Settled

(I wrote this last night into my journal and am transcribing it today along with some edits as I go)

This evening, I spent about an hour breaking apart, smashing, peeling, and blending cloves from about 15 heads of garlic, which resulted in a frozen log of crushed garlic (to be broken off in pieces for cooking), a pile of garlic husks, very sticky fingers, a very sticky chef knife handle, and a hanging smell of garlic. I hope that this effort saves me time in the long run as I have batched the work of prepping garlic into a single, dedicated task. Besides, that Costco-sized bag of garlic is better in the freezer in some form than sprouting and rotting in my cupboard.

Garlic night is just one of the many new experiences for me over the past 2 weeks. On October 10th, I became an official Mountain View resident by moving into a condo, which doesn’t have nearly enough furniture. Rectifying my shortage of seating is just one of many things to deal with as a new homeowner. There are lots of lessons I could share from those, but those are mostly uninteresting and tend to work themselves out without much preparation required. Although I accept most of these issues as they come, I have caught myself out of flow a few times to really think about something I had done.

The first one came just minutes after I finished moving all of my boxes indoors. Without furniture, most of my possessions had no obvious place, but the closets are built in, so I did unpack my clothes. First, I pulled out my pants, which usually get hung up. Next came my 3 most regularly worn collared shirts, then my hoodies. At that point, I had finished with anything I am likely to wear, but I didn’t stop. My 2 winter jackets came out. And the rest of my collared shirts, including the ones that don’t fit very well. And all of my black socks. Now, my clothing bags lie empty on the top shelf of my closet. And why not? Unlike any of my last 10 residences over the last 5 years, I actually plan on staying here for longer than 9 months, so I don’t anticipate the need to have everything packed up again.

A few nights later, I received my mail for the first time via a kind mailman who left my mail on my doorstep instead of in the mailbox that all parties (realtor, seller, USPS, HOA) have declined responsibility for granting me access to. It had a similar bundle of ads to what I had received while in graduate student housing, but this time, I started looking at the random furniture ads. I flipped through the book of coupons and remembered my mom’s weekly coupon-clipping job that I now see was done as much out of enjoyment as economics.

On Monday, my friend Tom took me along to Costco, where I found more things that I needed in quantities similar to my 25 pound bag of steel cut oatmeal. I have more dried fruits and nuts than ever before, and I can survive many flour incidents before running out. That goes along with a few salmon filets that I cut up on Tuesday and threw into my freezer.

Just 2 months ago, I was desperate to rid myself of an unneeded possessions to slim down into a living room’s worth of stuff. Now, I’m buying in preparation for months ahead and agonizing over the details of my household purchases and setup since I know I’ll have to deal with it for awhile now. Without school, there are no clear transitions ahead in my life, and though that does mean a constant battle against complacency, I’m finally living into my environment and establishing it not just for tomorrow, but tonextyear as well, and even further out. Let’s hope I’m ready for all of it.

3 thoughts on “Settled”

  1. Kevin.
    As a single person living alone now. You have a lot to learn about living by yourself in your own condo. First. Do not shop in Costco. As Costco specialized in Bulk savings. You have to have a big family to buy them in Bulk to get the savings. What you do is to watch The Flyers send out by the Super Market each week and buy the special they have for that week.
    As you can not keep fresh vegetable & fresh fruit for more than a week. As the Supermarket usually run almost the same specials every 4 to 6 weeks. You can buy a little more chicken & meat and cut up for portion control or divide them into portions that you can defrost easily just enough for one meal. You will have to buy some Saran Wrap to wrap them up. Label & date them and put them into the freezer. You should also buy some instant noodles so you can just cook something fast for lunch or dinner. do not buy too much of the specials for what you can consume with 6 weeks. As the same specials will will usually return within that time frame.
    As you have no car. Try to find a few of your neighbour to see if you can go shopping with them each week. they can phone you when they are going to see if you are available to go with them. You can buy them a coffee or something every so often. or give them a few dollars for gas once in a while.
    Grandpa.

    1. Thanks for the advice. The good news is that I live really close to several grocery stores, so everything is well within walking distance. Usually, I can grab as much as I need in my backpack on my bike ride home from work.

      As far as Costco goes, it seems that the family is against buying in bulk. The things I ended up buying in bulk are the things that I absolutely know I’m going to need daily and end up needing to refill on every 2 weeks. Specifically, I eat oatmeal every morning, usually with nuts and dried fruit, both of which last for a very long time. I figure that as long as I can keep my total inventory to the 2 cupboards I have dedicated to my pantry, I should be in good shape.

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