December was spent moving out of my apartment. It was hell.
I moved about 80 bankers boxes of stuff to Seth's office for storage. The apartment was pretty empty when I left for the winter holidays; just furniture remained. My time with my mom and sister, who live in Central and Northern Virgina, was wonderful, but obviously no progress could be made in moving during my visit.
While I was in Northern Virginia my landlord sent me an email telling me he was charging me $145 for damages I'd done to the walls. He said he would charge me even more if there were any other problems. I did some research online and found sites that said that the security deposit, which he had pocketed as a penalty for my breaking the lease, could only be used for such repairs (in other words, he could not keep my security deposit for himself and then charge me an additional $145 in damages). I was in for a fight with my landlord.
When I returned to Atlanta I went over to my friend Nathan's house, which he had kindly offered to me as a place to stay in comfort during the remainder of my time in America. But the keys didn't work. He was out of town, so I had no choice but to return to my nearly empty apartment and sleep there wondering where I would spend the days between the end of my lease and his return.
The next morning I found a back-up key that got me in. Relief.
I spent last Tuesday, Wednesday, and half of New Year's Eve day Thursday cleaning the apartment. My downstairs neighbor Matt was thrilled to have my bookshelves; the rest of my furniture was picked up by the Salvation Army. I gagged on the fumes of floor-cleaners, appliance paint, oven cleaner (4.5 years of grease in that oven), and bleach in my efforts to get the place looking awesome.
I might have a future as an apartment cleaner, but it was not in the financial interest of the landlord to agree, so during the walk-through we went to battle over the $145. We fought and fussed, and in the end I handed him $80 in cash, which he accepted, and I was done with it. Strangely, after the negotiation, he seemed quite cheerful with me, almost as if he half-admired me for standing up for myself.
There was a lot of, "Wow, four and a half years!" and that sort of thing.
On my way out I said goodbye to the best mailman on earth, Lee, and then drove away from the apartment for the last time.
Moving out was hell, but Nathan's house in Decatur is heaven. I had it to myself until tonight, when Nathan returned from Africa severely jet-lagged and sleep-deprived. He went to sleep around 7 PM and he is sleeping still.
Tomorrow I have to fix a flat on my SmartCar and will likely get the car serviced before turning it over to my friend Greg. On January 12 I leave Atlanta for New York, and on January 13 it's off to Kiev.