720 Square Feet
Spiral notebook in hand, I came ready to write the World’s Longest To-Do List. We only had three weeks, but three months of work ahead of us. “Ok, what else?” I asked Mom as we discussed everything that needed to be done in that 720 square foot apartment. After quickly jotting down all our to do’s, we went to work. Granddad left everything when he remarried four years ago, and it had, for the most part, remained untouched. We cleared out all of the furniture, shelves, and other memorabilia left at our disposal. Goodwill seemed to be grateful for our charitable contribution. Mildew covered the walls, windows, and doors, so our plan of attack involved hot, soapy water and a rag to wash down every surface in that 720 square foot apartment. I ached with anxiety to be in there. This was more than just a move; it was a declaration of independence. For the first time ever, I would be living on my own. I had already been busy making plans and dreaming about the craft nights I would host later this fall. Back to reality, Emilee! Walls still needed to be painted, and floors still waited to be installed.
Scoping out a collection of white paint chips at Wal-Mart, I was quite intent on getting the perfect shade. Heaven forbid, it have too much of a brown or blue tint! After much deliberation, four gallons of “Swiss Coffee” were mixed for my 720 square feet. I also purchased one quart of chalkboard paint for creative endeavors. We began painting in the craft room, working our way around to each room. The cabinets, painted last, desperately needed a face-lift. After several hours of painting, Mom exclaimed, “Its truly amazing how a fresh coat of paint really livens up a place!” For certain, the apartment’s appearance had drastically improved.
Unfortunately, the old vinyl flooring had seen better days, well worn and scratched with its 80s sitcom motif. We made plans to have new vinyl flooring installed. The vinyl was a good deal and would only take a few hours to install. At 9 am last Tuesday, the floor man called, “Um, Ma’am, yes, um, I’m at this here Upshur County sign and there’s not a driveway here.” He was right. There’s not a driveway at that sign. We used that sign as a landmark when giving directions the day before. Mom replied with a grin on her face, “ If you’ll come about 10 more feet, there is a driveway to your left and a mailbox clearly labeled ‘Wade.’” Once he came inside and measured, he discovered that their new shipment of vinyl would not be enough to cover my 720 square feet. Sigh. I started to feel like this humble abode would never be ready. Luckily, my amazing dad had a plan: installing laminate, hardwood floors ourselves. Sure, laminate would be cheaper, but time was of the essence. “How long would it take?” I wondered to myself. We began early the next morning after watching a tutorial on YouTube. Our DIY confidence was boosted; now if only my patience would remain. Snapping wooden pieces together was a tedious process. Each nook and cranny had to be cut around to accommodate this fancy, new flooring. I only thought the paint had transformed this place; really the floor did. It looked “schnazzy.”
The final touches were falling into place. “When can I move in? Can I move in yet?” Like an excited child at Christmas, I probably asked at least 1,000 times. We already started bringing boxes over. Boy, do I have lots of stuff—especially for one person! On Saturday evening, the waiting finally ceased and we began moving things inside. We moved and moved and moved some more, until our bodies ached so much that we had to take 2 Advil each.
720 square feet. 720 square feet previously filled with junk, shelves, and furniture, now was replaced with my various boxes and large collection of treasures. Surrounded by every thing I hold dear, I think about all that has just occurred. With plenty to unpack, an abundance to clean and organize, my mind becomes overwhelmed and my Wal-Mart list continues to grow. Surprisingly though, I am still ecstatic. These 720 square feet are finally mine!