Sunday, January 26, 2014

Excused Absence.

I'm sorry I've been absent so often on my own blog.

I suppose, looking back, I have been posting on a semi-regular basis, but I feel like I've been M.I.A. since...oh...September.  Although most of you probably don't care or haven't noticed, I do have my reasons.  The holidays and cold weather do lend themselves to blog abandonment, but I do feel like I owe an explanation to those of you who care enough to stop by and read what I have to say.

So, here's why I've not been blogging:

1.  Lung Junk.  Obviously.  Aside from being sick and weak and tired all the time, I've found it very difficult to cut through the brain fog and find something interesting to say.  Then, if I'm having a day where I'm feeling better and I want to blog, I've just been so out of practice that I can't put the words together.  

2.  Company.  Since the end of October, my guest room has hosted a steady stream of out-of-town visitors.  I love them all, and I am thrilled to see and spend time with them, but these guests definitely take up a lot of my time before, after, and especially during their visits, hence the blogging (and, let's be honest, writing in general) disruption.  More visitors are planned for February and March, June, July, and August--but I don't doubt that April and May will be booked up at Hotel Brown as well.  Clearly, I need to find a way to manage my time better in order to fit writing into my schedule of running a (free) bed and breakfast.

3.  I Got a Job.  It's not a traditional job in any sense of the word, and I can't talk about what it is that I'll be doing, but I will be working outside of the house on a semi-regular basis from here on out if all goes as planned.  I'm almost done with training.  This is a contract job with a flexible schedule that ought to fit in perfectly with my duties a stay-at-home mom.  Also, it's really weird, challenging, and interesting, which is exactly the kind of thing I enjoy putting on my resume, so...BOOYAH!  Very exciting stuff.  That's all I can divulge about that, so...just forget I said anything.  This conversation never happened.

4.  We're trying to purchase a house.  This one really just creates more stress in my life rather than taking up all that much time, but still - it counts.  When we moved here in 2012, it happened very quickly and we had three days to find a house to rent that was 1) in our budget, 2) in a good school district, and 3) a bearable commute for Husband.  We were very lucky to have found all that in the house we currently live in and, while it's not perfect, it suits our needs nicely.  Our landlord recently informed us that he has to sell this house at the end of our lease this summer, so we are scrambling to get the money and paperwork together to do this so that we don't have to move again.  We still own a money pit house in Kansas, which is rented out for the time being, so that's complicating matters (and stretching our budget).  Hence #3.  But I'm okay with it.  If we can just get through this process and know that we'll be able to live here indefinitely, I'll be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.  *fingers crossed*

5.  There really is no #5, but a list of four things didn't feel long enough.  To round it out, here is a self-explanatory photo dump of the past three months of my life:

So, there you have it.  The dog didn't eat my blog (just all the cookies, that bitch), I didn't get a flat tire, my third aunt twice removed didn't die, but I do have some good excuses for not blogging.  I'll try harder in the coming months to keep Whatever better updated--not for you three readers who come here on a regular basis, but for myself.  The more I blog, the happier I am.  It's a direct correlation.  Science.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lung Junk

I got a weird call yesterday from the pulmonologist I saw last month.  He said that he wanted to make sure that I was feeling better because one of the tests he'd run came back positive for some kind of fungus living inside my lungs.


All that time, I was coughing up stinky, hard, green chunks (sorry), doctors were telling me that it was just your run-of-the-mill bronchitis.  I insisted that I'd had bronchitis many times in the past, but never like this.  They told me to DRINK TEA AND WAIT IT OUT.

I switched doctors, obviously.

Anyway, I've been mostly better, but not 100% healthy since...oh...mid-September.  So...summer. When the pulmonologist called yesterday, I told him that I was still a little wheezy but I thought that I'd just acquired asthma from this whole situation.  He said that it was important for him to see me and then he made me an appointment for Monday.

Now, keep in mind that this guys is hard to get in to see.  The first appointment took over a month, then my second one I was able to set for two weeks out, but only after lots of grumbling from the appointment setter about "trying to fit me in".  The fact that the doctor called me HIMSELF and set my appointment for within a week makes me think I'm probably dying.

Okay, I'm probably not dying, but according to what I've read online, I may have to take steroids for 6-9 months.  Husband told me that I should start going to the gym more often (read: more than once a week) and pump iron.  I told him NO and that being on steroids would probably just make my face puffy.  He seemed disappointed.

Here's a .gif of me in the the snow:

I've had too much tea and I couldn't think of any other way to end this post.  Sorry.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Deactivation Station

A friendship that can end never really began – Publilius Syrus

I've spent a great deal of time over the last six years building a large online social network.  I use Facebook, Blogger, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter all with some regularity.  I've not got a huge following on any one network, but my Klout score hovered around a respectable 60 points last time I checked (I also use Klout sometimes).  Twitter is the one network I'm most invested in, spend the most time on, and am most addicted to.

Last week, I decided to take an extended break from Twitter.  I do this every so often, whenever I catch myself spending too much time and energy on it.  Rather than just signing out on my phone and my laptop (as I would normally do), I took the extra step to deactivate my account.

Now, when you deactivate your Twitter account, it means that you disappear from Twitter.  Your information is still there if you log back in before 30 days is up, but if not then your tweets, your followers, the people you're following--all of it--is lost forever:

When I first clicked the button, I panicked and logged back in right away to make sure that it was all still there.  I did this late at night, before I went to bed, and I had a really hard time getting to sleep that night.  A little bit of my insomnia could be attributed to my fear of losing my Twitter contacts, but mostly I felt ashamed and sad that it all meant so much to me.  It's just an application.  Sure, there are a few people on Twitter whom I know and would count as true friends, but most of them probably wouldn't even notice that I was gone (so far, they haven't).  I laid in bed that night, fantasizing about a world where I didn't have to have my phone with me at all times; I imagined what it would be like to give my full attention to the friends and family around me.  They deserved that, and I couldn't believe that this had been going on for so long.  The next day, things would change.

Of course, nothing is ever that simple.  In the coming days, I realized that by me not using Twitter at all (and all other social media platforms much less), I solved nothing.  Husband still browsed Instagram during a family game of LIFE.  My mom still looked at her Facebook page as we sat and watched a movie together.  My kid still wanted to play a game on his tablet more than he wanted to play a game with me.  Curbing my addiction did nothing to curb the addictions of those around me.  In fact, since I wasn't distracted myself, it magnified them in my mind.

It's been really sad, but eye-opening.

Last night, Husband and I went to see the Spike Jonze movie, Her.  If you're not familiar with the premise, it's about a man living sometime in the future who falls in love with his Siri-like voice-activated operating system.  In the future portrayed in this film, everyone is always talking to "themselves" and it's not uncommon to have a relationship with a computer.  As I watched the cyber relationship play out on the screen, I saw parallels to my own life.  While I'm talking to actual people who are controlling their Twitter profiles, I'll never meet many of them. is that different?

Social networking would have us believe that we each have hundreds of friends who love and care for us, but in reality, that number is probably closer to ten.  Or five.  Or one.  Or fifteen--but you get what I mean.

I don't know if I'll reactivate my Twitter account, but this whole experience has been an eye-opener.  Most of the people who follow me there don't actually care about me.  I think my last tweet was even about falling down the stairs--nobody responded.  They wouldn't help me if I was in trouble; they wouldn't even cry if I died--but they would tweet about it, for sure, and make sure to let everyone know that they "knew" me.  All this time, I thought I was making connections, but all I was doing was spreading information.  What's the point?

I'd rather spend my time with someone who's looking at a screen and loves me than with someone who's on a screen and doesn't care about me at all.

So, that's what I'm going to do.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Have A Seat

Happy Thanksgiving!

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

We all caught up?  Good. 

I have an important announcement to make:  my family now has the honorable distinction of owning the most seating of any family on our whole block--maybe even in our whole TOWN.  I think.  I mean, we'd definitely win a seat-to-family member-ratio contest.  For SURE.

This is my family room:

Looking South

Looking North

And this is my formal living room:

Looking East

Looking West

 In case you forgot, there are three people in my family.

We could seat at least 9 average-sized adults comfortably in my family room and 9 more in my formal living room.  I realize that this is excessive, and it's only temporary, but one does get tired taking a step or two sometimes, so I'm considering keeping all the chairs.  Just in case.

But seriously, the reason I have so many options as to where I can park my caboose is that today, Husband and I bought the humongous dark grey sectional pictured in the first two photos.  When I saw it in the store, I knew it was big, but I didn't realize exactly how gigantic it was until the delivery guys couldn't figure out where to put it. 

This monstrosity is four separate pieces, divided up as 2-2 cushion sections, one single cushion section, and one single cushion corner piece.  At first, we separated the corner piece and put the rest together as one long couch:

Thanks to that tablet, I'm not even sure he even noticed anything was different.
It was about 12-feet long and made my family room feel like a doctor's waiting room.  Not exactly what I was going for.

We shuffled things around a bit until we came to the 4-cushion-long couch and 2-cushion-long loveseat arrangement that you see in the first photo.  It's still enormous.  Here's how far away I am from my husband if we're sitting on opposite ends of the couch:

BUT, now Husband, The Kid, my two dogs, and myself can all sit together at the same time without any one of us winding up with a dog on our head (seriously, my dog always ends up on my head).  So, that's nice.

I should also mention that we got a new dining set today, which also came with four new chairs:

We can finally fit the fruit bowl and dinner on our table - AT THE SAME TIME!

We're planning on keeping our old set in case we have a lot of company over one day and need the extra table and chairs, so those are also scattered throughout the house:
Clearly, I just gave up by the time I reached this room.

Another reason for this insanity is that we've still got our stinky old beige couch.  Half of its weight is probably dog hair after its ten year residency in our home(s), and I've made it a point to spill (often a whole cup of) tea on it at least once a week.  When we relocated, the movers helpfully loaded it, unprotected, directly under a box of sweetly scented red candles that melted beautifully into a large portion of the fabric.  The Kid has jumped on these cushions daily ever since he learned how to jump, so it now sags sadly, in surrender.  This very evening, our senior dog, Vinnie, somehow managed to pee on every single cushion without any of us noticing until it was too late.  I dutifully scrubbed it with Oxyclean, but we will not be keeping this couch.

At first, we were going to hire movers who would take it away for us, but it seemed much more socially responsible (and much more free) to have the Salvation Army pick it up and bring it to their store.  Unfortunately, the first pickup date they have available is January 15th.  As a result, the main floor of our home currently looks like a furniture showroom.
As a family of three, we are now living in a home with 27 different seating options, not counting toilets, ottomans, a time-out chair, and beds.  If you are capable of basic math, you will see that our seat to resident ratio is 9:1, which might be nice if we had a bigger house, but right now just feels ridiculous.  And amusing.

I joked to Husband that we should have a sitting party before the 15th, to show-off our impressive achievement.  Also conducive to a party is our liquor collection.  When we moved the bar to make room for 2/3 of our sectional, I realized that we have a superfluous amount of booze for two non-alcoholic adults:

And before you ask, YES, that is an entire collection of all 50 uncirculated State quarters.
I hope we have enough local friends to fill all the seats and drink all the booze.  Now that I think about it, I'm not quite sure that we do.  I might have to import blog readers.  You free?

P.S.  When we moved the bar, we finally found the switch that operates the mysterious light on the side of our house!  Score!:

In our defense, this switch is NOWHERE NEAR any door that leads outside, which is where the light is located.

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