Saturday, January 8, 2011

My First Place

I lived in a storage center much like the places rented out for sixty dollars a month.

It doesn’t sound pretty or even livable but it actually was. My landlords called it a junior one bedroom apartment. It was 530 square feet of fun. The layout was simple. A hallway entrance led into a living room adjacent to a small kitchen and in the corner tucked away was the bedroom, all the closet space a woman could want, and bathroom. As a bonus, it all spilled out onto a balcony. I had a lovely view of the street and Chevron gas station.

For the first two months, I didn’t have much. “We all started out that way,” friends told me. I had my clothes, pots and pans, my childhood twin mattress, one chair, some stools, and a loaned futon which doubled as my couch. I didn’t have a television, a proper kitchen table or anything else. My kitchen table was the portable picnic table that came in the trunk of my 2003 Honda CRV. It felt good to eat on an $18,000 piece of plastic. I may not have had much furniture but I did have a high end piece.

I began to acquire stuff. My needs turned into wants and my wants forced me to become resourceful. My monthly budget left me with little money for decorating. I turned to friends and family for hand me downs and to salvage what was collecting dust in their homes. My apartment became the storage center for items that were no longer used in other people’s homes.

It was a simple trade. I freed up space in their homes and I got use out of my newfound treasures. I had chairs in all different styles. I got a full size mattress and box spring along with a dresser. My twin mattress went back to my parents' house and I finally had a big girl bed. While these items looked like clutter in my relatives' homes, they looked brand new in mine. Some of my best hand me downs were a brand new magazine rack, a director’s chair, various kitchen utensils, bowls and cookware.

When everything had taken shape, I decided to host my very first housewarming. I invited way too many people over for my space. My friends spilled over into the bedroom and out on to the balcony. The noise level was deafening and the lack of food prodded me to order four large pizzas for delivery. I was drunk when the delivery man came and I stiffed him on the tip because I couldn’t count. I vowed never again to get blasted at my own party. A classy hostess has everything under control.

My housewarming was a success. It gave me a chance to show off my digs and catch up with friends. I even got a few gifts. I will never forget my first apartment. It was, and always will be, the home where a pack of raccoons decided to stalk me. I remember that I was so scared one day that I hid in my car for half an hour.

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