Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hardest Thing About Home Improvement

Is the waiting.

D and I are still waiting for our destiny to fulfill when we win a huge jackpot in the lottery.  So until then, we need to be selective as to how to properly pretty up our home.

Yeah, I bet we are all in that same boat, right?  Right.

Back in the day, when I was a single schmoe, I couldn't wait to decorate my first apartment when I was a post grad young professional.  I lived in the most adorable flat in a house you could imagine.  It was freshly remodeled and white white white.  Clean.  Fresh.  A new canvas.

So I started look snoop around stores, itching to buy myself some decorations to deck my halls.

What I got?  Sticker shock.  I was paralyzed.  They wanted how much for window treatments?  Rugs cost HOW much?  What is that pillow filled with, GOLD?

The one thing I remember I got for that adorable apartment was a beautiful shower curtain.  It was fabric and shimmery and had all these softly colored purple and teal butterflies all over it.  That was it.

And so began my decade of completely not decorating my home.

Every last thing was a hand-me-down or a gift.  Which is not to say my stuff sucked.  I remember that place being cozy.  I had my mom's couch and pillows, an old comforter from home that was well loved.  It was cozy.  But plain.

Then I moved into a room at my great grandfather's house.  The place was already decked out due to my Aunt with whom I lived.  She had an eclectic and clean style.  Think leopard print and cats.  She knew her style and had 20 years on me to afford such luxuries.  Still, not my style.

Then I moved into a large apartment in Oak Creek where I inherited a glass dining room table from my grandmother, which I had every intention of spray painting and recovering the cloth cushions.  Still, I did nothing.

Over the years, I would find something at a rummage or an art show that inspired me and I would quietly thumb through my wallet, carefully deciding on whether or not buying that item was worth it.   One was  a Dave Badger pencil print called Bubble Bath purchased at a GenCon.  Proved to be a worthy item, because after 10 years it still hangs in my bathroom.

Even after D and I got married, our first apartment largely remained the same with the exception of his father and brother's beautiful artwork.

Then: the first house, where budget seems to fly out the window.  We bought a rug (which we fought over.)  We bought drapes (which we fought over.)  We bought a couch, over sized chair, and ottoman (largely argument free.)
That damn rug and drapes.  Both of which we still have.  Still have the furniture too.

Trouble is, when you live your life with someone, they get an opinion too.  And they have an opinion about budgets.  So I was doubly paralyzed.  First, will he like it?  Second, will he flinch at the cost?

So, yeah... did nothing.

Our first apartment out here was void of any possibility because it was stacked to the gills with boxes.

Then this home.

This glorious home we have now.  A new blank canvas.

It's taken me 6 years and a green light blessing from D to start work on decorating this thing.  When I falter on a decorating challenge D issues, he'll just go out and buy what he wants.  And while he does have a great eye, I would have picked something different for our living room drapes.

I've painted.  We've bought art.  Window dressings.  Throw pillows.  Selective trinkets.  I've been cautious, true, but I've also not sacrificed what I envisioned.  The curtains for my dining room?  Perfect match to the color of the room.  Looked for years for those things.

I can't believe it... but now we are at a place where, while we are hardly flush with money, we can afford to invest in the luxury of decorating a home.  We have big plans for renos,  but we still move forward with the cautious frugality of our 20's.  It took us 5 years to put a porch on the back of our house.

We have slowly invested in truly making this place a home.  Softening the bare walls and windows, getting new sheets for everyone, a warm comforter for us, a new bed for G.

What's funny is that I just went through my smugmug and I haven't really taken pictures of what we've done.  It's all in the background in holiday pictures and such.

What does that mean, then?

I suppose that the decor of a house isn't supposed to be the end all, be all.  It's meant to help create an ambiance, a feeling of home.  It doesn't define your home, but it can set the stage.  You don't need $1000 chandeliers or silk curtains.  It's the picture of G smiling on the wall.  Jerry and Rob's art in a few rooms.  The warm comforter on the bed.  The few knick knacks sprinkled throughout, that when my eye lands on the item, it sparks a happy memory.

Maybe that's what I've been missing all these years.  Maybe I don't need the matching furniture or the perfect set of window dressings.

I don't need a massive budget to make this house feel right.  I just need a man named Dave and a little girl named Grace.

Let's be honest...This face also helps.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thinking About Bathrooms

G has been in school all day, and I have been at home.

It certainly feels a bit strange to have the whole house to myself.  I feel like I should either be with G or be at work.  But for right now, that isn't the case.

You see, we've been trying to plan ahead for the future, but I've been caught up with the But What Ifs for over a year now, paralyzing any significant decision making.  A month or two ago, I was finally ready to live life as is and deal with changes as they come.

What did I want to do now?

Well, I've been thinking about going full time at work for awhile now, but G was just too happy with her situation.  She started a very part time preschool and she loved going to her in-home daycare.  Why pull her from that norm just so I could work more?  I just wasn't ready.

Then, D and I started to realize that G actually outgrew her in-home day care.  She wasn't napping and come winter, she wasn't going to be playing outside at all.  So we started to shop around and discovered that a full time preschool/day care combo was the way to go.  She'd get some schooling in the morning, quiet time in the afternoon, and plenty of fresh air and good wholesome food for the same rates as we were paying before.

So I said hey, Work!  I'd like more hours!

And Work said, hey!  We'll get back to you!

And D said, hey!  Let's get G enrolled now before the spot closes!

And I said, hey!  Okay!

Work eventually agreed to up my hours to 32 a week, but not until November.  Which means for the duration of October, G is in full time care and I'm off Thursdays and Fridays with nary a permit to write.

What's a girl to do?

Paint a bathroom.

Here is our guest bathroom:

Compare it to Grimace or Barney, depending on your generation, and either way, you get a Vibrant Purple.

It took me an hour to put the first coat on, but here's an up close of that first coat:

Behr Premium Plus with Primer does not cover in one coat, especially if you are trying to cover the Great Grape Ape with a soft, butter cream color.

I still need to cut in around the doors, ceiling, shower, light fixtures, etc, but overall not bad for an hour.

I hope to be done by date night time tomorrow.

In the mean time, off to go get that step ladder from the basement so I can finish for the day.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Late Night Reflections

I finished my library book in record time at about 10:45.  I reached up, turned off my bedside lamp, and snuggled into my cozy, comfortable bed and fluffy pillows and the fan on to create a gentle breeze on my skin.  On good nights, I drift off to sleep within the half hour, thoughts and imagination softly soothing me to sleep.  On nights like tonight, my thoughts and imagination are less a lullaby and more of a mosh pit at a punk  rock concert.

Starting out, peaceful memories creep into my mind, like that one time when Grace was itty bitty and I ran an errand to Staples to buy some supplies and shred paper, and I had her strapped to my front and I had my backpack on and I was so rocking the mom thing.  The cashier even commented how awesome I was, and I was all like, "Hell yeah, I'm awesome."  Then my Debbie Downer mind is quick to remind me of that one time I was trying to get to a restaurant in Colorado Springs and I ran across a street to make sure I made the signal, all with G strapped to my front and my backpack bringing up the rear, but I didn't close the backpack securely and all my diaper bag paraphernalia dumped out in the middle of the crosswalk.

I don't know about you, but my memories often produce a visceral, physical reaction.  There, in my peaceful sleeping place, my stomach clenched at the memory.  Then my mind started pinging all over the place:  Man, that was stupid.  I was so stressed.  Why did I run?  Who cares if you are a few minutes late with an infant in tow?  Why do I think of these things when I'm going to bed?   I bet it was that beer I had a few hours ago.  This happened last night, and I had a beer last night too.  I bet it's the alcohol.  Maybe I should go downstairs and Google "Can alcohol affect sleep?*"  I really wish I didn't run out of melatonin.  Gosh, this position is uncomfortable.  My hair is still wet from my shower.  I wonder when it'll dry?  I bet Dave is silently cursing me for moving so much.  And having my light on so late.  Pffft, he watches TV when I'm trying to sleep, so we're even I guess.

And on and on.  So I come downstairs, putter around on the computer, upload some pics of G's birthday party, and suck down some lukewarm milk.  I contemplate doing a dewrinkle cycle on some clothes.  Maybe I should.

You know what's weird?  A year ago, you couldn't keep me up past 8:30.  And it isn't as if I have the energy to do anything truly significant throughout the day.  By 2 p.m., I'm dying for a nap.  But today, I didn't take a nap.  No, I got shit done!  Ran errands!  Did stuff!  Got a book from the library and couldn't put it down.

Oh yes, that's right.  This is my point, my motivation for writing this post in the first place.  It isn't so much about the insomnia, but rather to unload some mommy guilt here.

Confession #1: I spent the afternoon reading.  My daughter played, and I read.  She watched TV, and I read.  She and daddy played, and I read.  She took a bath, and I read.  I even sometimes got annoyed with her asking me for things, because I wanted to read.

Confession #2: I get pissed at her for the stupidest reasons.  She had a Popsicle after dinner, one of those blue freezie thingies.  She was down to pure vibrant blue liquid.  I was reading (duh) and she was watching Peppa Pig from my lap.  And she dumped it all over my lap and couch.  And I got ticked off.  I reflect on that moment where I should have reacted differently, but for some dumb ass reason I was frustrated that  my kid didn't know not to dump blue freezie stuff on me.

She's freakin' 3.  And it isn't like she did it on purpose.  So instead of using this as a learning opportunity, I got all pissy and acted like a spoiled rotten 10 year old.  (Also?  Put the frickin' book down, Lor.  It's a book.  You can pick it up anytime to read.  G is only 3 once.  Insurgent will be in your possession for 3 weeks.  Get a grip.)

I cleaned things up like a sourpuss, but returned to my place on the couch and had her snuggle with me again.  Took her up to her bath.  Read as she bathed.

Then it was bed time.  Time for mea culpa.  So I dried her off and helped her dress for bed.

"Snuggle?"  She asked.
"Of course," I replied.  And she brought her blanket and tiger and bunny and towel onto the over-sized chair I was seated in and she set up for snuggle time.  First, blanket down.  Second, towel down.  Third, check for bunny.  Check!  Fourth, check for tiger.  Check!  Last, check for binky.  Check!

And she settled in.  I hugged her tight and played a little bit with her damp hair.

I told her that I'm sorry.  That I don't understand why I get so upset about silly things.  That I'll try harder in the future to just chill out.  That I loved her.  That she's my most favorite person in the world.

She wasn't listening.  She was watching the clock to see how many snuggle minutes we have left.  She gets all excited when the numbers change, calling out the new number when it turns over.

Hopefully by the time she's old enough to truly retain the memory of her mother behaving like a royal bitch, I won't be behaving in that fashion too often.  For now, she likely remains oblivious to what happened.  The mea culpa was more for me, I suppose.  I have to forgive myself and just always always ALWAYS try to be better tomorrow.

My most favorite person in the world deserves that, doesn't she?  Yes, I believe she does.

*Yep.  Apparently, having a beer near bedtime can prevent sleep.  Damn.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grace Turning 3

 She is a living, breathing being that didn't exist 4 years ago.  Sometime in 2010, she started growing in my belly, everything about her already written in her DNA and just waiting to be expressed.  The color of her eyes.  The little dimple above the right side of her lips when she grins.  The bizarrely macho way she struts around, belying the femininity of the dresses I sometimes put her in.  The deepness in her voice when she congratulates herself, "Yay, Grace!"  
 She talks about her Pappy the Firefighter that she never met in this life, of the mountains that for some reason remind of her Nonnie and Papa, or Gram who she loves to look at pictures with.  She talks about babies in bellies, thanks to Auntie Amanda who has a little girl coming soon.  She shyly talks about her new cousins Will and Mason and when she looks at their pictures (or any pictures really) she says, "Aw, so cute!"    She speaks seriously about strangers and bad guys and the bears that scare her, and she carries around a spray bottle that contains a magical potion that scares the bad things away.  She knows her numbers.  She sings songs to herself.  She can dress herself.  She snuggles and laughs fiercely, with her whole being.  
 She still cries a lot, still is demanding, still occasionally likes to be fed like a baby.  But the further we get away from July 1, 2011, the day she took her first breaths outside my body, the further she gets from being that little 7 pound 11.5 ounce football that needed everything from us.
 It'll be okay.  She'll be okay, we'll be okay.  With any luck, the next three years will move at a pace comfortable for all.  But I suspect on the eve of her 6th birthday, I'll be musing over the forever gone years and the too quickly approaching future.  
 No matter what: she will be loved.  And I am proud to be her mother.  
 Happy Birthday, G.  I hope you like your birthday cake!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pillow Talk

One of the things that drives my dear husband nuts is that, after we retire and drifting off to sleep, I get all philosophical and sometimes verbalize my musings.

Last night was no exception.

Lori: Dave?
Dave: Hm?
L: Do you think you live every day as if it were your last?
D: No.
L: Me neither.
<long pause>
L: I think we are doing it wrong.
D: Well, I think you should lay there and over think it then.
L: You're an ass.

And so on.

But he was right.  I did sit there and think about it for awhile.  I sat and wrote a lengthy post in my head, fell asleep, and forgot most of what I had planned to write by the time G came into our room to snuggle in the morning.

The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that - for the most part - I do actually live every day as if it were my last.  I mean, I wouldn't go to work.  That isn't something I'd like to do on my last day of life.  But I wake up with love and I fall asleep with love.  Not always, but most of the time.  I'd ask D to stay home from his work, I'd call up my family in the morning, have one last conversation, then spend the rest of the day as I do most Thursdays through Sundays: be with G.  Watch her grow.  Sit out on the porch and see the bright morning sun light up all the dew on the spring green grass.  Feel the breeze on my skin.  See a coyote run off after Moose declared his territory.  Drink coffee.  Snuggle.  Miraculously have all the rest of the seasons filmed of Game of Thrones and binge watch it with D while G takes her nap and goes to bed.


I think that the point of life isn't so much about the peaks of happiness or the depths of despair we run into from time to time.  It's the every day peace we find with our lives and ourselves.  Taking the time to appreciate the beauty of our reality when life isn't going full speed colored in one emotion or another.

When I do finally die, I won't be thinking about the outliers of my experiences, but rather the sum of everything, and hoping it comes out to just about right.  So far, I think the math is working in my favor.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

10 Years Later

My life for the last several years has been rather bizarre.  Not in a true sense, of course.   I'm not riding flying unicorns and fighting a battle with a anthropomorphic floating octopus who is hell bent on taking over the world.  Although that would be a neat B-movie.

No, my life is strange because my mind can't grasp the passage of time.  A part of me is still in my twenties, still trying to figure out life and expecting to have the time to do so.  Not anymore.  I'm on the downhill slide to 40, and I have the traditional American dream: husband, kid, house, fence, dog.  It's mostly awesome, but I seriously sit back sometimes and go, "WHOA.  Just... whoa.  When the hell did this all happen?"

I think I spent so much time thinking about where my life is going to be at in 10 years, and here I am 10 years later and my musings have become a reality.  I'm 10 years later.  And although I do have great things in place, I feel like I haven't accomplished much as an individual.

I think I'm ready to start focusing on Me again.  I'm already starting.  I'm reading again (!!!).  I'm buying newer clothes so I can feel good about the size I am now.  I'm thinking about getting my long, unkempt hair cut and colored.

What is next?  Writing.  I do love to write.  I've missed it.  So I think I'm going to start small.  Write a bit on this blog and the other family blog, once a week.

So June is Getting Back Into Writing month.

I'm back!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Not Sweating the Small Stuff

This morning, G wanted to paint.  We cleared off her table, moved it to the vinyl flooring outside the kitchen, and let her paint away.  I gave her two brushes: a normal one and a spongey one.  And a cup of water for some reason.

Look what she invented...

Yeah.  Murky water all over the floor. But that's why we moved her to the kitchen area, right?  5 minute clean up, no big deal.

On a side note, I love how she sticks out her tongue when she is focusing...