Tatiana Talks

To Move or Not To Move

So, my landlord is trying to raise my rent. Not by much, mind you, but it is the principle of it – because he has raised it every year for the past three years.

And while I love my apartment, there is a lot I don’t love about it. Like the fact that my doorbell has never worked – this has caused a couple of problems, especially on New Year’s Day. The back yard, isn’t so much of a yard as a concrete slab where the air conditioning units noisily hum all day long and cats find shelter from the sun and use it as a litter box. My bathroom literally freezes in the winter and now there is a 500lb dog living above me.

No, not Brandi. Brandi’s dog. That likes to run around the apartment barking when Brandi and whatever guy she brings home come in somewhere between 2:30 and 4 a.m.

And now the rent is going up again and I’m thinking I may want to move out.

The problem is, I don’t have much time to make this decision. And once it is made, it is made. Once I tell my landlord where to shove his lease, I will have to find a place I love or else I will be homeless (or less dramatically, forced to live in a place I like even less than where I am living now).

So why am I telling all of you this? Well, when I’m struggling with a decision, I usually like talking it out – mostly with my mom. When that doesn’t work, I write it all down.

I spoke to my mom this morning. She wasn’t terribly helpful. Or maybe she was. It’s hard to decide. While she definitely drove home all the reasons why I want out, she also started pointing out all the things that suck about moving. By the end of the conversation we were about even on whether or not I should move, but agreed that if my landlord would fix most of the problems with my apartment, staying would be better than moving.

But after three years of pretty much ignoring me I’m not sure he would suddenly be willing to help me out.

Now I’m writing about it. Unfortunately, I’m most of the way through and no closer to a solution. Nor has any of the decent places I have e-mailed contacted me to say that the place is still available and they would be happy to show it to me this evening. Because even that would give me some hope, but because most of the places respond that their apartments are no longer available, I worry that it would make more sense for me to continue to be a doormat for another year.

The thing is, I hate being a doormat.

The Dénouement

I finished my novel.

First, I should tell you, I didn’t have the Valentine’s Day weekend I expected. Friday went off as planned. Drank some wine. Ordered Chinese. Had a vegan carrot cake cupcake for dessert. I didn’t watch any action films, though. Instead, I opted for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. And, before you ask, yes, I cried. Like a baby.

Saturday, I got some writing done. Then the text messages started. Everyone wanted to go out. And by everyone I mean Salty, the Duchess and Bridie. At first I stuck by my guns. No. I will not go out and feel bad about myself as cute couples all around me enjoy pink drinks and suck face.

I delighted in my rebellion. I decided the perfect way to celebrate a Saturday with myself is by doing some laundry. I was moving my wash to the dryer when I saw Brandi had brought her laundry down -- she was holding a spot. What was she washing you ask? Black satin sheets.

No. I’m not making this up.

I went back to my apartment, promptly sent a text to the girls asking where I should meet them and then started putting my hair in curlers.

Out, everyone was asking how the novel was going and I lamented that if I wasn’t out drinking, I would be home finishing it. Yes, I was that close.

The next day I was sure I would finish. But I couldn’t open my laptop. I mean, maybe I could, I just couldn't bring myself to try. I walked by it. Looked at it longingly. I even brought it into the living room and plugged it in and thought about it during commercial breaks. But I never opened it. Something in me wasn't ready for it to be over. Instead I just lied on my couch, eating more garbage and watching really bad television.

Then Monday came and with it another deadline I didn’t want to meet. And since my laundry was already done, and I didn't have any dishes to do since everything I ate that weekend came in take-out containers, I had nothing left to do but finish my novel.

When it first happened, I hardly realized it. I was sitting in front of my computer, typing and retyping the last couple of lines -- after all they were going to be the last couple of lines of my first novel. They had to be good. No, they had to be great. Not necessarily epic. I wasn’t looking for anything quite so amazing as “This is not an exit.” But something that would leave my readers feeling something and so I battled and finally I put down words that were somewhere between good and great and I hit the enter key to continue the story when it hit me. The story’s finished.

The story is finished.

I turned off my computer. Still not feeling quite as I imagined the narrator of Stand by Me felt when he finally finished typing his saga and ran out to play with his son and his son’s friend. But maybe that is because I don’t have a son. So I called my mom. I had to share it with someone.

When I told her I was hit with a wave a nausea. Oh my god. I’m finished. I had to sit down.

I started shaking and told my mom I had to go.

And I don’t know why, but I did need to go. To Staples. To print a copy of my novel. Printing it made it more real. Sitting on the subway home, the big box containing two copies of my novel resting safely in my lap, it started to to sink in. I have finished the first draft of my novel.

I started sending text messages to friends and family and relaxed a little more with each message of congratulations and suggestion of libations to celebrate. Of course I couldn’t go just then. One, I looked terrible. Two, I had the only two printed copies of my novel with me. What if something happened to them? I needed to get them home where it was safe.

Once we were all safely home and my novel was securely placed on my desk, I poured myself a glass of wine. It was finished. I couldn’t stop smiling. I also couldn’t stop shaking. Though it wasn’t really shaking so much as I felt like I was shaking on the inside. Like I had Restless Leg Syndrome, but everywhere.

I tried to relax, but I couldn’t. So I poured myself a second glass of wine. Then a third. If it helps, I didn't finish the third.

The strangest part is on Monday morning, when I woke up, I read my horoscope and it told me I was going to finish a project that I had been working on for a very long time. I laughed. Good one, horoscope. When I thought about it later, a chill ran up my spine.

Now, on Saturday my horoscope said I was going to meet my next romantic interest. And since the only guy that caught my eye was the bartender, I guess my next boyfriend will be a beer slinger.