Sunday, April 22, 2012

Finding the silver lining

So, I moved into a new apartment. And it was awesome for like a day . . . until I figured out what that odd smell was that the overpowering lemony Pine Sol scent was covering up: cigarette smoke. And possibly the previous owner's dog.

Unfortunately, that is no small thing. It's not like the ugly, shaggy, multi-colored carpet at Miller that we learned to ignore, and it's not like the linen-closet-sized bathroom at Southridge that we learned to not stretch our limbs in; those things could be dealt with without drastically affecting life's comforts.

This stale cigarette smoke, however, is impossible to ignore, especially when the slightest off-kilter whiff is offensive to your nostrils. It's bad enough that I can smell my brother's feet from two rooms away while everyone else is happily oblivious to the fumes, but when you have to live in a stench that causes even the dullest of noses to crinkle in distaste, you know you've got a problem.

So I did everything I could to eliminate that problem. I attacked the walls, counters, cupboards--every surface in the apartment--with vinegar and baking soda, sprinkled the carpet with baking soda and then vacuumed, inserted little bowls of vinegar into every room, kept the windows open almost 24/7, bought air fresheners and Febreeze, and somewhat rationally asked management to caulk the pipes and do something else to the carpet.

The result of my efforts: I still dread going home. The smell isn't as potent as it was, and I don't think I'll die of cancer tomorrow, but my home is not the place of refuge I crave.

Eventually, though, I got tired of complaining about the situation. So last week, I decided to look for the silver lining in my life and focus on that. Here's what I found.


I learned that just because the apartment managers at BYU are unfeeling Nazis doesn't mean that all apartment managers are unfeeling Nazis. I explained my plight to the managers and basically said I needed a new apartment--and they complied. Just two more weeks of this and the air--my air--will be fresh again.

In an effort to avoid my apartment, I went to FHE, even though it required dressing up. The fireside was not only inspiring, but it gave me the jump start I needed to get in the habit of going to more ward activities so I don't turn into a blissfully unaware hermit.


Fresh air has never smelt so good. I love rainy days even more now.

I cooked a meal in my crock pot and for the first time since I moved in, my apartment actually smelled good for a few hours. That was heaven. The food was rather tasty, too, and just might feed me for the rest of eternity.

I went on a lovely walk and saw lots of tulips and blossoming lilac trees--a wonderful reminder of both of my grandmothers. I also passed some kids playing kickball. Ah, spring.


My duties at work just doubled--and trust me, that's a good thing.

I went on a longer walk and spent the whole time thinking about how blessed I am to have a salary, insurance, my own apartment full of my own things, and a car. People twice my age are still working toward some of these things, but I was given these things very early in life.


I went on an even longer walk, this time thinking about all the wonderful people I have in my life. The best family in the universe, co-workers that are becoming good friends, ward members who are in the same walk of life that I am.


I didn't have to go home to The Stinkhole (I hid at the parents' house for the weekend).


Was the most beautiful day of the year so far.

At times the silver lining seemed more smoky grey (ha ha, I'm so clever) than shiny, but I was surprised how easy it was so see the good things I still had in life, even when I had a hugely annoying problem on my hands. I took almost every excuse I could to not sit around in my apartment, which only did good things for me.

Hopefully I can keep this up for two more weeks . . .

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