Archive for the ‘First Time Home Buyer’ Category

And we’re jumping right in today, Internet! Monday, bullets-style!

– Since my tentative declaration Wednesday that I had seen no silverfish since Monday’s extermination, I have seen TEN SILVERFISH.  They seem to concentrate themselves heavily in the master bath area, so you can imagine the intensive inspection process my towels go through before each shower.

The consequence of seeing so many – TEN, in four days! As opposed to one or two a week! – coupled with the exterminator’s Words of Doom hanging over my head means that I am a nervous wreck. Every time my foot itches, my heart rate jumps into the danger range and I scrape violently against the nearest surface. I feel Ghost Tickles as I imagine dying silverfish crawling up the insides of my pant legs. And every speck on my floor makes me leap onto the nearest chair or husband. And my floor has a speck every few feet, Internet. (We’re talking speck of dirt here, not the kind of speck you’d find on an appetizer plate.) (LOL – lame attempt at trendy-cured-meat humor!) Perhaps I need to invest in a robot broom.

– Before you become embroiled in this bullet, allow me to warn you: This is an “update” that you likely a) won’t care about and b) won’t remember the original “date” in order for this feel like and “up” or anything but a boring. Yes, I just used boring as a noun right there. I don’t know if the nounage is working so well, but I’m too tired for real English. ANYWAY, back to the non-update… To catch you up to speed (a slow stroll in this case), I once noticed a cat saunter through our yard and I asked y’all if a cat’s appearance in our yard meant it was our cat.

So! The cat came back! So I tried to go out in the yard to pet it, or something – I really can’t remember my EXACT motivation. I guess I just see a cat and I have to go over to it, much the way tweenagers react in the vicinity of Justin Bieber. – and it ran away.

If you are thinking, “Wow, that was TRULY the most boring non-update I’ve ever read,” just wait! It gets slightly less boring! Or not! Just please withhold your judgement! The cat came back the (very) next day – two sightings! In two days! – and I tapped on the glass door and it flopped down at the far end of the yard and looked at me. So I took it some milk in a Tupperware.

It ran away.

The next evening, I saw the cat walk right past the sliding door out to the yard. RIGHT PAST! As in mere inches from my living room! So I put some turkey out on the step to sort of, well, LURE is not the right word… let’s say ENCOURAGE it to come closer so I could pet it.

The very night that I put the bait gift turkey on the step, I looked outside and there was a BABY BUNNY just chilling right outside my living room!

Here – look at the baby:

And I suddenly realized that the cat was not interested in ME. He was interested in having a nice fresh bunny mignon for dinner.

I no longer want to encourage the cat to stay in the yard, even though I DO. Because obviously I cannot have the untimely demise of a BABY BUNNY on my hands. But I want a kitty to pet and to hold! It’s like Sophie’s Choice over here.

– They just sort of APPEAR places. And since they’re mostly dead (“He’s just mostly dead.”) I have no idea how they GOT to where I find them. Do they know how to apparate? Oh, by the way, I’m back on the silverfish.

I haven’t seen any of them MOVING, is what I’m saying. Even if I (cruelly) poke at them with the edge of a toilet paper wad before I smush them and toss ’em in the toilet. So they must be trying with their last breaths to escape the poison (gah. Now I am feeling SORRY for these buttercuppers!) and end up dying out in the vast unconquerable open space of the bathroom floor. But… I can’t see any HOLES from which they could have arrived.

Okay, here’s where I stop you Internet. If you have any knowledge of where insects DO come from, I don’t actually want to know. I SWEAR.

– You have seen this, right? The Ricky G. one kills me.  He looks like David Bowie’s non-sexy teenage twin.

– One of the best parts of moving to this house is the excuse to explore a new neighborhood. And our neighborhood has a lot to offer, especially in the way of locally-owned businesses. Well, and there’s a Dairy Queen within walking distance of our place.

One of the local businesses is a little Italian bakery. INTERNET. The tiramisu they sell is phenomenal. It comes in squares that fit into a cupcake wrapper and the mascarpone cheese part of it is so light and creamy and perfect and the lady fingers are so perfectly moist with coffee liqueur and there are chocolate shavings on top.

As if that isn’t wondrous enough, the bakery also sells homemade pizza dough for $1.50 a bag. Now, I’ve been buying the Betty Crocker kind in the bag. You know – just add water. It’s about the same price and it makes perfectly adequate pizza. But this Italian bakery dough? It’s REAL pizza dough! I can get at least two pizzas out of it, and it’s SO GOOD.

Clearly, with this bakery in my life, I am going to be needing some more generous pants.

– Speaking of pants, I went to J. Crew the other day to look for something for that horrible mid-range of clothing. You know. The stuff that’s dressed up enough for a casual workplace but not so dressy that you look stuffy. The stuff that’s casual enough to wear shopping for more mid-range clothing but not so casual that you’d feel uncomfortable doing brunch at an upscale restaurant. I have NOTHING in that category, and so always feel either over- or under-dressed and wholly inappropriate.  Especially in the shirt area.

Hence J. Crew. Just past the tables full of underwear-length shorts and Betty Draper dresses was a stack of pants. The Minnie pant, a sign declared. The pant that makes EVERYONE look fantastic, it boasted.

Ha! I thought. No way in hell this teeny pair of pants will look good on me. Skinny pants are for skinny girls.

I bought two pairs.

–  My husband’s last rotation had him doing overnight stints in the intensive care unit. Leaving me alone and, well, bored out of my skull. And that kind of boredom can turn the corner quickly into melancholy. So the best part of my weekend was reading your When I Fell in Love/When I Knew I’d Marry That Guy stories. I even got EMAILS that were long and detailed and WONDERFUL and oh! such fun. Thank you for sharing. If you haven’t done so, please do! Or at least go read the other stories. So lovely!

– In addition to the cat and the bunnies, we have a possum.  Do possums eat bunnies? Hot ham sandwich I hope not. I can’t deal with hosting a Hunger Games in my backyard.


Well, there’s no arguing that THIS is a very lackluster post, Internet. I mean, it only has EIGHT bullets. (It’s driving me crazy, too, I promise.) I am deeply sorry for disappointing you. But I must don my middle-range clothing and go forth on a business trip.

Please, tell me something random about yourself. Especially if it involves the magic Perfect for All Occasions wardrobe or possums.


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I have not actually SLEPT since the exterminator came to our house. Oh no. Instead, I jerk out of sleep three thousand times a night to scan the walls and ceiling for silverfish shadows.  And all day long I see little flickers of my own hair movement from the corner of my eye, and snap my head around to face the menacing hordes head on.

So far, I haven’t seen a one. BUT we all know that they are waiting for me to become complacent. Then they will appear by the multitudes.

ANYWAY, let’s talk about Not Bugs.

Do you remember the Hideous Green Wall? If not, here is a little reminder:

Why is that clock SO BIG? (Pictured: Not our clock. Or our TV. Or our stripey wall-coordinating couches.)

Some of my sweet readers previously mentioned that they didn’t think the wall was all that bad. Oh readers. You are so kind. But really. In person, it was HIDEOUS.

“Was” is the operative word in that sentence.

Because the Hideous Green Wall…

Seriously. I have NEVER SEEN a bigger clock. I mean, outside of London.

…is gone! (Mostly. More on that in a second.)

My husband and I rented a reaaaaallllllllllllllly tall ladder from The Home Depot. Which wasn’t THAT MUCH less expensive than BUYING the ladder. But we already HAVE a ladder, albeit a shorter one. I mean, there are only so many reasons one needs a thirty-foot ladder, am I right?

TWO LADDERS! At the SAME TIME! We really know how to live it up here at Chez DoktorHaus!

Then we made a split second decision to paint the wall NOT the beautiful Hinting Blue hue we’d decided on months and months ago. Instead, we painted it a shade darker – Honest Blue. (I’m betting the good folks at Sherwin Williams wanted to call it “True Blue” but discovered that those bastards at Benjamin Moore had already bogarted that name for one of their colors.) I was suspicious of Honest Blue. It sounds a little full of itself, no? But it wasn’t quite as dark as I thought it would be. And it opens the door for us to use Hinting Blue – so coy, Hinting Blue – in the kitchen. So Honest Blue it was!

I think it turned out really well!

The clock is gone and SO IS THE GREEN!

How do you like it, Internet?

Let me tell you something about the previous home owners. They took very good care of the house. But they were terrible at painting. TERRIBLE. My husband and I (okay, mainly my husband) are meticulous about painting. We use that green frog tape on all the edges and we keep a damp paper towel handy to quickly eliminate any mistakes. But the previous homeowners had a very… liberal view of “lines” and “edges.”

Which means that my husband had to twist his body at odd angles while hanging precariously from the super-tall rented ladder while he hand-painted the dark green paint that meandered along just on the wrong side of the wall/ceiling joint.

But… it’s pretty! And it feels so much lighter and happier than that oppressive dark green.

Mini Digression: That couch? The lovely, probably expensive, very GENEROUS gift from my in-laws? Is the most uncomfortable couch in all the lands. It's also filled with feathers. Stabby, stabby feathers.

And I think that the fireplace – we all know my feelings about the fireplace, DON’T WE – looks like less of a hulking monstrosity with the blue. LESS, I said. I still want to paint at least the mantle white. But I no longer want to gouge my eyes out on the bricks every time I look at it.


There is ONE THING, Internet.

One additional example of how little the previous home owners cared about paint.



SERIOUSLY, poorly captioned close up. WTF indeed!

Who… does that?

(Don’t worry. We’ll paint them white, to match the baseboards in the rest of the room. [Which are WHITE like normal baseboards in a room that has three walls’ worth of WHITE BASEBOARDS.] We just haven’t gotten around to it quite yet.)

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A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the type of bug that has been… gracing us with its presence.

Slauditory kindly identified it as a silverfish.

We’ve had a bit of a warm snap since then. (Warm snap? Snap sounds appropriate with cold… But not so much with warm. Warm… ooze?  A warm… soak?)

We’ve had a bit of a warm soak since then. And we’ve seen about one silverfish a day. ONE A DAY. I know this is not really infestation levels. But it SUCKS. I do not LIKE silverfish. Especially because they show up primarily in the master bedroom, the master closet, and the master bathroom.

I do not relish standing on my bed at midnight, staring nervously at the ceiling, trying to coax a silverfish to run sufficiently AWAY from my bed so that I can squish it with the Swiffer without fear of it falling ON the bed.

So I called an exterminator and set up an appointment for today. The very night that I scheduled our appointment, I had a horrible nightmare.  I dreamed that millions of silverfish started pouring out of the wall above the headboard. A flood of silverfish, coursing down over my bed and through the bedroom, clogging my nose and ears and covering my body.

Oh Internet. It was HORRIBLE. One of those nightmares that stays with you.

It did not help that I saw TWO SILVERFISH in the master bathroom the very next day.

So! Exterminator!

He came today and was very nice. Sprayed some sort of horrific poison all around our house, inside and out.

I found myself telling him about my nightmare. Because… well, I am nothing if not socially awkward to the max.

He laughed politely. (Because what other response is appropriate, when some strange woman starts confiding the wackadoo workings of her mind to you?)

And then I asked him if we would start finding dead bugs all over our house. Or if the poison would just… you know, keep them AWAY. Which is really my preference. Paint a big neon sign on our house that says, “Bugs Not Welcome,” so that they shrug their ten zillion tiny shoulders and decide to head for Atlanta. Which, really, if I were a bug, I’d much prefer. The winters are pretty harsh in these parts. (Not harsh enough, thought, on a bug deterrent level.)

Anyway. The exterminator said, “It will kill them all… But the poison [he didn’t say “poison,” per se. I think he said “chemical,” which sounds a lot less nerve-damagey than “poison,” dontcha think?] will draw them out.

“So things will get worse before they get better.”

INTERNET. I almost died, right there.

I do not do well with bugs.

I mean, I can squish one if necessary. Or get a too-large-to-squish spider to climb onto a wad of toilet paper so I can flush it whole. (I KNOW. I am a cruel, heartless person.)

But any kind of bug in NUMBERS gives me the shakes. And the vapors. The shakey vapors.

After I recovered from almost passing out and shook the memory of my nightmare from my head, I gently tried to find out what “things will get worse” really MEANS.

Does it mean… a LOT of silverfish? (And OTHER ASSORTED BUGS, GAH.) Does it mean… one or two a day? Three or five? Twenty? A WATERFALL OF STAGGERING, HALF DEAD INSECTS STREAMING DOWN MY WALLS?

The exterminator was very unspecific. Would it be a couple more bugs a day? Well, maybe. Worse than that? He couldn’t really say.

“You won’t be having nightmares,” was his best reassurance.

Then he told me to call him if, in two weeks, it wasn’t better.


Two weeks of an indeterminate amount of “worse” before I can call to let him know that it… hasn’t worked? Oh em gee Internet.

Okay, I know that as far as PROBLEMS go, this is NOT the worst. Bugs are just bugs, after all. They aren’t murderers. Or disease. Or anything REALLY horrible.

But can we agree that, on the Problem Scale, this is at the very least “Vexing”? I spend Every Waking Hour in my house. It is my workplace as well as my home. And I do not relish the idea of sharing this space with “worse.”

I don’t even know what to ask from you, at this point, Internet. Reassurance, yes. But I am not keen to hear your OWN stories of infestation because I am already twitching with imagined insect crawlingness AS I TYPE.

So. Any reassurance? Any idea what “things will get worse” really MEANS? And if it DOES mean “armies of bugs marching through every room, bent on terrorizing me with their last breath,” I guess I WOULD like to know that. So I can check into a hotel or, you know, move away.


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Last weekend was a weekend of Getting Things Done.

Not only did I make these:

Not only did my husband and I get to spend some good Quality Time together…

Not only did I get a Good Handle on my Super Bowl Party Plans…

But my husband and I also tackled a Much Dreaded Task: cleaning out the basement.

You see, Internet, when my in laws visited over Thanksgiving, they were kind enough to bring us an entire moving truck full of beautiful furniture.

Okay. The ENTIRE moving truck wasn’t filled with furniture. Part of it was filled with boxes. Boxes, in turn, filled with Childhood Detritus belonging to both my husband and my sister-in-law.

Let us skip over the sister-in-law stuff quickly. Suffice it to say that she went through all the boxes with her name on them, chose some stuff to discard/donate, and chose other things that we will keep until she… has a house, I guess?


My husband did not have time over Thanksgiving weekend to look through the boxes with HIS name on them.

In fact, he did not have time to look through those boxes until last weekend.

It’s been a painful few months, Internet. Months of me hating the basement and LIFE ITSELF whenever I passed all the boxes.

Now? HOLY BATS IN A BELFRY does our basement look 1000 times better!

Boxes used to take up that WHOLE WALL. The tables weren't even THERE - oh no. Just BOXES. And please, Internet, let us never mention the carpet scraps. (I want so badly to toss them but am terrified that they are covering up scary bugs or holes to China or bloodstains.)

I sat with him, in the basement, as he went through all the debris of his childhood and decided what to keep and what to toss.

It was pleasant to sit there and watch his face light up as he uncovered a once-deeply-loved toy… to see the past slide swiftly across his face as he read through the newspaper story covering his game-winning high school touchdown… to imagine the soft blond hair and chubby cheeks of a toddler superimposed on the whiskered slant of his strong adult jaw.

We flipped through pages of reports and poems and stories he’d written. Laughing at his idea, as a child, of what made for an interesting plot twist. Marveling at his writing skills as a teenager. Smiling over the college application essay that brought him one step closer to meeting his wife.

I tried to sit there quietly, listening patiently as he flipped through old wrestling cards, watching tolerantly as he sifted through boxes of Ghostbusters action figures and He-Man fortresses, expressing adequate awe over his collection of trophies, weeping briefly and softly over the proud, loving messages scrawled in his graduation cards.

I tried not to weigh in on what he should keep and what he should toss.

Because nostalgia is a funny, deeply personal thing.

It can’t truly be shared, not unless you’re sharing it with someone who was right there with you, in that moment. (And even then, the song playing on the radio will stick out in his memory but not yours; you may remember with shocking clarity the dress you were wearing and the drink he sneaked you from the bar, while he might remember the bright moonlight and the unseasonable cold.)

And even when the person sitting beside you loves you more than any other person in all the lands… Even when she wants to know every heartache and triumph of your past… Even when she cares about every speck of dust in every corner of your heart…

She may find it hard to understand why this newspaper needs saving and that book can safely be placed in the library donation box and this name plate is a precious memory but that trophy should go on the junk pile.

She may struggle with wildly opposite desires to a) throw it ALL in the trash – because really? Do you really need to keep those Dick Tracy figurines? – and b) keep EVERY LAST ITEM because these are cherished memories of a childhood you will never recover, dammit.

She may never fully get why that folder of high school football plays is so dear to your heart. She may have trouble keeping her mind focused on the city-by-city recap of your middle school trip to France.  She may have to paste a big indulgent grin on her face as she reads through Valentine’s Day cards from your high school sweetheart.

But by God! She will make you sit on the very same stool in the very same basement five months from now when her parents deliver an entire trailer of memorabilia from HER childhood. She will request that you give her old cheerleading uniform and English essays and academic bowl plaques your undivided attention. And she will want you to listen closely as she skips happily down memory lane, Blueberries for Sal and My Little Ponies and 4-H ribbons clutched in her hands.

The musty scent of the caboose from an old train set. The rumpled fur of a threadbare stuffed dog. The scuffed leather of a pair of running shoes.

Worn and shabby, long forgotten, swathed in cobwebs, each vessel brims with treasured moments, notable years, entire childhoods.

Taken out, dusted off, reminisced about. Then gently tucked away again, to be found decades later, maybe never.

Part of me wonders, why save these things? They matter, truly, only to you. They are mirrors that reflect the past only to you. They represent glory and true love and safety and togetherness, but just to you. To others they are only objects.

Sure. A child, a sibling, a grandchild might someday pull out these prized possessions and regard them with interest. But the insight they offer – the window into what makes you you – will be superficial at best. And these fragments of personal history are more likely to be a source of inconvenience and irritation for whomever has to sort through them than to be a source of delight. (When they ARE prized by the grandchild, it will be because they stir up nostalgia for her own past. This is the [   ] that belonged to the grandparent she loved and lost.)

Part of me wants to save all the things. Devote a few shelves, wall space, a cabinet or two to personal mementos.

That seems like a sound idea. But…  Where would we showcase my pom poms? Where would we keep the handwritten pages of my husband’s college thesis? How many shelves would we need to hold all my collectible Barbies and Cabbage Patch dolls?

Plus… where do you draw the line? What’s display worthy and what isn’t?

This is how hoarding happens, isn’t it?

The biggest part of me simply wants to prolong the nostalgia as much as possible. It’s a pleasant sensation, after all: falling back in time. Tasting, for a brief second, a pure emotion wrapped snugly around a shard of memory.

Maybe we should set a date on the calendar, Nostalgia Day, to go through all the boxes. Page through our recollections, keep them fresh. Cloak ourselves in that hazy fog of reminiscence.

Of course, that might dampen the effect: a long-forgotten object gets much of its charm from a thick layer of time and dust. Not to mention, going through old boxes once a year sounds like quite a chore.

No. I don’t think nostalgia is something you can plan. It’s rarely something you can share. And it’s fleeting.

I suppose that’s why it feels so lovely when it washes over you. And leaves your skin singing with longing when it drifts away.

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Oh my gosh, hello! How wonderful to see you!

I wasn’t expecting company today – thank you so much for stopping by!

Would you like to come in? The place is kind of a mess these days, but at least it’s warm.

Hungry? I can’t eat sweets, but I’d love to watch you eat my favorite cupcake of all time.

Lemonlicious. I am so going to eat 10,000 of these bad boys in February.

No? You just ate? Well, you have admirable self control my friend.

But I feel like I’m failing at my hostess duties if I can’t force you into consuming something. Can I get you a drink? I may have a strawberry Bellini lying around.

Mmm. Bellini-y.

There. That’s better.

Now that you’re nice and liquored up, can I get your opinion on something?

Please, let’s head into the living room. Right this way.

That's not our furniture. Or our clock. Or our giant TV. Or our freshly vacuumed floors.

Let’s talk about my fireplace.

I know. The dark green wall has GOT to go.

It’s a bit too tall for us to reach though – even with our extension ladder. (Although my husband has the brilliant/terrifying idea to set the ladder on the hearth and very carefully paint the tippy top of the ceiling. Yeah. No thanks.)

But don’t worry – we’ll figure SOMETHING out!

And we’ve already got the replacement paint color picked out. It’s called “Hinting Blue” from Sherwin Williams.

Oooh! Aaaaaah! The caption is twice as big as the swatch!


But let’s try to ignore the wall and focus on the fireplace.

Still not our furniture or giant clock. Man. The clock and the TV make the fireplace seem much less huge than it is. Perhaps I need to invest in a giant clock?

It’s lovely. But… it’s kind of hideous.

I mean, it’s SO HUGE. And so very… bricky.

If I had magical powers, I would paint the brick and mantle white, I’d add tall light-giving windows to either side of the fireplace – like this or this – and I’d find a classy way to mount a (bigger than our actual TV) flat screen TV above the mantle.

CLASSY, I said.

No, I really think it can be done in a classy way.

Okay, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Anyway, since I am neither a successful coke dealer nor the inventor of actual Coke, the windows will have to wait.

Unless you have a brilliant and cost-effective way to insert windows into the side of a house?


Too bad.

But I do still have dreams about painting the entire fireplace white.

What’s that?

No, I have no idea how to paint wood OR brick.

But! I have been pinning a lot of white fireplaces on Pinterest! Didn’t you know that if you pin enough images that you unlock a level where little robots climb out of your computer and do your every bidding?

I’m thinking that I can get away with just painting the mantle. You know, if I can figure out how to do that.  I’m envisioning a result like this.

Of course, our fireplace doesn’t have that same kind of fancy wood surround.

Those knick knacks are mine. Don't you love the artfully casual way they are strewn about the mantle and the hearth?


Maybe it will look less awful once the green paint is a distant memory?

What’s that?

Oh, you’re so sweet. Thank you for saying it isn’t that bad. I know one girl’s ugly fireplace is another girl’s beautiful focal point. I just need to find an easy, cost-effective way to DO THAT.

Well, it looks as though you’ve finished your drink. And I really should get back to work. Shall I show you out?

If you have any thoughts about what to do with this monstrosity, or any ideas for general fireplace sprucing, give me a ring.

It was lovely to see you. Thanks for stopping by! You are welcome in my home any time!

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Good morning, Internet! I am going to make a studious attempt at not talking about food in this post!

* I woke up at 5:55 this morning to the sound of howling wind and shrieking rain. (Rain doesn’t technically shriek, but I felt like it needed a descriptor so as not to feel left out.) I drifted back to sleep only to be re-awakened at 6:20ish by a suspicious chair-tumbling-over-in-the-wind sound. My husband peered out the window and saw nothing. Once I woke up (considerably later, though under perplexing circumstances STAY TUNED), I checked out all of the windows and couldn’t see anything that would have made such a noise. The two chairs on our front porch were upright. So were the 10,000 chairs on the back deck. I didn’t spot any rogue chairs that had blown over from the neighbors’ either. So WHAT MADE THE NOISE?

* Remember a long time ago (or 60-odd words ago) when I told you I woke up for good under perplexing circumstances? I was jostled out of sleep about 10 minutes before my alarm went off (fist of anger!) by the sound of two people talking. It seemed like they were standing right below my window, in the space between my house and the neighbor’s. I listened very closely but I could not make out what they were saying. Never one to pass up an opportunity to eavesdrop on stinky pre-alarm wakers (Word really wants to correct “wakers” to “wankers,” which I appreciate, but no), I crept over to the window and peered out the side of the shade.

Nothing. No one was standing below my window, having a Seriously Early Conversation.

But I could still hear the voices: a strident, whining woman and a calmer man. So I looked out the front window, straining to see down the street on either side.


What was it, Internet? Was my neighbor having a Very Loud Discussion with a lady friend in the room directly opposite my bedroom? Was he listening to an annoying morning talk show at top blast while he showered? Was someone hiding under the eaves of my porch, trying to torment me into waking up before I wanted to? WAS IT GHOSTS?

* Speaking of my neighborhood. The house across the street and one to the right has frequent visitors. Or, if not visitors, frequent Car Overflow. A white pickup or a brown sedan or both are regularly parked along the curb in front of this house. Right in front of the sign that says “No Parking This Side of Street.”

It must be terrible to deal with BOTH Car Overflow AND sign illiteracy.

* As you know, I’ve been pretty terrible about showing you pictures of my house. There are two reasons for this: 1. I haven’t really DONE anything to the house. There’s one room (coincidentally, the smallest room in the house next to the powder room) that’s NEARLY finished… And yet we just can’t seem to hang the picture that will complete the thing. (Also, the longer it sits there, nearly finished, the more I think that we need to do some rearranging of book shelves.) Anyway, it’s hard to get excited about writing a House Post when the rooms still look half- or un-finished.

2. The only room I seem to be able to write about is the master bathroom. Which is perfectly functional and which we will not redecorate in ANY WAY for many years. It’s perfectly fine and while we may replace the toilet sooner rather than later (who wants to see a toilet before and after?!?!), the rest of it is going to Stay The Same until we have enough money to replace the tile and the shower. Which may be never, if I’m being honest.

So WHY is that the room that I want to discuss at great length? Why not the dining room, which we are going to redo in February? Why not the kitchen, which ALREADY has some nice before-and-afters? Why not the basement, which is STILL painted in primary colors? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

* We – much like most of the country, I’d guess – are having Wackadoo Weather. It snows… then it rains and the snow melts. Then it’s sunny and feels like spring. Then there’s a Thunderstorm Warning. Then it snows again and everything gets a thick, six-inch coat of white.

I’m not complaining. I’d take this wacky changeableness ANY DAY over Constant Grey. But it is perplexing.

* I spent part of this weekend scouring the internet for two books I couldn’t remember. I found them BOTH, so I am going to tell you about it so that I NEVER FORGET THEM AGAIN.

Both are books from my childhood. In both cases, all I remembered about the books were two key details.  (Full disclosure: I have ALREADY forgotten the name of one of them. So I need to pop over to GoodReads to check.)

The first book was a ghost story. I remembered that the main character’s name was Zoe and she had an imaginary friend. That is ALL. (Why did I want to find this book about which I remember next to nothing? Well, I think I liked it, back when I was a kid. Plus, it is aggravating when one’s memory fails.)

For a long time, I tried looking up other ghost stories I read as a kid (man, I loved Betty Ren Wright) and using Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature to look for the Forgotten Book.

This did not work. Although it did fill me with nostalgia for the time when I could spend hours reading ghost stories.

So I Googled “book imaginary friend Zoe” and TADA! Google showed me exactly what I was looking for: Stonewords: A Ghost Story by Pam Conrad.

The other book is one I’ve been trying to remember for YEARS. I distinctly remember wanting to track it down in grad school, when one of my colleagues did a paper on Dare Wright. Dare Wright wrote a book called The Lonely Doll, and it sounded ever so slightly like a book I’d read as a kid.

The book I’d read as a kid was about a wooden doll who bought a human at the human store and mistreated her much in the way a human owner would abuse a doll. I’ve idly searched Amazon off and on for keywords like “doll buys human,” “doll owns girl,” “wooden doll,” “mean doll,” etc. No luck!

Finally, this weekend, I had a niggling little memory that the doll’s name was Gert. Or Gertrude. Typing “Gertrude doll” into Amazon’s search field yielding the book Gertrude’s Child by Richard Hughes. SUCCESS!!

Now I need to re-read these books.


* We have some flowering shrubbery outside our front door. I mean, it’s not flowering NOW. But I know it DOES flower, since we first saw this house last summer. One of the plants is DEFINITELY a hydrangea. I know this for sure, because I love hydrangeas.

But… I have no idea what the other plants are. Worse? I have no idea how to FIND OUT what the other plants are.

* We really need to get some curtains. I am quite certain our neighbors would agree.

* Blogger has been eating a LOT of my comments recently. I promise I have been better (not GREAT, but better) about commenting lately. But if your blog is on blogger and has a word verification? More often than not, my comments are not posting. I have typed in up to TEN word verifications in an attempt to get ONE comment to post to NO AVAIL.

I don’t think my comments are going to be life changing, or anything. But I do appreciate comments so I like to leave them when I can and MAN IS IT FRUSTRATING for them not to post.

* A cat ran through our backyard the other day. That makes him OUR cat, right?

Well, that’s all the random I have for you today.

How are you, Internet? Did you have a nice weekend? Any random things you need to discuss with me?

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You know when someone says brightly, a la Office Space, in the most annoyingly high-pitched version of cheer possible, “Looks like you have a case of the Mondays!” and your only response is an icy stare designed to induce a disfiguring series of frostbite blisters all across her stupid cheerful mouth?

Yes. That.

I am crabby for several reasons, Internet. Please proceed only if you want to:

a)      Work yourself into a froth on my behalf

b)      Enjoy a case of Other-Person’s-Grouchiness-Induced Poor Temper

c)       Commiserate

d)      Roll your eyes at my CLEARLY first world and therefore RIDICULOUS “problems.”


Firstly, I am on Day 1.5 of a stomach bug. And I’m grouchy because, well, obviously, it SUCKS but also because I’m not sure if it’s a bug sort of stomach bug or if I brought it on myself by eating raw cookie dough or sour cream that had been out of the fridge too long. (Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my eating habits.) I have been lying in bed all day – after NOT lying in bed until about three in the morning (you do not need more details than that) – but I have of course had my computer with me, and have been working because when you work from home there is no excuse NOT to work.  Ever. Especially when you have wireless. I mean, you can take your computer INTO THE BATHROOM if necessary. (Please lord do not make it necessary.)


Secondly, it is the third anniversary of my marriage, which should be a lovely happy occasion complete with flowers and wine, but, this year, is NOT. (See Item #1 for the reason behind the No Wine.) I cannot begrudge my husband the flowers, because – although he has sent me lovely reminiscent-of-my-wedding-bouquet flowers for the past two years – well, he is busy and he doesn’t think NEARLY as highly of fresh flowers as I do. And I am trying very hard not to pout and tear up at Lack of Flowers because that is stupid.

Plus, I keep feeling this (SILLY, I KNOW) fretfulness about how we are ONLY three years into this thing and yet we are ALREADY chucking the Anniversary Is Special hoopla? That makes me sad. Not that we really are Big Hoopla Type People, or anything. But we’ve had, you know, flowers and a night out in years past. Which was SOMETHING. Has The Magic died in our marriage Internet? Are we Failing At Anniversary Celebration?

We ARE going out to dinner tomorrow night, which, as it turns out stomach-bug-wise, is lucky. And it’s not as if we NORMALLY exchange gifts or anything, so there’s really nothing to be crabby/panicked about. And yet…


Thirdly, I have barely made a dent in my Christmas shopping (what in the universe am I going to get for my husband?) (We are destined to fail at Christmas, TOO, aren’t we?). Of course, I can only blame MYSELF for this. But it’s still making me crabby and mildly panicked.  I had planned to rush to the mall after work today. But now… I may SKIP THAT.


Fourthly, I am still dithering about Christmas cards. They are important to me, and yet EVERY YEAR I have a hard time justifying the cost to my husband. Plus, I feel enormous pressure to send out a photo card this year, since I did so LAST year and it seems like a step BACKWARDS to send a non-photo card. My mother informs me this is silly, as does MY BRAIN, and yet I still feel OBLIGATED somehow to send out a photo card. Do we actually HAVE a photo appropriate for a card? No, no we do not.

What I should really do is haul ass to Target and buy a bunch of cards and start filling them out, since we are nearing the point where I will be sending them out in February instead. But I keep DITHERING and my husband keeps saying things like, “I thought we were sending out photo cards?” and “Oh, it will be EASY to do a quick photo!” and “Why are we sending out holiday cards again?” whenever I bring up the non-photo-card option.

The WHOLE THING is making me crabby slash panicky.


Fifthly (Good Wife complaint), I am not sure whether Will Gardner is now going to be a Bad Guy. Nor am I sure whether Peter Florek is going to be a Bad Guy (Worse Guy?) going forward either. And I don’t want EITHER of them to be Bad Guys, so it’s stressing me out.


Sixthly, I just finished The Gift of Fear. It was a good read and had some good tips about preventing/anticipating violence. It also really helped me think through some of my anxieties. For instance, I learned that being on High Alert in a parking garage and suspecting Every Man in the Vicinity of imminent rape/kidnapping/murder may actually INHIBIT my brain’s natural ability to recognize actual danger.

However, SOME is the operative word (in that sentence a few lines back), seeing as I’ve been EXTRA anxious and jumpy in MY OWN HOUSE.  It makes lots of noises that I am STILL not used to. And for some reason, I am just SURE that something bad is going to happen – that someone’s watching me or hiding in the basement or lurking the garage or creeping through the back yard or WHATEVER. Needless to say, I am extremely uncomfortable when I’m here by myself. (Which is a LOT.)

(If I am being honest with myself, I think that this House Fear is rooted in some unbloggable issues I’m dealing with lately. And my brain can’t solve those issues, so it’s painting the rest of my life a nice rosy shade of Panic About Everything. AWESOME.)

Anyway, I spend a good part of my days feeling panicky… and then being crabby about my idiocy because THERE IS NOTHING TO PANIC ABOUT. (Unless, of course, some horrible creep HAS planted tiny video cameras in the air vents and is watching my every move, biding his time until he drops soundlessly from the crawl space in the attic into the guest room closet and disembowels me in my sleep.)


Seventhly, I STILL feel unsettled in the new house. We have two tables and only one set of chairs. And actually, we have two ADDITIONAL tables that have no purpose. And we have EIGHT DECK CHAIRS on our teeny deck and no table for THOSE. And there are still boxes of stuff to unpack and/or donate. And we have a total of TWO pictures on walls and we still have several rooms to paint and I haven’t gotten into a cleaning schedule and we STILL haven’t done ANYTHING to the lawn (Laura – I KNOW) and the beautiful couch in our living room is DOWN FILLED so I spend most of my time in that room feeling awful and allergy-ridden and there’s a TV in the basement but the speakers don’t work and the piano is beautiful but the keys stick and I am afraid to contact a tuner for fear it will cost ridiculous amounts of money and there’s a whole list of little non-urgent items leftover from our inspection that need to be taken care of and I have no idea how to keep stainless clean and there’s still the irritating matter of where to best store the recycling/trash containers for easy access without gross trash clutter and I have no idea how to find and engage a snow plower which – according to my husband – is a necessity and I keep hearing about how important it is to “know one’s neighbors” but I don’t know how to DO THAT and and and. CRABBY SLASH PANICKY.


Eighthly, I HATE THE NEW GMAIL. I am in gmail all day long and I need it to be easy and intuitive and not like I’m inside an IKEA project. It is DRIVING ME NUTS.


Ninthly, my in laws left a baby gift here for friends when they were here for Thanksgiving. And it is (STILL) just SITTING on my table as the baby gets older and less in NEED of the gift, but there have been so many Little Things that need to happen before I can deliver the gift: buying packaging for the gift (I sent my husband to Target to complete this errand. I managed to specify “large gift bag” because the gift will not fit in a small gift bag, but the bag is HUGE and also I forgot to specify that I needed tissue paper); calling the friends to set up a time to go over; HAVING a time to drop it off, a time that includes my husband – because I don’t want to go alone – and some buffer time during which we’ll be offered a drink; figuring out the friends’ address;  ETC. It is such a small, simple task. And yet the days pass, and it does not get done and the panic level is rising with every minute, as is the crabbiness at having to COMPLETE the task in the first place.


Tenthly, I have to return a shawl and necklace to the store. I took your advice, Internet, and wore an old dress to the holiday party last weekend. I simply bought a sparkly belt and a sparkly bracelet to go with it and I thought it looked just fine. But I ALSO bought a shawl and a necklace. A shawl and a necklace that I wasn’t crazy about, but I allowed the salesperson to talk me into them (“No way, there’s no such thing as too much sparkle!”) and so now they are in my possession, even though I didn’t even take them out of the shopping bag. But returning them is a HASSLE and there’s no time and whine whine whine.


Eleventhly, I really wish I had more to blog about than WHINING. I am annoying MYSELF. But I am grouchy and at least I’m posting something. (Perhaps you are wishing for a kind way to remind me that “silence is golden.”)


I am stopping there, Internet. YOU ARE WELCOME.

Please let me know your biggest complaint/panic today, because I need some PERSPECTIVE.  And also some good old fashioned tangential crabbiness.

In the meantime, I am feeling the stirrings of hunger. Since there is no soup or crackers to speak of in our house, I think I may go drown my sorrows in the Cookie Dough of Death.

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