Friday, September 24, 2010

Transitional Authority

Roughly a month ago, August 20th, we officially took ownership of the new place. The truth of what happened is very different.

On the morning o August 20th I went to Olympia, paid what needed to be paid, and began unloading the contents of my car. I then unloaded some of the contents of the storage unit, and created what amounted to a giant pile of stuff in the apartment which was basically uninhabitable. That night I stayed in Federal Way, but that had just as much to do with my plans for the weekend as it did with the state of the apartment.

The next Monday, on August 23nd, the process began in earnest. I continued to get things out of the storage unit, and with Adam's help I got the remaining large furniture moved in. I didn't start staying in the apartment overnight until the middle of that week, and Kevin didn't so much as see it until nearly two weeks after we took possession of it. The real story of my newly established domain takes place in those two weeks.

At first it was simply a process of getting things sorted out, but because it wasn't done with a great deal of haste or even a strong sense of imperative it became a much different task then it could have been. When you first move your life is ripe with promise. There is so much that could be done, and usually isn't, which is why this time was so important. I went through literally everything I own, trimming the metaphorical fat and making sure I only owned things I wanted, and needed. Every time something went from being part of a pile to being put somewhere it wasn't just being put away, it was being placed somewhere on the growing organizational structure that I was shaping. It was at a state of Tabula Rasa, and I had the time and the opportunity to think seriously about where things should go, why, and how well the established system would actually work given the nature of the inhabitants.

After countless times spent mulling over some item or another the system that evolved was one of categorical simplicity. There could be an area for bread, others for pastas, cans, mixes, flour etc. In the new domain it is simple. Food goes in the food closet. Do you need an envelope? A cable for some piece of electronics, printer paper, a pen, more paper towels, or perhaps some tape? Those are no longer items of individual concern, those are supplies, and in the hall you will find the Supply Closet.

The Kitchen went through its own process. I used to have five pots, and seven lids. I now have three pots, with no redundancy in style, and three lids. Each pot, and its associated lid, has a shelf in the cabinet to the right of the stove. Likewise I now only own three different pans, each one is specialized, and they form their own stacking system on top of the refrigerator. We went from having a mish mash of forks to having around eight identical forks. I regret that I could not do that with spoons and knives, but we had a limited supply of those. All of the spices are in one place, everything medical is in one place, and each of the four drawers has its own specified purpose. What I have now is something I've wanted for years. I have a kitchen which is simple, functional, and elegant.

This raised the issue of food. I'd been eating far too much fast food and restaurant food during those early days because I simply didn't have the means to cook anything. Now I had an empty refrigerator, and empty freezer, and a mostly empty food closet. What food you bring into your house effects how you eat, it effects how you live, and this is one of the few moments in life where I genuinely had the power to change that. I proceeded to buy exclusively ingredients. If I was going to eat something, I was going to cook it myself. I've been steadily eating healthier since.

When the bookcase was set up in the living room I had time to sit down and sort through them. It now has complete sets, in order, and a more precisely arranged collection of role playing books.

When I set up my room I intentionally left space for putting up a new whiteboard. When I have the funding I intend to start thinking on the walls again. I've almost forgotten how much that helped me outline and define my thoughts.

The first night I spent in my room was lit by a few flashlights. There are no overhead lights in the rooms, there are sockets controlled by light switches. In my room the light switch now controls a synthetic sunlight lamp. Upon the blank slate I have made my decree. My space will be lit by sunlight, and when the sun is down it will be lit by synthetic sunlight.

It's a new space, it's a new school, it's a new town, and I'm taking this opportunity to establish the new ways.