So the Madison apartment is *almost* set up. Except for the boxes that are still in the mail. This process would have been less draining if we hadn't just moved out of my studio at Stanford and deep-cleaned the hell out of it. Even though we did have one night out at a French restaurant in Menlo Park as a reward after the keys were returned.
We flew into Madison late Monday, and were met by Andrew's dad. Luckily he had a hotel we could stay at the first two nights, as the apartment wasn't really ready for us.
Day 1: Got to the apartment early to meet the movers, who somehow *forgot* Andrew's couch. I saw the apartment for the first time, and was way impressed by the living room and dining room's wood floors, bay windows, and French doors. I was underwhelmed by the bathroom (tiny, with peeling wallpaper; worn out enamel and rusted surfaces in the bathtub, sink, and toilet seat) and the kitchen (icky beige square linoleum, appliances at least as old as I am). And if you need aversion therapy, have we got the creepy basement for you! Old cobwebs, piles of plaster, dark corners, mysterious cords and cables that serve no discernable purpose, a staircase that seems to be holding up by the power of habit alone... However, both of the neighbors have amazing cats.
Anyways, after a bit of cleaning (behind the fridge: disgusting), we took a much needed lunch break at Monty's. Then the shopping began. Home Depot, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond... that night we got more cleaning done while Andrew spent like two hours installing a light over the kitchen sink. The bathroom began to be redeemed by a new toilet seat and the BEST THING THAT TARGET SELLS: a shower curtain with brown curly cues and blue birds. Around which the entire bathroom is now based. (Andrew says not to look up while showering, as the peeling wallpaper doesn't inspire confidence, but since I don't have my contacts installed when I shower, I just enjoy the shower curtain in blissful ignorance.)
Another much needed meal: The Weary Traveler, one of my favorites, which we are only two blocks away from.
Day 2: Again, got to the apartment early, this time to meet the cable person. And to pay for the dining table and chairs that we had scouted out at St. Vincent's (hereafter, St. Vinnie's) the evening before. At which time I also discovered an old wooden dresser that I thought would *maybe* be an improvement over Andrew's Ikea-ware. We took a break downtown for lunch at the Marigold Cafe. And then we launched into what had to be the most visits to Wal-marts and Targets in one day, ever. We unexpectedly found nice curtains at Wal-mart for the living room (sage herringbone). But the East town Wal-mart had only four panels, and we needed six for the three windows in the living room. The Wal-mart infrastructure was too shoddy for us to call up and check availability/ locations, so we then went to the next nearest Wal-mart in south town, where they had one more panel. Which meant ANOTHER Wal-mart, on the west side, where they had like four. SUCCESS. Meanwhile, we were also scouting down yellow linen curtains for the dining room, of which I only wanted one panel per window (three windows, again). This time, though, we were able to reserve a curtain at another Target, this one in Fitchburg. At some point we had a fast food dinner break at Chili's. I also found a great '50s-esque low yellow armchair at a Goodwill for 15$. Which goes in the study, with my old curtains, and a great scratched up bookcase from St Vinnie's.
That night I was determined to stay at the apartment and get some work done. We stayed up till 1:30 am: Andrew put together a wire kitchen pantry (since there isn't a ton of cupboard or counter space). I had earlier started cleaning/lining shelves, which I think I finished at this point. My greatest achievements, however, were getting all the old dusty white curtains down, and replacing them with our new ones. And cleaning out the disgusting window sills. And cutting/hanging a shower curtain over the window in the shower.
Day 3: After a quick breakfast at Lazy Jane's, we loaded up the community car truck with the furniture from St. Vinnie's (dining set & dresser for like 120$). Then it was back to Wal-mart & Target for returns and exchanges (blue curtains that didn't work out in the kitchen). And Woodman's for a stock up food trip.
Andrew's dad was very ready to go at this point, and we continued to work at our pace. We had the kitchen up and ready for our first dinner in the apartment. Most of the kitchen stuff was in the cupboards (cleaned and lined by myself), and after a thorough wiping down of the countertops, I felt relatively at home preparing food. Which turned out to be sandwiches (Andrew's, turkey & spinach/tomato/banana peppers, mine with cheese curds) and spinach/asparagus salad.
That night we got through most of the bedroom stuff that needed to be put away. Andrew has A LOT OF CLOTHES. We have the new dresser, and a walk-in closet in the bedroom with a sloped ceiling...with the old Ikea dresser for "sentimental" and/or out of season clothes. EVERYTHING IS FULL. And the only clothing of mine right now is what was in my suitcase, and a few packed things. I went through Andrew's clothes, and asked the key questions: do you like this? have you worn it in the last two years? do you plan to wear it? Too many of the answers were negative.
Since then we've taken it a little easier... although, again: cable guy yesterday morning because nothing was working...More unpacking of boxes, as everything shipped via Fedex came. We integrated some of the stuff from my apartment. Made the bedroom prettier. Got most of the study set up. Got the boxes down the narrow scary staircase into the creepy basement. Watched the neighbor cat catch a cicada in the backyard. Took a run to drop off stuff at St. Vinnie's, get another curtain rod at the hardware store, re-caffeinate at Mother Fool's (best local coffee shop), and pick stuff up at the co-op. All of which are, awesomely, within like five or six blocks of the apartment.
The best room, I think, is the dining room (as seen from the living room, facing the kitchen):
Here's the living room, with me starting The House of Mirth: