Just when you think things are starting to go smoothly, life throws you a new challenge just to keep things interesting…
I was riding a wave of excitement after identifying clothes and books I wanted to discard–my home was getting tidier, and I was finally making progress on a project that had stumped me for a long time. Wedding planning was also going well. The to-do list was shrinking, and M and I were getting to the fun parts of the wedding planning process.
About a week ago, we went to pick up our wedding bands–another point of excitement! We loved the designs we picked out, and were even more excited that they came in under budget. However, on the way to the jeweler M and I had a bit of a disagreement:
M: I think I’m going to start wearing my ring.
Addie: What? You’re not supposed to wear it before the wedding!
M: I know, but technically we’re already married…
Addie: Yes, but *secretly* married. It’s going to be a lot harder to keep it a secret if you’re wearing your ring!
…I caved. What else could I do? So the secret is out. We had gotten legally married at around the time we found out we were moving to Singapore in order to facilitate the travel document process, but kept it a secret from most people while planning the wedding. It was fun being secretly married at first. We would greet each other as “secret husband” or “secret wife” and make silly jokes about it. But after a while, I got sick of saying “fiancé” instead of “husband.” We still haven’t told everyone, but it’s a very badly-kept secret and won’t stay secret for long!
However much I love and trust M, a part of me was terrified that he would somehow manage to lose the ring before the wedding. At first, while he was getting used to it, he would take the ring off sometimes when he was washing dishes, but since then he’d left it on…
…until yesterday. Somehow, during his weekend soccer tournament, he injured his finger and had to take off the ring because of the swelling… and couldn’t get it back on. Not a huge problem–he left a special place for it on the dresser. Well, enter the almost disaster.
A few days earlier, the landlord had come by with some bad news: bedbugs had been found in two units of our building. Specifically, bedbugs had been found in 3A, and when that unit was fumigated, they migrated to 2A. (Quick background about the building layout: the apartment is divided into two sides, each with its own entrance and staircase. Both sides are 3 stories high, and each floor of each building is a separate unit–6 units total. I live in 3B) Then there was worse news: the owner of the A side apartments was fumigating all 3 units, but hadn’t given our landlord enough time to coordinate, putting us at risk of the critters migrating into our territory.
Suddenly, my joyful purging of objects took on a new sense of urgency… and, unfortunately, since the day of Fumigation A, I’ve had to throw things away instead of donating them.
Now fast forward to this morning, the day of Fumigation B. M and I were scrambling like crazy to get everything prepared for the fumigators–all cloth objects sealed in plastic bags, all furniture away from walls. Only, there is so much stuff to bag. More than I realized I had. More stuff than M realized he had. And that’s just the clothes.
The fumigators arrived with out landlord, and asked if we were ready. “Not yet!” we answered, scrambling over piles of double-trashbagged linens. “We’ll start with unit 1. You guys have time.” the landlord said. M finishes the bedroom, and I tackle the living room and guest room (aka, the “cave of nightmares”). We’re both starting to panic. We’ve emptied the drawers, stripped the beds, and hauled everything to the middle of the room. But we have 8 bookcases. Eight bookcases that are full of stuff and too heavy to move!
We realized then that we’ve screwed up. We should have done this sooner. We should have spent the night bagging and stacking and hauling instead of celebrating M’s tournament championship with his team. We look at each other, each of us wearing a look of pure terror.
“We’re not going to finish. What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know. I can’t believe how much stuff I have. I don’t know what to do with it! This is ridiculous. This is impossible!”
“Maybe we should ask the guy…”
I went to find the fumigator, feeling sick, dreading what he would say about our overly-stuffed apartment. I tell him about the bookcases, the books, the amount of stuff… and he comes upstairs to investigate.
“We’re kind of freaking out…” I say weakly.
“I can tell!” he laughs. Our entryway is lined with trashbagged belongings, and every room looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. “You really don’t have to worry that much. You know this is just a preventative measure, right?”
We show him the bookcases, and he assures us he can spray behind them. He recommends moving more bags into the kitchen–he’s only doing the perimeter of that room.
“You have a lot of stuff!” The landlord scolds with a laugh.
“I’m sorry… I’m actually getting rid of a lot…” I reply.
He laughs, apologizes for the inconvenience of the fumigation, and offers to give us a bottle of wine as compensation for our trouble. We smile and decline because… well… we suspect that he makes the wine himself in the basement. (But that’s a story for another time!)
Minutes later, after the finishing touches, we are assured that we’ve done enough, and are kicked out of the apartment as the place is doused in chemicals. It’s not until M has gone off to work and I’m on my way to my parents’ that I realize two things. First, that I was dressed completely inappropriately (because cleaning frantically in 80 degree weather means as little clothing as possible). Second… I realized that the last time I saw M’s ring it had been on the dresser, and the last time I’d seen the dresser M was in full panic mode, shoving things into random places trying to clear the top and shed enough weight to push it into the middle of the room. One finger injury and one bedbug scare later, I have no idea what happened to it.
I figure M has put it somewhere safe, but I can’t shake the terrible image of being in the middle of the wedding ceremony and having every thing grind to a halt when we’re supposed to exchange rings…
So I text him. And of course everything is fine! He’s put it in a safe place–disaster averted!