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I have travel on the horizon, and it always changes my here and now. Notable changes include excitement, confusion, sleeplessness, listmaking, and nesting.

Now I’ve never had a baby, and I can’t purport to knowing what it feels like to have to nest because you’ve got a little human inside you (who, I guess, won’t come out unless you have a cozy spot for him/her). But I know that just eighteen days after I leave, I will come back to an empty apartment, and–massive earthquake notwithstanding, and putting aside for a moment the flowering plant left by my good friend and housesitter the last time I was out of town–the apartment will be precisely as I left it.

One of my excoworkers had a terrible housekeeping problem. She was messy, sloppy, a bit dirty, disorganized. I never saw her apartment, but that’s what she told me. One day, her Northern Virginia one-bedroom, lots of light was burglarized. And when the police came, they commented that the burglars had really done a number on her apartment, making it into a real sty. All she could do was nod and try not to laugh. You see, the dishes in the bedroom, the clothing in the kitchen, the boxes of this and that spilled hither and yon, those were all hers.

I don’t have that kind of problem with my living space. But I live alone. Blissfully, peacefully, and sometimes messily alone. I have a strict no-dishes-in-the-bedroom policy, but aside from that, it’s a bit unregulated. The bedroom usually stays pretty orderly, but the livingroom/bikeparking/office/satellite kitchen (it’s a single room) can become quite “patas arriba” (literally, paws up, disorderly, upside-down). Coincidentally, this is the first room into which I wheel my suitcase, or dump my backpack after a long trip.

Post-trip blues are common in this household (look around, I’m talking about me), and I try to do what I can to minimize them. One of those things is the nesting. Making it nice and comfortable and desirable so that upon my return, I won’t fling myself into a ball on the couch and think, should I move? Unequivocally, I should not move. My apartment is great. I’ve got the Andes to the left, and the coastal range to the right, trees dotting the view straight ahead. I’ve got this multipurpose room situation, but for the price, and so long as I keep it tidy, it’s pretty great.

So here I am, at T minus six days, and it’s early and I’m in my chorewearing best, a purple ringer tee from a T-shirtmaking twin-parenting friend of mine that says “under extreme stress, an octupus will eat its own arms” and some hardfought yoga pants. Green crocs. And I’ve waxed the livingroom/bikeparking/office/satellite kitchen floor, and I’m waiting for the wax to dry, so I can do the floorwax shuffle. It’s a little dance with blanket-like mats under your feet to “sacar brillo” (make the floor shine). Ask your grandmother, she’ll know. I’m not under extreme stress, and I would never eat my own arms, but I’m thinking that having just a couple more would make this whole wax-on wax-off operation go a little more smoothly.

At any rate, my apartment is going to be so pretty when I get back. Off to do the shuffle.