Surfing the Flux aka Living My Schtick

I’ve arrived in St. Paul and settled into the place I’ll be working in this winter. A sweet, single family home that needs a little rest and recuperation before taking on the job of rental unit in the spring.

house emtpyThe house is pretty much cleared of the stuff to be moved out. What’s left; a handful of boxes, some plants and a few wall hangings, sit quietly in the living room awaiting transport to the owner’s new home. The things I’ve brought with me occupy a relatively small space, leaving most of the house with that echo of an empty home.

When I left Philly, a story in itself, I packed to the inch and ounce of what the airline would allow for a carry-on and one checked bag. This means that eight totes, comprising the rest of my household, are waiting for me to come back and get them.

floor to refinishCurrently, in the dining room, a borrowed writing desk and art table sit under yellow and orange holiday lights strung up for that faux-summer feel. My bedroom set consists of only an inflatable mattress and a yoga mat, and I’m alright with that. What I am feeling the lack of is a comfy loveseat into which I would curl up and read in the sun. Hmmm… I feel a certain deja vu.

The handful of kitchen utensils I brought with me, including my knives, peeler, and wooden spoons, did not include a can opener. Yesterday, due to my stubbornness to not buy a duplicate of anything I left behind, I used the basement floor to open my can of black beans. (Were I outdoors I would use a stone, but the concrete was actually just as good.) For anyone thinking I rammed the can against the pavement towards gooey prosperity, there is a better way. By using a gritty surface, like that of a stone or brick, you can rub the top rim of the can away until you see a seam and then squeeze the can a little to pop the lid off. For a visual demonstration, there are videos on Google showing just how it’s done.

carpet paddingThere is something mindful for me about living in a house in transition, beyond the obvious benefits of a spartan existence. I get to witness the building’s personality emerge to the fore as things are whisked away. Soon will be the day it exhales and stands just a little taller, shrugging off the years of wear and tear as walls are washed, patched, and painted; and floors are refinished.

There is also something energizing about occupying a place between occupants. My being here specifically to change a home for the better, and then leaving it for someone else to enjoy, charges me up with glee. I feel kind of like a contrary caterpillar, especially when doing this in the winter. Within this house, like an already spun cocoon, I transform its interior and when spring arrives I will fly away leaving it bright and shiny and ready for the next inhabitants.

sunflower house

Yet another enjoyable way to spend the winter.