Ode to the duplex

As of 10 p.m. last night, we are officially out of the duplex.

After a week of transporting boxes to our new house and spending most of Saturday moving our larger furniture, we dedicated yesterday to moving the remaining boxes and leftover belongings and giving the place a good cleaning.

We skipped church and I was back at the duplex by 9 a.m., stuffing another load of stuff into our Forester. After a couple trips to the house, Kates and Phoebe joined me at the duplex. And later our friends Gina and Kim arrived to pitch in with the cleaning, even taking a car load of stuff to the house before heading to their homes for the evening.

While Kates took care of Phoebe back at the house, I made my final trip to the duplex around 9 last night. Made a final sweep of the closets. Vacuumed every room. Worked really hard to secure the car door because the car was busting at the seams, and I refused to make one more trip. And finally locked the door behind me and drove away.

I was utterly exhausted from my late nights of painting and long hours of moving but motivated by the fact that we reached an agreement to vacate the duplex by today and we’re sub-leasing it for the remainder of the month.

More to the point, I really disliked that place, and I wanted us out of it once and for all.

There were the carpeted bathrooms, which also didn’t have exhaust fans, creating a haven for mildew.

There was the faulty electricity and the living room outlet where chords had to be plugged in at just the right angle for the light, the computer, or whatever, to operate.

There was the community lawn mower and the severely sloped yard. Yard work is one of my favorite past times, but I would come up with any excuse I could not to mow that lawn.

There were the neighbors across the street who left their howling dog chained in the front yard at all hours of the day and night.

Our driveway constantly doubled as a parking lot for the next door neighbors’ kids and their friends, whose cars were almost always blocking ours.

I also won't miss the way that crowded driveway could be such a distraction when Kates and I tried to back our cars out of it and the constant maneuvering we had to do to get around cars. The bumpers of our cars suffered because of it; there were at least three fender bumps in the 8 ½ months we lived there.

I won’t miss the nasty draft that passed through every nook and cranny of that place. The plastic crackling over the windows from the cold air blowing through them. Or the fact that we had to wear sweatpants and sweatshirts to bed to stay warm most nights. Or how Phoebe spent most of the winter sleeping in our bedroom because her downstairs bedroom was like an ice box … and we were too nervous about the electrical wiring to turn on the aged wall heater in her room.

I won't miss how even on the sunniest of days, the place still felt dark and dingy.

I loathed that place.

Ah, but some day we’ll look back at these months and laugh, I’m sure. From so many of the conversations we had with people we’ve met in The ‘Ville, living in one of those duplexes when you’re trying to get settled here is a rite of passage.

I won't deny we had a lot of good times in that duplex. It’s where we reunited our family last June. Phoebe and I would fall asleep together on the couch watching baseball games. We played nightly games of tee ball and soccer in the back yard. We blew bubbles and colored with chalk on the front steps. It’s where Phoebe and Kates became Bearcat fans. We cheered the Packers to a Super Bowl win. We lived through Snowmageddon there. And we had some epic dance parties.

It was bad. It was good. And all of it is a memory now.

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