Merry Allston Christmas!

Santa Clause

It’s September 1 and you know what that means: it’s Christmas! At least in Allston, Mass, one of the many cute little Boston neighborhoods  and home to a million zillion college students and young professionals.

More than anywhere else I have lived (i.e. DC), Boston is a September 1 move-in date kinda place. Check out Craigslist at any point between March and July, and 90% of the postings will be for a September 1 start. Contrast this to DC, where most of the CL posts are for either RIGHT THEN or the first of the month immediately coming up, and you’ve got a move-in date where half the city is out of the streets hauling boxes in and out. I’m not exaggerating when I say 10,000 people move on that day in this little area. It’s been described to me as “rats coming up from the sewers and taking over the streets.” I’ve heard that the population of Boston area grows 3/4 of a million after September 1. Someone is making a WEBSERIES about it. Needless to say, there’s a whole lot going on.

Enter Allston Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year when so many people are moving that the sidewalks are overflowing with free, discarded stuff. An excerpt from a marvelous poem on boston.com:

They warn that from the refuse trouble could fly,
When that nuisance makes a new home, it may multiply.
So bright orange stickers warn residents to avoid the debris,
The rubbish could be full of bedbugs, even a flea.

But still there are those who ignore what crews advise,
For they are desperately in need of cheap, new supplies.
They’ll poke their head in whatever’s around,
Down the streets and alleys they will abound.

They’ll be drenched all in sweat, from head to foot,
And their clothes will be tarnished with stains and soot.
A sofa or mattress flung over their back,
They might look like a sad sight, but misery they lack.

Their eyes — how they’ll twinkle! Their dimples how merry!
For each has just become a proud beneficiary.
A new table, TV, even a guitar,
They’ll have saved some bucks to spend at the bar.

I tried my best to avoid the worst parts of Allston Christmas – i.e. moving – by moving my stuff into my apartment a few days early. So come this September 1, you’ll see me scavenging on the street for the next great piece of apartment furniture. As long as it’s not upholstered, because that’s gross. Buy new.

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How to finally nest (ish)

For someone who loves stability, I have been remarkably without a home for the past year+. I’ve thankfully always had a roof over my head and a bed(ish) to sleep in, but since I moved out of my last actual abode in May 2012, I’ve slept in – count em – twenty nine different beds/homes. The largest chunks of my time involved spending July 2012 in Boston (where I got to experience wonderful university housing beds – it was so uncomfortable I honestly had to go buy a foam padding thing from BBB the next day cause I’m a princess), August-December 2012 in London (another time spent in university housing, except I funnily enough had three single beds to call my own. I like to be crazy!), and April-July 2013 in the parental dwelling (where I stubbornly refused to give up my first comfy bed in a year unless it was to a worthy elder).

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited to finally – FINALLY! – be able to unpack my bags for the final, foreseeable time, and unwrap my belongings that have been in storage since last May.

Alas and alack, we are not at that point yet. My first two months in Boston are consisting of me living with two very good friends of mine (it’s an awesome Three’s Company/Big Love kind of situation, except not actually) and then a month-long sublet with a rando who I literally agreed to live with because she laughed at my jokes and didn’t seem murdery. The person moving out (from whom I am subletting) has two cats and I was a inch away from saying, “…but can the cats stay?” I HAVE CAT NEEDS, PEOPLE.

How I inserted myself in with my friends/roomies/hosts, the married couple. I think they find me adorable

How I inserted myself in with my friends/roomies/hosts, the married couple. I think they find me adorable

Anyway. Come September 1, I have a home again! Where I actually live, and pay rent! And not sketchy back-alley rent but a rent attached to a lease! (At least, I think so. The property manager just scribbled out the name of my friend, since I’m taking over her lease, and handwrote mine in. I got panicked that the Boston Public Library wouldn’t accept that as a viable proof of residency and did some questionably-legal things to get that library card, but that’s a story for another day).

In the meantime, I have this whole nomadic thing down to a science. The basic rules:

  • When feeding off the teets of a friend’s generosity (yup), be sure to leave secret signs of yourself around the house. If you are staying with a married couple, even better! See above.
  • Never assume a plate is microwave-safe.
  • You haven’t really worn out your welcome until you’re accidentally blown the fuses in your nomadspot
  • There is no sadder thing than to excitedly unpack your backpack into a dresser of your week-long home, only to find that your three shirts don’t exactly need five drawers.
  • I like to believe I can sleep in most places, but I at least need a window. And wifi. And high standards of living. JUST KIDDING I really just need a window. Windowless rooms are the pits.
  • Laundry is for fancymen, and ain’t nobody got time for that. If it is not visibly dirty or have a five-foot-smell radius, it’s fine.
  • When you do have to get your laundry sent out since you don’t have a home and obviously don’t have a laundry machine, assume that something will get stolen/lost, and it will probably be the t-shirt present you got from your mom less than a month ago
  • Bedbugs aren’t that scary, you guys. Man up.
  • Most important one: you never realize how powerful your friendships are until you are in the wandering state of moving. I have relied on the kindness of several friends just to get me up to Boston, including and not limited to: a friend driving me to the airport, her wonderful parents taking my bags in their car since it wouldn’t fit in hers,  friends graciously hosting me immediately upon my arrival, a friend offering to lend me a sofa bed when I realized my August sublet option would only be an air mattress, and another friend sourcing a real bed for me to borrow and, without asking, volunteering to help me move it.

As much as I love traveling, I seriously can’t wait to stretch into a new joint and start nesting, y’all. Mainly because I picked up a blanket from the store that I proclaimed I loved more than my current hostess, and she threw it on the floor in anger. It’s a really good blanket.

(A week later, after she had accidentally had five limoncellos at dinner with her family, she came home and sheepishly told me the blanket was really good.)