05 July 2010

Initial observations

Independent living is hard!

Because I can't imagine what it must be like for those of you who must suffer on the sidelines without knowing every detail of my life, a review of Day One of the Independent Living Experiment:

The day dawned hot and humid (I'm still gunning for the Bulwer-Lytton Hall of Fame); I got up at about 5:30am, showered, loaded the car, stopped at Jackson's for coffee, and got HOME at about 7am. It was a soft landing, no outrageous emotion, and the place was clean and bright and ready (which made for a really gratifying homecoming). A friend showed up a few minutes later with McDonald's breakfast, Chicago mix popcorn (a vat of it), and 3 packs of Kowalski's iced ginger cookies (it was not a healthy eating day), and he started in washing windows because he wanted to. I mostly puttered from project to project not getting huge amounts of anything done. Another friend came over with an armful of bright orange Gerbera daisies, scrubbed the top of the kitchen cupboards (for hours, literally), changed my HVAC filter, and scrubbed down the laundry room. Yet another friend (sense a theme?) showed up with lunch, and proceeded to spend about six hours painting all the trim in both bathrooms. McDonald's Breakfast Friend (he will love his new nickname) painted two coats on the kitchen backsplash and it is so fricking stunning (you will need to come see it for yourself; I am the king of clever). I cleaned the closet really well and started organizing and unpacking it. I have so much room to put everything just so: a drawer for lightweight dress socks, a drawer for athletic socks, a drawer for wool socks. That sort of thing. When everyone left at about 6pm (which made me wonder if they were all gathering for cocktail hour offsite, to debrief and pat each other on the back for getting away from the headache that is me), it was very. quiet. I freaked out for a few minutes, not sure what to do. Dead silent. Freaky silent, actually. So I ate the dinner brought to me, and went for a nice walk around Lake of the Isles. When I got home later that evening, a good friend was sitting on my porch. We poured some champagne, and he talked and asked questions in a gentle way to get me crying a bit, and then we had a very helpful (I'm not kidding) ceremony. He had brought over sandalwood incense, and we walked around each room, smudging all the corners, and he had me state what I was grateful for, and what my intentions were, and we both recognized the complete hocus-pocus absurdity of it at the same time recognizing the very real help symbolic gestures are in mimicking the work and intent behind what we want our lives to be. It was the best hour of the week. We sat out on the porch until late, and I showered, went to bed and slept like a baby. Days 2-4 have proven to be less eventful, but productive and healthy and good. I'm glad to be home.


  1. Indeed independent living is hard! You are the one in sole control of your place. You make the decisions, you are the organizer, you are the leader. Most of the time this is fun--who doesn't like to be in charge and everyone loves to be "the king of clever" --and then it is also regularly exhausting. I keep thinking I might train my cat to clean the toilet, but alas that is my job too! Sounds like you had a soft landing on Friday with so many friends stopping by with food, labor and ceremony! In another context I had a friend suggest I pace myself. I think independent living calls for skill in pacing oneself, to mitigate possible exhaustion when multitudinous tasks keep lining up. Congratulations! Welcome to independent living!

  2. We on the sidelines have indeed been suffering from a lack of detailed information and are grateful to you for finally ending our misery. Especially since the information is good. Welcome home, Scott!

  3. You sound well on your way to mastering the art of taking care of yourself by yourself - and that is very good. It is often a letdown, after you've been with friends, to be left alone in your home. It's at these times that, though we love and appreciate all our caring friends, we know that the only reliable place to find our peace is within us. Sometimes still the thought of that is depressing to me, but humor and common sense and thoughtful introspection (in that order) teach lessons that will sustain. God Bless you on your journey.


As always, civility reigns, but cleverness trumps.

They shall be called my disciples.