June 8, 2011

I spent my first couple of years out of college living on $6-7 an hour.  I had a roommate splitting living expenses with me, and mucked stalls to pay for my horse’s board at the stable where she lived.  I didn’t do a lot, or buy a lot.  (I wrote a lot, though…)  It’s sometimes tough getting out of that mindset, even years later, when I have something resembling a real middle class income.  Buying brand names instead of generic still feels kind of naughty.  I have to occasionally remind myself that yes, I can buy that CD/T-shirt/whatever, because it isn’t going to keep me from eating next week.  At restaurants, I still sometimes catch myself reviewing the menu according to what’s cheapest.

I’ve been feeling this acutely over the last couple of months, because I’ve just moved into a much nicer place than what I moved out of.  I was in an apartment.  I’m now in a house with a basement, fenced yard, real kitchen (and not a skinny-butt galley kitchen), and so on.  Really, my whole life has gotten a huge upgrade.  I’m feeling a bit like a hermit crab who waited too long to shed the old shell, and the new one is just a little too big.  I’m having to unkink my limbs and convince myself I deserve this.  I’ve given myself permission to go crazy with new furniture (thank you, foreign sales of Kitty books!) — I desperately wanted a new desk and a real bed.  And boy is that weird.

Just a few upgrade examples:

  • I slept on a futon — the same futon — for about 15 years.  It was a nice futon with an upgraded foam core, but still.  I didn’t mean to keep it so long, it just happened.  It never seemed the right time to buy a real bed, at first because I didn’t have money, and then because the living situation didn’t seem to warrant it.  I kept saying, “I’ll buy a bed when I move.”  Well, I moved, and I have a bed.  My first real bed as an adult.  How weird is that?  My last new bed was when I was three and my baby brother came along and kicked me out of the crib.  Every night this past week, I’ve felt like I’m sleeping in a hotel.
  • In the old place, my office and craft/sewing space were the same room.  And gawd was it a mess.  The closet was filled with old manuscripts and bags of fabric.  Since I worked at the desk, I kept the sewing machine on a shelf.  And sewed standing up, at the shelf.  I’d drape fabric pieces over the chair and hope I didn’t spill pins on the carpet.  This week, I’m sewing a specialized piece of garb for an event on Saturday.  I bought a new desk, and my old desk is the new sewing table.  The office is the office, and the craft/sewing space is in the basement.  I’m sewing sitting down, which means I can sew more and better.  I can spread out instead of holding things in my lap to pin them.  Bliss.  I see much more sewing in my future.
  • Every time a book of mine comes out, I get a box of author copies from the publisher.  A lot of them get given away.  But I like to keep a few around for whatever.  Plus, I get a copy of every anthology I appear in.  Plus, I get a lot of books in general.  If you’ve been following my career the last couple of years, you know how many books that is.  Now, imagine all those boxes of books in my living room, which is where they were in the old apartment.  Not good.  Cramped hermit crab images again.

So yeah.  Big changes in my world over the last couple of months.  This was complicated by some good old Murphy’s Law intervention — I tried to time the move for when I didn’t have any deadlines and wasn’t traveling.  Well, the move got delayed by a month when the first place I had my eye on fell through.  Then I got sick with that hideous ear infection, I started traveling, and I’ve been trying to slip the move in between trips.  Add a couple of unexpected story rewrites for anthologies in there…  Life hasn’t felt normal in a while.  And now the upgrade.  I’m kinda freaking out.

I was in that apartment for exactly 7 years.  This is the longest stretch of time I have lived in a single place, ever.  I am so out of practice moving, it’s appalling.  I have so many more books now than I did seven years ago!  But it so needed to happen, and it has, and life is good.

Lily is adjusting.  The thing she isn’t liking is the constant stream of strangers coming in and out, delivering the new furniture, making repairs, hooking up cable, fixing the lawn, etc.  She’d be settling in better if not for that.  She’s stopped going voluntarily into her kennel, because that’s where I keep throwing her when strangers come by.  But she’ll get there.  So will I.  I hauled myself back to a regular writing schedule this week, and that’s made a big difference.

As long as I’m writing something, the rest doesn’t seem so chaotic.


26 Responses to “Moving”

  1. LupLun Says:

    Personally, I would have stuck with the apartment. Move to a bigger apartment, yeah, an actual soft bed is nice, but a house means a lot of work. The larger area means more time spent cleaning and more furnishings to dust. There’s also weekends spent mowing lawns or tending to bushes, dealing with roof shingles, siding, etc., to make sure the place doesn’t collapse on you. Always found that to be way too much work.

    You’re a tough cookie though, I’m sure you can handle it. ^_^

  2. carriev Says:

    Yes, I’m sure I can, or I would not have made the move.

  3. Joey C Says:

    Carrie, I’m afraid I’m with LupLun on this one. No woman can maintain a house on her own. That’s MAN’S work. And even if a woman could dust or hire a contractor for a roof leak, YOU are just too sheltered and incompetent to be that woman; that place is going to collapse on you. I mean, yeah, you can probably SURVIVE having a house, but it’ll be hard going and I’m not sure a lil lady like you is up to it. But you know, best of luck.

  4. Max Says:


    I call Movie night, your place… EVERY WEEKEND FROM HERE TO FOREVER because it’s that awesome!

  5. LupLun Says:

    Excuse me, that is not what I was saying, and please do not put words in my mouth. You honestly think men don’t dust or clean? What I was saying was that any home needs maintenance, and it needs it constantly. What you get out of it is offset by the amount of work you have to put into it, and there is a point of diminishing returns. I think a large house is past that point. Carrie apparently disagrees. Fine with me. You can take your straw men elsewhere, TYVM.

  6. carriev Says:

    I think the point is that your first comment sounded more than a little condescending, suggesting as it does that I don’t know what I’m getting into and that I’m making a mistake by taking this course.

    It’s the “tough cookie” phrase that did it for me.

  7. Celeste Says:

    I’m pleased your books have been successful enough that you *can* move and buy new furniture and have a yard! You’re one of the few authors I automatically pre-order. It’s nice to see a favorite author is succeeding; hopefully it’ll be incentive for you to keep writing.

  8. carriev Says:

    I’ve been very lucky. 🙂

    And yes, I will most definitely keep writing, in my shiny happy office!

  9. Joey C Says:

    @LupLun: Holy shit, you’re right! Any home needs maintenance! Thank GOD you were here to tell the lil woman that shocking tidbit.

    Look, you obviously don’t realize how utterly condescending and sexist your comment came off, regardless of how you intended it. Read it again and imagine yourself giving that advice to a 35-year-old man. Yeah, I know: now that I’ve said it, you’re going to say “of COURSE it’d be the same for a man” but you know and I know and everyone else here knows it’d never have occurred to you to say something like “you shouldn’t get a house, it might need repairs” to a man.

    I posted almost exactly what you did, I just highlighted the subtext. If you think there is a difference between my post and yours beyond my obvious hyperbole, you really need some introspection.

  10. carriev Says:

    And this is why I hardly ever blog about personal stuff…

  11. LupLun Says:

    To the contrary actually, I was impressed that you had the determination to make such a big move, because I know that I wouldn’t.

    Apparently, the need to revise doesn’t just apply to my novels. >_< Sorry.

  12. Stephanie G. Says:

    Congratulations on your new home, Carrie!! I wish you all the best in your new endevour!!

  13. Stephanie G. Says:

    All the rest of you need to calm down, take a deep breathe, and stop fighting. You sound like brothers and sisters at each other’s necks!! We are all SUPPOSED to be adults here, right???

  14. carriev Says:

    Thanks, Stephanie! (for the congrats and the call to reason!)

    And LupLun, this really has been a long time coming, and it really is the right move for me. Feels like a whole new chapter opening up. I’m very excited!

  15. Chris Says:

    I’m really excited for you! It sounds awesome. I know the “I have to save up for a CD” feeling, and I can’t wait for the “I don’t have to pick the cheapest think on the menu” feeling. CongraTulations!

  16. Anju Says:

    Congrats on the house! When I first moved into mine a year ago, it freaked me out. I’ve gotten to feel really comfortable there.

    There is a pretty thick layer of dust over everything in my house. I’m okay with that, though.

  17. DebbieW Says:

    Yup, a house *is* a big move but observing how you plan for things & can prioritize, you’ll probably do better than we did when we bought a house (our one & only … so far) 15 years ago. Less than a month after we moved in, we had to fix a leak in the natural gas line in our backyard! AARRGH!! There went the savings! 😦

    But it’s a good investment (financially, creatively & personally) & I am thrilled for you & Lily! Our “little author” is growing up!! ENJOY!!!

  18. Re WIlliams Says:

    🙂 Congratulations on the move. Hope Lily adjusts quickly. We just moved from an apartment to house and are loving it. (Music room / sewing room / office all in one really big room instead of one so small you couldn’t turn around.) Oh and now there’s no neighbor under us waking me up on nightly bathroom trips.

  19. Robert Says:

    Congratulations on taking time to enjoy your success.

    What is your take on e-books? They are much nicer when moving and I like the idea of carrying a library in my pocket but there is something special about a shelf full of books that just can’t be replaced by a file list.

  20. Beccy H Says:

    Congratulations on the move, enjoy the feeling of space while you can 😉 unless you are very disciplined you will fill it up. And bear in mind Quentin Crisps advice ‘I don’t dust, the dust doesn’t get any thicker after six years’ … or maybe not.

  21. Debbie W Says:

    But did Quentin have a dog to contribute shedded fur to the dust bunnies?? 😉

  22. Todd Says:

    Congrats on the house, and the new bed! I moved from an apartment into my house 15 years ago, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Yeah, I have to keep up the yard and there are more rooms to vacuum and dust, but wow, I love living here.

    Got my first real bed since childhood after I moved in here also. I was still sleeping on my twin bed that I’d gotten when I was eight. So I bought a new bedroom set and a king-sized bed, which is fantastic. So I know how ya feel.

    Anyway, enjoy your new digs, I’m very much looking forward to the next book.

  23. Beccy H Says:

    I don’t think Quentin had a dog, but given the rate the dust bunnies accumulate here I reckon you could probably cut that six years down by at least a year per dog owned.

  24. Congrats on the house (and of course the success that made buying a house possible). ‘Tis a lot of work, but I love owning the house, and I hope you will to.

    (Oh, and I noticed the fancy new comment thingy. Cool.)

  25. musicalmom Says:

    Congrats on owning your own first home. May you have much happiness in it!

  26. Barb Hendee Says:

    Carrie, I’m sooooo excited for you. This such lovely news.

    And I do understand what you mean about the “space.” You know how small our condo in Colorado was compared to this place. Both our cats were freaked out for a few weeks when we moved here, but soon they picked their favorite rooms, and Keiko loved the big back yard.

    Do you think your brother will talk you into raising chickens? (smiles).

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