line on a place that was available immediately, provided we liked the look of it; it was a little more expensive than we'd hoped to go, but it came furnished and the wireless was free, and we were in enough of a hurry to eschew choosiness. Sunday morning Katrabbit went for a viewing, and at lunch came to meet me and told me it met her qualifications. Though I had not yet seen it, I took her at her word and wrote a check for the deposit. Just like that, we had a place to live. The new address: 509 40th Street #22, Oakland, CA 94609.
That first night, we began the process of moving my gear out of my room and into the new place, and I got my first look at it. The building is old, in the good sense of that word, with plenty of character and style. The apartment itself is surprisingly spacious, with a good-sized bedroom that fits both of our computers as well as a full-size bed, a living room with a wide-open center and a large, comfortable couch, and a kitchen and bathroom that are both cozy but still capable of holding two people without being cramped.
The whole next week was spent transporting my good over in dribs and drabs, and shopping for necessaries at various Bay Area outlets. We made a fair number of trips to the grocery stores, Walgreens, and Ikea, picking up a few items and then running back to get a few other things we forgot. It was, in a word, exhausting, but Friday was highly refreshing, as Katrabbit and I took a day off to go into San Francisco to enjoy the holiday at Dolores Park with a classmate of mine. We ate well, enjoyed the sunny but cool weather, and eventually wandered back into Oakland to settle in. We were undecided on which would be the best spot for viewing fireworks, so we opted to head up to the roof of the building to see if that would serve as a vantage point; as it turned out, the roof wasn't accessible, but from the fire escape we could see no fewer than three different fireworks displays: one over Oakland city center, one over the Bay Bridge, and one over the Berkeley Marina. We were at a good distance from each of them, with plenty of obstacles in the way, and the low-lying fog hid a good bit of the action, but even so we were pleasantly surrounded by spectacle, and we laughed and drank cheap champagne as the colored sparks fizzled and burst at every horizon.
The rest of the weekend was less relaxing, as we continued our efforts to finish outfitting the new space. One obstacle that we hadn't counted on was our inability to gain access to the internet; first the activation of our account was inexplicably delayed, then the account was inaccessible because the login information our landlady gave us was incorrect. We fretted and fumed for several days, frustrated and going through terrible internet withdrawal (particularly Katrabbit, who was cooped up in the house by herself most of the day while I was at work, and badly in need of distraction), but with repeated attempts and numerous trials and errors, we were finally able to secure the proper logon info and got connected. Never have two people reacted so joyfully to the simple loading of a homepage.
The last few days have been more relaxed, as we are largely set up, lacking only some bookshelves and a few other accessories (Katrabbit, who is an absolute wizard in the kitchen, has been improvising brilliantly despite our general dearth of proper culinary equipment, so I hope to expand her arsenal fittingly before too long). Money is a bit tight after paying both the deposit, the first month's rent, and my last month's rent on my old place, and Katrabbit and I are both perpetually worn out from stress and fitful sleeping on a new bed, but despite it all my joy at having accomplished this much is simply too much to contain. I hadn't dared dream of all the benefits that having a "wife" in one's home could possibly bring, but even the simple pleasures of having a dinner prepared for me when I return home from work, or being able to share chores with someone, are like dreams come true.
As, indeed, is this entire situation. I remember once, as a young boy (probably ten or eleven), considering the likelihood that I would someday, like my own father, marry and raise my own children, and be an adult rather than a child. The thought was simply inconceivable at the time; I struggled to imagine the situation but couldn't see any way that it was possible. The child that I was couldn't imagine it, because he couldn't have done it; that child could not have done the things I have done, could not have traveled west or gone to Europe on his own, could not have left his home to get a job and an education and a place to live in California. In that same way, the person I was a month--even two weeks--ago could not move into an apartment with his fiancee, could not be a husband or father, could not raise his own family. To do those things, that man needed to change, to grow, to become someone and something different.
And that's who I am now, as I write this. Not the person I was before, but an entirely new one, who has capabilities and capacities that his previous self could barely consider, as flight is beyond the imaginings of the crawling caterpillar. The king, as they say, is dead. Long live the king.
Enough weighty considerations, though. Time for some visual aids. Care to see the place I'm waxing so melodramatic about? Now, thanks to the wonders of photons and optic nerves, you can!
The building, viewed from the north. Note the cool friezework along the tops and above the windows.
The building viewed from the east. The sun is setting behind it, hence the slight washout. But, again, you can see the general panache that the whole structure boasts.
On the right is our landlady Ruth, on the left her assistant. This cafe occupies the lowest floor of the building (we're on the second); according to Ruth, opening the cafe was her dream ten years ago when she first bought the property, but numerous delays and obstacles prevented her from actually accomplishing her goal until just this week. We're not complaining; she gave us free samples of the goodies she'll be selling there to test them out, and we were happy to receive them.
Our yellow door, at the end of the hall. That sounds like it should be a song..."our yellow dooooooor....at the end of the hallllllll..."
The bedroom, with Katrabbit dutifully plugging away at our precious new intertube. We still haven't gotten everything put away, but we've got space enough to store it all and her computer as well, once it arrives.
The living room, complete with couch and, to my amazement, tiny television that actually picks up channels. It's been years since I've had a television that one could actually watch television on; I've only used mine for DVDs and the like. I turned it on, flipped through the channels, remembered why I haven't bothered with a television in years, and turned it back off. It'll be obsolete in eight months anyway, and frankly I'm not too concerned.
Unfortunately, the kitchen and bathroom are a little too small to photograph properly, so you'll have to take my word that they exist. We're currently waging war with a small army of ants (well, the ants are small, the army's actually pretty sizable) in the kitchen, but having dealt with such incursions before at my other place, I come well armed for the fray. These insects will think twice before going after my foodstuffs again.
So, that's the latest. I hope to be in more regular contact from here on out, but I'll be starting my training for my practicum next month (!) and I don't know how exactly that's going to affect me. My guess: complete and utter exhaustion. I'm probably really lucky that Katrabbit is here now to take care of me through this, as I might well end up incapable of taking care of myself.
But there's no denying that it's going to be one major change right after another. Remember at the beginning of the year, when I predicted 2008 was going to be interesting? Maybe next time you'll listen to me. Of course, next time I'll have no more idea what I'm going on about than I did then, but we'll handily disregard that for the moment.
Hope this month has been a favorable one for you, dear readers, and that next month will be the same. I won't notice either way; I'll be too busy adapting to rapidly changing circumstances and basking in the embrace of my new, beautiful roomie. If you're looking for me, start looking there.
My best, dear ones, and my continuing gratitude. Catch up with you when the fates allow it.