Monday, June 26, 2006

She Lives

Last Friday I moved into my house. My house. My house. I keep whispering that phrase as I walk from room to room and ask myself, Am I in someone else's house or my own?

Nanuq is doing wonderfully. He spent Friday in his second-floor "room," which has a Winnie the Pooh wallpaper border that divides a yellow and turquoise wall. He jumped on the window sill and watched the pigeons overhead, then cried as I went downstairs to help the movers.

But by Saturday he was running up and down the stairs and sniffing in the corners. He loves the front picture window, where he sits and watches the neighborhood dogs walk by. He even met his first children, Kirsten and Deana, who visited me Saturday to play hide and seek. They picked up Nanuq and carried him around the house like a baby, snuggling him until he learned he could escape their clutches only by running from the room.

The last few weeks brought the "unsurprising surprises" of a house closing: last-minute work, a crisis over the closing date, checks arriving late. At times I wondered whether I would get the house. Nevertheless, here I am.

On Sunday I ran errands in my old neighborhood, Washington Square West, and I felt a pang of nostalgia. Among the things I will miss:
  • The bounty of a Whole Foods and a SuperFresh one block from home
  • Navi, the gray-and-white cat who lives in the Foodery and seems to bite everyone but me
  • My wonderful neighbors, particularly Lynn and Sophia, who presented me with a fruitcake as a housewarming gift three years ago and gave me a folder with a pretty blue border as a going-away present on Friday
  • Cuffs, the orange-and-white cat who lives at the local police station
  • Gay and straight couples strolling down Pine Street on Saturday afternoons
  • The occassional kiss from my neighbor's West Highland white terrier, who reminds me of my childhood dog
  • Knowing the names of the shop-keepers
  • The short walk to Center City
  • Nanuq looking through the bars in my window as I leave for work
  • The diversity of a living, breathing, crazy city just steps from my door
  • Feeling Lancelot's spirit living in the apartment with me

The things I won't miss:

  • My upstairs neighbors' air conditioner dripping on my head every time I walk in or out of the apartment
  • College students vomiting in the alleyway on Saturday nights
  • Needing 90 minutes to find a parking space Thursdays through Sundays and all summer long
  • Living without a fan or window in the bathroom, causing the paint to peel and the cat to try and eat it
  • White walls with cheap paint
  • Not having a door to shut on Nanuq or anyone else who might be visiting (or irritating) me
  • The temptation to eat dinner on my couch, since the couch was almost as close to my television as the kitchen table
  • Strangers ringing my doorbell at 2 am
  • Cat litter 10 feet from my bed and cat food 5 feet from my kitchen
  • Paying rent to a landlord