Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brave new world

I've been all over the place about what to write. Probably because all of my stuff is all over the place, and I have clothes and hygiene products on three floors due to the re-moving into our house a week and half ago. I do not deal with clutter well. In college and law school I would clean my entire dorm room or apartment and do all of the laundry and grocery shopping (Ramen? Check. Diet Coke? Check. Takeout menus? Check. Chocolate covered espresso beans? Check.) before final exams because otherwise I could not study because the mess would stress me out and I would have to clean it, thereby not studying, thereby stressing even more. Controlling? Type A? Me? Hence, because my stuff is scattered, I am scattered. I'm also only half-assed or maybe even quarter-assed effective at doing anything about it because most of my day is spent tending to this precious little monkey.
But we're getting there. Everything almost has a place in the kitchen. Except the damn can opener, because we can't find any of them. We are sure we had at least two when we left the house, and now we have none. Every other kitchen gadget known to man, yes, but a can opener? No. U cannot has can opener. I refuse to buy a new one because THEY HAVE TO BE HERE SOMEWHERE. Somewhere.

We're learning to live in our house all over again, because it's kind of the same, but also really different. We have more space in some places; less space in others; and a new little resident and all of her belongings to find room for. Since our basement is now actually nice and not creepy, we can't just chuck everything down there haphazardly anymore. This means Organizing. Lots. Necessitating a trip to the Container Store and two (2) shopping carts(!) full of boxes, bins, and baskets. We're getting there. Rather than complain about less space in certain places -- like in our accidental new bathroom vanity, because the old vanity which had all kinds of nifty storage space was mistakenly thrown out -- I am trying to be Zen and use it as a reason to have less stuff. We are mercilessly sorting, tossing and donating. We're like our own "Clean House" show, except that we actually want to get rid of the stuff and aren't deranged clingy pack rats like the people on those shows. We have a few weak spots: me = model and toy horse collection from childhood; Seth = allll the history books from allll his history classes in college. But Progress is being made.

I oversaw the removal of the beige rental furniture from the rental apartment last week, and it was a surprisingly emotional couple of hours. We brought Helene "home" to that apartment, we did so many of her first things there - baths, smiles - and we spent many hours playing, cuddling, napping and nursing in that apartment on that rented furniture. I got weepy at saying goodbye to the place where Helene spent her first sleepy newborn days with us, where we graduated from being a couple and really became a family.

It was a simpler life there, a bubble of babyness, in that small apartment. Very few of our clothes and personal items were there (well, with the exception of the piles of baby things)- just what we really needed every day - and the few rooms of the place revolved around Helene at their center. It got more complicated when we moved home to our creaky, drafty, beloved old house, packed squirrel-like with our hoards of boxes and books and cherished tchochkes, all the accumulated furniture and belongings of our lives until now.

Though it feels undeniably good to be home, worlds are colliding a la George Costanza as I work to mingle my pre-baby life with my post-baby life. Some observations: (1) "Lady Chatterly's Lover" now shares my bedside bookshelf next to Dr. Sears' "The Baby Book." (2) I had to resist the urge to use the baby bottle brush to wash a residue of cognac out from our brandy snifters (but it would have been just the right size to fit through the narrow mouth of the glasses!). (3) I now lay on the living room rug for Tummy Time with Helene with a Reidel glass of vidal blanc in my hand.

So we're still working on finding new places for everything, and our place in the new everything, figuring out how to live with Helene in our half-new house, fitting all the puzzle pieces together again in a new picture. The weather has been warm, so Helene and I strolled to the dry cleaners, where they'd missed us and they oohed and aahed and tickled the baby so much I was kind of afraid they would steal her. Then we walked to one of our neighborhood coffeehouses for an absurdly caloric milkshake because, hey, I'm nursing and I need calcium. Helene snoozed in the Ergo on the way home as I walked slowly to watch the afternoon light on the detailed woodwork on the rowhouses in the blocks near our house. I turned the last corner, and brought Helene in the door of our old-new home, our own new world.

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