On Being Prepared

I am not cut out for home ownership. There I said it. (er, wrote it.) Perhaps I should be ashamed at 36 to feel this way, but I don’t. At all. You can tell me how foolish it is to spend money on rent without building equity and I get the argument in cars, but HOUSES? No thank you. I liked renting. I liked not being responsible for yard work and maintenance and when shit hits the fan you call someone to deal with (and pay for) it. Sure, you may still have to live in the disaster of shit going wrong (hello kitchen that flooded, TWICE) but at the end of the day it is not yours nor is it your responsibility to fix it. I think this self awareness IS maturity (despite my parents’ guilt trip lectures.)

Flash forward to falling in love with someone who owns a house. Moving into someone else’s space is not ideal, but that is a post for another day. It is not my house, but I still feel an obligation to care for it in a way I never have before. Jesse has lived in his house for almost 15 years and it is beautiful and we share similar tastes in a lot of it and I am so proud of all the work he has done. Yet it remains a constant work in progress. He is capable of fixing and re-doing a lot of things but does not have the time to do so, and because he can do it he doesn’t like to pay others to do it. Which leads us to the only full bathroom in the house, which has been ripped apart for more than a year now. The shower is in rough shape (oh iron rich water how I hate you so) and continues to grow worse. Please note we have had the new vanity cabinet, new bathtub, and all of the new tile sitting in the house for months and months. Well the current shower has two knobs on the faucet that are broken and the third one came completely off the stem yesterday when I tried to turn off the hot water.

This was… not good. I was alone and there was water streaming at me that I could not shut off. I was naked and vulnerable and I panicked. I am unprepared to deal with a house on a holding tank with limited waste water storage when water is uncontrollably pouring at me. I was able to shut off the main water line to the house and dry off before composing myself and finding a wrench to get the faucet turned off. When I got home last night I had a long talk with Jesse about my need to feel prepared and what I was supposed to do in that situation and his response was that I should have called him. Um, I DID THAT. (He didn’t answer.) I did get praise for shutting off the main water, but I would have preferred to be prepared to know where it was ahead of time before I was in the basement dripping wet with a towel searching. I asked if there was a shutoff to the water in the shower (like the valves at the sink or the toilet) and unfortunately there is not.

I spent a long time last night with Jesse going through some scenarios of house disasters (flood, fire, garage door, etc.) because I like to feel prepared. I am sure I will still continue to panic in the moment but I like to know that I do know what to do. Please keep your fingers crossed we don’t have to shower with a wrench for much longer.

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Hacking Myself

Well I didn’t even need the Russians to hack into this abandoned space. I am already a day late and there is no way I will keep up for 30 consecutive posts, but it is nice to know I can get into this blog again.

Hooray it is FALL – my favorite season when the humidity breaks and the trees are pretty! Well they are pretty until they dump everywhere. For the past couple years I have raked leaves at Jesse’s house while he golfs in order to maintain my martyr cred and earn tasty restaurant dinners. This year I officially live there and officially have to contribute and it is waaaaaay less fun. Sigh. I don’t think I thought this cohabitation bit through.

Anyway, enjoy the seasonal fall bliss. I think you should make these pumpkin whoopie pies. My advice is to have a friend come over and do all the putzy piping for you and then try not to burn 4 fingers like I did touching the hot cookie sheet. They are amazing and I am sad I don’t have any left.

 

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Favorite Mugs

Really, this is what gets me to finally PUBLISH a post after more than a year? Okay fine. Swistle told me to.

Despite my hoarding tendencies, I have kept my mug collection quite under control. This is because I stash them in the cupboards at work. I still get to see them and use them, but they clutter a cabinet that is not mine. This only works for mugs that I do not have sentimental attachment to and are mostly for giveaway mugs that don’t quite make the donation pile. Honestly it is a little weird to see coworkers using mugs that spent years at my house, but it is also randomly delightful some days when I look over and see them across the room during a meeting.

Anyway, onto my favorite mugs (please excuse the sunshine glare in these hastily taken/non-edited phone photos)

McSteamy – give to me by a dear friend years ago because of my love of Eric Dane on Grey’s Anatomy (sniffle. I miss you Mark Sloane in your sexy towel). The glazing is spotty and crackled from dishwasher and microwave heat, but it remains my favorite for it’s happy feelings and great size. It the first one I grab when having tea. Like RA I insist on my all fingers being able to comfortably reside within the handle. This one holds almost 12 ozs and has the perfect rim depth – not too delicate, not too clunky. It came from Hallmark and one day I saw an identically sized Eeyore design and snatched it right up. (the glazing has held up much better on Eeyore mug)

Mugs-Hallmark

Cows – this is used exclusively for milk because it has cows on it. I have been tempted many times to smash it the way the giver smashed my heart (Yes it’s been several years. I am over it. Most days.) but I like it too much. I picked it out in a gift shop (best cheese popcorn ever) and it is a good reminder we had happy days together. Plus milk tastes better in a cow mug, and I find the cows on the interior super adorable.

Mug-Cow

Pottery – this mug is from the mid 70s and was originally a set of 4 given to my parents by my aunt and uncle in a Christmas exchange. Only 2 remain and my mom was going to donate them as she had no idea I coveted them forever. They are tall and hold about 16 oz which seems ridiculously large, but works great for a double serving of cocoa and extra marshmallows. I also use for beer.  (and large servings of spiked mulled cider.)

Mug-Pottery

Big Chief – Jesse’s grandparents lived in Fergus Falls, MN and he spent many summers there. His grandparents would take him fishing at dawn and then they would have breakfast after at this nearby truck stop. Both his grandparents died last year and when we were there for his Grandmother’s funeral we stopped in for one last breakfast. Jesse’s brother Tony bought the mug for me and despite the issue I take with naming a truck stop Big Chief, I love the memento as a glimpse of their childhood (and of course the photo opportunities with the statues outside.)

Mug-BigChief

Jeff – again a castoff from my parents, but was always the mug I reached for at home. It is on the smaller side but is perfectly wide enough for dunking graham cracker sheets. There was initially a Karen paired with Jeff as they were a wedding shower gift, but mom took hers to work before I was born and it remains her work mug today.

Mug-Jeff

I have 2-3 more mugs I didn’t photograph because they are rarely used unless I have several people over at once (a Winnie the Pooh mug I got as a bday present in high school, a casino themed mug with my brother’s name on it that he got as a gift, and a mustache mug that I think was a Christmas gift from someone who didn’t know what else to buy me.)

Jesse has a set of 8 matching mugs that are fine size/shape but are boring and he never uses them. It bothers me when I have tea at his house to not use one of my more fun mugs so I think a few need to make their way over to his cabinet.

 

 

 

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Filed under Because The Internet Told Me To, Happy Happy Joy Joy, Hoarder Life

Birthdays and Pumpkin Madness

Ten years ago my mom was coming off a brutal summer of chemotherapy. On her 50th birthday she had a double mastectomy, followed by radiation, and then reconstruction. I was scared shitless. She is the woman who drives me batty with her obnoxious behavior and guilt trips, but she is my MOM. She is the one I want a hug from when the world is cruel.

Last summer she completed a triathlon with some fellow breast cancer survivors. The anti-cancer/anti-estrogen drugs she will be on for the rest of her life is destroying her joints. This summer she had both her hips replaced seven weeks apart. Ten years ago I never dreamed she would reach her 60th birthday. Not only is she alive, but she is thriving despite the odds against her.

October is breast cancer awareness month. Of course it now comes across as a giant eye roll. Of course we are aware. The pink wash is everywhere. Pink everything is for sale with minimal money going to actual beneficial research and treatment. I volunteered for years for a recognized organization, but left when I couldn’t stand their bully tactics and politics. It is disappointing to see that, but I am proud of the money raised and the grants that were issued for detection and treatment that saved lives. I would much rather live in a word with eye rolls now than continue losing so many beloved people to a mysterious, common, fatal disease where the two biggest risk factors are being a woman and getting older. The fact remains that people ARE still dying and families ARE still devastated. I still live in a world with the odds not in my favor. Eye rolls over the pink ribbon saturation do not change that, but now we are aware. We can instead fight back and demand better than simply awareness and pink washing across everything. We need fundraising accountability and better treatment outcomes.

I am one of the lucky ones. My mom is still here for her 60th birthday. Despite stage 4 metastatic cancer, despite lifesaving drugs that are also destroying her body, she is alive. She is doing so great she forgets her limitations – like buying a 70-pound pumpkin last week, with no way to get it OUT of her car when she got home. (She drove around with it in her backseat for a week. I find this highly amusing.) Don’t ask me what her fascination is with giant pumpkins. It has always been this way and seems to get greater each year. I hope she keeps having birthdays as I am happy to enable her pumpkin buying habits.

No dog would pose for scale, but don't let the giant hostas fool you. This thing is huge (and heavy, oof.)

No dog would pose for scale, but don’t let the giant hostas fool you. This thing is huge (and heavy, oof.)

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It’s All Too Much

I thought I was doing okay. I am moving along, not trudging, not skipping, but moving along. Sure there are a few issues taking up residence, but that’s life and individually there is nothing horrendous signaling immediate doom. Then a random GLEE song pops on my ipod on the way into work this morning and I just lost it bawling in my car thinking about Cory Monteith.  Well that’s a sign I am feeling more fragile than I thought. Before I  put a stone on my chest and lie in the river ala Secret Life of Bees, perhaps I need to write down some of these issues. Perhaps more of a hormonal spring Festivus rather than my own personal wailing wall of grief, but hopefully getting this all out will provide some relief. (pretend these are formatted as simple bullets.)

Today is Tax Day. It is also the day my brother’s divorce was finalized and his broken heart never recovered. Now before I paint him as a victim, his ex-wife was fully justified in wanting to fix the mistake of their way-too-young marriage. I mean she went about it in a totally terrible way, but I cut her some slack because hello, who has the best relationship skills at 20? (NOT ME.) Anyway, my brother was already down a path of self-destructive behavior and bad decisions by this point, but he was also an incredibly sensitive soul who felt this rejection and smashing of his heart each and every day for the next decade. I wish things could have worked out differently for him and I wish I didn’t have the memory to have this hurtful date etched in my mind.

On the topic of relationship skills, and lack thereof, I am struggling with a personal communication issue. Just like people learn in different manners I know that communication styles are varied. I get this. Mars, Venus, the whole deal. I get it. The issue at hand is that J insists on communicating in a way that drives me completely up the wall and he knows it and does it anyway. Instead of asking if I would like to do something or instead of asking me to do something with him, he phrases it “are you/we going to (something)?” This turned into a huge fight last year when he never officially invited me to an out-of-state wedding for his cousin but then 2 weeks before asked “Are you coming to Jamie’s wedding?” I tried very hard to keep my cool and explain that the PROPER way to ask your girlfriend if you want her to come along is to INVITE her and REQUEST her presence. He thought that was an invitation. Despite numerous conversations about this approach, I still get questions such as “Are you coming over on Saturday?” or “Are we going to that wing place you like for the game?” as though we have discussed this topic previously and he is confirming prior plans instead of suggesting them for the first time or, you know, inviting me. Everyone I have talked to about this has basically said well tough shit, this is how he is, this is how he communicates. I do get I need to accept this and move on, but I hate it and it irks me (every effing time) and I don’t know HOW to get over it. It is a really stupid thing that reasonable people should be able to come together to fix in order to work in harmony, but we seem to be very Zax-like in this.

My mom needs surgery. Wonderful, amazing, hard-working, anti-cancer poison has kept my mom alive, but it is also destroying her joints (one of the most powerful results come from a drug that also weakens her heart. Lovely choices to make.) The woman trained so hard and finished a freaking sprint triathlon last year and her payback is having to get replacement hips? After some pain alleviating injections failed to provide lasting relief she had to have some x-rays. The doctor took FOREVER to get her results and I thought for sure her silence about it meant they found more tumors, so I am thankful the fix is a common orthopedic surgery.  Still, pretty pissed that in order to live my mom had to take drugs that will hijack the rest of her body piece by piece. I guess I should be thanking science that there are bionic fixes to keep her around, but I am still disgruntled nonetheless. It is not fair.

Pants. (Yes I have grumbles about cancer and pants on my list. I didn’t say all my issues were of great importance.) My pants don’t fit and I don’t like shopping for new ones and paying money to replace perfectly decent pants that I cannot find a way to continue fitting in to. Yes I am the heaviest I have ever been and whine about it, but the number and size is not what truly bothers me. The birth control method currently in use over here is a hormonal one and is the only option, for reasons, and although I know weight gain is a side effect, it coincides with everything just kind of shifting to a place where my pants don’t fit. Sure my eating choices can be atrocious and I am sure my age-related metabolism shift doesn’t help, but even if I am super strict and restrictive and I make a full effort to move my ass for needed exercise, nothing changes. The weight gain is not related to poor diet or lack of exercise. For the past year or so I have been in denial but since the birth control issue is not going to go anywhere, slowly I am adding pants that actually fit to my wardrobe. Last night I worked up the nerve to go shopping for some work pants to get me through the current period between stretchy corduroys and maxi skirt season. I can’t say I like past low rise styles by any means, but what the hell with this high-waisted, pleated bullshit that I seemed to encounter at every turn? Does that look good on anyone except a twig? (Jesus I sound like my Grams.) Since elastic waist stretchy pants are apparently NOT going to become the acceptable standard at work, I ended up getting some boring JCP Worthington pants because all I wanted was decent business appropriate pants for less than $60. Don’t even get me started on the peplum tops (still? go away!) or the acid washed jeggings I encountered. <shudder>

Work. There was a grace period where I thought there was going to be some real change in how the company I work for is run, but it seems that is not the case and once again mandates and hiring choices from our parent company are being pushed through without any regard for why they didn’t work out previously. It is aggravating all by itself, but I am also doubly angry for believing that things would get better. I don’t wanna look for another job. Ugh. I am also annoyed on the work front that in order to get anyone to do their freaking job around here you have to essentially tattle to their bosses. That is… not cool on so many fronts.

Everybody is a terrible driver this week. Is it really so hard to refrain from turning unless you are in the turning lane? My car is literally falling apart, but thankfully my horn works just great and has been used quite often lately. Oh, and then to top off my air of superiority I accidentally cut off a Fed Ex driver today. Whoops. I waved and shouted I was sorry, but yep I am included in my first sentence there.

Whew. I really needed that vent and there is no good way to end to this. Then I debate with myself why I even need an end, but I do. I was talking with a coworker about how hard it is to adult and why can’t I be more like so and so, and it reminded me of the relief I felt reading Anne Lamott’s words and the reminder to be kind to myself:

“Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.”

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Filed under Fine Red Whine, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog

Still Without Him

Marking another year without him, but every day is another day without him. I can acknowledge with grief both that things are easier on a day-to-day basis for me and that I never will be over it. I would never want to be truly over it. To be truly over him.

Even while selfishly admitting that my life does not have the constant, crippling worries about him that it once did, the past 6 years have been really, really hard without him. This year I have not been sick with the usual winter plague. I am (mostly) well-rested and played hermit delightfully all through January with a companion who understands when I need to play homebody. I have made reasonable plans this month to keep busy and occupy my mind with things to look forward to. I felt ready to face the gloom of February without wanting to crawl into a hole. I was caught off guard. This year holds the same calendar pattern as the year his accident happened and it has been a struggle to get through this week. So many reminders of the last times we spent together and the last time I spoke to him. Of taking my parents to the airport at the ass-crack of dawn on a Friday and calling at lunch to remind Randy he was on stupid dog-watching duty at their house after work. To hear his disappointed reaction that I wasn’t coming over the following night because I had plans and his disapproval to know they were with a guy that doesn’t love me in the way I want to be loved. How I would give anything for a do-over of that weekend. To have been there. To not completely melt down anytime my doorbell rings unexpectedly because of that early morning the police came and rang it.

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Filed under All In The Family, Misty Watercolor Memories, Sad Times, Wishful Thinking

My Objectified Dozen

It is no secret that I love Magic Mike and am super stoked for the sequel. When declaring these feelings it came out that although I find Channing Tatum attractive and see his appeal, he does not make my “top 10”. Even (bad) feminist Roxane Gay approves of having such a list. When called out to name my actual list, I struggled narrowing it down to 10. Hell, I actually struggled to narrow it down to 20, but I think I have a strong dozen here that my imagination loves to dream about. When I started looking up individuals, their ages became apparent and well now… I guess I have some more daddy issues than I thought I did.

1. Bradley Whitford (55) – No not just Josh Lyman (though yes that character makes my heart flutter) but honestly I will gladly watch ANYTHING Mr. Whitford is in (this was a surprise gem that is worth your time if it is still available on Netflix) even when he has a jarring mustache and plays a ridiculous character. He is from Wisconsin and was married for a long time to Jane Kaczmarek (from my hometown!) which only makes him more attractive to me. When a friend got married she notified her husband that she expected a free pass if there was ever an opportunity to run away with or sleep with Tom Hanks. I think Bradley Whitford is my guy.

2. Jonathan Frakes (62) – Historically my #1. I watched a TON of Star Trek TNG as a child and bearded Riker was my genuine poster heartthrob the way NKOTB and Mark-Paul Gosselaar were for my peers. It was a joke around the neighborhood growing up and later when I reconnected and dated someone from my childhood as an adult, he had a photo cake with a smiling Will Riker made for Valentine’s Day as a surprise. It was really hot.

3. Eric Dane (42) – McSteamy. Even playing a gay man in Valentine’s Day movie could not dampen my attraction to this man. A FWB knows about this fantasy I harbor and has encouraged role playing at times. So steamy.

4. Joshua Jackson (36) -Team Pacey forevermore. I am also thoroughly enjoying him in The Affair.

5. Glen Hansard (44) – Another ginger in my top 5! I am going to see him (again!) on Valentine’s Day next week and I am so excited. Amazing voice, kind heart, ginger beard. (also he loves Kopp’s custard.)

6. Matt Damon (44) – Everyone who hears about this automatically says his name like in Team America. I don’t care. He is a cutie pie and has many attractive personal qualities too. Plus Good Will Hunting.

7. Alan Rickman (68) – Perhaps Hans Gruber is a throwback to my childhood and where my love began. All I know is that I would probably do anything for this man if I was lying next to him while he whispered in my ear.

8. Joe Manganiello (38) – BIG DICK RICHIE and one of the only redeeming characters on True Blood.

9. Ben Affleck (42) – So much hate exists for Ben, but I am a fan. Slow. Astronaut. Walk. (oh plus ridiculous singing. I do this for J whenever he has a trip. He loves it. Of course he does.)

10. Mandy Patinkin (62) – Sure my love began with The Princess Bride (Oh how I would love to run my fingers through that hair.) but it continues with Homeland. Papa beard does it for me.

11. Wil Wheaton (42) – Another Star Trek (and Stand By Me) childhood throwback, but damn this man has only improved with age (again with the beard!) and I enjoy his tweets about puppy dogs and burritos immensely. Also this.

12. Colin Firth (54) – Of course he rocked it in Pride and Prejudice (even if the wet shirt remains a conspiracy), but an all-around solid choice in a variety of viewing pleasures.

Notable mentions: Mark Ruffalo, Chris Messina, James Spader, Stephen Colbert, George Clooney, Taye Diggs, Jimmy Fallon, Heath Ledger, Jon Bon Jovi, and Richard Dean Anderson.

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