Friday, January 30, 2009

Rain or shine, right?

My morning and afternoon were pretty busy (in the life of a mom, this counts as busy): I Skyped with My Moroccan Friend again, and then this afternoon I went to pick up a Beco Butterfly to try out from someone on a local babywearing board I belong to.

Two, two, two events in one day!

But that wasn't all! Vee met me after work and took the Kiddokabiddo so I could get A MASSAGE! This was both a THANK-YOU for going to Kansas City + altering my schedule to accommodate his work, and an early Valentine's Day gift since I got a two-pack of massages. ONE MORE TO USE WHENEVER I WANT!

Sanctity of the danktity. My shoulder and leg muscles were jumping, they were so unused to being touched.

It was a gray morning that burnt off into a beautiful, sunny afternoon. The weather got me thinking about how STRONGLY my emotions are tied to whether or not it's a sunny day. When it's a sunny morning, I wake up feeling like I could do ANYTHING! Take a walk? Yeah! Meet a new friend? Why not! Check out that _____ I've been meaning to get to? Absolutely!

But when it's a gray day, I seriously feel like there's no point to doing anything. Leaving the house? WHY BOTHER. My imagination goes completely flat and I feel like ANYTHING isn't worth it. What am I going to do? Go to freaking Borders and sit around? Yet, on a SUNNY day, going to Borders seems like AN INTERESTING ADVENTURE!

We get over 200 sunny days per year (a number which I have been misquoting for years now as "300"--IT FEELS LIKE 300, OK?) so the gray days are pretty minimal here. Which makes me even more surprised by my malaise when it's cloudy out. When I was a kid growing up in The Land of Gray, Oregon, all the cool ideas at the end of Captain Kangaroo ("so many things to do, here are just a few!") used to INSPIRE me and make me beg my dad to take me to the OSU gym (which he had access to, being an activities instructor) and teach me how to do a backwards somersault. WHICH HE DID, God bless him. I don't remember a childhood of gray, cloudy days EVEN THOUGH, living in the Willamette Valley, where clouds get trapped between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascades and just drop their load on the land, that's DEFINITELY what it was.

I remember a childhood of activity! Because we got out of the house, rain be damned, and got involved in the day!

When I'm listening to Kiddokabiddo's sing-along-songs CD and the obnoxious whiny brat girl says, in the middle of "Rain, Rain, Go Away," "Mommy, it's not working!" and then the mom says, "We'll just have to try a little harder!" it infuriates me because the girl needs to learn that the rain will not just go away. You have to learn to play in the rain!

As long as it's not a gray day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Email guilt.

I have a guilt-trigger mechanism built into my inbox. It's called "I don't delete an email until I have responded to it." So then my 300 email checks a day are always tempered by the self-induced guilt of "Why am I expecting an email? I HAVEN'T WRITTEN BACK TO ANYONE!"

I used to get that way when I would check the mailbox (the real live one. Remember that one? Where you get bills and ads and everything you ordered on the Internet?) and be disappointed that I didn't have a letter. WHY WOULD I? I HADN'T WRITTEN A LETTER TO ANYONE!

So I started writing real handwritten letters to people. The truth is that they have a return ratio of 5:1 (five letters sent out will get me one back), but I do it anyway. I don't mind--I like sending letters almost as much as I like getting them. Call me the Santa of letter writing--better to give than receive!

But back to my email inbox. I don't know why I do it to myself--I'm not caught up in RIDICULOUS CATHOLIC GUILT (which I am sooooooo unable to relate to. Yes, I am Catholic, but no, I have never understood what "Catholic guilt" is, much less felt it myself. The Catholic Church I was brought up in DID NOT INVOLVE GUILT and as I grew up and everyone was talking smack about how they're A LAPSED CATHOLIC [is anyone a lapsed ANYTHING-OTHER-THAN-CATHOLIC? You never hear them call themselves such] or making weird references to being "a recovering Catholic," I was COMPLETELY unable to understand what they were talking about. SIDEBAR!). I just need it to keep myself on track.

I once kept an email in my inbox for two years. It was the most recent draft of a paper that I was working on with a professor from a class I took extra-curricularly and we were going to submit it to a journal. DID I EVER GET AROUND TO REVISING IT? No. But was I able to forget that I DIDN'T? NOPE!

I owe at least five people emails back. Vee suggests that I just shoot a quick email saying, "Hey, I haven't forgotten about you--I'll send one soon." But that feels like the equivalent of sending a birthday card with "Happy Birthday" preprinted inside and not adding a note of my own.

Sometimes I wish technology only allowed me to check my email once a day. Like checking the real mailbox--email would only be delivered once a day. At least then I wouldn't be banging myself over the head 15 times a day by pretending, THIS TIME, that I'll actually write back right away.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 at 26!

Today's blog's going to be a bit of a bummer if you got linked here off of my Facebook, but for those of you who aren't my friends yet, enjoy 25 THINGS ABOUT ME!

1. My hair color has been “Spiced Tea” by Clairol Natural Instincts for over ten years.
2. I’ve lived in six different states (IN, OR, NC, IA, NE, MI), two of them twice.
3. I have over ten fillings in my teeth, almost all of which were installed during high school (thanks, Sprite + Winterfresh!).
4. I had a completely natural and intervention-free childbirth with my daughter.
5. I work from home.
6. I have been out of the country five times in my life: twice across the Montana/Alberta border, once to Toronto, once to Montreal, and once across the Arizona/Mexico border.
7. I have been the editor-in-chief of two lit journals: Tales From the Southside in high school and earthwords in college.
8. I taught myself to read at 3 years old, and was writing at 3.5. So the story goes.
9. While my name has often been mispronounced as “Kristin,” “Kristina,” and occasionally shortened through no invitation of my own to “Kris,” no one has ever mistakenly called me “Kristi.”
10. My grandma named all five of her kids names starting with the letter “K” and my mom named both of her daughters names that started with the letter “K.” I named my daughter a “K” name, but the buck stops there.
11. I think to be a Catholic is to be a Democrat. Which is why I’m both.
12. I worked in a t-shirt shop at Glacier National Park in Montana for four weeks when I was 18. I came home early because I saw a bear.
13. I do all the laundry in our house, but my husband folds all of it.
14. My husband does all of the cooking in our house, but I do all of the baking.
15. Both sides of my family are cancer-free. But everyone on both sides has late-onset diabetes.
16. I was sixteen when I had my first kiss.
17. I didn’t drink coffee AT ALL until one morning at Village Inn in early spring 2001. I put three creamers and two sugars in my cup.
18. I call my brother, or he calls me, every April 29th and we sing the first few lines of “April 29” by the Rembrandts to each other. We’ve been doing this since 1999.
19. I applied for National Honor Society during the first half of my junior year of high school and was rejected. As I won two statewide writing contests, ran in the state track meet, was vice-president of Latin Club, and became a National Merit Finalist throughout that year, I was asked to apply again during my senior year. I rejected on the premise that THEY HADN’T SEEN MY POTENTIAL. Wow. I really showed them!
20. When I was in third grade, I wanted to be an archaeologist, a rock star, an Ultimate Speller, or a model. An Ultimate Speller, in case you were wondering, was kind of like a human dictionary. Except people would pay me for my services.
21. I blog. (see my profile)
22. I became a hypochondriac after my still-unexplained chest pain started in May 2005. I swear I never thought once about the way my body functioned before.
23. I met my best friend in biology class on the second day of freshman year of high school.
24. I met my husband at my 5th annual Cheese Party.
25. I met my daughter four weeks and one day before her due date. SHE DECIDED IT WAS TIME TO MEET ME, and came barreling out, healthy as hell and full-grown.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Jestin.

Not that we’re that bougie (WHO AM I KIDDING? I’m about to review ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL CHAINS IN AMERICA), but Vee and I have been to several extensions of The Jestin.

We did up in the Jestin-Detroit Airport the night before we left for our honeymoon (Did we get any upgrades for being a thrillfully newly married couple? Nah. NOT EVEN A ROOM UPGRADE! The only good thing about staying at that Jestin was the fact that we got A PRIVATE SECURITY CHECKPOINT available ONLY TO GUESTS OF THE JESTIN so we got to skip all the chuds. And our view of one of the airport hangars.)

We also stayed in the Jestin Copley Place in Boston (on the dime of Vee’s parents) when Vee’s brother, The Lieutenant, was graduating from Haa-vaad and getting commissioned into the U.S. Marine Corps as, yes, a second lieutenant. That place was DANK—we had a sweet view of Cambridge and the Charles River, and it was connected to an expensive “mall” (featuring stores like The Art of Shaving, which sells expensive badger-bristle shaving brushes and likewise olde thyme shaving equipment for exorbitant prices George Washington would have been ashamed of).

What’s so great about the Jestin chain? The Heavenly Beds? The Heavenly Showers? Or just the sheer knowledge that you’re spending over $150 a night in a recession economy?

Well, we were spending ZERO since we’re on Vee’s employer’s dime, so although I have no moral ground to stand on, I’M GONNA DISS THE JESTIN KANSAS CITY ANYWAY.

No phone books (wanted to order a ‘za from the Hut? HOW ABOUT YOU NEED TO PAY $9.95/DAY FOR THE INTERNET SO YOU CAN LOOK THAT NUMBER UP! Or, goodness, just order a $12 “La Provence” pizza from room service and pay the $3.25 delivery charge, PLUS a preset 19.5% gratuity, PLUS tax, and then watch that $12 ‘za turn into $20 when the total is $19.03 and the guy bringing it to you does a fake “pat” on his pockets during the awkward pause when you hand your $20 over FULLY EXPECTING CHANGE SINCE YOU CLEARLY ARE ALREADY PAYING HIM 19.5% FOR TIP and then, out of propriety [or just DISCOMFORT] you are forced to “tip” an extra $0.97, making you feel both extremely cheap and, later, like you got ripped out of another $1).

This was the first time we got the opportunity to try out the HEAVENLY CRIB. Vee called before we arrived to ask about it, and was assured by the front desk staff that “Oh, it’s very nice. Very comfortable.” As Vee and I wondered HOW THIS GUY KNEW THAT (is he BABY-SIZED? Have the babies given “rave reviews” upon check-out?), we still remained upbeat since their Heavenly Beds are full of white fluffy goodness. I was fully expecting a Wendy Bellissimo scenario with little sugarplums dancing over Kiddokabiddo’s head.

The Heavenly Crib, IN CASE YOU ARE WONDERING, is a white metal Graco crib with a thin sheet on the mattress and a prepackaged waffle-weave blanket tossed on top. Have fun, y’all.

(Not that it mattered, since our room had two full-size beds and Vee and I took turns sharing with the Kiddokabiddo while the other one got a Heavenly Full Size Bed to themselves.)

The Jestin Kansas City is apparently undergoing RENOVATION. Some hotels shut down their operations until the renovation is complete; the Jestin KC goes full-force. Which floors are being renovated? Well, the floor directly above us, of course. And work begins at 8:30am sharp, so hope y’all weren’t thinkin’ about sleeping in/have a baby who sleeps longer than that!

Our room, of course, had NOT been renovated yet, so what I am about to say should be read with that in consideration. You should also TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION the fact that Vee’s employer paid $115/night for these luxury surroundings (and that’s a special conference rate).

The popcorn ceilings were literally BURSTING AT THE SEAMS in that special “I think water has leaked through” way that Vee and I were lucky enough to experience in our apartment the first time we lived in our fair city. I RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS, PEOPLE. We had to position the Kiddo’s crib in a place to avoid having her wake up with a mouthful of popcorn.

Then again, popcorn would have been nice. BUT IT WASN'T AN OPTION since there is no microwave (NO MICROWAVE! Hope you can eat that whole “La Provence” pizza at one sitting because YOU CAN’T REHEAT IT, folks. SUPER 8 AT LEAST GIVES YOU A COMMUNAL MICROWAVE TO USE!).

The TV menu WILL CONFUSE YOU AND THEN ANGER YOU! There’s an option to On-Demand shows you “might have missed,” so when I saw that I could catch up on “Real Housewives of Orange County,” I joyfully clicked YES on the remote…until I realized it would be $4.95. Not to be deterred, I went to the channel menu to find Bravo…WHICH IS NOT AN OPTION! How are you gonna go and tell me I can watch RHOC, which is ALWAYS on reruns on Bravo, and then NOT PERMIT ACCESS TO BRAVO IN ANY CAPACITY OTHER THAN A $4.95 ON-DEMAND?!

The lamp in the corner of our room DID NOT HAVE A LIGHT BULB IN IT. Are we in a Motel 6 where people are STEALING THE LIGHT BULBS ON THE WAY OUT or did the Jestin CHEAP OUT ON US?

Our shower was NOT a typical Jestin luxury experience (DUAL SHOWERHEADS and such). Back when this place got its last set of renovations (“Nine years ago,” as our concierge informed us) in 1999, the average height of a traveler was 4”11. Right? Which would explain why the showerhead is mounted at 6” exactly. I’m not that tall, you guys. 5’8”. I only qualify for “tall” in Gap pants sizing (WHY is it so hard to find jeans that do more than graze the tops of my ankles? RIDICULOUS!). But I had to stand like I was pregnant again, belly out, slouched down, in order to get my hair wet. COME ON!

Furthermore, since Kiddokabiddo is chowing down on the solids now, we brought our U-Haul full of “baby food gear” with us, including our dish soap so we could do dishes in the sink. Which would have worked if THE SINK STOPPER WORKED.

The Jestin KC isn’t all crap. There’s a really beautiful five-story waterfall in the lobby made out of limestone that’s ORIGINAL TO THE LOCATION—when the Jestin was built, they just built around the limestone formation and cut it into a waterfall. ECO, dogs! And our concierge went ABOVE AND BEYOND and took Kiddokabiddo’s diapers home, TO HER HOUSE, and did diaper laundry for us since we couldn’t find a place that would use our laundry detergent/our instructions on diaper washing. And we had the most beautiful view of downtown KC that you can imagine—a straight shot from 20 blocks south, 14 floors up.

I'd say more about the good aspects of this Jestin, but I've gotta get this blog on the road—only fifteen minutes left before our $9.95 internet expires.

Monday, January 26, 2009

where the sky is so blue!

I’m coming to you live from Kansas City, where Vee has a conference, and where Kiddokabiddo and I are living in a hotel room for the next couple of days.

We’re staying at a hotel I’ll call The Jestin (review forthcoming tomorrow), which happens to be attached to a MALL (very Old Capitol-ish in its selection) as well as UNION STATION by a series of UM-Duluthian-style tubes sheltering us from weather. This would have been an intelligent use of civic money if WE WERE SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN KANSAS CITY, where the “summers last until October,” as I was informed by a clerk when I was buying a dress for Kiddokabiddo.

Yesterday, Vee was on break between sessions, and I was sick of strapping Kiddokabiddo into her wrap just to take the 400m trek around the mall, so we ventured through the tubes to Union Station. Union Station is GORGEOUS in that “why don’t we take trains any more?” lamentable way. All Art-Deco and spaciousness. We were marveling at these beautiful old brass bank tables which had been repurposed as USPS delivery confirmation/insurance/etc .holders when we were visited by the Ghost of Union Station Past.

GUSP struck up a conversation with us, informing us that “no one looks up and sees that mural when they come in this room” (AND INDEED! I had not noticed the mural of Westward Expansion, Ho! until he pointed it out) and then told us that the room we were standing in was formerly the men’s bathroom. GUSP then led us underneath a curtain (seriously) into an adjoining room with grand two-story windows and told us that room used to be where “men would wait for their trains and smoke.”

Our GUSP gave us his life story, recounting how he was born in “Pu-eblo, Colorado,” then moved to Denver, then Kansas City when he was in the fourth grade. He pointed through the window to the general neighborhood he grew up in and noted that “those were Depression years, so my job was to come down here to the tracks and pick up coal.”

Did we know why all the old chandeliers used to have exposed light bulbs? We did not. GUSP told us that, back in 1914 when the station was built, not too many people had electricity or had seen light bulbs, so they made all the light fixtures open so that people could gawk at them.

GUSP walked us through the Men’s Smoke Room to a little vestibule currently housing a bulletin board display of train history. “See how they set that up there?” GUSP said, hopping up on the little ledge, “This is where the shoe shine stand used to be.” Like Thomas in the Bible, he put his fingers in the holes on the worn down ground and pointed out where the little shoeshine foot rests used to go. You could see the indents in the marble where decades of shoeshine guys’ knees had worn through. THROUGH ROCK! I’m not kidding!

We were having a boogie time with GUSP, but we had to chow down because Vee had a session to get back to. GUSP walked us back out to the seven-story soaring main room, and told us if we really wanted to, we could take an elevator up to the seventh floor and “walk around in the rooms over those arches.” Vee exclaimed, “But there’s no windows in there—it must be pretty dark.” “Oh yeah,” said GUSP, “the boogerman’s up there. But I’ve been there. Don’t believe a word I say, though.”

The parting words of the Ghost of Union Station Past: “I used to work in one of those offices here—I had a $240,000 contract with one of the steel manufacturers who worked for the railroad. That don’t sound like much nowadays, but it was pretty big back then.”


Our GUSP vanished back into the city and Vee, Kiddokabiddo, and I ate lunch at one of the Harvey House lunch counters. The extraordinarily beautiful vintage Art Deco fixtures (the door handles! The light fixtures! The insets on the walls!), the tales of our GUSP, and my general sad love for the aged days of regular rail travel made Union Station such a REAL place. I lamented to Vee about how, even if people were taking the train the way they used to back then (GUSP also fondly reminisced about how, “back then, you used to get dressed up to travel. Put on your nicest suit, nicest shoes.”), it wouldn’t be the way it is now—that men’s smoke room would be full of business chuds all in their own iPod/BlackBerry/cell phone worlds and no one would be striking up conversations with each other.

(“Like GUSP did with us—just struck up a conversation with strangers—he’s from the old school,” Vee narrated.)

I’m not really one to talk, because beginning conversations with strangers makes me really nervous, but SOMEHOW, ROMANTICALLY, I feel like, if I was a lady taking the train to visit my relatives back in the earlier part of the last century, sitting in what SURELY must have been the counterpart to the Men’s Smoke Lounge (a Ladies’ Sitting Room?), working on my embroidery or knitting, or just sitting with my gloved hands neatly folded, I would pass the time by asking the lady to my left where she was headed.

The Ghost of Union Station Present? RAIL PASSENGERS!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thanks, Craigslist

Some people use Craigslist as a way to buy used stuff locally, look for jobs, see if they have any MISSED CONNECTIONS (Why wasn't this available when I was in high school? On second thought, I am sooooooo glad it wasn't, because I would have read it obsessively imagining someone REALLY WANTED TO MEET UP with my introverted high school self).

I use Craigslist as a way of keeping tabs on PLACES I AM NOT LIVING.

Like a coati in a zoo, every few months I find myself circling back on my track to the "housing" section of Eugene, Corvallis, Tucson, Denver, Santa Fe--but usually just Eugene and Corvallis. I find the house I would be mostly likely to rent, and after dreamily clicking through the apts/sublets, and then (hopelessly) through the "real estate for sale," I desperately click on "housing swap." But no one ever wants to swap for a house where I am.

I look at the listings so long, and so hard, I can SEE myself in that life! It's there WAITING for me, the listing is there--I just need to GET there and GET STARTED on WHO I SHOULD BE.

These bi-monthly bouts of self-loathing are often followed by frantic emails to Vee, announcing that THIS IS WHERE WE SHOULD BE LIVING. Vee knows me better than myself, though, and kindly considers my propositions, knowing that I will confront every "logical" reason we should move and eventually talk myself out of it.


But by telling me, "Sure, we can do that," he puts me back in the driver's seat, and I feel responsible for all the upset that COULD occur if my irrational desire for living-wherever-I'm-not took over my usual happiness-for-where-I-am.

It doesn't stop me from seeing myself here, here, but mostly here, the fir trees all around and the hills like a hug, where the street only knew my name.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Socks (Not the Clintons' White House Cat)

I have a hard time spending money on new socks.

I just need to get that out there, because I might stupefy myself sometimes and pretend I'm getting a good "deal" on a 5/$25 sale at Victoria's Secret on new underwear (AS IF THAT IS A SALE PRICE? Has anyone ever ACTUALLY paid $7.50 for a new pair of cotton undies?), but I will not buy myself new socks. I have stolen socks from my mom and my sister when I'm home visiting in order to replenish my supply, but I do not buy new socks.

Where do you even BUY socks? Vee gets his from this shady bodega on 24th Street (and I say "gets his" even though HE BOUGHT SOCKS THERE 3 YEARS AGO because that's the last time he bought socks either. I bought him socks with a $25 Eddie Bauer gift certificate that he had received for GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL and had been lost for 7 years, but I digress). I am not shady-bodega-bound.

I think the last time I got new socks (other than Christmas--thanks for the extra floofy wear-around-the-house socks!) was in college. Five years ago. And I think I bought them from American Eagle at an after-Christmas sale.

Do socks just LAST longer, or am I missing something? It seems ridiculous to say this, but I think MY SOCKS ARE OUT OF STYLE, and that's the only thing that's bugging me. You know, like with corny stripes on them. Ok, and with threadbare holes on the balls of the feet (haven't worn through yet!). And nine years worth of stomping-through-puddles-and-snow-melt-getting-inside-my-shoes odor. Yick.

Will spring get here already?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Sorry guys--I'm a little late getting this one out today. The Kiddokabiddo was rowdy all morning and afternoon, so I had to take her on a walk through the forest. We had beautiful weather here today (MID 40S + SUN!) so any opportunity to get out of the house IS A GOOD ONE.

Ahhh, yes--I was going to blog about Rome.

Vee and I recently ended our joint viewing of the series (and I am STILL SO pissed that it ended after 2 seasons. TWO SEASONS! Humiliating! And for WHAT?) and got to watch MY FAVORITE TWO EPISODES, the final two episodes: Antony + Cleopatra.

Besides the graphic sex scene with Octavian + Livia (seriously, it was like the makers of the show KNEW it was the end and were like "Hey, let's toss in THE MOST GRAPHIC SEX OF THE ENTIRE SERIES, which is definitely saying something since there were some PRETTY OBVIOUS Antony + Atia scenes), the Cleopatra and Antony scenes are WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION! I love them so much! I love how fraught with DECADENCE the deer-hunting scene is, I love seeing Antony with his Egyptian eyeliner, I love watching Cleopatra crawl up on dead Antony's lap.

One of my paralegal classmates, a girl who was one year younger than me and got married one month before me, turned me on to the series a year ago. And was TURNED ON by the series and had no qualms about sharing that fact with me, and anyone else waiting for Legal Writing II to start. Her accounts of "watching that episode with Octavia and Agrippa in the rented room--rowr!" leading to innuendo where her husband asked her "if she'd been watching Rome again" (BECAUSE OF THE VIOLENT LOVE-MAKING?) did not deter me from Netflixing the whole series and WATCHING OBSESSIVELY. And I don't mean WATCHING in "that" way.

I think I like the series so much because it reminds me of my Latin days back in high school, watching "I Claudius" for, like, five weeks EVEN THOUGH EVERYONE WAS ACTUALLY SLEEPING THROUGH IT AND STEPPE (our Latin teacher) KNEW IT. I wonder if we would have been able to squeak this one by her. My Latin class was BASICALLY just Roman history combined with occasional vocabulary memorization (and RANDOM "You need to decline this!" assignments that everyone failed, yet everyone got As and Bs in the class).

Anybody else watch Rome? Have any love-for-the-antiquated-past series you could recommend?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope Begins Today


The sense of RELEASE is incredible! NO MORE BEING FRONTED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD BY A MAN WHO MADE US ALL LOOK LIKE ASSHOLES AND FOOLS! No more snickery "we'll get 'em" warhawk failure!

And most importantly: FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY VOTING CAREER, WE ARE ABOUT TO BEGIN A GRAND NEW ERA OF DEMOCRATIC CONTROL, from the White House to Congress! I may live in a red state (a blue beacon in a red state, but a red state nonetheless), but our country is being run by MY PEOPLE AT LAST!

And yet. Vee has been harassing me for not being more excited about our new President. Every time another newspaper, or magazine, or radio show, etc. has done ANOTHER front story on OUR PRESIDENT-ELECT, BARACK OBAMA, I have gritted my teeth and taken a breath.


To understand that, I need to explain that, for the last 8 years, my candidates have all fallen by the wayside. In my voting career, 5 of the 6 candidates I have supported have lost, or dropped out. I lost with Gore in 2000, I lost with Edwards in the 04 primaries, then with Kerry in the 04 election, and I lost with Edwards AGAIN (MY HOPE WAS STILL ALIVE) in 08, then BITTERLY with Hillary in 08. Barack Obama is the first candidate I have voted for WHO HAS WON.

My adulthood has been spent under the thumb of victors I violently voted against. Even now, with a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president, I can't trust that what has come to pass will REALLY come to pass. 8 years spent in defeat, and now the beacon of a president I voted for, but who was my THIRD CHOICE this year.

The Bush Era has ended--a time that seemed like it would NEVER be over is FINALLY over--and the era of Democracy via Democrats has begun. Barack, I am hoping you can renew my belief that this is what I've been waiting for.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recession + Old Navy = Unparalleled Satisfaction

First off, Happy MLKJ Day to you! Vee and I don't get the day off, but we're celebrating in our hearts.

Well, since I was unable to accomplish ANY OF THE 3 THINGS ON MY FRIDAY LIST, Kiddokabiddo and I dadnapped Vee and went on A Bougie Friday Evening Out. We had a recession coupon for $10 off at Texas Roadhouse, so Vee and I ate large slabs of beef while Kiddokabiddo happily crowed in her carseat and ate the homemade peas we packed for her. I then brought Vee to the movie multiplex to watch NOTORIOUS, the fulfillment of two years of dreams.

While he movied, I took the Kiddo shopping, and oh, what Depression-era prices were to be found!

We went to Old Navy because I had seen a tip on a local board that I spy on--informing me that OLD NAVY WAS HAVING 50% OFF THEIR CLEARANCE PRICES! Starting that day! If you've been to Old Navy recently, you would know that THEY ARE ALREADY DESPERATE and the clearance prices alone are ridiculous.

I was wearing Kiddokabiddo in the wrap, and yanking clothing off the stuffed-to-the-gills racks. It was amazing! There was only one other mom there with me, and we were doing the polite shuffle-aside for each other and everything. I went over to the women's side and found a shirt I wanted to try on, so I brought Kiddokabiddo into the dressing room with me and hemmed and hawed over the prices (and then realized that I would never regret these purchases, but I would always regret NOT purchasing them. That is the true test when shopping, y'all. I can recall WITH LIGHTNING SPEED and POIGNANT CLARITY the red plaid pants I didn't get from Delia*s, but that's a story for another day).

I came back out, and THERE WAS A CAVALCADE OF SUBURBAN MOMS LIONESSING AROUND THE KIDS RACKS, sniping in between each other's arms to swipe an item. In a mere 15 minutes since I SWEPT THE RACKS, the mwoms had descended and were batting their children away from their legs and using their carts (did you REALIZE Old Navy had carts? I didn't! People buy enough stuff to warrant CARTS!) as "polite" battering rams to keep other mwoms off their territory until they'd gotten their fill.

I skipped up to the check-out line and gleefully remembered that MY GAP BRAND SELF had recently obtained a $10 rewards certificate. Are you ready for a Recession Miracle?


Yes, y'all, you are reading that receipt correctly. $5.81 for all of the items pictured above (3 dresses, two shirts, and one hoodie, PLUS the not-pictured aforementioned t-shirt for me). That parses out to ~$0.70 per item. You do realize, of course, that it would have cost me more to buy these items USED. In 1982. I'm telling you--my mom would be SO proud of me if she saw what her Little Bargain Hunter brought home on Friday night. Without even needing to do Black Friday-style battle!

Recession, yes. But if you've got the spare $, it's going to be a sweet couple years of deals!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I'm thinking at this point I can go ahead and travel to another continent, since MY FEAR OF CRASHING INTO WATER IN A PLANE HAS BEEN REALIZED IN WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN A TOTALLY LAND-LOCKED SITUATION.

We've almost received all of the Christmas mix CDs at our house, and I'm anxiously awaiting the last couple so that I can write my MIX CD REVIEW.

I had a bowl of Lucky Charms and a glass of blueberry-pomegranate juice for breakfast, knowing that the juice was 100% apple and was only "flavored" with blueberry and pomegranate juice, but I still felt "healthy" because it seemed less toxic than my usual coffee.

And then I went and got a cup of coffee to reward myself.

My tasks for the afternoon are: calling to get an appt with a doctor to set up primary care, calling to set up our EVENING OUT plans with our friends, and calling to get enrolled in a yoga class beginning in March.

I HATE making phone calls, and this antisocial behavior has no doubt prevented many opportunities/stifled many budding friendships.

Today's outing with Kiddokabiddo will probably be to Hobby Lobby, to buy a wool shaver so I can keep her vast collection of wool pants (these were only two of the seven pairs) looking smart, and a flexible measuring tape, so when I buy more wool pants, I can make sure I have her EXACT MEASUREMENTS in hand.

I truly can't believe this is the last weekend with G.W. in office (there were times when I would not have believed you if you had told me I would give birth during a Bush presidency because I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE OVER BY 04 AT THE LATEST IF HE WASN'T IMPEACHED EARLIER), and it semi-disgusts me that I will always have to announce that "my daughter was born during a Bush presidency," but at least she will grow into a child under a Democratic president.

I will be watching the final two episodes of Rome by myself this afternoon, since Vee got upset when I told him I didn't like watching TV with him (he was noodling around on his guitar and asking non-related questions during the auditions of "American Idol." Doesn't he know that I am only interested in ONE THING AI-RELATED: THE AUDITIONS?).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What "Working From Home" Looks Like

I have been working from home for over two years. If I thought it was isolating and socially-stifling a year ago, it was NO PREVIEW for what it would be like with a baby.

Let me explain.

At first, I was giddy at getting to work in my pajamas. PJS! I wasn't waking up at 7:00am, slamming a cup of coffee and my Pop-Tart, and hitting the road to get to work, where the first hour would be spent slogging around on the Internet until it was time to start "really" working.

No, instead, I would get up WHENEVER I FELT LIKE IT, log in, IN MY JAMS, brew me a nice pot of coffee, and work with "Dawson's Creek" reruns on in the background. Start a load of laundry, work while it washed and dried, and be DONE BY 2! (I also cut down my hours to half-time when I started working from home)

It was basically the best thing in the world!

Unfortunately, I started working from home because Vee and I relocated to another state so he could go to grad school. So I was working from home in a new city and DIDN'T KNOW ANYONE ELSE THERE, so I had NO ONE TO HANG OUT WITH WHEN I WAS DONE WITH WORK. Working from home? Doesn't exactly introduce you to new co-workers either.

Sure, I could have hauled my laptop to a coffee shop and worked from there every day. And met me some nice regulars. But I was too enamored by my PAJAMAS lifestyle! For two years, then, I worked from home, met no one, and eventually doubled up on my half-time work by completing a paralegal degree and "talking" to people when I would head downtown to my co-co classes.

We moved back to our town one month before Kiddokabiddo was born, and the plan had always been: I KEEP WORKING FROM HOME, AND KIDDOKABIDDO STAYS OUT OF DAYCARE! It was an A+ situation! No childcare costs, the cash keeps rolling in, and I get to hang out with my baby all day!

Do you know what that translates to?

ALL THE HASSLE OF BEING A STAY-AT-HOME MOM WITH NONE OF THE BENEFITS (time to do mom-groups, excursions w/Kiddokabiddo, etc) and ALL THE HASSLE OF WORKING WITH NONE OF THE BENEFITS (seeing other human beings besides my baby).

I love taking care of my baby, and I love the feeling that I am contributing something to the world outside my house and completing tasks with MY EXPERTISE, but something's got to give pretty soon--I'm living hard to chase the dream way beyond my ways and means.

In my pajamas. At noon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Anne, Anne, Anne

By the way, it IS going to be a wind chill of -30 in my fair city today.

Out of fresh reading material (after The Namesake, the only other book that jumped out at me was one about using common household products to make fantastically cheap cleaning products, and that's more of a page-through than a page-turner), I inexplicably picked back up Anne of Windy Poplars, the fourth book in the Anne of Green Gables series. For those of you who weren't avid Anne-ers, that's the one when she's a principal at Summerside while Gilbert is finishing medical school.

DON'T GET IT CONFUSED WITH THE SECOND ANNE OF GREEN GABLES MOVIE, which has an infuriating flirtation with an old dude when Anne is the principal! That doesn't happen! Roy Gardiner, the real "almost fiance," is much easier to swallow than the loser-y rich old guy who likes Anne because she's nice to his crochety old mom and his abandoned daughter.

Anyway, even though I've read it a hundred times (ok, exaggeration: I have NOT read it as many times as I've read Gone With the Wind, and I've read that somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 times), I guess I never really thought about the TIME FRAME we're talking about. The book is mainly comprised of Anne's letters to Gilbert for the THREE YEARS BETWEEN ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE. What shocked me was not the three-year-engagement, it was the fact that it was OUT OF THE QUESTION for them to be married while Gilbert was going to medical school, and OUT OF THE QUESTION for them to live in the same city. Anne had to go principal her ass a hundred miles away, and just see Gilbert when they both went back to Avonlea for the holidays.


This book always used to be the balm I soothed over myself after the tumult and drama of Anne of the Island when I spent most of the novel worrying about whether or not, THIS TIME, Anne would realize that she was in love with Gilbert. But is it REALLY satisfying just to KNOW they both feel the same way about each other and have AGREED to be married when there's a THREE YEAR TIME AND DISTANCE LAG between the proposal (so romantic!) on the bridge and the eventual walking-down-the-stairs-at-Green-Gables and the House of Dreams?

Different times, y'all, and different morals. I do not envy Anne and Gilbert their three year separation, but I do envy their box of long letters to each other for that time apart. And yes, I am talking about them as if they existed. Didn't they?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Should we talk about the weather? (Hi, hi)

All "Pop Song 89" aside, as I was writing a letter to my brother this morning lamenting the return of winter to my fair city (ZERO DEGREES! SNOW! This wouldn't be so irritating had it not been 35+ and all the snow melted for the past two weeks), I noticed how often I always, always open a conversation, an email, or a letter with a comment about the weather.

Either I am an awkward conversation starter (likely), I was born with this inclination buried deep in part of my ancestral roots, or I think the weather is fascinating. I tend to think I am fascinated by the weather. I can go on for ten minutes at a time recounting the recent shift in weather or, if it's been particularly static, I haul out old El Nino/La Nina stats to contrast it with. WHY?! What is the relevance? Does anyone else care?

Back when I used to watch the evening news with my parents (ah, evening news, how you have been replaced by, my favorite part was when they would do the weather and show the record-holding lows and highs. I always got sad when we got CLOSE to the 1886 record because I didn't want us to break it, but when there was a low of, say, 28 degrees set in 1976, and the local temp was at 29, I would get so MAD that we couldn't get there. LIKE IT WAS A CONTEST OR SOMETHING, OR LIKE THE RECORDS OF THE 1800S DESERVED RESPECT.

The forecast for today: far below freezing, sunny skies that have changed into cloud cover, no new snow fall, and leftover snow drift from the GALE FORCE WINDS of last night that, God Bless America, swept the sidewalks for me. And I'll be reading all the weather-related tales of COLD and SNOW on and preparing my dinner conversation with Vee.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cloth Diaper Treatise

Instead of blogging, I killed time this morning catching up on my Google Reader, spying around on Facebook (it's so much more EASY TO SPY on than Myspace--there's no "online now" or way to track when you signed in), and looking for more wool to buy on Diaperswappers. Even though Kiddokabiddo has plenty of wool pants for the winter. SPRING IS AROUND THE CORNER (I say as the snowfall from last night drifts around on the street) and wool skirts and shorts can be bought!

Have I mentioned how much I love cloth diapering my daughter? Probably not. I love all of it--I love making the wipes solution out of little cubes of scented glycerine + water, I love dunking the colored washcloths in and putting them in the wipes warmer, I love all the patterned diapers that we use on Kiddokabiddo, and I love never, ever having to run to the store because we're low on diapers. Did I mention that I LOVE HER WOOL PANTS? God, do I love her wool pants. (They serve as diaper covers)

I love the ONE-TIME-ONLY cost of purchasing diapers and the relatively negatory cost of laundering her diapers! (I know, I know--it's not like we have ZERO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT--there's all the water we use laundering them. But we live in the Midwest by a hearty river, and if it's between using river water in my washer 3x/week + electricity to run the dryer [it's best in the summer when I can hang her dipes on our clothesline, because with all the sun we get, it's totally free] or throwing away plastic into a landfill, I will use the water and use the electricity because at least I'm not mounding poopy plastic waste into a hole on the plains that I love)

I even love doing her diaper laundry (I love it more now that we have our front-loading washer and dryer with the extra rinse/pre-wash settings). I love the bin of diapers she's outgrown that we can save for the next kiddo, whenever that time comes around.

And you know what else? I love buying used diapers. THAT'S RIGHT: I SAID IT. KIDDOKABIDDO WEARS MOSTLY PREWORN DIAPERS. Y'all, when it comes down to it, and before you get grossed out thinking about OTHER BABY PEE, you've got to know how sterilized these diapers get before they're used at our house. We're talking about boiling them, stripping them, and washing them. They are clean as clean and the Kiddokabiddo has never gotten a diaper rash from a swapped diaper.

THE ULTIMATE ECO BABY USES PRE-WORN DIAPERS! And that's my Kiddokabiddo! We might burn fossil fuels to keep our house at 70 degrees, but we throw out 1 bag of trash a week, and ain't none of it diapers!

Friday, January 9, 2009

My wanderlust and its confines

So, I was talking my friend in Morocco yesterday morning (as my dad would say, INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE!). I was also nursing Kiddokabiddo, who is highly unaccustomed to hearing me talk during said process (Ah, it is a lonely life we lead [referencing the nuns in Monty Python and the Holy Grail][why do I even think anyone would get that reference even if you could hear the inflection in my voice as I said it?]) and kept flipping her head up to look at me. Yes, Kiddokabiddo, I was talking to a computer. You're too young to even think that's weird. But IT'S STILL WEIRD TO ME!

When my family first moved across the country, I remember FANTASIZING about having a telephone with a TV screen in it so I could see and be seen by the person on the other end of the line. It was 1992, and that sort of technology seemed as remote as, well, the place we were moving (rural eastern North Carolina). My best friends and I wrote LETTERS! LETTERS! to each other, since long distance bills were so rowdy.

And now I can talk, for free, at will, to my friend in Morocco and my brother in South Korea, and I can see their faces while we do so.


My Moroccan Friend was telling me about how she plans to come back to the US for grad school when she's done over there (she's in Peace Corps), but is definitely considering leaving the North American continent again after she's got her degree. My brother's been leading me down the same path of rhetoric--he's planning on signing on for another year of teaching English in Seoul, and then considering grad school in Germany. With no plans to settle back down in the US any time soon.

Like all life plans that don't resemble my own, my immediate reaction was shame/fear (that I am horribly bourgeois and travel-xenophobic) and envy (that I should have experiences like these to add to my life repertoire)(And then shame over why I consider these "life repertoire" experiences when THEY CLEARLY MEAN MORE TO PEOPLE THAT A CHECK MARK IN THE "I DID THIS" BOX). As the day mellowed and I considered and rejected several versions of the next five years, I remembered why I haven't actually left the continent. (GASP! SHOCK!)

(1) I love the US. (Wave patriotic flags! No, wait, don't.) What I mean is: I love traveling in the US. I love the highways and the back roads and the fact that I don't have to fly over the ocean. (One of my greatest fears is a plane crashing into water. I'm not afraid of flying, and I'm not afraid of crashing: I'm afraid of drowning. Can you tell I'm a bad swimmer?)

(2) I am afraid of looking like a tourist. I genuinely abhor looking like a tourist and since I SPEAK ONE OTHER LANGUAGE (the one which is NOT SPOKEN ANYMORE, y'all--four years of LATIN), unless I go to an English-speaking country, it is inevitable that I will stick out as obviously as Marcus Brody from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, no matter what Indy tells the Nazis.

(3) Related to #1, I guess I feel like there are too many places on this continent that I want to make sure I see. MY BUCKET LIST AT 26! DON'T get me wrong--I have always, ALWAYS wanted to see Easter Island, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu (my budding archaeology dreams of most of my youth still linger with me)--but I guess I feel like, coming back to TECHNOLOGY, there are so many places I feel like I don't need to see in PERSON to feel fulfilled. I don't NEED to go to Paris, I don't NEED to go to London, I don't NEED to see vineyards in Italy. They're in, like, a million movies and books and webshots. I know, I know--there's a difference between EXPERIENCING and experiencing from your computer screen. I KNOW.

But I've got miles to go before I sleep, Robert Frost, and most of those miles are bent out across the barren stretches of America, Kiddokabiddo in the backseat, in jerks and spurts for the next cluster of years. And hopefully not in a mini-van.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Book Affair(s)

In case anyone was wondering, "Lowdown" is still in my head. And did you know there is a TERRIBLE Youtube video of Taylor Hicks singing "Lowdown" in the Philippines? There are certain songs that should be banned from being covered by American Idols.

So yesterday, as my daughter Kiddokabiddo happily played at her activity station and worked on her abdominal muscles (sitting up, you guys, sitting up. She's not on an exercise regimen), I tore through The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. It was one of those books I had been meaning to get around to (even though I didn't have it on my Goodreads to-read list) and finally, FINALLY remembered when I went to the library. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about--even if you don't go to the library because you're soooooooo beyond library books, you know the sensation when you walk into a book store, or a CD store (ha. ha. do those still exist?) and suddenly, MIND GOES BLANK and you can't remember all those authors/artists you had recommended to you, and you stutter over to the letter "A" and hope, by scanning the titles, it will come back to you?

Or maybe it's just me. I've always been REALLY overwhelmed when I walk into a book store. There was this amazing book store the last time we lived here that was CRAMMED full of used books--we're talking two floors of oddly-shaped aisles, low ceilings, and the funk of 40,000 years--and while I "loved" going there because, if I am nothing else, I am a true bibliophile, I also got EXTREMELY agitated if I stayed longer than 20 minutes. It was like this terrifying Raggedy Ann and Andy movie I remember watching as a kid where this sea of taffy kept trying to eat Raggedy Ann (you'll just have to trust me on this)--you can't possibly consume all of it, and it threatens to consume you.

ANYWAY, where I was GOING with this was the book, The Namesake. After having read Interpreter of Maladies when it first came out, the subject matter (struggling with one's Indian identity in melting-pot-America) wasn't surprising, but I found myself really fixating on the affair (I hope that doesn't give anything away about the book for those of you who haven't read it yet) and then thinking back over how the central twist of basically every story in Interpreter of Maladies is an affair, or near-affair, between married people, and how even novelists tend to work in subject matter that they really KNOW, and how awkward it must be for Jhumpa Lahiri's husband and family to be constantly reading about AFFAIRS in her books and everyone either KNOWING about one that occurred or, maybe worse, ASSUMING that one occurred.

Margaret Atwood, my favorite of favorites, ALWAYS works an affair into her books too (as well as several other descriptions or turns of phrases--rather than judge her as UNCREATIVE, I love them and look for them now) and THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL she didn't have one. She's written about affairs so many times I'm pretty sure I know exactly how they happened in real life.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

mix CDs

I've got mix CDs on my mind.

This Christmas, our second annual mix CD swap theme was "My Life in One CD" (and yes, yours truly was the brilliant mind behind this introspection and self-indulgence). The two rules were:
(1) no more than 2 songs per year of your life
(2) everything had to fit on one CD

It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do; I felt like I had been preparing for this assignment for years, deciding mentally "Oh my GOD THIS IS THE SONG OF MY LIFE!" multiple times a year. I used to get so violently attached to songs that I would emphatically declare, as I told my husband (hereafter known as Vee) recently about "Lowdown" by Boz Scaggs, "I COULD LISTEN TO THIS SONG ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!"

So I ended up breaking even my OWN mix CD rules: yes, the songs all fit on one CD, but I was so CONNECTED to certain other songs that I still WROTE ABOUT THEM in the liner notes because I just couldn't separate them from THE ULTIMATE PORTRAYAL OF MY LIFE.

Vee and I got a really nice email from one of the participants in the swap who confessed something so blatantly obvious, I can't believe I haven't had the courage to say it myself: we all make mix CDs hoping someone will read between the lines and see what we are saying with our song selection, but the fact is that YOU HAVE TO WRITE LINER NOTES OR NO ONE UNDERSTANDS!

I thought back over the old mix tape days of my youth, and the HOURS spent picking out JUST THE RIGHT SONG, not just SONICALLY but EMOTIONALLY, and the severe disappointment when I THOUGHT I WAS ADMITTING SOMETHING REALLY PERSONAL and the recipient either (kindly) chose not to comment on it or else DIDN'T REALIZE IT. Why didn't I write liner notes explaining, even obliquely, why I picked the songs? Because you can't deny your emotion once it's been committed to paper, and you can always slink away if it's not reciprocated? Yeah, probably.

And then there's always misinterpreting songs. I don't mean by the recipient, I mean by YOURSELF. You know how embarassing it is when you get caught singing the wrong lyric to a song (and I'm talking about the days before and before everyone was printing liner notes with the words)? How about WHEN YOU THINK A SONG IS ABOUT ONE THING AND THEN REALIZE IT IS OBVIOUSLY ABOUT ANOTHER.

On my way back from buying a box of Christmas cards for $0.69 from the Target after-Christmas-90%-off sale last night (which, coincidentally, I didn't even end up paying $0.69 for, since the old-ass woman who took 15 minutes to check my stuff out [I had 9 items, none of which needed any special assistance] DIDN'T EVEN RING UP ON MY RECEIPT), I was listening to "Voice Inside My Head" by the Dixie Chicks. For the first ten listens to this song back in the summer of 07, I definitely was INTO THIS SONG because I've always been obsessed with THE OTHER LIVES I COULD HAVE BEEN LIVING if X had fallen into place, or if X hadn't fallen into place, or whatever. So I was enjoying the song's message about how Natalie Maines needs to believe that she's supposed to be with her husband and her child rather than with this mysterious other dude who she broke up with ten years ago.

Except, as I discovered when I googled the song to read all the lyrics, THE SONG IS OBVIOUSLY ABOUT A BABY SHE ABORTED TEN YEARS AGO, NOT A DUDE SHE BROKE UP WITH!

At least I didn't put it on a YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME WHEN I'M GONE mix.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ready, aceti-spaghetti, GO!

I started this blog almost three months ago, and am posting for the first time now, because one of my New Years resolutions was to get my ass back into blogging. (For those of you reading my other blog,, you will be delighted to learn that I'll be picking it back up again as well, starting in March.)

Having thoroughly depressed myself by hanging onto the hope that Myspace was ever going to make a resurgence (and humiliatingly having jumped ship to Facebook a solid five years after graduating, gulp, college), my bloghistory is now nil. No proof of my WILD YEARS BETWEEN DEGREE AND BABY!

So here I am: babied up, homeownered, and thrillfully living in the Midwest. And evading the inevitability of mwomdom.

Since this is the inaugural blog, I'll take a minute to define the rando vocab word "mwom."

Mwom: that roommate who fought it out with you about putting your socked feet on a futon pillow while sighing loudly as if SHE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO CARED ABOUT CLEANLINESS.
(not that anyone I know would do that)

Mwoming is inserting yourself into a situation and acting like the MOM when a mom-figure is not only not appreciated, but not needed. Being a mom MYSELF now who, uh, will need to act like it, I am actively fighting the stereotype of my life.

The MWOMY facts:
I am a married Catholic mother in my mid-20s
I have a 7 month old daughter
I live in a suburb of a Midwestern town
I own a house built in the '90s
I work from home

Will I turn into THAT NAGGING WIFE?

Will I ship my daughter off to an "academy" because I can't balance my workload and babyload? (Sidenote: Have you noticed the frightening daycare centers who call themselves "schools" or "academies" and post threats like "Now accepting six week olds?" BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF: we all know your six-week-old would be taking "classes" in things like "learning how to use a pacifier so Miss Linda can read Scruples in peace." But I digress.)

Can I argue for the sanctity of my CATHOLIC RIGHT TO "FREE WILL" without being excommunicated from both the Church and my liberal friends?

Will my husband and I successfully convert the early-'90s-ness of our house into the modern living quarters of our dreams?