I Have No Idea Why I'm Here

I'm sitting in my living room 'studio,' surrounded by laptop, camera, crafting, and about ten cups of coffee, writing a short story.  On mornings without data work, I become an unfocused, creative whirlwind.  If I don't force myself to focus on one thing at a time, I accomplish nothing.  Or half of ten things, if I'm lucky.  Today, I am writing about a person who only owns thirty items.

The doorbell rings.

As stupid as it may sound, I always freak out when the doorbell rings.  In my defense, this is the first functioning doorbell I've ever had, and it is an absurdly loud one at that.  I always scream when mail is delivered.  This is followed by the Thirty-Key Fumble (because I still haven't figured out exactly why I have thirty keys but only two doors), an inevitable "Aha!", and I open the door to see:

My landlord.  (He's a real sweetheart; I kind of love him.)

It dawns on me, all of a sudden, that I have forgotten about the appointment with the realtor.  Even if I had remembered, I wouldn't have expected one landlord, four realtors, and three potential buyers, give or take, all dressed to the nines and carrying large clip-pads.

I'm standing in the midst of all this, answering the door in a bewildered manner that plainly says "I have no idea why I'm here," as opposed to "welcome to my home, and come in."  I had honestly meant to miss this appointment.  You know, go downtown and wait for the realtor to have done with the thing.

My appearance doesn't help.  They're wandering around my empty minimalist apartment in silk ties and classy heels, and I'm a barefoot hobo in my old blue jeans, hippie jewelry, and Miley Cyrus tank top.  Yes, I am wearing a Miley tank top.  I don't know where I got the thing which means it's probably not mine, but I often wear it when I'm crafting, and boy does it show.

I feel like an awkward teenager who is waiting for the parents to come home, and wish I was wearing something else.  Anything else.  The purple dress even.  Tangent: Speaking of the purple dress:

I bought this dress over a year ago, and I have yet to wear it outside my apt.  I rarely ever wear purple, pink, or floral, but for some reason I bought it anyway.  I think it was the pockets that sold me on the thing.  So what do you think?  Would you wear it?  Or is it too bright?  (If you are a man, you are excused from participating.)


My landlord is trying to tell me something, and all I can think about is this quote from the Gilmore Girls.  It's Rory's first day at Chilton, and Lorelai's clothes are all at the cleaners.  They're late; she flies downstairs in cut-offs and ti-dye (I live in these things, actually), and Rory says, "I didn't know the rodeo was in town."

Someone else arrives.  She asks me a question, and I mumble something about how, "I think I live here."

Now let me ask you: what do you do when your home is full of strangers with clip-pads, who are asking you things like, 'can I wear my shoes in the house' and 'do you mind if I look in there'?  Or does this ever happen to you?  Do you serve them coffee?  I think this might be a very Danish thing to do, but it seems weird in my American way of thinking.  I'll admit, when the housing market went bust and we were trying to sell The Fort (our South Carolina fixer-upper), I used to bake muffins when potential buyers would visit.  I was desperately hoping this would convince someone to purchase our muffin-scented money-pit dump, and possibly distract them from realizing it was fifty years old and completely  falling apart.  And then, when they decided that no, they didn't want to repeat our mistakes, we at least had muffins to cheer us up.

That being said, I don't own a muffin pan in this country, nor am I responsible for making a sale.  I just want to move to a cheaper apartment so I can save extra money and spend my last year's worth of weekends in Europe traveling.  As much as I love watching the boats on the fjord and the sunset every evening (from my living room, no less), we don't need this much space.  There is an entire bedroom in this apartment dedicated solely to Isaac's teepee.  No really, there's nothing else in there.  All of our clutter is in a storage unit in Georgia.  Actually I think I sold everything that fell into the category of clutter when I entered my recent minimalist phase.  Who needs all that stuff anyway, especially when you're a temporary resident in a foreign country.  Which brings me to my third reason for wanting to move: it's about that time.  Some deeply-rooted part of me has a yen for semi-nomadic living which is due, in part, to childhood cross-country road trips.

So no coffee then.  Instead, I thank the stars I've taken the dictionary pages off the hallway doors and painted over the blue elephants I drew on Isaac's walls, pray no one will notice my green-and-white striped panties line-drying on the shelving unit near the oven (Life Without Dryer), and hide in my kitchen for the remaining forty-five minutes, trimming my chive plant until it is all but gone and organizing my tea cabinet.  (Sadly, I'm almost out of Trader Joe's Mint Melange.  Must buy more tea.)

To kill time (and feel less stupid while standing in a kitchen corner), I send Tim text messages about our multicultural lives.  You know, it's a funny thing.  We live in Denmark; his boss is Israeli and co-workers are Chinese, mine are American; our landlord is from Jordan; we go to a Vineyard church with people from all over Europe, Africa, the Philippines, and Venezuela; our child attends a Danish kindergarten; and the guy who lives downstairs is of unknown decent (we have a running bet about this guy because the fact of the matter is, he looks Japanese-Mexican). 

We finish the conversation off by discussing Tim's paper in the Journal of Solid State Chemistry.  I get a kick out of this paper because the title is: Thermoelectric transport properties of polycrystalline titanium diselenide co-intercalated with nickel and titanium using spark plasma sintering.  Yep, he wrote that. (But what does it mean?!)

Finally they are all leaving.  We say our goodbyes in two languages, and I go back to writing my short story about the person with thirty items.  By the way, if you could only choose ten of your things to keep, which would they be?  This isn't a fire drill; you have time to weigh out your options.  Your family and pet are fine; the clothing you're wearing doesn't count.  (I used to play these kinds of mind games as a child; I know how to cover my bases.)  What ten things would you keep?

... And that was my Wednesday morning.  How was yours?


  1. Sounds like a crazy morning. One of those things that passes in a blur but it's a slow blur and you feel like you're looking through a haze. I hope you have luck finding a cheaper apartment.


  2. I so need to go minimal. I have enough storage bins in the basement full of crap, to open my own goodwill center.

    I hate having strangers in the house for 5 minutes let alone 45 MINUTES! How you stood it, whether barefoot or be-stileto'd I will never know. I would have had to make a dash somewhere else.


    PS- My computer guru friend may have found an answer to your reply question. She posted it on my page for you. Cheers!

  3. Love the story! I'm buried in about 50 pounds of roma tomatoes, 5 pumpkins that are bug covered and not edible enough to puree and freeze (bummer), but they make great decorations. I have tomato sauce reducing and my kitchen smells like an Italian restaurant. I just picked a giant pot of all types of peppers and one spaghetti squash. I sit here and look out and my forever forgotten flower bed that is overflowing with weeds....maybe that's tomorrow's job. Long day here today.

  4. i love this story. i am going to have to think of the 10 things to keep and think long and hard about it. i'm probably as far from a minimalist that there is, but i secretly want to be one. i love hoarding too much though!

  5. First of all I love the floral dress and think you should wear it more often it looks great...secondly I completely understand wanting to live the nomadic lifestyle...I have Amercian Red Indian blood from my grandfather and every couple of years I get the urge to up and move...but my practical side kicks in and we stay put for the kids stability with schooling but once they're grown and gone Im hitting the road....I'm glad you surived what sounds like 45 minutes of hell too...I hate being surprised by things Ive forgotten about....take care xo

  6. I've entered a sort of minimalist stage too here lately. I guess moving to an entirely new place can do that to a person. I don't know about you, but sometimes I get those "Into the Wild" type urges too..

    Ten things... mmm ..
    Seeds (gotta grow some food)
    Box of writings from elementary school to present.
    Sewing machine
    Crafting supplies
    Necklace from my Mr.

  7. I always love reading what you have to say. It just makes my day.

    I also think that dress is darling--a keeper for sure:)

  8. I love that dress on you! Would I ever wear it outside...absolutely not...but that's because I would look like I am flaunting my chest...and I'm not complimenting myself...its always a challenge for me to find something that doesn't make me look like Christina Aguilera on The Voice (Its a new TV show - in case you haven't seen it because you live in a foreign country?).

    As far as an entertaining Wednesday...I drove 4 1/2 hours from Knoxville after sitting for 5 hours staring at a system watching it take data points. I would have rather liked being invaded in my home...would have been slightly more exciting than what I was doing.

    Tell Tim I said Congrats on his paper! Also, tell him Dr. Tritt has congratulated him in group meeting 3 times now. He's slightly proud.

  9. I hate strangers and doorbells too. I even sort of have an anxiety attack when my phone rings. I don't know what's wrong with me.

    Ironically, though, my iphone would probably be on the list of 10Things. Ha.

    Other items on that list..hmm...

    My journal, a pen, a good book or three, my favorite dress, a pair of high heels, etc. :)

  10. I would only take my cell phone and bank card and figure out survival as I go. There isn't much time for thinking about what you need in cases of emergency. Ya know? Btw your artwork is really impressive. I really appreciate a good peice of art. If you ever have a spare moment check out my key charms on Etsy. MemeFashion


( hippies always welcome )