Thursday, January 25, 2007

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The papers are signed. The keys are in my hand. And the paint is flowing. Two rooms down, four to go. I'll share more pics when I get moved in, which will hopefully be done this weekend.

Is it just me, or is buying a house like marrying a man with potential? After everything is said and done, you realize you may have a bit more work ahead of you than you were anticipating.

I'm not saying I don't love the house. In fact, the more time I spend there making it mine, the more I love it. But it definitely is a work in progress and I've got my work cut out for me. Forget spending money on clothes and shoes and bags--every bit of spare cash is going to be spent on renovations and decorating. Anyone interested in paint duty?

And when will those moving fairies appear, anyway?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Up to my ears...

I'm surrounded by boxes, both empty and full. I've barely begun emptying out closets and bookshelves and cabinets, but I'm plugging away ...

Of course, procrastination is my middle name, so since I had the day off, I went to Home Depot and Lowes today. I bought all the tools I'll need for painting the bare walls of my new house: rollers and trays and brushes and drop cloths. I did not, however, choose a single paint color. I came away with a handful of pamphlets and paint chips but not a bit more certainty that I'd found a shade for my livingroom or dining room walls.

I've narrowed down my bedroom color to just a couple neutrals (this was easy because I have a bedding set that I love and can build my bedroom decor around). As for the guest bedroom/office, I'm leaning toward a warm blue because I read that blues inspire creativity. That room might have to wait a few months, depending on my budget and manpower over the next weeks. But at least I have some idea of a color scheme. My other rooms are all empty canvases. I'm having a really hard time commiting to wall colors. I want to do something bold in my living room (red) and dining room (gold) but I'm afraid to commit. To make it more difficult, I'm doing things backwards because I'm not pulling colors from furniture/rugs/curtains like designers recommend. Instead, I'm working with what I have for now (two love seats slip-covered in black and a black entertainment center) and planning on bringing in neutrals when I eventually buy a new sofa and chairs for the living room, and a dining set for the dining room. That way I can paint with the colors I love, knowing that whatever I choose will match neutral furniture later on. Unfortunately, this is making it tougher, rather than easier, for me to make a decision and stick with it. I'm hoping that after I've seen the rooms again in the next few days, I'll be able to pick something.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's Really Happening

It's about as official as it can possibly be. I'm buying this house, ready or not. I'm having trouble sleeping and, surprisingly, it's out of excitement for the change, rather than stress. All I can think about is how my life is about to change for the better. I can't stop imagining my life in my little house. I can't stop dreaming of furniture and paint and central air conditioning. Of course, most of these things will have to wait until I've had time to save a bit of cash, but I'm excited about the process of turning this house into my very own home.

I have exactly two--yes, two--boxes packed, and I'm scheduled to settle on my new home next Wednesday. This purchase seems to have snuck up on me somehow. With all the back and forth of inspections and negotiations, I haven't really let myself believe that this house would be mine. And suddenly it's become real.

I will be moving into my new house, and it will all start next week. I'm planning to clean and paint most of the rooms before I move any furniture, but I have no idea what colors I'll be using, who will be helping (other than My Love) or when I'll find time to do all of this.

I'm also trying to minimize the amount of time I'll be paying utilities for both places. My landlord at my current apartment is very flexible and will allow me to take as much time as necessary to officially "get out," but I don't want to be living out of two homes for too long. I plan to get most of my packing done over the long weekend coming up, and I'm hoping to get as much painting finished the weekend after closing as I possibly can. That way I can move furniture one night the following week and hopefully be settling into my new home no later than the 25th.

If only I had Samantha Stevens' nose-twitching abilities...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

SASEs, Special Days, and Sundays


The day before I left for my Christmas break, I got my first Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope from one of the Literary Journals I sent my first essay to a few weeks ago. The envolope held a very nice, but completely impersonal, rejection letter, which offered me a discounted subscription to the Journal. Thanks, but no thanks. I wanted you to send me a check, not the other way around.

A Special Day

Yesterday was filled with contradictions. I walked into my office and immediately knew it was going to be the most excellent 31st birthday I would ever have. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

It started well, with a paper garland of balloons strung behind my desk and a sweet card wishing me a wonderful day from all of my co-workers. If I had to be at work on my birthday, at least they were making it as special as possible. All morning my phone lit up with calls and my inbox dinged with emails from family and friends, telling me to have a happy birthday. I was happy and content. It was a good birthday.

And then it wasn't. Work got me down. There were issues with the house. My Love was working and I wasn't going to see him. I was stressed out. I cried. I worried. I forgot it was my birthday. Or rather, I wanted it to not be my birthday. I was angry that I was stressed out, worried and angry on my special day. I wanted a do-over, to take it back and start again.

Eventually, I talked everything out, I let it go, and I celebrated what was left of my day.

Happy Ending Sundaes

After work, I talked to My Love and he helped me to remember that worrying wouldn't solve anything. He told me to let everything go, and have a good evening. So, I went to dinner with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. I drank wine, laughed, and enjoyed being out. I ate a great meal, and stopped eating when I wasn't hungry anymore. I suffered through a Benningan's Happy Birthday song, and then I shared a free birthday sundae with my friends. I took three bites, savoring every one of them, and then I put my spoon down. It was a great birthday dinner.

And the specialness didn't end there. I came home, ran a hot bath, complete with bubbles and candles, and slid into the water with a book. By the time I crawled into bed, I had to confess that even if it wasn't the greatest 31st birthday, it was my 31st birthday, and it was good--like an excellent cake with a not-so-great filling. The beginning was sweet and inviting, the middle made me gag, but the icing was just enough to make me forget the bad parts.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hometown Lessons

What I learned while visiting my family and friends over the holidays:

  1. Frosted flakes and peanut butter toast and cookies and cakes and candy and shrimp cocktail and cheese and cashews and pepperoni and crackers and ham and squash and mashed potatoes and brown-and-serve rolls with butter and rye bread dunked in gobs of dill dip should not all be eaten in exorbitant amounts in the same day.

  2. Eating everything in sight will not reduce the awkwardness of certain social situations, the boredom that inevitably overtakes me in that tiny town, the sadness of knowing I'll have to leave again, or the general anxiety that visiting my hometown always evokes.

  3. Eating everything in sight will, however, cause serious weight gain and a bloated, disgusting feeling that will make me want to avoid mirrors and pants with buttons of any kind.

  4. Eating everything in sight will also cause the busting of seams in two pairs of said pants before the week is out. (Mind you, these were well worn pants, but they busted nonetheless.)

  5. Maybe the two months surrounding the holidays was not such a great time to begin the non-diet diet. It seems I really could have used a little calorie counting from October 30th to January 1st.

  6. Singing along to the jukebox at a local bar can bring a smile to even the grumpiest faces. (Please note: I was not personally involved in the singing, but it was quite amusing to witness.)

  7. Jigsaw puzzles are addicting. You will inevitably lose sleep looking for "just one more piece" before you go home.

  8. Hanging out with a girlfriend for an afternoon is pure bliss. (Especially for the girlfriend, who is married and has a child and rarely gets to have adult conversation with anyone outside her family or her workplace.)

  9. Having female friends nearby to go to lunch with, watch movies with, talk to face-to-face about everything from the stress of raising children to the best color for our complexions, is something I really miss. Really.

  10. I need female companionship just as much as I need time with My Love.

  11. Having dinner with a single friend of the male persuasion alone at his home doesn't look as innocent to others as it feels to me (and really is, at least on my end).

  12. Telling My Love about said dinner because it seemed so innocent until I described it out loud over the phone, to my boyfriend hundreds of miles away, will make me feel crappy because I would have been SO upset if the tables had been turned.

  13. Spending time with my nephew makes me crave motherhood.

  14. Spending time with my mom makes me crave my childhood.

  15. Spending time with my dad makes me sad because he's so lonely and there's nothing I can do about it.

  16. Spending time with my step-sister makes me wish we were closer.

  17. The opportunity to spend time with my family, while often stressful, is the most precious gift I was given in 2006.

  18. I miss the days when everyone was in the same place and not spread out around the country, celebrating the holidays separately.

  19. As much as I want to deny this, there's a very good chance that I will move back home eventually. It turns out you can't run away from something that's imbedded in your DNA. Of course, there's also a very good chance I'll write a best-selling novel, buy a house in the suburbs here, and buy a summer home in my hometown--best of both worlds!

  20. Nausea during your drive to work is a pretty good indicator that you should start looking for a new job. (ok, I didn't learn this until today, but it's still a good lesson...)


I'm back from my week-long vacation and I'm alive. More details later...

Hope you all had a great holiday (if you were celebrating). I wish you and your families a Happy New Year filled with all the good stuff!

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