I have cobwebs on my ceiling

Warning: expressive, explicit language. 

Sometimes I sit in my living room and look up at the cobwebs on my 20 foot ceilings and I think, man, I should clean that. I must be a terrible housekeeper. That must mean I sort of universally suck, right? Then I remember I don’t have a telescoping ladder and I feel even further defeated. How the fuck am I supposed to clean the ceiling now?

I recently fell in love with “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Mostly it makes me laugh & smile, but sometimes … when the love is so real, so heartfelt … it makes me cry.

Sometimes the loneliness is palpable. And when the kids are gone, and some lady on tv is glowing with love, I think, man, is this it for me? Is this my life now? Alone, with dirty ceilings and no mechanism to make them better.

The boys have been with their dad all weekend. I miss their voices when they’re gone. I did have a lovely weekend, though, and I even had a date(ish thing) recently, but … then I get to Sunday night.

My house is quiet. My phone isn’t making the sounds I desire to hear. The walls are closing in. The cobwebs mock me. The full to bursting gutters, the hole in the wall, the loose faucet .… they haunt me. And I think, what am I doing? I can’t do this. I can’t manage this on my own. Then I remember that I AM actually alone, and likely will be for the rest of my life.

So this is what’s going through my head, and then it gets worse.

Because I’m short & chubby, with terrible legs and I snore, and my big boobs point down rather than out, and I’m stubborn and a control-freak and I always feel like I have to be right, and I have to do right, and live right, because if I screw up then I’m a fuck up and a failure.

So that’s what I am, right?

Because look at those damned cobwebs and my short, fat legs and how the fuck can I be good at anything if I can’t keep my ceiling clean? Nobody is going to love me. In fact, the man I thought could love me decided, nah, not going to do it. And why would he? I can’t even figure out how to clean the ceiling in my own house.

So it’s Sunday night and I’m folding laundry. I’m watching a miserably sappy movie about love, faith, and doing the right thing. I’m sad. And my phone is stubbornly fucking quiet and I think, you pathetic moron, what does it even fucking matter because your time has come and gone. Get used to this, fat ass. Fold your damn laundry and just focus on being a mom because you don’t deserve shit.

Then I turn on a recorded episode of “Say Yes to the Dress (Atlanta).” Lori & Monte are packing up to go to a bride’s home. That’s unusual. Then we get the story. The bride recently lost her 8 year old son to cancer. Her mother & family conspired to put together a wedding & surprise the bride with a dress. The family is still so deep in their grief. For their son, and grandson. The bride doesn’t feel like she has the right to be happy with her son gone.

Well don’t I feel like a jackass?  Sitting over here being a crybaby because of a hole in the wall (that can be fixed) or some full gutters (that can be emptied) or the fact that I feel universally unloveable (which ebbs & flows). But what is that in comparison? That’s nothing to her pain.

I have two amazing sons. I have a good, challenging job. I have a home, cobwebs & all, that keeps us warm & dry. I have my family & a few friends I love dearly. I wouldn’t trade what I have for all the clean ceilings in the world.

Sometimes life hands us these little reminders so that we will shut the hell up and stop brooding over what we can’t control. Just a little kick in the ass.

Know better; do better. (And buy a telescoping ladder).

Xoxo,

Stef

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Cleaning out my closet (it’s a metaphor, people)

Cleaning out my closet. Metaphorically and literally.

But first the literal: As previously mentioned here, my bedroom was a freakin’ disaster. We don’t have enough closet or dresser space to hold all my clothes so, before the bedroom re-do, they would be folded (usually) and piled. In places. Like on any level surface.

I didn’t accumulate all this on purpose. I didn’t go out of my way to have all these clothes with no home.

It’s my weight, you see. I have gained and lost the same 30-40(ish) lbs twice in the last 5 years. That’s a deviation of about 3 clothing sizes.

Also, I shop when I’m depressed. When I’m at the higher end of my weight circuit (like right now, dammit) then shopping is depressing too, but at least I think new clothes will look better/camouflage me better than my old clothes. It’s a vicious cycle.

So when we decided to do this bedroom makeover I knew I would have to do something with all my clothes. They needed to be seriously evaluated and a good chunk discarded. I’m mostly done with that. I have a huge black heavy-duty contractor bag full of clothes I’m going to donate. Some of them are very nice clothes and I was loathe to part with them but I need to be realistic, you know?

I also have a storage box for stuff I absolutely want to keep. For when I’m thinner. (Because, YES, that will totally happen. Someday.) But I just kept the stuff I liked the most and couldn’t part with.

The only thing still pending is a pile of dress pants & jeans. Pants really are the absolute worst for me. I can fit my mammoth boobages into most tops because, contrary to my weight, my frame is small. (Judging by my frame, I should be really cute, petite and tiny. The last time I was cute, petite and tiny was in 1997 when I was stupid, making bad decisions and incredibly unhealthy. But, hey, I looked FABULOUS!)

Back to pants. I hate them. I have short, fat legs. Always have had. Even when I was cute, petite and tiny. And I have a booty. Like for reals. I’m not talking about the “Baby Got Back” kind of booty (by the way, I have to tell all the big girls out there, like me, that Sir Mix-A-Lot is not talking about us. He’s talking about J-Lo. He’s talking about that Kardashian chick. Not the big mamas. Got it? I mean, I like the song too but it’s not OUR theme song. Anyway I would prefer a theme song not relevant to my weight and personal appearance – like “I Will Survive” or “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” Just my opinion. Moving on.) Back to my booty. I’ve got one, it’s not small and I hate pants.

So how many sizes of pants do you keep? I mean, when you really find a pair that fits and then grow out of them with the full intention of getting back in them then you should keep them right? But for how long??

Well, I’ve kept a ton. I told the hubby last night if I could just lose 30 lbs again I would have so many more clothing options. I just need to have the will to lose that weight. I keep waiting for divine intervention on this one but I think I’m going to have to find the motivation on my own. I’m working on it.

The thing is – I need to lose weight for my health, but I don’t want to be depressed about it. That’s not healthy either, you know? And having all those clothes in smaller sizes is just taunting me. It’s not really motivating me – just making me sad.

So I am metaphorically cleaning out my closet as well. I’m pushing those memories of the slimmer me out of my mind in order to accept who I am today. I’m not going to lie and say that I love the way I look. I don’t. I hate it. But I need to accept that this is who I am right now. I will work on losing weight in my way and in my time and I can’t be pushed on it.

I can’t have my weight struggle holding my happiness hostage. I do not want my weight consuming every minute of my life.

So, certain pants are being kept and tucked away for later days. I’ll get back into them in the fullness of time. The other stuff I’m donating. Let someone else who is either on a weight upswing or downswing get the benefit of them.

Attitude adjustment complete. This is who I am. Love me or don’t.

Note: I have some pics to add but they aren’t with me. I’ll try to add them to this blog later. No guarantees though because I’m picking up my momma in 4 hours and I have a little boy turning 9 tomorrow.

Last week in Instagram & this week in sheer panic

Okay, before we get to an Instagram review of the week and a recap of our wild ride on Easter, let me just tell you about this coming week. 
My momma is coming on Thursday evening. Momma & stepdad, actually. So I have guests coming in 3 1/2 days.
Something you may or may not know about me – I’m a 90%er. I like to do jobs/projects until they are mostly done and then I lose steam and it takes me FOREVER to finish them. This is a problem for me this week because over the last two weekends we have been working on our bedroom re-do. The room itself is done. (Well, mostly. I need to pick up a bench, some storage options like a bookcase, and a couple of small, tall side tables – but it’s mostly done. The furniture will wait a bit.) 
The problem is we put all that junk that was cluttering up our bedroom into my office. My office that also doubles as our guest room. Do you see where I am going with this?
I have 3 1/2 days to now make the guest room presentable. But I don’t wanna. Because I’m a 90%er and I’m done with my bedroom project. Whine.
So – that’s my week. Clean, clean, organize, organize. Then my parents are coming and it will be my son’s birthday on Friday. I’m feeling the PRESSURE. I’m feeling a little panicky about it. Maybe that adrenaline will help me get it done. Fingers-crossed.
Okay, now that I’ve got THAT out of the way we’ve got some loverly pictures:
The beginning of the week was rough at work. Drastic measures were necessary:
Sangria
Then we did homework. This is my Autistic guy. When I see him doing so-called “normal” things really well I can’t tell you how much my heart expands. The hubby’s too. See his face? Proud dad.
Speaking of the Autism thing – my little guy has been afraid of dogs for about 3 1/2 years. That’s about 1 1/2 years after we got our Labradoodle, Murphy. Murphy was a very active pup. And big. With gigantic paws. Bubba got scared and from then on Murphy had a weird half-life – all day outside and all night inside in his crate. Lately as my little bubba has gotten older we’ve been seeing improvements. He’s not as scared as he was. It probably helps that he’s taller than Murphy now. 
We started “Project: Integrate Murphy” last week. Starting with a bath and a haircut:

It’s going pretty well. Murphy does have a tendency to eat paper though. He gnawed on the hubby’s hard-bound Hitchhiker’s Guide though and that was a big, fat no-no. He needs to work on his manners a bit before he’s given carte blanche access to the whole house.
Friday the boys went to Hobby Lobby with me. I have started a love affair with that place. Largely because of the bedroom re-do. And partially because all the wall decor was 50% off. Yikes. 
Anyway, to reward them, and me, for their good behavior at the store I took them to U-Swirl for yogurt where I snapped one of the cutest pictures ever of these two boys together:
Brothers
I just died. 
Look how sweet they are? So, so misleading.
Saturday I busted ass to try to get my bedroom done. It’s done-ish. Here’s a preview of a later, date TBD, blog post about the room re-do:
Hobby Lobby purchase. Yep. Infatuation all the way.
We also dyed eggs on Saturday. I’m not artsy-fartsy with them. More of a traditionalist, I think. They are what they are:
Which brings us to Easter. We went to the in-law’s house. They have 4 acres on which sits the old farmhouse, a guest house (currently inhabited by a visiting aunt & uncle), a big barn-like structure (for holding the RV, junk and cars. and more junk), old outhouses, an old pump house, old chicken coops, a playhouse, a wood pile, about 8 old undriveable cars, an olive grove, picnic tables, and, finally, a beaten earth track that will eventually have actual train tracks on it for my father in law’s ride-on train. 
It’s a fun place for 13 grandkids (11 of them boys) to play.
But before the playing we had the egg hunting:
And egg-inspecting at the playhouse:

And Papa took some of the littlest kids for a ride on the track in the golf cart:

Those are the 2 girlies. Twinsies too.

Then we had some boy cousin playing on the wood pile:

Old fallen trees are really the best places to play.
The hubby and I borrowed the keys to the golf cart and drove out to the back olive grove. We may have smooched a little. I can neither confirm nor deny, but this guy certainly thinks he’s pretty clever:

Note: I cannot tell you how fun this was. I just can’t. I don’t have the words. It was like a ride at Disneyland except without all the safety restraints and perfectly imagined scenery. The hubby drove with swagger. Then he let let me drive and I was a tad more cautious. I want to do it again. 
On our way back we saw this band of pirates getting ready to attack:
That’s my baby in the middle. With his stick sword.
And then we were caught:
My baby lost interest at some point during the charge and went the other way.
And during all this crazy driving and pirate attacks what were the little girls doing? 
Contemplating the crazy boys, of course. Just like women have been doing for centuries:
“Hmm, why would they get on the roof just to fall on their heads? Doesn’t seem logical.”
Happy Easter, Peeps.

Spring Project Cleaning

It’s supposed to be 70 this weekend and that means Spring. 
Birds chirping, tulips coming up, trees budding and grass growing. It also means we can send the kids outside. A LOT. Good stuff.
It also means allergies. Bad stuff.
Good & bad? Spring Cleaning.

I hate cleaning. Really. HATE. But it’s time. And I LOVE when it’s done.

I have two modes of cleaning:
1. Blitz cleaning. This is the cleaning you do really quickly to make it all look presentable when you are having company. My husband and I can do this for about an hour before company and everything looks spic & span – just don’t look at the tops of the bookshelves, or under the sofa. 
When our boys catch us cleaning they say, “who’s coming over?” I then point out to them that SOMETIMES we clean things for other purposes – like if something is so disgustingly filthy I can’t stand the sight of it anymore. (This excludes the normal, day-to-day (that I also hate) like doing dishes, laundry, wiping counters, etc).
2. Project cleaning. PITA Spring Cleaning. This is when you take on a big project that requires cleaning out certain areas of the house in order to complete the project. I do this because it FORCES me to deep clean and it provides a new, fresh look to the room. Often this involves moving furniture, taking down decor, cleaning it and putting it back up, cleaning windows, window coverings, etc. 
(Side note: I used to move the living room furniture every few months whenever I got a wild hair and needed a change. Then we got a gigantic freaking sectional and that was that. The hubby is quite pleased about it as he is change-avoidant).
I just bought the cutest butterfly thingies I want to put up on the walls in my home office. But first I need to clean a corner of that room so I can get to the wall I want to put the butterflies on – which is buried behind a sofa covered with blankets, jackets, and even some Christmas wrap. (Yep, Christmas wrap I got AFTER I put Christmas away so it needs to find a home until next year because I’m not going up to the attic again).
See? Butterflies. They will look nice on my green office wall.
Or, another example, I hate dusting my bedroom, especially the areas I don’t easily hit like the ceiling fans or the tops of the curtains or the blinds that have been mostly closed all winter. This bedroom re-do project I’m currently working on will now force me to clean every.stinkin’.corner. of that room. It will feel so fresh and new when it’s done. I cannot wait. Plus, hello, PAINT. What better way to deep clean?
Now that Spring Cleaning (capitalized because it is a formal thing, no?) is starting to happen I will be undertaking many small projects. Sunlight is coming into our rooms from different angles now and I can totally see where I need to take some shades down and give them a thorough cleaning and I can see the cobwebs gathering in the dark, vaulted corners of the room. 
Incidentally, I wish I had a good method for cleaning those tall corners other than me, a rickety ladder & a broom. One of these days I AM going to fall on my ass and it’s going to hurt. You all will have a good laugh when I tell you about it. 

So – as your weather warms up just turn the music on, open the windows, and get to work. Put the kids to work too. Bribe ’em if you have to.

Happy cleaning, peeps. It will be SO worth it.

Bedroom Project Update #1

First, a mea culpa to my mom (though she doesn’t read the blog – I need to put it out there). 
Wait, before that even – there’s an explanation: In the process of doing the bedroom project it was important for me to CLEAN OUT MY CLOSET. Apologies for shouting, but I’m trying to pound it into my own head. It’s been needed for quite a while. In fact, I bought a red storage tote – last year – just for the purpose of keeping the clothes I couldn’t part with when I cleaned the closet. The tote has worked well as a surface for me to pile clothes on – until today.
You see, I have a problem with clothes. I don’t like to let them go. My weight fluctuates so much that I can justify it, usually. And I don’t give two rips about what’s stylish at any given point in time; I just try to wear what I like and whatever I think looks good on me. I have so many clothes that, most of the time, I don’t wear what’s hanging in my closet. Most of the clothes I wear on a daily basis are stored elsewhere: folded on top of my dresser, in a pile to be hung (but never actually gets hung up), or draped over the armchair in our bedroom. It’s stupid, I know. I can own it.
Which brings us back to CLEANING OUT MY CLOSET. So that it can actually be useful, dammit. I started today – see:
There’s the red tote of clothes to keep. Alma mater t-shirt and my great grandmother’s sweater right on top. Behind the tote is a bag of clothes to donate.
Okay, back to the mea culpa. When I got to the very, very, very back of my closet I discovered some bagged hangers. When I pulled them out, I found these:
Prom/Formal dresses
In my very last post I accused my mom of having a faulty memory and doing something with the black & white dress (my favorite). I honestly thought she had given it away. Sorry mom!! I do have some others that are missing and I’m sure those were donated – but these were my favorites and I’m so happy I still have them. Sizes 5/6.

(Yeah, I’m totally jealous of my 16/17 year old self at the moment.  I think my right boob would still fit in one of those dresses. And maybe one thigh. (Ugh, that was almost 20 years and 2 kids ago so why does it bother me? It’s ridiculous. Of COURSE I was smaller then. Duh. Shaking it off. Moving on))

Back to to the bedroom project update. 
I went shopping last night at Home Goods and picked out two completely different bedding sets. One was a Ralph Lauren comforter set that was cream with roses and was somewhat shabby chic. The hubby approved, surprisingly. The other was a red tone-on-tone striped sateen duvet cover set. The hubby rejoiced. It was also $60 cheaper so the Ralph Lauren went back to the store today. I washed the new red bedding this morning and threw it on the bed with our favorite high-thread count cream sheets: 
Sham, look familiar?
But, with such a plain bedding choice I was left trying to figure out what colors to pair with it in the room. I also needed to pick a wall color and some decor. Luckily the lamps I have in the room already have red shades so we’re all set there. 
I had a gift card for Target and decided to look for curtains there. I found a striped set that will work, and they helped me to set the color palette for the room. Then I hit a few thrift stores and found a fabulous shiny pleated bedskirt that matches the curtains. (I will not buy bedding at thrift stores (eww factor) – but I figure a bedskirt is okay. I washed it 2 seconds after I got home). I had already picked up the wall art/shadowboxes at Home Goods as well:
You can’t tell, but the big greenish stripe is actually a different color than the small greenish stripe.
So, the color palette is red, a goldish taupe, green, & cream.We’re going to paint the walls cream. I’m considering an accent wall in a deeper color. We’ll see.

All in all, it’s going well. I’ve spent under $80 for everything. Next steps are: 1. finish cleaning out the room, 2. buy the paint & then actually paint (big job! it’s a good-sized room), and 3. figure out some additional shelving/storage options for the room. My thrift store shopping today was unsuccessful in that department.

G’night!

Anatomy of a snap-happy Sunday

Bless him, the hubby let me sleep in. Then, when he was so hungry he couldn’t wait anymore, he crawled into bed with me and said he had already cooked the potatoes and could I please get my lazy arse out of bed and make him a scramble? Fine, fine! 
I got up and staggered my bones to the kitchen and began cooking. In the same pan as the cut up and sauteed potatoes, I added diced ham, aromatics (onion & garlic), and let it all combine on medium low heat. Then whisked 5 eggs, a diced scallion, and salt & pepper in a separate bowl. I added the egg mixture in and stirred a few times to scramble all together. Then turned the burner off, put some cheese on top and put the lid on to let the cheese melt. It was YUM. Plus I had enough leftover to make 6 breakfast burritos for us next week. Total score.
We sat down to eat breakfast and decided to flip on the Netflix and watch the 1st episode of Doctor Who (since it was restarted in 2005). It’s been highly recommended from our friend, Britt. But I think the jury is still out with me and the hubs. We’ll have to watch a few more before we decide. 
Then we started our day in earnest. I sent the kids to take out the recycling and play. Lo and behold they decided to do work:
Took out the recycling
Swept out the laundry room . . .
. . . and continued in the garage
The hubby continued working on my oldest’s invention for his Invention Convention – due this week at school:
the Pull & Dress – more on this later
Bob was doing his thing:
Russian Tortoise. Bob.
So I lit some candles:
A gift for Valentine’s Day from the hubby
and began snapping some pics of a few of my favorite things:
My fancy Jane Austen books – a gift many, many years ago
Willow Tree people – gifts from my family
My grandmother-in-law gave this egg cup to me from her collection. I love it dearly!
I’m thinking of making something now. Something a little sweet and possibly a little savory as well. Hmmm . . .