Polishing Up The Home, pt 3

I did it! The handyman was hired and the materials were purchased and the repairs have been made! We have now the proud owners of LED lights in our kitchen and utility room and a freshly-caulked shower. [Though, damn that handyman, because he came into our circa-1992 master bathroom and started talking about renovations and now I practically drool every time I step into the shower as I think about what it could be.]

Further polishings were attempted yesterday after the latch on our front door stopped working. Now, I’ve never repaired a door knob. Hell, I’ve never even closely examined a door knob, but I figured it couldn’t be too hard! Half an hour later, once I realized that I had to take the entire kit off to access the latch, I figured I might as well replace the whole thing. It was looking old and worn anyway. (Plus, it’s gold – might as well modernize it a bit!)

Home Depot proved invaluable and I quickly found exactly what I needed! Or so I thought, of course. I came home and … naively? optimistically? stupidly? … skipped right over the first step of the installation instructions. I bet you can guess what that step was: measure. Double check your measurements to make sure this thing will actually fit before you start, Belle! Ah damn it – you’ve already installed the latch anyway – well don’t say I didn’t warn you! <<< actual text from manual.

So yeah, I didn’t measure – jumped right into installation and had the new latch installed before realizing that the new handle was about an inch too long and didn’t line up with my hole. Not only did it not line up (which I would have at least thought about handling with my drill), the plate didn’t cover the old hole. I couldn’t have that, so I had to uninstall the latch and re-package everything. I returned it this morning and opted to just replace the latch. Now my eyelid is twitching because, during this little endeavor, I realized that our front door was originally painted teal. It’s now a matte black, but whoever painted it didn’t remove the fixtures to paint. The problem is that the new latch moves our door handle to the right about 1/8 of an inch, revealing a tiny stripe of teal paint. I hope I forget about it soon because my next overzealous burst of motivation may be to repaint the door.

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Blog Reruns

I got all charged up to talk about my hunt for a new bra and had this moment of deja vu when I sat down at the computer. Oh right… I’ve already talked about this.

I talked then about how my “real” band size is a 28 or 30. I don’t have any bras in my “real” size. All of my current bras are from VS because I know exactly what size will (mostly) fit me there. However, I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to purchase my “real” size through an online store. I’ve purchased two separate bras and had zero luck so far. The first was just laughably big, by every measure, because I had a moment of amnesia and blissfully forgot about the whole “real” size issue. The second bra I’m less sure about. To be fair, I probably chose poorly, in trying to buy my first “real” sized bra because this particular style was flagged as running shallow in the cup. Order a up a cup size! the site told me, so I did. And it doesn’t really fit. My boobs still seem squished in the center. I ordered another cup size up (which, for anyone keeping track, is now two cup sizes above what I really am), but I had the thought that maybe it’s just the design of the bra.

I hate that I’m paying $7/bra to try these things on (essentially, as that’s the cost to return the bra). I’ll probably try going into an actual store later on, if this third round of bras yields nothing. Or, you know, I could just forget the whole endeavor for a while and try again in another couple of years. Stay tuned!

Speaking of boobs (nice segue self!) how was your Valentine’s Day? Ours was nice. I decided on Monday to make a nice dinner for Luffy and myself. Nothing fancy, just something with a tad more effort that a typical Wednesday night dinner. I decided to do big, thick steaks and my favorite mac and cheese. We shared my good champagne and I made Luffy’s favorite mini cheesecakes. It was a really nice night if we don’t speak of the overstimulated, sugar-blitzed toddler I wrestled and wrangled from the time I picked him up to the moment I tossed him (lovingly) into bed. Poor kiddo was just plumb tuckered out from his first Valentine’s Day party.

Polishing Up the Home

But first – we finally figured out what it was that had the dumpling so upset last week. His molars. They are erupting. Aaaaaaand that’s probably all you need to know about how our week was last week. Aye yai yai.


I’m a pretty industrious sort of gal. Pre-dumpling, I could rarely spend an entire Sunday just sitting – I had to accomplish at least one thing. Be it laundry or lawn work or running to Target, something had to get done or else I’d feel entirely useless and adrift. Ticking one thing off my mental to-do list put me in a much better frame of mind. I could be in a funk over body image issues or deep into existential crisis mode and have my spirits instantly lifted by cleaning Jas’ litter box and picking up the groceries. Luffy thinks I am weird. (For the record, Luffy is the complete opposite of this. He puts much more effort into keeping things off his to-do list.)

This doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t procrastinate with the best of them. Take our kitchen lights, for instance. They have been in some state of flickering and/or not working for at least (does some math…. counts fingers…. realizes she is getting old) three years? Maybe more? For frame of reference, they were on my list of things to do before the baby gets here. The baby who is now almost 16 months old, yes that one. And it’s not like they stopped working a week before he arrived either. I was just really good at ignoring the issue.

Every once in a while though, I get a burst of motivation and energy for all things house-related. It started with light bulbs. I would swear that the previous owner of our home replaced every single light bulb at the exact same time because they’re all going out! Simultaneously! One in the guest bath, one in the office, one in the living room, two in our bathroom. Every time I turn around, I spot another bulb out. And of course, you can’t just buy an exact replacement bulb these days – have you shopped for lights lately? It’s all “10.4W equivalent of 60W”, or some such nonsense. And then you have to pick a color spectrum like daylight or soft white or cool white – which is great! Except when you’re trying to match bulbs that are already there. And you know what, I bet this is why the previous owner replaced them all at the same time.

Anyway, replacing the one bulb in the guest bath, led me to finally getting around to fixing the kitchen lights. I had previously discussed the basics of what I would need to do to replace the ballast with my dad (in November 2015 and I remember that clearly because we were visiting my parents for Thanksgiving, sans dumpling, so that just tells you how long these lights have been out) and hopped up to pull the ballast out to take with me to Home Depot. The dumpling and I searched high and low for a replacement ballast, but none could be found. I finally had to leave when the dumpling became bored with looking at ballasts and decided that running away from mama was much more fun. After some googling at home, it turns out we have an old-school ballast that needs to be semi-specially ordered and costs like $30/ea and my dad was like, just hold off! We’ll replace them with LED lights next time I’m down! which meant that I could go back to studiously ignoring the flickering lights in my kitchen.

SOLD!

But then! I decided that I wanted to replace the light in the utility room. It’s too dim for my liking (I want a near surgical-suite level of brightness in there). And you know, I’ve been meaning to swap the fan in the dining room with the fixture from the living room. With tasks mounting up, I decided to hire a handyman to take care of several items around the house that I’ve been procrastinating on for four and a half years.

YAY!

AND THEN. Jas woke me up at 2am, early Sunday morning, with her patented paw-aggressively-at-the-mirror trick that she has been doing at 2am all her life. It wakes me up because the mirror makes this weird noise. Because I never hung it up. Because it is really big? And I was always really nervous of hanging something that big. So it just kind of leans there. Anyway, the point is that I have had this mirror for at least five years and she discovered she could play this game with me on probably the second day we had it (I come out of bed swinging because it pisses me off like nothing else) (I am sure this delights her) (otherwise, why would she keep doing it so much). Ahem. Again, anyway, my point – guess what I did Sunday morning? I finally hung the darn thing! And then I went out and bought a little pet bed to put beneath it, as an offering to Her Highness to make amends for ruining her nightly fun.

I feel so productive you guys!

Wardrobe Malfunction

For the past (does some math…. THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT…. does math again) three years, I’ve taught an exercise class after work. Before the dumpling came along I taught Monday and Wednesday at 6:30. I just cover the Monday class now (along with my Saturday morning class), but the point is that I’ve been teaching after work for three years now. My routine has always been the same – I pack up my exercise bag the night before with my clothes and I change in the bathroom at work (the bathrooms at the center where I teach are communal bathrooms for the entire retail strip and they are a little…. gross). One time, shortly after I picked up this schedule, I left my socks at home and had to work out without socks. It wasn’t pleasant, but I made it through and I always have a spare pair of socks in my bag now – just in case. Probably at least once a month though, I always wonder what I would do if I forgot some other essential piece like my pants or my sports bra. Oh man, that wouldn’t be good.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what happened on Monday.

I was changing at work, like usual, balancing on one foot as I removed my dress socks and put on regular socks, when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t pulled a bra out of my bag when I pulled out my clothes. No, I thought incredulously, I must have just missed it. I pawed through my bag again, although it was painfully clear that I did not have a bra. Honestly, I couldn’t do anything but laugh at myself. What on EARTH was I going to do now? I didn’t have time to stop to pick one up (although I briefly contemplated if it was worth being late over). I also happened to pick the worst possible top for a no-bra situation. It was a loose tank with cut-out sides, in other words, no support and a side-boob situation going on. I didn’t even have a crappy shelf-bra to console myself with!

So what does any girl do when confronted with a dilemma regarding boobs and bras and the lack there-of? I called my mom.

Moooooooooooooooommmmm!!!!! HALP!

She, of course, talked me down and suggested I just wear my regular bra. Don’t worry, she said, your students will all think it’s hilarious.

And they did! It was a lovely time to meet a new student of course (nice to meet you! sorry about the side-boob), but we all laughed about it. I joked that at least I hadn’t forgotten my pants (ohdearlordinheaven, please let me never forget my pants). It also wasn’t entirely bad. I expected my regular bra to majorly fail me through all of my jumping and hopping and lunging, but it held up just fine. I had to adjust my straps a few times, and I’m sure it helped that I just happened to be wearing a no-frills, full coverage bra (as opposed to some sort of balconette, push-up, lightly lined, unlined, plunging, etc etc contraption). But really, 7/10 would recommend.

And now I have to tell you about how hard it was to come up with a title for this, bearing in mind that I don’t want to appear in any questionable searches. Top contenders were Peek-a-boob and Don’t Fear the Nip Slip. Why no, I am not a twelve year old boy. Why do you ask?

Itchy

Ok Universe… when I mentioned the thing about being excited to take Sudafed again, I didn’t mean it as a challenge.

Let’s roll the tape back to Sunday afternoon. We’d had a pretty good weekend thus far. The dumpling had been cranky (we blamed teething at the time but since he’s still cranky today and he got FIFTEEN HOURS of sleep on Sunday, we’re thinking developmental leap. maybe? hopefully?), but Luffy and I had left his parents in charge of the dumpling on Saturday and had gone to watch Thor. (Excellent movie, btw. Our standards may be low right now, considering that we haven’t been to the movies since last December, but I’d still recommend it.) Sunday was a laid back day of football and passing the dumpling back and forth as he seemed content only while being held, but only if you were standing.

So Sunday afternoon, I start to feel a little pressure in my right sinus cavity. Not congestion, mind you, just pressure. Right before the dumpling’s bath time, Luffy mentioned that my eye looked a little puffy and I had a horrible flashback to this ER visit. In the months since then, I’ve experienced only very mild allergic reactions. Nothing like the one back in January. That is until this past Sunday when I had the very real fear that my eye might explode from pressure. (Can that actually happen? I don’t want to Google it and get, like, pictures or anything. Or be told that it actually CAN happen and just freak the F out next time….. on second thought, no one answer this question.) Thankfully, I could actually take Sudafed this time which helped immensely. I also had the bright idea to apply a cold pack to my eye every fifteen minutes or so – also a life-saver eye-saver. Other pros of this round of allergies were that (a) it was only the right eye, as opposed to both eyes back in January and (b) I wasn’t sick at the time, unlike January.

Still though, this round was nothing to sneer at. By Monday morning, some of the swelling had subsided but, thanks to irritation, my entire eye was bright red. I briefly contemplated wearing a sticker on my shirt that said I’m not diseased, just allergic but dismissed it. Wearing contacts has been out of the question for the past several days and just today – Wednesday – would I say that my eye is mostly normal again. It also kicked off a round of oh maaaan I don’t want to get sick, please let this sinus congestion pass that has been super fun. I had really hoped that the initial occurrence of this was just a freak incident. A one-time thing. If this keeps happening I might need to research getting some sort of allergy testing done. The oddest part about all of this is that the two times it’s happened, the weather apps (which I do understand might not be the most accurate of sources) all report minimal pollen. So, who knows. Maybe I’m allergic to my house. Or a random tree that only sometimes blows pollen in my direction. Or a flower that only blooms on a Sunday evening every eleven months.

In pursuit of a coat

Let me preface this post by explaining that I’m not much of a shopper, especially clothes shopping. I really, really don’t like it. Is that shirt going to look better on me than the hanger? What size should I get in this? Does this color complement my skin tone? Is this supposed to fit like this or is it just too big? Is this a piece that I can mix-and-match within my own wardrobe? WHO KNOWS. I certainly don’t. I’ve never been able to waltz into a store, pinpoint a few fantastic purchases and sashay away.

But what I especially hate? When you need something specific. I talked about trying to find a dress for my brother’s wedding, but I didn’t go into much detail. It all started about six weeks before the event. I just happened to spot (which is the best way to find things!) a perfect dress. It was the color I wanted (navy), it was a style I loved (sophisticated yet sexy), it had sparkle, it was short, it was my size. It was perfection. The only downside was that I found it online, at a second-hand site (which was actually a decisive pro at first because a $380 dress for $60? Don’t mind if I do!). I could barely contain my excitement when the package arrived. Of course, if you read what I linked to earlier, you know that it didn’t work out. It fit, as in I could zip it up, but it did not fit my body at all. Weird bunching at the zipper and the torso section was too long.

Not a problem! I just sent it back and started perusing the same site for wedding dress v2. I searched and searched and waited for my return to be processed (the free return option only gives you the ability to get store credit which is fine, it’s what I wanted, I just needed my return processed so that I could apply those funds to the new dress). I found a second dress! Not quite the color I wanted (gray this time), but it was by a favorite brand of mine and it was embellished like I enjoy. In a moment of suspense, the dress was unavailable for a period of time (reserved in someone’s cart*) but then became available again. Whew! The moment my return was processed and my funds were available, I snapped up the second dress.

My only issue now was that the wedding was less than a ten days way. The dress v2 wasn’t slated for delivery until the Wednesday before the wedding – what if it didn’t fit either? So, I sucked it up and went to the mall (which, ugh, I haven’t been to a mall in ages and they are really sort of sad) in pursuit of a dress. I went to my go-to for cocktail dresses – Dillard’s – but I could already spot trouble. My brand of choice for cocktail dresses (BCBG) had absolutely nothing I wanted. So I moved on to the regular dress section and encountered my first (second? third? millionth?) problem – all of the dresses in the women’s section were too large to fit me off the rack. However, none of the junior’s dresses provided the sort of support I needed (now that I have breastfed a child, I totally get it when bra makers talk about shaping and structure). I found one dress I liked, but it literally was like the kitchen sink of dresses (short! full skirt! flower print! two piece! lace! sequins! a bow! let’s just bedazzle the heck out of this poor piece of fabric! wheeeeee!!!!!!). After I had been there for, no lie, two freaking hours trying on dress after dress after dress, I finally grabbed a dress that I had initially spotted and dismissed because it was sure to be too large. Let’s just say that it is the tiniest size 6 I have ever encountered. (To be fair, it’s a junior’s size 5/6 but seriously, it fits like second skin.)

So ANYWAY. I bought the dress (I actually bought it and the kitchen sink dress because I think I can at least take off the bow thing, and then it will be super cute and sort of mostly appropriate for a 30-year-old**). And I am so glad I did because when the dress I bought from the second-hand store arrived, it was laughably huge on me. Just enormous. I didn’t even hesitate to send it back. Again.

All of this is an illustration of the horrible, terrible fact that if you absolutely need to find something, you will not be able to find it. I think it’s just guaranteed that you will only ever be able to find amazing items (you know, the ones that fit you perfectly and complement your shape and color and look effortless) if you are NOT looking. Next time, I’ll try to con the universe by pretending to shop for a swimsuit instead of jeans.

I’ve dealt with this a lot recently – from the wedding dress to my hunt for a the perfect outfit to photograph. And this time of year always brings it up because every year I convince myself that I would love a pair of boots. And every year I search high and low for a pair of boots. And EVERY. YEAR. I do not find a pair of boots. I do not own a pair of boots and yet I swear I have been searching for a pair of boots for the last five years.

And now I have another dilemma: I want a new jacket. I have a fleece jacket, for the casual look. I have a beautiful wool coat for the (few) bitterly cold days. I have a gorgeous rain jacket for bridging the in-between (or for those times on the weekend when I want to look more put-together than a gray fleece jacket from Target). The problem is that the rain jacket isn’t really warm. Cute! Functional! But warm, no. So I’m trying to find something that (a) looks a touch classier than your average fleece zip-up, (b) is not as buttoned-up as a wool coat, (c) looks good on me, and (d) is warm, but like Texas-winter warm (ie – I do not need it to be cold rated to -30, lololololz). Is that too much to ask? Should I lower my bar? Ugh, tell me now. Perhaps I should have started looking in the summer.

*Interesting side-story. The second-hand site allows you to mark items as “favorites” so that you can quickly view them again. It reserves items in a basket for 24 hours and marks them unavailable for you, but you can still view them. So it allowed me to sort of follow along as some other girl out there, with a taste and size similar to mine, also shopped for a cocktail dress. The black one (I assume) she ended up choosing was cute, although I think she should have risked it for the pink Kate Spade number.

** That’s right folks! As of TODAY I am 30. Oye. Where does the time go?

Insanity

My office has an office-wide meeting every Monday at 8:30am. Precisely 8:30am. Sometimes a touch earlier than that because the meeting starts as soon as our lead partner sits down.

I have been running varying degrees of late for that Monday morning meeting for about four years now.

Part of the issue is that I REFUSE to leave my house any earlier than absolutely necessary. Which, I know. This basically all boils down to my problem because if I’d just shoot for leaving the house at 7:30 instead of 7:45, I’d be on-time the majority of the time. But this would also require me to get up earlier. And I’d be puttering around the office waiting for the meeting to begin. And have you actually ever tried to leave the house almost an hour before you normally do? Because it’s rough. So I shoot for leaving at 7:45 which (a) is still a miracle when I do and (b) gives me plenty of time as long as traffic runs fairly smoothly and I actually leave the house on time.

The rest of the issue is simply having to be somewhere at a specific time because we all know that life gets in the way of that. Some days I get out the door five minutes late and thus arrive five minutes late, ensuring that I’m flying through the office door just as the meeting gets started. Some days I leave on time, congratulate myself on that, and then spend my few precious extra minutes stuck in traffic. Other days, like today, I leave on time and then traffic goes kablooey and I waltz in fifteen minutes late because I just spent 55 minutes getting to work. Usually I do not care whatsoever about being late due to traffic. In my mind, I’m 100% responsible for everything that happens up to me getting in my car. After that, it’s out of my hands and I don’t stress about it. The problem here though is that because I’m late to this meeting so often, I do feel bad about being so late. Especially when I left on-time! It wasn’t my fault! I tried! Really! 

Every Monday morning, as I watch the clock tick closer and closer to 8:30, I promise myself that this is the last Monday like this. Next week I’ll leave earlier. Next week I’ll try for 7:30 or, hell, even just 7:40. Next week.

And then what happens the next week? I do none of those things and kick myself all over again. Which I’m pretty sure is the definition of insanity, but hey, it’s gotten me this far. Might as well keep it up.