Thursday, March 3, 2016

Country Girl goes from Farmhouse to Madhouse

Happy Thursday Readers!

We have made it over the work week hump and are sledding into Friday with 1-3 inches of snow forecasted for the DC area. Not to be confused with the twenty-six inches dumped on us earlier this year. [Insert snow dance and wishes of one last snow day here!]

I’ve been laid up and on crutches this week healing from a second foot surgery. My work desk has never felt less comfortable and my shoulders and palms never more sore (except during first foot surgery). Before my husband and I take the next step of infertility treatments, I needed to get this surgery out of the way. I had a few loose screws  in my foot from the last one that needed to be removed. More inconvenient than anything – crutches are such a pain. Just one word of advice… don’t wait to use the restroom; you may not make it. But, on the plus side, it makes for a few good jokes. I always knew I had a loose screw somewhere. 

Although I would love to tell you how much blog writing I’ve been doing before going back to work today… I can’t. I admit, I’ve been caught up in reading Throne of Glass (TOG) and I just couldn’t put it down! I am so excited for the rest of this series!

On that note, I am going to post the first chapter of the book I never finished.  This is not fiction. It's more of a memoir of my first apartment experience in DC. I lasted 6 months, in the apartment that is. The book relives the series of events that sent me running far away. So far, in fact, I moved all the way up to the 3rd floor… in the same dingy complex. Each chapter dives into a different incident: an apartment without doors, water damage, broken keys, gas leaks, more water damage, non existent landlords, disgusting pipe backups all over the new floors, a landlord whose excuse as to why she didn't show up was the same three times in a row, more water damage… and I could keep going. I should probably be checked for mold exposure.

A Memoir: Country Girl goes from Farmhouse to Madhouse
Editor: Becca Lang

Chapter 1 

Welcome, and thank you for purchasing what I hope to be a somewhat educational (but mostly light-hearted) book about my not-so-seamless transition to Washington, DC. Please sit back, grab a woodchuck, and cry/laugh with me as I share with you my miseries. Taylor Swift said it well: “I’m happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah.”

I am from the country, a place I wholly intend to find my way back to one day. Growing up in the southern tip of Ohio, you become accustomed to certain ideologies—ideologies about life, space, and how much you really need to know about your crazy neighbors that are no less than a football field away. Life was simple, and the thing is, you don’t realize just how simple it is until you leave. “A country girl goes from farmhouse to madhouse.” It really is just that simple. I used to wake up in the morning to bull frogs, cows, roosters, ducks, and geese. Now, I am lucky to hear so much as a bird chirping outside my window, what with my obnoxiously loud neighbors and the parade of sirens passing by, chasing that same group of punks who keep bashing in car windows. Lesson number one: don’t even leave a box of tissues in your car. It will get stolen and you will have no windows. Leaving you with no tissues to wipe away the tears you have just started crying.

The end of this story is happy. Well, unless you are one of those people who MUST have a dishwasher. In that case, this short memoir will be of little use to you. But if you can wash dishes by hand, let us get started. I’ll start at the beginning, the time before I realized I would end up living in our nation’s capital…

It was the summer before my final year of graduate school and I had just landed the internship of a lifetime. I had no idea where it would lead, if a job would come of it, or if staying in Ohio near family and friends was a remote possibility. Everything in life seemed to be falling into place except for one or two nagging professors who constantly thought life was better when their students were suffering in one form or another. I was about to get a masters degree, a feat I wouldn’t have thought possible in my high school days. During my last quarter, lying in hospital bed, my dreams came true. 

I remember tweeting during that last year of graduate school that I wanted to live in a place where I put more miles on my feet than I did in my car. It would seem that God had exactly that in mind; I don’t (didn’t) have a car here in DC. I had the District tucked neatly away in the corner of my mind somewhere, generally thinking that is where it would stay. When I got the call announcing a job offer, I jumped at it almost immediately. I had recently had an interview for a position through which I would be sent to some mysterious, unknown locale within the US. So what it came down to was this: DC or one giant question mark? My time in the hospital also made this decision a little more clear. I chose what I thought to be, at the time, the safer and far less intimidating option of knowing where I was going to live. Boy, did it prove me wrong.

My first point of business was to find a place to live. You see, DC isn’t a small town with a few apartments scattered here and there. There are thousands upon thousands of places: complexes, sublets, studios, townhouses, condos, duplexes, some random dude’s basement. And all of them out of my price range, might I add. All of them out of EVERYONE’S price range. Where was I supposed to even start? Well, I did what any normal individual would do— I looked at Craigslist. Now, I am not writing this book to shun people away from using Craigslist. (Okay, maybe a little.) I am also not here to tell you to be careful because that, I am sure, you already know. I am here to tell you what can happen to someone who has never experienced life on their own in a city full of people that walk all over you— not in cowboy boots, either. In work boots, and wingtips, and stilettos that are taller than a small child.

Yes, it was going to be a hard and intimidating journey. I knew that. But more than that, it was going to be an adventure. Washington, D.C., is a puzzle of opportunities just waiting to be solved. And I, pockets full of ambition, unfulfilled dreams, and a little bit of dryer lint, was ready to take them on.

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of my memoir. Below is a photograph of what I used to call home in southern Ohio.



As always, thank you for reading,


Riley

No comments:

Post a Comment