Settling into a New Home

Clara the cat staking out her spot on my bed.
Clara the cat staking out her spot on my bed.

I’ve been house-hopping for the past few months, as my old apartment was infested with termites. Being a nomad, so to speak, is a strange experience; your routine gets disrupted and you begin to feel as though you’ve lost all sense of stability.

I stopped running (in large part because of a minor knee injury), I hardly cooked for myself and I spent a lot of time digging through my car for stuff I had misplaced in between moves. Fortunately, I have caring colleagues who put me and my roommate up for the month that we were out of our apartment. And fortunately I had a roommate to commiserate and laugh with when thinking about the ridiculousness of our situation.

Now I’m in my new place which, to my surprise, came fully furnished. My landlord, who lives on the first floor of the house with her husband, made the apartment feel like home the day I moved in; she hung up rustic-looking artwork, put plants around the place and made my bed for me, putting a straw hat and magazines at the foot of it. (There are so many pillows that it takes me about 10 minutes to make every morning!)

The apartment, which was built in 1899, has an old-fashioned feel to it. I’ve always loved older homes; they seem to have so much character to them and are a lot less cookie-cutter than a lot of newer houses. The yard has a rustic feel to it, too. There are gardens lining the side of the house, along with a gazebo, a hammock, a fireplace, etc.

Turns out, termites were a blessing in disguise. If it hadn’t been for them, I would never have moved into this place. I had to be away from my cat, who was staying with a friend for the past month, but I got her back Monday night. She’s been meowing nonstop since I brought her home, but she seems content. She’s already marked her territory — smack in the middle of my bed. Naturally, she likes being the center of attention.

So, here’s to a termite-free apartment and to getting back into a regular routine. The routine starts tomorrow with a morning jog. Speaking of which, I should go to bed … now.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

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