A letter to my daughter on the eve* of your birth

*I’m using the word “eve” very lightly here as I don’t actually know when you will show up.

I’ve started this letter on the computer and in my head too many times to count. I don’t know the right way to start a letter to your child as you wait for her to be born. You’re three days past your due date today and I expected this letter finished long before now. I don’t even know exactly what I want to say, except that I want to say something. I don’t know how to fully wrap my brain around the fact that right now you are so small and snug inside me, but someday you will be able to read these words that I wrote down for you so many years before.

The first thing you need to know is that there are rules in this house. They’re currently posted up in the living room so if you ever forget them, you don’t have to look far for a reminder.

  • Be compassionate
  • Be kind
  • Be silly
  • Don’t be a dick

Those four rules identify what’s important in this house and this family. You don’t need to be the smartest kid in your class or the best athlete. You don’t need to be perfect or wonderful all of the time. But you do need to be compassionate, kind, and silly.

Help others when you have the chance to do so. Be kind to your family, friends, and to strangers. Laugh as much as you possibly can. You can be kind without being a pushover. You can be compassionate without forgetting yourself. You can be silly when no one else is. Your parents are weird. Sometimes you’ll like that, sometimes you might be embarrassed by it. We’re happy being silly and weird. We want you to be too, if that’s your thing.

And don’t be a dick. There will be times in your life where you will need to stand up for yourself or others. Do that. Speak up for those that need it. Defend yourself. Have confidence in who you are and what you stand for. But don’t be a shitty person. Bullies will not be tolerated in this house, nor will shitty attitudes, arrogance, or selfishness. We all have bad days and sometimes you might break this rule. In fact, sometimes your mom and dad might break this rule too. We promise to forgive you as long as you will forgive us. And after we’ve recovered from those moments, we can all hug it out and remind ourselves of the family rules again.


I don’t know what you look like, which makes it hard to think of you out here, existing in the world. Since you are a little girl and since I look so much like my mother, I imagine you’ll look a lot like me. Although I also imagine you’ll have your father’s blue eyes, fair skin, and freckles. And sometimes I imagine that you’ll have my brown eyes and some mix of reddish blonde hair that exists in both our families. There’s science that backs up the old wives’ tale that heartburn during pregnancy can be linked to the growth of baby’s hair in utero. I haven’t had much heartburn so maybe you’ll come out delightfully bald. I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

  • I’m excited to meet you and to share my life with you.
  • I’m excited to play with you in your monster-themed nursery and dress you up in adorable clothes.
  • I’m excited to watch scary movies with you and your dad and to watch more cartoon movies with you than your dad could ever possibly handle.
  • I’m excited to introduce you to your family. The ones we like; not the other ones. So many of them are also very excited to meet you.
  • I’m excited to watch you grow and change. And then to watch you change the world around you.
  • I’m excited for all the things you’ll say or do or be a part of that I can’t even really be excited for yet because I can’t even fathom your beautiful little life.
  • I’ve wanted to be a mom for most of my life (there was some time in my 20’s where it was debatable) and I am so excited I am lucky enough to do that.

But I’m also scared. Really scared. I’m scared for us both.

I’m scared for me and how my life will change. It may not make sense to you when you read this, but I know it will someday.

  • I’m scared that I will lose sight of myself, that I’ll forget to take care of myself and be kind to myself. I’ve already gotten pretty lax about self-care during maternity leave but I’m trying to turn that around.
  • I’m scared that your father and I will struggle to parent cohesively, that this will change our marriage forever, possibly not for the better. We’re letting go of “just the two of us” and I worry that I will miss this quiet time of staying up late, frivolously spending money, and doing absolutely nothing more than I can imagine.
  • I’m scared that even though I’ve wanted this for so long that I won’t be any good at it. I’m scared I won’t be a “good” mom, and that I will let you down more than I lift you up.

I’m scared for the world you face.

  • I’m scared because you are a girl, and as a woman I know that you will face sexism in ways both passive and aggressive, conscious and subconscious, for likely most of your life. And should you share with us one day that you don’t identify as cis-gender and/or straight, I’m scared of how the rest of the world will treat you.
  • I’m scared because today our country is inaugurating an ill-educated narcissist to the highest office in the nation and it has already disturbed our society in so many ways. I worry what comes next here. I worry that the oppressed will not only remain so but that the oppression will worsen, which doesn’t bode well for your future or the future of your friends.

Thankfully, I know so many good and kind people that I haven’t completely given up hope on those last two bullets. Some experts say that this presidency will usher in a new wave of empathy for those of us feeling disheartened. I hope that’s true. I hope that by the time you’re old enough to learn about all of this in high school that you can ask me about what it was like living in a time when people were much less equal than they are in yours.

I hope that you can see that there were people that came before you that stood on the right side of history, that stood on the side of love, and because of them your life is better. I hope that you have more opportunities than I did and that you live in a society that is more welcoming than the one I am in. I see the people around me and I know it’s possible. You deserve more than the world I am bringing you into and I hope that it will become more like the world you deserve as you grow up. And I hope that you will do your very best to continue to make the world a better place.

I know that I am not a special snowflake. The fears I carry are not unique to me, nor are they rare. Expecting parents since the dawn of time have shared my worries (adjusting for cultural and technological advances, of course), but it’s hard to let them out. It’s hard to admit that I am scared because I want so badly to only be excited. I want to be as cool and confident as I was earlier in pregnancy, when your birth wasn’t so imminent.

I want to be a free spirit floating into parenthood with grace, joy, and nothing but the warmest and fuzziest of emotions. But that’s not real life. Real life is a little more confusing than that. Humans and human emotions are more complex than that. I wish I could be fearless, but I’m not, and I’m hoping that being honest about my fear as much as my joy will help me feel just a little more prepared to be your mom. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I have the whole mom thing figured out, so do me a favor and give me (and your father) some grace. I’m trying. I’m learning as I go. I’m imperfect. And I love you dearly.


On Mother’s Day, last year, after eight months trying to conceive, I was feeling a little down and a little overwhelmed. Your dad woke up early, went to the store to grab milk, and brought me home flowers. He said “Happy Mother’s Day to a someday mom. You may not be one now but you will be.”  To which I responded that it would be happening sooner than he thought, because I took a pregnancy test while he was out at the store and was elated to see two pink lines, one strong one and one faintest glimmer of a line. He stared at me confused for a second, but then came around after some more questioning. He was wary that morning because the line was so faint but with a digital test proclaiming “Pregnant” later that night, he finally came around. And I made him laugh as I danced around the house laughing and yelling that we were having a baby.

I want you to know that I have loved you since you were just two little pink lines, one faint as could be. We wished and waited for you and despite all of the fear and unknown, we’re very much looking forward to meeting you. We’re looking forward to holding your little hands, dancing around the room with you, and helping you grow into the person you are meant to be. It’s going to be tough for all of us at times, even scary, but I know in my heart that it will all be worth it.

We cannot wait to bring you home.

And I still have the flowers your father brought home to me on Mother’s Day. I think we might hang them in your nursery.

With all of my love,

Mom

Hiking Sawyer Mountain, ME

Difficulty: Easy-ish.

Length: Approximately 1.8 miles one-way from the Rt.117 trail head to the summit.

Time: 2-3 hours round-trip.

Rating: 3.4781 arbitrary thingies out of 5 other arbitrary thingies


I really enjoy hiking. And I’ve been thinking lately about how weird it is. I mean, how do you explain it easily to someone that doesn’t hike?

“So what’s it like?”

Oh, well, you walk up the mountain. And then you walk back down the mountain. There’s trees and rocks and nature and shit.

And what if I’m not doing a summit hike? What if it’s just a hike through the woods?

“So what’s it like?”

Well, you walk into the woods. And then you walk in circles for a couple hours. Aaaaand then you’re done. Oh, and there’s trees and rocks and nature and shit.

It certainly doesn’t sound appealing. Especially if you’re not into nature. Or sweating. Or dirt.

I spent a lot of time outdoors as a kid, so maybe that’s why I like hiking? My brother tries to get his kids out on trails too, so I guess he got whatever weird “Go walk in the woods” message our family was laying down, too.

(I’ve decided I need books about hikes in New Hampshire and Maine so I can start checking stuff off. Someone write that down and remind me about it later.)

After some Googling the last couple of weeks, I decided to venture up Sawyer Mountain in Maine Sunday morning. David begrudgingly decided to join me. He’s not as stoked about walking up giant hills and walking back down them as I am, but he likes to take photos and didn’t want his clumsy and pregnant wife to traverse a mountain alone, so he woke up and put his shoes on anyway. I kept insisting he didn’t have to come if he didn’t want to and that there would be plenty of people out on a day like today to help me up if I fall. He apparently did not trust the invisible strangers with my safety, so off we went!


After a little more than an hour drive, and stopping to get coffee for the sleepy bear, we made it to the Sawyer Mountain trail head on Rt 117. As I expected, there were a ton of people there, ready for a beautiful morning hike.

And by a ton of people, I mean this trail head could fit like seven cars max and there wasn’t a soul in sight. Party at Sawyer Mountain!!

I grabbed a map with info on it, and read that for the summit we needed to head to the right and follow the yellow turtles. So off we went, guided by wee yellow turtles on trees. True story: I never thought about how turtles have tails until I saw this sign all day.

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Hiking with a professional photographer means you end up stopping regularly for photo ops. The stops don’t really bother me since I’m there to enjoy the scenery and I get to check out the fun pictures later. And now that I’m pregnant, but still the kind of person that likes to think I’m a warrior and can do anything and nothing can stop me and there are no limits and I will push through it and I am woman hear me roar, the forced stops are a welcome respite. It should be noted that it’s a respite for me, not for the baby. She doesn’t need respite. She’s a parasite, siphoning all of my good oxygen, blood, and nutrients. She’s living in the lap of luxury up in there and leaving me with all the leftover shit she doesn’t want. Andplusalso, she sleeps in. So we were up the mountain, down the mountain, and almost all the way home before sleeping beauty decided to start her Sunday dance party.

I digress.

While David is busy taking precise pictures of nature, I’m over here taking pictures of him taking pictures because he looks silly. And then he said “Don’t take pictures of me bending over, that’s weird.” So I did it again and now I’m sharing it with you. It made me laugh before he told me it was weird. Now it extra makes me laugh.

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Early on, David stopped me to point out shiny quartz, because our last hike was with my brother and his kids, who like rocks and had a million questions I couldn’t answer about types of rocks. I guess David has now decided to educate me on rocks while we hike, so I can be prepared for next time. It’s not my fault. My Earth Sciences teacher was brilliant but she was an awful teacher. Also, weather and rocks are dumb and boring. Nerd. So now I have a picture of the first quartz we spotted on the trail, in honor of my nephews.

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I said we should pick it up and save it to turn it into a new kitchen counter. David said I would need more quartz. I felt confident in my ability to find more and for us to carry a kitchen’s worth of quartz down the mountain. He has no faith in me though so I gave up.

We eventually stumbled onto Turtle Cemetery. There are small crosses and one gravestone that reads “Those who resort to extortion to gain control end up here to rest their soul.”

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So that’s pretty weird and creepy. The signs along the path indicating where the trail property meets the neighboring landowners’ property were kind of stern, so if I were a betting woman I would say they were somehow related. However, I am choosing not to look it up online. Instead, I am choosing to tell myself it’s actually a cemetery for turtles. Maybe turtles that were in some kind of turtle mafia. Or maybe turtles that messed with the turtle mafia and learned the hard way not to mess with the turtle mafia. Or MAYBE they’re some relatives of the Ninja Turtles. Second cousins that weren’t as successful at ninja-ing or whatever. I feel like there a lot of completely viable options here. Most of which indicate actual turtles…

As we ascended, the trail got much rockier and much steeper. We followed a dried up stream for quite some time. Every time we got to the top of a rocky section we thought we were done with the rocks. We were mistaken. Oh, how we were mistaken.

There were plenty of opportunities for me to trip and fall and I’m proud to say that I didn’t trip or fall once.

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Also, you can see the crowds of people on the trail that would’ve been there to help me if I fell.

“Smile pretty for the camera, honey!”

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Shortly before the summit I made a new friend. His name is Norbert. He’s pretty cute and he posed real nice for me but he wasn’t having it with David and his camera. Norbert and I connected. David and Norbert did not.

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With the regular signage along the way telling us how far away from the summit we were, I felt like I was consistently making progress. We attempted to hike Mount Monadnock sometime last year and there was no signage. Just a lot of people wondering when the hell we would get to the summit. Or anywhere near it. It would be nice if the Sawyer Mountain folks could go hook the Mount Monadnock folks up with some trail/summit distance signs…

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As always, it was nice to finally reach the summit. We took the time to get some pictures in including some celebratory selfies. We also took the time to relax and enjoy the obstructed view and a break, while I used my puffy, sausage-finger hands to enjoy half a KIND bar. For anyone that hasn’t hiked a mountain, it’s hard to explain how great it feels to reach the summit.

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As the poet laureate of our times, Miley Cyrus, one said: ain’t about how fast I get there / ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side / it’s the cliiiiiiimb and also the suuuummittttt

Knowing you pushed through the tough parts, kept hiking, and made it to the summit is an awesome feeling. Today, I stopped at least a dozen times to catch my breath, reconfigure my toes on rocks, or pause after a particularly steep hill. And I kept going because it felt good. And at the summit I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’ve been having a tough time mentally the last couple of days and reaching the summit was exactly what my soul needed. I felt so much lighter on the descent.

I mean, I wasn’t actually lighter though. And I was front heavy. I was quite wonky and wobbly. But I repeat, I did not trip or fall. I am the winner, here. I stayed upright. The invisible strangers I expected to help me were not forced to make themselves un-invisible to pick me up off the rocks. Please to be presenting me with my gold star and my cookie.

It took us about 1.5 hours to get to the top and about 40 minutes to get down. Not too shabby for a hike just over 3 miles. We saw literally zero other humans so it was a great hike for anyone that hates crowds. Throughout the hike we took photos, we laughed a little, we talked about politics, turtle cemetery, and our family. I had time with my technophile husband away from screens, with both of us present in the world together. I’m pretty sure he hates when I ask him to be more present so he’ll probably hate that I said I was glad we were both present in the moment. Let me say present one more time just to hit it home.

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We also argued about money for the last 15 minutes of the hike, which I do not recommend for those of you trying to fully enjoy the experience. Pro tip.

 

 

Saying goodbye to my best little buddy

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It’s been two weeks since we said goodbye to you. It seems like yesterday and it seems like years ago. I swear the first couple of days lasted for years. But the last two weeks have sped by. I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks.

My heart hurts and so does your dad’s. We miss you so, so much.

The house is too quiet. You spent most of your days sleeping, or moving between two surfaces on which to sleep, or following me from one room to the other just to make sure I was okay. You were only ever noisy if a squirrel or bird taunted you from outside the window, but that was rare. Mostly, you were quiet. And you were little. But your presence was so much bigger than you were. It’s hard to be alone in the house because it’s so obvious that you’re not here. There’s no snoring. No clicking puppy nails on the floor. No horrible dog farts. We knew you were special and we loved you so much, but you really don’t know how important something is to your life until it’s gone.

You’re gone now.

It’s not fair. It’s just not fucking fair. I know life isn’t fair, but you weren’t even nine. You were considered a senior by the standards on that chart in the vet’s office, but eight is still such a baby to the people that love their dogs. You expect to spend years and years with your dogs. You expect to say goodbye to them in their teens, while secretly hoping they’ll live for decades. I expected you to be around when we had a baby, but we still don’t have a child, and now we don’t have you either. That kills me.

You spent the first four years of your life with at least two families before I met you at the SPCA. I don’t know these families and often, I wonder how anyone could walk away from you. But their loss was our gain. I don’t remember how long you had been at the SPCA when I met you, but I know it was long. I walked around the shelter three times before we made eye contact. I knelt down to eye level at your kennel and you picked your sleepy little butt off the cot, sauntered over to me, and wagged your tail. When they took you out of the kennel, I called your name, and you ran to me. You were mine from that moment.

You were very sick when I brought you home. Your first vet appointment cost almost $800. And you were varying degrees of sick throughout your short life, but we always did everything we could to get you the treatment you needed. We couldn’t always afford it. Actually, we usually couldn’t afford it. Sometimes we used credit cards. Several times your grandma paid for your treatment in place of a normal Christmas or birthday present for me.  We probably spent more than 10k on getting you treatment and taking you to the occasional doggie daycare while you were with us. Throughout your life you had an oncologist, allergist, and a chiropractor. We couldn’t afford it but we would do it all over again. You were worth it all. It was worth it to make your life easier.

13062480_10154067170242270_3884631246708918356_nFour years. That’s all we had. I wish we had more. I was hoping for so much more.

But I knew it was coming. You knew it was coming. I felt it. Something changed in the last couple of months. Before the spinal trauma, before the move, things started to feel different. I worried about you more than normal. Every little hiccup or sniffle had me on high alert. Often, your dad would catch me staring at you while you slept, watching to make sure you were still breathing. He thought I was being ridiculous.

I thought I could maybe be losing my mind but the worry, the feeling that you didn’t have much time left, it was on my heart more than I could possibly explain. I knew we were running out of time.

You changed. Your always expressive face seemed sad. Your new vet told us you had a heart murmur and I watched you even closer. You knew. You were more forcible about getting snuggles, about staying in the bed at night, about following me everywhere. Something was wrong and you didn’t know what it was but you knew it wasn’t good.

I didn’t like that feeling. I didn’t like worrying that you were leaving soon.

When I dropped you off for spinal surgery, I took a picture of you before I left. I took the picture because I knew you weren’t coming home. I had a terrible feeling that would be my last picture of you. I bawled my eyes out when I left you at the hospital. Because I knew.

They called us after your first set of scans to tell us about your metastatic cancer. When the doctor personally called led with the fact that they had only completed the first round of pre-op scans, it was clear nothing good was going to follow.

They woke you up so we could come say our goodbyes. I’m so glad we did that. Maybe it was just for us but I think it was for you too. We wanted your last minutes to be with your mom and dad. To be as comfortable as you could be and covered in snuggles. When they wheeled you into the room you looked so upset, so confused. By the time the doctor came in to put you to rest, your face was different. You were calm. You were relaxed. I hope it mattered to you. I hope it made a difference.

I’m sorry we had to do that. I hope you know that we didn’t want to. I hope you know that we wanted so much more time with you. It wasn’t fair to force you to keep living in so much pain just so we could all have a little more time together. We took your pain away, which meant we took you away, and that hurts more than some people could possibly understand.

You were so wonderful and so special and I know that not only because I lived with you and loved you, but also because of the people that have reached out since your passing to tell us how much they loved you. We were so obsessed with you and so happy to share stories and photos about you, that people that never even met you knew you and loved you. They saw your goofy side and your grumpy side. They saw you in a pumpkin t-shirt and a bunch of different bow ties. They saw us celebrate your birthdays. We openly adored you and other people have mourned with us in the weeks since we lost you.

We miss you so much.

10461629_10152503254022270_7683168065570312779_nI hate that I can leave food unattended in rooms now. Or that I can shower without leaving the door open. I hate that you’re not there guarding the shower for me. Or that you’re not around to keep watching the Gilmore Girls marathon with me. I miss your welcome home excitement and watching you sit on your hind legs for a treat when we left. I miss your super soft ears and your adorable little dog butt. I miss the L-shaped white patch on the back of your neck that I like to tell your dad stood for “love.” I miss trying to put my shoes on in secret so you wouldn’t get excited and think you were going outside too.

You were the best little spoon a girl could ask for, always willing to snuggle up and always quick to run to either of us when we were sad.

We finally got ourselves a house with a yard for you to run around in, and you got to enjoy it at least a little bit before you left us.

I heard this thing recently that said that after a loss we struggle with wanting to get past the pain and not wanting to let go of all the memories. I want to feel better and stop crying but I’m also sad that every new week is a week farther away from when you were here with us.

We are so lucky to have lived with you for four years. I wish we had you sooner. I wish we met you earlier. But I have no regrets about the time we spent together. We always snuggled with you and we often spoiled you. We bought you a million toys, treats, and blankets. I told you every day how much I loved you and how handsome were. You were my first dog. My first baby. I gave you so much of my heart and you brought me so much peace and joy. You brought so much laughter to us. I truly think we were all lucky to have each other, for so many different reasons.

I feel weird about trying to stop writing about you. I feel like closing this piece brings a finality to this, in a sense. I don’t want to stop writing about you or saying goodbye. If I stop then I’m farther from you. I know I will continue to get farther from you, but I don’t want to. I write because it helps me process, because it helps me get out thoughts and feelings. Some of them are funny, some of them are not. This is a form of catharsis for me, to release thoughts and emotions about you and your passing. It is cathartic but it is no less painful.

It seems like nothing I do to honor your life or mark your passing is good enough. I got a tattoo. We will bury your ashes in the backyard and plant a tree. The hospital sent us your paw imprint and a lock of your hair. We might make a photo book. We’re going through the process to get approved to foster with a local beagle rescue. We’re going to donate to the Fauquier SPCA in your honor, the place that you called home more than once and the place that we met. I laid your collar on the shelf next to the little beagle figurine we found at a thrift store a month ago.

None of it is good enough because none of it is you.

I will miss you forever.

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Selling my soul — err I mean — Buying a house

Have you ever bought a house?

(Of course you have, because you’re my only reader. Hi mom!)

Buying a house is one of those things most people just assume they’ll do at some point or another. Once you hit “can’t wait to be an adult” age, you start thinking about your career and your mansion and your fifteen dogs and 2.5 children. The house you imagined at 19 probably has a pool and a theater room, but you’re convinced you’ll be able to make that kind of money early on in your career because you’re 19 and as such you’re a moron. But nonetheless, it’s a milestone many of us Americans (and maybe Canadians? You’re North American too but I don’t know your story) expect to reach.

Speaking of Canadians, I guess it’s a little different for people that live in those towns where all those HGTV Jonathan & Drew shows are filmed (or the awful Love it or List it), because those places are stupid expensive and I just imagine that the majority of the population that lives there plans to rent for the rest of their lives but will buy a house when they win the lottery or become CEO or some shit.

Oh or my parents just moved to one of the most expensive areas in the country and you can pay like two million dollars for a studio shanty if that’s your thing.

So yea, if you don’t live in one of those places, you’ve probably thought about buying a house at one point or another. God only knows why, since rentals come with someone to fix the washer and dryer when it breaks for the second time (#notmyfault), but we keep holding onto that American Dream of a 30 year commitment and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

And now it’s our turn. We’re buying a house. To be honest, it’s earlier than we planned to buy a house but apparently New Hampshire completely hates dogs so we had to make adjustments. Finding a three bedroom rental that also allows dogs is basically like finding the Holy Grail. I can have two cats, even though my dog is smaller than two cats and doesn’t shit indoors, but I can’t have a dog. Because…? Yea I don’t know why. Maybe to fend off a dog fighting ring? It’s pretty obnoxious, considering we live in the “Live Free or Die” state, that we can’t JUST HAVE A DAMN DOG, but I guess you can only Live Free or Die on your own property. I dunno, that’s probably fair. But our dog is pretty awesome, and quiet unless there’s a squirrel involved, and he doesn’t pee inside. He just sleeps. HE’S THE BEST. SCREW YOU GUYS FOR NOT LETTING MY DOG IN YOUR STUPID RENTAL.

I don’t know when this post become a tangent about my dog, but most of my life is a tangent about my dog.

Annnnywho, we’re buying a house! It makes more sense for us financially, gives us some stability, and allows me to become a goddamn dog hoarder if I so choose (okay probably not, there’s probably laws about that).

buying-a-houseThe thing about buying a house that no one will tell you, is that it’s an absolute pain in the ass, you have to sign paperwork until your fingers fall off, you can’t spend any substantial amount of money between the offer and closing, and you need to provide every piece of documentation about your finances from your conception.

Okay fine, literally everyone will tell you all of that about buying a house. BUT LISTENING IS HARD.

And now here I am, my life dedicate to paperwork and searching for paperwork and scanning paperwork. Then I wait for strangers to tell me things like “Yes, you actually can definitely have this house that we told you that you could probably have before.” I am almost certain that once upon a time, I had a busy life that didn’t revolve around buying a house or moving.

And so what if my busy life was really just me watching Gilmore Girls and Once Upon a Time while I told my dog how cute he is? I don’t have to justify my life to you. Rude.

I keep thinking I’m going to get an email that says “LOLOL JKJK YOU’RE NOT AN ADULT. NO HO– USE FOR YOU, LOSER.” That’s probably not going to happen because my loan processor is a very nice woman who also happens to be articulate and not a toddler, but whatever, I’m sure she could surprise me at any moment.

I was the kid in school that turned beet red if a teacher asked if someone stole the chalk or put gum in Emily’s hair. It wasn’t me. It was never me. But I always felt like someone could think it was me. And then I would try to think about what a person that was innocent would look like (even though I was innocent) and I would try to act like an innocent person and my face would turn red and I would get sweaty because I worried that I didn’t look innocent enough and then the teacher would call on me because I looked so guilty and then I would get even more red and sweaty, which just looks totally suspicious because if I didn’t do it WHY WAS I SO NERVOUS SO OBVIOUSLY IT WAS MY FAULT.

Seriously, if I’m ever a suspect in a murder, I’m so screwed.

12So I’m convinced they’re going to discover some secret account in the Cayman Islands (that I don’t have) or unpaid bail money (that never existed because I never went to jail), or another husband on the side (that I’m pretty sure I don’t have either). And I can’t do anything until they get back to me. I just sit here and wait and hope they actually give me the money and let me buy the house. Because if they don’t, I might cry.

Not because I’m super emotionally attached to the house, but because buying a house means shelling out a lot of cash before your loan company ever even gives you the green light to buy the house. Appraisal, inspection, escrow. Every check takes another piece of my soul. And all of this check writing and paper scanning and waiting on emails takes every speck of excitement out of the home buying process.

Right now I feel like I’m pretty sure at some point I wanted this house. I mean, I had to have, right? I think I did. I think I like this house. I can’t remember. All I can focus on is how stressful this is. And everyone is like “Weeee aren’t you so excited?!” and I’m like “WHEN DO I SIGN THE BLOOD OATH FFS?!”

We even went to pick out paint colors in an effort to boost my excitement back up past my stress level again, but then I lost the paint color tag thingies in the massive pile of home loan paperwork. COOL.

I’m so grateful that our realtor and our loan team have actually been wonderful and amazing. If we worked with awful people, I probably would’ve completely lost it by now. I’d be running naked through the streets with a box on my head screaming “LOOK AT MY PRETTY HO– USE!”

I’m sure I’ll be excited after we close. Until then, I’ll be convinced that everything that could possibly go wrong is going to go wrong.

If anyone needs me between now and closing, I’ll just be over here drinking excessively and weeping into a pile of paperwork.

Making room in my brain

A couple of years ago I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was only to be kinder. Not nicer, kinder. It worked out well. Or that’s what I tell myself. If I’m an asshole, no one is telling me that to my face so… thanks, guys.

I’ve stuck with that as an ongoing resolution and life mantra ever since. Am I a pro at it? No. I still hate shitty people and I still think plenty of people are the worst. But that’s life. Not everyone is as awesome as me and I need to accept that.

I haven’t made any new resolutions since then. Partially because I’m perfect (duh) but partially because something like 110% of people give up on new year’s resolutions within three months. This past December however, I made a secret resolution to write more. I didn’t really settle on what exactly to write or how to write “more”. I thought about writing some more blogs (obviously didn’t happen), writing in a diary before bed each night (empty journal still on my nightstand), finally ironing out the children’s books I want to write (didn’t even begin to start this one), and writing greeting cards (started this, abandoned ship). All of which, more than two months into the new year, have yet to come to fruition.

You see, the best worst tricky part about a secret resolution is the lack of accountability. I didn’t have anyone checking in to see if I was following through on anything, which means I didn’t have to even consider following through.

It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s just that I have to catch up on Teen Mom and Grey’s Anatomy.

When given the choice lately between choosing to do something creative and productive that brings me joy, or shutting my brain off and zoning out in front of a screen, I choose zoning out. I’m a damn zombie. Give me your brains y’all.

Hey, has anyone noticed that modern zombies don’t eat just brains? When did zombies stop caring about only eating our brains? When did they branch out into eating the rest of us? I can’t be the only one that noticed. I mean, I guess it makes sense, it’s hard to be discerning when you’re a zombie.

I ended up going into another paragraph about zombies but it was dumb and tangential so I abandoned it. THIS IS MY PROBLEM. I CAN’T EVEN BRAIN ANYMORE.

I don’t know what is happening inside my noggin, but it is not productive. Hell, I don’t even know where I’m going with this post. I thought it was about making a resolution. Then I thought it was about writing more. Then it just kind of turned into a flood of confusing ass thoughts that don’t really make for good storytelling or a good blog post.

I’ve wanted to write, but I often feel like I have nothing interesting or unique or compelling to say. Then I don’t write because I think no one would want to read it, which is dumb because I should be writing for myself, not for you weirdos. I let the fear of not entertaining other people keep me from doing something I really enjoy doing. And then I end up with shitty posts like this where my brain is so excited to words again that it can barely form full sentences.

So what I’m saying is, this post is all your fault.

I guess the point of this entire post, for me (god only knows what’s in it for you), is a release of pent up fear, anxiety, and writer’s energy. This post is a spring cleaning of my brain. It may not make sense, and that’s fine, but hopefully it will make some space inside my brainhole for something better. I’m not even going to bother rereading this before I post. This post needs to exist just as weird and confusing as it is. Because that’s what it looks like inside my brain right now and that’s what I’m trying to conquer. So TAKE THAT, Brain!

I’ve succumbed to writer’s block, and the only way to fix it is to acknowledge and write shit anyway. Whether you or I like it or not. Well, not “write shit” as in write things that suck. I mean “write shit” as in write stuff. I’m not going to purposely write things that are horrible. That would be weird. Or maybe it wouldn’t be weird. It could be very hip. I could purposely write horribly while I wear my black rim glasses and my flannel t-shirt. I would be so cutting edge and I would never have to write anything good for the rest of my life. Pressure’s off!

Okay, that particular plan might be a little convoluted.

I just have to write more. I need to let go of the fear, remember that I’m amazing, and write whatever the hell I want to write, whenever the hell I want to write it. And it will make my heart happy.

It’s that simple.

And I need to step away from the DVR. Before it eats my soul.

 

 

brainwut

Your period product slogan is useless to me

Recently, I realized I have quite a few tweets and blog posts about my period. Aunt Flo. The Red Witch. At first I thought “Hey, that’s strange” and then I remembered Bleedy McVagina Bleedytime happens approximately every 35 days. Just under a dozen times each year. And it’s been happening in that fashion for 17 years. THAT’S A LOT OF YEARS. And at best guess, I’ve got another 17 or so to go. So whatever, I’m going to talk about it. All the time. Basically it’s what I talk about now. I’m just going to write a book about all the shit that I do or don’t do during my period. Chapter 1: Why is it so Damn Hot in This Room?

In recent period news, my feminine hygieneproduct container made me scoff this week. I don’t understand why Always touts the ability to “wear what you want” thanks to the new design of their products. That’s really not anything impressive or exciting.

It’s my period. You know what I want to wear? Sweatpants. And also pajama pants. But mostly sweatpants.

For 5 days every 35, my ability to dress like a respectable human goes out the window. It’s all elastic waistbands and loose cotton. And it’s super cozy.

I am not concerned with whether or not a pad or a tampon or pantiliner is discrete.

Things I’m concerned with:
1. Where did all of the dark chocolate go?
2. Should I try that new pizza place or just order from the usual?
3. Is this a double cheeseburger or single cheeseburger kind of day?
4. Why is everything on the news so sad?
5. I should adopt another dog.
6. My friends are so special and I just love them so much.
7. Where did I put the ibuprofen?
8. Why is sleeping through the night impossible?
9. Is it like, 100 degrees in this apartment or is that just me?
10. I should eat healthier. Tomorrow.
11. Are my favorite sweatpants clean?
12. Will my neighbors notice I’ve been wearing the same sweatpants for days?
13. I should take a nap on my lunch break.
14. How can I convince my husband to make dinner?
15. Can I just lay in this bed for the next five days?

Things I’m NOT concerned with:
1. Wearing anything tight enough for a stranger to know I’m on my period. Actually, I’m not going to do that regardless of whether or not I’m on my period. I mean shit, how tight are your pants that people can tell you’re wearing a pad or pantiliner anyway?
2. Whether or not people know if I have my period. Is me having my period uncomfortable for you? That’s unfortunate. You know what else is uncomfortable? A PLASTIC APPLICATOR INSIDE YOUR VAGINA. YEA. I SAID IT.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to pause my bitching long enough to go eat all the chocolate in the house. Come to me, sugary goodness. I will shelter you in my belly and you will sing lullabies to my uterus.

uterus

/rant My marriage is younger than, not less than

I get that you’ve been married longer than me, and in some cases you’ve been married longer than I’ve been alive, but please stop insinuating that my five year old relationship will not be considered strong or viable until we’ve reached some sort of “been through some shit and some years” milestone.

This isn’t me in my youth, convinced I have done and will do everything right, or convinced I know everything I need to know. This is me asking you to consider how much you appreciated patronizing messages when you were younger.

You’ve seen things and been through things that we haven’t experienced but will, things we hope to never experience, and in many cases things we can’t even fathom. I respect what you’ve been through but it is not my story.

usMy marriage will go through hard times. I understand that. I am not naive. I do not think we will live in a rainbow land of warm fuzzy feelings for the rest of forever. I am aware that my marriage is still young but that does not mean that our story is one without struggle or turmoil. I promise you, in just five years, we too have been through some shit. Publicly and privately. In our personal lives, our professional lives, and even in our relationship.

Maybe you don’t mean it as patronizing but it comes off that way.

Don’t laugh and tell me to get back to you in 20 years. Don’t tell me my opinions on marriage are invalid because of how relatively new it still is. Don’t compare your marriage to mine and belittle the relationship we have built and continue to build.

Just tell me you wish the best for my marriage. Tell me you have advice for certain things if I ever want it. Tell me things you might’ve done differently. Tell me that you will support us through any tough times ahead and tell me that you would love to share in our joy when things are good.

I love my husband. I love my imperfect relationship. And I work really really hard to make my marriage work. Don’t invalidate that.

Be the wise, experienced, and supportive married person you wish you had when you were in my shoes.

Stop belittling us, and start lifting us up.

>cue Josh Groban<

 

I made bread from scratch

You guise. I’m a regular Susie Homemaker.

I made bread.

And sure, maybe I searched the internet for bread recipes that included the words “easy” and “quick” and “minimal ingredients” but whatever, this is isn’t an ingredients and effort contest. It’s a bread contest. And I’m the winner. On account of how no one else knew we were playing. Suckaaaaaaa.

I’ve been thinking about making bread for quite some time now for a couple of reasons.

  • My mom makes really good bread. But here’s the thing, she makes all day bread. Letting things rise for hours and multi-cook processes and she worked with my dad’s taste buds for basically forever to try to find the right rye read recipe. The bread is good but the process is daunting.
  • I like the earth. Making my own food puts less stress on the environment. We’re working on living more sustainably and making as much of my own food as possible is one part of that. And once I can find a non-ziplock way to store the bread, I’ll be cutting down on plastic waste too.
  • I like my body. By now we all know that one of the best things we can do is eat the food that lives in the circumference of the grocery store. Produce, meat, seafood, etc. Fresh foods that have one ingredient. How likely is it that David and I will one day eat only those foods? Super unlikely. But I like to make an effort to eat food that’s as close to natural as it can get whenever can. Or rather, whenever we can intersperse it with the frozen yogurt and tater tots.

Mmm… tots…

So anyway, finally feeling inspired enough to make some bread, I sought out a recipe that looked feasible and only minimally frightening. Somewhere inside the depths of Pinterest I stumbled upon The Very Best Homemade Whole Wheat Bread recipe slash blog post on Five Heart Home. I read the blog post at least once a day for several days (no, I’m not kidding) to psyche myself up until earlier this week I finally jumped in…

TARDIS salt shaker!
TARDIS salt shaker!

The recipe makes enough for two loaves of bread but I decided to half it. I have this knack for finding recipes online that look and sound amazing and somehow creating disgusting mountains of food that require us to order pizza. I try really hard but that’s not always good enough. That in mind, I didn’t think making two loaves was a good choice. I didn’t want to end up with two horrible loaves of bread. One would be enough.

I had my fancy pants stand mixer and started mixing away. I thought about writing down the halved measurements of the ingredients ahead of time but decided that was clearly unnecessary. So I poured a couple dry ingredients into the bowl, strumming right along, conserving ingredients and such. When suddenly I thought “Hey, this looks really watery. Like… really watery.” It turns out, I could’ve used that additional step of writing things down. I forgot to half the water. Oops.

watery dough

Two loaves it is!

It looked much more like dough after I updated the rest of the ingredients to two loaf making status.

better dough

Chewy thought so, too.

And so, I continued on with the recipe. There was some bowl covering for a while and some more mixing involved, then it was time to pop the dough lump into some pans and into the oven.

The blog post about the recipe mentions using parchment paper inside the pan because it works to keep it wrapped up nicely. When I tried to put the parchment paper in the pan, it ripped. And then I tried it again and it ripped again. So I said “eff this noise”, greased the pan and put the parchment paper away.

The recipe told me to “gently press” the dough into the corners of the pan. I didn’t catch the gently part until after I had spent several minutes trying to forcibly mush the bread into the corners. Frustratingly, it didn’t stay there. Why are you making me push this dough into the corners? Did you know it wouldn’t stay in the corners? Are you mocking me?!? Is this a test?!?

Once I realized I was being abusive to my dough lumps, I sent them to get cozy in the oven. The little snuggle bugs.

P1040130P1040131

After the bread was done I let the loaves cool for a little bit before cutting off an end piece and enjoying it with butter. I was pleasantly surprised. I actually really liked the bread. Go figure.

 

P1040141

I told my husband how amazing it was and forced him to eat a piece. I’m fairly certain he could not have cared less. He’s more of bread monster than I am but naked bread is useless to him so he just had a nibble and went on about his day. Rude. And since the bread wasn’t horrible, I took one loaf, wrapped it, and put that puppy in the freezer for later.

Also, yes, I now realize that I should’ve left the end of the bread on it and cut a slice from the middle so that I could mush the end back up against the bread later to keep it moist but WHATEVER, ROOKIE MISTAKE, GET OFF MY BACK.

Now that I’m a professional bread maker I’m going to need to do more research. If you look at the bread in her blog post it looks like store bought bread and is even shaped that way. Mine definitely doesn’t have that shape but moreover, doesn’t have that uniform look. The loaves are stretchy and holey and the innards are lumpier. How do I get that perfect looking bread? And look at those slices! Trying to slice this bread makes it bread into big pieces. What the heck am I missing here?

When we’re close to done with our current loaves I’m going to try to figure out what I did wrong with this bread and see if I can make it better next time. Any tips/hints/secret bread society knowledge would be appreciated.

kitchen messThis baking adventure left me feeling pretty accomplished. Who knows what I’ll try and whip up next!

This? This is a standard mid-baking adventure scene. And this is with a recipe with minimal ingredients. You don’t want to see my kitchen when I get fancy with a recipe. It gets ugly. It takes me a long time to clean up after I cook dinner or bake cookies.

And did you notice my cow print apron? It’s adorable, I know. I’m sure there are men around the world that imagine a woman cooking for them in a sexy apron with sexy clothes on. Meanwhile, on pancake Saturdays, David wakes up to me in sweatpants and a cow apron.

I’m straight pwning married life.

 

Six months and counting

We’ve been in New Hampster for about 6.5 months now. We showed up at the end of winter, moseyed through summer, and are settling into autumn quite nicely. In some ways it seems like we just got here and in other ways like we’ve been here for years. We still have stuff in boxes in closets, still have nothing on the walls in the bedroom, and still can’t get most places without the GPS. But we’ve also made friends, have settled into a great routine, and know where all of the Chipotle locations within 15 miles.

Now that the majority of our favorite people are hundreds of miles away from us (minimum), I want to start sharing more about our everyday adventures. I want to be able to share with our friends and family the kind of weird and fun and maybe-not-so-fun things we’re getting into, without flooding Facebook full of lengthy posts about hikes and apple orchards and -insert future favorite winter activity here-.

I also just really want to document what’s going on in my life. I have a horrible memory, I can’t remember to write in a diary before bed, and a blog allows me to add pictures so I can remember things in a fancy pants kind of way.

Because I don’t like how sudden it feels to just jump into posting pictures about my life randomly, I decided this change needed an introduction. But here’s the thing: we’ve already been here for half a year. So I made a catch up slideshow. It’s full of selfies and shitty pictures. It’s more for me than you but that’s kind of how I roll on my blog so… there’s that.

I hope you all enjoy reading about my exciting life walking on trails and snuggling with my dog, intermixed with my MS Paint drawings and life advice on not sucking. You’re welcome.

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Slide show? Slideshow? Sly deshow?