March 2009 has been very rocky, but April will be much better.
After getting through our anniversary day in February, it became harder and harder for Helen and I to live together in the same Berkeley apartment. I had been planning to move out in April, but ended up rushing into a sublet that is close to work, and so I had a place by March 1. It happened so quickly that I wasn't really prepared to move out of Berkeley until the following weekend. I stayed with my good friends John and Cait in the Mission for three days, before moving to the sublet in Cole Valley on March 7.
The sublet included two roommates, both of whom were cool. But I really didn't like the neighborhood (Haight St. is vastly over-rated as a San Francisco destination spot), and quickly realized that the ability to walk to work isn't the pinnacle of a good life. On the other hand, it seemed rash to move out so quickly.
So March rolled on. For four days I was in Seattle for an Association of Research Libraries conference about scholarly communication, and then for vacation. That was a great trip; I reconnected with my NLM Associate friends Natalie and Evangeline, whom I hadn't seen in many years. But it came at a weird time, because by that point Seattle was the fourth place I'd lived in just two weeks--Berkeley, Mission, Cole Valley, Seattle (where I stayed in 3 different places over 4 days.) I was far from homeless, but felt unsettled.
When I returned to Cole Valley I discovered that the landlord had returned one of my roommate's rent checks because they no longer accepted subpayment on the lease. In the end this roommate paid her bill and this was not a problem, but the whole thing further unsettled me. From March 15-20 I debated whether to stay put (it is an extremely convenient location) or leave, with the consequence of foregoing some of the money I'd already paid. By March 20 I decided that I wanted my own place, my own lease, in a better neighborhood than Cole Valley. I wanted to live in the Mission. Not only is it a great neighborhood, it is also easier to get to the East Bay from there.
On March 20 Helen left for London, for spring break. So I had a retreat back in Berkeley, away from the discomforting sublet. I've been back here since that night, and ended up signing a lease on a studio in the Mission yesterday. That lease is effective April 1, but I have the keys now.
In the middle of all this I attempted to file the final divorce papers; the waiting period for Helen to respond to the original petition for dissolution has passed. But I didn't quite do it right, and now Helen is in London and needs to sign one more form. So that's on hold, but won't affect the final divorce date (August 7, six months from original filing).
My birthday also rolled along, on March 18. Helen and I had a pre-birthday dinner on March 17...her idea and her treat. It was a nice if sad meeting, and was the first time we saw each other after I went to John and Cait's on March 4. All in all I did fine, but did wallow into despair at the end of the night. Helen went to the BART platform to head back to Berkeley, while I took the N Judah back to Cole Valley. This was at the Powell St. station, so we literally parted ways in order to go our own way.
Yesterday Helen decided to extend her trip to London for another week, until April 6. I'm not sure why, but this is good for me because I can't move all the furniture to the Mission place until April 4. So I'll be in Berkeley until then, and won't need to secure temporary lodging (yet again) next week. But at the same time, it's so nice to know that I have many places to go.
My stepfather Bob is coming from Phoenix to help with the move next weekend, which will be wonderful. I convinced Bob not to rent a car since my new place is just a 1/2 block from the BART station at 16th and Mission (yes, I know it's a crazy corner...but my building is great and the Roxie and Ti Couz are wonderfully close by.) It's always good to score a victory for public transit.
Old friends from college and friends from the libray will also help. Eventually it became a problem of too many offers of help to accommodate, which is a nice problem to have!
My Mom and Bob helped in another way as well: springing for my first iPhone, which I am already horribly addicted to even though I just got it yesterday. Mom said she also wants to buy me a TV, but I'm holding the line and will go without TV once I leave Berkeley. I figure that I can surround myself with podcasts, when I'm not entertaining myself with inane mobile photo uploads to my Facebook page.
Some truths, then: In these most unsettling times that I've ever faced, my family and friends were there. March has been nomadic and disconcerting, but I never felt alone.