Dan has been working like a machine on our yard. He’s removed a majority of the flowers and shrubs that once covered three or four (or five) garden areas. The gardens were mostly overrun with weeds at this point, but we did try to save and give away the worthwhile plants. Dan gets home from work, changes into work clothes and spends the rest of the daylight hours hauling, cleaning and dumping rocks over areas surrounding our house. It looks amazing!
Because I’m 1) the weakest person on the planet, 2) unfamiliar with anything outdoorsy and 3) more interested in talking about how I came up with pairing my poppy orange shorts with my blue and white tunic than talking about the most appropriate spot for large boulders, Dan has kept the yard work to himself.
While I’m super happy with this decision, it does make me feel guilty when I’m drinking a glass of wine in the comfort of my air conditioned living room while I see him trying to roll a 400-pound boulder on its side in 80-degree heat. To try to make up for this, I focus on keeping the inside of the house in working order: I clean, do laundry and make our meals.
Making our meals is something I’ve always wanted to do, I just didn’t seem to enjoy it most of the time when I tried to cook in the condo, I felt like I never had enough room to work and rarely had enough ingredients (partially because there was nowhere to store those ingredients). In the house, I have plenty of counter space to work on and tons of cupboards that hold a majority of the ingredients I might need.
My biggest challenge now is planning ahead. I need to become one of those people who can plan out all their family meals for the whole week, that way I buy whatever I need over the weekend and then don’t have to run to the store on a week night. I don’t know what it is about week nights – I just refuse to do anything on those nights. It’s like once I get off the bus from work, I’m going straight home and hope to never leave the house until the next morning. This is where hot dogs and frozen pizza come in handy. If I don’t have ingredients for anything, I’ll throw the hot dogs on the grill or the pizza in the oven and voila, some type of edible food is ready for Dan.
And while I’m nowhere near the stereotypical housewife, I do get this ultimate satisfaction when I bring dinner out to Dan and he’s super thankful for whatever I made. Even if it’s char-grilled hot dogs.
Since moving into our house, my focus has mostly been on my closet. While I got to help with the planning for it, Dan was the one doing all the work (other than the painting!). He put up all the brackets and shelves throughout the room, then also added additional shelving in the closet for my shoes.
The bulk of the room is done, except for a few small organizational projects. One of the projects I finally took care of this weekend.
I have a lot of necklaces. A vast majority of them were purchased when I was in late high school and college – which means they are pretty awful. However, my taste has improved (slightly) and some of my more recent purchases are decent. In the condo, Dan screwed in some giant rods for me to store my necklaces on, but that wasn’t the look I was going for in my awesome closet. After days of scanning Pinterest, I finally found a solution.
Here’s the finished look.
These are my favorite necklaces and the ones I wear the most often. There are also a few that are solely here for sentimental value because they remind me of a person or place. Some of my favorite necklaces didn’t make it into the boards – either they were too big, too heavy or just wouldn’t fit.
I’m SO happy with how they turned out.
Materials I used:
Three picture frames
Cork roll (cut to the size of my frames) for each frame
Pieces of cardboard (cut to the size of the frames) for each frame
Stapler and staples
I bought all three frames at my local thrift store. The two smaller frames are matching frames, which I liked. Here’s how the three frames looked when I purchased them.
I was able to get all three frames for less than $20, which made me very happy! To make them more my style, I wiped them down with a wet cloth, then spray-painted the frames white. While the frames were drying, I ironed my fabric, then cut the fabric, cork board and cardboard down to size. I put the fabric on the bottom, then the cork board, then the cardboard, pulled the fabric over the sides and stapled the fabric in places.
After the frames had dried (I waited a day), I popped my fabric boards into the frames and voila, my jewelry storage solution was ready to load.
I think these are awesome. Here’s the link I found to be the most helpful when trying to do this: http://houseofroseblog.com/jewelry-corkboard-tutorial/
She has much better directions for what to do!
Another option I liked was: http://honeywerehome.blogspot.com/2011/11/diy-jewelry-storage.html
OK, so I know I lamented about Dan’s decision to do work himself rather than pay someone to do it. I know I said I was going to pay a large sum of money to have my bedroom-turned-closet walls done-up to remove the wallpaper and wallpaper glue, and to have them painted — meaning no work for me. However, I felt a little uneasy about spending so much money to create my closet — it would eat into a lot of my closet-filling shopping budget. So I decided to check with another contractor about the project. Luckily a coworker referred me to someone who could do the hardest part for a decent price, then I could do the slightly easier work myself.
In the end, I only threw some money at the problem.
I removed the wallpaper myself. The contractor assured me that it would be easy, so I gave it a try. Luckily he was right — it only took about an hour to pull all of it down. My contractor came over for a few hours the next two days to remove the glue and prep the walls for painting. My mom and I primed the walls on Saturday morning, did one coat of color on Saturday afternoon and then I painted the final coat on Sunday afternoon.
I had forgotten how much I hate painting. I hate all the prep work. I hate painting around the trim, windows and doors. I hate using the roller. And even though the clean-up process means you’re done, I especially hate the clean-up process. Maybe it’s because I’m already exhausted and sick of doing work, yet I have to figure out a way to get all the dirty brushes and rollers into a sink to clean them without getting paint everywhere. It’s like I’m so excited to have finished that last section of a wall, only to realize I have another 15-20 minutes of dirty work ahead of me. I think I get more paint on myself and my clothes during clean-up than I do while painting.
What’s even more annoying is that I’ve pinned several articles for tips about painting, yet I didn’t review a single one prior to my project.
But my walls are done and I saved $500 in the process. Now I can use those dollars to buy shelving.
For the last year and a half, I’ve been taking the light rail train to and from work. My fellow riders — especially in the evenings — always provided entertaining conversations to eavesdrop on or a distinct smell to question. I don’t think I’ve ever been in any real danger, but there were times I questioned the stability of people next to me and wondered what it might take for them to go over the edge. Overall, the train got me to and from where I needed to go, and typically it was on time.
Now that I’ve moved a little deeper into the world of suburbia, my main form of public transportation is the bus. The bus I ride is a lot different than regular Minneapolis buses. The seats are clean and cushion-y, the aisles are free of mysterious substances and I can control the light and fan above me — just like an airplane! My fellow commuters sit in absolute silence, as if to respect that people are about to have or have had a long day and this should be a quiet time of peace.
While it’s kind of nice, it’s also a little eery. I miss conversations from an urban teenager who is damn sure her boyfriend is playin’ her because he isn’t answering her 30 phone calls a day and didn’t show up to Tyrone’s party. I miss the people riding home from work together, complaining about their boss or coworkers. I miss that if my phone rings, I could answer it for a quick chat. I’ve heard that talking on the phone while riding the bus is a major offense, punishable by a scolding from the driver and nasty glares from other riders.
It’s nice that I can sit down without worrying what might have been spilled on my seat. It’s nice that the chances of an incredibly drunk or high person next to me are slim. It’s nice that there aren’t any teenagers throwing cigarettes or condom wrappers at patrons.
But the train was more reliable and more frequent. And I don’t get carsick on the train, which meant I could use my commute time to be productive, like writing this blog or reading a book. On the bus, I can really only listen to music without getting sick due to the jostling.
Some days I will drive the extra distance to the train — either because I need the flexibility of more frequent departure times or because I’m meeting friends in another part of the city. But for the most part, I’ll be bus-bound, like the rest of suburbia. And while I should enjoy the clean, quiet ride, I miss the crazy-dirty, ultra-loud train.
I’m not a do-it-yourself-er. I’ve lived in apartment-like dwellings my entire adult life and for good reason: I don’t want to do work. My condo was next to no work. All the exterior stuff was taken care of: the garage was heated, the ramp out of the garage was heated so ice wouldn’t form on it, the lawn would magically get mowed and shrubbery was magically planted. OK, I know it wasn’t done with magic — it was done by people who were hired to complete the work with the money I paid in my association dues. The important thing was that it was done and the most amount of time I had to spend on any of those projects was the time it took to write a check, put it in an envelope and drop it in the mailbox of the gorgeously clean lobby of my condo building.
Those days are over. I live in a house now, and the projects are piling up. Luckily my boyfriend Dan has been itching for projects since the day he moved into the condo. I don’t really understand this.
Last weekend, Dan’s dad and brother came over to assist in installing our new washer and dryer. I was so excited to finally have laundry capabilities again! Dan’s dad estimated that it would take a couple hours.
Yes, seven. Seven long hours.
This makes no sense to me. I realize that if you pay someone to do it, you’re losing money and it’s possible that you could have done it yourself. But at what point do you decide that your time is actually worth more than the installation fee?
I asked Dan when it was all over if he wished he had just paid for the installation and he said no, because they probably wouldn’t have done a good job.
What?! The people who have probably done this job for several years, installing washers and dryers for a living? I have a feeling they would have installed the appliances in probably a couple hours (or less). And I think that if they hadn’t done it properly, we could easily call the store and get someone to come out and fix it. For me, I’d rather pay $100-$200 for the peace of mind that it was done right and that I hadn’t wasted an entire day.
Today’s project is garage door installation. Dan’s dad and his brother came over around 11:30ish. It’s now 7:15 and I have been assured that the work is not even close to over. Ha!
It’s things like these that make me wonder why people live in houses.
OK, I take that back — I love having the extra space and more privacy. I love that we have multiple bathrooms. I love that if I want to run on my treadmill at any time of the day, I won’t disturb Dan. I love that Digger has more space to run.
But I do not love work.
Which is why when I want to remove the wallpaper in my awesome closet, I will pay someone to do it. Even if that amount is more than double what I expected that kind of job to be. Want to know why? Because the people I hire will get it done in a quarter of the time I could have done it and they will do it beautifully because it’s their job and they’ve done it millions of time.
If I try to do it myself, I’ll start it and decide that this kind of work really sucks and I’d much rather be doing anything else. And I will end up going to do anything else, and the wallpaper will sit, partially removed, for weeks, which means I won’t get my closet put together and I’ll continue living out of boxes and plastic tubs. Instead, I just want to pay someone who knows what they’re doing to do this work, get it done in two days and have it look great. This is why I only shop clearance racks — so I can splurge on something that will make my life easier and better.
Oddly enough, it’s so that I can have an awesome closet to store all my clearance clothing.
Maybe Dan likes how long these projects take. Maybe he enjoys the problem-solving and the learning involved in these tasks. Maybe he likes knowing that all of these improvements have his blood (literally), sweat (literally) and tears (figuratively, Dan rarely gets emotional) embedded right in them. Maybe he thinks it’s fulfilling to feel legitimately tired at the end of the day because he just spent the last 7-10 hours doing hard work that improves our home.
Blech — sounds awful.
Do you ever have moments when you’re walking around your home and something catches your eye, so you divert your attention from walking, then when your attention goes back to walking, you realize you were about a quarter of a step from walking into a wall or some other thing that would have caused you major pain or injury? I do this ALL the time. I’m not a very religious person, but it’s times like these where I feel like someone or something HAS to be watching over me.
I also get really paranoid when I’m using Q-tips (or cotton swabs) in the completely un-recommended way to clean my ears. I’m always worried that I’ll be cleaning my ears and something will happen in another room — like a loud bang or my TV speakers going out — that causes me to jump and therefore over-insert the Q-tip. That’s one of my greatest fears.
As the closing date on our house gets closer, we’re talking more and more about the decor and setup for every room. Prior to this weekend, we had both set our sights on separate spaces. I had focused most of my attention on the bedroom that I’m turning into a walk-in closet. Dan was focusing mostly on projects that needed to happen outside the house. When I told him I was going to start looking for couches/sofas for the living room (apparently everyone calls this room the family room — so if I say living room, I mean the room where everyone hangs out and watches TV). When I said that I visualized a sectional sofa, Dan thought he better get involved.
So instead of spending our time arguing about couches we saw online, we decided to argue in public at furniture stores.
I wanted a sectional that had a chaise lounge on the end. I love the way that looks and thought it would be really comfortable. Dan thinks chaise lounges are the least comfortable things ever, especially because they provide no support (if you’re partially slouched). Dan wanted a recliner built into the couch.
Do you know how hard it is to find a couch with a recliner in a modern-looking style?
Everything we found was either incredibly modern and sleek or incredibly “comfortable.” When I use the word comfortable in quotes, it means that I think it’s the equivalent of wearing bagging sweat pants and a ratty sweatshirt as your regular attire. This is when the public arguing began.
I’m not looking for the most modern and sleek couches of all time — a level of comfort is important to me. But I don’t want to buy something mega ugly when it’s going to be our main couch for years to come. Dan’s argument was that when we come home from a long day at work, you just want to sit on something that’s really comfortable, not something that belongs in a magazine. The argument was a little more hard-hitting than that, but I’m trying to keep this entry relatively short
Normally I would stick to my guns and hold out until we bought the couch I really wanted. However, I felt like it was a losing battle, and I would be better off just putting Dan’s preferences first, then hope I can find something that meets his needs that I don’t find hideous-looking.
So, we ignored all the “pretty” couches and went straight to the leather sections of every store we visited. Not that all leather couches are “un-pretty” — but, well, they are. I guess there are the some really modern-looking leather couches, but Dan didn’t even acknowledge those. We were in the land of big, poofy leather couches.
I’ll admit it — they were more comfortable than my pretty couches. But they were also a lot uglier. I’m probably offending a lot of people who have leather couches — I’m sorry. It’s not that all leather couches are ugly, they’re just not the modern look I typically prefer — they are larger and take up so much space. I feel like we sat in about 60 different couches between the four stores we went to, and 90% of those couches I wouldn’t have even considered putting in my living room. In the end, there was only one couch that met the comfort criteria Dan had and the look criteria that I had.
So we’ll wait, and try living in the house for a few weeks to see where we’d put the couch and how it would best be situated using my old couch. Once we know exactly where it’s sitting and what the space looks like, we’ll be able to move forward.
OK, on a somewhat-related note: There were so many ADORABLE couches and loveseats and pillows at every store. Things in super bright colors and patterns that I just loved so much. I have no idea how a woman would get to buy all these things for rooms her man-friend would use. I told Dan that I’d love to know the demographics of the people who buy them: women whose husbands have passed, recently divorced women, etc. Maybe women who live in really big houses with lots of rooms that their men won’t be using. Or maybe the women run the house and they’ll buy whatever the hell they want. Our house has a lot of square footage, but not many rooms, so I don’t think I could get away with it. Oh well.
OK, so no, we aren’t appearing on the show House Hunters. I’d like to say that it’s my dream to be on that show because it sort of is, but there are very few couples who come off as likeable, or one of the pair is likeable and the other is one of the most annoying people on the planet. I’m worried that HGTV would edit all the scenes I’m in to make me seem hella annoying. And it would be easy, because I would probably make sarcastic comments in every room of every house, and those sarcastic comments would be the typical stupid stuff that annoying people say on House Hunters. And that’s what the show’s producers would use on our episode.
Anyway, Dan and I have been house hunting — without a TV crew — the last couple months. I’m definitely the more emotional one (shocker). I fall in love with pretty much every house, looking past all the negatives. Probably because I just want to get into a bigger home so badly. Dan is the more logical one, or as I put it, the “picky” one. My wishlist was for at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms and was relatively close to a transit station so I can get to work. Obviously I wanted the house to be in a safe neighborhood, but that’s about the extent of my list.
Dan’s list was quite a bit longer. And more rigid. The most difficult item on his list was the requirement of a lower level walkout. I found quite a few homes for sale that were beautifully re-done on the inside, in decent neighborhoods and good overall locations, but if Dan found out there wasn’t a lower level walkout, the house was immediately removed from the contenders list.
Any time we did find a house that was acceptable, it seemed like someone else had already decided that too and made an offer that the sellers agreed to. It got frustrating. I tried really hard not to get too excited about any house because I was sure we weren’t going to get it anyway. When you’re touring a home that you might buy, you have to picture yourself in it to some extent to see if you could truly live there. So you start imagining how you’d use each room; how you’d decorate; what furniture might fit in. You think about inviting your friends over and how the girls would sit in one room gossiping while the boys would be in another room watching the big game. At the same time you’re picturing your future, you have to also try not to fully invest in the house since the last three have all been snagged before you could get an offer in. It’s a fun but frustrating process.
One night after being thoroughly disgusted and frustrated by the homes in our price range (“How can a house that ugly and in such poor shape be THAT expensive?!”), Dan increased his price range, just to see what was out there. Not much, honestly, but there was one house that met almost all of his criteria. Within a week, Dan put in an offer and after a couple rounds of negotiations, he and the seller came to an agreement.
So now we’re just waiting for the paperwork to officially go through. In the meantime, we are trying to thin out the stuff in the condo to “that which we will need in the next month and a half.” I won’t even let our realtor come into the condo until we’ve cleared it out. How we fit this much junk into 739 square feet, I have no idea.
How often do you wash your hair? If I followed the advice of most women’s magazines and hair stylists, I’d wash my hair once or twice a week. Instead, I shampoo my ‘do six or seven times a week.
I try really hard to work out three or four times a week. When I work out, I sweat. A lot. My hair is pretty much dripping in sweat. That seems like a logical reason to shampoo, right? Maybe people who work out a lot and shampoo infrequently have a secret to how they accomplish this. Actually, I should clarify: People who work out a lot AND sweat a lot but shampoo infrequently. If you don’t sweat much, you are a super human as far as I’m concerned and I’d prefer to not hear about your perfect eccrine glands and therefore all-around perfect life.
I have bangs. My bangs are somewhat heavy and side swept, but pretty much cover my entire forehead. This is because I have a large, odd-shaped forehead that I’d prefer to keep covered at all times. In order to prevent my bangs from becoming 100% greasified over the course of the day, I saturate those strands in hairspray to keep them from moving even a millimeter out of place. Does this look natural? Maybe not, but at least I don’t have to wipe my bangs out of my eyes all day, transferring oils from my fingers to my precious locks.
Don’t try to tell me that dry shampoo is your saving grace. I have yet to use a dry shampoo that actually 1) makes my hair look less greasy or 2) provide additional volume that all dry shampoos claim to do. Not only is my hair just as greasy and flat, but it also feels sticky and looks like I washed my hair with a bag of flour.
So I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never be able to wash my hair only once or twice a week. But my hair will be clean, and that should count for something.