Romanticizing the Claw Foot Tub…Don’t Do it.

This isn't a photo of our bathroom but it's pretty much the same tub.

This isn’t a photo of our bathroom but it’s pretty much the same tub.

When we were taking a first look at the condo we eventually bought, there was one thing that stuck in my mind when we left – the beautiful claw foot tub in the master bathroom.  I had never lived anywhere that had a claw foot tub so I had nothing but romantic ideas about the tub.  I imagined sipping wine while taking a luxurious bubble bath.  Well…that’s pretty much where the romantic thoughts ended because, well, that’s where the movies’ portrayal of the tub ends too.  Regardless, I was excited at the prospect.

The day we moved in, I couldn’t wait to use the tub – albeit a shower.  This is precisely when my hatred started.  Have you ever taken a shower in one?  It’s the worst.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve banged my shin as I’ve raised my leg high but not high enough to clear it’s sides.  Then once your inside, it’s like you are wrapped in a cocoon of shower curtain. Seriously, it’s a 360 wrap of curtain.  Then, comes the lack of shelving for shampoo and soap.  Because it doubles as a shower, I can’t buy one of those pretty wooden shelves that rests on the tub.  Instead, we balance our stuff on the edge, leaned against the wall…this starts another world of problems.

A claw tub does not sit flush to the wall.  Instead it has approximately six inches on every side.  Six inches of space that allows the filth of shower and wetness to get into the crevice of every stone that surrounds it.  I almost knocked myself out, followed by getting stuck when trying to clean it.  I had my arm as far as I could stretch, trying to reach the floor and darkness below.  Before I knew it, I slipped into the most precarious position that I thought for a moment I might die of starvation.  There was no way I was getting out of it on my own.

So this is my warning.  If you ever have the chance to have a claw foot tub, don’t…well, unless you have a separate shower,  Then, totally do it because they are pretty.  But only do it, if you don’t plan to take baths.  Those are worse than the showers.

You’ve been warned.

Sausage Casing

You know what a man should never see?   A woman, specifically a significant other, putting on tights.  I wiggle, shimmy and dance to pull the tights over my soft legs eventually pulling the waist of the tights as high as they will go. 

The waist of the tights are secured under my bra.  I make every effort to prevent the waist of the tights from slowly rolling down my midsection exposing the softness tucked neatly inside. 

The sheer nature of tights leave nothing to hide.  Panties are frequently wadded up underneath and the squeezed shape of my body begs to be let loose. 

It just shouldn’t be seen.

Spilled Milk

I'm pretty sure I might be seven years old.  Who else X's their calendars?

I’m pretty sure I might be seven years old. Who else X’s their calendars?

Last night, I fell asleep as a typical thirty-one year old.  Pillow talk focused on our upcoming move.  We talked about how long we think closing on the condo will take, getting home owners insurance and crossing things off our mental to do list.  As we both settled in, I watched the ceiling fan, finding the whirring noise of the blades soothing.  But while my body was at rest, my mind wasn’t.  I couldn’t help but think about the days ahead.  There was still so much to do. 

The last four months have been anything but easy.  Everything from the apartment, to storage, to work has been throwing curve balls left and right.  As soon as I think we have gotten past the last bump in this latest journey of life, something else comes up. 

Our apartment experience has been a hot mess.  We didn’t have hot water for the first 39 days we lived there, and then, came the new roommates – mice. 

I don’t do well with mice.  While I could probably kill them with one stomp of my foot, I find myself yelping and running out of the room at the mere sight of one.  After a lot of nagging emails, our apartment company finally dropped off glue traps.  We placed them in the prime spots and waited. 

The next morning, I walked into the kitchen to see a mouse wiggling on a glue trap so violently that it was moving the trap.  My legs instantly turned to jelly, and I could feel the blood drain from my face.  A yelp escaped from my mouth as I ran out of the room.

Seconds later, I was hunched over, hands on my knees to calm myself, wondering if I woke Tom with the noise.  It was the final straw for me.  I. Could. Not. Wait. To. Move.

It took the seller a long time to agree on a close date.  When we finally agreed, the process was in speed mode.  We couldn’t wait any longer to schedule movers and to coordinate getting our stuff out of storage if we were going to be out of our apartment by June. 

When we sold the suburban house, we knew storage was a necessity.  I did a lot of research and decided that using PODS was the best.  While it was easy initially, it has been an utter nightmare since.  Their service is terrible, it’s a logistical nightmare and they grossly understated costs.  I was so angry that I wrote a scathing letter to the president of the company.  It got the attention I wanted, and they at least tried to make it right.

The long point I am trying to make is that moving is stressful.  So while last night I fell asleep a thirty-one year old dealing with adult things, this morning I woke up as a fourteen year old.  I straight up Benjamin Buttoned overnight.  That’s right.  I didn’t wake up to gray hair from the stresses of life.  Instead, I woke up with a ginormous, swollen, puffy red zit on my chin. 

I examined the zit on my chin, grimacing as I poked it with my fingers.  I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a zit.

Well shit.  What am I going to do with this thing?

I reacted just like a fourteen year old.  I huffed and puffed pointing it out Tom asking in a whiney voice if he could see it.  And just like I did when I was younger, I dug out concealer and created the best camouflage Almay can make.  It was barely visible when I was done but it didn’t matter.  I knew it was there.

As I sat in traffic this morning during my hour long commute, my mind reflected on life, writing mental stories.  Memories were being written in between the glances in the mirror to self-consciously check on Rudolph’s nose that had formed on my chin.  Yet, I found myself smiling despite this latest (literal) bump in life.  Maybe, I thought, just maybe things are finally starting to go my way – I would have been devastated if that zit was actually a gray hair. 

__

This post was a bit like spilled milk today so to refill the glass, I will share with you my three highs for the day. 

Three Highs

  1. The Lumineers Pandora station has been spot on all day creating the perfect soundtrack to life.
  2. I had one of my favorite things for lunch – soup!
  3. We move in exactly one week!

American Pride

FLagI was six years old the first time I felt an overwhelming feeling of patriotism. I was standing in my elementary school gym, staring at the flag with my right hand over my heart, singing at the top of my lungs.

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I admit I don’t appreciate my freedom like I should. It’s not something I thank God for when I wake up in the morning. Instead, I find myself thanking him for the mundane conveniences in life, like being able to button my favorite jeans with no muffin top or a short commute. I skate through life, a smile on my face, rarely stopping to think about why it’s so great in the first place.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin’ here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

When I do stop and think about it, I realize why it’s so easy to forget. I live in the greatest country – a developed country, a democracy. I’ve grown up with choices. The American dream was in my grasp from the moment I left the womb. I was born with the ability to succeed, if I chose to do so.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

A grin spread on my young face as we all approached our favorite verse. I grabbed my best friend, Kayla’s hand, bending my knees in anticipation of what came next.

And I gladly stand up,

In unison, we stood as tall as we could. We stretched our heads to the ceiling, our voices filling the air. We sang louder, and we sang prouder.

next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

The beauty of this country is that we come together in the time of need. Unfortunately, those times seem to be happening more and more often. The internet swirls with banners of breaking news. News that makes my heart sink. News that makes me reevaluate my priorities and hug my loved ones at home. News that makes me ask “Why?”

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

I don’t think I’ll ever find the answer to that looming question but what I do know is that I will always find people who care. And just as I was filled with pride as a six year old singing a song, I am filled with the same feeling as an adult.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there’s pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

Last night, Tom and I went to the Blackhawks play-off game. The crowd was a sea of red, filled with loud, excited chatter. I was anxious with anticipation as we waited for the game to start. I sipped my beer making small talk with Tom as I observed the crowd. It was amazing to think just a week earlier the whole country was in a state of turmoil.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

For every tragedy, there is a nation united, standing as one. And I can’t think of a better place to experience this unity than a Blackhawk’s game. As with most American games, it is preceded with a rendition of the national anthem. The difference being at the United Center it is not the quiet rendition.

A voice boomed through the stadium announcing Jim Cornelison, the same singer who has sang the anthem for the last four years. In that moment, I was transported back to my six year old self but this time I grabbed Tom’s hand. We stood up, anticipating what came next.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA

As soon as Jim belted the first note, the fans erupted in cheers. The entire stadium was yelling, clapping, singing…and smiling. I looked around observing the pure joy and pride on every single person’s face. The fans were united. The fans were proud. And the fans were loud!

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

“I’m so happy.” I shouted to Tom. “I’m busting with pride. This is amazing!”

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,

For me, pride is an overwhelming feeling that doesn’t happen every day but last night was a reminder. Being proud of our country shouldn’t be a feeling that comes out only in the wake of tragedy. It should be something I feel every day.

God bless the USA.

*Here is a video of the Blackhawks national anthem.

Monday

Toy poodle or feret on steroids?  You decide.Photo source: Yahoo!

Toy poodle or feret on steroids? You decide.
Photo source: Yahoo!

Most Mondays, I question that I chose working as a career.  Why couldn’t I have majored in vacation?  I am really good at sitting, eating, smiling, enjoying, relaxing, drinking and sleeping.  Basically, I bring all the skills needed to be the CEO of Vacation.  Yet, nine years post college, here I sit (in a cube no less) every Monday daydreaming about five day weekends and two day work weeks, asking myself, why?  

Usually to make myself feel better, I take a five minute break here and there to catch up on the latest and greatest on the interwebs.  Yahoo!, known for its groundbreaking reporting and stories, is where I typically start.   This morning was no different and as I perused the carousel I saw a headline that read, Man buys toy poodles, discovers they are actually ferrets on steroids.  Um, yes please – tell me more.  

As it turns out, there is a market in Buenos Aires that sells “puppies” that are actually ferrets and rats.  They pump varmints up with steroids, fluff their hair and scam people.  Now, I’ve seen both rats and ferrets.  They are both disgusting, smelly animals that I am shocked could be mistaken for puppies.  But then I thought about it for a bit.

If I were the CEO of Vacation, Buenos Aires would definitely be on my list of destinations.  I would sleep in, eat a lot and drink more.  Then, after I had a substantial buzz, I would wander around the city taking in the sights, which would most likely include a visit to La Salada, Argentina’s largest bazaar.  In a vacation high, I would wander up and down the aisles of the market seeking out the cutest puppies.  I would pick them up and cuddle them, disregarding every red flag like the weasely movements and hissing. 

“What a cute puppy!” I’d exclaim to my vacation employees. 

“I want one.  If I could just hold onto him.”  I would look around as the puppy shimmied out of my arms.

“Do you sell leashes?” I’d ask the booth owner.

“Perfect!  I’ll take both puppies and two leashes.”  Then, my vacation high would be replaced with a puppy haze of happiness except that they weren’t really puppies.  They were ferrets.  And ferrets are weasels.  And weasels are gross and mean.  I would feel like the dumbest CEO of Vacation so I would try to hide the puppy scandal from everyone around the world.  I would fear getting fired from vacation. 

Then, my work phone rang and snapped me back to reality – maybe a career in working after all isn’t so bad.  I hate ferrets.

Growing Up

Growing upI lived my twenties as a free spirit.  I had a lot of fun.   After all, the only person I had to take care of was myself.  I was an independent, young adult with a lust for life.  I did what I wanted, and only I had to suffer the consequences or so I thought. 

Tom and I recently placed an offer on a condo in the city.  We first saw the condo in January.   It is a large, vintage unit with two floors.   From the moment I walked in the door, I was in awe.  The space was unlike anything I had ever seen.  I wandered into the kitchen seeing our future flash in front of my eyes.  I imagined myself standing at the sink making dinner, hearing the pitter patter of little feet running down the hallway and later in life standing in the same place hearing laughter of teenagers echoing from the basement.  I could smell Tom’s coffee brewing as he shouted to me from another room.  The condo was warm and inviting.  I knew in my heart it was the place we would raise our family.

After we left the building, Tom and I excitedly talked about everything we liked in the unit.  It needed work but the bones were good.   Plus, Tom needs a house with projects.  The unit had the original woodwork from the early 1900’s and quite frankly, we were never going to find another place that size in the neighborhood we were looking.  There was only one issue, it was slightly more than we wanted to pay.  

For the next three months, we looked at more places comparing it to “the one”.  We looked at it online every night to see if it was still available or if the price dropped.  We talked in length about what we would do to the place if it were ours and more importantly, did we need that much space?  We did everything we could to talk ourselves out of the place, even placing an offer on a different condo, but in every scenario, “the one” was staring back at us.  

After consulting two of our sisters on what we should do, we decided to make an aggressive offer.  After some negotiating, the condo was ours and thus begins the rest of the process.  The process of buying house is a lot of work, and there had been one piece I was dreading – the finance piece.  While I had gotten my act together in the past few years, I had made some mistakes as a free spirit.  And while it wasn’t a surprise to Tom (seriously, we have no secrets), I felt terrible.  The consequences of my actions weren’t just mine anymore, they were Tom’s too.  

I took an afternoon off from work so we could go to the bank.  I was a bucket of nerves the entire day.  

“I’m nervous.” I said grabbing Tom’s hand as we walked into the bank. 

“It’ll be fine.”

We sat in front of the broker going over every detail of our life.  Every rock was turned over and bumps in the road exposed.  I sat there face flushed.  In comparison to Tom, I had a long ways to go.  While he’s 29 going on 60, I’m 31 going on 28.  

“Elyse, don’t worry.  It’s not bad.”  The broker had gentle eyes and a kind smile.  I looked down in my lap and Tom squeezed my hand.  It was my worst nightmare, as she asked more and more questions. 

“I’ll be right back.”  She said walking off to get something.

“I’m sorry, Tom.”

“Don’t worry about it.  It’s not bad…just promise me you’ll continue to make good decisions going forward.”

“I promise.”  I bounced my feet as I waited.  My heart was beating ninety to nothing.  One of my biggest fears in life is letting Tom down. 

The broker came back with papers in her hand. 

“Congratulations.  You are approved”

My heart leaped out of my chest.  Buying a home had suddenly become a reality.  I didn’t have to hide behind my fear anymore.  I didn’t have to be skeptical that it wasn’t really going to happen.  I could relax and get excited.  We were going to buy a home…together.

Downsizing

Image Source: Wallstreet Journal

Image Source: Wallstreet Journal

It’s been almost three months since I sat down to write creatively. I think about it daily, writing stories in my head but lately, as is my usual excuse for everything – life got in the way. Seriously, I don’t have kids. It’s the only excuse I have.

I started this blog after moving to the suburbs with Tom being the only person I knew and vice versa. While the space was amazing, the rest of it was mundane and boring. Writing filled the time as I stared out the window wondering why our neighbors never spent time outside. From the moment, I moved in with Tom, we talked about moving back to the city. After all, he was commuting everyday into the city, and I missed the hustle and bustle immediately. So after a year of talking about it, we finally made it happen. We put our (technically it’s his) house on the market and crossed our fingers. We accepted an offer in six days and closed six weeks later! We were tremendously lucky except that we had no idea where we were going to live next.

We had already started looking for places to buy in the city but we still hadn’t found “the place”. Being in a time crunch, we weighed our options, took a break from house hunting to pack up the suburban house and find a temporary place in the city. Together, we put together a list of must haves for the temporary place, which in retrospect was an absolutely ridiculous list. It’s amazing how a year in single family home with a yard changes the perspective on apartment living. Among the requirements on the list was a short term lease, a place that allowed a dog, cheap rent, in the neighborhood we wanted to buy, had parking, an in unit washer and dryer, dishwasher, no elevator and non-radiant heat – oh and central air. The only one of those things I had when I lived in my last apartment was no lease.

“So what do you think?” I asked Tom as he read over the list.

“It looks good. Are you taking this one on?”

“Sure! I’m good at apartment hunting.” He wrinkled his and looked at me skeptically.

“Seriously, Elyse? I hope you don’t call your last apartment good apartment hunting. That place was gross and questionable.”

“Well, I loved it. It was the first place I could ever call my own. I promise, I’ll find something that meets our criteria.”

In the past, I walked around neighborhoods looking for “For Rent” signs on the doors of buildings. I would run up the steps immediately calling the number of places that interested me. It’s how I had found every apartment but this time was different. Craigslist has single handedly ruined apartment hunting. Continue reading