Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Breaking my silence...

For the funniest thing I've seen in a while.  I might have to do this myself.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Birthday week accomplished

Hello friends.  I had a great birthday week.  It started with presents and flowers.  

And cupcakes.   

I bought myself a plant at one of our many Home Depot runs.

I'm so helpful.
Mr. Renaissance had a birthday surprise for me.  We were going to do it on Saturday night.  But then Friday morning, after my birthday dinner at Rover's with Halterwhip and The Shutterbug, I woke up pretty tired.  You see we've been sleeping on a full size bed.  Me, a 200 lb man, and a dog.  Bubba got kicked off the bed in the middle of that night, but it didn't help much.  Bed. too. small!

So Friday morning we decided to upgrade to a king size bed.  I hadn't wanted to change beds until we moved - it seemed like too much work - but we were obviously in a too small bed.  And I acquiesced.  

And it took up three days.

We had to go to a few stores to try mattresses, pick out a frame and comforter at IKEA, buy new sheets at Target, take the old bed apart, move the pile of boxes out of the dining room and into the new shed to make room to store the old bed, transfer the underbed storage to the new underbed storage, prewash the linens, put the new bed together, and make the bed.  

Whew.  It was exhausting.  And the first few nights the new memory foam mattress had to outgas.  Meaning it has VOCs that need to come off the mattress (apparently like new car upholstery).  But it was so so strong.  We seriously thought about returning the mattress after the first night.  It's gotten much better* and it's comfortable.  

But the size?  The size is amazing.  The bedroom actually looks bigger than it did with the smaller bed. And Mr. Renaissance let me pick a white metal frame and lavender bedding.  

Doesn't it look great?
So I still have a birthday surprise to redeem.  Although I'm not sure when we'll do it.  Weekend fill up fast and Slutbag is coming this weekend! 

* We still might trade the mattress in though.  We'll see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do you ever do this to yourself?

Fold laundry on the bed while watching TV and end up pinning yourself in?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bubba, CGC

Now another member of the family has three initials after their name.  One PhD, one CGC.  Canine Good Citizen, that is.

We just finished a six week class on Advanced Manners at Fuzzy Buddy's in Seattle.  Every Sunday afternoon we've left the house renovation for an hour class at Greenlake.  Some things he was already great at - sit, down, stay, and coming when called.  Other things - like walking on a loose lead and not reacting to other dogs - that's what we needed to work on.  I was having a hard time with those.  I had tried multiple things to get him to stop pulling on the leash pretty much unsuccessfully, and he needed more practice and positive reinforcement on ignoring other dogs when on leash.

Today was the last class where he took the test.  He had to:

  1. Accept a friendly stranger greeting his owner.
  2. Allow the stranger to pet him.
  3. Let the stranger groom him.
  4. Walk on a loose lead.
  5. Walk politely through a crowd.
  6. Sit and lie down on command and stay in place.
  7. Come when called.
  8. React appropriately to another dog.
  9. React appropriately to distractions.
  10. Calmly endure supervised separation from the owner.

He did really well and passed his test.  Now he's officially a good boy.
In other news, Greenlake isn't just a great place to take your dog on a warm spring day.  It's also a pretty good outing for your baby chicks apparently.

Which is what was in this lady's makeshift, travel, 2x4 pen.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I filed my taxes myself!

No I didn't. 

You see, my dad is a CPA and my mom is a doer.  So my college years my mom did my taxes, and after that my dad did them.  My taxes are simple (except for the years I worked in two states) and neither one of them ever gave me the impression that this was a big chore for them.  My mom was already doing her more complicated taxes anyway, and my dad was already doing hundreds of people's taxes anyway.

But this year my dad got a new job as the Treasurer for his town.  And he was still going to do the taxes of a lot of his clients in addition to that this year.  He didn't want to pass them off to someone else in his old company.  And two other things happened.  Mr. Renaissance, who does his own more complicated taxes, said we could do them ourselves really easily.  And I thought, "hmmm, maybe I could save my dad a few minutes from work this year."  I also asked Mr. Renaissance, "By 'ourselves' you mean you do them while I hang out nearby?  Cause I don't want to do my taxes".  I'm in my early thirties and have never done anything more than collect all the appropriate documents, send a fax, and sign on the post-it-noted line.  And this has felt like a little amazing luxury that I do not want to give up.  "I don't do my taxes" is now a small part of my identity.  If I don't want to burden my dad with it, and Mr. Renaissance isn't straight up offering to do it, I'm going straight to a professional.  That's how much I'm invested in this.

Anyway, this weekend Mr. Renaissance filed my taxes (after a few calls to my dad for details from last year).  I was somewhere nearby cleaning the house or doing laundry or feeding the dogs.  All I did was collect my documents and provide my identifying information, and still I got frustrated with the process.  Whatever.

But I'm getting money back (like always!) and my self-identity was left undisturbed.  A win-win.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I feel like I've expressed that my job is stressful.  It is a LARGE project that I have taken on for my post-doc.  A large project where several of the pieces have either never been done before, never been done at this scale, or never been done in this way.  And yes, that's science, do something that's never been done before, but just for the record, you will usually retain a little more of your sanity if you attempt this a bit more incrementally.

I've got a lot going on there - computer programming, leading several pieces of the project, working collaboratively with many other people, making sure other people are getting their parts done at least somewhat within the timeframe, reading papers, writing papers, going to seminars, organizing the structure of the project and reorganizing the structure of the project, figuring out the details of how to simulate about five surveys for 3 types of assessment, organizing appropriate meetings, etc.

And I had to go to Alaska last week for a meeting.  So add packing, travel, attending talks, talking to a bunch of people, and meeting with my 2 bosses (but not at the same time of course!).

A lot of people have stressful jobs.  And thank goodness that my living situation is calm and good.  But there are other things going on too.

1.  New relationship
2.  House renovation

To explain...

The new relationship is great.  We're good together, he's a great person, we love each other, and have very similar goals.  I found it all and am quite surprised and happy about it.  But, we just moved in together.  We just got engaged.  He just finished going through a divorce, moved, and changed jobs.  That's a lot of shit kicked up.  We somewhat recently went to a couples counselor to get some stuff ironed out before those kind of things become big problems (his idea, which is another reason to love him), and she said that after couples get engaged it is incredibly common that it stirs shit up.  Same with getting married and having kids.  Those milestones kick up the shit in a relationship.  I sighed a sigh of relief.  We're normal!

Anyway, we both obviously have been pretty hurt and disappointed in previous relationships and we both wheeled some baggage in with us.  Sometimes his baggage starts a fight with my baggage.  Or vice versa.  The challenge sometimes is to realize when that's happening.  As in, sometimes Person A needs to realize that his/her nuclear-sized reaction to a particular trigger is not because of Person B's multiple transgressions (in fact it may be the first time Person B has done this at all), but because it is in Person A's history that he/she has had to deal with it way more than his/her fair share.  Perhaps in a previous relationship it was a common reoccurance that was particularly hurtful.  That sort of thing.

And you know, relationships take time.  Spending time together, being present for the other's ups and downs, being someone they can count on, working toward common goals, and having happy times ;) and not so happy times (see above).

So of course you're left with less time than you're used to when you're single.  Of course this is a good thing - companionship, sharing your life with someone, never feeling like a loser on a Friday night.  A lot of singledom, at least when you're out of your twenties, feels like you're trying to have a party when 90% of your friends are out of town.  But, the other side of the coin is that part of me really thrives on solitude.  Like when there's a giant space on a weekend day that is my mission to creatively fill.  Should I take a long walk with the dog?  Do some writing?  Start a project?  Watch 5 hours of Downton Abbey?

In my current life I still get to finish Season 2 of Downton Abbey in the span of a few weeks, and then after the last episode, skip into the living room to express my joy about Lady Mary and Matthew and launch into the short version of their story.  Side note: Downton Abbey told by plot points sounds ridiculous.

And then there's the house.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the house.
I love all the windows, the nooks, the public/private spaces, the efficiency of space, the cook's kitchen, the french doors, the utility room, the under stairs pantry, the library corner in the living room,

the large master bedroom window, my walk-in closet, the beautiful master bath, the small open room at the top of the stairs, and that we've got 3 bedrooms and 3 baths.  It will be perfect to live in and grow in. When we met with the architect and I told him everything I loved, he came back with these plans and I lit up like a LED diamond ring.  

But yes, building a house is stressful.  Stressful to a relationship and personally.  And if you're doing most of the work yourselves on top of stressful full-time jobs it's even more so.  

There's of course the stress of money.  A lot of money gets spent.  And we've had to realize that our best move is to build just the first story now and live in that for a couple years before adding the second story.  This means we'll have a temporary bedroom in the space where the stairs and library nook will eventually go.  But the kitchen will be done.  When I get stressed about the state of flux in the house I will barricade myself in the finished kitchen.  

The stress of money also comes up when you're deciding on building materials.  And even though one of you is very flexible about letting the other one have her dream family home, you will still have arguments about windows*.  As in, one of us ideally wants all the windows (aside from in the bedrooms which have to open to meet code, and in the bathroom and utility rooms to vent weird smells) to be fixed (i.e. don't open) in order to save costs and decrease heat leakiness.  The other of us wants windows to open so that we can let the outside in on our limited Pacific Northwest beautiful days, so that we can feel the breeze run through the house and smell the flowers in the front yard, and so that we can yell at the kids without having to run outside.  We'll come to a compromise, but I'm still standing my ground that a living room needs 1-2 windows that open.  

And then there's the stress of time.  Weekends are either spent entirely at the house working, or spent feeling guilty about not working on the house.  I've started to feel like my life is consists of work, working on the house, trying to keep the rental house somewhat clean and mostly failing, eating fast food, watching crap TV (I love crap TV), and sleeping.  Bags don't get unpacked until a week later, laundry doesn't get done until it takes 8 loads, time spent together is either the work or decompressing from work variety, social lives get neglected, and healthy home-cooked meals don't get made.  

We were recently exhausted at 6pm on a Saturday (after not even working on the house that day), and one of us had a mini-meltdown about coffee grounds at K-Mart, and one of us had a less-mini-meltdown at home afterwards about Cabela's.  Yes, I cried about Cabela's.

So stress.  Yeah, I've got it.  My plan to deal with it is to:
A.  Exercise, hard.  
B.  Rebalance my life.
C.  Spend too much money in the pastry/cake section of Whole Foods.  
D.  Realize this is the stress of over-abundance?

But that's all I have to say for now - got to get back to the laundry.

* Windows 101:  Do you want vinyl ($), fiberglass ($$), or fiberglass/wood ($$$)?  Do you want fixed ($), awning ($$), single hung ($$), casement ($$$) or double hung ($$$$)?  What do you want the wooden panes to look like?  Do you want triple-paned glass ($$$$)?  

Monday, April 2, 2012

A few recent pics

Hello friends!  Haven't seen you much these days.  Where ya' been?  Well, pretty much everything of note lately (that I've had any time at all to write about) has been going on over at the house blog - oneweekendatatime.  Head over there for some house updates.  We've been working pretty much all weekend days at the house - and some other time on top of that.  So I've been quite busy.  Work, house, relationship duties (knowwhatI'msayin'?), a little time to myself once and awhile, that's about what's been happening.

But here's a few things we've also been up to (in pictures):

We've started having some spring days!

Went with The Violent Offender, The Shutterbug, Mr. Renaissance and our new friend to Leslie and the Lys!

Ah, Space needle.

I'll give you one guess who did this to him.

Using my new Kitchenaid to make St. Patrick's Day Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Bailey's frosting!

Bubba went to an agility workshop and he looooooved it.  This is him just dying to go replace that other dog.  He was taking too long to figure it out and Bubba thought his chance should have been over.