Now I know why old people are grumpy.

by statia on March 22, 2013

You guys, seriously, I’m becoming an old person. I’m only 37, and yet, sometimes I feel like I’m 52. Sometimes. I’ve made a conscious effort not to be that grumpy old person but I understand now why people are like this. All of that jadedness just piles on top of each other over the years and before you know it, BAM! You’re going to dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon and you complain about kids today.

Insert all of these cliches here. They’re all true. No matter how hip I want to be, age seems to get the better of me.

Let’s start with social media. I’d like to think I was on the cutting edge of blogging. When blogging was new and let’s face it, geeky. Now it’s a living. Everyone and their mother has some sort of fucking advice. Like a blog post I saw recently written to “the mom on the iphone.” And how I should be watching my children 24-7 while they twirl. And I’m made to feel guilty for being on my phone. And oh “tee hee, this is for me too, because I’m just as guilty as you are. tee hee hee.” As if throwing that in there makes you any less Judgy McJudgerson. Dude, we all judge. I try not to, but I find myself judging people because I’m a human.

Just because you have a blog, doesn’t give you a right to write an open letter chastising me about my parenting.

Edit: I guess I should say, you have the right to write whatever you want, I’m not against free speech, and you pay for that space and all. But just because you have a blog, you’re not under any sort of social media obligation. You parent you way, I’ll parent mine.

1. There is no one on this earth who feels guiltier than I do, especially in regards to my kids. I have guilt about my guilt. It fucking sucks, but it’s part of the anxiety. All of that therapy is helping me to let go and appreciate what I have done. Do I spend time with my kids? You betcha. In fact, unless it’s Tuesday, I’m with my kids pretty much all day. One is in morning preschool and the other is in afternoon kindergarten. It’s kind of a shitty deal and it’s been a tough year in regards to having peace and quiet. There are days when I don’t know how I’ll survive if I have to color another picture or listen to another diatribe about legos. Does that make me a horrible person? That I can’t appreciate another word about Mario brothers and how another level was cleared. And while we’re at it, Mom, can I tell you all of the intricate details of this particular level, while re-enacting it? Please?

2. I’m a helicopter parent. I’m only just now feeling OK with them playing outside while I glue my eyes to the window. It’s only been a year since I’ve let my now six year-old go over to friends houses by himself for play dates. BUT, kids also need to learn to play on their own. When I was six, I was already riding my bike all over the neighborhood and on busy streets. Kids NEED to make their own memories. Some of my best memories of my childhood don’t include my parents and it doesn’t make me sad. I have great childhood memories. If my mother took me to the park, she sat on a bench. Just because she didn’t have an iPhone doesn’t make it any different. We made friends at the park. We used our imaginations. I struggle with letting them do for themselves, but they have to learn. And learning to be alone is good. That doesn’t mean that when my kids say “watch me,” I ignore them.

3. Yes, I’m on my phone. I rarely get a chance to sit down during the day because I’m taking my kids places, or I’m working. But you don’t know that just by looking at me do you? Can you also tell by looking at me, that my son had developmental delays and I spent many late nights searching for alternative therapies for him to help him? Do you know how many nights I spent looking for alternative medicine to help my asthmatic daughter stop getting RSV every time she gets sick? Did you know that? Did you know how many hours and hours of therapy I spent with my son to help him catch up? No, you don’t, because you don’t live in my house. You see me sitting on a bench and assume that this is one of the many memories of my kids that I’m missing. What you don’t see are the millions of memories of my kids I make when you’re not around. The awesome dinner conversations. The times I make my son laugh to the point of falling off his bed. The legos we build. The pictures we color.

So to the holier than thou mom who is trying to make me feel guilty for yet another thing I didn’t do: well, I’ll refrain from being a jerk to you, because that’s not how I want to be. But next time, I hope you’ll think before you assume.

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Bag of tricks

by statia on January 14, 2013

I love it when people love the work I do. I feel so accomplished when I finish a piece and I’m very critical. When I first did the dresser, I had the idea to paint it green, and I loved the color all through the process, but when I stood back and looked at the finished product, I was all “um, that’s REALLY green.” Like, you think so? What did you expect? Idiot. But now I love it, and I’m not going to lie, the extra storage for all of the kids many craft things and mounds of play doh and accessories is pretty nice too.

A lot of people asked me how do I do such a great job when I paint.  Well, first, I’m a perfectionist. It can be a bit of a problem, because if it doesn’t look perfect, I will just keep fixing it until it does.  I like to pay a lot of attention to the detail. But I have a secret:

Before I started really getting into painting, I HATED painting. Because I really sucked at it. I couldn’t paint a straight line. I hated doing trim work. I hated taping and then having it still bleed  and my eyes would get all stabby and forget it. I can’t live with that sort of mess. When we moved into our house almost six years ago, I hired someone to paint it all. I had an eight week old infant, so there was no way it was happening even if I wanted it to.  But since houses are giant money suck holes, I had to learn to do stuff myself and the line just gradually blurred into redoing furniture too. And now people are asking me for advice on how to do it. So, I have a few tips. I mean, I’m by no means an expert, but I do know a lot of basics and tricks and I can definitely pass on what has worked for me.

Patience, grasshopper:  If you’re the type of person who just wants to slap a coat of paint on something and call it a day, perhaps something of this nature isn’t really for you. I’m not saying you have to be perfect, but even the easiest piece of furniture can pose its challenges. A lot of people look at me like “yeah, there’s no way I have the patience for that.” That’s cool. I actually thoroughly enjoy it. I think that helps.

Shopping time: Invest in the right tools. Not right away, but with each project, invest in something good. Paint brushes are probably your first really important tool of choice. Crappy paint brushes will make you so much more frustrated. They fall apart in your project, and leave brush strokes.  Big box stores carry an array of brushes. Purdy’s are a decent line, as are Woosters.  I have both, and I’ve been satisfied with their performance. But if you want to use what the pros use, go to a good paint store. My two favorite brands are Corona and my newly recent find, with an ironic name: Picasso. Picasso brushes are my new absolute LOVE. Always get the type of brush intended for the type of paint your using. Oil based paints use a different type of bristle than a latex paint. Any good paint store will be able to steer you in the right direction. A good brush, if cared for properly, should last you a long time. Don’t be turned off by the prices, because it’ll definitely make the paint go on like buttah! Like a big stick of BUTTAH! I have a slight addiction to brushes. I’m not lying when I say I have at least 20 brushes. Other things you’ll need: masks/respirator, safety goggles, and heavy duty gloves. Helpful tools: a hand sander (useful when you’re redoing a piece that isn’t too expensive- i.e. not an antique) and a scraper.

Start small: Go to a thrift store or search craigslist for something inexpensive. An end table, or something easy that you don’t really love. Maybe you see something you can make it into, but if it doesn’t work, then you’re not out a ton of money. It’s easier to practice on something you’re not so heavily invested in.

Paint or Stain?: Should I paint it? Should I stain it? Does the paint really matter? Look, I’m biased to the type of paint I use, and I firmly believe there’s a difference in quality. But, I’ve used all brands of paint.  We have a crappy $200 kitchen table that we bought when we first moved in. It gets beaten on a daily basis. I paint it once a year to cover up the jelly muck and all sorts of other food particles that I can’t sand off. Just to quell the twitching in my brain.  It’s not a forever piece. It’s more like a “if the kids destroy it, no big deal.” But in the interim, I use whatever black paint I have on hand, and some sort of food safe urethane or wax to keep it looking somewhat decent for the next year.  But if you have a nice piece,  always opt for refinishing the original wood.  If that’s not possible, paint it based on the piece. For the murder dresser, I used a high quality paint, because it’s in my front hall. I recommend Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint. It goes on more like an alkyd (oil based) paint, but it’s water cleanup, and low VOC. The finish is solid and will take a beating.

That should get you started. And I will be happy to answer any questions. I’m not an expert, by any means, but I feel that passion about something will take you a long way (and render you unable to shut up about a subject).  If it’s something that really interests you, or inspires you, then you can absolutely do it. I couldn’t paint a straight line a few years ago, and now, I don’t even tape off when I’m redoing a room, because I find that it takes more time than its worth.


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Sanding off the ugly parts

by statia on January 3, 2013

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Filled with everything your heart desired. Whether that was sitting around doing nothing but eating cookies, or taking a vacation to warmer climes (climes are good). We basically did a lot of the former. The kids got way too many gifts, and I suppose that in some eyes that’s not really what the spirit is about. But my parents were one of those people that always made sure that they got into the spirit of consumerism during the holiday. The kids didn’t get everything they asked for, but there was an abundance of stuff under the tree. Christmas vomit, is what I like to call it.

Since it was a holiday more on the relaxing side, there was a lot of time for me to work on some of the furniture projects. I’ll admit, I’ve become addicted to rehabbing furniture, along with the decorating part of life, but mostly, the furniture projects. I’m addicted to all things midcentury modern. I’ve always loved that look. I think because for me, it’s a feeling, more than it is the look. The look is awesome. Kitschy. I believe the term from Van Wilder is apropos: Early Fuck.  But also, it soothes the cluttered mind. The clean lines, and minimalist look. I like to pair that with some simple home decor.  I’m not overly froofy.  I like the occasional froofy thrown in, but overall, simple and understated is more.

So, what I’m saying is that I’ve spent a lot of time on craigslist looking for “murder dressers.”

Murder Dresser - [mur-der]/?dres?r/ noun: An article of furniture purchased on craigslist. Usually being sold by some shady person, who keeps it in their basement, for your convenience.

I’ve scored quite a few of these pieces. I always take a buddy with me, obviously, but buying something like this always makes me nervous.  One guy actually (unintentionally, but he was still creepy) turned around to lock his deadbolt with his key after we had walked in. He realized what he was doing as I was staring at my friend with saucer sized eyes like “DUDE, we are SO getting murdered tonight!” Then he proceeded to lead us down to his basement.

I bought that dresser because I think the alternative was a “massage.”

I’ve gained a lot of experience since my first true furniture rehab, the Hepplewhite style sideboard that we use for family room storage. As a first piece, it was pretty difficult to do.  I could have easily just painted over it, but I really envisioned those fluted legs in the dark stain I used. And oh those fluted legs. They were a nightmare to strip. It took me two months from start to finish to do that project. But every layer of paint and varnish that I took off was a little victory.

It’s crazy how popular redoing a piece of furniture has become. A lot of people are turning to chalk paint, as it’s easy to take an inexpensive piece of furniture and turn it into something awesome. But it’s become all anyone ever does.  Shabby Chic. Slap a coat of chalk paint on it, scuff it up and call it a day. But the purist in me (and the perfectionist, let’s be honest) isn’t a fan of this movement. I mean, I’m not knocking it at all.  Stuff is staying out of landfills and getting a new life. And these Annie Sloan people are nuts over this paint. And my mantra is, if you’re that passionate, then it’s worth it.  But I love scraping and sanding and seeing all of the history come off and unearthing what’s underneath. I love starting from bare wood. I get the option of either painting or staining. Sure it’s a lot of work, but I love putting my sweat and elbow grease into a project. Scraping off the ugly parts is like digging for buried treasure. Once I get to the treasure, I can make the decision on what to do with it.  Most of the time, I’d rather stain, but obviously sometimes underneath might not be what I want it to be. And this is a nice lesson in being more flexible. Something that I need to work on in other areas of my life.

Right before Christmas, I was bringing home dresser after dresser (insert chronic stink eye from the Meester here). I scored this one, which I planned on keeping. A midcentury American of Martinsville dresser. I’m deducing, based on my research that this was from their more inexpensive hotel line, because I have other pieces, and they’re more minimalist than this, with a better veneer. Still a decent piece – better than most furniture from today:

Tasty tasty murder

Obviously it was painted the color ugly. Not only that, but the paint job was half assed. Not that it mattered. I just loved the lines. Simple. This piece was screaming bright color. I wanted to add a touch of color to my entry way.  I’ve said before, my plans are a bit fluid. I have a general idea, but it gets adapted as I go along, and I start to see the progress. The finished product was a little more green and bright for my liking. But it’s growing on me:

At first I wasn’t sure about it. But I have to admit, it’s growing on me.

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Not exactly a fruitcake.

by statia on December 21, 2012

I think over the past six years, I’ve wanted to figure out some sort of family tradition that we could do with our kids so that they would remember the holidays. And it was always “when they’re older.” And now I’m the parent of children. Not babies, but full fledged CHILDREN people. I like to go big when it comes to stuff like this. I’m so fiercely nostalgic. I reminisce of days of old. When I was a kid, I once got to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade out of an office building window. One of the best memories is being able to see those gigantic balloons at eye level. And ever since then, the parade was a staple in my house.

As life has gotten busier, I end up skipping out on a lot of things in lieu of time. Which is the worst thing to do. And since I gave myself the year off on Christmas cards this year (Thanks Donna for putting that out there), I figured I had to at least start some sort of tradition. But what? I’d love to take them to see the Nutcracker (or maybe take LG as a treat for something that’s just the two of us). Radio City Music Hall?

This year they’re still a little bit too young for that. Instead I focused more on thinking of others. A first Christmas lesson that will be valuable in all other areas of life. This year I made each of them not only pick out a gift for each other, but also for another child. Something that they could donate to a child in need. Given my love of making memories and traditions, I love the idea of Santa, but it’s hard to explain why Santa is bringing presents for them, but not others. It’s a slippery slope. Thankfully they haven’t started questioning that yet, and I hope that the excitement on their faces come Christmas eve (so that they can fully appreciate each other’s gifts) will hit the point home.

At least for the five minutes before they start fighting.

I’d love to hear your traditions.

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Pass me the barf bag

by statia on December 10, 2012

Here it comes… the all encompassing mental vomit update. Which is kind of how things are going these days.

I know that I haven’t updated my home decor blog for awhile. I want to. I’ve kind of hit the ground running on projects, but in a more organized way.  The way my mind works, is that usually, I’ll start one project, and come to a halt on it due to external factors, and not be able to stand not doing something and wanting to do ALL.THE.THINGS! My brain, yo, it gets tiring being me. I just repainted my family room last year, and I already have an itch to redo the color scheme.

For the past couple of years, I’ve struggled as to what to do with our “formal” living room and dining room. I’m not sure if you’ve met me, but I’m not formal. I like things to look nice and visual, but as for formal, no. Give me a pair of jeans, a nice top and a nice pair of shoes, and I’m happy.  As long as I’m comfortable. Dressing up should not be torturous.

When we moved in, I got a few highly uncomfortable, but economical Ikea Ektorp pieces. Because I couldn’t justify spending a ton of money on a room that we never bothered to purchase lamps for. Over the years I’ve changed my mind about that stupid useless room about a thousand times. An office. A library. Turning the whole long living room slash dining room into a family room and opening up our current family room to be the entertaining space dining area off the kitchen. I was told this would be a bad resale idea (funny since I’ll be dragged out of this house feet first, because fuck moving).

Because I’m an indecisive type when it comes to less important decisions, it became a crap room. Mostly empty, but stuff that was getting donated and freecycled ended up here. I mean, it’s right by the front door. I’m nothing if practical. But the more I thought of it, the more it made sense to give the kids their own space. My criteria was this: It had to be on the main floor (because we have a fully functional finished basement, but the Meester’s office is down there and when kids come over, tuning them out becomes a bit difficult). The basement space is too big anyway. More space = more toys and more space for them to throw all of the toys. Also, they’re still at the ages where they want to know an adult is close by. Also, at some point, the goal is to make the basement our adult retreat again. With a bar, and a larger screen TV. Where we can watch movies without worrying about waking angelic sleeping babies. Our living room is big enough for them to spread out, but small enough to keep stuff contained. And if I want to watch TV in the family room and the toys don’t get cleaned up, I’m not worried that I will end up with a lego floating around in my blood stream.

Usually I will throw together ideas in my head and mentally file them away. But this was keeping me up at night. I downloaded this ridiculously easy to use app for the ipad: Adobe Collage. Worth every red cent of the ten bucks I spend on it. I love that I can take it with me anywhere and work on ideas.  I’ve always loved mood boards, but I’m never in front of a computer long enough to put something together. I started putting the ideas together for their play space, and viola!

My goal was to try and spend as little money as possible, while still trying to make it not look like some sort of Little Tikes plastic monstrosity day care center.  The room is already painted (Weimaraner is a little more of a gray color, since well, duh. Also, the color code is AF-155 in case you dig it, you can go into your local Ben store and be all smarty pants). Also, isn’t the goal always to try to spend as little money as possible? Does anyone ever say “I want to design a room and I want to spend as much money as I possibly can!” I found a cool table on the more contemporary side where the top swivels to expose a little storage space. It was half off at the thrift store (bringing the total down to $13.50. I plan on making it look more mid century looking by replacing the legs with some that I found on craigslist ($20). The rug I found on rugs usa during their %75 off sale, so essentially an 8×10 rug for $170. We already have the pottery barn chairs, so Ill just change out the covers. An old four drawer Pottery Barn “apothecary” type end table that we’ve had for years, can be repainted for more storage (and when you work at a paint store, you have tons of paint already on hand. Slight addiction). Ikea and their crazy cheap ready to be hemmed curtain panels make putting up some sort of window treatment less than a mortgage payment. And preschool chairs give the room some character but providing functionality and durability at a reasonable price.  I thought about pouf ottomans, but they’re crazy expensive, and that small child that I have, likes to destroy everything. There isn’t a marker in this house that hasn’t met my furniture (inadvertently). Because I plan on painting the top of the table white and a teal/navy (Deep Ocean, which is a color left over from the Mini’s room redo), I decided on bamboo shades to bring an element of nature into the room (every room needs a natural element to it) in a sea of plastic and action figures. And bamboo shades are inexpensive.

So far the total is:

Rug $170

Table -$35 (for both table and legs)

Window treatments$170-200 (still considerably less than most options I’ve explored)

Chair covers $65

Preschool chairs: $40

Things like paint and supplies are things I already have on hand.

Bringing the total to just a shade over $500. Not exactly thrifty, but given what I’m working with (no area rugs or window treatments being the big factor), I find this to be great. Rugs and curtains are a racket, and I feel like I’ve done well here.

My next project will be redoing my “murder dresser.” Which is a story I’m saving for next time. I know how to keep all three of you in suspense.

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I’ll follow you into the dark

by statia on November 5, 2012

We survived the hurricane just fine, better than a lot of people, but those couple of days are a total blur. I’m OK with that. I spent the days numb, let myself grieve and then tried to pull myself out of the fog and realize that there are little people who need me now. I’m going to fully admit that it wasn’t easy, and they were as understanding as a five and three year-old can be.

The first 48 hours following Gromit’s death were just…horrible. No other way to put it. I never realized that losing a pet was this hard. But when I think about how old he was and how long we’ve been together, it made a lot more sense. I spend so much of my time being wrapped up in my own brain that when something like this derails me, it’s like being hit by a freight train. You (not you personally, just broadly generalizing) can’t even begin to know what that grief feels like. I guess part of it is having had to watch him go. Both the Meester and I realized how much it changed us. We are different people know, having witnessed that.

Gromit and I were thick as thieves. We went through so much together. And really, he was my first baby. Dogs for most people are just that, practice kids. You spoil them and do everything for them, and then you have real kids, and they become dogs. But the thing is, Gromit was already a senior dog before either of my kids came along, giving us so much time together. He saw me get married, twice. He saw me through divorce, and when it was just the two of us, those are the memories I will probably cherish most.

Now that it’s the end of the week, I’m obviously not over it, but I feel better. We can remember him fondly and we feel his presence. We talk in his silly voice, when we talk about him being in his heaven (it has endless amounts of food and he has a bottomless stomach). I can look at his pictures with a little less pain. On Tuesday, I did a pictoral tribute to Gromit on facebook and dubbed it Gromit remembrance day. Those who were lucky enough to be graced by his presence, knew what a great dog he was. If you can call him a dog. He certainly didn’t think he was a dog. He was people.

I’ve found that there are things I couldn’t wait to do when he was gone, to be much harder. The one thing, especially in his later years, was the hair. He shed more than any other lab I had ever met, and as he got older, he always seemed to have endless amounts of undercoat, and he was always blowing it. Tufts of hair were always constantly floating through my house. I always said I wouldn’t miss the hair, but I can’t bring myself to vacuum it up. The blood from his tumor still stains our kitchen floor. Maybe that’s gross and eventually we have to bring ourselves to move on by wiping it up, but not today. LG was playing with a bag of the hair I collected from him on Monday and I got a little short with her. Aside of my memories and pictures, it’s one of the few last physical connections I have. I’m sure I’ll be finding his hair woven in things for years to come, and it’ll make me smile.

While I go through my catalog of memories of our good times, I really am choosing to believe that his spirit is with us, and if there is a heaven, I hope his heaven is filled with everything he loves. The human mind is funny in the way we feel the need to hang on. Whether our loved ones are with us or not is forever unknown, but I’ll take what I can get for now.


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Good Dog, Smart Dog, the Very Best Dog.

by statia on October 29, 2012

There’s no way for me to wrap this up nicely.  And I don’t even have it in me to be my usual hyperbolic self. We all knew that our time with Gromit was limited. And forgive me that this will be totally disjointed and rambling, but the Xanax was a necessary part of the day and my body is floating from my head, or my head my body.

Today was the day we had to say goodbye. It was time, but the worst part is the guilt. The guilt, and the anxiety of having to let him go. To watch his life leave his body. Everyone I’ve talked to said it was the right thing. You see his tumor had gotten big enough to finally split open, about the size of a golf ball, protruding from his foot. Splitting open, no doubt was painful for him. We kept it bandaged. He was getting an antibiotic, but eventually, it started to bleed. It stopped healing.

It was ultimately me who had to rip the band-aid off of my heart, rather quickly to make the executive decision and stop being around the bush. His back legs were horrible, his one foot constantly bandaged up and weeping. The Meester was taking a diplomatic avoidance approach, “yeah, I know, we have to call the vet, but I’ll get to it.” I don’t blame him. I feel no judgement. We both knew that the quality of life was declining. But here’s the problem, Gromit was the type of dog that was always content and happy. I’ve never once known that dog to whine in pain, and people, I saw that dog jump ten feet from the ground, over the side of a slide and rip his hip out socket. I saw him recover from surgery, and never once did he whine about it. He was just happy to be with his people. So watching him go from this happy dog, wagging his tail to seeing him quickly end up as a shell of a body that once hosted his soul, it’s just too much for my heart to handle. That image forever etched in my brain.

This is the first time I’ve had to put an animal to sleep. I’ve lost them over the years, hamsters, and things like that. This was my first dog. He was my first baby. He was there for me through a lot of things. He had an amazing spirit and personality. He didn’t want to do the typical dog things. He was happy being connected to us at the hip. He loved to bark at farts in Wisconsin (ok, maybe a little hyperboly).

This is the first time I’ve felt grief that has caused me duress. On top of the sadness there’s anxiety. “Maybe we should have waited.” I tell myself. But every single person that I’ve talked to, experts in grief counseling, experts in dog behavior, our vet, they all said, we were doing the right thing by not letting him get to the point of suffering for our own selfish reasons.

All of this advice has helped, but naturally the wound being fresh, It’s obvious that it’s going to hurt, and I have guilt over it, I’m going to give myself the time to not feel guilty about anything else associated with this day. But the way people truly experience grief in their own way. I’ve heard it before, but today it’s an epiphany.

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Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

by statia on October 25, 2012

Blah blah. Blah blah blah. Something something.

Basically what it boils down to is this:

I’ve double booked us on activities and appointments and all of that, LG is always sick, so the days are a blur. I really can’t find any other creative ways to make excuses as to why I never seem to even think about writing anymore. It’s a shame, since I used to love it so much, but if I even so much as think about opening my laptop, my precious angels will play their favorite game: Let’s see who can top the other at getting Mom’s attention. The winner basically is the one who makes said Mom shove an ice pick in her ear.

Fun times, you guys, fun times.

Priority one is basically getting to the gym at least daily, or doing something. I’ve rediscovered my love of cycling, via way of spin classes. It made me dig my bike out, dust it off and just go. It’s become an obsession to the point of now thinking it’s time to upgrade my bike. I’m a Bianchi girl. I LOVE my Bianchi. Very retro and steel, which I love, and will keep forever, but it’s the itch. The only problem is…

We’re making the push to finally expand and upgrade our kitchen. I don’t need to tell anyone that this is in the category of “I hope you enjoy it because you’re certainly never going on vacation again” territory. I can’t even go into words how much my kitchen gives me hives. Cooking isn’t the problem. My kitchen being stupid is totally the problem.  Oh and speaking of hives, we have a new family member.

Meet Perry:

"I'm gorg. I know."

For years, after I developed serious allergies, I leaned towards not being a cat person. Self preservation, mainly, because I don’t hate cats, but when they make your eyes feel itchy and your nose swell shut (and those assholes know it, so they sit on me), it’s just easier to be all “fuck cats, dude.” But the kids have been wanting a cat. Particularly LG, who loves cats, and unicorns. The latter is kind of hard to find. Believe me, I’ve been looking for years. Before it was ironic and popular. Like bacon and mustaches. Often we’d be driving and the conversation would go like this:

LG: Mom, I really NEED a real cat.

Me: No, what you NEED is a frontal lobotamy.

They were both fully aware that I was allergic. But my boss had told me that Siamese were easier on the allergies. The Mini wanted an animal that would love him, as neither of the dogs care that the kids exist. So in secret we went to a breeder. I rubbed them all over my arms and legs and was fine (Also Claritin, as allergies have been running rampant in this part of the country this year, even for people who don’t typically have seasonal allergies (i.e. me), so who knows if my eyes won’t swell shut when I decided that allergy season is over. Because it’s totally my decision.

So now we have a cat. And you’ll typically hear “Where’s Perry?” in our house. Yeah, that’s where the name comes from.

Having a kitten in the house, I’ve rediscovered something about myself that I had forgotten. I really dislike having baby animals. Yes, they’re cute, but I like my animals adult and self sufficient. Because I hate potty training anything, and I feel as if my life is basically walking around waiting for another living being to shit. Do you know how stressful that is?  But overall, he’s a very laid back and badass cat. He tolerates the kids shenanigans without any complaint or fight. And so far, isn’t the typical moaning Siamese. Also? I’m not sneezing.

Gromit is seriously going to outlive all of us. For a nearly 14 year old cancerous dog, he’s still happy, and eating. What it basically boils down to, is his tumor (dubbed the pinky ring) is going to just become too big and will split too easily. It sucks that I have to make an executive decision over something like a tumor, when he’s still a happy, easy going dog.

Also, I want to become an expert on all things Mid-Century Modern. I’ll let you know when I find a break in my schedule so I can just brush up on that.  Lofty goals, people. Lofty goals.

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I wonder if there’s a color called infected snot

by statia on September 25, 2012

You guys, it’s that time of the year again. It’s really no wonder I hate the change of seasons into fall and winter. I remember how hyped I was when there was a crisp chill in the air. But now? It means I have to listen to my daughter cough uncontrollably once a month. It means I have to hear the loud buzzing of the nebulizer. I probably won’t even bother to take it off my nightstand until next spring.

And now we all have some variation of what she has, with her as the clear winner (loser? I mean, she has it the worst, so I’m guessing loser, but in the pain olympics, she is the winner). I have to admit, when she didn’t get sick in the first two weeks of school, I began to get a little giddy, nay COCKY. “Maybe we’re in the clear. Maybe she’s finally grown out of i…” BAM! “Oh nevermind.” But on the upside, she’s now old enough to appreciate her sexy frog voice.

Moving on, though. You guys know how much I love a good home project. True to my word, I didn’t really do anything this summer. A few things not finished over the summer. Nothing really worth mentioning. But now we have a running list, and a firm deal that we don’t move onto the next project until one is finished. This proving extremely difficult for me, but I’m learning to walk away from starting something new. Our basement is currently in the process of being cleaned and painted. A month long project (part of which included the Meester’s office, which is nearly done), I’m just about ready to start painting and dudes, WALLPAPER. I spent five, almost six years trying to eliminate the last remnants of paper off of the walls, and here I go, being stupid. But it’s one wall, grass cloth. In the basement. Our plans are to make it a bar, recreational area. A place where toys will not be welcome. I laugh when I say this, because toys are in every single corner of our house. It makes me crazy.

And I’m not sure if I ever mentioned (along with a lot of things, like LG’s results of her eval with our OT, but a deal is a deal, I can’t be mixing subjects, even though I already did, talking about illnesses and home projects. Sorry), but my love of paint caused me to fall into a part time job at my local paint store. It’s come in very handy, for a major paint snob like myself. My favorite paint doesn’t come cheap, so it’s nice to get the discount. And while I swore I would never work in retail again, I am in love with working there. Mixing the paint, mingling with people who don’t say poop eight million times a day (I draw the line at six million). I’ve always loved color. I loved rainbows and unicorns when they weren’t ironic, like bacon. Looking at a rainbow wall of color all day is like eating chocolate without calories.

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You’ve got to keep on moving.

by statia on September 13, 2012

I got an email from a friend this morning.  Asking me how I keep it together, as she knows I went through a tough time last year.

If I seem like I bounced back and seem composed all the time, far be it from me to pull the wool over your eyes.  That isn’t to say I’m not feeling better, I am, but it’s actual mental work on a daily basis.  I’m sure it’s mental work for anyone on a daily basis, but suffering from anxiety with two small kids sometimes feels like scaling a mountain.  Maybe it’s harder for others, maybe it’s easy, but this is MY mountain and I’ll get anxious if I want to.

Generally, I will full on admit, I’m a hot mess.  I don’t really hide it.  My friends know I suffer from anxiety.  It isn’t something I go on bragging about, but when I flake on something, it’s easier to laugh at myself and make the joke first.  Like, “Oh, dude, I’m so fucking ADD, I totally forgot again. FRIEND FAIL!” Whether or not it’s annoying, who knows. Maybe my problems are “White People Problems.”  But opening up about them makes them real, and easier to deal with.  And here’s how I deal.

1.Meds: I think everyone and their dog is on some sort of medication these days.  Medication has become the new norm. Either society is becoming vastly more fucked up as each generation goes, and genes are becoming more damaged, or we’re just more aware and able to “fix” whatever the problem is.  I don’t love this. I’ve said it many times, the meds are like a necessary evil.  And even though I’m on them, I don’t always agree.

2.Routine: Having two kids in two years, I just gave up on myself, and working out, or anything of the sort.  The fact that the Mini had developmental delays on top of that didn’t really help. A lot of my time was spent either having therapists over for appointments, or shuffling him to and from, and then school started.  Now that they’re both in school (albeit opposite schedules this year, and I’ll delve into how THAT’S going another time, because me and PM kindergarten are having a tiff right now, and no BJ’s for PM kindergarten anytime soon /frigid bitch), I made it a point to put me time in there.  I either go to the gym, or get out and ride my bike.  It has been YEARS since I was on my bike before this summer, and I had forgotten how in love with riding I am. It’s helped my mental state more than it’s helped me to get in shape.  The getting in shape part is the added bonus, really. I now need less medication and I find that working out has become such an intergal part of my life and routine, that I can’t go a day without doing something active. I feel out of sorts and cagey when I don’t do something. That simple hour – hour and a half is amazing. I know working out is hard to get started. People think of going to the gym, or doing something and it’s daunting and overwhelming. But even something as simple as starting out with a nice walk can do wonders for your mental health.

3. Therapy: Seriously, lots and lots of therapy.  After my stint in the hospital, I fought tooth and nail to get into an out patient program. Two weeks of 9-3 sessions were so exhausting, but they gave me this feeling of accomplishment and hope.  I felt that I could do anything. I still see a therapist once a week. She’s amazing and I love what she’s done for me.  That said, therapy is something you have to be ready for, and you have to embrace it whole heartedly. I’ve had many failed attempts at therapy. Either a bad therapist, or just that I wasn’t really opening myself up. I wasn’t facing what was going on in my life truthfully.

4. Humor: Yeah, I know, right? But my sarcasm isn’t only a fight or flight tool, it helps me to see deal with the small things, like my children being on my last nerve, or the Meester saying one more eye-rolling ridiculous thing. When you feel like shit, it’s hard to roll with it.

That said, my days are still so hard to get through.  I have mental moments I feel guilty that my kids are suffering when I snap over something. While I’m now learning to catch myself, and use “self talk,” it’s not a perfect thing.  What mom hasn’t flipped her lid over hearing “Momomomomomomomomomomomomomom,” one too many times?  My worst time is getting out of the house. I am super agitated when I’m running late, and my “anxious fits” upset the Mini.  All he wants is for me to be Happy Mama again. And that’s another thing that snaps me back.  He’s actually started to tell me to “take a chill pill, Mom.” Maybe that sounds like he’s being snarky and a smart mouth, but he isn’t. He’ll tell me to “go upstairs and get yourself together.” Wise words from a five year-old. It’s his way of saying “Hey, stop being such a cranky asshole.”

I’m learning to let go, and not feel guilty for every little thing I do “wrong.” I’m learning that an extra hour of television one day, or 30 more minutes of DS time isn’t the end of the world, if it means that I’m able to get that extra time to decompress. I know that I can’t ever stop being anxious, but the funny thing about my kids journeys, is that its a road paved with self discovery.

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