On Why I'm Not Livin' in Sin

When I was apartment shopping, people kept asking if Paul was gonna move in with me or why I didn’t look for a place with him.

As I mentioned before, part of my (our) reason for finding a place and moving in alone was practicality. When I was looking, Paul was still in school, and he wouldn’t be done until about two weeks after my lease was up. If he moved in with me, he’d be coming into a place he’d likely never seen (although that’s exactly what my dad did when my mom bought a new house while he was in Iraq) and wouldn’t be able to move in at the same time. Plus, since he is still unemployed, I didn’t want to count on him working nearby (he was just looking at jobs out-of-state) or count on a nonexistent salary to help pay the rent and bills.

Practical reasons are excellent reasons, but they actually weren’t our best reasons.  Bottom line: we do not want to live together, at least not right now.

He’s the oldest of six children. Although he had an apartment in State College, he shared it. He has never lived completely on his own, but for that matter, neither have I–until now. I’ve always had a roommate or family, and now I don’t and I love it. Paul’s only been up here once and it was great to have him around–I came home to him and he’d washed all my dishes–but I love having a place that is just mine where I can do what I want when I want. I’m 23, out in the world for the first time ever. This is exactly what I need right now–not diving right into playing house. Cohabitation itself is a serious commitment, especially when leases are involved. I’m not even willing to let the man put a ring on my finger and plan to marry me sometime in the future because I think we’re too young and immature, and living together isn’t any different. I think people need to learn how to function as adults by themselves before they begin to build a life with someone else

If that’s not good enough for you, I have yet another reason.

We’ve been together for two years. I’d estimate that due to him being in State College, a year and a half of that was long-distance. We’ve been long distance since last fall till now alone with no break aside from when he was home for Christmas for a few weeks. Now, at this point, I don’t think much would break us up, but the quickest way to test that would be to go from seeing each other every few weeks for a year to sticking us in a one-bedroom apartment where he’d be here all the time and I’d be gone for the 8-9 hours I’m at work or commuting. Living together is just a bad idea right now.

I think we’re one of the few couples I know that has thought about all of this before jumping into cohabitation. We love each other, sure, and I’m sure the other couples I know do, too, but I don’t think basing all of our actions and life decisions on how much we love each other is very smart. Sure, sometimes I am jealous of the couples who live together. I would love to come home to him every day–usually. Then I remember all of my very good reasons for not doing so right now. I’d rather the poor, rash decisions of my 20s all involve things like drinking a little too much and lying on a bathroom floor for a night and not, say, ruining a good relationship because we weren’t ready for something.

Moving (Again)

I spent pretty much all of July looking for apartments. I would’ve loved more time, but Diana moving out depended on Adam’s job and he didn’t get his job until…late June. A month before our lease was up.

At first, I thought I had plenty of time. I looked, but I wasn’t afraid of being picky or stressed that I was running out of time.

I looked at a place in the South Hills. It was small and in a former low-income community (which only seemed to bother my mom because it “looked like poor-people housing,” which technically includes me because places on the lower-income scale were/are all I could/can afford). It wasn’t perfect, but I liked it well enough, it had a pool, and it was under new management that was trying to make it totally awesome.

I was all set to call management and tell them I’d take the place when my mother called me all paranoid because her former boss’ wife said that area is in the news all the time because of drug-related shootings. She also said the place goes under new management frequently, and companies try to fix it up and get good tenants in and never do. So I let the paranoia dissuade me.

This was at the beginning of July. This was fine. I still had plenty of time.

And then more and more places were out of my affordable range. More and more places I could afford didn’t have any one-bedroom vacancies. More and more places that did have places I could afford either looked terrible or were more obviously in bad areas. More and more people beat me to tours and leases by mere hours.

Meanwhile, Meri and Erio toured a place and moved in. She’d looked at a three-bedroom, thinking we could all go together, but she hated it. As easy as that would’ve made my life, I trust her apartment judgment (I’ve since discovered I love living alone, but we’ll talk about that later).

People asked a lot during this time if Paul was gonna be moving in with me or if I could just find a place with him and therefore be able to afford a nicer place. At the time, he was still in school with no job, so I didn’t want to count on him moving into a place he might not be able to afford that might not even be close to where he’d work. He and I have other reasons why we decided against living together, but I’ll post about that next. It deserves discussing.

Finally, I found an ad that looked promising on a Monday, one week before our lease was up. I frantically showed it to my mom, called management, and scheduled a tour.

Again, it looked fine. I’d been a little more set on South Hills (it had a pool!), but this place was bigger. Plus I could control my own heat and didn’t have to go outside to do my laundry. With days left, I applied on the spot. I ended up needing my mom to cosign due to their income requirements. I also needed her to help pay deposits and rent and now owe her like $1,200, but whatever. With that, they approved us. I moved in that Friday, at nearly the last minute.

Moving was hectic and tiring. We found a dead cockroach in my room, which has me scared live ones are lurking in boxes I have yet to unpack, especially since my mother told me she read they like to eat book binding. My dad drove around Mt. Washington for a half hour because he got lost and didn’t want to call one of the three of us waiting for him to load the U-Haul. My family decided I have too much stuff, had better stay in this place for at least a year (but moving again so soon wasn’t my plan!), and am hiring a moving company the next time I do move.

My dad doesn’t like it. He thinks it’s in a bad area, even though crime reports are scarce, most of my neighbors seem to be old or college kids, and the place is always quiet, except for when the neighbor kids are riding their little cars and sword-fighting.

This place is a better deal–a few bucks cheaper, bigger, new carpet, sliding glass doors, patio, cute courtyard, etc. Sure, I have a lot of minor maintenance problems, but whatever.

Since I moved in so fast, I had no stove, internet, or power, so I stayed with my parents for the first few days. It felt like a hotel at first, it was so new and unfamiliar. I took melatonin the first few nights in case I couldn’t sleep, but now that I’ve been here almost a month, it’s truly mine now and I kind of love it. I love having a place that is solely mine where I can do what I want. Even when I stay with my parents now, I miss my own place and my own bed.

I guess I’m pretty much a real adult now.


The end of July brought Meri’s 22nd birthday, which meant a party. Said party also was a joint going away party for Nolan and Brett, as they were moving to California something like a week and a half later.

Now, at the time (though to an extent still today), Nolan and Brett were still acting like everything was okay, like I wasn’t upset, and even maybe like I had no reason to be upset. I was (and still am) firm in my decision that limited contact with them was best for me for many reasons. I was (and still am) tired of being treated like shit, regardless of whether or not they or anyone else thought I deserved it, and I refused to send the message that doing so was okay. I still think they expected me to say, “Oh, man, you guys, you’re right. I was a huge bitch. Sorry!”

Marion, at least, seemed to understand this and texted me to say that even though she knew things had been awkward, she hoped I would go. I’d RSVPd to the Facebook with a “maybe” for a few reasons–one, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go, and I think she knew that. The other reason was practicality. I had just started working the 7-3 shift and was still living in Pittsburgh. My wake-up was 5:30. My bedtime was about 9:30. I would’ve had to leave the party around 8:30 to ensure I got home on time so I could be in bed on time. The party started at 7. Nothing fun happens at parties that early and few people are there then (a lot of people I wanted to see, including Marion, were there past my bedtime).

I didn’t decide whether or not to go until I left, more or less. I figured I’d make a quick appearance and give Meri her gift–nail polish and Betsey Johnson sunglasses, which she loved (flowered aviators).

I barely spoke to Nolan and Brett. Bitch move? Sure. But I was hurt by a deliberate action they seem to expect me to have been okay with. Hey, at least I’m an honest about my feelings.

And basically nothing happened until a week or so ago when Brett texted me because he assumed I was passively-aggressively Tweeting about him. He said my “blatant disregard for Nolan” affects him, which is fair. He has every right to be angry. But what about Nolan’s blatant disregard for me and basically everyone else? A big problem that’s played a role in all of this is how Nolan (as well as others) does what he wants when he wants to who he wants with seemingly little to no thought for feelings. He criticized me for not saying or doing anything to/with either of them prior to their moving, but phones and messaging work two ways. If contacting me mattered that much to them before they left, they could’ve done it, too. At this point (especially since Brett since asked me to leave them alone and I explained I have been trying to do just that since May), we’re clearly not interested in speaking to each other.

A lot of other things were said on both sides, many of which deserve their own posts if only for the hypocrisy, accusations, and assumptions. Basically, this whole thing started because of year-old grudges and assumptions over things that were said, and in one case, something I’m not convinced actually was said.

Friday Five: Summer

Top 5 songs to help you end the summer

  I’m unsure of how to approach this. Do I want summery songs or songs signifying the end of summer (“Boys of Summer,” in that case, wins). Hmm.
1. “Fast & Slow” by The All-American Rejects. I guess because it’s a fun, sexy song, and the band just did a nice, acoustic, beachy reworking of it.
2. “One Love” by Bob Marley. Its gorgeous and relaxing, the way those late summer days feel.
3. “Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf” by The Killers. It’s gritty with a great riff and deals with drinking bourbon alone. That’s pure end-of-summer depression right there (if you ignore the romantic subtext and the woman he’s pleading with).
4. “There Goes the Fear” by Doves. It’s alternately light and heavy and always struck me as one of those driving-with-the-windows-down-perhaps-at-sunset songs.
5. “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths (or Anberlin). The most twisted, depressing love song of all time? Probably. Perfect for summer? Yes. Wanting things to go on forever, wanting to stay with a lover forever and being happy just to be with them, driving, going out, that idea of and desire for something endless–these are all summer.

Friday Five: Strawberries

  1. What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries? I usually just eat them plain, but I’d like to try them with sugar. And, of course, chocolate-covered is always amazing.
  2. What’s your favorite strawberry-flavored food or beverage? I’m a big fan of strawberry lemonade. And things like strawberry margaritas.
  3. What object in your line of sight is strawberry-colored? A rubber grip thingy to open jars and such.
  4. What geographic location near you could be much cooler if its name were modified to contain the word strawberry, and what would this new name be? My apartment could become Strawberry Court. My parents’ hometown could be Strawberry Furnace. Cucumber Falls could be Strawberry Falls. Laurel Caverns to Strawberry Caverns. I don’t know if the mountains have names, but we could have Strawberry Mountain. And then Fort Necessity could become Fort Strawberry or Strawberry Necessity. The latter best describes my feelings.
  5. Here are 500 Wikipedia articles with the world strawberry in their titles. What’s something interesting you learned from one of them? Just the large number of people with the name Strawberry. Really, I was impressed after seeing just one.

Friday Five: Favorites

Top 5 Songs From Your Favorite Genre

I CAN’T PICK FAVORITES. Okay, I can pick a favorite genre, at least–I’m a rock girl at heart and sometimes I forget this until I blast Queen and put on a band T-shirt and my Chucks. So, here’s the rock–including its many subgenres–that I’m feeling at the moment or have always loved.
1. “Now the World” by AFI. It’s just a pure alternative-rock beast of killer riffs, melancholy lyrics, and a gorgeous bridge. Good luck finding an AFI fan who has never screamed his or her lungs out to, “Will you cry for me?/Will you cry for me?/Or will you cry with me?”
2. “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly. Holly pretty much founded rock. Well, him and Elvis, but in my opinion, Holly was the better of the two and would still be kicking everyone’s asses were it not for his untimely death. And early rock is very, very tame by today’s standards and the things people have been doing with guitars in the 60-ish years since the world met Buddy Holly. Aside from being a fantastic love song, its musical elements are lovely. Such rhythm!
3. “Love Token” by Brian May. May’s solo career is vastly underrated. Naturally, Freddie Mercury had the voice of the gods and left us far too soon, so he gets all the praise now. But holy shit, Brian May rocks fucking hard. I somehow came across “Driven By You” once, which led me to finding the gem Back to the Light for like $5 among FYE’s used CDs because like I said, no one really pays attention to Brian May and his face-melting axe shredding, and they were doing some promo where if you bought so many CDs you got one half off. The half-off CD is always the cheapest one, and that’s how I ended up with one of the best albums I’ve ever heard for like $2. “Love Token” wastes no time in showing off its pure rock bliss, crashing in at full strength with the opening lines: “Mama’s in love/Papa’s in love/It’s such a shame they don’t love each other,” perhaps one of my favorite lines ever. It’s also one of the songs that makes it especially clear how collaborative the Queen writing process was because this could definitely be a Queen song, much like most of the rest of the album. May’s influence on Queen is obvious here.
4. “Janine” by David Bowie. Bowie’s music is hard to pin down since he’s covered basically every genre and covered them all well, but his early stuff is most definitely rock, maybe only dabbling in folk. And “Janine” is excellent and all-around well-done.
5. “Lorelei” by Styx. Okay, Styx could easily take over this whole list. In fact, everyone on this list could do so. But “Lorelei” is just so wonderfully catchy, and it’s one that’s not overplayed–though the love of “Come Sail Away” and “Renegade” will never diminish. “Mr. Roboto,” however, is pure ridiculous and we all know it and not many of us are bummed that Dennis DeYoung’s ass got kicked out of the band for all his theatrical shit when Tommy Shaw, who is a supreme god of rock to this day, just wanted to…well, rock. Let’s be honest–Styx is at their best when they’re rocking out, and “Lorelei” is one of many perfect examples of this.

Music Memoirs: Childhood Albums

Top 5 albums you still have from your childhood

I don’t think I actually still have albums I owned in my early CD-collecting days, aside from one or two stray Spice Girls singles. So I’ll go as far back as I can, which I believe is middle school. These are not necessarily in order.

1. The All-American Rejects – The All-American Rejects Bought when I was maybe 12 or 13 after Stephanie and the bitchy girls she hung out with for a little while played “Swing, Swing” and I loved it. It’s still a solid album, and I still think it’s among their best.

2. AFI – Sing the Sorrow Bought in the same timeframe, likely after AAR, because once I got into AFI all was lost and I was obsessed and remain in love with them–I just forget sometimes. I mean, I felt like crying and throwing up when I finally saw them live two years ago or so. That’s a quintessential punk album.

3. Anberlin – Blueprints for the Black Market Same as the previous two. I heard “Foreign Language” on a label sampler, loved it, and still have it and plan to get it signed.

4. AFI – The Art of Drowning My favorite AFI album tends to fluctuate. Usually Sing the Sorrow holds the crown, but I bought The Art of Drowning somewhere between middle and high school, when I was broke and spending allowances trying to desperately scrape up the entire AFI discography (I’m still on the prowl for an original pressing of Dork.) Bottom line: they all got heavy play, and for good reason. AOD probably tied Black Sails in the Sunset for most non-Sing the Sorrow play.

5. AFI – Black Sails in the Sunset Ah, fuck it. AFI is one of the few bands to survive album purges throughout high school, college, and even my new early adulthood. I mean, come on. I’m playing “No Poetic Device” right now and shit is this song still epic. That fucking bass, Hunter Burgan! I need to whip out my East Bay Hardcore kitty hoodie and beater now.

Friday Five: Statehood

Friday Five.

  1. Hawaii’s nickname is the Aloha State. If your neighborhood were to be admitted as the fifty-first state, what would be its nickname? I’ve only been living here for a few weeks, so I don’t really know yet. But my childhood home would be Fayettenam, as it’s already infamously known.
  2. What do you own fifty of? Exactly 50 I don’t know, but way over 50 CDs and books.
  3. What’s the nicest beach you’ve been to? I just got back from Bethany in Delaware, which was lovely. Cape May’s beaches were also great, but I don’t remember any except for (I think) Diamond Beach, which doesn’t qualify anyway because it’s so covered in pebbles. Pretty but not easy to relax on, but the pirate ship still jutting out of the water in the distance is pretty badass.
  4. A pizza with ham and pineapple is often called a Hawaiian pizza (something that annoys many of us who live here and can’t stand that flavor combination). If you live in Hawaii, what should rightfully be called a Hawaiian pizza, and if you live elsewhere, what would go on the pizza named after your area? Venison. Pure venison.
  5. What mental and emotional states do you hope to attain this weekend? Happy but relaxed.

Friday Five: Miscategorizations

Friday Five!

  1. What public behavior is not a crime but should be? Lots of driving-related things, or rather, many of the things that are illegal should be enforced. And some businesses should stop allowing general douchery or other people should feel more comfortable with complaining because in no universe should it be acceptable to speak above a whisper in a theater, play Words with Friends with your phone’s volume up all the way in a theater, allow your children to behave like heathens in a theater, or treat an actual live theater like a movie theater and eat loudly and crinkle wrappers.
  2. What food item doesn’t have a recommended daily allowance but should? Any type of snack food.
  3. What’s not a word but should be? Anything coined by HGB.
  4. What day of the year is not a holiday but should be? Black Friday, the day after Christmas, or New Year’s Eve.
  5. What behavior is not generally a professional expectation but should be? Knowing when to shut up, even on breaks and at meals and such. Actually, going back to the first question, talking too much should actually be illegal. Comfortable silences are okay. I don’t need to hear the same thought three times in a row. I didn’t respond the first two times for a reason.

Busy Weekends

The weekend after my early July visit to Paul, we had a wedding and a graduation party to go to. My dad’s cousin Diane got married for a second time, and apparently my aging grandfather had some cranky things to say about that. He’s old-fashioned–couples shouldn’t live together before marriage, that sort of thing. Yet he was caught cheating on his wife, snuck around with a woman when I was a child, and strung along another woman who had feelings for him in the process. He’s the grandfather whose relationships I don’t use as a model.

The wedding was very small. My parents suspected we were invited on short notice for a reason, but I’m not that cynical about the family, especially with such a small wedding. We ended up being the only representation from my dad’s side of the family anyway.

The wedding may have been small, but it was still beautiful. Diane and her new husband both looked really happy, and her dress was really pretty. They did a sand ceremony, which I’ve heard about but never seen and really liked. It was also a Baptist ceremony, meaning it was short and sweet. It was the first time I’ve been to any religious service that wasn’t Catholic, and immediately I noticed subtle differences–aside from the female minister. Church didn’t fill up from the back and people didn’t whisper–they spoke out loud, openly, and were happy to be there.

The reception was buffet-style, which I actually think is a great idea, but being from southwestern Pennsylvania, almost none was vegetarian-friendly. That ended up working out because of Julie’s graduation party and good, hearty polish food like many pounds of gnocchi.

My favorite part about outdoor summer parties, and Paul’s house in general, is endless food, pool access, and bonfires.

Paul got a little drunk and we all laughed at him. I got a little drunk but can handle that. We mostly just hung out and eventually played one of those campfire games I haven’t played since I was a kid where everyone says a word or a phrase to make up a story. I surprisingly hate them, but this one surprisingly entertained me.

Really, I had a great day. Mind you, this was a week and a half out from the 4th of July debacle, so I was still thinking about a lot. Thinking about everything tends to lead me back to one conclusion–that ditching my friends was the best, healthiest decision I could make for myself. I know I keep repeating myself at this point, but I had more fun with strangers and acquaintances than I’d had with most of my friends in a long while, not to mention they actually care.

At the end of the night, Brandon insisted on driving me home because he’s convinced that even after I sober up after a few wine coolers, I will kill everything in a 100-mile radius if I drive.