So! The landlord just called and said that he’s refinancing our building, and that he’ll be coming around tomorrow with an appraiser – and I could never be more  grateful that we’ve moved Candice out. I can’t even imagine the bullshittery that would have been involved in attempting to make the place presentable in twenty-four hours.

It’s been almost two weeks since she’s been gone, and calm is spreading like a soft grey sheet. I don’t do well with chaos, I really don’t. I have a lot of projects in motion at any given day, but I keep them fairly organized – fabrics are in bags that have their places, I have boxes stacked up for different things that involve paper, my notebook has a fairly permanent place to the right of my keyboard, the cds are all under the table in the sun room, there are bags of yarn under the couch (most of my needlework is done when I’m watching tv).

Now try to imagine if someone had all these projects in bags and boxes, and brought them to a room. Then overturned them, tossed in a year’s worth of mail, some trash, a couple of boxes of hardware and handtools, and a big box of family photographs. Then smoked a pack of cigarettes while drinking a case or two of bottled water, kicked over the ashtray, and hucked the bottles over their shoulder as they finished each. Add some foam coffee cups that once had coffee (with sugar and cream) in them. Toss liberally with at least three baskets of laundry that may or may not be recently laundered and/or in an actual basket. Install a couch with a pillow and a blanket, and put a chair in front of it, with a laptop (playing bit-torrented reruns of My Name Is Earl) and some speakers, a half-full foam cup of coffee, and an ashtray. Now imagine the owner of the stuff, bleary eyed on the couch, saying that they’re not sleeping, and you have a good idea what our basement looked like a few weeks ago, and why I was embarrassed when writing group met there on any given Monday.

I felt terrible for Candice when I wasn’t busy being Really Mad or being Mortified – all that chaos and nowhere to run from it. My suspicion that she had retreated to the basement after her room had become a Scary Place was affirmed when we helped her pack*. It was all terribly sad – and frightening. My husband and I came down from our apartment on moving day to find her surrounded by a stew of stuff six inches deep, folding paper at the table (also covered in stuff) to make origami boxes for her tiniest bits and pieces. After I gave her a bunch of tupperware for the pieces, I sat on the couch and just stared at the room for a good fifteen minutes. I was paralyzed by the mess. It was so scrambled that I was literally queasy. Like I said, I don’t do well with chaos. At 2:3o am (she had started the packing at 8:oo the morning before) she left, some of her stuff in her storage space, a lot  in our garage, her car packed, and preparing to go on a cross country roadtrip. I can barely wrap my head around it, still.

So here we are, two weeks out, and our basement looks like a Very New Place – it has been reclaimed and is useful, is clean and comfortable, and there is no unconscious girl on the couch.  I’m actually looking forward to having writing group over tonight. And tomorrow, when the appraiser comes over, cleanliness will not be a worry. The interruption in power to the lower portion of the house (there was a snafu between people moving out and people moving in) is a concern, but with luck, it should be sorted by this afternoon.

And so onward. With a weight lifted.

*Dear God – she had no boxes. And most of her stuff is now in bags, in our garage, awaiting pickup.

ETA: we now have power – YaY!