With a Tear In One Eye

First of all, I’d like to thank Merrifield Village Apartments for bestowing this honor on me---I had no idea something like this was coming, and when I opened my mailbox and found the piece of paper curled up inside it, my breath was taken away. Second, thanks must go to everyone who supported me during this long journey. Almost ten months have passed since I first asked my friend Redney, “What’s wrong with having a lot of standing water in my apartment?” Almost a year of work, internet study, and the counsel of friends and family have brought me to this point, and without any one of these key components, my efforts would all have been for naught. Today this piece of paper from the rental office makes it official: I have 50 percent less standing water in my apartment than in 2006. Looking even beyond that statistic, I can say with pride that the number of individual puddles of standing water is actually down a whopping 65 percent. With your continued support, I am confident that within two years, there will be almost NO standing water remaining in my apartment.

When I started the cleaning process, I had little to rely on in the way of equipment other than a roll of paper towels and a t-shirt commemorating Journey’s triumphant 1983 tour of America, which mopped up what it could. Now, though, I am simply deluged with offerings of mops, buckets, and air fresheners by well-wishers who do not want to see me fail. I’m not saying I don’t have a long way to go---indeed, some of the puddles have actually grown in size since autumn---but of these two things you can be absolutely certain: 1) I realize now that even a little bit of standing water in one’s apartment is not good, and 2) I will, before my lease expires, ultimately triumph over this admittedly self-inflicted crisis. I may still not always remember to stay awake when making home fries on the stove, and I may still occasionally use the pantry as one big trash can, but the first major hurdle toward quality living has been jumped. The letter from Merrifield proves it. I’m just trying to figure out the tone of this thing. Sometimes it doesn’t seem as congratulatory as when I first read it. The word ‘eviction’ is not only highlighted in green but written in four languages. And what I thought was glitter may actually just be some sand that got stuck on the page from when I dropped it in that mysterious problem area near the bedroom. I’m probably just being paranoid.