We had a guest last night, one of the many single men in our synagogue. And, as opposed to Thanksgiving, it all went beautifully. The leftovers reheated beautifully, the company was nice and I actually was alive, as opposed to the morose childlike lump I'd been the night before. We had a light in the living room for the first time and I was able to sit there and read until Jonathan came home from shul with Todd - although I had to dash into my bedroom and pin and cover my hair when I heard them on the stairs. Silly me.
Basically, it feels like we're using most of the apartment for the first time, and it's *nice*. Our first two apartments were brownstone floor throughs. That means taking a Victorian rowhouse, or "brownstone", meant for one family, and slicing it crosswise so each floor is a separate apartment - maybe combining the lower two floors into a duplex. These apartments are long and narrow and somewhat "railroady" - that is, one room leads directly into another and so on. We had "one plus" ones - that means that there is, along with the kitchen, living room and bedroom, a very small room that can be used as an office or a nursery or just a very cramped bedroom. We used ours as an office.
Because the spaces were so narrow, we always had storage and furniture problems. In one house, we used the room off the kitchen as a combined living and dining room. Our table, chairs and loveseat filled the space. We also filled all available wall space with bookshelves. In the second, we had an eat-in kitchen. I covered my wooden table with a vinyl cloth. Our living room was just big enough to hold the loveseat and book cases. It was even too small to pull it out for guest purposes, so overnighters slept on the couch itself. And we only used it once a week. When I sat shiva for my father, my callers overflowed the room.
This is because 650 square feet is just not very big. It's doable, but it's not big. You get used to the clutter, but I have to say that the piles and piles of piles - the books, the clothing, the papers, the *things* - made it difficult for me, a poorly motivated housekeeper at the best of times, to do anything.
So, this new place. It's 1100 square feet. It's *luxurious* by our standards. We need more furniture to use it properly, and that's wonderful. We can entertain properly - our guests can sit comfortably in the living room (although a full sized couch and a coffee table would be good things) before sitting around the table, and I mean around the table because it's in a real dining room, not in a corner of a kitchen or the living room.
And we have storage space. And I have a dresser of my own, finally. Soon, we will have a washer and dryer and I will be a real person. And maybe we'll stop stagnating religiously. Our last big stride was when I started covering my hair full time, and that was years ago.
And maybe we'll adopt a child to help fill the space. Or have lots of guests.