Friday, March 30, 2012

My Hero!

On Tuesday night, I did one of the funnest things I’ve gotten to do in a long time.  I got to meet one of my biggest heroes.  I got to see Anne Lamott in real life.

She did a reading and book signing at the Tattered Cover here in Denver and my big sis carved out some time to go with me. 

Anne is such a big deal that she won’t sign personal notes to anyone on their books; she’ll only sign her name.  I told Cori that maybe someday she’ll be such a great writer that she will only have to sign her name, too.  She said the same thing to me, but I only want to write one book, so I’m sure I’ll have to sign personal notes in that one.  That’s ok.

Annie was delightful.  She was smaller than I expected her to be.  She had a hilarious sense of humor.  She was scatterbrained, and kept switching from topic to topic rapid-fire.  She was obsessed with Twitter.

I have spent the last few days processing the time that I had and the talk that she gave.  She often talks about being disciplined to sit down and write every day.  Just get your butt in the chair and write.  She said that no one cares if you write or not.  It only matters to you.  I thought that was great, and extremely useful.  She says not to worry about the quality of your work at first, she’s famous for her quote from her book, Bird by Bird, about writing shitty first drafts.  But, part of me felt so overwhelmed by her, as well, that I can never dream to write like she can, so I have not written at all since Tuesday night (until this, I suppose).  I have not put my butt in my chair and written any shitty first drafts.  I’ll get over it soon.

In the end, we got to go up and meet her, and I got to tell her that as a widow, none of the usual books for grief had been useful to me, even C.S. Lewis, but hers (Traveling Mercies) had been the only one that I had been able to get through, and that it was meaningful to me.  I thanked her.  She said she was sorry for my loss, and thanked me.

It was such a fun night.  I hope that all of you get to meet your heroes someday!

After the photo was snapped, Anne asked, "Is it cute?"  I think it is, but Cori and I both have punky haircuts these days, and in 20 years we'll look at this photo and say, "What were we thinking?"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bitter and Sweet

My husband died two years and seven months ago.  We were only married for two years and two months, and didn’t live together before the wedding.  So that means that I’ve spent more nights as a widow than I ever did as a married woman.  I’ve spent more nights alone than I ever did with my husband.

My mind has gotten used to the fact that I wake up without him. 

But sometimes, in the fuzzy haze that happens between waking and sleeping, my body forgets.  My leg reaches over to hook itself around his.  It wants to slide up beside him, rest my cheek against the cool skin of his shoulder.

When my leg finds nothing but an expanse of cold sheets, my body and mind finally communicate with each other.  This is not a fun way to start the day.

But, for the first time, I’m beginning to enjoy the sweetness of remembering what it felt like to be with him, not only the sadness that he’s no longer here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A New Happy List

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, but here is what is making me happy today:

*The light-up feature on my car’s speedometer had been broken, so at night I couldn’t tell how fast I was going.  Before I got it in to the shop, it spontaneously healed itself. 

*I’m very excited about my mostly green kitchen (I’m about to go downstairs and wail on that thing, get it entirely green).

*Arthur has been especially snuggly and sweet this morning.

*I took an ambien before bed last night, then came upstairs and looked at Pinterest (Facebook is entirely off-limits after ambien, but I’ve decided Pinterest won’t hurt anything, I’m not trying to say anything clever).  This morning it was a pleasant (and complete) surprise to see what I had pinned!

Hope your day is starting off well, too!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kitchen Makeover, Part One

My brother pulled into town last Monday, and that night he immediately asked me if there were things at my house that needed to be done.  I have a little list on my fridge of things that I can’t do at all or can’t do by myself, so my eyes lit up.  The number one priority has been my back gate, the latch was broken and I couldn’t close it.  It needed to be replaced.  He told me he’d take care of it. 

When he came by on Friday to look at it, he said it would just take him a minute, but he noticed my paint chips in my kitchen that have been sitting in my window sill for months.  He and his wife gave their opinion on what color I should choose, and Gabe said, “Let’s do it this weekend.  We’ll get the paint while we’re at Home Depot.”  Yes, please! 

So, off to Home Depot we went, we got all of the stuff to paint (and fix the gate), and take down the hideous light fixture that was in there, they wouldn’t let me pay for it, and we headed home to start.  They started the prep while I went to an appointment (I wasn’t even there!).  I’m so excited!  I feel so cared for.

When I came home from work on Saturday they were there working on it, along with our friend Jeff, and I found out that it had been even more of a project then I had originally thought.  There were so many holes to patch it was ridiculous!

We worked on primer on Saturday, then headed to the Hoggstead (mom and dad’s house) for Irish car bombs.  It was St Patrick’s Day, after all.

On Sunday we got the primer finished, and most of the green done.  Yep, I chose green.  It’s so bright and cheerful, and I need that in my life.

I’m working on finding the silver lining where I can these days.  Sawan would never have let me paint the kitchen green.  He would have seen the paint chips and said, “My baby loves her bright colors.”  We would have probably worked out some sort of compromise, but he pretty much only liked a color if it could be found in a Starbucks cup.  Any shade from iced latte to espresso would work, but it had to be some sort of earthy brown for him to like it.  So, since he can’t be here, I get to choose myself.  That’s kind of fun.

I’ll post more photos when we get it all finished, but for now, here’s some photos of the progress.

Here's the before:

Wow, I have a lot of crap on my counters.  Also, notice the ugly light fixture.

It's an expanse of white.

I wish you could tell how dirty the walls were, but you could see where the previous owner's stuff had been hanging.  Plus, the trim was forrest green.  Barf.

Here's us working on it:

Masha, the painting genius.

Gabe, the motivator, wall repairman, and electrician extraordinaire.

Aparently, when I paint, I think I need to be dressed like a pirate.

This is what the kiddos did the whole weekend.  They watched shows, and tried to keep Arthur from eating their snacks. They were SO GOOD!

And, where we stopped yesterday:
Here's everything but the "cutting in" done.  This is how it still looks.

The beautiful new light fixture.  
Yay, for the Mini Hoggatts and their help!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Obedient Driver

Today, I was driving on a not very busy street.  I notice a woman take a step just off the curb, so I slow a little bit.  She doesn’t have a hard hat on, or a vest, and there’s no road construction in the area that I can see.  But, she’s holding a stop sign like a road crew would have.  Hmm.  All of this takes a moment to process.

Oh.  Stop sign.  I should be stopping.  Does she mean it?  Why am I stopping?

So I stop.   I have both windows down, enjoying Denver’s 70-degree weather today, and I said to her, cheerfully, “Really?  I should be stopping?”

She snottily says, “Why would I be holding a stop sign if I didn’t want you to stop.” 

I said, “Well, you’re not standing in the road like they normally are, and it was just a little confusing.”

She haughtily explained that she wasn’t standing in the middle of the street because it’s dangerous (the duh was implied), and that’s why she’s lived this long (she was only about 40), then she pointed at the sign as she turned it and said, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “Now you can go slowly.”  I still have no idea why.  I thought I might drive up on some road construction, but never did.

I think she was maybe just out there seeing how obedient Denver drivers would be.  The answer is, even when antagonized, very.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Cleaning

It was my plan to get some writing done today, including a blog post.  First on my list, though, was a little spring-cleaning.

I did 10 loads of laundry.  I even put them away (for two weeks I had had three laundry baskets full of clean clothes on my bedroom floor that I kept rifling through for clean underwear).  I started with clothes and then did sheets, and several loads of rugs, blankets, and stuff that doesn’t usually get washed.

I did all of the floors in my house. 

I dusted.

I cleaned both bathrooms, and did this fun project (I read about it on Pinterest): I haven’t been able to get the soap scum off the shower since I moved in.  I was showering next to someone else’s soap scum and I had to do cartwheels in my head every morning so that I didn’t get too sicked out to get in the shower.  The trick I read about was like magic.  Using equal parts white vinegar and blue Dawn dish soap (heated for 1 minute in the microwave) I sprayed it on my shower and let it sit for two hours.  Then I wiped (read that, no scrubbing) it down with a scrubby sponge and rinsed it off.  My tile is clean for the first time in a year.  That’s it.  It. Was. Awesome.  I was thinking about renting a power washer (I'm not kidding) and if that didn't work then I was going to have to have it re-tiled.  It was that bad.

I changed four light bulbs, and successfully broke the upstairs light fixture, making a big mess, but also an excuse to replace it which is good, because it was ugly.  Luckily it was before I did the floors.

I cooked dinner, then opened up a can on my kitchen.  I wiped down every surface.

Then, I gave Arthur a bath, took a shower, put the clean sheets back on my bed, and promptly got in it, even though it was only 7:30.  I’m exhausted.  I’m too tired to write anything more than bragging.

I actually shouldn’t brag…now that you know that I spent hours cleaning you know how disgusting it was beforehand.  Yikes.