Friday, August 19, 2011

Movin' On Up

Mismatched everything
When I furnished my first apartment oh-so-many years ago, I had four pieces of furniture: the bed I had slept on since I was a kid, my grandmother's old fake wood dinette set, an overstuffed chair so worn I threw a quilt over it to keep from being stuck by errant springs, and a rump-sprung couch that was a horrifying shade of brown somewhere between mauve and rust.

I thought of that apartment this week as Boy#2 and I set about furnishing his new place at Huge University.

We had driven from the heartland with his Taurus stuffed to the top with his most precious belongings (the books, computers, ukelele, tchotchkes and knickknacks that couldn't be replaced at any big box store) and six more storage boxes of semi-precious belongings were shrink-wrapped and ready for delivery by the folks who do this for a living. As we drove toward the apartment he had leased a couple of months ago Boy had everything he needed to start his new life as a graduate student.

Everything, that is, except something to sleep on. Oh, and something to sit on. Plus something to cook with, and someplace to put the clothes that were arriving in all those shrink-wrapped boxes. And dishes to eat from, and somewhere besides his lap to rest those dishes between bites.

What I'm saying is that we had our work cut out for us as we pulled into Huge University Town Sunday night.

Monday morning bright and early we were at the rental agency to pick up the apartment key, then we began the Great Stuff Quest. Boy had decided to bite the bullet and buy a new bed (because used mattresses? Ewwww.) but everything else would be doing a victory lap in the usefulness cycle.

Two days and forty-seven stores later, we had checked the most vital necessities off the list. Bed. Desk. Bookshelves. Couch. Recliner. Etc. Lots and lots of etc.

We discovered that people in his new state are friendly and helpful in spite of my preconceptions of East Coast dispositions, and that Goodwill rocks. (Seriously--a FULL SET of heavy silverware, including a butter knife just because, for $18.) Two made good decisions (the gorgeous and more expensive table would have been lovely, but he saved big bucks by going with the less-gorgeous-but-serviceable option) and stretched his apartment-furnishing budget further than I would have thought possible.

There was a moment during the weekend as we debated the merits of a $4 end table that I felt a pang of regret. I wished Two didn't have to settle for the couch with the crummy back cushion, or the mismatched everything. But then I thought of my first apartment, and of my four pieces of furniture and the cast-off and scrounged that I lovingly arranged to make my first grown-up place a home, and I smiled.

This is a rite of passage, and Two is going to be just fine. A rump-sprung couch may be hard on the rear end, but it's good for the soul.

No comments:

Post a Comment