From Small Town Mouse to Small City Mouse

Things have been a bit crazy since I last posted.  ‘Tis the season for filing taxes, assembling the annual Scott County Republican Women‘s directory, assembling packets for Gloria Dei’s annual meeting, and taking on new things every day.  The latest new item is moving from Durant to Davenport.

I received a certified letter from my landlord on the last Tuesday in January, notifying me that my rent was increasing by about 30% a month, effective March 1.  My heart sank.  What timing.  I’m totally finding my groove with my semi-hippie lifestyle (sans hallucinogens), and that is when he decides to raise my rent for the first time in almost four years.  True, my rent was cheap to begin with.  But in exchange for that, I accept that my landlord does not do snow removal and also slowly responds to maintenance requests (even when it’s an urgent thing like not having water).  However, raising my rent and having to deal with those slum-lord-ish issues is not acceptable.

I allowed myself to be angry for about ten minutes before I went into action mode.  Anyone who has talked to me about housing during the past four years knows I have continually planned to move to the Quad Cities, only to put it off for another few months or another year.  Now I had my sign.  It was time to do it once and for all.

I’ve had my eye on The Davenport apartment building since doing some work for Landmark Properties as a Victory Enterprises consultant in late 2009.  I called them up, and they had two open apartments.  I looked and fell in love.  Then I crunched the numbers.  With the Durant rent increase, it would cost the same to live in either place.  Within two days of receiving the terrible rent increase letter, I had sealed the deal on a new place and literally opened a new door in my journey.

I am more city girl than country girl, but I’ve been living in a town without a stop light for nearly four years.  How does that happen?  Convenience and cheap rent.  It was easy to move my furniture in storage only four blocks down the road, especially after having hauled it across the country from Houston.  It was easy to commit to cheap rent and no lease.  And it was easy to be in close (lately too close) proximity to family after missing them for so long.

While Davenport is no Houston, it offers just enough city life to get me excited.  I will be within short walking distance of the Mississippi River, Rhythm City Casino, RME, Figge, and various restaurants.  And days after my decision was made, I found out RAGBRAI would be ending on Bix weekend, with everyone celebrating in adjoining streets to my new place.  I’ve found a place to belong!

Durant isn’t bad – it just isn’t me.  I have been able to live here only because I didn’t grow up in this small town.  No one really knows me, and I don’t socialize much here.  It’s my bedroom community.  Working at the church has introduced me to more people, but even that becomes suffocating when people comment on what they saw me doing outside of my car that morning, whether it was checking oil, scraping car windows, or looking ridiculous hauling too much in one trip between my car and apartment.

Moving is a great chance to reflect on a segment of life in one residence, while looking forward to a new start in a new place.  Whether it is moving across town, to a nearby town, or across the country, the act itself can be therapeutic.  I think back to where I was when I moved into this apartment in March 2007 and marvel at all that has happened in life since then.  I recall hosting a bachelorette party here and naming the various rooms “Powder Room”, “Ladies’ Lair”, and “Diva’s Den”.  I think about seeing this place trashed when I moved in and gradually transforming it into a cute place, with help from a little carpet shampooing, paint, and friends and family.

And now I have the opportunity to create new memories in a sixth floor downtown apartment.  I can’t wait to be a small city mouse and have new places to explore and people to meet.  I have splendid visions of my new artsy-fartsy decor, as well as not having to shovel myself out of my apartment in the foreseeable future.

snowed in

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Have a Little Faith

Yesterday seemed to be one of those days when all of my plans were flushed down the toilet.  

My church lady duties were all mangled up for the week.  Yet another funeral to complete bulletins for the day prior, random unexpected requests, you name it.  All in the day of a secretary, I suppose.  But with the annual meeting tasks piling up and the deadline quickly approaching, these hiccups were extra frustrating this week.

I am a woman of action, a woman of lists and getting things done.  I can be busier that a bee and will remain happy until I reach the point when things don’t get checked off my list.  Then watch out.

I was planning to go to a game night at friend Lexi’s house last night and had my Yellow Tail Shiraz and Scattergories all ready to go.  After receiving a call from a sick co-worker at Optical, I cancelled on game night and put on my red and khaki when the church lady duties were done (or done enough) for the day.

My two hours of down time in which I was going to cram in some Mel’s Cards, Red Goose Solutions, and Scott County Republican Women duties had vanished.  Sure, I still had Friday, but that’s my Gabriel day.  And I wouldn’t give that up for anything.  I often have an hour or so of nap time to do things, but by that point I want to nap too.

Then, as often happens, a phone conversation with my sister made me realize what was really happening.  I’m pretty sure she has no idea that our conversation helped me reach an inner peace – until she reads this.

I was calling to touch base about my babysitting start time while driving home from Optical last night.  When I asked her what time to be at her house, she paused, and then said, “Didn’t Jeremiah call you?”  Uh oh.  I got my brother in law in trouble.  I tried to cover it up with a “he-and-I-are-night-owls-and-the-night-is-young-enough-to-still-get-things-done” excuse, but she was still irritated.  He found out he had Friday off, so I didn’t need to babysit.

I was sad at first, but then I realized this would be the perfect opportunity to get all of my tasks completed by the end of this week.  And then I thought about all of the curves in the road earlier in the week.  They all worked out for the best too.

I was really looking forward to working at Target Optical on Monday night, but the weather interfered with my plans, as the doctor decided to stay home.  I was bummed because I had been off for over a week, with going to visit my grandma in the hospital and having taken off for an IFRW state meeting that never happened.  But then, even though it was a last minute addition, I had the opportunity to pick up extra hours last night.  And being a chance to help out a co-worker, it made sense to work.

My church tasks didn’t all get done, but changes arose in a couple of items that would have been even more frustrating had I already done all of the work.

Some church lady unwinding remedies:

My businesses were constantly placed on the back burner during everything else, but now I had a full day to focus on them.

I am a fairly religious person, but I don’t wear it on my sleeve.  I sometimes say a few silent prayers throughout the day to ask God to keep me grounded and give me perspective.  I also ask him for lots of things – and try to thank him for what I am blessed with.

Faith is a great thing.  Have a little bit of it, keep an open mind, and you’ll be surprised what happens.  Answers often do not come in the packages we expect, so we have to watch for them carefully.

Whatever your faith is in, hang onto it and be optimistic.  It usually works out, provided you take the steps necessary to accommodate change.

While this inner peace was all fine and dandy, I still wanted to see my nephew Gabriel on Friday.  When I hung up the phone at the end of my sister’s call, I had a text message from my brother in law.  Could I watch Gabriel from 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Friday?  Yes, I will!

Time to crack open the Yellow Tail Shiraz and watch some 30 Rock.