You Gotta Be Bad, You Gotta Be Bold, You Gotta Be Wiser

Before I really get into writing this, I want to unequivocally state that I am NOT complaining or whining about this topic.

It is the end of March and I’ve spoken to my mom exactly twice this year. Both times, I called her. The first was to ask her if she wanted to go with Aubrey and me to Austin, and she said my stepdad would go with us, but not her. The second time, I called to ask her about what verses in the bible would be good for a wedding ring photo. Both conversations lasted about two minutes.

My sister was always my mom’s favorite, and since she adopted my sister’s five kids, they are her favorites. I know my mom loves me; there’s no question about that. But my mom doesn’t enjoy spending time with me, and certainly doesn’t go out of her way to do so. It wasn’t always that way, though. We used to meet for lunch, and then go wander through stores, window shopping. However, we’ve never had the same kind of relationship that I have with my daughter.

I know that my relationship with my kids is a bit unusual. I actually like them. It’s sometimes difficult with Matt because he is constantly irritated by/with me, but he’s funny as all hell. I used to get frustrated with him that he wasn’t using his musical talents, but now that he is, I couldn’t be more proud. Matt and I are night and day in a lot of ways, but the older he gets, the more he understands where I’m coming from. I think once he has kids, he’ll realize how much effort goes into things like not eating them when they do something unbelievably stupid.

My friend Will said that while some twins may have psychic links, Aubrey and I have more of a Vulcan mind meld. We speak in stereo, which freaks people out. It’s partially due to our watching the same shows over and over, like Burn Notice, Leverage, and Glee. We make the same connections and quote the same lines, usually at the same time.

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Beautiful inside and out.

Our Vulcan mind meld is why Aubrey and I can build things and rearrange furniture and do odd projects together, whereas Ron gets irritated that I’m not explaining myself well enough for him to understand me. With Aub, I can start a sentence and before I even get halfway through, she’s already doing whatever it is that I’m asking her to do. When I say thingy, she knows what that thingy is.

Now that Aubrey’s older, our relationship is evolving once again. She’s finally differentiated enough that she doesn’t feel like she always has to agree with me. She’s also old enough to know certain things about my life that I never would have told her before, such as telling her about my “first time,” and how much I regretted it.

When she decided that she wants to permanently move up north and Ron decided that he didn’t, Aubrey was the one who suggested that we’ll have to visit a LOT. When Matt lived in Denver, I thought I was going to die having to spend Christmas without him. I can’t imagine missing their birthdays, or just seeing them randomly for lunch. No matter what, at some point our family is going to be spread out across the country, and I am going to miss things. I still haven’t been able to resolve that in my head and heart, but I’ll deal with it as it comes. That’s what planes are for, right?

I think I have pretty fantastic relationships with my kids. Matt calls me every other day or so (and calls until he actually gets me, which can sometimes take a while), and of course, Aubrey still lives at home for another few months, so I see her every day. My point is that if they call me because they want to have lunch or go do something, I don’t foist them off onto Ron. They love Ron and Ron loves them, but I’m their mom.

Hilarious, smart, and oh so talented.

Hilarious, smart, and oh so talented.

A few days ago, my dental hygienist made a comment about Aubrey and I getting along so well and doing so much stuff together. She said she wished she had that kind of relationship with her mom. I said I do, too. It’s not just that I wish my mom would take time to have lunch with me without bring along the entire family, but I wish that my mom listened to me. It’s not so funny, but we joke that the fastest way to get my mom to hang up the phone is to try to tell her something about my life or Aubrey’s. She adores Matt, so talking to her about him is okay, but if I start talking about Aubrey, she suddenly has to go.

I am far past the point where I need my mommy to make my decisions for me, but I don’t think anyone ever outgrows wanting their mother to be there for them. I don’t know if my mom won’t, can’t, or just doesn’t want to. Maybe she doesn’t realize that it is an honor to be invited to drive to Austin with Aubrey and me. We rarely bring anyone else with us, as we spend most of our time singing and laughing, while not everyone else appreciates what they consider to be a lack of conversation. For Aub and I, music IS a conversation.

At that same dental visit mentioned above, the receptionist and office manager were talking about nice people being scary when necessary, and I told them about how Aub’s high school is still terrified of me. They both said that they couldn’t imagine my being scary, but I pointed out that when it comes to my kids, I can be one pissed off mama bear. I attack with vicious sarcasm, leaving people  scarred by my words. I know exactly when to use phrases like, “Texas Board of Education,” and “American Civil Liberties Union” and “Facebook.”

I guess my point is that I wish I had a mother who is like me; one who wants to spend time with me as much as I want to spend time with my kids. I want a mom that actually listens instead of changing the subject when I mention things like my having surgery or how awesome my photos turned out from whatever event. Actually, what I want is a mom who lets ME be the center of attention every now and again. Like I said, I know that my mom loves me. I just wish that she liked me, too.

I’m willing to admit and accept that maybe we just don’t have anything in common anymore. I’m an adult with two grown children, while she has five kids under the age of 20. Of course little kids are more exciting and fun and funny than 43 year old adults. I realize that my sense of humor borders on the bizarre, and not everyone understands it, so not everyone finds me funny. But there are things that we could do together…like sewing, or making tamales, or taking a drive to Austin for the afternoon…if she wanted to.

Like Michael said in Burn Notice, “I wish I had a house on Star Island filled with strippers, but wishing don’t make it so, man.” All my wishing in the world isn’t going to make my mom think I’m cool. What I can do, though, is make sure that my children know that I think THEY are cool and amazing and awesome and smart and funny and that even if they weren’t my children, I would still want to hang out with them. While my mom may not think I’m cool, I know I absolutely must be, because my kids are beyond anything I could ever ask for.

“Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don’t be ashamed to cry
You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day”

 

 

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Express Yourself

Yesterday, Aubrey entered a competition for e.l.f. cosmetics. The grand prize is a photo shoot in New York, and that part is decided by judges, but there’s also a “popular vote” competition. The winner of the popular vote gets an all expense paid vacation to a Beaches resort. Since she could take another adult with her, this means that *I* would win an all expense paid vacation to a Beaches resort!

I have (literally) THOUSANDS of pictures of Aubrey, so narrowing it down to six was near impossible. Not only does she have hundreds of fantastic pics, but I look at photos from a photographer’s point of view. That means I like the artsy, unique shots, like the one of her spinning in her purple dress (that for whatever reason photographs blue)…

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Or the zombie pic…

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There are a million reasons why this is one of my most favorite photos that I’ve ever taken. The wind was blowing her hair just messy enough, I caught the “REBELS” at the bottom, the top of her dress looks torn, her hands are perfectly spread…I could go on, but like I said, there are a million reasons. I finally narrowed it down to her headshot as the primary pic. I chose three closeups and three full body, since they want to see both. It took several hours to wade through my computer, which would have taken even longer if I didn’t have Picasa.

Realistically, she entered extremely late, as the deadline is the 31st, so there’s not really any way she can surpass the 15,000+ votes of the most popular entrant. However, this competition is hosted on ExploreModeling.com, so there’s a lot of exposure to be had. Agencies can see her profile, and she can submit to agencies as well. I’d love to see her pushed over into the top 1000, which is only 17 votes away.

If you have fifteen seconds to spare, please click the link below and cast a vote for Aubrey. She’ll be moving to New England in just a couple of months, and that means she’ll actually be able to audition for countless opportunities. A little exposure goes a long way, so any click helps 🙂

http://www.exploremodeling.com/Casting/elfCosmetics2013/87024/Aubrey_Wright.aspx

You can vote for her once a day, so if you have another fifteen seconds to spare tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…well, it would be awesome if you voted again.

Take A Letter, Maria

I love craigslist, as is obvious by many of my blog posts. So when I needed a very small laptop table for the very tiny soon to be study room for Ron, I started combing through the furniture section and found this telephone table that looked like a mini-secretary to me:

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Unfortunately, I forgot to take “before” photos (I always do), so you can’t see the purple sides with the aboriginal art. While this would be fantastic for a small child’s room, it certainly didn’t meet my criteria for shabby coastal chic. Thank goodness for the internet, pinterest, and online recipes for chemical compounds not found in nature.

The first thing I had to do was take off the doors, remove the drawer and take off all the hardware, then sand it down. I wasn’t at all worried about the Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer adhering, since it sticks to anything and everything, including glass, but the art on the side was done with very thickly brushed and swirled acrylics, and I didn’t want the texture to come through. After a really good sanding with 100 grit paper, it was time to prime.

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Whew! All those dark colors are gone! I wanted to try using chalk paint, and since I can’t afford Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I googled for recipes. There are four basic paint additives that people use: plaster of paris, unsanded grout, calcium carbonate, and baking soda. However, that’s as far as unity goes, because other than some people agreeing on those additives, no one had the same recipe.

Some people use a couple of tablespoons of additive to a cup of paint and thin it with water. Other people use almost half additive to half paint, with a smidge of water. After reading twenty different recipes, I realized that really, people were just pulling quantities out of their asses. I finally just threw three tablespoons of plaster of paris in with a cup or so of paint and added a little over a third of a cup of hot water. My paint was a little runny, so I’ll use less water next time, but this did indeed work.

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While some people said to let it sit for a while so that the plaster starts to solidify, most everyone else said to use it as quickly as possible, since it dries very fast. I decided to paint as quickly as I could, just in case, but my paint never solidified, although it did dry super fast. It was ready for a second coat as soon as I finished putting on the first coat. Once it was coated enough to finish covering the primary colors, I gave it a day to really dry and then I started waxing it.

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Everyone agrees that paste wax is the way to go, although few people agreed on an amount. I tried using a bit of old t-shirt rubbed in the wax as an applicator, but that didn’t give me enough wax to get good coverage. Instead, I used a flat head screw driver to chip out wax chunks, then used the t-shirt to spread it around. That was much more satisfactory to me, but it does use a lot more wax that way.

During the day that I was letting the secretary cure, I went to a local craft store (I hate shopping there, but there are some things that only they carry) to pick up knobs. They have the best knobs and pulls for super crazy cheap. I found a set of light teal ceramic knobs that perfectly matches the paint in the playhouse; even better, they were only $2 each!

Once everything was waxed, set, and buffed, I put all the hardware back on, and this is what I ended up with!

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Yeah, scroll back up to the top and take a look at where I started. Of course, Ron hated the color (although he has several shirts this shade of yellow). I told him that it wouldn’t matter what color I used, he would hate it, so I chose one that *I* like, that way one of us is happy. This definitely makes me happy. It’s the perfect size for a laptop, with a drawer and two shelves for storage. That’s a whole lot of usable space in such a tiny wooden box!

I’m thrilled with my first experiment in chalk paint, although next time, I will use more plaster and less water. I also bought a darker paste wax on Amazon to give it a more distinctive patina. I think this proves that no matter what something looks like beforehand, it can be turned into a beautiful treasure with just a little effort and creativity!

Color My World

There’s been a whole lot of painting goin’ on around here. The playhouse took three coats (one of primer, two of paint), but the bathroom? That took a total of EIGHT coats of paint, although to be fair, that’s because I used an awful color to paint it the first time. It was a coat of primer, one of texture, another of primer, one of the hideous caramel, two more coats of primer, and two more coats of paint…the right color, this time.

Home improvement is the main point of contention in my marriage. My husband does not understand my need to paint, and is aghast at what he calls my duvet addiction. I do not have a duvet/comforter/quilt addiction. I just keep buying the wrong ones. At least I’m getting them from craigslist and eBay, so I haven’t spent a lot. I do have a quilt that I absolutely love that is pink and leaf green paisley on a white background, and of course, Ron hates it. It seems color doesn’t bother him unless it happens to be a color that I like. THEN he has an opinion.

Thanks to craigslist, I may have found a solution to my wanting a new duvet, Ron not wanting me to spend any money, and my overflowing closet; a woman is looking for spring/summer clothes in my old size, and she has a bunch of Pottery Barn stuff to barter. I’ll be able to get rid of some clothes that I never wear, AND get a new duvet in the process. Now THAT is a win/win.

While I had originally planned for the playhouse to be kind of a get-away summer house for outdoor naps, reading, quiet crochet, and a guestroom when needed, that was before Ron decided to go back to school. Suddenly, the project has become a study/den so he has a quiet place to read and do homework. At least I’ll have it to myself during the day. I refuse to turn it into a man-cave, so he’s stuck with shabby chic painted furniture, light sea foam green paint, and a fluffy daybed with lots of pillows.`

Our bathroom has been an ongoing nightmare for both of us, as we started the project with Will in December of 2011. Seriously! But then Will and I stopped talking, and although Aubrey and I were able to finish the closet and I painted the hideous caramel (worst bathroom color ever!), we still haven’t put up the beadboard that is supposed to cover the bottom of the wall that we told our drywall guy not to retexture, since we figured it would be covered. This means that we have a nice sand texture from about 34 inches up, then a 12 inch untextured patch, and then 2 feet of what looks like chunky vomit. I hate my tub that I can’t use bleach on because it was painted right before we moved in, and although it’s great to have a white tub instead of peeling paint with a green tub underneath, it sucks because it’s always dirty. Between the hideous caramel, the dirty tub, no light except for a reading lamp, the off-center giant kitchen cabinet that is set into the wall instead of a normal medicine cabinet, and the vomit-like texture, the bathroom was downright depressing. I truly despised going in there, to the point that I wouldn’t pee until it was absolutely necessary.

 

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The caramel is gone, but it is still dark and depressing.

All that is about to change, though! The beadboard goes in tomorrow, then the second coat of paint goes on. While that’s going on, I’m going to have mirrors cut to fit the doors. Then either those cabinets that have been on my back porch since we moved in or shelves will be installed above the toilet. The light will be installed, trim will go on, and I will finally scrape up all the paint, primer, and texture off the tile floor. It’s almost there!

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The blotchy patches? That’s partly due to the varying texture, and partly to my rolling the paint too thinly.

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Notice the hole where the light should be, and the large kitchen cabinet. Originally, there were no mirrors, but I went to the dollar store and bought six cheap framed mirrors, broke off the frames, and used loctite to glue three on each side. They fit perfectly from top to bottom, but are too small on the sides.

 

Ron asked me how much time, effort, and money I want to invest in this place. While our budget is extremely small (thank you, previous dentist!), we’re going to be stuck in this house for quite a while…at least two, if not three more years. So time and effort? I’m willing to put in a LOT. While the house started out as an absolute shit hole painted like an Easter egg inside and out, when I am done, it will be the cutest little English cottage. I’m sure Ron and I will fight every step of the way, but it will get done eventually. Will is great at getting me motivated, and of course, it helps that he actually knows what he’s doing when it comes to construction, so with his help, I know I can make this place fantastic.With the bathroom and the playhouse both so close to completion, I’m having to decide which room is next. The shit brown paint in the kitchen? My office with the wavy lines of texture on the ceiling? Or my bedroom with the god-awful curtains and the faded sage paint (not to mention the acoustic ceiling tiles that make one wonder if the previous owner was a screamer)? It’s all so dreadful, it makes it difficult to choose which one I hate the most. It’s okay, because I have plenty of time. Unfortunately.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

Before I go into my planned post, I want to give an update on my “Highway Days” post:

We didn’t make it to Austin, as it took Aubrey three hours to get her clothes together, steam ten of her dresses, do her hair, etc. I had asked her to do it the night before, but she used the excuse that I was asleep when she got home from work. Considering that I didn’t pick out any of her outfits, I consider that pretty bogus.

Instead of Austin, I decided to brave downtown anyway, and it turned out to not be so bad. Unfortunately, the light was horrible. Because I don’t have an assistant (since Aubrey is usually my assistant), I couldn’t use a diffuser. My flash is completely gone, so I couldn’t use a fill flash, either (which is how one deals with blotchy light, like under trees). I tried moving her from spot to spot, and every shot was just garbage. Finally, I found a set of stairs that had even enough light, and managed to get TWO pictures that were useable. The two became three when I cropped one to a close-up.

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aub3Aub loved these two pictures, and is especially proud of this dress. It is a Scott McClintock that she bought for $1.75 at a thrift store. The gloves are from one of her mall shopping trips with her friends, and likely are from Spencers, Claire’s, or Hot Topic. It is always amazing to find a dress that is tiny enough for her, and this one fits like one of her gloves. She has a McClintock body, both Scott and Jessica.

In spite of how tall she looks in the photos, let me state once again that she is 5’4″. It’s all in the angles, baby. I’ve learned so many tricks for making someone look much taller than they really are. Using that post as a prop and having her in an ankle length dress both work to elongate her body. Height is an optical illusion.

And now for something completely different:

Yesterday, it was finally Matt’s and my turn for our dental evaluations. After Aubrey’s $7000 total, I knew ours were going to be bad. Oh, how that is understated…

Matt’s tooth that the previous dentist butchered during a simple root canal has now become a giant abscess. The infection is starting to spread into the bone, so our new dentist has referred him out for oral surgery today. That tooth has to come out and a bone graft has to go in, as they are likely going to have to scrape away the infected bone. Not including the oral surgery, Matt’s total came out to about $13,000. Almost twice Aubrey’s, but realistic, at least.

When they started my evaluation and I heard the hygienist say, “It’s going to take me half an hour to chart this,” I decided I didn’t want to hear anymore, mainly because it was making me nauseous at the thought of how much it is going to cost. I put on my headphones and turned up my mp3 player. After they finished all the x-rays and charted all my spots, they took me into the “just in case they’re going to make a scene” room to give me the bad news. Mine came out to about $22,000. I could buy a brand new car with that much, and have money left over.

The problem is that my previous dentist did all of my fillings and crowns very poorly, and now there is decay underneath everything. So all my old fillings need to come out, and I need 11 crowns. I also have loose gums, so I need to have them lasered in order to encourage healthy tissue to adhere to the bone. On top of all of that, I need braces. Because I didn’t have my wisdom teeth removed early enough, they shifted all of my perfectly straight teeth. Then there’s the tooth on the bottom that was pulled I don’t know how many years ago, so my bottom teeth have all sort of slid to the right, making my bottom midline off by an entire tooth and a half.

It’s tough to decide what needs to be done NOW and what can wait a month or two. Matt’s oral surgery is a NOW, as are three of my crowns and lasering my gums. Aubrey has some emergent stuff, but she’s paying for most of her own. We’re paying for Matt’s surgery, and then he has to pay for the rest. Unfortunately, there is no one else to pay for my teeth.

What totally sucks is that we won’t know about Ron’s mouth until the 26th. There’s no telling how much work he’s going to need. I’m pretty sure he’s going to need to have the laser cleaning, at the very least. I told him I was going to laugh when they tell him that he has a mouthful of cavities. Yeah, it’s not so funny now that we have to deal with my mouth.

And so begins our oral adventure, as we put our dentist’s children through college. I expect a damn invitation to that graduation.

I Remember That Longing From My Highway Days

With a high of 72 waiting for us, and the perfect storm of my daughter and I both going to bed at a decent hour last night, we are finally going to work on her portfolio today. While this doesn’t actually require a drive to Austin, we pretend it does, because we’ll take and make any excuse to go up there.

I love shooting my daughter, as she has been doing this long enough that when I give her what seems like conflicting directions (“turn your head a little more to the left, chin up, eyes down, look at me but past me, back to the right just a smidge”), she follows them exactly. She knows how to not smile, smile just a little bit, a little bit more, big smile, big smile with teeth, perfect! She can stay perfectly still while I bracket like crazy (shooting a photo with just slightly varied settings to either direction of the original settings). She knows what I mean when I tell her to flip her hair (some people fluff it with their hand, when really, I mean to fling the head forward and back quickly so that it has body and movement). Best of all, she is a master of changing clothes in the car, including putting on a wedding dress in the backseat of a Nissan 200SX.

Because Austin is at a higher elevation, it is cooler and greener than where we live. Besides, after last night’s downtown event here, downtown is going to be a disaster for the day. Austin also has great graffiti, cool random art installations, and amazing architecture. Of course, there are also the lakes, Zilker park, and the Capitol building. Best of all, there is the original Chuy’s and IKEA.

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The jalapeno cream sauce on the left is the food of the gods. I could drink it like soup, although it is meant for eating with tortilla chips or for pouring onto your food.

My husband doesn’t understand my wanderlust, nor does he appreciate how truly difficult it is for me to stay in one place. Driving up to Austin eases that need to go…just go…in any direction, as long as it is not here. It has nothing to do with being happy or unhappy. Honestly, I believe wanderlust is genetic. My father had it, and my daughter is also afflicted.

It’s days like today that I miss my friend Sean the most. We were both explorers at heart, willing to drop everything and drive for hours and hours, just because. I actually got fired from a job because we decided (on the night that a major project was due) to go to a local taco place. We thought there was one on a particular highway, but there wasn’t, so we kept driving. Eight hours later, we wound up in El Paso, where we did indeed find the taco place we were looking for. We ended up spending the night and driving home the next day. My project was a day late…which would seem as though it’s not the end of the world (it wasn’t to me, anyway), but other people didn’t see it  in quite the same light.

However, today I must control my urges, and contain myself to the Austin/Round Rock area. I think I can handle it. The photography will keep my mind off the burning desire, and eventually I will be tired enough that it will pass.

“Lucky my daughter got her mother’s nose
And just a little of her father’s eyes
And we’ve got just enough love
That when the longing takes me
It takes me by surprise
And I remember that longing from my highway days
When I never could give it a name
And it’s lucky I discovered in the nick of time
That the woman and the child aren’t to blame

For the hole in the middle of a pretty good life
I only face it ’cause it’s here to stay
Not my father nor my mother nor my daughter nor my lover
Nor the highway made it go away
But now there’s too much darkness in an endless night
To be afraid of the way I feel
I’ll be kind to my loved ones
Not forever but for real”

 

 

A Perfect Day

Considering that I’ve had zero sleep (trying to reset my screwed up internal clock again), way too much caffeine, and not enough real food, I had a fantastic day.

In order to stay awake all day so that I can sleep tonight, I started my day out by slamming down two cups of Starbucks Christmas blend. Of course, my coffee is actually about a third Coffee Mate, but Starbucks is stronger than your average grocery store bean, so I figure it evens out. As soon as I finished my second cup, I jumped in the shower and did a second round of the sulfur cleanser, which apparently is the trick to getting rid of ALL the sulfur smell. Meanwhile, Will was blowing up my phone with, “Dammit, aren’t you on your way YET?” calls. He should know by now that I’m always at least a half an hour late.

After begging Ron to at least have breakfast with us (he refused on the grounds that Will’s and my conversations are boring and irrelevant to him, to which I have to agree), I gave up and jetted downtown to pick up Will. Neither of us had eaten yet, so we went to the famous taco place where I had the most incredibly awesome bean, cheese, and bacon tacos ever…and more coffee.

When we finished breakfast almost an hour later, thanks to a very busy kitchen that took forever to get out our order, I dragged Will to my favorite little slightly overpriced antique shop, where I fell madly in love with a vintage metal typing table that was a bit too precious at $40. Will found a HUGE 1962 stereo system that had the receiver in the center, a turntable on the right, and a reel to reel on the left, which he plans to put on his birthday list to his mom.

A few days ago, he was cut off by an 18 wheeler while riding his bike, and sprained his shoulder pretty severely. Between breakfast and shopping, his meds had worn off, so we headed towards home with a stop at the hardware store for more rollers. Once we got settled and Pinky was appeased with massive attention, we started in on the back wall, ceiling, and trim in the playhouse. We were singing along with Bob Dylan, Steve Miller Band, Cream, Lynard Skynard, and the Beatles while we painted, and marveled once again that we both know the lyrics to a ridiculous amount of music of all genres. Will is the only guy I know who likes the same music I do (although my friend from college, Sean, also shared my musical tastes), and while Aubrey knows quite a bit of oldies (OMG, I am seriously old!), she doesn’t know ALL of them. The only song that I hoped for but didn’t get to hear was “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

The weather was gorgeous, breezy and overcast, although a bit humid, making the paint slow to dry. In between coats, we read texts from Will’s latest insane “lay of the day” (this woman is a bunny boiler for sure) and threw the squishy for Pinky. She really just wanted to play keep-away, and Will obliged by chasing her around the yard. She was a happy puppy, and was running around with her tongue lolling out. Meanwhile, Amy sat on the basketball court, perfectly still, with her eyes closed, her head up to the sun, and a huge grin on her face. She loves sunshine and a cool breeze, and all the spring smells in the air.

Just as we were wrapping it up for the day, Ron got home and saw the project in progress. He had no idea that we’d been secretly working on the playhouse for three weekends, so it was a big surprise. It will probably be the world’s smallest, chic-est man-cave ever, but he agreed it will be a quiet place to study. He liked the color a million times better than the previous cascarone palette, so that was a huge win for me.

We three sat on the back porch and enjoyed the pre-rain air while we talked about the next few projects on the list. Will and I kept the conversation away from people we’ve known since grade school and toned down our normal vulgar senses of humor, and Ron actually laughed and chatted with us! Another win!

I will not explain exactly why we found this so hilarious, but you can use your imagination.

I will not explain exactly why we found this so hilarious, but you can use your imagination.

Finally, I took Will home (note to self: on days where there is a major event going on downtown, take Will home early) so he could get ready for his date with a different woman than the one that we’d made fun of all day. We were both grimy, sweaty, and covered in paint, but felt very successful.

My only wish is that I’d had some pear cider and a designated driver. Days like today call for frosty (gluten free) alcoholic beverages; few things beat sitting around and shooting the shit with a friend with a cold beer (or cider) in hand. But, with neither of those things handy, I settled for hanging out sans alcohol. It’s better for my weight loss, anyway.

I’m really glad that Will and Ron get along, although I wish Ron were better at making friends with people. It’s nice to have a friend who shares my love of home improvement, antiquing, and off-color humor. Everyone needs a friend who can laugh when you tell them to fuck off because they’re being an idiot. There just aren’t enough of them to go around.

Now the excitement of the day has worn off, although the excess adrenaline is still making me feel somewhat shaky. I look pretty awful, with entire sets of luggage under my eyes (not just bags), and my eyelids are doing their nightly bargaining ritual…”Please let us close just for a second. We won’t let you fall asleep, we promise. We just want to rest for a tiny little smidge, and then you can get up and brush the teeth.” Considering that my eyelids lie like dogs on rugs, it’s a good thing that it’s late enough now that I can take my sleep meds, brush my teeth, put on my face lotion, and crash big time.

I wish every day could be this carefree, pain free, fun, and productive. Since the goal of the day was to reset my body back to its regularly scheduled programming, I can honestly say, “Mission accomplished!”

Yeah, I agree it sucks to randomly lose an hour.

Yeah, I agree it sucks to randomly lose an hour.