Move In Together, Fight-Free

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Move In Together, Fight-Free
Moving in together is tough. The author explores her urge to nag.

Wastebaskets, ladders, driving in Canada (in the pelting rain), the bathtub, parents, movies, music, health insurance, mortgages (theoretical), rent increases (real), whether I do or do not know the best way to roast a free-range chicken, and cardboard boxes. This is just a small sampling of things Jonathan and I have fought about since we decided to get married.

I can't think of a single significant fight from before we got engaged. But after our engagement (a word also defined as "a hostile encounter between military forces"), we promptly started butting heads. It was pretty much instantaneous. One of our favorite things to fight about were two 2x2x4 cardboard boxes in Jonathan's (now our) apartment. I moved in with him in August, and at first these two neatly sealed beauties were indistinguishable from all the other boxes and garbage bags and piles of crap I had sloppily moved with me from Brooklyn and strewn about the 600-square-foot studio apartment.

But bit by bit I found places to put all that crap, and cajoled Jonathan into parting with some college-era home furnishings to make a little more space, and painted the bathroom and hung some pictures and reorganized the kitchen. The outline of the place that we now call home began to emerge. Against that cleaner canvas, the boxes stood out once more. "When are we getting rid of these, again?" I asked him.

There was a story there, to which I had half-listened, the way one does when in pre-emptive, argument-winning mode: scanning for ammo; rehearsing a rebuttal. Their contents belonged to someone else, someone who lived somewhere in Indiana, and though Jonathan wanted to send them on their way, he could not, because he needed a shipping address, and the guy he wanted to ship them to, who was a musician—and you know how that goes—wasn’t responding to his emails. Or something.

All I really knew was that they did not belong to Jonathan, or to me, yet they were taking up space in our microscopic kitchen, and I wanted them gone.

I raised the topic a couple times a week, in various ways.

"Can I help you find a way to get these shipped?"

"Any news from the guy these boxes belong to?"

"Oof, my toe. When are these boxes getting out of here, again?"

"We are NOT a storage unit."