Thursday, January 16, 2014

We must have made a mistake.

Because it's been awhile since I've made fun of random stupid crap on the internet. This is an article originally published on HuffPo, entitled "23 Things to do Instead of Getting Engaged When You're 23." Written by someone who feels inadequate because she's single and she's seeing lots of facebook friends getting married, so here's her superiority play.

1. Get a passport. Got it in college, thanks. Although, I do need a new one now that I've changed my last name.
2. Find your "thing." Omg, my brain would scare you. There are new THINGS every day. I will never have just one Thing.
3. Make out with a stranger. Have, several times. It is possible for this to happen pre-23 and pre-engagement. Does that blow your mind??

4. Adopt a pet. We have two. We have fostered several others. Dogs specifically are probably more difficult to own when you're single, actually. If all you're interested in at 23 is making out with strangers and #11, maybe it's too soon for you to have sole responsibility of another living thing anyways.
5. Start a band. No. I'm not the band-starting type and I hate to play music in public.
6. Make a cake. Don't feel like it.
7. Get a tattoo. Got one before him. Got the second one after marriage. Neither have anything to do with him, but I'm working on one that does. Next?
8. Explore a new religion. I know some about lots. My beliefs have changed since we've been together. I'm sure they're not done changing.
9. Start a small business. At 23? Or even 26? THAT is something I'm not ready for, but something that WE would love to do together. Awhile from now.
10. Cut your hair. ...because we live in biblical times, or....? Have you SEEN my hair lately??
11. Date two people at once Um, no. I thought it was icky then, still think it's icky now.
12. Build something with your hands. I...what?

13. Accomplish a Pinterest project. Oooookay.

14. Join the Peace Corps. Thought about it. Didn't. (I'm noticing that some of these suggestions are considerably more time-intensive and commitment-heavy than others...)
15. Disappoint your parents. I did when I started piercing stuff. Also did when I didn't marry a Catholic. Check and CHECK.
16. Watch Girls, over and over again. I tried watching it once and just couldn't. Now, Gilmore Girls, YES. When Devin isn't home. Sometimes when he is.

17. Eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting. Dude, Devin and I FIGHT over the Nutella. He knows to buy the giant-size jars.

18. Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places. That is one of our favorite things to do when we go out. Apart, we're useless!

19. Sign up for CrossFit. Again, no.
20. Hangout naked in front of a window. Yes, that happens periodically.
21. Write your feelings down in a blog. WTF am I doing right now??
22. Be selfish. Oh, I'm plenty selfish. I never refuse my husband's offer to rub my feet or make dinner.
23. Come with me to the Philippines for Chinese New Year. No. I lack time, money, and a desire to even share breathing space with you, none of which are related to my marital status.

I mean, come on. I feel like she's trying to be somewhat satirical, but it doesn't translate well. It just seems judgmental, condescending, and uninformed. I will agree that plenty of 23-year-olds aren't ready for marriage, and when I hear that certain people in my age range have gotten engaged/married, I silently think, "hmm, wonder how long that'll last?" But damn. That doesn't apply to everyone just because of age. We got married because we knew this was it. And we didn't want to wait until some preconceived notion of appropriate marrying age because, well, we didn't care, and we were ready. The end.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Always with the updates!

So, yeah, um, it's been a minute.

But I have the day off!

This is my first full day off since the 4th of July. I took three classes over the summer, so I was in school all day twice a week, and then worked the other 5 days. WOW am I thankful for today.

So, The New Things:

Straight A's in summer classes!
Starting my physical therapist assistant classes in 3 weeks!
We are taking a kick-ass (pun intended) self-defense/martial arts class. We just got our yellow belts a couple of weeks ago to become official students. Look out, world!
We have had a makeshift garden this summer. It's been difficult to make sure everything gets the right amount of water and sun, as our "yard" is surrounded by trees and it seems like the sun's angle changes weekly. But we have plenty of rosemary, mint, oregano, and basil, our tomato plants have lots of tiny green tomatoes on them, and our one ground cherry plant has been producing admirably. Still, can't wait to have a real garden; all of our plants are either sitting on the concrete in pots or hanging off the privacy fence in tote bags. Some plants like this arrangement better than others!

And now, for the photos--

For all three of you who read these posts, you might remember when I posted about redoing our dresser. It's been done for months. Here, finally, is a picture.



On the wall I added two wooden crates that I stained and painted. Advice: Don't stain and paint crates. Either do all stain, or all paint. Talk about a headache! :-p

Next project is turning these into something amazing:

And it's going to happen in the next 2 weeks during my fabulous days off. Huzzah! Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

5 Years

I just clicked the orange box with the white pencil for "New Post." Here it goes.

Disclaimer/Disclosure: If you're having a good day, you probably shouldn't read this. This will be hard to read even if you're familiar with the story. I bear no responsibility toward the effect that continuing in your reading may or may not have on your mood or general outlook on life.

I am going to recount the events of the day my father died. Part of me finds it irreverent to do so in this manner, but I feel like it needs to happen.

This is the 5 year anniversary. Significant. In the last 5 years - or really, in the last 2 - I have also lost a student, a teacher, and an uncle. I have more friends and family than I can count on my fingers and toes who have lost friends, siblings, cousins, spouses, parents, and grandparents. And I still know people who have never experienced the death of a loved one. So the purpose of this entry is threefold: to preserve a memory, even though it's awful (am I masochistic for this?). To share my experience with my friends who have recently walked a similar path: you are NOT alone. And to share this information with those who may not know how to comfort someone who is grieving; until you've had it happen, you cannot imagine it, but this might help you understand a little better. If you'd rather read about the present-day effects than every detail of the day, scroll down to the line of *****'s.

Without further ado, here is a story that I wholeheartedly wish was not my own.

On April 11, 2008, I woke up at 4:30 am. On purpose. I was at a Holiday Inn in Dayton, OH with Usurpation Winter Guard for the WGI Finals competition. The night before, the group had celebrated our prelims show with dinner at Bob Evans and then a fake, silly, but well-staged wedding that we all played a part in. I was the bride and my great friend Dan, our only boy, was the groom. I still call him my first husband :) When all the shenanigans were over, I made a phone call to my parents. They had spent the last week in Rochester, MN with my aunt and uncle and were leaving for home in the morning. I told them that we'd had a good run that afternoon and were hopeful about our prospects for semi-finals and finals. I told my dad I was "married."

The next morning, we all left the hotel for our practice site at 5 am, practiced until 7, and took the floor in semi-final competition at 9:45 in a huge gym with a small audience. The semi-finals would go into the afternoon, with 4 rounds of 10 guards each. We were in round 1, so we settled into the stands to watch our competition until lunchtime.

After 2 rounds, we went back to our hotel to decompress. Our director, Brayton, called us all to his hotel room for a group chat. He had the scores from the first two rounds, and it wasn't looking so good for us. Despite having an extremely successful season, we weren't scoring well. We were already sitting in 9th place, and only the top 12 from all four rounds would perform at finals that night. Even though our fate wasn't certain, he wanted us to come to terms with the fact that we may have performed our last show. Some of the girls cried; I was just numb. I was tired. I knew that I had tried my best all season, and that if 5 judges decided we shouldn't move on, there was nothing I could do. The meeting took about 15 minutes, and we all dispersed to our own rooms. When I casually checked my phone, which I had left on the bed, it showed that I had a missed call.

It was from my cousin, Sarah. What? She doesn't call me. She's my closest cousin, and we text, but...never talk on the phone. Hmmm. She had left me a voicemail. I listened. It went something like this:

*in a slightly wavering, tearful voice* "Hey, uh...I just wanted to tell you that my mom told me about...what happened...and I'm so sorry...about what happened....and...yeah. So....I guess I'll be seeing you guys in a few days."

My heart dropped to my feet. I had NO idea what she was talking about. What the hell did she have to be sorry for? Why would she be visiting that soon?? It sounds like somebody DIED....who could've DIED?! Nobody in the family was sick. No. Wait. Maybe I'm hearing it wrong. Jumping to extreme conclusions. Maybe somebody is just...hurt. I need to know what this is about. Stay calm.

I called her back. No answer.
I called my dad. No answer.
I called my mom. No answer.
I called my sister, Liz. No answer.

I was seriously, seriously panicking now. And then Sarah called back. She had no idea that I didn't know, she never thought she'd be the one to tell me: "Your parents were in a car accident, and your dad...your dad didn't make it."

Then, hysterics. The head-feeling of absolute NO fighting the gut-feeling of undeniable, irreversible YES. It's true. It happened. You have already seen and spoken to your father for the last time in your life. He's gone. Crying in a way that I've never cried before or since.

I sort of went into survival mode, very linear - what do I do now? Have to tell Brayton. His room was on a different floor, so I got in the elevator - mercifully, alone - and vainly punched the walls a few times. I screamed. Then came the civilized "ding" of the doors opening, with a stranger waiting to board. I imagined how I must look to her. Make no mistake, lady, these aren't breakup tears or friend drama tears. These are death tears. Something truly awful has happened. I wanted to scream at her and disappear at the same time. Neither thing happened.

I knocked on Brayton's door (calmly, or not?) and I still can't imagine what must have been going on in his head when he opened the door to the wet, blubbering pile of redness that I had become. Hadn't it only been like 20 minutes since he had sent me on my way with the others, sad but calm? I could barely squeak out, "My dad died." I'm sure he had no real idea of what to do, but he just hugged me tight while I cried and leaked facial fluids all over his chest. It was probably the best thing he could've done.

After I cried out that round of tears, I used his computer to look up my aunt and uncle's phone number. No answer there either. Well, I had no details. But I knew I had to go home, whether or not we were competing in finals that night. I had to leave now. Nothing else to do.

As I was packing my belongings, my sister called. She was at work and had received the same cryptic voicemail from our cousin, was equally as panicked as I had been. I had to tell her. I heard it sink into her consciousness the same way it had in mine. Her breathing, crying, yelling, "Oh my God!" All I could do was listen. And then through her tears she asked, "Why are you so calm? Why aren't you doing this [freaking out]?" My response was, "I already did what you're doing. Now, I have to drive home."

One of the girls offered to ride with me to keep me company. I declined. Dan was in the room with me as I packed; he walked me out to my car, and even though I was calm by this point, now HE was the one crying, for me. He didn't know my dad but he knew my pain - his mother had died when he was just a toddler - and he told me his heart was breaking for me. We hugged and said good-bye, and as I sat in the hotel parking lot, the interstate had never looked so treacherous. My father just died in a car accident, and now I have to drive three hours home. It doesn't get much worse than this, but there's no choice. Just go.

I made my way out of Dayton, struggling to suppress my thoughts and emotions when they started to overwhelm me, which was often. I distinctly remember thinking, "Who will walk me down the aisle at my wedding?" among other things.

I also had to let my friends and teachers at Saint Joe know what had happened. I mentally ran down the list of who I should call, who I should task with deciding who was close enough to me to know this and how to tell them. I picked my friend and former roommate, Kaylee. I knew that she would maintain her composure, not freak out or ask me lots of questions, let me say what I needed to say and then she would do what I needed her to do. Our conversation was brief and to the point; I said, "Tell everyone who needs to know about this," and she agreed. A little while after we hung up, I got a notification on my pay-as-you-go phone - Kaylee (who had access to my account since switching her phone over to me earlier that same week) had added $20 in minutes so I could feel free to use my phone as much as I needed. I'm still so incredibly touched by that.

After the 3 hour drive to Kokomo, the rest of the evening was a blur. Liz's best friend Kristina joined us in a food run to Wendy's, and then gave us massages (she's a professional) while we watched "Team America" and tried to forget the tragedy we were suddenly living in. A few people from our parents' church offered to come by and "sit with us," but we declined. Neither of us was comfortable being around anyone but the people we were closest to.

After Kristina left late that night, we felt pretty lost. Liz, who had smoked for a couple of years but quit when she got pregnant in 2004, bought a pack of cigarettes. It was about 3 am, and I was trying to sleep but couldn't. I was literally shaking all over from the inside. She was smoking out on the front porch, and I joined her. First cigarette to calm my nerves. It worked, and 24 hours after waking up with a normal life, I fell asleep in what felt like an alternate universe.

I can't remember if my first conversation was my mom was that day, or the next - she had to spend some time in the hospital in Minnesota recovering from broken ribs. My aunt and uncle would be driving her down in a day or two. She told me how sorry she was that my sister and I both found out the way we did; she had wanted to wait to tell us, in case my winter guard made finals. She hadn't wanted Liz to find out at work. She was so sorry (and still is, I think), but...what happened, happened. In her absence, Liz and I tried to keep busy and clean the house all over to prepare for the arrival of friends and family. We watched only funny movies and comedy specials. Had to find something to smile about.

The tiny details end here, but in the week between his death and his funeral, the following things happened, and I want some of these people to know I remember them and think about them:

My friend Ed rode with me up to St. Joe. I didn't want to make the 80 mile drive alone, but I had to meet with professors and get some clothes for the week. I remember singing "Umbrella" by Rihanna together on the way home. :)

On that trip, I met up with most of my closest friends at Burger King. I was still in shock and making jokes about things, which is how I handle the awkward feelings and extreme stress. Anyways, I said something that made one of my friends cry. It was totally unintentional, and I still feel horrible about it.

Several people brought us KFC at home. We ate lots of fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

An article on the accident was posted online from a Minnesota newspaper. The headline was "Man dead in I-90 crash." When my friend Michael saw it, he said, "He wasn't just a man. He was your father."

I remember lots of people coming to the wake. The Usurpation "family," some friends from elementary and high school, my old guard director. I hugged lots of people I had never met before, but they all had beautiful things to say about my dad.

After the wake, all of the extended family who was there stayed to chat with one of the priests about the eulogy he would give. MANY jokes were made about how the crotchety family bird, Bud, should be buried with him - my dad was the only one he wouldn't bite. I guess we ALL make inappropriate jokes to cope with tragedy...I love them for this.

The night before the funeral, there was some kind of sonic boom. Some saw lights in the sky. Lots of people think it was aliens, and I'm pretty sure the Sci Fi channel has done some kind of investigation on it.

And the morning of the funeral, we felt an earthquake. I was in my bedroom but sleeping on an air mattress with Liz and my cousin Sarah, while our other cousin Daniel slept in my bed. It was just after dawn, and I remember feeling it come up through the floor and hearing the ceramic fixture of my ceiling fan shake. Liz said, "the birds stopped singing." I didn't fall back to sleep until they started again. We later said that it was our dad, just tinkering around somewhere in the earth, figuring out how it all worked.

I remember seeing the hearse in front of the church, and how it was light gray instead of the usual black and we all agreed it was "a Daddy color."

The church was packed, and three priests celebrated the Mass. My friend Drew joked that my dad was more popular than Jesus.

My friend Renee was the cantor. My dad had remarked earlier that year that she was a wonderful singer after he heard her at someone else's funeral. So it goes. 

After the burial, we came back to the church for lunch. I shared a table with old and newer friends: Drew, David, Kaylee, Michael, Kyle, and Travis. Truth be told, we had a great time just hanging out. I was so glad they were all there. It kept my mind off things. And really, it was a beautiful day.


So here we are now, 5 years later. It seems like such a long time, because I can still recall all these events (and the accompanying emotions) like it was yesterday. And yes, they have changed me.

Please excuse the stream-of-consciousness style...

I still think about him almost every day. I dream about him sometimes. Usually he doesn't know he's dead, and/or he shows up to fix something. Those dreams are usually more anxious and disturbing than good. I think I've had one good dream about him. And a few months after he died, I had a dream that my mom died too, which was so traumatic that I woke up from it crying, and had a panic attack about it a week later. Being back in school and dealing with all of this was difficult, to say the least. It seemed like most of my friends had forgotten about it, and I didn't want to talk to most of them anyway and drag them down. When I did feel like I was about to explode, I still couldn't because I had 18 credit hours of homework to do. I ended up staying at home the second semester of junior year to just...chill.

The fall after the accident, I helped photograph a wedding for the first time. It had been right around 5 months since, and I did pretty well until the father-daughter dance. I had to look away or I would have just started bawling. It hasn't been that way with every wedding, but there have been a few others where the bride was particularly close to her father that I really had to keep it together. As it happened, my mom walked me down the aisle, and I danced with Devin's dad at our wedding. New dad :)

On the first anniversary, it was Easter weekend and I was in Venice with my friend Travis. On the second anniversary, I got my first tattoo. On the third, I was with Devin. It was (still is!) his birthday and we toured parts of southern Indiana. Last year, dinner with my family. This year will be dinner with my family, but without Devin because he's working. And to anyone who questions these actions (I know one person for sure who has...), it's not a celebration. It's a way of honoring the memory and appreciating the ones who are still here. Doing something together feels better, more appropriate, than treating it like any other day.

I hate hearing/seeing people talk poorly of their parents, or really any loved one. Lord knows I used to; my teenage years were pretty horrible on the father/daughter relationship, but I just think, "At least you have them. How would you feel if suddenly, you didn't?" Similarly, when I see girls/women who are close to their fathers, I feel so sad that he and I never got that chance. I've grown up to be a lot like him. I wish he was here to give me investment advice. I wish he and Devin could work on projects together. Daddy would have LOVED Devin. Like, seriously. And sometimes I feel so rotten that Devin has to live with/deal with a "broken" wife.

I never used to be an anxious person. I would do some "what ifs?" in my head, but I think everyone does that. Then "what if?" became a reality, and now when I worry about someone's safety, I instantly call up the wave of shock and denial that I'd feel if something bad happened. I can get lost in thoughts of "how terrible would it be if..."  I think about long-term cause and effect; like how if my parents hadn't gotten married, they wouldn't have been visiting my mom's brother, therefore he wouldn't have been in that car crash. I've wondered if marrying Devin will determine how one or both of us dies. Macabre, isn't it?

I can't handle any car-related trouble or bad decisions. Last year, when someone ran a red light and almost hit me and Devin, I couldn't function until I had "napped it off" for a few hours. 2 years ago when we rear-ended someone, and there were no injuries, I couldn't even speak or get out of the car without breaking down. If I even hear a word about someone driving drunk/speeding excessively/etc., I have to restrain myself from going off on them. ...maybe I shouldn't. Yeah. I think I'll start speaking my mind on that one.

I hate unexpected phone calls. Especially if the person calls more than once. It instantly takes me back to that day. I've gotten missed phone calls while at work that have almost sent me into a panic attack just because I didn't know why the person was calling.

My memory has never really been the same. When our bodies are under extreme stress, our brains secrete a hormone called cortisol. One of the effects is impaired memory. For awhile, I couldn't even tell you what I'd had for breakfast that morning, or how I'd spent an afternoon. When I went back to school for the fall semester, I had to be extra careful about assignments and due dates. Otherwise, I'd just get lost in bad thoughts and anxiety and forget that I had anything that I was supposed to be doing. I still don't feel as sharp as I used to be.

The upside to all of this is knowing with every fiber of your being how important it is to appreciate the people you love, to never leave a fight unresolved and make people the number one priority. Nothing is guaranteed and you never know when it will be the last time you see someone. As the saying goes, "With life as short as a half-taken breath, don't plant anything but love." (Rumi)


Sunday, February 24, 2013

"My husband is an idiot."

I put the title in quotation marks because I am quoting someone else.

Again, an encounter at work has made me reflect on the nature of marriage.

Today a woman, not much older than me, told me "My husband is an idiot."

What incredibly stupid thing could this man have done to warrant such a public insult to a complete stranger? I'LL TELL YOU.

The woman had come to pick her dog up from daycare. I grabbed the makeshift leash and Gentle Leader that the husband had left with us in the morning, and when she saw it she laughed awkwardly - apparently the apparatus was ghetto-rigged in a way I didn't really see, and as she handed me the regular leash she had brought, she said very plainly, "My husband is an idiot." I can only assume he deserved this title because he was unable to find the usual leash this morning. Based on this information, I can also infer that SHE has NEVER misplaced anything.

I'm sure she's not the first to have an idiot husband. From what I understand, they're a rather common household nuisance. So I have lovingly devised three different, but very effective methods for dealing with said problem.

This is a stock photo of a couple posing for a stock photo. Her motivation: "He's an idiot."

Solution One: BE GONE WITH HIM!

1. GET ANNOYED. Seriously, if you're not annoyed with him at least 3 times each day - constantly is better - this will never work. Whether it's the way he loads the dishwasher, the amount of time he takes getting ready in the morning, or the inescapable stench of his post-workday feet, everything imperfect must bother you to the point where it blocks out any enjoyment of his presence.

2.  Let it fester. You must never mention these annoyances to him. If you think of a way he could improve the situation, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Ladies are better seen and not heard anyway, right?

3. Blow off steam by telling your friends, "My husband is an idiot." Vocalization of your frustrations to those outside of your marriage is key.

4. Blow off more steam by telling strangers, "My husband is an idiot." (The subject in question is definitely at this stage, if not beyond. She's progressing very well for one so young!)

5. (you may perform this step anywhere between 3 and, well, now.) Tell your husband, "You're an idiot."

6. Be persistent AND creative in the ways you put him down. Any missed opportunity will become a setback to the ultimate goal. He will probably attempt to defend himself at some point, and the best response you can keep in your arsenal is a simple pat on the head.

7. Try marriage counseling, only if HE wants to, but maintain the knowledge that you're right and he needs to change.

8. Divorce. Counseling can only do so much when you're dealing with idiots.

9. Celebrate your freedom!

Now, if you can make it through all 9 steps, I salute you. It takes a profound lack of compassion, understanding, and flexibility to treat another human being that way. You must have hidden your soul very deep inside of you, indeed! Unfortunately, not everyone is quite that callous; the second option is better for those who prefer to exert far less mental and emotional effort.

Solution Two: COAST.

The only step in this program is to become completely numb. It has sustained many marriages, and is preferred by those who'd rather be buried next to someone they haven't spoken to for the last 30 years.

This is a stock photo of a happy couple, because most real couples don't know what it looks like.

Now, if you're one of those rare people who isn't satisfied with the outcomes of solutions one OR two - I figure you're about 20% of the married population - keep reading. Solution three requires maturity, reflection, and selflessness. Only the most stout of heart and sound of mind can handle it.


This isn't a step-by-step program, but rather an ongoing state of being. You must overlook those minor annoyances and resist the urge to share whatever problems you're having with the outside world. If you can't talk to HIM about it, you shouldn't be mentioning it to anyone else. He is your best friend, your life partner, the person you should trust above everyone else. Belittling him to others belittles him in your own eyes as well and creates a cycle. He may do things differently than you do, but that doesn't make him wrong or stupid. And think of how miserable you would be if he spent as much of his time picking apart YOUR behavior, or badmouthed you in public.

If you're to the point where small things are setting you off, take a step back. If those nasty thoughts of "he's an idiot" are creeping in, remember this: you didn't MARRY an idiot. Short of some kind of life-altering brain injury, HE hasn't changed (much). Your perception has, and it's entirely up to you to change it back. By all means, please tackle the real issues together - but if your opinion of him is so low that you will disparage him to a stranger, I'd bet money that the majority of the problem lies with you and your thought patterns. Focus on the positive, and if you can't find any, seek help. And never, ever make demands of him that you wouldn't want him to make of you.

Thus concludes the second in a randomly-inspired series of insights from a newlywed. Thank you for reading.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Just a quick post--

I recently borrowed a book called "Little House in the Suburbs" from a friend, and I fell in love with it. We can't really do a full-out homestead while renting a townhouse with about a 60 sq ft courtyard in the back, but I decided this year I'd like to try some container gardening. On my next trip to Fresh Market, I bought some wheatgrass seeds. Here is photo evidence of their daily progression - the first sprout popped up on Valentine's Day.

Should be edible in a few more days. Yahoo!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Making things OURS

Our first furniture re-do is complete, with more on the way!

Let's rewind a little...
When Devin and I got married (or, rather, when we moved into our first apartment a few months before the wedding), we had no money and almost no furniture. The latter was fixed, however, by the extremely fortunate circumstance of both sets of his grandparents downsizing and moving into single apartments, while his parents were also upgrading parts of their home. We inherited our bed, dresser, two living room chairs, and our kitchen table and chairs...among other things! And in that first apartment, we were on the second floor with only a balcony to access the outdoors; ergo, no major modifications were going to take place on our new-to-us stuff.

NOW, however, we've moved into a townhouse with a small courtyard in the back. Still no patio furniture, but now my "nesting" instinct is really kicking in, and I thought, HEY, let's make some of this inherited stuff really OURS. Project 1: the dresser!

Not bad, just not "us."
 This is not the thing that was completed today.

I think this dresser is about 40 years old (but please correct me if I'm wrong, if you know for sure) - we didn't have any real complaints about it, but we just wanted to upgrade it into something of our choosing. I've seen lots of decoupaged furniture online and I LOVE the look, so it just became a matter of figuring out the when and how.

I used some Christmas money to buy a large print from Michael's, as well as spray paint, wood stain, and drawer pulls. Devin borrowed a power sander from work, and now the only thing stopping us has been the weather...

Day 1: Wash watches me sand.

Day 2: the boys watch Devin sand FO REAL. He is Vice President In Charge of Sanding.

"I'm naked!"

That's all the pictures I have of the dresser for now. It has been spray painted, but the top still needs to be stained - it has a wonderful flamed/spalted top that we decided we didn't want to cover up with paint or paper.

Here's another project, some DIY shelves! The green ones will be in the dining room, the blues will be upstairs in the den/studio. Hopefully we'll get them up this weekend!

We'd like to be useful now, please.

 And now, for the Project That Is Complete: THE NIGHTSTAND.

Yes, the "after" picture is first. If you thought this was the before picture, I suppose I should rethink my new hobby.

 Here's approximately what it looked like BEFORE:

Except the handle was just a small wooden knob. It matches our coffee table (which is currently serving as entertainment center). Both were given to us by my mom, who won them in a church auction. And, as is often the case with church auction items, she had no use for them. We're thankful, but they're BO-RING. :-p

The ivory sides and the dark Kona stain on top are the same colors we're using for the dresser. The drawer front is scrapbook paper; it doesn't exactly match the dresser's print, but the colors are all there. Once we started on the dresser, I figured, why not go ahead and make the nightstand coordinate? I'm pleased as punch with how my first re-do/decoupage turned out! (read between the lines: yes, I would do this for money.)

Love y'all.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Love and Marriage Marketing

I have a confession to make:

I am not a blogger.

But I'm a young married woman (blog about how in love we are)! With two cute dogs (blog about how cute the dogs are...oh wait...)! WITH AN ENGLISH WRITING BACKGROUND (write blogs!!!!). And we have a small budget so we like to DIY and upcycle (perfect blog material) and we eat healthy (healthily?)(BLOG ALL THE RECIPES.)

So why have I been silent since August?

Because I just visited the blog of a married woman (younger than me...) with a baby. There's a photo of her licking a huge lollipop (the woman, not the baby. One's cuter than the other.) She has a button on the sidebar that's a photo of her holding colorful balloons, smooching her husband, with the baby on the ground next to them. It says, "Complete Bliss." It's nauseatingly adorable.

You know how my brain responds to that?

"COMPLETE bliss, eh? So when he farts under the covers and it wafts up to your nose, you just inhale, and say, "MMMMM, thank you for the gift of your gas, baby"? Or when the adorable infant is crying, puking, and pooping all at once, the only thought in your mind is, "WOW, life sure is amazing and wonderful and the best thing EVER..."? Yeah. Didn't think so."

Hey, I'm a realist.

And every young married's blog is filled with all the same exhaltations of life, the universe, and everything. And while there is a mood and a time and a place for such things, these women make it look as though every day is a creative, adorable, squishy, perfect love-fest. I was perusing another blog awhile ago, and the author gushed, "We like to make forts out of blankets, we hold hands at the movies, and we eat ice cream cones" (or some other such cutesy nonsense). My first reaction? "....we don't make blanket forts... :-/" Immediately I wondered if something about our relationship was sub-par. 30 seconds later my brain said, "Screw that noise! We're awesome and we know it." We could totes make a kick-ass blanket fort if we wanted to.

But since I can't write about our blanket forts that we don't make, and I don't want to say our life is COMPLETE BLISS because, dude, it's not, I feel like less-than-ideal blogger material. The attitude I've had is, "Well if I can't make everyone gush and awwwwww and SQUEE and nearly lose their lunch, then what's the point?" These women all seem to just have it together and all figured out, and I very much...don't feel that way.

So I'll blog when I have something on my mind, like now. Because I can't act like our life is a fairytale, or share every mundane detail. I don't photograph every meal or outing or family cuddle pile. I don't WANT the whole internet to know what we do with our days off together, and the internet doesn't care, anyways. I don't need to talk us up every day in my need to convince you how in love we are. Hang out with us and you'll know.

I was never one of those girls who doodled my own name over all my notebooks in school. I think those girls grow up to write blogs like the ones I'm running into (with varying grammatical correctness, I might add...), while I'm just over here like, "Todaaaaaaaaaay...wasaday. I'll tell you when something important happens."