Three years ago I rented a tiny apartment in a beautiful building on the river, and although my furniture barely fit, it had something none of my previous homes residences offered: a roman soaking tub. It was my escape. After long days of class and studying until the words blurred together, I could literally sink up to my eyeballs in warm water and bubbles. The stress of law school couldn’t reach me there. That’s where I kept my sanity.
When I moved in with my husband I happily found soaking tubs were standard in many new apartment buildings around here. It wasn’t quite as big or luxurious, but it more than served the purpose. Sometimes I escaped with a good book, or a notebook and pen as I tried to capture my own thoughts without interruption. Other times I just turned on some relaxing music and let the stress melt away.
The thing about little blessings like this is that you rarely think about them… until the bubble bursts.
This weekend we were back in Madison, this time for my husband’s job interview. While we were there we knew we had to start looking for apartments, just in case. What we learned once I started calling around, is that Madison currently has a less than 1% vacancy rate. It is apparently one of the only cities in this country that has companies on hiring frenzies. One company alone has brought in almost 2000 new employees this summer. Hence, no apartments.
The ones we found, they were disgusting. In beautiful buildings that weren’t even there when I left a few years ago we found living rooms stained with animal accidents, some with actual animal feces still on the floor, toilets not bothered to be flushed, carpets that had never been vacuumed, walls with holes in them… I don’t understand how some people live. I really don’t. I think our home is a mess when it has unopened mail scattered on the kitchen cupboard.
Finally, after days of searching, we found a few viable options, my husband’s interview went well, and we came home to wait. My husband left to go play poker with the boys, and for the first time in a while, I was alone with my thoughts. We’re right at the tipping point. We could get everything we hoped for, or none of it, and all we can do now is wait. Then the nostalgia hit, and I started wandering around our apartment thinking about all of the good times we’ve had here. We had date nights here, got engaged in the kitchen, came home from our honeymoon to every fire alarm in the place going off in the middle of the night…
It was a happy nostalgia until I saw the tub. Then I realized, not a single option we saw had one. Suddenly I was heartbroken.
Obviously, this is not the end of the world. In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter at all. But sometimes I think it’s the little things that make big changes feel real. Leaving friends, the city we’re used to, it’s hard to feel all of that. It’s so big and amorphous. But the little things, the ones that build everyday, those I can grasp losing.
As we wait this week to hear where life might take us (which, by the way, is excruciating), I’m trying to soak up the little blessings we have here. I’ve spent a lot of time overlooking them, and soon they’re going to be gone. They help remind me that while I beg for the time to pass faster, and to get an answer to my prayers, there is beauty in the time moving slowly, and savoring what time we have left here.