“I’m sorry ma’am, but we can’t come back until the 21st,” She says, her voice not sounding very sorry at all.
“But… but…I’m moving in tomorrow!” I sputter, my voice weakening with every breath. “I need to be able to use my stove!”
The woman at the Gas Company sighs, clearly not moved by my emotional plea. “We are very busy this week, and that’s the soonest I can fit you in the schedule. The door was locked when the technician came this morning.”
I start to protest again – to tell her that it wasn’t my fault – that someone locked the door after my management company opened it, but the phone goes dead. I look down at the barless screen on my cell phone and scream in frustration.
And then promptly burst into tears.
This is a disaster, I think. I’m about to move into an apartment that doesn’t have cell reception, doesn’t have a shower rod in the bathroom and won’t have a functioning stove for six days!
Despite my desire to promptly abandon ship and my moving plans, I finish signing the lease with my manager, take the keys and then sadly walk out to my car.
This is not how it was supposed to go.
I’d had a vision of that first weekend in my first one bedroom apartment. I would make oatmeal for breakfast – no longer worrying that the smell of cinnamon and apples and peanut butter might offend my sleeping roommates. I would take over all the space in the refrigerator with as much fresh produce as I desired, without needing to cram it in the corner to make room for someone else’s apples. And I would finally make the recipe for the Kitchn’s Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts, feeling free to commander every single burner on the stove and every countertop in the kitchen if I wanted.
The pasta recipe would be the first dinner I’d make in my new apartment – the first of many that I’d whip up in the kitchen that would be mine all mine. I didn’t want my first meal to be takeout. As delicious as it is, there is nothing symbolic about the goat cheese bacon leek pizza from Mozza2Go. Aside, of course, from symbolizing my obsession with all things Mozza.
I call the Gas Company back again, bracing myself for disappointment, but not ready to give up on my vision just yet. After being placed on hold (with music) for almost 20 minutes, I finally get the answer I want to hear.
“Ma’am, we can set it up tomorrow, but understand that it will be an all-day appointment. The technician can come at any time between 7 am and 8 pm.”
“I’ll take it! I’ll take it!” I gush, already picturing myself cooking up a big pot of oatmeal on Sunday morning before church.
“Will you be leaving a key?” The woman asks.
“No, I’ll be there!” I respond – I am not going to take any chances this time.
The next morning, I wake up at 5:45 am to go for a quick jog. I collect some things from my old place, and then drive over to my brand new apartment to wait for the Gas Company.
With the sun just starting to peek through the clouds over West Hollywood, I sit down in my empty apartment with a cold pot of Japanese Berry tea and a bowl of Kashi Cinnamon Raisin Good Friends cereal with banana and skim milk that had partially frozen in my new fridge. Despite the chill in the air and lack of appropriate seating, it is the most satisfying breakfast I’ve had all year. Almost as satisfying as the mascarpone meyer lemon spaghetti I will make on my functioning stove the following night.