When the cat’s away…

…the mice will play (or in Dutch, dance).

My nest, made pretty by my awesome friend, Alicia, who made me the beautiful quilt pictured. She also sent the box of girl scout cookies, which I received today and is already over half empty. And yes, I do put sheets on my couch when I know I’ll be sleeping there. I’m not a barbarian.

Actually, in this case, the mice will make a nest on the couch, forgo any attempts at personal hygiene or basic cleanliness, and spend all day attached to their computer or television (and/or napping).

Joery’s in Norway now, attending a conference. He’s there until Sunday, which means my nest of pillows/blankets/boxes of food will continue to grow until Sunday morning when I will get hit by a panicked wave of realization that I have made a complete and utter mess of the apartment and only have a few hours to clean until my co-habitating boyfriend discovers my secret, unsanitary habits.

It’s funny how sharing an entire apartment with someone forces certain living habits underground. I’ve never had my own place, all to myself, so I’m not sure how long I would really be a health hazard if left to my own devices (and with a lack of prying eyes forcing me to conform to society’s norms of what is/is not appropriate living conditions). But I have had roommates and, while the common areas tended to be relatively ok, my room was 80% of the time a disaster. Part of me wonders: if living alone, or at the very least, having private space, means that you can allow your “true” self to emerge — the self that is uninhibited from social norms and mores and just does whatever it wants — is my true self a slob?

I don’t know. It’s quite possible it’s true. (My mom is probably yelling “YESSSSS” at the computer right now).

Here are my top five shame-inducing habits (that I’m willing to admit publicly…can’t forget that caveat):

5) Not doing the dishes. At all. In spite of having a dishwasher. I don’t even put them in the sink. The dishwasher is filled with (now clean) dishes from the last meal Joery and I shared before his departure, and it probably won’t be refilled until he gets home. In my defense, I also…

4) Only eat food that comes out of a box. Or is pre-made and everything is disposable. Actually, I just refrain from eating proper meals and instead graze on whatever is in the fridge or pantry. Potatoes? Totally mashing them up. Canned corn? That’s dinner! Cereal? Godsend. So really, I’m not going through that many dishes. Also, I drink right out of the juice container and eat whipped cream directly from the can, meaning I need to make a trip to the grocery store to replace both those things before Joery gets home.

3) Really awkward sleeping habits. When I was in college, I was able to blame my weird sleeping patterns on “I’m just going to take a quick, 3-hour nap this afternoon…I did have a 9:00 class, after all!” or “I have a paper to write, so I’m going to stay up until 6:00 in the morning watching TV shows online before finally freaking out about the assignment and pumping it out in an hour while hopped up on coffee”. Now that I’m no longer a student, I have no excuse except that I hate the mornings and my couch is comfortable. Especially after I drag every pillow and blanket in the apartment there.

2) I don’t shower. This is particularly true now, since I have no job and no classes to go to. If I have no plans to leave the house, I can easily be stuck in the same pajamas for days. Or nothing at all, depending how warm it is. I remember talking to my sister about the practice of going commando. She asked, “but if you take a shower and aren’t planning on leaving the house, don’t you just pop on sweatpants and call it a day?” My response: “If I’m not leaving the house, I don’t shower. Period.”

and finally,

1) Buying one of those tiny sheet cakes from Wegmans and stashing it in my room because I’m embarrassed to show my roommates that I am able to buy a cake that, theoretically, feeds 6-8 people and eat half of it by myself in one sitting (right from the box). Also, I don’t want to share.

Bonus entry: I had a habit of realizing my room got to a point where no one would ever be invited to see the inside (even my roommates) and I would proceed to run around like a crazy person tidying it up. Until, of course, I would decide to go out for drinks with friends and conveniently forget how to put an outfit together, spending an hour or so taking all my clothes out of my closet, trying them on one after another, before settling on the first thing I pulled out. But by then I’d be running late, so the heaps of clothes on the bed would stay there, and when I got home a bit later, tired and tipsy, I’d just push them all on the floor, starting the cycle of perpetual clutter all over again. This, though, can’t really go on my list because it’s something I still do and I’m pretty sure drives Joery insane.

For more eccentricities of the solo dweller, read this article from the NY Times. At least I’ve never left the house missing an essential article of clothing. Yet.

*Also, I had to look really closely at the photo I took, because I’m not wearing any pants at the moment and I wanted to make sure you couldn’t see any unmentionables in the reflection. You can, however, see the empty whipped cream container. It complemented the cookies.

Ok, I’m lying. I got the cookies today and polished off the whipped cream last night. Sue me.

And because I want to say a big THANK YOU to Alicia for her gorgeous gifts, here are pictures of the fabulous (and handmade) quilt and clutch she sent me for my birthday (in addition to peanut butter and girl scout cookies. Ah-maz-ing). Totally worth having the mailman ring the doorbell at 8am.

The purple matches my wall perfectly. And the details are gorgeous (even though the photo is not).

The clutch! I love the fabric.

How cute is this? She embroidered my name on the inside!