filling a phantom house

Posted: January 16, 2011 in domestication, expatriate, marriage, wife, husband, house

This 1200 square foot apartment becomes cavernous.  A wall is empty where the bookcase used to be; the books already packed and lining the walls where they wait to be joined by boxes of clothes and shoes. The sofa has been gone for a week.  This Friday, the empty spaces will become larger: the washer, the fridge, the dining room table, the big desk and the two papasan rockers will be gone.  The side effects of divestiture have begun to set in.  The idea of not having things is liberating; however, the actualities are life-altering.

Life without a fridge, for example, makes me rely on others to feed me.  Life without a washer means I have to hand-wash everything.  Life without a dining table means we eat at the coffee table seated in our beach chairs.  An old table that I found abandoned somewhere will hold my computer and my printer.  The clothes in the closet will almost all be packed up by the end of tomorrow.  The next two weeks in this apartment will be Spartan.  We are hoping against hope that the guy who bought our bed doesn’t come a-knocking anytime soon; I sold the floor mats long ago.

I will approach this as a training session for living out of my bag.  For instance, there is no hurry to send my clothes home, but I’ll soon start wearing virtually the same two sets of clothes.  Also, I’ll wane myself off of home cooked meals, at least the ones that produce leftovers that need refrigeration.  By the same token, I need to take more steps to wane myself off the internet.  The compulsive checking of sites is the result of nerves, boredom and planning; certainly, I am trying to get enough face time with my family before I resort to the one-way correspondence.

Nic will join me in some of these endeavors; however, I see that she is dealing with the trauma induced by the current deletion of stuff project by spending the entire morning filling out our wedding registry, filling the spaces in our phantom house/apartment in some unknown city in Anywhere, USA.  Emptying this house and trying to fill a fictitious one are stark reminders of the many variables that remain ahead of us in this year.

I love her for all the work she puts into this because, as is fairly typical of the male race, I hate shopping; I hate it even more when the options are seemingly endless in the infinitude of cyberspace.  This morning, she made it easier for me by showing me the options for salt and pepper grinders, chef’s knives and crock pots.  Now, she’s researching TVs, and I soon have to weigh in on the options she’ll give me.  LCD?  LED?  Plasma?  LG?  Samsung?  Toshiba?  Hell, I don’t know; I’ve not owned a TV in six years.

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