Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Brick in the Wall

Jinkies, you guys. Should we talk about something else? (OH PLEASE YES, is what I am hearing screamed from the other side of the internets). You are right. We should talk about something else.

How about home improvements? The whole thing about our house is that it needs improvements. When we bought it, it pretty much had a really good framework and a long list of improvements and that is about all. And we were going to do every last thing ourselves, which takes oodles of time. Like, years of time. In other words, Nordic Boy's dream come true. We have a master project list that is The Thickness, y'all. It involves binders. With tabs. There are also stacks of notecards. There is never not a project going on around here. A lot of it is stuff that is unsexy, like when we ripped our roof off and replaced it, or when we insulated our ceiling. Now that we are winding up those types of guts-replacement projects, we are actually getting around to more cosmetic-y things that actually are fun to take Before and After pictures of. Nordic Boy totally disagrees with me on this, but there is nothing entertaining about a Before and After picture of a new electrical panel or some shit like that.
So, let's talk about my kitchen.

There are many things that do not work about my kitchen. First of all, it is (like everything in our teensy house) small, which would be totally ok with me except for the fact that it is enclosed on four sides, with only a narrow doorway and a small window over the sink. This means that there can really only be a maximum of 2 people in there at any given time (we call this the Two-Butt Max), which hey, that works because we are a family of 2! Except you know what? We know and love more than each other. And we often have those more-than-each-others in our house. And those more-than-each-others want to (SIGH) interact with us. This results in a situation where people are over, and we are in the kitchen, and the non-us people will inevitably squeeze themselves into the tiny kitchen with us because we are MAGNETIC, and then we start yelling "Two Butt Max! Two Butt Max!" as a sort of alarm because it gets sardine-like right quick. And then folks get out of our kitchen and go back to the dining/living room where they talk amongst themselves, and I'm sure they do not talk about their weirdo friends in the other room who have invented butt-quantities as a unit of measurement. And we, poor kitchen-folk, have to toil by ourselves in our lonely Two Butt Max world.

Here are photos of the old kitchen, taken the only way I could- by standing at the doorway and looking left and then looking right. Please also note the sad old electric oven/cooktop and the horrible wire shelving.

We decided that we needed to be able to see and talk to more than just our own two butts while in the kitchen. To accomplish this? Dress ourselves up like the Kool-Aid man and bust a hole through the effing wall! Ok, so there wasn't really any sugar-drink cosplay, but bust through the wall we did.

Whenever we do bigger projects in our little teensy house, the first thing we do is figure out what needs to happen so that we can actually live around the perimeter of the project. Nordic Boy is a genius about containing things so that our whole house doesn't go to shit every time we work on something because homegirl over here would not be happy.

In this case, before wall-busting, he framed out a temporary wall, covered it in plastic, and then constructed a thingy-do-bob that vacuumed the dust straight out the dingbusted window! Awesome.

(Living room side).

(Kitchen side).
Bonus: Is that not exactly like the final scenes of E.T.??? Phone home, kitchen wall!

Then the crash-through happened:

And when it was done, being in the kitchen went from this view:

to this view:

Hello, people hanging out in the living room!

And this is what it looks like from the living room (you can't see that the sad electric stove is now a beautemous gas range, but trust me, it is happening):

Hello, Two Butt kitchen toilers!

I am super in love with it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Not a laugh riot

Things have totally, royally sucked around here, dudes. There is no way around it. I am sad. Not sad, actually. More like saaaaaaaaaaad. I also have a strong layer of confused on top of the sad. I just can't really process the depth of the sadness I am feeling. How is it possible to be this sad? How do people do this? Where do you even put it? I do not know.

On the flight back from Michigan, Nordic Boy and I were not seated together, which was unfortunate because I full on bawled the whole trip. Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like having a 6 hour crying fit while sandwiched between two strangers who can't get away from you. Sorry, two strangers, for all that facial leaking in your grill, whoever you are.

Speaking of facial leaking, I was the person in my family that was asked to get up at the funeral and talk about my dad. My initial response to this was Haaaaa-WUT? Because a big part of that job was two-fold: standing up and also speaking. Those were two things I was pretty sure I would not be able to carry off. But, I wrote something down on a piece of paper and put it in my purse. Nordic Boy said if I needed support to just look over at him the whole time, to which I said Are You Fecking Nuts because if there is one thing that would break me down even harder it would be looking into Nordic Boy's crying mug. So I got up there, wondering if I would be able to get it out, and I did. It was the biggest mess you have ever seen in your life, but I did it, sobbing all the way through.

Seeing my mom at that funeral? That shit alone was enough to break me right open. My parents were married for over 50 years, you guys. Not only that, they were partners, best friends, everything to each other. No matter what each of them had going on with work or anything else, my parents met up at home for lunch every. single. day of their marriage. They went to the store together, they went on walks together, they talked endlessly, they did everything together. They smiled when they saw each other. They continually cracked each other up. They supported each other in every last thing. They were a team. My mom said, when my dad was dying, that she held his hand. He would stop breathing for a minute, and she would think he was gone, and then he would draw another breath. Then he would stop breathing again, and on like that. "I think he could feel me holding his hand, and I think he kept coming back for me. So I decided to let go, so he could let me go," is what she told me. And she did. And he went.

I don't know what to even do when I think about that.

So now I am back in Seattle, and I wake up every day, and I cry, and Nordic Boy holds me in bed, and then I get up, and I go to work, and I smile at people, and I say thank you a hundred times a day, because people are sorry for my loss, which I believe they are (even when expressed in a weird way like that one person who tried to tell me that she knew how I was feeling because she felt the same way the last time she broke up with some ex-boyfriend of hers). I have several beautiful emails that friends have sent me saved and when I get a spare moment I find myself pulling out my phone and scrolling through them, reading them over and over. People tell me stories about their losses, and ask me if I am ok, and people ask Nordic Boy and Biogirl how I am doing, and we all say I am doing ok, even though it's not true. I go out to dinner with friends and go to parties and I laugh at people's jokes. I pay attention to people at work because paying attention to people is my job. I find the thing I want to do the most is talk about my dad, so the conversations I have with my friends who didn't know him where they ask me about him help. The conversations with friends who did know him help too, because anyone who knew my dad knew what an extraordinary person he was, and it is lovely to hear about that from other people. He was the kind of person that was gentle and humble, but his kindness was so large that it sort of knocked people over when they were around him. I think this is why so many people in my life have, over the years, become very attached to my dad, and why he was a father figure to so many of them. Hearing from those people is so wonderful. My dad was well-loved.

So, I don't know, you guys. I just keep getting up every morning and doing my day. I guess that's what you do?

Thursday, May 16, 2013


My Dad was sharp. He wore a suit and tie to work every day of his fifty-plus-year career, always crisp, always classic, always put together.

Nordic Boy put on a suit to wear to the funeral, and I walked up behind him, and he said "I'm wearing a tie from the 50s that used to be your dad's- he gave it to me" and turned around to show me.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 13, 2013

Accomplished 3 Things

1. Got out of bed.
2. Got dressed and left
the house, if only for an hour.
3. Let love in.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 12, 2013


My dear, sweet, incredible Dad passed away this weekend. I am crushed.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


So. For the past four years every trip back to see my parents has been bittersweet. Despite my dad's declining health, we always manage to have a nice time, being there, helping out. The past year has been different, since we've now crossed over into territory that grows more dire by the month, then by the week, and sometimes by the day. Now, whether I'm with my folks in Flint or whether I'm keeping in constant touch with them from Seattle, there is a portion of me that is always jacked up, sad, freaked out. It's a harrowing experience for us all. I'm trying to be better about sharing what's going on with my friends, but it's hard. I've found that so many people are desperate to comfort me and the way most everyone knows how to do that is to offer advice. I don't know why but this is something that seems almost universal and unfortunately it is something I just can't bear to hear. Please, I want to say, don't tell me what I should do. Don't tell me your opinions about how you think it should go, how I should handle it. Don't tell me what you think my regrets will be if I don't take this or that course of action. It is so subtle, this pushing from people who care about me. But it's there, all the time. People can't seem to help themselves. It makes me want to just keep it to myself. But, then I miss out on all the other support I could be getting, I guess. I think I just need to tell people when I can't handle the advice. It's hard to do, but I have to, I think. Right? Telling people what you need is good. (Hey me: say that last sentence again, and then repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat).

Anyway. I'm working on that one.

I got an email from my friend Maddie yesterday. It was kind, and caring, and thank the baby Jesus in a manger she didn't make any suggestions. She even made me crack up a bit, which is always appreciated. She's great. All of my peeps are great, advicey or not, and I don't want to sound like an ungrateful cow. I have people who love me and that's what counts. (Say that last sentence again and repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat).

When my dad is able to be home and isn't in too much pain, there's nothing he loves more than sitting in the sun (just like his daughter). Most of the week this week he was in a hospital bed, and while I helped my mom with things, Nordic Boy would sit next to his bed and monitor him while he slept. For hours and hours, Nordic Boy sat there as my dad went in and out of sleep, so that he never had to wake up alone.

For the short time my dad did get to be at home, he asked to sit in the sun. I got him out into a chair in the yard, where we saw that Nordic Boy had taken a much-needed break by lying in the backyard hammock and taking a snooze. When I looked out the window later, I saw that my dad had somehow dragged his chair from the deck onto the grass and was sitting next to Nordic Boy as he slept. I'm not sure why he did this, but he did. Just to be close, I suppose. Nordic Boy slept, and my dad kept watch. This role reversal was so sweet, I just sat at the window and watched them. I love them both so much.

Say that last sentence again and repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.