I’ve been intermittently busy, punctuated by naps here and there. I finally painted my sewing cabinet that is my new desk in the new office/craft room. I’ve been scouring craigslist and Goodwill and garage sales for various wicker baskets and boxes, and I’ve had some great luck. I managed to score a really pretty wingback recliner for $49 from craigslist, too.

I had bought a sample quart of a super pale gray from Sherwin Williams, but when I painted a sample swatch on the desk, it was barely noticeable from the primer, which is white. I wanted a slightly bluer gray, so I rummaged through my paint supplies and found an entire gallon of the dark blue/gray that I used on the walls. Thank goodness, because I also need to patch the walls where Aubrey did a really crappy job of hanging things around the room. I mixed in about 3/6 of a cup (1/3 and another half of 1/3) of the wall color into the gray, gave it a good shake and a stir, painted the top of the desk and let it dry. It is PERFECT!

While the paint dried, I started in on the credenza, a garage sale shelf, and a pair of patio loungers that I picked up at the same garage sale. Everything had to be sanded, which meant that when my mouse sander decided to fall apart, it was a major crisis. I tried using scrapbook tape to hold the pad and paper on the body, but it just fell off. Then I thought about E6000 glue, but when I dug it out, it was completely dried up. Crap! I almost went to Harbor Freight to buy a cheap sander, but I saw a roll of red super stick tape. I slapped it all over the pad and body and it stuck!! Yay!!

Once the desk was painted and the credenza was primed, I got all the furniture into the room. When Ron got home last night he sat in the recliner, declared it comfy, then sat there while we discussed the furniture placement. Even he was impressed with how it’s looking, and I am thrilled. I can’t wait until I can get in there and start crafting.

Yesterday, I finally found the chairs that I have been scouring on craigslist for. I’ve looked almost every day for the last two weeks, and it paid off. I found a pair of wingback recliners in a beautiful dark sage green with a botanical leaf print. Matt carried the sofa out to the shed, effectively removing Aubrey’s place to sleep. I figured it would motivate her to help me get her room cleared and her bed set up.

Today Aubrey is off, so we hit it hard. We got all the rest of my stuff out of her new room and stacked it all in the living room. I am adamant that NOTHING goes in that office unless it has a place, even if it means the living room is an absolute disaster. We set up the bed, put on clean sheets, and centered it between two bookshelves. It looks so pretty! She’s excited to have enough room for all her stuff, but I did lay down the law about keeping the space clean. If she can’t keep it clean, she’s going to have to move out, ready or not.

All in all, even though I’m ready to drop from exhaustion, I am really happy with all that’s been accomplished. I couldn’t have done it without Matt’s help. Since he has a van, he took me to pick up all my craigslist finds, moved furniture multiple times from room to room and out to the shed, and kept me entertained in between. Aubrey has been amazing about helping me, in spite of her also being exhausted and in a fibro flare. Ron was great about the few things that I had to buy, and he’s been positive and supportive. I know he’s glad to see projects being finished, stuff being thrown away, and things getting done.

I’m pushing for a garage sale on Saturday and can only hope the weather  wants to cooperate. I am holding off a major flare by sheer force of will, and I’ve promised myself that starting Sunday, I can die for the week even if the living room is STILL a disaster. Just a few more days… I can make it!

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A look at where we started

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The floor is under there somewhere.

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The desk was my old sewing cabinet that was free from a friend. The recliner was a craigslist find. The desk chair is from a resale shop, the credenza was a plain pine buffet from IKEA that wasn’t being used anymore, and the baskets were in a coffee table (also from IKEA) that I bought several years ago off craigslist.

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A summer ice pail, several paper boxes from Michaels, and lots of IKEA KASSETT boxes hold a fraction of my yarn.

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Hard to believe but I found this fabric at Walmart. The paisley was $7/yard and the teal canvas was $2/yard. The canvas is going on a three panel folding screen and the paisley will be accents around the room.

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And The Beat Goes On

Life has been gloriously normal the past few days. We sort of glossed over our 11th anniversary last Thursday, but we’re going to Austin/IKEA tomorrow as Ron’s present to me. While I was somewhat disappointed that I didn’t get any flowers for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary, it’s substantially mitigated by the impending shopping trip.

The weather continues to be cool and breezy, perfect for being outside and working on furniture projects. Ron is super happy that I’m finally getting jiggy with the sewing cabinet that has been cluttering up the back patio for almost a year now. Today I got it completely sanded down, spackled, and sanded again. I had Ron flip it over so I could clean all the spider webs and eggs out from the bottom of it, then I had him bring it inside. I swear I scraped off about a hundred water roach eggs from the inside (also known as palmetto roaches, palmetto beetles, or just big fucking scary roaches that fly at you). The eggs are the size of coffee beans. I got all but one hinge off; one screw is stripped, so I need to check youtube for how to remove it. I plan to spray the hinges black, paint the cabinet a light chalked French grey, and replace the knobs with cute ones that I’m currently shopping for. I love that the top flips open to double the size, and it’s really compact when it’s closed. It has three deep drawers and one shallow drawer, which is quite a bit of storage space, considering. The best part is it was free! A friend found it on the side of the road and gave it to me when we first moved in this place.

The daybed that I hacked from a full size IKEA Fjellse is another project that has languished for over a year but is now getting done. I sliced up the mattress, but I still need to add batting, make covers for the two pieces, and add the middle piece of wood and the slats. It is also going to be painted the same French grey as the desk. I intend to paint an old IKEA buffet for use as a credenza for the printer, scanner, and router, and when I find a wood desk for Ron, that will get painted, too. Paint is a super cheap way to unify a bunch of different furniture; I’m just glad that garage sale chic is in style!

While last Wednesday’s cleaning frenzy landed me in a miserable flare, I’ve still managed to get some things done by working in very small bursts with lots of rest in between. The yarn is slowly making its way into the office, and I’m weeding out all the crap yarn (cough cough Red Heart cough). I’m trying to move stuff as quickly as I can because Aubrey is stuck sleeping on the sofa until I get enough crap out of the old office for her to have room to set up her bed. In anticipation, she bought new sheets and a new quilt set while we were out shopping for baskets at HomeGoods.

I’ve had the worst time finding tips on how to store a giant yarn stash. I laugh at the cute yarn storage buckets that hold less than my project bag. I’ve started piling skeins into my old dresser, some IKEA Kassett boxes, a few fabric bins, and a couple of enameled galvanized buckets. I bought some wicker baskets at Goodwill, and the rest is tucked into clear plastic Sterilite bins until I can find more galvanized buckets. Seriously, I have my very own yarn store, which was really nice when I decided to start my latest project at midnight a week ago…I just went shopping in my stash!

The kissing experiment has been underway for almost a week now. I think it is going well; we’ve been snuggling on the sofa watching old episodes of The Simpsons, cooking together, talking and laughing, and there have been lots of random hugs and kisses. We have another week to go before we revisit our discussion, so more time for pair bonding to occur. I am trying to be positive but at the same time, not get caught up in thinking things are fine. It’s a tough rope to walk, but for the moment, I’ll take it. I think if we make it past this exercise, the next step will be going out to a movie.

The only stress in this week was when Ron’s dad called to say he is officially retired and that he might come down for a visit. AUGH! Believe me when I say that my house is nowhere near ready for company, especially not an in-law. I guess that’s the bee that I needed in my bonnet to get my ass moving! Nothing like impending doom to motive one to move!

Whip It! Whip It Good!

Busy days! Our weather has been insane, with temps ranging from 29 degrees one day to 69 degrees the next. While the cold days have me curled up in the bed in pain, the gorgeous days have me filled with energy. Yesterday was one of those gorgeous days, and it also happened to be Aubrey’s day off, so the great room swap of 2014 pushed on!

For those of you just joining in, I’ve been trying to get Aubrey’s room swapped with what was my office/den. The only problem is that my daughter’s room looks like Goodwill threw up. She loves to go thrifting, and is VERY good at it, so there are designer clothes EVERYWHERE. Then there’s her shoe addiction, which is evident by the ridiculous number of shoes this child has. On top of those two clutter-creating things, she has tons of art supplies, books, and knick knacks. She never gets rid of anything, and it has become a major issue because her room stinks.

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When Aubrey moved back home in January 2012, I bought a filter for an air purifier that we had lying around, hoping it would keep the dog smell down. A few days ago when Matt and Amanda came over to help me move furniture around, we noticed a thick layer of dust on every surface in Aubrey’s room. The curtains were white with dog hair, the bed skirt was the same, and the ceiling fan was a health hazard. I know she’s a slob, but we’ve never had that problem with the rest of the house. We were baffled by what could have caused it. In the morning, I woke her up so she could start dusting down the walls; fortunately, it was just dust, not greasy or oily. As we cleaned, I decided to order new filters. I took apart the purifier to find the filter model number and found the source of the pollution. The filter had over an inch of dog hair clogging it. GROSS! It was a solid chunk that I peeled off in one piece. Needless to say, we unplugged the purifier until the new filters arrive on Friday. Thank goodness for Amazon’s two day delivery.

I’m super excited about moving Ron’s computer out of our bedroom. I’m angling to get a king size bed, which won’t fit until the desk and the comfy arm chair are gone. I’m also dying to paint that room, which can’t be done until there is less stuff in there. But the first thing that I’m going to do is replace the curtains. We’re still living with the hideous blue sheet looking things that were hanging when we moved in. Our walls are a sickly green, and the ceiling has acoustic tiles that are falling down. Yup, it’s time to make a change in that room.

In between our cleaning days, I’ve been crocheting up a storm as I finish a baby blanket for Ron’s boss. I also joined an Artist Trading Card group, so I’ve had a ball tearing up magazines and covering everything with Mod Podge. Having a clean, organized, bright and sunny room is going to make all of that stuff more fun when I have less of a scramble to find my supplies.

I think the thing that has surprised me most is how much time I have with the house clean. Or I should say, how much guilt free time I have. Since it only takes a few minutes in each room to keep everything clean, I have the rest of the day to relax and do the creative stuff. My whole life, I’ve procrastinated the chores and snuck my craft/reading/napping time, which wasn’t as much fun as it could be because I was stressed out about everything being a mess. I wish I could go back in time ten years and slap me. My only hope is that I can instill some good habits in Aubrey before she moves out on her own.

Yesterday, I managed to get all the Amy snot off the windows, the curtains washed, and the walls clean. We threw out five bags of trash and swept the floor three times. Of course, the living room is now a disaster, but as anyone who ever owned a Rubik’s Cube knows, sometimes you have to break one to fix another. Of course, while Aubrey was moving stuff from the living room into her new room, I took advantage of the time and cleaned the laundry room and bathroom. While both of those rooms are still far from “CLEAN,” they are no longer disgusting and don’t make me want to cry quite so much.

Today, we’re taking a small break to run some errands, but before we leave, we are moving the bed. Aubrey has to be at work early today, so while she’s getting dressed, I’m going to swiffer and orange glo the floor, then IN goes the computer! WHOO HOO!

As an update for those of you who are following along with my marriage drama, night before last, we made a frittata for dinner, talked about the horrid IT department at Ron’s company, and Ron made popcorn as our bedtime snack. We laughed and kissed and it was wonderfully normal. Sigh. I love those days. They are what live for.

The Bright Side of Life

Just when I think things are going well, it turns out they’re not. I hate this inconsistent roller coaster of emotions. Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted to call it and be done. But I won’t. Marriage is about commitment, and I am committed. Or maybe I should be committed? Not sure.

Dinner has been ready every week night by the time Ron gets home. The dishes are done before bed. The dishwasher is unloaded every day. Our bed is made every morning. All the laundry gets done by Friday afternoons so Ron has the weekend free to do other stuff. In other words, he’s getting all he asked for. He’s definitely less stressed, but he’s still not happy.

Last night, we had a long talk about where our relationship is going, what are our boundaries, what we each want and don’t want. Ron spent his formative teenage years being raised by his dad in a somewhat emotionally bereft home. There were no hugs, no “I love you” as he walked out the door, and no example of what a good marriage is. While I certainly didn’t have a good example in my parents, I had plenty outside my home; as I’ve gotten older, I have friends with good marriages who have still had tough times but have seen it through. Best of all examples though, is having been married twice before. I realize what is good, what is bad, what stays, what goes, and above all else, I know that wherever I go, there I am. In other words, I recognize what is my issue vs. what is a marital issue.

But Ron doesn’t have that. He said that, “It was fun at first, but then that went away.” I laughed (I couldn’t help it) and explained that of course the fun went away; that the falling in love feeling only lasts for a while. He also said he loved me as a friend; I said I love him as a friend, too; that as marriage goes along, friendship is what we’re left with and what gets us through. I don’t think I’m just being stubborn. We have the same values, our politics are similar although I’m more passionate, we support each other, we respect each other, and most importantly, we make each other laugh. For me, that’s worth fighting for. We balance each other out in that he keeps me grounded and I keep him human.

My ex-husband used to tell me to stop focusing on making the right decision and focus instead on making my decision right. In other words, once you make your choice, learn to live with it. So I see the bright side of things. Goodness, if I didn’t see the positive, I would never have escaped my childhood. However, Ron sees the negative of everything. It’s all he ever thinks about. Things will NEVER work, things will NEVER change, he will NEVER get a new job, I will NEVER keep the house clean…so much NEVER and not enough MAYBE.

So I asked him to engage in a small experiment before we really call it quits. He said it seemed like too much, so I said we’d start with something really simple. He does enjoy kissing, so I asked him to kiss me goodnight and goodbye every day for the next two weeks, and that we wouldn’t talk about our relationship at all during these two weeks. He didn’t understand what I meant, so I kissed him the way I want to be kissed, just to make sure he had the idea.

Two kisses and a whole lot of under cover time later, he saw the possibilities in my request. Of course, I know the science behind it: kissing and cuddling releases oxytocin, which is a neuromodulator that is responsible for pair bonding. In other words, kissing someone makes you feel closer to that person. Touching also releases oxytocin, so this morning when I heard his alarm go off, I snuggled close and rubbed his back (under his shirt) for a good while. He ended up late to work, but I got one hell of a goodbye kiss. After twelve hours, I thought we were on to a successful start.

Can we kiss our way back to him being in love? No, it’s going to take more than that. But it’s a simple start, easy enough to do, and doesn’t cost anything, all requirements for an effort from Ron. We still have other things to work on, particularly communication, but other than communication, they are generally superficial things…the house, the laundry, the dishes, the bills, the debt. I can effect a change in him simply by doing my part in those areas.

Being in love is really just a decision made every day to be in love. Being married is just a decision made every day to stay married. Can he make that decision? I don’t know. But last night and this morning definitely give me a LOT of hope, and that’s better than not having any hope at all.

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I Want To Thank You!

Today is one of the best days ever! When I started this blog a million years ago, I really thought it would be more of a personal journal because no one was ever going to read it. Well, it took almost exactly five years but there are now TWO HUNDRED of you, reading my words, liking my posts, commenting and giving encouragement.

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On February 9, it will be five years. FIVE years! FIVE YEARS!! That is longer than my second marriage (by a long shot!). Traditionally, the fifth anniversary means gifts made of wood. Since I’m no longer killing trees by writing on lined wire bound notebooks, I’m saving thousands of trees, so it’s appropriate.

My very first post was inspired by Semisonic’s “Closing Time.” I had just embarked on a new chapter of my life at age 40; while I had the life I wanted, it wasn’t the life I had planned. Because my life has a sound track, I decided that song lyrics and titles would be my post titles. While I sometimes have to search for a song to go with my ranting, most of the time my posts are inspired by a song, making it easy to know which one to choose.

I never dreamed that I would have “blogger recognition” problems because I would meet someone who reads my blog…Aubrey’s boss once did a search on the restaurant and my post came up; the one about how Aubrey decided to apply. Fortunately, no one else knows who I am because I use of a picture of me when I was four as my avatar.

Thank you for sharing my life, the trials and tribulations of my marriage, the joys and tears of raising my children, and a few of my personal opinions on various politically charged topics. My thoughts are mine, as are my interpretations of other people’s actions. I know I’ve been wrong about the motivation and thought processes of some that I have written about, but it’s not about those people, it’s all about how I interpret things, right or wrong. That doesn’t make me less wrong, obviously. What I mean to say is that when I do get something wrong, it’s not a personal attack about whomever I am writing. Since this blog is about my feelings, when I write something, it is what I feel, not necessarily what that person MEANT.

What do I have planned for the next five years? More marriage stuff, obviously. Lots of stuff about my kids. I have a separate blog for my knitting and crochet, so not much of that. Lots of political rants during the next election cycle. Overall, there will be a whole lot of general rambling.

I imagine that in the next five years, Aubrey will date again, Matt will eventually settle down, there might be a grandchild in the mix somewhere, Aub will go to school, maybe I’ll go to school, maybe we’ll move to a new house, maybe I’ll finish a project or two. I hope that I will be decluttered before these five years are up. Personally, I hope I’m a better person, a better friend, a better mom. I hope that I continue to grow and learn, and that life doesn’t stagnate.

Most of all, I hope you all stick around for the ride!

Still The One

A month ago, just a few days into my planned six week vacation in Connecticut, my husband told me (over the phone) that he wanted a divorce. He says this periodically; I pull teeth to figure out exactly what’s bothering him, we work on it, things get better, life moves on. I cut my vacation in half, but while I was there, I made sure to talk to him at least once a day. Things seemed to be okay, and he said he missed me.

This time ’round, he said he was tired of the house being a mess and having to take care of me all the time. Both of those are an easy fix, especially since he (mostly) cleaned while I was gone. I’ve stayed on top of it pretty well, helped with the laundry as much as I can, and I’ve tried to have dinner ready when he gets home without asking him the dreaded question of, “What do you want for dinner?” Everyone hates that question.

Here we are two weeks later, the house is still clean (ish), the bed is made every morning (no hospital corners, but who cares?), all the laundry is done, and I’ve had enough energy to shower every day (a huge accomplishment, trust me). Things are better. They are not perfect, but no marriage ever is.

These are the days that are the hardest of any marriage; the, “God, I do not want to be here with this person,” days. I know we’ve had them before, and as my friend always says, “This too shall pass.” Although lately, I feel more like Gandalf; “You shall not pass!” I feel mired and sad and lonely and unwanted, and I am waiting for it to pass. And waiting. And waiting.

We’ve both made more of an effort to spend time together. Today when I had the car, I realized he didn’t take a lunch, so I called him to see if he wanted me to pick him up or take him something, and he decided that I should pick him up. When I got there, he said he forgot that today is the day of the week that a local restaurant sells barbecue plates in the lobby. I asked him if he wanted to just stay and eat there, and he said, “No, I WANT to have lunch with you.” That made my entire week. Seriously.

When I had a crappy day because someone unfriended me on facebook last weekend, Ron made it better. I know I unfriend people all the time, but this is someone I considered family, and they not only ditched me, but my kids, too. It was personal, and the reason was ridiculous. Ron made me laugh about it and pointed out all the reasons I wouldn’t notice she was gone.

Marriage is work. Unlike work, you can’t just call in sick. You have to be there everyday, rain or shine, good mood or bad. For better, for worse, in sickness, and in health. Suck it up and stick it out.

At the end of the day, I can honestly say my husband is still my best friend. He still makes me laugh and he still turns me on. As we fast approach our 11th wedding anniversary, (well, limp along towards it), he is still the person that I most want to be with. He’s smart, funny, sexy, and gorgeous. He plays a killer game of Cards Against Humanity. He makes amazing salads. He’s a great dad. He’s good, kind, honest, and has a sense of integrity that is nearly impossible to find nowadays. He is worth the work.

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