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July 2005

Ode to my Husband after the Third Coat

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
Your arms can reach, when painting beyond my sight
With perfect strokes, you are not fazed.
I love thee to the level of every powder room’s

Most quiet need, streak-free paint.
I love thee freely, as the splotchy makes me pout
I love thee purely, because you don’t freak out.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my neurotic grief, and with my home improvement faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
When I did the first coat, --- I love thee with the quiet hum
of the powder room fan --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better when the bathroom’s done.      


Retail therapy

Extreme Home Makeover, brought to you by Mighty Maggie's Mom

Mighty Mom and Mighty Dad came up for a big city weekend this past Saturday. They went out for a local pub dinner, enjoyed some community theater and stayed the night at Chateau Cheung. After church and brunch Sunday morning, Mighty Dad was ready to while away the afternoon exercising the Civil War section of his brain (which is about half) and Mighty Mom wanted to shop. Namely at University Village, where she has only shopped with my dad and, as we all know, that's no fun. It can't even really be considered "shopping". Maybe "zooming through an outdoor shopping mall, barely pausing to look in the windows lest the urge to actually buy something overtakes you and propels you into an actual STORE. Horrors!" So we left Dad and Phillip at home and took off for the land of overpriced yuppie houseware crap.

MAGGIE: Okay, we should probably get there a little early because it's really hard to park on the weekends.

MOM: Oh, I don't mind walking!

MAGGIE: No, you don't understand. Sometimes there aren't any parking spaces.

MOM: Well sometimes we have to park way at the end of the WalMart parking lot. I have to drop Grandma off at the door. But I'm okay walking.

MAGGIE: No, you don't understand. I once drove to the very tippy top of the parking garage- the PARKING GARAGE- at U Village and there were NO PARKING SPACES. I went HOME.

MOM: Oh. Well we should get going then, huh?!

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MOM: inside Crate & Barrel Well. I don't think I want to buy anything here.

MAGGIE: Yeah, sometimes this stuff is a little too mod for me. Is 'mod' the right word? Makes me think of Agent 99 in Get Smart.

MOM: Not that I wouldn't find something to buy in here. I could definitely buy something here. Like these brightly colored stackable mixing bowls. These are very cute.

MAGGIE: But not today.

MOM: No, not today.

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MOM: inside Land of Nod Well. I don't think I'm going to buy anything here either.

MAGGIE: Not even the $400 ABC rug? Or the wooden pizza? I bet Caden would really like the wooden pizza.

MOM: He's too little for a wooden pizza. Look at that bed. She points at a little person's bed built to look like a sail boat. You'd think that after a few years you wouldn't want a boat bed anymore.

MAGGIE: I don't know. I can think of two or three guys who'd get big kick out of having a boat bed.

MOM: But that's just silly. Why would someone buy that. And they're just going to grow out of it.

MAGGIE: Where is your sense of wonder?

MOM: It's just not very practical.

MAGGIE: Will you buy the John Lithgow CD for me?

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MAGGIE: inside Pottery Barn There's LOTS of stuff we can buy here.

MOM: Perhaps if we had five million more dollars. I like this table runner, but it costs too much.

MAGGIE: Yes, but this is why we have Target. We check out what we like at Pottery Barn, then we find it at Target.

MOM: Let's go to Target.

MAGGIE: Don't you like Pottery Barn? HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE POTTERY BARN?

MOM: blank

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MOM: Now this store, this store is fun!

MAGGIE: Let's look at those silicone cupcake pans. Those are weird.

MOM: No, I'm looking at olive oil thingies.

MAGGIE: Ooh, pretty napkins.

MOM: Grandma wants a new Tupperware thing for her milk. Do they have Tupperware?

MAGGIE: These dishes are pretty.

MOM: Yes, I want one of those in every color. Do you think your father will be upset if I carry 8 new place settings back to Italy in our suitcases?

MAGGIE: How can he not like these dishes?

MOM: Here are those silicone things. How do these work. You're just supposed to flip the cake out? Whatever.

MAGGIE: Hey, Phillip wants this stuff. I'm going to buy it for him. He's going to be so impressed that I thought of him while I was shopping.

MOM: Should we call them? See how they're doing?

MAGGIE: And have them tell us we should come home soon? Nah.

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MAGGIE: I am U Villaged out.

MOM: We haven't gone plant shopping.

MAGGIE: We don't need to go plant shopping.

MOM: Yes we do. You said we could go plant shopping.

MAGGIE: Yeesh. gets in car, drives to Home Depot

MOM: So what do you want?

MAGGIE: I was thinking about digging out that bamboo thing in the corner and putting in a hydrangea. Wouldn't that be nice?

MOM: That would be very nice! Let's go find a hydrangea! Oh! Here's a hydrangea! Pull that one out. No, that one. And then that one. What do you think about that one? This one looks best. Put that one in the cart.

MAGGIE: Cool!

MOM: I like these little pink ones. I think you should get some of those. Dumps 4 little pink ones in the cart. What about cosmos? You need cosmos along the fence. You like cosmos, right?

MAGGIE: Yeah, I like cosmos. K has a few of those too. We're collaborating, you know.

MOM: Okay. I think you should get this one. And you pick out another one. Good. What now. Oh! A vine! You wanted a vine! Okay I'll stand in line and you pick out a vine.

MAGGIE: Uhhh

MOM: GO GET A VINE.

MAGGIE: finds a vine, puts it in the cart

MOM: pays for everything

MAGGIE: This is kind of like my first Christmas home from college when you kept buying me everything I happened to see, want or mention casually in conversation.

MOM: eyes narrow

MAGGIE: But I am SO not complaining!!!

We had a really nice time. Even with the moron who started honking his horn across the street at 6 am (after all the things we said about our nice quiet neighborhood), but if he hadn't woken everyone up, my dad might not have gone out to walk around Green Lake and subsequently grow that much more enchanted with the whole new house thing. The only hard part was the constant refreshing of the coffee pot. I'm just not used to being around someone who has a little caffeine port embedded into her arm.

Anyway, I'd been looking forward to the Big City Weekend for a while and I'm a little disappointed they won't be up again. Well, maybe one more time before they leave. Kinda sucks having your folks live halfway across the world. Wah. Especially when they are buying you plants.

Nothing much is planned for this week except much sunning of pasty white legs in the glorious sunshine. I would like to take a minute to recognize the rest of the nation for enduring a painful heat wave so that us pale Seattleites could have a little sun too. A grateful and pasty population thanks you.


Filler

I spent most of this week insisting Phillip hurry up and read the rest of his Harry Potter book so we could talk about it. He's done now, but rereading certain sections because he's much more thoughtful and deliberate than me, the person who, the minute she put the book down, went speeding to her computer to check out the spoiler sites and message boards. Because !!!!! and also, !!!!!!!!. I couldn't believe that !!!!!! I don't want to say much about it because, you know, people who tell you the end of the story before you've read it are LAME, so HURRY UP because we totally need to talk about !!!!!!! and !!!!!!!!!

I was all set to give my copy to Sean last night, but he was all, "No, I can't take it yet, I'm reading a Grown Up novel and expanding my mind and I need to really dwell on the themes and ideas in, (cough) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein before I borrow this (cough) Harry Potter book."

Now, I read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I read it in one of my lit classes in college (can you earn an English degree having taken only classes in Victorian lit, creative writing and early American novels? And avoiding the Romantic Poets like the plague? I AM LIVING PROOF.) In fact, I remember being really surprised at how much I liked it. I read it in one of the classes I took from one of my favorite professors, the one who let me make up for my inability to speak out loud in class by writing a paper about the big Bronte event put on by the Hugo House on Capitol Hill. (Complete with an all-day reading of Jane Eyre, a crazy woman in the attic and a Jeopardy-style game where you matched the character to his mental illness.) But anyway, let's think about this. Frankenstein vs. Harry Potter. Frankenstein may be big and ugly, but which one has a wand? Hmm? Which one survived a DEATH CURSE from YOU-KNOW-WHO?!?!?!

Right. I think we know who wins that one.

I need a nap.

This weekend we're taking my folks to see this. They're staying overnight so we have to do something about the futon we bought on craigslist a couple weeks ago. The frame is decent, but the mattress is crap. YES, we sat on it and Phillip even sprawled out on it, but we are both Nice people and didn't want to make a big fuss about testing the futon and making sure you could sleep on it without having to go to the chiropractor the next day. Also, we just wanted to pick it up and leave. So no wonder the girl who sold it to us looked like she was steeling herself when she told us the price. She was expecting some negotiating, some bargaining, some "You lie down on that pile of rocks and see if you think you're gonna get that much." She need not have worried, however, because it was the Wussy Cheungs who went to pick up her futon. Score!

I found out that certain companies will restuff the mattress for you. So we might do that. But for the weekend we'll borrow my old futon mattress from my sister. When I came up with this excellent solution, Phillip just kinda looked and me and said, "Yeah, I'll sleep on the floor." Whatever. I love my old futon.

This is boring. I need a nap. Did I say that already? See you Monday.


Navel gazing

Last night I dreamed that I found a dead body on the sidewalk. It was the middle of the night and a friend was with me. For some reason we thought we were responsible. Maybe the body was still a little bit alive? I don't know. But we took the body and dumped it somewhere and I then spent the rest of my dream-life in abject fear that the police would hunt me down and send me to prison. In my dream I would read newspaper articles about the missing person, I'd scan police reports and lists of suspects. My name and my friend's name were on the list, but only as the people who had found the body. I went over and over the timeline in my brain, piecing out what I had done wrong, what I did do, what I didn't do, what I should have done. I hoped that one day the authorities would just forget about it and never focus in on me, but then I would remind myself that the books on murder were never closed. Someone would always be looking. I would have to live with this forever.

And then I woke up. Phillip was in the shower. Light was streaming through the window. And I was not carrying a huge secret that Phillip knew nothing about.

I just hate that feeling of hiding something. I have always been a Very Good Girl (well, except for that time when I had a boyfriend who had his own car) and I think the guilt of doing something Very Bad would pretty much crush me.

I've had that dream before, I know it. And others like it, too, because every couple of weeks the mere act of waking up floods me with relief. I was fairly anxious last night for no reason- perhaps the last couple of chapters of Harry Potter were making my heart race? Maybe I should start tracking my dreams to see if the freaky ones happen when I'm already nervous.

On a related note, I found this the other day as I was researching autism. I have a nephew on the higher functioning end of the autistic spectrum and I'm interested in the experiences of other autistics and families of autistics. This particular person (who is pretty amazing, go read her bio) described an onset of anxiety as she hit her teens:

The feeling was like a constant feeling of stage fright all the time. When people ask me what it is like I say, "Just imagine how you felt when you did something really anxiety provoking, such as your first public speaking engagement. Now just imagine if you felt that way most of the time for no reason." I had a pounding heart, sweaty palms, and restless movements. The "nerves" were almost like hypersensitivity rather than anxiety. It was like my brain was running at 200 miles an hour, instead of 60 miles an hour.

It was an odd sort of thrill for me to read that, as that's exactly how I describe it, only switch out "sweaty palms" for "insane muscle tension". It's not hypersensitivity for me (that's in direct reference to autism, I think), but maybe hypervigilance. I am always looking out for something to go wrong. The other shoe is going to drop. Did I do something wrong? Something bad is going to happen.

I have very clear memories of constantly counting my four brothers and sisters. We'd go to the mall (and I hated the [huge, fancy in my memories, several-storied] mall because I had (and sort of still do) a tall ceiling and tall building phobia YES I AM CRAZIER THAN YOU SUPPOSED) and I would keep my eye on everyone, totally afraid one of us would get lost. I had dreams about a sixth kid, a little brother, who we kept losing. And one time we did lose my brother Alex and I thought the world about caved in. (Even though, at age 8 or 9, I was convinced that my quality of life would vastly improve if only he DID get lost.)

It's not always like that, of course. And "hypervigilance" is a nice big all-encompassing word I like to use to hold all the things that I think make me anxious. To the extent that anxiety is not all about a chemical imbalance in your brain, it's these things, for me, that I try to hold together. And when that doesn't work, and dammit you're not going to let a racing heart keep you from watching The Amazing Race finale or reading the end of the new Harry Potter book, you sweetly ask your husband to dig his elbows into the knots in your back and you breathe a little slower.

I don't know what this post is about, exactly, but sometimes I'd rather write about the things I'm really thinking about rather than snarking about my latest encounter with the universe of customer service. Not that I don't love to snark. Watch out, United States Post Office- you're next.


Happy birthday to me

If you're wondering why the banks are closed and you're not receiving mail, it's because today is MY BIRTHDAY, a national holiday. For some reason my office does not observe this particular holiday, but I plan to take a long lunch on the deck of Ray's Boat House and soak up the 83 degree heat God must have sent especially because he wanted me to have a nice pretty tan when I go out to dinner with my husband tonight.

The party that was not all about me was a fun time. People oohed and ahhed over my house just like they were supposed to. No one said anything mean about my red bathroom. People brought me stuff which they totally didn't have to do. But I am not complaining about my new Harry Potter book. Oh no. Or the Harry Potter glasses or the Harry Potter stickers or the Harry Potter poster which is SO going on the wall in my room. (Although Saturday night after the party I had a small crisis in which I realized that I remembered NOTHING about Book 5 (which I received as a wedding gift!) and decided that I needed to refresh with Book 5 before I started Book 6. So then Phillip started reading Book 6 and at 3 in the morning I wake up and Phillip is GLUED to Book 6, GLUED. This posed a potential problem, the kind that starts world wars, but thankfully my parents bought two dozen copies (one for each child, one for the airplane, one for the bathroom, one in case they lose one, one in case they lose that one) and didn't mind me taking one home.)

I still have birthday cake and many bottles of wine. Anyone want to come over?

Anyway, today I am 26 and slowly facing the fact that I will never be one of E!'s Hot 25 Under 25. I will not be the fantastically young bestselling author. I am not, unbelievably, a prodigy. I always thought I might be a prodigy at something, but, ah, it's too late now. Also, I am not yet the President's press secretary, I do not own my own Lear jet, I am not the editor of a world famous magazine and I did not grow those three extra inches. My "where do you see yourself" college essay was sadly and desperately incorrect. We are, however, the generation that experiences the "quarter life crisis" and I think I'll give myself another four years to win a Pulitzer and act on Broadway.

Should you care to lift my spirits about the lack of trophies on my mantle, all you LURKERS can leave me a COMMENT because TODAY is my BIRTHDAY. What's a personal website for if you can't demand that your readers make you feel special? Whee! I love my birthday. (I have been trying to explain the concept of a Birthday Weekend Extravaganza to Phillip, but he's not biting. He was not especially thrilled when I woke him up yesterday all "Do you know what tomorrow is!? Do you know what tomorrow is!?" But THIS morning he woke ME up and made me go downstairs before I got in the shower so I could see my present before he left- a perfect rocking chair, the kind I wanted the minute I knew I'd have my own house. He's learning, he's learning.) Anyway, say hi everyone! You don't want me to be sad on my birthday, do you?


Everything that was left over

It is almost my birthday. Almost.

One summer when I was a little kid, my mom was talking on the phone with my uncle and she asked me if I wanted to say hi. So I get on the phone and my uncle is asking me the kinds of things grown ups ask little kids and out of the blue I happen to mention that it's almost my birthday. And my mother sputters, "Honestly, Maggie!" because it's, like, early June.

I do love my birthday.

My office makes a fairly big deal out of birthdays. You get a card that everyone signs when you're not looking and somebody makes a cake. We sing the Happy Birthday song. But it's summer and half of my office is on vacation. I might get a cake still, but I'm hoping I get taken out for my first 3-martini lunch. Preferably here. The bosses are out of the country, so why not?

I own two Birthday Crowns. One is a headband that says HAPPY BIRTHDAY in sparkly silver letters and the other is more Burger King-style with a pink ribbon fringe and glitter. I save these for my friends' birthdays. I really want to wear one at my party tomorrow. Of course, wearing one would kind of defeat the half-hearted attempt at not having a party that's all about Me. (It's also about my new house. Okay, so, no matter what, definitely about me.)

We gave up on the paint. I happened to mention to my coworkers, most of whom are well versed in Home Renovations, that I was using Behr paint. And they all got disgusted looks on their faces, even though I swear someone somewhere recommended Behr paint. Then I called up a snooty paint store and asked their opinion on how to fix the red terror. "Uhhh, primer?" the 18-year-old shop assistant suggested. "And then one of our products." So that's what we're going to do. For party purposes we will unplastic (but not untape) the bathroom, stick the halogen light in there and hopefully send the guests upstairs when they need to go. I decided to Get Over It, to the extent that that's possible, and face the fact of having a red terror bathroom for the next month. Eventually we will go over the entire thing with primer and do it over (red again!) with a Very Expensive Well Recommended Paint. We will ask many questions of the paint specialists at the paint-only store. And we are not painting ANYTHING again.

Last night, instead of painting, I had dinner with a friend. I ripped out the dead marigolds and repositioned the live ones. I bug sprayed my zinnias within an inch of their lives. I made a list of ingredients to buy for my two (two!) birthday cakes. It was nice to not think about paint. Said my friend, after popping her head into the red bathroom and seeing the paint tray and rollers still on the floor, "It looks like you just stopped and walked away." We did.

But I dreamed about paint.

I want to buy this and play it at the party. What do you think?

And on an entirely different note:

We received letters from the students we 'taught' in China for 3 weeks last August and September.  They were living in one apartment in the big city for two years for the express purpose of learning English. I still don't want to say much about what we really did there. We were told that 150 Chinese were recently arrested when authorities found out about a church meeting. 150. We've thought about our students so much and worried about what will happen to them when they finish their training. They are very brave. As it turns out, the boys have the opportunity to attend a school in South Africa for a year after 'graduation' this August. I have no idea how they acquired the paperwork to leave China. The girls are moving on to Chinese cities. The youngest one is disappointed because she must go back to her village. I miss them. I wish I could visit them again. I wish I could send them email or invite them over for dinner. I will probably never see them again. And one day other people will lose track of them too and I won't ever find out where they are, how they're using their English. I liked teaching them. I liked thinking about how to explain words and grammar. It was a good job.

I am suddenly all mopey.

Anyway. Just catching up. See you on the day that IS my birthday.


Therapy Thursday

Hello Friends in the Computer! You are surely thinking to yourselves:

  1. Why hasn't she posted ANY wedding pictures for we are DYING to see them! and
  2. What is UP with the lame-o posts lately? For we are bored bored bored by the paint and the house and the myriad of things that, as her sister Katie would say, she should JUST GET OVER ALREADY!

So! Here are the answers to those questions:

  1. Because my camera died right when the bride was having her hair done and I was wearing curlers and the hotel suite was plastered in melted chocolate leftover from the Great Strawberry Dipping Frenzy, I have no actual wedding pictures. For those we're going to have to wait on Blondie who, though she is many fabulous things, is not a speed-answerer of desperate email with a subject header reading PICTURES! NOW!
  2. a: Also, the posts are lame-o because the one thing that is consuming my ENTIRE life right now is simply not a good read. Your faithful blogger (journal-er? share-er of too much information?) decided to paint her powder room (powder room!) RED and MY GOD WHAT WAS I THINKING?  b: I don't get over ANYTHING "already". Have you read my blog?

I told myself I wouldn't write a whiny neurotic essay about the [splotchy, uneven, not-even-halfway-done] bathroom I started painting ["Cherry Cobbler" red] two nights ago. But if I don't, you are post-less for the rest of the week. And no one wants that, right?

When I opened up the paint can Tuesday night, it was PINK. Bright hot magenta. And I thought, "Oh dear, this is not good, this is not good at all." But the bathroom was all taped and plasticked up. And I have a limited number of days to get this project done. (BECAUSE, I am a MORON! Details to follow!) So I took my 99 cent foam brush and painted a bright pink strip behind the door. I waited for it to dry, then I painted another one on top. And then another one. The paint? It is red. And after 2 days I have a deep red 3-coat strip surrounded by two coats made with the useless foam brush, a section of the wall truly representational of the whole: splotchy, uneven, and completely frightening. I went to bed that first night with paint on my elbows and in my hair and terrified that I had now officially ruined my new house.

I blame the nice ladies in the 'Colors' forum on the HGTV.com message boards. "Red!" they exclaimed. "Red will be fabulous for your powder room!" (Apparently I'm the only one not saying 'powder room'. That alone should have signaled me to stay far far away from the red paint.) After soaking up all my internet affirmation, I stopped by Home Depot and picked up a gallon of 'Cherry Cobbler' and now? Now I have the Attack Of The Killer Tomato-Colored Paint.

I was unbelievably nervous about going home and starting it up again. I didn't even finish the first coat, deciding I was too exhausted and the brushes too cheap to get behind the sink and around the light fixture. Phillip, after working until 8, taped around the ceiling for me, and I called up Katie in a state of Pure Paint-Related Panic asking her to help. She might have snickered a little bit, which is probably what you are doing too, Fair Reader, because, duh, IT IS JUST PAINT.

Last night I painted all around the back of the [pedestal] sink and as far behind the toilet tank I could go and all around the nether regions of the corner with the toilet. I painted around the light fixture above the mirror because I couldn't get it off. And Katie, who was helping when she could (did I mention the bathroom is TEENY?) popped her head in every so often to say, "Maggie? I think you should take a break. Come watch Everybody Loves Raymond and stop bawling FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!"

So I did. Breaks, it seems are good for you. They help immensely with the whole being-completely-overwhelmed-by-the-red-paint-disaster situation.

Several Authorities on Paint have informed me that all colors are streaky and uneven, it just shows up more with the dark colors, which is why you need more coats of dark colors. I must admit the authorities make sense, but until I have 7 or 8 more coats, I am stuck with the streaky and uneven and I AM HAVING A PARTY THIS WEEKEND. (Which is exactly why my mother said not to start a painting project this week.) Yeah, did I mention that? A party? The Housewarming/Maggie'sBirthday/NewHarryPotterBook Part-ay? And I thought, "Oh! Wouldn't it be cool if I had a gleaming red bathroom and everyone could ooh and ahh over my artistic touches and eye for color?" That's right. Who is the craziest girl on the planet?

Right, I know. Dumbest freak out ever. And yet? STILL A FREAK OUT. Also, an excellent opportunity to practice productive self-talk to counter destructive perfectionistic self-talk.*

SELF: a shrill, neurotic, high-pitched wail My friend the Interior Decorator is remodeling her kitchen. She tiled her shower, refinished her floors, stained her own furniture and painted her ENTIRE HOUSE. I can't even paint a 4 x 8 foot bathroom. [Perfectionistic Thinking/Self Criticism]

COUNTERING SELF-TALK: zen, mellow, like the guy who leads the relaxation exercises on the airplane radio You haven't finished the bathroom yet. Give yourself time to complete the project before you declare yourself a failure.

SELF: But I didn't use the rollers right and there are lines everywhere and it's going to be this ugly FOREVER AND EVER! [Catastrophic Thinking]

COUNTERING SELF-TALK: What is the worst possible outcome? That you will have a splotchy uneven bathroom. While this is certainly not ideal, there are other options. It would be difficult, but you can paint over it- you can even hire professionals! You can try a sponge finish to hide some of the splotchiness and make it look like you did it that way on purpose! You have to admit that you do sorta like the variations in the color, even if you don't want to admit that to anyone because then they'd think you were only trying to cover up the fact that you totally suck at painting- WAIT! [Personalizing/Perfectionism] Hang on! Let me get back in form!.

SELF: Whatever. I shouldn't have tried this. I totally suck at stuff like this. [Over Generalizing/Perfectionism]

COUNTERING SELF-TALK: You don't suck at this. The yellow bedroom looks great! Maybe when you've done the second and third coats, the red bathroom will look great too.

SELF: Oh no, dwelling on this stupid bathroom is making me anxious. This is ridiculous. Something this small and insignificant should not have this effect on me! I'm going to be up all night! WAH![Catastrophic Thinking/Personalizing/Self-Criticism]

COUNTERING SELF-TALK: It's ok to be upset about the bathroom. It's not as easy as you thought it would be and it's hard to picture what the final result will look like. Let's finish the painting first, and if it still looks bad, we'll figure out what to do then.

Bonus points for hauling your sister in to do your Countering Self Talk for you.

This morning I got out of bed and went straight to the downstairs bathroom to check it out in the morning light and, well, it's definitely not perfect, but at least it isn't pink and the streaks were lessened by the second coat. It looks better today. I'll give it a few more coats and see what happens.

For some people, "seeing what happens" comes much more naturally. For other people, like me, you go through I need to buy new brushes and what if I buy the wrong kind again and what if they don't make a difference and I didn't intend to spend this much money and can I get the second coat done tonight and why did I have to start this now, especially with Phillip working so hard and staying late and what if we still aren't done before the party before you get to the "see what happens" part. Sometimes you are so caught up in the anxiety that you never get to the "see what happens". And there's no use telling me I'm being ridiculous because I KNOW. I really really know.

At least this time, it's only about paint.

*If you found this by googling around for a neurotic kindred spirit and, instead of rolling your eyes and snorting at the self-talk examples, you possibly recognized yourself, there is an excellent book out there that identifies all this stuff and tells you how to respond. Yes, like you have two personalities. (It helps maintain the image of crazy!) One half of your brain with no perspective and the other trying to maintain control. I found this book incredibly helpful in sorting all that out.   


All of the beautiful colors

I am having a housewarming party this weekend. Actually, it's a housewarming/birthday party (and maybe we just added the "housewarming" part because I really just wanted to throw myself a birthday party but didn't want to be all, "Hey, come to my BIRTHDAY party which is all about ME and where I will wear a pink sparkly BIRTHDAY CROWN and flit about like a social butterfly princess because it is MY BIRTHDAY yes, ME ME ME." I try to reserve the narcissistic princess strutting for my personal website.)

Here are the things that must be done before we are delightfully swamped with a deluge of Party Guests:

  • Rip out the dead marigolds and replace with yet-to-be-purchased flowering plants. Preferably floweirng plants that won't keel over and die from extreme underexposure to sunlight.
  • Bake one double triple chocolate fudge cake with melted-chocolate-bar frosting and possibly a chocolate pudding swirl. Bake one cheesecake with strawberry topping for the president of the Chocolate-Free America Coalition as he, unfortunately, lives with me. How did that happen?
  • Hang at least one picture. JUST ONE.
  • Hem the curtains in the second bedroom as they are puddled on the floor and look ridiculous. Spend several minutes each morning in the second bedroom affirming my choice of yellow walls, butterfly curtains, pink futon cover and toys on the bookshelf because it is PERFECTLY OKAY to share the decorating preferences of a six-year-old.
  • PAINT.

It's that last one, friends in the computer, that is causing me no small bit of grief. I did some painting when we first moved in and after that I was DONE. I did not want to be that intimate with the corners of my bedroom walls ever again. Banish the blue tape! But then I visited my sister-in-law and spent 3 out of my 4 days at her house discussing what color to paint the accent wall in her kitchen. There were paint chips coming out of our ears and we went back to the paint store to get more. I released the inner Martha Stewart and talked a load of crap about warm colors and themes and whether or not a particular shade of red had blue or yellow undertones. I was organized, I was decisive, and I helped SIL avoid a panic attack by finding the perfect red, somewhere between Marilyn Monroe lipstick and dirty bricks. Better than that, I was inspired. My plain blank walls were quivering in fear.

So yesterday I went to Lowes and spent an hour in front of the paint chips. WHY IS THIS SO HARD? My first problem is that the colors I want don't particularly match. The Interior Decorator member of the Thursday Night TV Gang is adamant about your home having a Theme and that you shouldn't feel disjointed and anxious just by moving from the living room to the powder room. (And she really says "powder room" and I can never say that without a nervous snicker about my descent into Obnoxious Pretentiousness.) Anyway, that's just to say that I'm not allowed to paint my powder room pink, as all powder rooms should be, and I can't paint the wall around the fireplace a bright red and I can't paint the entry way sky blue. I picked out every shade of Light Beigey Brown and showed them to the Interior Decorator last night and, with a face that said "I have just eaten Deep Fried Worm", she declared my paint chips to be leftover samples from Revlon's recent staff meeting on foundation and tossed them in the garbage. Wah.

My inner Martha Stewart is feeling a bit wounded at this point. I'm going to use the rest of the lime green paint we used in the bedroom in the guest bathroom upstairs, themes be damned. After that I'm lost. Deep red? Too claustrophobic. Neutral brown? Brown is blah. And boring. Orange is... orange. Maybe a blue? Or green? I'm having a party in FIVE DAYS. PLEASE SEND HELP.


Friday blathering

It's early morning in Seattle again- someone woke up on East Coast time.

No work today! The Parents flew in from Italy via Colorado (the new baby takes precedent over EVERYTHING now) and I am so excited to drive down to their house and talk their ears off all day long.

The flights were uneventful. I sat next to a Mr. Fidgety on the way home and when he finally scooted out to get a seat next to his wife, Phillip and I had three seats. I am not used to flying domestically. I am used to really really really really long drawn out flights that either go straight across the world or stop 15 times on their way to the final destination. That four hour flight from Cincinnati is NOTHING. Still, they are all planes that take off and land and experience turbulence so on the nervousness scale, all flights are equal. Thanks to the extra seat and a double dose of Dramamine, I made it home without the pilot having to come out and strap me down. This is it for airplanes until September, hopefully.

Also, I need a vacation from my vacation.

I still haven't figured out what wedding stories to tell- or should I say, which ones to tell that won't get me excommunicated from the Bride. Ha. I must say, though, that putting on that purple bridesmaid dress was like putting on Superman's cape. In that dress you are Invincible Bridesmaid and whatever you say goes. You can even boss around the bride. When you are wearing your dress and your hair is all pinned up and laquered to your skull, you can swipe that cell phone away and say "No! No more 'checking up on things'!" and the Bride? Must acquiesce. Because you are wearing The Dress and no one is going to mess with that. Late to the reception? Run that red light! No cop is going to give you a ticket when he sees a car full of purple dresses. We ran into a bit of competition at the rose garden where we went to take pictures. The garden was host to about 18 brides and their 400 bridesmaids, all wearing less pretty versions of the uniform. But we were working those dresses, Internet, and with one flick of our bouquets, the other bridal parties went running. Even at the reception, when we walked by the dessert table and the 300 chocolate-dipped strawberries that we were not supposed to eat until they cut they cake- I picked one up anyway. And so did the other girls. And we popped them in our mouths and glittered triumphantly at the videographer. Because we? Are the bridesmaids. And also? WE SPENT ALL MORNING DIPPING THOSE FREAKING STRAWBERRIES!

I have never had so much fun and been so exhausted at the same time. The two things may have been intertwined- everything is much funnier when one is nearly delirious.

At 8 am I have just finished my second load of laundry. I also need to scrub the tub, put the mail away, break down some boxes, hide the Xbox sitting on the mantle and weed- oh, the weeding that must be done!- before my mother shows up tomorrow with her white gloves and her magnifying glass. Also, it is RAINING. The babysitter in Cincinnati asked, "Does it REALLY always rain in Seattle?" and we said "No no no, it rains a little, but we had such a gorgeous spring and last summer was really hot!" But now it's raining. Rain rain rain. Gray ugly overcast. Also, summer in Seattle for us will always be the summer we got married which was 10 degrees hotter than hell, so we will never have an accurate frame of reference. But the babysitter, she was right when she added, "At least there's things to DO in Seattle." This is true. Cincinnati? Not much to be excited about when the cute new shopping mall and movie theater is across the river in Kentucky. That's right. Kentucky.

I may harbor a certain fondness for the Red States, but I am certainly not going to move there. Heavens.


O Loyal Readers, Please Don't Abandon Me

Here's another frightfully boring post, posted for the sole sake of those of you who have to work today and need something to do. I am not at work. I'm sitting at my brother and sister-in-law's dinner table checking my email and waiting for Phillip to get out of the shower. We're going out to Newport, Kentucky this morning to the New Shopping Center Place to pick up a few things for the flight home. Nephew #1 is at a doctor appointment and Nephew #2 is eating cantaloupe in the kitchen. And watching the Wiggles. The Wiggles are close personal friends of ours by now.

It's been very hot, but I still don't have a tan. Too hot to go outside. I've gained back all the weight I lost on the evil no-carb diet because my sister-in-law thinks it's totally fine to eat like a total pig when you're on vacation. "Eat the entire pint of Graeter's ice cream, Maggie! You're on VACATION!" I am STILL tired from the wedding. I KNEW joining in on the Electric Slide at 11 pm was going TOO FAR.

We're flying home this afternoon, just in time to do some laundry and clean the bathrooms before I go visit my parents the next day. My parents! They're home! I look forward to early breakfasts at Shari's and multiple trips to Wal-Mart. My parents, they are easily entertained.

Ok, really, many apologies for the lamest post ever. But I am still here! And I will be home soon! And I WILL have pictures of bridal debauchery. As much debauchery you can have when 4/5ths of the bridal party are missionaries and the bride opts for a teeny glass of fruit-flavored wine "product" over good ole Merlot.