I had the recent (super fun and mind-bending) task of attempting to remember Every Single Address that I’ve lived at for the last 10 years, along with the people who resided WITH me in those locations, for a background check (yes, I’m getting the checks on my background for a new job opp). It was your enviable trip down Memory Lane or some such… otherwise known as: an embarrassing display of admitting (in writing) how many men I’ve lived with.
Three, for what it’s worth. I don’t know, is that embarrassing? I flinched every time I hate to write in “M” for male. And it actually took me longer than necessary to remember: a) if I ever lived with my high school sweetheart (after graduation, of course); and, upon remembering the answer was “no”, wondering: b) why?; and c) has it been over 10 years since we stopped dating? Short answer: yes.
HSS did eventually propose the idea of new living arrangements (with several dozen flowers outside my wonderful rented townhouse-like apartment in… PARMA, of all forsaken Cleveland suburbs) at a time when he seemingly got his shit together about relationships (or at least, one with me), only for me to be one foot on a plane, ready to relocate to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (which never happened because of meeting The First Guy I Would Eventually Live With, aka: The Fiance). Or, as some would tell it: HSS went away to Virginia Beach on an All-Guys vacation, and I didn’t hear from him for an entire week, so I changed my phone number, so he would never attempt contacting me again. The end of an almost-six-year, turbulent relationship. How you like that airplane metaphor, ya jerk?
Back to the numbers: I lived with three men in my life, with whom I was romantically involved (the other male roommates do not count, and for purposes of this writing exercise were beyond the 10-year benchmark. Also, HOW THE FUCK did a decade pass by that fast?):
and my current, AB.
The address count was 12, I think. Is that a lot of moving? Thank you, Gypsy 20s: it was.
Sidenote: I had to Google myself on one of those people search types of websites because I couldn’t remember addresses from before my condo, circa 5-6 years ago. I probably should have made a copy of those addresses, incase this comes up again…
And if I forgot an address — or worse, someone — then WOO BOY, we might have to start talking about implementing some brain functioning exercises.
How many addresses or significant-others-you-lived-with have YOU had over the last 10 years?
My first year anniversary of living in Pittsburgh was Labor Day weekend (and here we are already approaching Christmas… I need to check my drafts for lingering content more often). November also marked the EIGHTH year that I’ve been blogging (which I apparently love missing out on blog anniversaries too). EIGHT. YEARS. I won’t even attempt to talk about the changes in my life since I started writing about pursuing boyfriends and such. THERE’S ARCHIVES FOR A REASON.
Regardless, here’s a brief 365+ recap with some random pics from throughout this year.
We spent our first year (and some months) living in downtown, which we adored and were naturally attached to — I mean, did you SEE our apartment? It was ah-maz-ing. I would recommend for anyone relocating to Pittsburgh to be as close to city center as possible. The past year has been something of a renaissance for downtown dining and living, and it was so awesome to watch all these fantastic establishments open ALL WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE. Also, nothing is better than brunch at Meat & Potatoes… NOTHING.
Sadly, our building was sold to a new management company as the end of our lease was approaching, and we got a vibe that things were changing (along with an increase in rent). The evident (and unfortunate) transitions provoked us to start thinking (and looking) at new housing options.
Then — almost serendipitous in nature — on our way to a party, our cab driver got turned around in the North Side. And we fell in love in a whole new way for a vibrant neighborhood filled with East Coast-like Victorian rowhouses. Within a month we bought a place. Obviously, we like the city well enough to stick around a few years. Well, that’s putting it mildly… we LOVE it here! Enough so to make Pittsburgh our home.
And the rest, as you know, is adventures-in-homeownership history.
Last January, we found a new furry friend for Rudy at Pittsburgh’s Animal Rescue League. Chelsea has continued to make our family a hilarious cat-crazy adventure. Orange tabby style. For almost a YEAR. Where does time go, seriously?
But enough about CATS, let’s talk about people — you ‘Burghers are an awesome bunch. And yinz have been so warm and welcoming. Last September, during our first month of residency, I attended PodCamp. And that’s where I’m happy to say that I met so many wonderful people who have become my friends over this past year. This most recent PodCamp meet-up was something of a reunion for me — and much less stressful going in — knowing that I’d actually KNOW people. And that people know me.
Likewise, the Twitters and Yelp and Pahr Section 216 and roller derby have also brought like-minded, fun people into my life, which has made my living in Pittsburgh all the more rich and awesome of an experience. Some will say that making friends can be difficult as an adult, but I haven’t found that to be true here. Seriously, heart all of you.
Roller derby was a huge part of my life this past year and will continue to be going forward into 2012. I love how this sport instantly brought 60+ women of similar interests and personalities into my world who regularly challenge, inspire and bruise me (heh). I made it through my first full Fresh Meat season, trained through a fast track program to get drafted early, got drafted to B-Unit AND played in my first bout before the end of the season (thank you, friends, for your support in coming to see me skate). And then, at the encouraging of some of our vet skaters, I tried out for our A team… which I made! As a rookie! And it’s all because of a league full of awesome Pittsburgh roller derby ladies. Having a passion that is so supported locally makes living in Pittsburgh all the more fantastic.
Relocating was easy, as far as work was concerned; the boyfriend’s job was what brought us here, and he’s since moved on to a new company (thankfully, keeping us in Pittsburgh). I continue to grow professionally, now as a Pittsburgh freelancer and look forward to connecting and networking with other local businesses and freelancers again this year. While most of my work and clients are online, I was published several times over this past year in magazine format. That was one of my big goals for 2011, and I was happy to cross that success off my list.
I also went from brunette-to-blonde for the first time in almost a decade. I’ll be soon returning to my roots… while planting some new ones. Wait. Does that sound like I’ll be planting something in my head? Because, weird. I signed up to be part of our local community garden — I’ll plant some tomatoes for you. Here’s to another year of bloggy randomness!
My favorite local places, organizations and bloggers are listed here – and I love that Pittsburgh is so vibrant that I am consistently adding to it. Pittsburgh is such an awesome place, n’at. And I’m happy to call it home.
So, when I presented a vocal list of “things missing” from the move, and the boyfriend’s reaction to one of its items — something completely, wholly irreplaceable and quite “security blanket” in nature — was a smirk of stifled laughter, countered by a deadpan “I think I threw it away”…
*breathe* Well, I freaked the fuck out on him, naturally.
And that reaction is one part being really, really sad that I might no longer have said item. And another part is really, really pissed that he would unjustly toss something OF MINE in the trash of physical, emotional and sentimental value without so much as an inquiry to its presence.
I’m pretty sure that I’m going to bed angry.
Oh, EXCUSE my absence… but, like, I moved.
Moving isn’t something that my mind/body/soul typically enjoys, yet I managed my stress SO MUCH MORE than when moving to Pittsburgh last year. I definitely think interstate moves take a small part of your soul every time you update an address. Thank the derby gods for having a stress release. But I digress.
AB & I spent our first year (and a couple months) living/eating/breathing downtown Pittsburgh. And now we get to discover a new neighborhood all over again. Aside from figuring out how to drive everywhere (again), I’m super excited about our new digs and new ‘hood. Alas, there are parts of me that will miss downtown. And other parts of me that will religiously curse the constant noise of picketers and neighbors of shared walls blasting the Metallica Black album and garbage trucks at ungodly hours. And the elevators.
Is it funny how much we change over the course of one year, five years… a decade? When we lived in downtown (even when still in Cleveland), we swore we wouldn’t (couldn’t?) live anywhere else. And I loved every part it (and we’re still close enough to frequent our favorite places). But the many varied “things” that we loved about being in an urban center, we found just a hair outside the city. Something that we could own; make ours. And more space; less cost = happy, responsible, comfortable life for this couple.
I’m excited to be in an different neighborhood, especially one not filled with so many transients (what we experienced a lot of in our apartment building). But couples, families… friends — people who have put down some roots, much like we’re doing in Pittsburgh. Also: this move fulfills my goal of wanting to live in another neighborhood while we’re living in Pittsburgh.
The purchase of a (super cute) home, of course, keeps us here indefinitely. And that I couldn’t be more excited about.
Top credit: Miso Funky – Custom cross-stitched gifts
January. I went on the most amazing vacation ever: The Rock Boat (Number X). This year, partly because of the moving expenses and mostly because of the settling in (and that we feel old and tired), we’ve decided to take the year off.
Soon after returning from said cruise awesome-ness, I lost my job of three years. Talk about cleaning house. It would probably be the best thing to ever happen to me.
And then we prepared the apartment for the addition to our family: Rudy the Cat. Who would essentially take the term “Sidekick” to the most literal level. And make me hate wearing black forever-and-ever.
February. I went red. With bangs. And have pretty much hated that decision ever since. Whomever said a “change can do you good” — was that Sheryl Crow? — yeah, she needs to be kicked in the gonads.
March. AB took a new job with his company, which resulted in him traveling weekly to Pittsburgh.
I visited for our anniversary. That’s ONE YEAR, people. I did a little house cleaning on Facebook and my cell phone, as result. A little demon cleansing as well, if you will.
I strapped on some skates (and a set of balls) and started playing roller derby. Hitting does a body good. And is subsequently amazing for changing my exercise and eating habits.
April. AB & I went to Chicago for Whiskey Fest. Ahh, cleanse the palate.
And I threw out the first pitch at a Lake County Captains game!
May. *sigh* How the hell am I 33 already? Pffft… whatever. I’m in the best shape of my LIFE!
But additionally: WTF, hormones?
June. I went back to Pittsburgh to *gasp* start looking at apartments… To be continued.
But ALSO to break the most awesome of World Records!
July. Finally: BOSTON! Damn, we traveled a lot in 2010! Cleaning house here must equate to doing shit-tons of laundry.
But not before announcing our moving away from Cleveland.
August. OMG! Get me away from this bitch! I spent most of the month lost in a haze of overly-emotionally emotions: anger, sadness, loneliness, apathy, stress… and a whole bunch of physical bruising from my “acceptance” into the Fresh Meat Program with the Burning River Roller Girls. Clearing my brain in the only way I know.
It would also be my last month living in Cleveland. *tear* And I’m taking it out on everything around me. And packing up two locations by yourself is probably the worst idea ever.
September. I decided to quit BRRG, instead of traveling back every week until tryouts. *sobbing tears*
And WE FRICKIN’ MOVED! Pittsburgh celebrated the event with fireworks. True story.
October. I was named “Rookie of the Year” by the blog ‘Burgh Living. Where I will continue as a newbie correspondent to the city (look for a new post next week).
We returned to Cleveland, and it felt… different.
November. Firsts! Lots of them here, of course. (or attempted to). I went to my first rally in downtown Pittsburgh (and oddly, received a condom in a pill pack cover). And like any newbie… I got lost. A lot. And speaking of “cleaning house,” I really need to clean my car so it shines for those upcoming state inspections.
December. Yeah, there was this thing called Pittsburgh Magazine (January issue, but that’s neither here-nor-there) that included MY NAME in a byline. I’m still pretty stoked.
But we also traveled to a foodie and craft beer adventure to Toronto. Love.
Our move is complete! The last two months nearly whooped me. But I’m back. In my uber-bitchy natural form. With boxes unpacked and pictures hung and beers poured.
We even have eggs in the fridge. Thanks to an awesome boyfriend who decided to take a bike ride this morning.
I’m more than impressed and in love with our building and location downtown — including the view from our apartment. Skyscrapers, high-rises and bridges mingle with mountains and rivers. We even have trees on our street. I hope to be creatively inspired and motivated by it all. I’m excited that our public market and shopping district is open on Sundays. And that we get to discover new places and people.
On our first night, we met several neighbors during SkyGASM on our rooftop deck — people who LIVE DOWNTOWN: an older couple possibly in their 50s-early 60s, a guy around my dad’s age (perhaps a little younger) who relocated from Nashville (who also potentially has a “complicated” relationship), a FAMILY (yes, a husband, wife and preteen child). And of course, there is us: the sexy cohabitant young professionals. It’s an amazing concept that these people all decided to live in a vibrant urban environment — sold houses, moved companies, settled down. Retiring, raising families, working from home… I’m nearly flabbergasted at the concept, compared to that in which I am familiar from living in downtown Cleveland (read: young, young professional and douchebag).
Living up on a higher floor than we previously did, it is decidedly more quiet — we do have some city noise, but it’s nothing like feeling as though we camped out on Euclid. For a year.
AND NO SAX GUY.
I think I’m going to like it here.
*sigh* Our first apartment is empty.
How do normal people move to a new state having regular jobs? I’m exceptionally lucky that I can make my own hours around all the mundane crap I need to do while AB is, well, already living in Pittsburgh because all-holy-hell would break loose worse than it is, as I would have no time to do any of this shit otherwise. Let alone stress out about aforementioned shit.
I haven’t had to take any Xanax yet. So, there’s that. But it doesn’t mean that I have handled this transition in the most non-bitchiest manner possible. Just ask the boyfriend.
Our movers are finally scheduled (on now the right date… don’t even get me started on that process), our going away party under contract (lame as I find this), hotel (with cat) booked, addresses changed (aside from the USPS mail forwarding, given that they cannot yet verify the billing addresses of EITHER of zip codes and corresponding debit/credit cards… awesome) and my condo is completely packed and ready for transport.
Meanwhile, our apartment hangs its head in shame as it is still WAY too livable for two people who are moving to Pittsburgh in eleven days (and merely a week away from actual keys) and gosh-darn-it, the boxes want to be PACKED AND MOVED already. At least those boxes exist — many of them still folded against the wall, the others a makeshift kitty condo — and stand ready for destruction by Rudy and his massacre claws at 4 am. Every. Single. Morning.
But I am certainly enjoying my final weeks in the Cleve, including a handful of work projects to complete before I take an entire week off from business responsibilities (I mean, my server and internet will be down for at minimum 3 days, so… seems like a good call). Dinners with family and friends. Day drinking. Taco Tuesdays. Roller derby bruising (and training camp this weekend). Networking online with new ‘Burgher peeps and organizations (and soon-to-be IRL). Hide n’ Seek with the cat (man, I hope he likes the view from Pennsylvania windows).
Have I detailed my excitement about STAIRS(!) in my new place? And I mean, IN the actual apartment, not the ten or so floors to climb in the short chance both elevators suck ass simultaneously (thankfully, I’ve already got a bartender tip to use the one on the left as the other is shaky). And I may share residence with a couple local celebs.
That in itself might be enough to propel me into as much excitement as those boxes to get the hell out of here already.
When this is all said and done, I’ll likely need a mulligan on the entire month of August.
And yesterday just plain sucked the life out of me. Again. What you may call “relaxed,” I consider a waste of space. Even for my boyfriend’s tiny, clammy leather bachelor sofa. Nothing accomplished. No drive. No motivation. I even lost two games of Words With Friends. And only a day after spending eight hours packing up my condo. Which I need to do again. Tomorrow.
I packed five of the last years of my life into small, medium and large sized boxes. Many of which will just go to storage. And I’ll move them again in a couple years, wondering when (or if) I’ll ever have an office to display my Spiderman collection.
But, OMG I cannot wait for my couch. In our main living room.
For as much excitement that I build up over the move, I cannot believe how stressed I am. OK, perhaps I can because the minutest of unknown situations stress me beyond belief, but it has taken on new forms aside from mere panic attacks and insomnia. Where is that damn hot tub time machine? I want to skip ahead three weeks. I want to be back to some normalcy — with AB to come home to every night, with healthy home-cooked dinners… without having to annoy all of you in the process with my whining and emotional breakdowns.
I went into practice last night with a bad attitude too, which just perpetuated into that “why I am doing this?” that I have felt nearly every day this last month with my writing career. As much as I pushed myself, I felt even more defeated. I felt like I can’t do it. And that fucks with me more than anything. I imagine the stress just completely detaches you from all that you love — sucks the heart right out of you. The highlight of my day was pulling into my parking garage, catching two chicks completely entangled in a passionate make-out session.
That’s all it takes — lesbians — to cheer me up.
It’s no secret that I’m moving to Pittsburgh. I’ve already visited a couple times this past year (dammit, missed out on the suite with the telescope though!) with AB, so I’m not completely ignorant of the area and its attractions. I mean, I already know that you all LOVE some fireworks. But I am a loser in that I want to fit in as much as I can as soon as possible without anyone guessing that I’m from that rival city in which you despise and on which you spit.
What I need from the y’inzers (is that even polite to say, being that I’m not officially a 15222 yet?):
1. Nicknames or acronyms of ‘hoods, buildings, professional teams, general areas. Like, I get the whole ‘Mon-iker *snort*, so stuff like that. What? You don’t get the joke? OMG, this is going to take a while…
2. Where NOT to bother with/go. I’m a food and beer snob, so I’ve definitely kept my eye out for new and interesting restaurants, local chefs with flair, the BEST PANCAKES IN THE UNIVERSE (ahem, Pamela’s) and unique locales. Also, I do my groceries at markets, local-owned family shops — discuss and recommend freely from whom you buy your sausage and the like. I don’t want to hear you start fighting over cupcakes. Unless they are filled with bourbon.
3. Outdoor organizations, bike club/shops, running clubs, derby girls… anything of interest in the athletic lifestyle column. Of extreme interest: a fitness center (not a big box pick-up shop) that has TRX or group insanity-like classes.
4. Which bloggers to follow? I already stalk Pitt Girl of That’s Church, so besides her. Please no early 20-something drinking bloggers with a penchant for partying on Tuesdays. I am 33 for chrissakes.
5. Interesting, entertaining, news-worthy publications. I’m a writer — and a snarky one at that. Give me something that will keep my attention, or to which I could potentially submit articles. Also, local-owned bookstores (new or used)? How’s your library system?
6. OMG HOCKEY!!! So excited. I’ll trade lame-ass basketball and its egos for some high-intensity skate action (I’m a roller derby chick, what would you expect?).
7. Choose your own adventure. Seriously. Tell me something about your Pittsburgh: the life, the people, the government, the non-profit organizations, where I can get the best grilled cheese, which bridge to jump from when one is contemplating suicide. Your turn.
8. Is just my favorite number, so I couldn’t end on 7.
Reading, writing, arithmetic and booze. I think we covered all that. I cannot promise I will return to Cleveland with a freaky accent, but perhaps have some new colloquialisms in my arsenal.
As for burgers in the ‘Burgh, I already know that Tessaro’s is the bee’s knees. And OMG, I have creamy dreams about that potato salad.
Deciding which items come and go while packing for the move has been… fun. I’m just happy we have an actual storage cage IN the building for some of our excess shit like bikes and camping equipment and tailgating clothing. And the new kayaks. *wink*
Seriously, Cleveland apartment managers, extra storage space for residents somewhere within an apartment building is something to consider during construction. Along with roof top decks, bike garages, in-house exercise facilities and new soundproof windows. Kthxbai.
We laughed over his “ex” box and the items contained within. No, he does not have to get rid of it, but I’m convinced that his keepsake two beaded bracelets left behind are mine, which means I crashed at his apartment in a drunken haze or one of my friends is a slut. But I do find it interesting the items a guy keeps from old “relationships” as opposed to what females retain.
Some of these things we will not discuss.
BTW, compromise is what makes good relationships better.
Beer bottles on display? Gone.
My awesome vintage green side chair? Staying.
His black leather bachelor sofa. Coming. Thank the loft-apartment-heavens for the space for a second sitting area.
The wine rack and dining room table I coveted for the PERFECT sanctuary of non-use in the corner of my condo? Selling. *sad face*
I should have space in our giant closet for my vintage desk-turned-vanity that I still haven’t refinished. But it will be in a closet and not out in the bedroom, so it’s fine. So long as there is light. Otherwise… make-up by tap lights.
Anything black and gold? Negative.
My mood swings are out of control. One minute I am on top of the world in happiness, then I snap with any minute form of stress with frustration. The next, I am a weepy mess. I am so freaking sensitive. I’m naggingly asking my boyfriend is he’s “OK,” when in reality, it’s ME that is NOT OK.
And this time, I cannot blame it on my birth control.
I think I am in the midst of a grieving process.
Denial and Isolation. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
Psychology classes come in handy.
But can you feel those all at once?
And the intensity of these emotions (stages) brings about a LOT of stress. So much so, that you almost cannot grasp at anything seemingly normal; hence, the frustration.
I’m totally excited to move, don’t get me wrong, but I’m feeling tiny pangs of sadness for what I am leaving behind. The truth is, we likely won’t be back in Cleveland (at least on a full-time residential status) any time soon. There are no children in our future, so we won’t return to have our kids here. And frankly, the job market — outside of manufacturing, so the news tells me — is pure shit, so that certainly won’t bring us back either. My family is so dispersed now, that I think even my dad should fulfill his ever-growing want to move to South Carolina. You know, he HATES the snow. I’ll eventually have to transfer to a new roller derby team (and in its growing awesomeness, there are leagues in most cities across the country now).
These are the reasons Clevelanders move away and typically return home.
I moved away once to Phoenix. I came back. Mostly because I longed for the boyfriend that I left behind. Secondly, because I didn’t like living in Phoenix all that much, aside from being close to my sister, of course.
But this time, I’m moving WITH my boyfriend (and subsequently driving him crazy with my “communication problems”). And Pittsburgh is kind of awesome.
And I want a kayak.
Anyway, I’m here for one more month in all my sappy, sobbing glory. Let’s at least plan a final Taco Tour.
I’ve been spending a couple days packing up my condo: a) because I have the “free time” and b) OMG I haven’t lived there in six months! It makes me feel sad.
I do NOT regret leaving the suburbs one bit — especially the insane and worthless condo association. More than anything though, I miss my stuff (especially my couch and my 800 pillows on everything). Our downtown abode just does not have enough space to contain everything I have collected over the course of four years. My belongings will eventually end up in a storage facility or moved to our next place — once we determine where that potential two-bedroom-ish in our price range place will be. Likely, I’ll go all Craigslist Ninja and sell most of my shit again.
I generally do all my own packing — Ugh, I hate packing. Although the months worth of sales fliers (which seems to be the only thing the post office delivers anymore) were greatly helpful at wrapping dishes and like-fragile items. There was a shit ton of stuff to throw out and/or sell from my kitchen, and I think we’re set on EVERY cooking utensil known to chef and man alike.
But let me tell you, movers make everything easier. I wish I could pay them to pack up everything for me. In my last REAL move from my ex’s house to my condo, I tipped extra for the guys to make the move OUT as quickly as possible. So, who cares that they appeared to take an extra hour in their lunch break. Right.
In my online quest for moving assistance, I found CityMove and oh, how much easier things could be! I have my own horror stories with movers, and just a quick tour of Google will tell you how many are dissatisfied with moving services – from personal items being broken or missing or companies holding trucks hostage for additional payments (yes, it HAPPENS people!). So, with this site, you have the moving company bid on your move — it’s like comparing insurance rates online. How awesome for New York movers, right?
Taking residence at my condo was the longest I went without a change of address form. It’s bittersweet, the move and all. And while, I officially moved six months ago, the Packing Of The Things is finally making the change a reality. Can you be sad and happy all in one moment — because this is the only way I can describe it.
Out with the old — in with the boyfriend! *snicker*