Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Drew and the doggy door

Shortly after we got Maya, we bought a doggy door for her as part of her training. It sat in the garage for a while, as we were still going outside with her to potty and making a big fuss when she actually did it. She's now gotten a little older and her accidents in the house have decreased dramatically (praise the baby Jesus!) and she's starting to scratch at the back door to go outside so we figured it was time for the doggy door. Bless Drew's heart...

Sunday he borrowed the neighbor's jigsaw to cut a hole in the door. He took the (old, solid wood) door off the hinges by himself, carried it out to the (sauna-like) garage by himself and got to work. I could hear the saw going as I was doing laundry and keeping an eye on the dog. After a while, I heard some creative cursing coming from the garage so I came out to see how it was going.
Apparently, the jigsaw was not the best and didn't cut a perfect hole in the door and he was none too pleased. 'The door's f*cked, we're going to have to get a whole new one. F*CK!' Lots of pacing, clenched jaw, sweating, and he was covered in sawdust. Poor baby.

I spoke in quiet, even tones, and slowed my breathing in an effort to calm the air around us. 'Baby, it'll be okay, just keep going and I'm sure it'll be fine. We won't have to get another door.' He was mumbling and cursing the borrowed jigsaw, saying he should have just gone to 'damn Home Depot and rented a damn jigsaw'. And I'm making this PG-13 - Drew's got a mouth on him when he gets frustrated. Anyway, I stayed out there with him while he installed the doggy door, helping where I could, staying out of the way when I could.

Finally, finally he got the door installed and it was just fine. I knew it would be - and we got the door back on the frame, pins back it and it was good as new. All told it took almost three solid hours in 90-plus degree weather in an un-air conditioned garage. Drew was soaked in sweat, but the doggy door was installed. Success!

Maya wasn't impressed - she barked at it for a while and bit the flap but with Drew and I on either side armed with treats she very quickly learned to use it. I crouched at the door for the longest trying to get a shot of her using the door.
For all his hard work I was willing to do just about anything for Drew - it is no joke installing a doggy door! Remember how I said I was pretty much a one-trick pony when it comes to cooking? I'm not horrible - Drew loves my mole chicken enchiladas (that's mo-leh) and my banana nut bread. So last night, I made some for him with our almost-dead bananas. Not too bad if I do say so myself!
I used a different recipe but they still came out okay - I definitely enjoy baking more than cooking but I don't have the sweet tooth that I used to. But now that we have the house, I'm kind of looking forward to baking for the holidays.

Funny how this little family circle is taking shape. Drew installs the door for Maya, I bake for Drew and he got a haircut for me! I had been after him to get a haircut because he gets this blond 'fro and it gets on my nerves. I was going to cut it for him but that was a disaster! He had a full out panic attack after I was two snips in. It was actually kind of funny but I'm so touched that he tried. He pulled out all his clippers and everything and sat there fully knowing I had no clue what I was doing and being super meticulous about his hair. But he looks so much better - see? He's so cute...

All for this little creature...

Things are getting so much better - after only one day she's going in and out on her own and we only had one accident yesterday. For some reason she pees in the dining room - she's done that since we got her. I've tried my hardest to wipe up the spills immediately and douse the whole area with vinegar but she just goes to another spot in the dining room. Haven't figured that one out yet - I'm hoping that's one of those things she grows out of. At least she doesn't poop in the house anymore - thank heaven for small miracles. And I taught her how to shake! It's really cute - I'm going to have to see if I can catch it on video. She really is a smart dog. It doesn't hurt that she's cute too - I guess.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ode to a sandwich

We went to bed late last night so I'm feeling kind of loopy and yes, I'm about to write about a sandwich. We made egg salad for lunch for today and I just came back from eating the most amazing sandwich in the universe! I'm more of a one-trick pony - I have a couple of tried and true recipes and I stick to those. Drew is the adventurous one, putting in a dash of this or that and coming out with a masterpiece. Case in point, my egg salad sandwich.
I boiled and shelled the eggs (and composted them, thank you very much!) but he mixed everything up. When I tell you it was the best egg salad sandwich I've ever tasted in my whole life, that's an understatement. He put curry powder, green onions, hot mustard, yellow mustard, mayo, and I'm sure there was some fairy dust in there too. We used the bolillo bread from the Mexican grocery store (ode to the grocery store coming soon), and finished it with some yummy tomatoes. So freakin good! I was sad when I took my last bite. My baby is the best chef ever, he works the magic with lunch!

I got a new compost bin as well. I seriously hope the garbage men don't take this one and if they do, I'm bustin some heads.

Sunday we went to The Dump, which is a massive furniture store. They carry discontinued stuff, samples and basically things that you wouldn't find in say, a Haverty's or Rooms to Go. I love unique furniture and it was fun to roam around checking out their airplane-hangar sized warehouse. The best part is Drew found a 'throne' and wanted to bring it home with him that day. Ummm, I don't think so.
His feet didn't even touch the floor! It was so hideous I had to get a shot of it - this picture can serve as proof that he sat on a throne because that's as close as it's getting to my house.

This is the first weekend that we didn't have a mountain of house stuff to do - we still did housework but it wasn't a sunup to sundown kind of thing. I think we may be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow - the adventure of the doggy door!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

I was getting ready to leave work and turn off the TVs when I saw the announcement on the news. I gasped so loud and ran to get my girlfriend in her cube. She heard me and came out and we both watched, speechless. He was so young...

I remember the first time he did the moonwalk - the first time. I remember reading about his pet snake Muscles and his chimp Bubbles. I didn't have a crush on him as much as I was fascinated by him; he could dance like no one I'd ever seen and I was enthralled. The Thriller video was revolutionary at the time and for all his troubles and controversy, the man was an icon, a legend.

I saw the documentary of him in London and I remember thinking what a troubled man he was. Of course, no one with the amount of talent he had could be without troubles and I believe his upbringing and his childhood environment left him with some pretty serious scars. Having so much fame, so much money, so much everything so young was bound to do some sort of damage. I felt so sorry for him that he didn't get to have a regular childhood where his only concern was being home before the lights came on. I feel for his children; apparently, he had sole custody of all three. Poor babies.

Tiffany has put up a beautiful montage of pictures so I'll only put one here. But go look at them - they're so moving. I grew up a little today.

It comes in threes - rest in peace Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Me and the dude

A little story in words and pictures recorded for posterity...

I started to tell this in third person, but that got really annoying really fast so I'll just give it to you straight.
Drew and I met in late March 2008. I was on match.com looking for looooove. No, not really - I just wanted to meet somebody and see what happened and what better way to increase your odds than to go where they gather? I had just finished yoga teacher training and was feeling all enlightened and wanted something more than the bar scene. I loved going out but at most you meet a couple of guys a night at the bar and unless you're going out every weekend those are some raggedy odds. However, online you could pick and choose from a plethora of men. So that was my plan.

So anyway, I'm on match and I'm going out for coffee/drinks almost every night I could. I meant business people! But very quickly I got burnt the hell out. There are some really nice guys out there but there are some crazies too; it's pretty much the same as the real world.

Well, I signed up for a month but I missed the cutoff day to cancel the subscription so it automatically renewed me for another month. Crap. More dates, more duds.

I was super worn out when, the last week of my subscription I emailed some guy and it pops up three other guys 'you might like'. It gave a percentage of compatibility based on what each of you wrote and this one guy was a 100% match. I'd never seen him before either and he was kind of cute. Hmmm....

I emailed him, telling him I was done in a week and I'd like to go out on a positive note and did he want to help me. He emailed back, says sure and we set it up. He was the second to the last guy I went out with after power-dating for two months. Suffice to say, I was over it and I didn't really care to bother with pretense. I threw a cute shirt in the car and after I left the yoga studio I met him for drinks.

'Oh, well he's a cutie', I thought as I walk up. 'Might not be so bad after all'. Awesome conversation, and all the while I'm sizing him up. Good eyes, good smile, articulate, clean fingernails, dresses well. Hmmmmm......

So yeah, we had a lot to drink and yeah we made out on the first date. He was cute - sue me.

That was a Tuesday, our first date (that I actually showered for) was that Friday. He took me to the restaurant that his best friend runs (unbeknownst to me) so I could get the once-over. I passed (as if I wouldn't - he's never had it so good. Love you baby!)
By late April we're a couple, July we hosted a 4th of July party and I took him home to meet the fam (minus Dad - that's what started WWIII).

This is my brother and his girlfriend and us in our matching black. We're so cool.

September we took our first trip together. We spent Labor Day in Toronto for a wedding and his parents came over to meet us (he grew up fifteen minutes away from Canada in upstate New York). His parents are the most awesome people ever and I adore them!

Drew loves hockey and grew up playing. Once we were a couple we got season tickets to the Stars and even though I know nothing about hockey, it's so heartwarming to see his face light up when we were at the games. And of course no game is complete without the footlong hot dogs!

In October we went to a Halloween party where Drew won second place for his costume and I finally got to wear my gangsta costume that I'd been wanting to wear for years!! Nobody recognized me and I was so happy - my little cousin saw a picture of me and said it wasn't me because I don't dress like that.

So have I mentioned that Drew is an amazing cook? Yeah, he's the bomb. At the time, I still wasn't speaking to my dad and I wouldn't be spending the holidays at home for the first time in like ever. So to make me feel better, we whipped up Thanksgiving dinner for our friends in the loft and it turns out to be the best time and it was a wonderful day, thanks to my dude! Look at my baby and our Thanksgiving spread!

Our first Christmas was awesome - he got me a tree and everything!

In December I started keeping this blog so everything after that has been documented. I just thought I'd catch y'all up. So now you know more about us than you ever wanted to but look at it this way - when we meet in real life (I hope we do) you won't have missed anything!

And it don't stop...

We have a breakfast nook off the kitchen that is pretty much the most awesome room in the house. When we first saw it at the open house, I turned to Drew and said 'this is it. We live here. Tell these people to get out of my house.' The stripes - I fell in love with the stripes!

Remember the washer and dryer we sold for $175 and the table we bought for $150? Yeah, it was awesome. Well, this is the table that we got with that money. It wasn't too bad as it was but the wood didn't really match anything. And now that I'm all DIY up in here I couldn't wait to paint it.

I just used the same paint (Valspar Pale Bloom) and this time it went much faster as I already had everything I needed. Drew got the idea to put a pearly finish on the top so that was the only thing I had to get from Lowe's but at least I have that now to do the chairs.
Here's the table finished and in the breakfast nook. I'm still getting a handle on the indoor-no-flash photography thing but you get the idea. I think it came out really nicely! Well, of course we needed chairs. The table came with two matching ladder back chairs but we needed four and the breakfast nook is too small for two chairs of one style and two of another. So back to craigslist!!

Yesterday we found some really nice ones and called the people to go have a look at them. They were a great fit and both of us liked them so we went ahead and got the chairs. Even though the seats fold down in Drew's car it's still not huge - he's got that whole sexy sportscar thing going on - so I wasn't sure how we were going to do it. I should have know my engineer would get it figured out! We got all four chairs in the sexy sportscar and had room for groceries and a trip to Crate and Barrel to boot!

We got the chairs unloaded and into the breakfast nook and I couldn't be happier! No more eating in the kitchen standing up! Previously, we'd eaten in the dining room on the patio table and while it was functional, it didn't feel right. Dinner in the breakfast nook was much more cozy and intimate and I loved it! I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I'm going to redo the seat cushions - they're raw silk and pretty cool but the color palette is a bit limiting. It's kind of peachy with light blue flecks which would nix strong bold colors (which I love) on the table. Anyway, I'm still not sure what to do with the top of the table but wine is never a bad accessory!
We tried placemats but those were too overpowering; no runners because Maya will pull it off, so I'm thinking chargers. Drew just wants a centerpiece because he doesn't understand leaving plates on the table that you're not using - 'that's what cupboards are for.' With the pearly top I could so something iridescent and then maybe cover the seats in a solid watered silk - I don't want stripes because I don't want them to compete with the walls. We'll see - I'm just happy to sit at a table like a civilized human being! If you have any thoughts please let me know!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Living Green

I'm all about recycling, cloth bags at the store, not being wasteful and all that stuff. Every time Drew leaves the water running while he brushes his teeth or forgets the cloth bags, I always say 'Baby, Mother Earth!' as I turn off the faucet or shove a bag into his hands.

Lately, I've been hounding him because I want us to start composting. We eat lots of veggies and I just hate throwing away the ends and other things that we could use now that we have a garden. So I go to the trusty internet and my most favorite design blog This Young House to learn how to make a compost bin.

Seriously, Drew is the greatest boyfriend ever. He plays along with me naming our flowers, he holds me when I cry, and he made a compost bin for me! Sunday, armed with my info from the blog, we went to Lowe's to get the bins. We came straight back home because I was so excited to start composting! I know, I'm a dork.
Can't you just hear him thinking 'you see what I do for you woman?' He's so good to me. We put our food scraps in there and put the bins outside the fence so the dog wouldn't get them. Imagine my disappointment when he told me that the dumb garbage men came and took them! I was so sad - oh well, guess we're going back to Lowe's! As for the inside of the house, my only dilemma was the compost keeper - I needed something for the kitchen that was airtight. I called around and no one had anything. Bed Bath and Beyond used to carry them which would only help if I used to want one. We decided to take a nap and it seriously came to me in my sleep! You think I'm joking...

I had in mind something with a squeezy lid that made an airtight seal when you released the handles. I knew exactly what I wanted ---- because I'd already seen it! In my very own pantry. Behold our compost keeper! Airtight seal, no odor and it was FREE! Yea me! We have two and they were just sitting in the pantry at the loft - I'm so glad we didn't throw them out because they're perfect. If you start composting let me know, I've got an extra one of these little guys. Drew grilled that night and he made a big deal about giving me the corn husks and the cobs to put in our compost keeper. He's so cute!

Drew is an amazing cook and the grill is my new favorite thing. I'm not a huge fan of veggies but when they're grilled I will tear them up! Drew always has a towel over his shoulder and makes faces when he cooks - I love his cooking faces. There is an awesome Mexican grocery store up the street and they have the best everything - tortillas, meat, cheap produce (20 oranges for $1!) and we love going there; it's an adventure for us. He made us fajitas and they were so gooood! Later that night, our friend Milton came over - you remember Milton right? Well, he stopped by and he brought his dog Mikey over to say hi. Mikey is the sweetest pitbull in existence. Granted, Milton worked hard to get him to be nice but he it paid off and Mikey is a teddy bear. Having him in the house made me realize how small Maya is but how big she's going to get. Yippee. However, Mikey's seven and not super tolerant of jumpy little puppies. He growled at Maya but honestly, I didn't blame him - she annoys me sometimes too.

This was me and Mikey at Thanksgiving.

Anyway, Drew was playing around with Mikey and Maya and trying to get them to sit at the same time and he actually was able to do it! I only got one picture but it was adorable!

Yes, the dog is growing on me. She hasn't pooped in the house in a while *knock on wood*, she hardly ever bites, and she's got a little personality that's really cute. I keep reminding myself that she's only four months old when I get annoyed that she pees on the floor but I can't help but wish that part was already over. Oh well, thank God for hardwood floors.


Okay, now that the nonsense with my dad and the nonsense over that show is done with, now we're on to more awesome things. Namely, I finished my desk! HOLLA!! It was my very first project and I seriously doubted myself. I studied the tutorial daily, memorizing everything I would need and set about scouring the thrift stores for a desk for the sitting room since we don't have formal office space.

I found one at Salvation Army and I knew it would be perfect. Drew the know-it-all had a few words for me, namely did I know what I was getting into, did I know how hard it was going to be, blah blah blah. Of course I didn't know what I was doing, but I didn't care. I was going to make it work!

We had to take it apart to get it in the car so I don't have pictures of the complete desk.
These are the legs after I stripped the varnish off of them. I knew I wanted to paint it white so I wasn't too concerned about getting the stain out. I've heard of putting Clorox on the wood to bleach it back but I didn't need to do all that. 
This is the top of the desk. You can kind of see how shiny it was. Stripping the legs was a b*tch and I only stripped some of the top before I said forget it and sanded the rest.

Close up of one of the drawers 
Drew looking at it on the garage floor. 
After our first conversation I told him to zip his lips and he wisely listened.

It took a couple of weekends to get it finished - trying to work on it during the week was too much but once I was done sanding, the painting and priming was done in a couple of days. I could only work on it early morning or late night because the garage became a flippin sauna at ten in the morning. One day I was so determined to finish a coat of primer I stayed out there until I was positively dripping with sweat.

But it was worth it! Check out my desk!
It's Valspar Pale Bloom.  
I'm a sucker for paint names and our rose bushes are just outside the door.

Towards the end, I petered out and didn't want to paint the inside of the drawers. I decided to line the drawers with contact paper and found the coolest paper at Lowe's (my new favorite store). I thought it came out really nicely and gives it a more personal touch since I didn't see that on anybody's blogs. That part was not easy! I wasted so much contact paper and cursed up a storm! Yeah, I'm super intelligent and articulate but frankly, it amuses me to curse. I do it in a funny way and I never use the ugly curses (JC, GD, etc). My real life peeps know what I'm talking about.

Maya's crate is next to the desk and she was in there while I was doing all this because Drew was outside doing yard work; she found it all highly boring.

My next project is a table for the breakfast nook. We sold the washer and dryer that came with the house on Craigslist for $175 and I found a table for $150 - score!!
We've learned our lesson though - that one is already inside and now that I've got all the supplies it should go much faster. I have a before shot of it too so I'll really be able to compare them side by side. What do you think of my desk?

Sucked in

The TV in the lobby keeps me up to date with current events and I, like millions of others I'm sure, got sucked in to the Jon and Kate saga. Okay, I hope there are millions of others because if not I'm a massive loser. I wouldn't normally comment on this stuff but I am livid!

So yeah, I had Drew record it last night. And yeah, I stayed up late to watch it. You did too (please say you did too). Anyway, I couldn't believe what I was watching! They're separating and most likely will divorce but what got me is that assface Jon is excited about the new chapter in his life. If Drew wasn't sleeping and Maya wasn't behaving I would have gone off! EXCITED?! Like, 'wow I'm glad that pesky having eight kids thing is done, what's next?'

And I'm not letting Kate off the hook - at times she was a straight up A-1 beeotch to her husband and that's absolutely unacceptable. A man will stay with you for how you make him feel, nothing else. If you make him feel ten feet tall and bulletproof, he will walk through fire for you. If you beat him down 24-7, don't get surprised when he goes looking for the one who will make him feel that way. Not that that's the answer though. Cheating is for cowards, straight-up.

But instead of talking to each other, instead of saying 'yo, quit talking to me like that', and 'please help me more with the kids', they just want to give up? You people have a family and you have a responsibility to those kids, end of story.

I would say go to counseling but too many people go to counseling with the attitude and mind-set that one foot is already out the door; they just want to say 'we tried counseling and it didn't work'. Therapists are not magicians, they don't have all the answers. They are simply people who have been trained to listen, to ask good questions and to guide you in finding the solutions that work for you and your life.

And this crap that the show must go on? Are you f*cking kidding me? You cancel that show and concentrate on your kids. I believe divorce is a legal form of child abuse - divorce damages children, period. Not irreparably, but it does. Children need stability, routine and structure to grow and thrive and build a solid foundation. I mean, my parents fought - I distinctly remember times I wished they would just divorce and have done with it. And I don't believe you should stay together just for the kids.

But I do believe that you got married for a reason - that you once loved each other, that you once honored a commitment and you can find that place again. Marriage is not all sunshine and roses all the time. You cannot mush two people together with two completely different upbringings and expect them to instantly and harmoniously live the same life. And then add eight flippin kids to the mix? Yeah right, you're not going to have problems. But good God, that's life. You don't give up on life! You don't give up on each other - you don't. give. up. You have eight little kids counting on you.

I never really watched that show but man, this struck a chord with me. When did we as a society get so weak? Life is never what you sign up for, otherwise no one would ever get out of bed. In marriage, it's normal to fall in and out of love but through it all you honor your commitment, which is not contingent on the state of your panties/boxers at that moment. It's about building a home, providing a foundation and weathering the storms.

They're both punks. He's a punk for cheating on her; she's a punk for bullying him.

Those poor babies. *getting off my soapbox*

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Dad, Part 3 (Final)

When I was in therapy - I hate saying that, it sounds like I was in rehab, but whatever...When I was in therapy, she suggested that I give myself a timeline to make a connection with my dad. Originally, I had wanted to speak to him by Mother's Day. When my uncle passed before Mother's Day I thought I'd be able to make a connection when I went up for the funeral. We all know how that turned out. I continued to live my life, concentrate on my relationship with Drew and set a new deadline to reach out to him on Father's Day. Basically, what the therapist told me is that it's okay to reach out but to be aware as he has hurt me in the past. I called him on his birthday, Father's Day is roughly six months after that, so I felt pretty good about the whole arms-length thing.

Sunday, as I contemplated dialing the phone my heart started racing, I couldn't breathe and I nearly gave up a couple of times. What's it worth? I know there won't be some dramatic reunion so why bother? But I promised myself that I would do it, that deep down I didn't want to give up. So with Drew's support and encouragement I called.

It was very stilted in the beginning.

Me: Hi Dad.
Him: Hello.
Me: You have a minute to chat?
Him: Yes.
Me: Well, I just wanted to call and wish you a Happy Father's Day.
Him: And?
Me: And to tell you I miss talking to you.
Him: And?
Me: And I'm sorry that I chose to let this go this long without us talking. Communication is always the solution, you taught me that.
Him: And?
Me: I get the feeling you want me to say something else. (Which of course I knew exactly what he wanted me to say. That I was moving out, Drew and I would no longer live in sin, that he was right and I was wrong.)
Him: Desiree, how do we improve from here?
Me: Dad, I just want us to start talking again. There is no profound solution. You call me sometimes. I call you sometimes. That's all. (I wasn't going to get in a fight with him but I wasn't going to give him what he wanted).
He then started talking in abstracts, which is what he does when he starts to distance himself from the conversation. He won't address the situation, rather he'll speak in concepts - this time it was the concept of influence and how a parent can't control a child, they can influence. I countered, saying that you can only influence a person to the degree that they're open and receptive to that influence. I can play his word games now, I'm not a little girl anymore. Of course I was right, of course he knew it and I tried to bring the conversation back to the original topic, saying that I hoped we could re-open the lines of communcation. His response?
'Thank you very much for calling, here's your mother.'
I'm strong, but I'm no superhero. I started crying and when my mom got back on the phone I told her I'd talk to her later. I came inside and laid on the bed crying. Drew heard the exchange as I had my dad on speakerphone (I wanted someone else to hear how he is) so he came in right behind me. He brought me kleenex and held me while I blubbered into his shirt that my dad didn't even tell me he missed me too. God, I'm tearing up again just typing that. *shake it off*
Then, Drew looked at me and said something about God having a plan and it's all going to go according to God's plan and honestly I didn't really hear it because Drew was talking about God. My boyfriend, who worships at the altar of logic and reason, my love, my engineer, who believes that there is a rational reason for everything, was talking about God! I don't shove things down people's throats, preferring to live by example and I have prayed about his lack of outward faith many a time. I've been concerned about our children - when I tell them about God will he undermine me, saying I'm wrong, there's a scientific explanation for it all? That faith has no place? Rather than worry over it, I just pray on it and place it in God's hands.
And there he was, seeing me hurting, holding me close, and telling me God has a plan. Geez, I'm tearing up again! I don't even care if he didn't believe his own words, if he was just saying it to make me feel better. It was music to my ears, soothing to my soul. Because of Drew and his strength, I dried my tears and was able to finish what I was doing before I called my dad.
Before long, my dad called me back. My mom made him. By that time, I dried my tears and just listened.
Him: Is there anything else you wanted to say?
Me: I said it Dad. I miss talking to you, that's all.
Him: Well, you know we live in uncertain times and if there were a tragedy similar to what happened a few months ago (my uncle's passing) I just don't know what I would do.
Me: You're right Dad. We live in uncertain times. But I don't think so much about the negative as I do the positive. There are good things that are happening in my life that will continue to happen and you're missing that too. You're missing it all and it shouldn't be that way.
Him: (Silence.) Well, your mom's upset.
Me: I'm sure you'll do or say something to make her feel better or you'll leave her alone until she stops crying and gets over it (more likely) but either way you'll do what you feel is right.
Him: I would never knowingly hurt you or your mother or brother. (implying that I am)
Me: Dad, the only thing we can control is ourselves and our reactions to outside things. If someone was causing you pain, the only thing you can do is tell them that you can't be around them if they're going to continue to cause you pain. You can't force your will on someone and make them do what you want. Especially not another adult, which we both are.
Again, I was right and again he had no rebuttal. What was he going to say, 'Yes I can! I can make you do what I want because I'm the DAD!' Excuse my French but big f*cking deal. Ruling by intimidation never works long term. When you find out that the Great and Powerful Oz is just a little man behind a curtain, your fear suddenly leaves you. And as a parent, it's guaranteed that your children will one day see the flawed human that you are so why not just have them respect you instead of fear you?
Because fear is easier and fear produces faster results. Too bad they don't stick.
And really do you want your children to fear you? It's empty adulation and like I said, you will get found out. Furthermore, fear takes your child's spirit away from them. You can't teach them to fear you and nothing else - it's not mutually exclusive; they will grow up to fear everything to some degree. I'm not talking out of my ass either, I'm speaking from experience. That was kind of vulgar, but I'm leaving it - I feel very strongly about this.
As for my father, I reached out. I will call him again on his birthday and I will continue my life. I will make positive memories with positive encouraging people who love me and my boyfriend and everyone else can suck a nut. Okay, that was really vulgar but I'm leaving that too.
Raw and uncut - that's the way it is sometimes.
PS - Sorry if this is hard to read - I've tried to space between paragraphs about 12 times and it's not taking. If anyone has any tips to make it work, please let me know.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vintage jewelry

Two things: one, I'm really impressed with my camera and two, I have very liney hands - it's a word, go with it.

So Drew's been out of town for the past couple of days and I've used the time to finish my desk (of which I'm going to post my awesome pictures soon), spend time with the dog and tonight I'm going to clean the house uninterrupted. Exciting, I know.

Anywho, I'm an organizing fanatic and getting organizing ideas makes me positively giddy. In browsing my usual design blogs, I came across this one with a wonderful idea for organizing jewelry (thanks Beth!). I had seen the fancy ones at Bed Bath and Beyond for like $40 and I just wasn't going to spend that kind of money. Enter Lowe's, my new favorite store!
Good - $20 at BBB

Better - $5 at Lowe's

I had gotten a couple of them and while Maya was asleep I dumped my jewelry, got rid of some things and set to organizing! I was so happy! I still have one small box with my really good pieces and my rings but everything was so much more visible, less tangled and it's always fun 'finding' things you forgot you had.

So this morning, I was perusing my newly organized jewelry for stuff to wear and I lingered on my class ring. I haven't worn it in so long, mostly because I couldn't see it underneath all my other stuff. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. For funsies, I put it on and finished getting ready for work. I had breakfast at the food court and while I was eating, I looked at my ring and realized I have been out of high school for fifteen. years

Okay, I'm back. Daaaaaammmmmmn. Like I said earlier, I don't look my age, I don't feel it, and god knows I don't act it so to realize something like that is very sobering. Does fifteen-year-old jewelry count as vintage?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And the moral of this story is...

I'm still thinking about my dad but something happened yesterday that I just have to write about. Tuesday night my phone died. It froze while I was trying to check my voicemail and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I had full bars so I didn't think it was the battery so I was dreading the possibility that I'd have to get another phone. Things only break when you have no money so I was of course not happy as I feel I'm making great headway paying my bills.

Yesterday I called Sprint to find out what my recourse was because I although I needed a new phone, I didn't want to extend my contract. I'm over Sprint and I want out. Of course, the customer service drone was of no help, telling me that if I take advantage of the upgrade I've earned as a loyal customer, I would be agreeing to another two year contract. In order to avoid extending it, I'd have to simply buy a new phone outright - to the tune of $170!!! Why? Because the last time my battery died they told me they no longer make the battery for that phone. $170 was the cheapest phone they had, and it was so raggedy and ghetto looking besides!! I got more angry as I felt my options slipping away. $200 to end my contract, or pay $170 to buy a new phone. I wanted to spend that money on house stuff, not a stupid ghetto-ass phone from stupid ghetto-ass Sprint. I fired off an all caps email to Drew telling him how pissed I was at stupid Sprint.

The rest of the day I fumed, angry that I was going to have to buy a phone to keep from extending my contract, angry that they were inconveniencing me, that I'd have to go after work and not go straight home to let the dog out, that those extra hours would make her bladder burst, and it's all Sprint's fault. (A little irrational I know, but I was pissed.)

By the time I left work, I was in a totally worked-up state but by the time I arrived in the parking lot of the Sprint store, I took a second in my car to prepare for the nightmare. This store is notorious for long wait times, stupid retail people and just all around drama. I hate going in there. However, I couldn't avoid it so and I didn't want to be one of those people who comes in, guns blazing and everyone else in the store turns to look because you're making an idiot of yourself. I calmed myself, went in calmly, and calmly gave my name to the dude at the front who was dealing with a guy who was carrying on about being a taxpaying American citizen and he didn't have to put up with this. Yeah, one of those people. I sat down, wishing I had a book because I knew it was going to be a minute before anyone got to me.

I sat there, judging everything: the trashcan needed to be emptied, the carpet was ugly and looked dirty, some ghetto ass kid was walking around with his basketball shorts around his knees - don't they realize they look like idiots? Stupid Sprint customers. It made me even more mad that I couldn't get out of my contract with these dummies. I joined a million years ago because we got a volume discount when I was with United and I just put up with the nonsense because I couldn't be bothered to switch. But this, THIS was the last straw! I'm going to AT&T and I'm getting an iPhone!

So they call my name after a suprisingly short time and I compose myself as I walk to the counter. I smile, greet the guy and hand him my phone, telling him that I can only get the welcome screen when I turn on my phone so I would need to fix my phone or get a new one, hoping he wouldn't confirm what the customer service lady told me earlier. He takes my phone, is gone for little bit, comes back and my phone is working! He 'found' a battery in the back (turns out it was the battery), popped it in and presto, working phone. How much did this cost me, you ask? ZERO dollars. I was super grateful, thanked Preston (that was his name) and practically skipped out.

Drew is the king of blowing up when something he planned doesn't go his way and I'm always the yoga one, telling him to breathe, to chill out, that there is another solution, another path and we just have to find it. But there I was, fuming and pissy because I let my fear that this financial setback would derail my efforts, afraid that I wouldn't be able to get back on track, upset that this was an already tight month and feeling sorry for myself that it was going to be even tighter. All that for nothing!! I pulled a Drew and I couldn't believe myself. I let my fear get the best of me and I let my fear make the situation worse than was warranted. Geez.

I made it home, Maya's bladder was intact and we had a great night together. Best of all, we had no accidents in the house! I never let her out of my sight and as a result was easily able to tell when she had to go potty and avoided a mess. This in turn reduced my anxiety level about potential messes and I was able to enjoy the dog and she could tell. We had good old time with her sticks, blankets and stuffed animals.

So, next time something like this happens I will remind myself to breathe, that there is a solution to every problem and if there is no solution, it's not a problem.

It's just life and we have to deal. Peace out, y'all!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Dad, Part 2

I have talked to a good handful of people about this situation and a lot of people have told me that my dad is just having a harder time than most letting me go. While I'm an empathetic person, even I have to say enough is enough! At what point are you going to quit shaking your fist at the sky and get on with your life?

I'm my daddy's girl - always have been and up to this point it was a good place to be. The downside of it is that any man who doesn't follow the 'rules' isn't good enough for me. All of the guys I dated, casual and serious, have fallen short in some way or another. Whether it was that they didn't address him properly (Mr. Wynn, always) or they didn't talk marriage straight away (to let him know that they were serious, no casual dating with my daughter), there was always something that caused him to dismiss them.

I've tried to see my dad's side, which he claims that no one but the father of a daughter can, and understand how it must have hurt him every time I would come running back to him after yet another boy broke my heart. But damn, it was my heart and even I understand heartbreak is a part of life! I get that you don't ever want to see your children hurt or cry no matter how old they get but this is excessive.

Furthermore, as I've tried to explain to him, marriage doesn't solve anything. But I'm his little girl, so I couldn't possibly know what I'm talking about much less know what's best for me. But I'm done screaming that one at the top of my lungs. I get it though - he wants a man to take care of me, he doesn't want me alone - hell, I don't want to be alone. And even though I've made some nasty missteps in the past, it's still my life and I take responsibility for it all - the good and the bad. The irony is, this time I've done it right - I found a good man who will take care of me. But because he 'disrespected' me by not marrying me before we lived together he has been written off and I have too for sticking by him. It couldn't occur to him that we've chosen to go ahead with our relationship according to what worked for us, period. He felt and I'm sure still feels that I'm not capable of making those decisions, that my daddy still needs to protect me from these big bad men. I'm sure Drew would argue that on certain days of the month, he's the one that needs protection!

In the beginning, I was so very angry with my dad. I felt betrayed, that people who love you aren't supposed to treat you that way. I wanted us to agree to disagree - I would never expect him to full-out support me living with my boyfriend before marriage but I certainly wouldn't want him to turn his back on me. My anger served to protect me. Forget him if he wants to act foolish - write him off like he wrote you off - who needs him. But the pain and hurt never completely go away.

I held out. For almost a year, I have gone on with my life and sought to push these thoughts and feeling to the back. I wanted him to come to me, I didn't do anything wrong. He needed to apologize to me for hurting my feelings. Honestly, it was only through talking it out with the therapist that I could let it go. For me, letting it go meant that I had lost, that I was giving in, that what he did and how he made me feel was okay by me. And interestingly, I carried those feelings into my relationship with Drew. I had never had to concede or compromise in any of my previous relationships so that concept was all new to me. I'm not a good loser and I don't like to give up what's important to me, be it my things or my thoughts on things.

However, I have learned that in order to foster anything more than a superficial relationship with anyone (friend or otherwise) learning to compromise is vital. And compromise or letting go is not about losing or someone getting one over on you. It's about prioritizing the greater good above yourself, which is something I'm still learning and nowhere near good at yet. My dad? What is 'right' is most important above all else. His moral conviction is more important than our relationship and he hasn't budged not one millimeter in a year. And the most ironic thing is that he preached to us ever since we were kids that the difference between a person and a rock is that a person can change. So is he a person or a rock? Who knows.

I want to have a mature adult relationship with my dad. It takes two and if he is stuck with the image of me as his little girl in his head, I don't know how far we'll get. He's missing so much - we used to talk every day. I'm missing so much - my time with my parents is so fleeting and we only get one go at this. When I pray, I mostly pray for patience with Drew and the dog, but I always remember to add 'peace with dad'.

My anger is fading - I choose not to be bitter and ugly, but I'm still stubborn. I'm not okay with giving up on my dad just yet.

My Dad, Part 1

With Father's Day this Sunday, I have been thinking long and hard about contacting my dad. The last time I spoke to him was July of last year, when I brought Drew home to meet my family and my dad chose to isolate himself. Our last encounter was when I went to the house with the intent of talking it out with him and it ended with me storming out after he told me that he wouldn't come if I got married. Of course, other things were said but that's the one that still stings even after all this time.

Last October, I started seeing a therapist because I was having so much trouble adjusting to my life changes and talking things out has always helped me. I had just moved in with Drew in August , September I got fired from my job for the first time in my life and honestly, my dad was always the one I would turn to. Without my confidante, my sounding board, I was seriously lost. However, I began to see that while I saw my dad as my confidante, he was also my crutch and without him I was forced to stand on my own (emotional) two feet for the first time ever. I'm glad to say that I'm much better and stronger for it but this past year has been a mighty struggle.

My dad and I are so much alike in that we are super stubborn and when we believe we're right there is no changing our minds. The only thing is if you never listen to another person's point of view and allow for others thinking differently than you do, you will end up living a lonely life, alienating all but those people who share your exact thoughts and beliefs. My dad is that guy. He is famous for asking 100 different people their opinion on something and dismissing those who don't agree with him. If he finds one person in that 100 who agrees with him, he is instantly validated and whatever he thinks is correct. I have come to disagree with that, allowing for different viewpoints on different issues. My dad would call this wishy-washy, saying that you must stand for something. With him, it's all black and white, gray is for sissies.

One of the things he staunchly stands behind are his opinions regarding my romantic life. My dad is super old-fashioned, believing that men and women shouldn't even be in the same room once the sun goes down. Yeah, ex-military and from the South - I know. He believes that a real man (whatever that is) would do the whole 'courting' thing, that anything less indicates that he has no respect for the woman (me) and therefore is unworthy. The funny thing is, I dated a guy like that and my dad adored him, even giving him permission to marry me! Without my input, consent, nothing! Never mind that this guy had the nastiest temper and a horrible jealous streak which of course my dad never saw. My dad actually had the audacity to claim that I was exaggerating, that he couldn't be that bad! That was the first time I really knew that we didn't see eye to eye and that there would be problems.

So if men and women shouldn't even be in the same room alone together, they definitely shouldn't live together and no way should there be any nightime extracurriculars. That's where he and I parted ways. I believe that at 33 years of age - really, even at 22 years old - my personal life is my business. In the past, I have tried to establish and enforce boundaries but they were more like 'you're not the boss of me' type discussions which further reinforced his preconceived notion that I'm just a 'snot-nosed brat' (I never took offense to this so you shouldn't either). However, at 31 years old, my nose is pretty well wiped and I wanted to foster a more adult relationship with him. I wanted him to see Drew and me as adults and treat us accordingly.

But because I moved in with him, that was that. He stopped talking to me, wanted nothing to do with Drew because he saw Drew as the big bad man who forced and coerced little old me into degrading myself - which is laughable because I'm so independent and stubborn and the last thing I would do is be some shrinking violet subject to the whims of a man.

Ironically, as my relationship with my dad worsened, my relationship with Drew got stronger. Drew forced me to be accountable, not letting me just sit back and let him cater to me (as I'd done in past relationships). He demanded that I be present in our relationship and while it was difficult in the beginning, we're finding that rhythm (hence the title of my blog). And of course, the therapy helped - no lie. It helps to have an intelligent objective third party point out the things that you're too close to see. Now Drew and I have an honest to goodness grown-up relationship without the games and drama (okay, there's still a little drama). It's not easy but it's real and my goodness, he's such a good man. Flaws and all.

I'm not bashing my dad - he's flawed just as we all are, even if his pride won't let him acknowledge it. I just thought it best to get my feelings out before I talk to him so that I don't hear his voice and either start yelling or crying, neither of which will be effective. This is where my head is right now; next week I'll be back with home decorating stuff and dog stories and everything else that makes up the rest of my good life!


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