Debating where to put the bookshelves? This guide is for you.

  1. Try to explain to your extended family that you’re moving in with your girlfriend. Not your friend who’s a girl. No, she isn’t your roommate. She’s your partner. No, not your partner in crime.
  2. Field questions about marriage, because it’s very difficult to have a nice wedding on $16. You have all the time in the world, right? No rush. Field jokes about “U-Hauling” from the same people. Make a “Boston marriage” joke in retaliation. No one gets it. That’s fine.
  3. A girl from your high school has three children. Should you be having children? Worry about that for 10 minutes.
  4. Worry about packing. Worry about logistics. Worry about internet. What if a swarm of locusts eats every IKEA in America?
  5. Go to city hall for a permit to park a U-Pack in front of your apartment. There’s no line at the desk. Feel foolishly optimistic.
  6. The spot in front of your apartment is reserved. By who? The tired looking but nice man behind the desk has no idea. There’s another spot a couple houses down. Worry some more about offending your faceless neighbors whom you have never met.
  7. Discuss how many bookshelves to buy. How many books can two people possibly have, right? Know, deep down in your heart, that you have somehow accumulated hundreds. Have you read them all? Of course not. Are you getting rid of a single one? Of course not.
  8. Should you get a shelf just for Judaica books? How should you alphabetize them? Decide that there are more important things to discuss than book organization right now, then immediately launch back into it. You and your girlfriend both have English degrees. You knew this was going to happen.
  9. In fact, you have three degrees between you. Should you hang them up? Is that presumptuous? Decide you don’t care, then decide you do care, then decide you don’t. Take a nap.
  10. The cutting boards are color-coded to prevent cross-contamination. Decide which pots and pans are for meat and which for dairy. Your girlfriend suggests stickers. It’s a good idea.
  11. Your girlfriend has her mezuzah in her bag. She wants it to be the first thing you put up in your new home. Cry about that for a little while.
  12. Is the glass menorah going to survive the trip? Wrap it in an entire New York Times to be sure. A Sunday one.
  13. Wow, the news is awfully bleak. Realize that if you saw a scene of a person wrapping a menorah in bleak newspaper in a movie, you’d think it was a touch heavy-handed.
  14. Your girlfriend has penciled “tzedakah” and “synagogue fees” into your monthly budget. Think about building a Jewish home with her. Think about how kind and generous she is. Think about how excited you are to live in your little one-bedroom with her. Cry about that.
  15. Gently nail the mezuzah onto the door frame, slightly above the nail marks where another mezuzah once hung. Let her carry you in through the threshold of your home, the little Star of David you gave her years ago pressed to her heart.