Sunday, November 28, 2010

My mutant uterus, part 2.

So, I evidently made my future mother-in-law cry.

Starting married life out on the right foot? CHECK!

During day three of the Thanksgiving family celebration marathon, MIL, her sister and her niece asked me if I'd gotten cornered by Grandma. CHECK!

They laughed and apologized. MIL's sister said that Grandma runs her mouth about stuff that isn't any of her business, and how she has lost any filter she might have ever had. She talks about sex and has told her daughters about how she wanted kids but wanted nothing to do with the how-kids-come-to-be part. She's discussed this in detail. Evidently, you can say whatever you want when you're 90.

Which made us all laugh. And then started the kids conversation in earnest.

MIL said she never wanted anything but to have children and be a mother.

MIL's sister and MIL's niece both said that while they love their children more than anything, they never felt like their lives would be incomplete without children.

Which led me to say, "Well, I feel the same way. But if we don't have kids, you can give me a piece of your mind when you're 90."

MIL's sister and MIL's niece both laughed. And MIL turned her back to me.

Come to find out, she cried - yes, cried - to My Guy later about how she didn't understand why I didn't want children, and she knew he did, and how could this happen?


My Guy once thought he wanted kids. And he has since changed his mind somewhat - the jury is out. (Trust me, we've talked about this.) And he would like to think his mother expects that he could stand up for himself.

I don't know if I want kids or not. My Guy and I will figure it out. I would like to think that my future MIL respects me as an individual and not as a uterus going to waste. I would like to think that she would respect any decision I make.

This is such a stereotypical situation - it's embarrassing. But I'm a little bit crushed. I like my future MIL, even if we aren't always on the same page. I fear that I outed myself as totally different from her, and now she won't like me. Ever. And I fear that this is just the first in a long line of conclusions that she will jump to about me and my diseased brain and wrong way of doing things.

But I'm also not going to bust out a bunch of babies just to make her happy.

I love her son. We are partners. And we will figure it out together.

Just have some respect, m'kay?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Let's talk about my uterus, shall we?

I spent Thanksgiving with My Guy and his family. He is one of five children. There were 17 of his family members there. And me. It was a touch overwhelming. Fun, but lots different than the typical me, my parents, and Poochie.

And? I fell into The Trap.

A sat down to talk to My Guy's grandma. She's sassy and I like her. My Guy has alluded to her difficult tendencies, but I hadn't seen this first-hand.

We talked about the new house. Which led to:

Grandma: So, what are you going to do with all those bedrooms?

Me: Well, we'll figure it out.

Grandma: Are you going to have children?

Me: Well, we'll figure it out.

Grandma: You know, My Guy has always wanted children.

Me: (oh, shiiiiit.) Well, we're not really sure.

Grandma: Oh really. Why?

Me: (fuuuuuuuck.) Did you know that I'm five years older than My Guy?

Grandma: Really? No, I didn't know that. Are you worried you're too old to have babies?

Me: (well, that lame-ass plan backfired.) Umm?

Grandma: There are lots of ladies who have babies into their 40s. Their FIRST babies.

Me: (giving up.) Uh-huh.

Grandma: You have lots of time!

Me: (kill me now.) Can we get married first?

Grandma: Well, I'd hope so.

And ... scene!

When I recounted this to My Guy hours later, he was apologetic. "I'm so sorry! Was there anybody there to save you?"

"Uh, no."

"That sucks. My cousin is usually really good about that. Grandma probably isn't happy that we'll be living together before the wedding."


"Whatever. I don't care."

"Do you think your grandma thinks I'm a virgin?"

"Uh - I don't know. I don't care."

"Maybe I should have told her that I don't want to have children because I'm terrified of intercourse."

"Yes! You should have asked her about it! 'Do we actually have to touch? What if he just has really good aim?'"

"Love it. 'You had four children. How does it work?' That was totally a missed opportunity."

And then we cackled like the evil people we are. And I was thankful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A moment of appreciation.

In the immortal words of your hero and mine, Bret Michaels, "It's not if life is going to knock you down. It's when and how. And it's definitely how you roll with it."

Mmm. Every rose has its thorn, indeed.

But here's the thing, in this season of thanksgiving: I have been knocked down. And I have rolled with it. And now? Now, I look around and realize I'm reaping the rewards.

When all my friends were having babies, I was having a mental breakdown, leaving a bad relationship and moving into a shithole apartment. And it sucked. But it made me stronger.

And I had another crappy relationship. And it sucked. But it made me realize what I need, and how I deserve to be treated.

And now? Now, I am engaged to a kind, funny, smart, generous man who makes me laugh like a hyena. He is my best friend. I wouldn't fully appreciate this relationship if it weren't for its not-so-awesome predecessors.

And my former real estate woes? Karma, baby. We're buying our dream home on our dream street. And yes, it does contain my dream bathroom.Which will not stay this color for long. And yeah, we might clean it. But that is the original sink and the original tile. Huzzah!

I feel like my current theme songs are Christina Aguilera's "Fighter" and "I must have done something good" from The Sound of Music. And not just because of the bathroom. For all of it.

I'm not gloating. I'm just acknowledging. And giving thanks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?

Today, we had the inspection on our house. It was built in 1929, has been empty for a few weeks, and was a foreclosure. Oh, and the former occupant trashed it before moving out.

A lot could have been wrong.

But the real estate gods were smiling upon us! The foundation is solid. The roof has several years of life left. Yes, there's some wood rot, and yes, the dishwasher leaks and needs a new seal. But other than that?

Well, other than that, we were faced with the trash filling the house. So, while the inspectors inspected, My Guy, Awesome Realtor Guy and I filled trashbags with stuff left behind by the last owner.

We found a half-full bowl of mostly fossilized rice and beans. In a drawer. In the master bathroom.

And gay porn. With pictures on the DVD case. Educational pictures.

And, of course, we found a Michael Bolton "Soul Provider" CD. Which we were actually really excited about. Because we are giant nerds.

We don't close until after Christmas, but today gave us an opportunity to at least get the trash out of the house, and sort through our own personal flea market in the garage.

Yes, that's a shopping cart full of hubcaps. I saved the shopping cart. The hubcaps? They went in the dumpster pile.

We also realized that the paint colors we've already picked out - because good LORD, we feel like we need to be doing SOMETHING - will be perfect.

One of the bedrooms is black stripped. For now.

Currently, most of the main living space is this lovely color of pumpkin vomit.
And this potted plant obviously sold the house. We took one look at this prime example of fauna and knew this was the home for us.

There's so much cleaning and painting and painting and cleaning to be done, but right now, we're just hanging out. But this is totally meant to be our house. And we're pretty fucking pumped.
Images courtesy of Ione the iPhone, because my camera suddenly went from having a full battery last night to having no battery this morning. Sorry for the awesome photo quality.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The agony of defeat. And the thrill of victory!

Remember the tiny and ancient house that My Guy and I loved?

We saw it again. With a contractor. We made an offer.

And we didn't get it. The listing agent wrote an offer with some other buyers. An offer that was $20K less than our offer. And the sellers took that offer. We don't think she ever even presented our offer.

This all went down on Saturday. Combine these real estate woes with a completely hideous Iowa football loss, and you understand why I took to my bed for a three-hour nap. I simply couldn't face the world. All I want is to live with my fiance. Is that such a crazy dream?

Sunday, our Super Realtor - still pissed as hell about how things went down on tiny and ancient house - gave us a few addresses to consider. One of which had been on the market before and we'd loved, although we'd never actually been inside. Now, it had been taken by the bank and wasn't officially back on the market. There wasn't even a sign in the yard.

Sunday, My Guy and I poked around the yard. I liked the patio. My Guy liked the lush, cushy grass that felt like it had a carpet pad underneath. We told the Super Realtor we'd look at the house after work on Monday.

Except, Monday? Super Realtor called me at noon, saying he'd heard that some other folks were considering making an offer. So, half an hour later, My Guy, Super Realtor and I converged on The House. And discovered that it truly was The House. On The Street. And contains Cha Cha's Dream Bathroom.

We saw the house at 12:45. By 7, we had a signed contract.

Holy shit! We're buying a house! Which we both love! And holy shit! We will own three houses! That's bad!

The House has been trashed. There's garbage strewn throughout, and Coke has been sprayed all over ceilings and walls. The granite in the kitchen is shattered. While most of the house has hardwoods, the places with carpet need to be stripped.

I have never been so excited to clean in my life!

We take possession right after Christmas, pending inspections next week. Right now, it's hard to think about anything but paint colors and furniture placement.

And yes, we're getting uber aggressive on our houses. Because two people with three houses? That ratio is all sorts of messed up.

But I feel such a sense of relief and joy knowing that yes, yes we are going to live together. And this will be where we do it. And this is where we will make our home together and live our married life together - where we will wipe muddy paws and feed our friends and enjoy just hanging out with each other in our home.

I never imagined that having three houses would be a relief. But it is.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where are they now: Cha Cha's hair edition.

Long-time readers might recall the ongoing struggles with my luscious tresses. Growing out a pixie into a bob? It's not for the faint of heart.

It seemed to be stuck in a 70s Marcia Wallace phase for a long, long time.

And then when it started to grow out? I looked like I was livin' on a prayer. Total 90s Jon Bon Jovi.

Then? I got a haircut that instead of being a trim ended up being more of a maintenance cut. And it looked like 70s Marcia Wallace. Again.

I was going for the Linda Evangelista. Instead, I ended up with more of a Shaun Cassidy.

For a while, I got high on my heady hair-growing prospects. I wanted Cher Hair! I was going to have hair down to my butt! It was going to be glorious!

And then I remembered that my hair is freakishly thick and the one time in my life when I actually had Cher Hair, it took an hour to blow dry.

I do not have that sort of time. So I changed my focus instead to more of a Louise Brooks bob.

I believe I am finally - finally! - growing out the pesky layers that make the right side of my hair flip into origami shapes. Which is good, because as my Crazy Stylist says? I no longer have hair. I have Engaged Hair.

No, I'm not getting extensions so I can have some craptastic up-do at the wedding. But each haircut now seems to have greater weight. One false move and my Engaged Hair could go horribly wrong! And I could end up with Bad Wedding Hair.

It's a lot of responsibility.

My sacred haircut today turned out to be super interesting. Now, Crazy Stylist (you know, the one who blew off all conversation about the presidential election with a breezy, "Oh, honey, I can't vote - I'm a felon!")? She was talking to somebody when I got to the salon.

Somebody with really, really bad hair - like, two inches of dark roots and a bad home blond dye job. Somebody who ... uh ... wouldn't leave.

Yes. My hair salon was overtaken by a crack whore who wanted to use the bathroom, then wouldn't leave, then was convinced that her ride a) wouldn't know where to pick her up; and b) didn't have her phone number.

So, she kept calling the ride, asking the guy if he had her phone number, and verifying that he would be there to pick her up at 5:43. Not 5:45, not 5:40. But 5:43. And then she'd hang up, then start asking the folks in the salon where she was, because she didn't know if her ride had her phone number, then calling him to ask if he had her phone number and if he was going to pick her up at 5:43 because, and I quote, "I just got my hair done." Then she'd wonder if he had her number.

Finally, everybody in the salon was like, "He's got your fucking number!"

And then she was asked to wait outside. Then she was asked to wait outside not blocking the door of the salon. And then a car pulled up and she tried to get in - only to find that it was the husband of one of the stylists, picking his wife up from work. With their baby. And a crack whore tried to get in the car.

Forget Nancy Reagan. Forget "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs." You want an effective anti-drug campaign? Spend some time with a woman who is so strung out she thinks she just got her hair done because she took a dump in a salon bathroom.

But my hair looks good. Still on track for Wedding (read: non-sucky) Hair. Over and out.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I really need my own show on HGTV.

Last week, in the midst of my real estate meltdown, it occurred to me that when all this home selling and home buying is done, I should become a hoarder. It's like the opposite of having your house staged - you have lots of stuff, and you see all of it all the time! Win-win!

Flawed planning? Perhaps.

But now? Now, I realize that it's not that I love tons of stuff. It's that I like to see the beauty in the real, in the flawed.

Yeah, I got your flea market finds and your stray dogs right here.

And having a staged house is not about being real or flawed. It's about living a lie, pretending that I am one of Those People who makes their bed every morning and never leaves dishes in the sink.

Secret admission? Sometimes? When I leave dishes in the sink? I think, "Yay! This is my house, and I can leave the dishes in the sink if I want to. Bwah-ha!" And there's beauty in that, too.

My Guy and I saw a house yesterday that is a) for sale; b) way, way, way within our budget; and c) old and tiny and lovely. I'm seeing the beauty - the huge backyard, the possibilities for adding another garage, the amazing, original architectural details. I'm thinking about making due with the teensy ugly kitchen until we could remodel. I'm focusing on the beauty, not necessarily the functionality and the practicality.

But is that so bad?

When I can't find my shoes because our stuff is distributed amongst four tiny closets? Yeah, it might be bad. But isn't starting married life together all about seeing the beauty and the potential?

And no, neither of our houses have sold, so no, we couldn't make an offer on Old and Tiny and Lovely House tomorrow. But, it's good to be prepared. Right?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sort of homeless.

My Guy and I have had a week of Real Estate Madness. I had an open house for realtors on Tuesday, and we both had open houses for the public today. His open house for realtors is this Tuesday - about the time of my impending mental breakdown.

I like New Realtor Guy - he seems to me making things happen. But I don't like all these people traipsing about my house. I can't help it. I came home after the realtor open house to find that my house smelled like cheap, stale pizza; one of my bedroom windows had been left unlocked (super cool!), and someone had used the bathroom and left the lid up (bad feng shui and a personal pet peeve).

And then? Then, there was the feedback from the realtors.

I got a lot of "Rooms are too small" and even one "Garage too small."

Dude. It's a post-war, two-bedroom ranch. What do you expect? This actually made me think of Roger Ebert - the great thing about his movie reviews is that he judges a film based on what it's trying to be. He doesn't judge something like The Hangover against Citizen Kane. He seems like a very karmically minded guy who tries to see the best in every movie, and I like that.

The realtors might take a few notes on that approach.

Along with the "too small" comments, it was suggested that I put a rug down in the mudroom. Fine. Done. But the real kicker?

I have a huge, gorgeous, framed copy of this in my living room:
I adore it. However, there is evidently a Puritan Organization Of Professional realtors (POOP) in my town. And all of POOP's members saw fit to provide feedback saying "Replace naked lady picture in living room - inappropriate."

So ... I had been having this DAY, you know? And my house smelled like cheap pizza and someone was obviously planning on breaking in later through the unlocked window, and people had been touching my stuff. And I lost it.

I cried. Ugly cried.

But then I went out for Chinese food with my friend L to That Place That's Always Closed and had some restorative hot and sour soup and then things were better. However, I've realized that I am one of Those People who are emotionally attached to their home. Freakishly attached.

But, if we're being kind ... who could blame me? I had $25.35 to my name when I decided to leave an abusive relationship. I worked my ass off and bought a house a year and a half later. I've remodeled the house, and figured out who I am in the house.

Now, I've emptied the house of almost all of my personal stuff in hopes of selling Casa de Cha Cha - and I get razzed for the one Cha Cha-type thing left in the house.

Well, POOP can suck it. I'm tempted to put a pasty on the one exposed nipple on the picture and call it good. But my mom really put it in perspective and made me laugh and laugh and laugh. She e-mailed, "Betcha they were really snooty realtors who won't touch a property that lists under $2,000,000,000,000,000.00."

I don't even know how to say that number.

In our real estate wanderings, My Guy and I found a $4.5 million home that has - are you ready? - a ball pit, complete with slide from the story above. Yes. There's a home in town that was designed with a ball pit, like they have at Chuck E. Cheese.

That's probably why our houses aren't selling. No ball pits.

Image courtesy of

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sailing into the sunset in my gravy boat.

Thank you all for the bridal registry suggestions - they have been suuuuper helpful! I love hearing what makes people happy. And if you want more awesome suggestions, hop over to Sweet Tea and Sunshine - Sherilee's readers had some great ideas, too. I would be hating life if I forgot to register for an ice cream maker, and Sherilee saved me. Thank you!

The whole china / no china debate is interesting. I love china, mostly because it's pretty - not because I have a china-using debutante lifestyle. However, the big reason why I'm not registering for china is because I have my grandma's set.

When my grandparents were moving out of the home they'd lived in for 40 years and into an assisted living facility, my grandma had a few things she was very particular about. And one of those things was that I would get her china.

I was 26 and shacking up with Ex-Ex at the time. Maybe Grandma knew he was a loser who would never marry me. Or maybe she knew that I was the one person in the family who would truly treasure the china. At any rate, it became mine.

The pattern has tiny pink and pale green flowers on it. As a youngun', I used to think it was sort of weird to have pink plates. But, then Grandma had a pink bathroom, too.

But the really weird thing? I started collecting vintage kitchen items - in pink. And my kitchen? I painted it a pale green. Without intending such a thing, I designed my kitchen around my grandma's china - the plates that she used all the time because she loved to feed her family.

I figured out in about fifth grade that the secret to eating at Grandma's was to take freakishly small portions so that you would always have room for seconds. Otherwise, both of my grandparents would assume that the food wasn't to your liking, or that you were sick. If my grandpa was serving, you had to tell him "when" early, knowing that he'd put an extra dollop on your plate.

My family still jokes, "More beans? I can heat up some more rolls. How about another piece of pie?" at pretty much every meal. It's endearing to us that these two people were so focused on nurturing the people they loved. It's even more meaningful when you think that they started their married life during the Depression, on a farm in western Kansas - my 19-year-old grandma, her groom ... and his three teen-aged brothers.

So, when I tell you that she could stretch some bread crumbs and a can of peaches into a feast? You know I'm telling you the truth.

And that's why I, personally, am not registering for china. I already have the most precious set imaginable.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Decision 2010.

It's election night and the results are pouring in. This is the perfect opportunity to have an intellectual conversation about the two-party system in America, what truly impacts voter turn-out, and the role of the media in our governmental system.

But that's for somebody else's blog.

Here? Here, I need your input on Decision 2010. And by Decision 2010, I mean figuring out my bridal registry.

Now, I had a few friends who were all, "Are you even going to register? Do you need stuff?"

The gracious Cha Cha responds to this with a friendly hug and an explanation that every bride wants to set up a beautiful household for her new husband.

The deranged spinster Cha Cha cackles and notes that she's typically been spending all of her extra cash on cat food and housecoats, not on platters and other servingware, so yeah, she's gonna register.

And bitter but popular Cha Cha? She recounts all of the bridal shower gifts, bachelorette gifts, wedding gifts, baby shower gifts, and baby gifts that she has lavished upon her friends. And she cackles with delight and thinks, "You owe me, bitches! And I'm registering for some nice shit, too!"

I'm a nice person. Really, I am.

But it's time to register. And I'm at a bit of a loss.

We aren't registering for china. And I know we'll register for The Object of My Desire, aka a KitchenAid stand mixer. But other than that? Umm?

So, spill it. What kitchen or household item has been the most awesome item in your arsenal? What cookware do you recommend? And what did you think you couldn't live without ... only to find that, dude, you totally don't need it at all?

I need a new turkey baster. But I think that I will probably need to register for more stuff besides a mixer and a turkey baster. Just sayin'.

Help a girl out. What do you love?