Tue, 14 Jun 2011 23:49:58 -0700
All of last week, I couldn't figure out why I was so wrecked. Three hours of jet lag -- the result of coming back from visiting Olivia, her very-soon-to-be-baby, and briefly, Swarthmore, out east the previous weekend -- sounded like a good excuse, until I realized that flying east-to-west ought to work in my favor. Between vacation, illness (somewhere in the last month my body forcibly took a weekend, two 16-hour days of nothing but sleep), and choir obligations (IOC did two master classes in a row with Ragnar Bohlin, the conductor of the SF Symphony Chorus, on Friday), I've only been working three-day weeks of late -- what's so exhausting about that? Why should I need both that afternoon espresso and to pass out on the orange couch in my office for 40 minutes in the afternoon, my head on the stuffed-animal silver tiger we got in Vegas a couple years ago, my shoulder being embossed by the wales of the upholstery, the timed light eventually flicking off as it sensed no movement in the office? Bleary upon waking, my knees buckled under me as I walked to the espresso machine. Daily.
It occurred to me somewhere in the middle of a long massage Thursday night that this might possibly -- just maybe -- be new-house-related stress. My conscious set of stressors ended with the presentation of the keys the evening of Thursday, May 26th (actually rather anti-climactic: my agent hid them in a flowerpot for me, since our schedules didn't align to meet up the day of close of escrow): I retrieved the keys, got Claire to help me bring 6 bottles of champagne, one magnum of sparkling rosé, and 50 glass flutes over to MY NEW HOUSE as its first furnishings, I sent word out with mere hours' notice, and I demanded that everyone come VALIDATE MY DECISIONS, now if you please. They did: Benjy brought Redbreast 15 and Nick brought a Bordeaux; Justin turned up in a velour smoking jacket; Trisha arrived with 10 pizzas from Delfina (now just down the block!) and Nathan brought kumquats and cheese (Bi-Rite! also now just down the block!); Cooper brought flowers which I stuck in an empty champagne bottle; Cody scrawled "NORI" in blue ballpoint pen on the painted wood behind the empty nameplate outside my door (MY DOOR!), which I only noticed upon exiting, in lipstick and the bias-cut strapless black dress I'd thrown on for the occasion, and I nearly fell down the front stairs laughing. It was exactly what I wanted: Validation of not only my purchase (holy crap that's a lot of money) (holy crap the "July 01 2041" date of maturity on my mortgage is so far in the future as to be meaningless), but validation of my life milestone. Signed, sealed, and fêted.
I think I had about a week of elation, and then realized that I had a huge June to-do list: Choose paint colors, get samples thereof, put them on the walls, decide they're not perfect, pick out better paint colors, order more samples, decide they are perfect, get gallons of paint, find painters, hire painters, find movers, hire movers, hire a company to drop off recycled plastic moving bins instead of cardboard boxes, PACK, find a faster ISP, set up Internet in the new place, start gas & electric service in the new place, figure out if I need to shut the gas off in the old place to disconnect my dryer before I can discontinue gas & electric at the old place, decide on wallpaper for my closets, order wallpaper samples, measure walls to be papered and order more, figure out how to hang said wallpaper and then do it, get quotes on recarpeting vs. installing hardwood in my new bedroom, re-key all the locks, find my mortgage account number, meet with the HOA... Why no, whyever would I be stressed?
I feel not only that I need to do all of this now, but do it right. What if I pick the wrong paint color? I've painted rooms before -- painted them lots of very, very bright colors -- and never second-guessed my aesthetic judgment. As I stood in my yet-empty house tonight after the HOA meeting upstairs had concluded, applying swatches of color wherever I chose (I felt like a vandal, wantonly taking brush to wall), I felt a rising sense of panic: I'm doing it wrong, and I'm playing for keeps now. What if I've chosen the wrong shade of purple for the living room? WHAT THEN?!?
The counterweight of validation continues, of course. As I stood agonizing over shades of pink for the bathroom this evening, Francesca tapped on the lattice between my window and hers, so I crawled out the window through the light well into her and Carlo's kitchen, where they fed me pasta: neighbors! And my wallpaper samples came yesterday: one gold with blue and brown leaves, pomegranates, and the occasional stern-faced monkey; one bright orange (ORANGE!!) with gold dragon motifs. On unfolding them from their envelopes, I must have started giggling maniacally; I certainly took the orange sample and ran into Jinnah & Astrid's office next to mine, brandishing the design, no explanation necessary but my evident glee. This is exactly why I bought a house: I can put monkeys or orange-and-gold dragons in it if I want! Or both!!
The multiple punctuation (!!) (!??!!!) (!!!!!!) will outweigh the anxiety in short order, I have no doubt. Really, all I need to do is move, and everything else is details, doable one by one. And, as I slowly catch up on sleep, the world as it looks from five blocks south begins to take shape.