housey stuff

Days off

Whenever I have a day off/weekend, I have a friend at work who says, when I come back, because it’s what you say if you are polite and have had good home-training: “How was your day off?” The other day, when I replied, she said: “can I ask you what the HECK you are doing on your days off? Because every time I ask you, you are all ‘IT WAS THE BEST DAY OFF EVER OMG SO GREAT.'”

Homies, I was mortified. I am being tres obnoksh about my days off! But the thing is, the love, it is real. I DO love my days off, and rock them hard like a, like a, I don’t know, a Day Off Rocker. This is how I rock a weekend day off. I am not saying it is for everyone, I mean, you do you, but for me, it works so well that I scare my co-workers with enthusiasm and wet-eyed nostalgia when I return to work. I challenge you to make a list of items that make your days off perfect, and then recreate. Self care, y’all.  Here’s mine.

  1. I do not sleep in. I KNOW I KNOW I HAVE LOST YOU ALREADY. I do have an inner Chris Traeger sometimes, and I acknowledge it can be annoying. But if you wake up you can cram more fun in, is the thing.
  2. Ok so I wake up early, but I lollygag in the bed. Reading in bed on a day off morning is the best and worth waking up for. Also, if one has a bed-mate, you know, one could snuggle them or something. I’m just saying, I don’t know, have some adult touching time. I feel like you are getting uncomfortable with this part so MOVING ON.
  3. There is a spot in my living room that catches the sunlight just right on a cold, crisp morning. This is where I have my morning tea. If it is gloomy and raining, I have a corner section of my couch where I can park it. In the summer, I go outside on the deck. I know where I am parking my butt for morning tea according to weather, is I guess what I am saying.
  4. I love a fancy breakfast on a day off! Make some pancakes, do up an egg sandy, go out to a breakfast joint.
  5. I make some space to do something productive, but I BOOKEND IT. Need to do house chores? Go to the grocery store? I set aside a specific couple of hours and KNOCK IT OUT AND THEN I AM DONE. I do not spread it out or let it hang over my head. Just do it, fast and scheduled in a block.
  6. Speaking of household chores, I couple that up with some audiobook/podcast time. Makes folding the laundry something I actually want to do.
  7. Make a social plan. I am a solid ambivert. I like to be around people, and I also like my solo time. This means I try to make space for both. For me, two social plans with friends per weekend is a chill minimum amount. Plus one outing of some sort with the dude. (My dude, not The Dude).
  8. Take a walk, read a book, stare out the window. Gots to have the unstructured solo time. So luxurious.
  9. 30 minute nap! More than one of you want! This helps if you, like me, stay up late and wake up early. Warning: more than an hour nap and I risk feeling like a groggy froggy.
  10. If at all possible, (I know, sometimes you gotta, but) DON’T DO WORK WORK. ESPECIALLY EMAILS.

This is my own personal recipe for a great weekend, according to me. A Me-kend. Y’ALL I JUST SAID ME-KEND. I should go now. Ok, going now. Bye.

Delta Lambda Gross

Dearly Beloved, we shall now convene and commence the time of year when those of us in Seattle who have been freezing our clammy bootangos all year go SUNSHINE KISS ME YOU FOOL, while others who prefer to slosh around in puddles will hide in their gollum caves saying THE FIREBALL IT BURNS US. There are those who lie in between those two extremes but Y’ALL I AIN’T ONE OF EM.

Sun sun sun sun sun sun sun sun sun SUNNNNNNNNN

One of the most lovely feelings of summer weather starting up is setting up our yard and deck for the first time. Hosing everything off, setting up the chairs, popping up the sun shades, firing up the grill, and then sitting out there for the first time with a book and drink? Major jollies are had from this, I GAR-on-tee. The only thing that sometimes stops me from getting my butt out there? Camp Dude.

I may have mentioned this last summer, but let us refresh. Living next door to me is a house full of dudes. Now let me just preface what I am about to say by saying the following. This house is a rental and, pretty much annually, we get different neighbors. We have had a lot of, well, variation over the years, and I have never had any reason to, in my heart, throw any shade toward a neighbor. There was a somewhat loud group of goth kids, just barely out of their teens, that lived there for a year, blasting their emo music and sipping what one could only assume was absinthe in their yard while draped in black like a Severus Snape picnic. Their wifi username would pop up on my computer sometimes: The Necropolis of Angels. I thought every last bit of it was adorable, including the Bauhaus that would play through my windows when I was going to bed at night. I think those were my favorite neighbors.

This year, there is nothing cute to me about what is going on with my neighbor house. This year is the Year of the Brosephs. It is pretty much a frat house over there, I think. Like, the level of it is so cliche that I almost can’t believe it is for realsies. I know you thought that the goth kids were cliche, but I guess the difference here is that I am comfortable with outsiders, but I have spent my entire life running as fast as I can from this particular brand of privileged, white, insecurely hetero, aggressively masculine bullcaca. LIKE I JUST CAN’T EVEN DEAL WITH IT. Could it really be that dude-ish over there or are they maybe just making a Zac Efron movie? Their front yard, like mine, has a large-ish patio deal, and just that alone is a sight to behold. First of all, they have strung their front fence with lights that are covered in red solo cups. I say again, RED SOLO CUPS. Then, they have a dirty papasan chair on the patio because OF COURSE THEY DO. Next up, a pingpong table, a portable basketball hoop, three coolers, and oh yeah, garbage all over the floor. Mostly crushed beer cans. I do not know what all gets consumed over there in that house but the amount of garbage bags that are piled up on their curb on trash day each week is ALARMING. Also, they yell a lot. Like, so much yelling all the time! Like there is a constant sportsball match happening in their collective brains. Some fave phrases “COME ON MAN” and also “STOP BEING A BITCH.” Are these greetings and salutations in Bro-land, and does it only count when being hollered? Whatever the case, they seem completely unaware that there is anyone else on planet earth, let alone on our street. How dare my elderly neighbor, Maggie, sit on her stoop to take in a sunset when these fine young gentlemen decide that it would be really HILAIR to have a shouting contest to see who can scream the word “PUSSY” down the street the loudest? I mean, boys will be boys, so CUTE, amirite ladies?

The only saving grace of it all is that they all seem to have other places to be most of the time, so their patio time usually happens for a couple hours a week, here and there. Still, just NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. Let’s hope this is a dudey-free zone by 2017. Because this isn’t my favorite.

Stop yelling, Brah.


December Dispatch

Too many things happening at lightning speeds, ahhhhhhhh! Why is time going so fast? Where can I get one of those Hermione Time-Turner things? Or a flux capacitor? Or sign me up for the “slingshot maneuver” that Spock uses to go back to talk to the whales in the 80s! GIVE IT TO ME. I will gladly gab up some whales if I can slingshot myself some time back. I mean, for realllllll.

Here’s some stuff that has happened. Ready? Ok!

I got a promotion at work. I am a MODERN CAREER WOMAN OF THE 90s! Should I start wearing power suits?

Thanksgiving happened We ate a lot, went to the movies a lot, slept a lot. Like, we thanksgiving’d the SHIT out of it.

We broke our couch! WHO BREAKS A COUCH? Have you ever heard of that? We are pioneers in couch-breaking, I guess. So we ordered a new one and it is coming on Friday. Since we no longer have our old one, we have a set up in our living room where we just have two chairs side by side and we watch our tv as though we are Bartles and James sitting on a porch together.

It is dark here, 24 hours a day. I mean, technically the sun does rise and set, but it is straight up White Nights in reverse in terms of feeling. This version of the Baryshnikov, Hines, and Rossellini movie has non-stop rain and wind, a lot of hot beverages, and loud whines about the weather. No pirouettes.

Speaking of pirouettes, I lifted my moratorium on seeing the local Nutcracker production (WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY MORATORIUMS ARE WEIRD) because I didn’t like it and I can be the Frasier Crane Snoot Snoot of ballet. I lifted the moratorium because they re-did their production from top to bottom. I thought FINALLY THEY WILL FIX ALL THE PROBLEMS I HAD WITH IT, NILES! But they didn’t! It had all the same problems! Doh! People, it was your big chance to fix, whyyyyyy. I know that my city can do better than this. Their other productions are so good!  This must be how the sportsball people feel when they have a great team that cheeses up the playoff series home final bowl match?

That’s what’s up. Oh, hi, mid-December!






Consumables #135 Reading: The Buried Giant

So the other day I was moving a framed piece of art from one wall to the other, and the frame it was in was a cheap-o five-dollar number from a certain Swedish warehouse home store/purveyor of the 99 cent meatball. I was walking across the room with this big frame and it just fell apart in my hands. It was as if I was playing Jenga with all of the pieces of the frame and losing spectacularly. The wood pieces fell apart, the glass in the frame hit the wall next to me, a big piece of the glass bounced back and hit me on the forearm. Not quite in the wrist artery area, but right up next to it. It scratched me pretty good, and I did bleed a bit, and it hurt like a motherflipper (the scratch was probably 5 inches long), but the placement of the scratch and the sight of blood near my wrist? I FREAKED THE EFF OUT, you guys. Like, full on AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! horror movie style that made my guy run into the room with a look on his face like he was going to murder whoever was murdering me.

I have to say, I am not a panicker, in general. I have been in panic-appropriate situations and I keep it quite cool. But apparently? Scratch me near my potential gore spurters and I will totally lose my mind. That seems fair though, right?

I have no appropriate segue to offer up so anyhoozle: I read The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, who has been one of my faves ever since I read Remains of the Day which was one of my all-time top books when I was college age. Beware, his books can seem slow to some, but I experience them as books to marinate oneself in. Just, roll around in it, is what I say. All of his books are different in terms of style– he has done historical fiction, science fiction, a detective mystery, and this one is a fantasy complete with trolls and knights and dragons and of course, a long walk. Where would fantasy be if people didn’t have stroll around for weeks on end? However the themes are often the same– most often he’s writing about love, memory, and lonliness. In this one, Axl and Beatrice, an older couple who live in a village where people have trouble remembering their pasts, decide to take a long walk to another town to see their grown son who they haven’t seen in so long they have almost forgotten him. The love that they feel for each other is subtly but movingly described, and the story has many layers that all point to the question: is there a utility to forgetting some things, even things important and dear to us? When does forgetting serve us well and when does it hurt us? Ishiguro makes me feel wistful, and yet comforted in my wistfulness.

Have a loverly weekend, lovers. Here’s a wistful song to kick it off.

Heroes, David Bowie

Younguns seem more refined nowadays

Friday night I went to my bro-ham’s house and spent some time watching my nephew and his friends for Halloween times. They seemed perfectly contented to be in the house, horsing around. They did head out trick or treating eventually but there wasn’t much urgency around it. It made me feel old and decrepit because all I could think about was how in my day (uttering the words “in my day” automatically gets you an AARP card) there was nothing more that my friends and I wanted to do than get out of the house and run amok around the neighborhood. I mean, we LIVED for it. When I was teensy, my dad would take me around from house to house to house. When I was a tween and teen, we just ran around in pods of pals, not even really trick or treating as much as just roaming the streets and yards, groups meeting up and parting and meeting up with other groups. I remember getting chased by a group of friends across a vacant lot that had grown squishy patches of grass that we called the Guacamole Patch, just running our asses off in costume, for no reason at all except to laugh and be giddy. I remember this other time that we ended up on a side street and some kids who had cars parked them all in a circle with their headlights on and their radios playing and we all had a dance party in the middle of the light beams. I am not even trying to start a “them there days were better days” argument. My nephew and his friends were having a hell of a time just maxing and relaxing at his house too, so that’s cool. It just struck me how different my young Halloweens looked, and how ragtag and rowdy it seems. All of my young relatives seem positively genteel compared to the scruffians we were.

Saturday we hung out with Delium for most of the day which is always good because that dude makes me bust a gut. Have a friend who makes you laugh until you have feelings of barfness? If you don’t, try to get one. Later that evening my friend H took me out for birthday dinner (eff birthday month, apparently it is now birthday season) at a fancy restaurant and then for drinkies afterward and the conversating was flowing and plentiful. Friends who will listen to your dumb jibber jabber and treat it like it is a goddamn Ted Talk are also a delightful thing.

Sunday (after some steadfast, dedicated sleeping we did with that extra hour of nighttime. I mean WOO WEE our sleeping was almost pornographic in its hardcoreness) was chore day, correspondence day, home improvement day. We built a hand rail for our front yard steps and put that in (and by we I mean mostly he but I got in there a little and made two supportive trips to the hardware store so that counts for something) because now that it’s dark around the clock I would love it if I didn’t die on my own front stairs.

I had signed up to help a friend who recently had some serious health stuff going on by taking her family dinner on Sunday night- a bunch of us are rotating the days. I bought her a delicious pre-made meal that she could heat up. It was from a really nice place and had good natural ingredients (just saying, I didn’t buy her no Hungry Man frozen dinner or anything janky) but there was a part of me that felt like I should have cooked up something myself, because the effort to do that seems more loving? Or because buying something seems like phoning it in? I do not think of myself as a person who does a lot of unnecessary judging of myself but I had a little twinge this time. I had to remind myself that the judgey self-talk just makes the situation about me at a time when it so isn’t about me. I got something my friend needed and I objectively knew she would find it helpful and kind. Sometimes you have to tell yourself to shut up, is basically the lesson I re-learned. I may still act dumb sometimes but at least I know when to tell myself to shut it a little more often, so that’s progress.

That’s my weekend roundup! I hope you are having a gorgeous day. Later, Mr. and Ms. Potaters.

No Canada! Stayed Home in Our Own Land

That was an O Canada thing I did there. Did you get it? Look, I am tired ok? It’s all I got.

It has definitely turned into lights out time in Seattle. It’s still pretty warm but the clouds have rolled in, so we’ll be seeing you next spring, Sun. This is where I make my annual lemon fresh pledge to not complain about the weather because (a) it’s weather and really it’s not that bad especially considering I have my Midwest rep to uphold and (b) you know and I know that it’s tiresome to listen to weather complaints from other people during times of year that you like the weather. So just like I get tired of the Coldies harumphing about the sun, I know they don’t want to hear me acting a Chilly Willy foolio in winter.

Let’s see if I make it through the season without complaining. On the one hand, I never have made it too long before the whimpering busts through. On the other hand, I am a lot better than I used to be.

Why am I talking so much about the weather right now? For Pete’s sake. Get it together, lady.

This past weekend we had a sort of half-baked plan to maybe head to Canadia for a couple of days, but the weather looked iffy (gah! the weather again!) so we ditched it at the last minute, which left us the entire weekend plan-free. We went out to dinner at a fancy restaurant Friday night (the place had crickets as an appetizer and I know I should get over it and be more urbane and sophisticated and intellectually I totally get it but BARRRRRFFF), and on Saturday night we decided to try to get some people together for a drink at our neighborhood bar but every person we invited was sick except for a couple that are friends of friends, so we ended up on a sort of double date with them. This could have easily been awkward or even straight up awful, but it was nice. I wondered afterward if I talked too much, but I always wonder that. Well, either I wonder if I talk too much or if I talked too little. I don’t usually worry too much about the content of what I say. For me, the worry is quantity. Do you have that? I feel like no one else has that.

Sunday we repainted our bedroom because it’s been sort of torn up ever since the built in closet went in. I have no photos of that because it’s boring. We spent the rest of the weekend in a sort of cleaning and errand frenzy and wrapped up the whole shebang with a nice long evening of tv. Weekend sufficiently rocked.

We Built This Decky on Rock and Roll

I’m always available for the home improvement assist, but usually I am in and out of the process– an hour here, an hour there, while Fixy (my new nickname for Nordic Boy, it’s so approps) puts in the real hours. With the deck project though, I was in it to win it. Or perhaps not to win it, but more like to effing get it done before the summer was really and truly over. There have been weekends where I truly thought this was going to be the home improvement project that would do us in and never get finished, but that is just me being dramatic because that is how I do. It was a nice relief to realize that Fixy (ha ha ha, I know it’s only funny to me) and I enjoy working together for long hours even while being burnt to a crisp and doing lots of math (carpentry! SO MUCH MATHEMATICS) which are two ingredients that could mix together to spell B-R-E-A-K-U-P.

But we made it through, and our deck, which is almost as big as our motherscratching house, has been built! By us and our four hands (well, 6 hands if you count Delium, which we shall, because he pitched in as per usual because he is DA BEST).

It’s so pretty, you guys!!!!!!! Let’s kick back with our mint juleps and deck it up.


John Deere is my therapist

Some stuff happened while I was working this weekend, followed by a Day Off But With Extra Stress Cheese because of some other personal stressy stuff, followed by a day back to work with even more stressful crap on a cracker to get me to peak disquietude. I do not let apprehension get to me all that much in the grand scheme, but all my anxiety and/or tension buttons have been pushed in the past few days all on top of each other and I DO NOT LIKE IT SAM I AM. I do not like it in a box, I do not like it with a fox, I do not like it with a ball, I do not like this shit at all.

So what did I do with this energy when I got home? I decided to mow my lawn. Now that I actually have a lawn, I have discovered that apparently I am a suburban dad of the 1950s because I am soothed by buzzcutting my grass. I don’t know what it is: maybe it’s the droning sound, maybe it’s the methodical back and forthness, maybe it’s the sense of getting something done. I am a grass chopping fool. In fact, after I mowed the yard today, I noticed that the clippings had stained the pair of Tom’s I was wearing, and I thought to myself: I really need to get myself a yard-mowing outfit.

Did you hear that? A YARD MOWING OUTFIT. What is happening to me, people? Even as I type this and scoff at my inner weirdo, there is still a part of me that thinks this is a great idea.

I think the stress of my week has wrung out my brain.

Single minded weekend

Aside from one jaunt away from home to have lunch with Biogirl this weekend, all I did was hang with Nordic Boy to continue with deck-building. I know, it’s like we are constructing the Grand Coulee Dam over here. The thing that has been taking up a lot of time was making sure the water drainage system was built properly, and we finally wrapped that up by the end of the day on Sunday. There are so many things you have to do, when building a deck, before you actually even start to build the DECK. There’s a metaphor for life in there somewhere, I am sure.

It’s been a while since I have spent this much time on a home improvement project- when I do get involved it’s usually in smaller chunks of time, and I had sort of forgotten how much fun it is to just dive in up to your gizzard from sun up to sun down. No wonder Nordic Boy spends his time doing this stuff. It’s pretty much a blast. We got up at 6am each day and just kept at it until evening, eating leftover meals on our front stoop because we were too tired and disgusting to be inside. It made me think about how my life is usually lived in tiny chunks: family stuff, seeing a friend for a bit, working on my various work-related projects, chores, errands. I get a lot done with my days but rarely do I just do one thing all day long, let alone an entire weekend. I remembered how good it is for my brain to be able to just do that and not have a million things going in my head all the time. Also, it makes me happy to know that Nordic Boy and I are still in a place with each other where that much togetherness (togetherness plus heat plus tiredness plus working together, no less) has us not only still smiling at the end of it, but feeling like we could love many more days just like it. Plus, there are so many opportunities to make dirty jokes during home improvements (“caulking the facia” is still one of the best things I have ever heard of), so it’s really a win win on all fronts.

Apropos of nothing, here’s a song I am digging today.

Lily and Madeleine, The Wolf is Free

Hecka Decka

Weekend #2 of working on the deck is complete, and we now have 90% of the framing (our deck’s foundational garment) done! This dude of mine is on FUEGO, people. The level of excitement on my part cannot be overstated. On a zero-to-ten scale of amped I am running at a solid and annoying ten. The only people who may be more excited about this event may be our neighbors. There is nothing that will make you understand how jank ass your yard is than fixing it up and watching how badly your neighbors want to hug you and possibly cry with happiness. This is the secret to being perceived as successful, perhaps. Just set expectations way, way, deep down into the toilet hole for a long period of time, and then do something, anything productive, and people will give you a standing ovation.

In other yard news, the grass that we planted is coming in like a thick Trumpian combover, so we bought the very first lawnmower of our lives. There are certain material things that will make you feel like an honest-to-Maude grownup (the first time you have a dishwasher or a washer/dryer on your own premises are two big ones) and to me, a lawnmower is one of them. Granted, we got a teensy bitsy electric battery powered mower that pretty much looks like it was made by Fisher Price, but for our teensy bitsy yard that’s all we really need. Despite the toy-ishness of the mower, it feels like the motheryucking Cleavers up in here.

I can’t wait for this to be done so that I can show you guys!