Goodbye to the Floor – Literally

Feb 2, 2014 by

A glimpse of my previously pretty living room

A glimpse of my previously pretty living room

          My apartment symbolizes my ability to make things happen for myself. Within days of saying that I wanted to live in this building, I was doing it. At the time, I hadn’t even been planning a move. More representative of my determination is that I had unknowingly wanted to live here since I was 15. Upon signing the lease, my landlords mentioned that models of my condo unit were on display in the mall years ago, making me realize that the unit I was renting was one I had viewed with my dad as a teenager. I distinctly remember telling him that I would one day live where I now live.

          This home, though shared with Olivia until yesterday, has always felt more like mine. I found it, I fought for it (someone else wanted it, but had no chance compared to my organizational skills and financial sense that had impressed my landlords), I secured it, I furnished it, and I cared for it. This apartment and I bonded from the moment I first walked in. I vividly remember taking a wooden elevator up to a cement hallway of the then unfinished building, wondering what the fuck I was getting myself into. Then, I opened the door to my soon-to-be home: a newly built, polished apartment with stainless steel appliances (love!), hardwood floors (love more!), and a view that made me momentarily stop breathing (God, I’m going to miss my view).

          This is the first place that has ever truly felt like my home, and I say that inclusive of my parents’ house. When I moved in, I finally understood all of that “your home is your sanctuary” crap. I decorated it – something I never did to my childhood bedroom or any of my three student dwellings – to solidify it as my place, presenting my nostalgic sense of style. It was here where I first experienced the feeling of walking through the front door of somewhere that I belonged, where I didn’t feel like I was imposing on anyone. When we moved in, I remember Olivia saying, “This is going to be a good chapter in our lives. I can feel it.” While that statement is eerie with irony given our split, and although I spent some of the worst days of my life here, it is in this apartment that I chose happiness. I’ve cried on enough bathroom floors to turn doing so into a metaphor for depression, but it is on this apartment’s bathroom floor that I cried to the point of getting up. Today, my home was decomposed. Due to the pipe burst that occurred earlier this week, my water-damaged hardwood floors had to be ripped out of my living room and bedroom.

Look at those floors!

Look at those floors!

          Yesterday, I came home from Starbucks, not only to an empty space in my bedroom where Olivia’s bed used to be, but to greet construction workers waiting to rid me of my floor. Unprepared to be suddenly floorless, I politely asked if they could give me the night to speak to my landlords and get my furniture out. (My couch is white. I was not about to have it dusted grey with debris.) I couldn’t reach my landlords to update them, but I was able to get a hold of my dad. Within an hour and a half, despite last night’s snow storm, he arrived with one of my sisters and her boyfriend to help me move all furniture out of my apartment except for my bed. (I have amazing people in my life. I know. P.S. My sister’s boyfriend totes earned a future-brother-in-law ballot. He’s fairly new, so he hardly knows me, yet this guy came straight from work to help. How sweet!) Miraculously, we finished in time for me to hop into the shower in preparation to go downtown with my friend. I must say, by this point, I was feeling justifiably proud of my ability to cope with life. In the same day, I saw the last of my eight-year best friendship and my apartment as I knew it, and I was still able to throw on a dress in time to hit a club as an undercover researcher for my friend’s thesis. (By the way, I was club-ready in a timely manner despite being unexpectedly without a blow dryer when I stepped out of the shower. Olivia had taken it with her. My friend was coming in under an hour, so air drying my drenched hair was not an option. I had to get creative. Through the snow, I ran over to my condo’s facilities centre, where I go to the gym, and used the hand dryer in the bathroom to suck water out of my dripping strands. That hand dryer paused every fucking five seconds, but I successfully got my hair to the damp point. My straightener seared it the rest of the way dry. Hair mission accomplished! Evidently, I am super girl.)

          Honestly, dealing with the aesthetic changes to my apartment hasn’t been a big deal. My main concern was that my apartment would be unlivable, preventing me from having February to myself. Though I was initially caught off guard when Olivia told me that she’d be moving out early because her new place required her to begin renting on February 1, I quickly realized that this meant I was going to get to actually – not pretend – live on my own for an entire month. When the construction workers told me that my apartment would be without floors for the remainder of my tenancy, I was worried that the me time I had been looking forward to was about to be taken with my floorboards. Fortunately, this would not be the case. The construction workers confirmed that I could have my month; I would just be situated in my apartment’s skeleton.

          Thus, this morning, before I allowed my home to be skinned to its bare bones, I needed to say goodbye. When the construction workers knocked on the door, I used my cute smile for all it’s worth to ask for ten more minutes, which they granted. After all, it was important. I left them in the hall, and proceeded to whirl around my empty living room in typical solo-dance-party fashion, air guitar in my hands and Arctic Monkeys’ Arabella in my ears. I needed my feet to slide across that floor in happiness one last time. As I briefly escaped into my own little musical world, I felt free – free of anger, free of resentment, free of Olivia’s Maria that I didn’t want to be anymore. The part I was afraid of had arrived, and it was already fabulous.

Look at those non-floors!

Look at those non-floors!

          My home has now been deconstructed. I adore it even though it is currently a hot (80-degrees-Fahrenheit-with-the-heat-off hot), concrete wind tunnel. I don’t believe in signs, but the physical evidence that this chapter of my life is coming to a close could not be more blatant. And so, I have reluctantly begun to accept that I must soon bid farewell to the apartment that knows all of me – the walls that witnessed me at both my most depressed and my most happy thus far, the ceiling that sheltered me when I ran out of places to run, the beloved city-like view that I found in the suburbs, the kitchen that woke with me in the middle of the nights as I ate peanut butter by the spoon, the beautiful living room that housed my solo dance parties, the balcony that kept me company while writing The Happiness Experiment on late summer evenings, and the only bathroom floor from which happiness emerged.

Happiness Tip: Love where you live.

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  1. When Music is Yours - Press Play Pro - […] forever remind me of dancing around my apartment during my last month living there, after it was stripped of…

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