A First-Time Homeowner’s Tale

A First-Time Homeowner’s Tale

I’m going to set the scene here. It’s Friday night, I’m dressed in M&M pajama pants, a gigantic bubblegum pink Purity ice cream sweatshirt, and fuzzy bunny slippers, leaning against the dryer in the laundry room next to a huge pile of wet laundry, watching Marc clean out the washing machine filter with paper towels, q-tips, and toothpicks. 

The back panel of the washing machine is resting against the wall, and the water hoses are draped on the ground. 

Water stopped coming into the machine about an hour ago, and no matter how many times we stopped and restarted it, it just continued to spin and buzz and shut off. 

After a call to GeekSquad told us no one could come out until next Friday, Marc as usual took matters into his own hands. So here we are, picking sand and dirt out of the back of the washing machine filter because we live in the middle of nowhere and well water is full of weird shit. 

I used to have a lot of ideas of what buying a house would be like. It usually involved me walking around with the Property Brothers while they told me I couldn’t afford the mansion and I needed to go with the fixer upper. I accepted this. We deserved nothing more than a tiny building with asbestos in the walls. (I don’t know if there is actually asbestos in the walls of our home but in all honesty you just never know and that shit creeps up on you when you least expect it. Like when you’re trying to knock down a wall to get that open concept American dream and BOOM RUN IT CAN KILL YOU!) Next thing you know you’re giving up your heated bathroom floors to decontaminate this thing you just spent a shit ton of money on.

I think the most annoying thing about having a house is that the minute you talk about having to fix something someone is like “that’s what you get for having a house!” Because apparently being a homeowner is fucking miserable and you’re never supposed to be happy because something is always breaking and you have to fix it yourself or spend a ton of money on something. 

Well, news flash, none of the apartments we lived in ever had decent maintenance people so we fixed everything ourselves anyway. And we knew houses cost money when we bought one. I have a carefully crafted savings plan. 

Anyway, Marc fixes most of the broken things. However, since we’ve gotten our house I’ve become quite resourceful. You know what is a godsend to people who own houses? YouTube. There is a video. For. EVERYTHING. The washing machine that came with the house stopped working one day and I looked up a video for how to clean the filter. I opened up the little door and a tiny rockslide fell out. Problem solved. Take that adulthood. 

You know who didn’t know how to adult? The people who owned this house before us. They lived here for ten years and didn’t get the septic tank emptied ONCE. There was LITERALLY shit leaking out of it before we moved in. You’re supposed to get that handled every two years. Instead there was TEN YEARS OF POO.

The dryer was overflowing with lint (a fire nightmare, did their mother never tell them the 100 ways that anything can catch on fire? Cause I sure as hell know them all.) 

The carpets were caked with dog fur and the bathroom looked like someone went crazy with orange hair dye all over the toilet and shower. Rust EVERYWHERE. Because they lived here for ten years and didn’t know what it meant to use a filter. It’s horrendous. We have TWO water filters because well water is disgusting. 

Our house also has a spider dungeon. There is a scary door in the bathroom that leads to a crawl space where all the spider beasts live. And I am in no way exaggerating, they wave at you when they walk into the room and scream when you squish them. I’m also confident there is a troll down there. Marc says there isn’t, but I just know. 

I feel like before you get a house though there should like be a class. Or maybe two or three classes. Like one class for how to buy a house and what the normal process is, a second one for how to fix and handle things when shit starts falling apart, or maybe just a list of the most popular YouTube videos for fixing things, and a third that’s like a marriage counseling session where someone sits down and explains to you that yes, you are basically like Laura Ingalls Wilder filling a pellet stove with wooden pellets to stay warm or die an ice death, but when the pellet stove doesn’t work right away you need to remain calm and not freak out about how terrible your life decisions are and why the hell did you decide to move to a place where you need a wood burning stove to survive. Maybe a forth class for how to say you’re sorry for what you said when you were cold. 

There is a sense of accomplishment though, when you fix something yourself. Tonight, after watching Marc clean all poo looking nastiness out of the washing machine filter for a good 20 minutes, he put everything back together and cleaned everything up. We pushed the machine back up against the wall and turned it on. The moment of truth, Marc said. We stared at it like we’d built it from scratch ourselves. 

The barrel spun and some things clicked and we heard the water start splashing. The sound of success. You know that episode of Boy Meets World, there Cory and Topanga move into that dump apartment and the water is brown, and Cory’s parents refuse to help him fix it, but eventually he does it himself and runs over to their house with clean water and goes crazy about how he fixed it himself. I understand that feeling thoroughly now on a weekly basis. 

When you’re younger, you don’t realize that one of your most satisfying accomplishments won’t be graduating college, it will be getting that super expensive washing machine to work on your own because you can’t afford another and no one can come to fix it soon and you can’t just not wash your clothes. Because life. 

The washing machine now runs through a full cycle without freaking out. Take that adulting, we kicked you’re ass. Or Marc kicked your ass, but I supervised and handed tools to him. So I get half the credit. 

The End

Ithaca is Gorges and Wizards and Fests, Oh My!

Ithaca is Gorges and Wizards and Fests, Oh My!

A few days ago I realized that Marc and I have been in Ithaca almost a year now. When I meet new people and they ask how long we’ve been here, I still find myself saying, “We just moved here.” But when I actually think about it, we will have been here a year on May 6th, I believe.

We had been planning and prepping for our move for almost two years, which gave me a lot of time to build up this wonderful imaginary idea of how it was all going to be. We also sometimes talked about if we were doing the best thing for us, and if it was the right time. As those of you who know me know, the move has not been easy and when I’m surrounded by 10 feet of snow and I’m pouring bags of wooden pellets into a pellet stove to heat our home like I’m on Little House on the Prairie, I like to question my life choices.

But when we first moved to Florida it wasn’t easy either. We moved there when Tropical Storm Fay was trying to decide if she was gonna go, or stay, or come back. That damn storm zigzagged all over Orlando like 10 times. I had never seen so much rain before. I was trying to get everything set with my college classes, get all my books, figure out what the hell our address was (seriously our first address was SO long), and get everything set with my two jobs, all while getting lost on I-4 during monsoon rains and rush hour. And EVERYONE was driving through that shit with their hazard lights on. Wtf Floridians, you live there get it together.

Moving to Ithaca was a different kind of scary, in that we went from a place that was constantly buzzing with activity, to place that was much like my hometown in Michigan, where when I was younger I would feel trapped in my room with nowhere to go. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I just wasn’t looking hard enough because there is always somewhere to go.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Ithaca in the year that I’ve been here, there is always something to do. Sure, it’s not walking down the street and strolling into Universal for a Butterbeer, or wearing my tutu skirt and Mickey Mouse years around the Magic Kingdom, but it’s this laid back, lets go hang out and talk to the locals about whatever the hell you feel like type of entertainment that I’ve started to find very amusing.

For example, this past weekend Ithaca College hosted Ithacon. Think Comicon, but a lot more low key. Like you won’t see the cast of the newest DC movie, but you also won’t have to wait in a 10 hour line and stand shoulder to shoulder in a crowd of people to look at merchandise. My little nephew had his face painted like a cat, and got to sit and make fantasy themed crafts for two hours. He was in toddler heaven. I also got into a fight with a tube of glitter glue. It was on the wall and in my hair. I promise I am an adult. Anyway, there were panels, speakers (Roger Stern and Jim Shooter were there. If you’re into comics this is a big deal. I didn’t get a chance to see the presentation because we were crafting which is way more important because I got to make a crown with FLOWERS, be jealous, but I’m sure the presentation it was pretty awesome.) crafts for kids, workshops, and vendors. I got to wear my Hogwarts outfit for the second time since moving here. That in itself is a win.

The section with the vendors I think was one of my favorites. Ithaca has so many talented people, and they were all selling prints of their art and their own comics for SO cheap. We visited one of the tables, and the two guys were giving us some prices, all the comics were a dollar, their art was a dollar, you buy 5 you get 1 free. I was baffled, and made a comment about everything being so cheap. One of the guys laughed and said, “Why yes, I am cheap.” I explained to them that I had moved here from Orlando, at Disney World a sheet of stickers is twenty dollars, and the guy said, “Well in THAT case, these are 30 and these are 100!” People in Ithaca just love to talk. No one was pressuring us to buy anything, they just love to chat.

I think it’s because the areas around here are so spread out, that the only time we are all around people is when we go to work and when we go to these events. We go out to grocery shop and it’s like “OMG HUMANS!” It also still is so weird to me that when I go places here, because it’s so small, I actually see people I know, or someone I’m related to. I went 10 years in Florida without seeing anyone I know when I went to run errands. In Ithaca I see someone every weekend. It puts the pressure on to actually look nice before I go out, instead of rolling out of bed, throwing a hat on, and venturing out in yesterday’s outfit, which I also slept in.

Don’t judge me, I’m sure you’ve done it before.

Anyway, so to sort of recap all this really great and fun stuff we’ve done since we got here, I wanted to share some pictures of Ithacon, and some pictures from our first year. Ithaca really is a beautiful place, and even though it’s been a huge adjustment from the insanity that was Orlando, I am truly happy that we’re here. I’m also going to like bookmark this, so when there is another 10 feet of snow in like July or something, or I’m in our bathroom and I hear a river in the crawl space (aka the spider dungeon) under our house because the yard is flooded and the ground is frozen and water is just like EVERYWHERE, I can look back at this and be like, “Huh, I did say I was happy here. Alright let’s go get the damn shovels and get this shit handled.”

P.S. There is going to be a great post about being a first time homeowner coming up soon. I just have to be in the right mood to write it. Because like we have no idea what the hell is even going on half the time, it is a whole different level of adulting that I’m pretty sure the school of life should offer a class on. As my nephew said yesterday, as we were sitting at a table making crowns with stickers and glitter glue and tulle, “I don’t even know what I’m doing right now.” Me neither kid, I say that to myself almost everyday. It’s good to know we are on the same page.

Ithaca is Gorges!

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Taughannock Falls, the first week we came to Ithaca.
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Yes, this is real life.

Fests and more fests!

Ithacon Adventures!

Lastly, ALL THE ICE CREAM!

 

Press Start

Press Start

During one of the days Marc and I were stranded in the house during snowmageddon, he was watching trailers for upcoming video games on YouTube. Of course, YouTube is a rabbit hole so you start at video game trailers and the next thing you know you’re watching some nerd play a video game in his parent’s basement for 10 hours. Well, the screen skipped to a Crash Bandicoot game, and Marc explained to me that they were rebooting a couple of the games that Naughty Dog did. As I watched the game play it was like suddenly I was in the basement of my parents house, my sister and I, and our friends who lived in the house behind ours.

In the summer we’d sit in front of the TV for hours, passing the controller back and forth, each of us getting through the levels we were best at. Early in the morning we’d congregate at each other’s houses, searching for gems, and crystals, crashing boxes and chanting ‘OOGA BOOGA’ when we hit a box with the floating mask. We’d also play the Crash Bandicoot racing game, and make teams and compete.

My sister and I got our love of video games from our brother. We grew up watching his friends play Command and Conquer in the basement, with so many TVs and Playstations all connected together. They’d sit in different rooms so they couldn’t see what the other person was planning. We’d sit on the floor and watch, waiting patiently until we were old enough to try.

I took to Mortal Kombat very early on. One night when we were staying at our grandma’s house, we brought whatever game system we had at the time and played Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct. Blood was all over that screen and my poor grandma had no idea what was going on when we’d all yell, “FINISH HIM” and mash the buttons so fast, the codes printed out on the papers in front of us.

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I liked the fighting games when I was little, because Mario at the time was too hard. I grew bored of the Little Mermaid, Ducktales, and Looney Toons games that I had on my Gameboy. It wasn’t even the colored one, that Gameboy took 4 AA batteries. It was a monster. And if you weren’t at a save spot and the screen started to fade, you best hightail your ass to a plug as fast as you can cause all that hard work could be gone FOREVER.

As I got a little older I grew attached to Pokemon. All my friends would trade Pokemon with this cord we bought and we’d link up our Gameboys at sleepovers and have battles. My sister and I would on a weekly basis rent Pokemon Snap and Pokemon Stadium, which came with the attachment where you could put your Gameboy cartridge in and battle your Pokemon on the TV. It was a big deal.

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One day when we went to the Family Video and they were out of the Pokemon game, we rented Mario Party and a new obsession began. It was another game we’d sit with our friends with for hours in the cool basement in the summer, eating snacks and trying to decide if we wanted to play the long version of the game or the short version. Very rarely did we make it through the long version, it was like playing Monopoly, sometimes you just had to accept that it was never going to end.

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I took a little break from video games then, because Pokemon wasn’t cool anymore and kids at school were making fun of me, and we didn’t see our neighbor friends as much because we were all different ages and we were growing up.

It’s sad when playing Legos and creating a little world for these Lego monkeys that we had stops being so funny, or having Beanie Baby wars or pretending your spies and writing journals about Super Carpet Man stops being the best part of your summer. I still have one of those notebooks by the way, because I just have a really strong attachment to things so I keep it stashed away with all my notebooks of Nsync fanfiction. I’m going to put that stuff in my will, whoever ends up with it should be so lucky.

Then one year for my sister’s birthday I got her a video game called Kingdom Hearts. I was in high school and seriously that game changed my life. Okay, I know that’s an exaggeration, but it reminded me why I love video games so much. They have the ability to make you so happy and so mad within short periods of time. You know what I also realized in high school, boys LOVED to talk about video games. If you ever want to be a bro, and earn yourself a permanent spot in the friend zone, be a girl who likes to talk about video games. My sister ended up never really playing this game at all, but she’d watch me, and we’d sit downstairs like we did when we were kids, watching a boy with huge pants and tons of zippers and crazy hair, run around with Donald, Goofy, and Mickey, beating the shit out of stuff with a giant key to save Disney princesses.

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It’s really great, seriously, like the Final Fantasy people make this game. I hear the songs that were in the game and it still gives me goose bumps to this day.

Then the second one came out and I spent the entire spring break of my senior year at my aunt’s house in Detroit playing this game. Roxas (aka Jesse McCartney) will be in my heart 4ever. #RoxasandAxelBFFS4Life

One of the things I love about Marc is that he loves video games. He acts like it’s no big deal, but he actually follows up on all the ones he likes, he sells ones he’s finished and preorders new ones. He brings them home and opens them up and reads the little booklets inside. When we first started dating, I would try to explain to him how I felt when the second Kingdom Hearts game finished, and the song was playing and all the characters were together again, and the cut scene looked like a movie. The first time I finished the game I cried. I told him this and he didn’t place me in the friend zone guys, WIN for ME.

Now I enjoy watching Marc play video games more than playing them myself. He really likes when his character falls off a cliff or something and I make sure to point out that he died and will need to start over. I’m the perfect video game spectator. I don’t think I’ve grown too old for the games; I’ve just lost that patience and ability to sit in one place and dedicate myself to something for so long.

Unless of course that Kingdom Hearts 3 game ever comes out, because then I’ll be taking a week off work and not leaving the couch because it’s been WAY TOO LONG. Don’t toy with me with your Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop, 365/whatever, 2.8937649834983458973458, THAT IS NOT A NEW GAME SQUARE ENIX GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.

But I mean, whatever, its fine. It’s not like I care or anything. Kind of like I don’t care that the Kingdom Hearts Pops don’t have any of the main characters other than Disney Characters. It’s basically the dumbest thing ever in the entire world.

Again though, not like I care.

The End.

P.S. – Hey Funko Pop, plz make a Sora and a Roxas. Kthxbye.

#nerdforlife

 

*All photos are from Google Images.

Snowmageddon

Snowmageddon

After moving to Ithaca, the first big snowstorm we experienced was in November, right before Thanksgiving.

We were not prepared at all.

The heat in our house is primarily from a pellet stove. We did not buy enough pellets to get us through a few days, and we had no snowblower or shovel to clear out the driveway. We were cold and trapped. It was horrid.

Snowmageddon started on Monday night. I got an alert from the college that school was closed at around 5:00 AM, so I went back to sleep and settled in for a day of nothing. We had a snow blower now, and a shovel, and some salt for the sidewalk, and extra food, and enough pellets for a week. We were set this time.

Or so we thought.

What we realized was we know nothing.

On Tuesday, we decided to go out in the afternoon and clear out the driveway, that way it wouldn’t be as bad on Wednesday, just in case I had to go to work. Well, the snow blower couldn’t handle all the snow. It was too high and too heavy. We only have one shovel. So Marc and I took turns shoveling our driveway that seemed like it was a million miles long at the time, and the wind was blowing so bad it’s like the minute we moved some snow, it was blowing right back. We then dug my car out, and went back inside.

Thankfully the school was closed again Wednesday, so at 2:30 PM, we went back out for round 2. There was a snow drift in the middle of the driveway that was about 4 feet. We tried to call some plowing places, but everyone was too busy to come out and do one driveway.

We had to shovel it in layers. Marc went into the garage and found a dustpan, and was chiseling the top layers of snow off so it was easier to shovel. That’s right, we were out shoveling 4 to 5 feet of snow with one shovel and a dust pan. We were clearly masters of the snow.

At this point we were questioning our life choices, as we sometimes do.

We made a pathway for Marc’s car, and shimmied it down the driveway, as he would have to get out to work on Thursday.

Now we have come to this morning. The sun was shining, and the beast had passed. Marc went out and spent 2 hours digging out a small pathway at the end of the driveway where the plows had blocked us in. I was tasked with clearing out the remainder of the end of the driveway, and the spot behind my car.

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As I watched Marc drive out of the driveway to leave for work, a plow came right behind him and closed the driveway back up. Sighing, I put on my ten layers of clothes, stuck in my headphones, and headed out into the tundra dragging the shovel behind me. I haven’t been doing my homework for my self-defense class, so I still have no arm muscles, and my arms were feeling it from two days of shoveling. So this morning I was half-assing the shoveling.

I cleared a few areas, then went and stood in front of the mountain at the end of the driveway. It was about 4 and a half feet high, all rocks and ice chunks and snow. There were two larger mountains on the left and right, about 5 and 6 feet tall. I pushed the shovel into the mountain, it pushed back, and I surrendered to winter. I kicked the mountain, or what I could see of it with my huge hood on with my ear muffs and my hat underneath. I dragged my shovel back to the garage, came inside, sat in front of the pellet stove to dry off, and called a plow.

Take that stupid snow.

BUT THE SNOW WAS NOT DONE WITH ME YET.

SO, get this, snow plow comes I’m outside waving the guy to the correct house, he clears off the end of the driveway, then books it going crazy fast into the driveway, his truck flies into one of the 8 foot tall mountains, and GETS. STUCK. I stood there watching him try to back up, but the plow was stuck on the top of the mountain, and the truck could not get enough traction on the driveway to back up. Our next door neighbors daughter is shaking her head. She was not pleased I called her in the first place.

I sighed, and went back inside. Only I would think of calling a plow, only to have it get stuck and then need a tow.

I watched the truck out the window in our laundry room for a good ten minutes, assuming he called for some sort of back up. Then another truck comes in, they hook the truck up to the plow, and the guy pulls it free. The plow proceeds to clear out our driveway.

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In conclusion, it is March, Snowmageddon kicked our ass, our snow blower is useless in heavy snow, and shoveling is. a. bitch. Oliver has also not been able to use the bathroom in the backyard since Tuesday, after I lost him in a snowbank Tuesday afternoon. Thankfully our house has some sort of tornado around it, so the front and side have a perfectly clear ring of grass. Oliver is still not pleased.

I’d like to say we’ll be more prepared next year, but I highly doubt it. We just aren’t very good at wintering, apparently. I mean, if you call a snow plow, and the snow plow gets stuck in your driveway and needs to call a tow truck, I think that’s some sort of sign. I’m still analyzing it, but it has to be a sign. Thankfully summer is coming, and we are much better at summering than wintering. Winter 2. Stephanie and Marc 0.

Snow Days

Snow Days

I remember learning at a young age that there is a weather recipe that makes the perfect guaranteed snow day. You see, first it has to start with rain, around 8:00 or 9:00 at night. Then, that ran has to freeze around midnight, followed by a fast heavy snow that grows and grows so quickly that the plows can’t possibly clear the roads fast enough. If all that happens, then you’ll wake up the next morning to see your school listed at the bottom of the screen on the news and you’ve got yourself a snow day. If it continues to snow, then you could get the coveted second snow day in a row.

There was a movie on this, I think Nickelodeon made it and it’s currently on Netflix. The kids waste their entire snow day trying to ruin the snow plow man’s life so they can get a SECOND snow day. Talk about being selfish and wasting a full free day. Youths.

As kids we used to spend our snow days running around the back yard making now forts. My dad had this huge white bucket that we would fill and make walls. We’d roll giant snow boulders and make snow angels. Then my brother and his friends would come over and he’d stuff my face in the snow and sit on me and ask me if I could breathe.

Our dad would shovel the driveway and make huge mountains. We’d climb them and wave at our mom through the kitchen window. I don’t remember who told us never to build snow tunnels, but that was a huge no. Because the snow could collapse on you and you’d suffocate and die, right there in your backyard. I mean, if there’s one way to make a child fear snow or tunnels, it’s that.

Of course once you finish school there are no more snow days and snow is this evil thing that makes driving to work a huge pain in the ass. It takes twice as long and you just sort of slide around with other cars and you just all slide around hoping you don’t hit each other.

The first winter I was in community college, I spent a lot of time driving down the country roads avoiding snow drifts and squinting through white-outs. It was one of the worst winters we’d had in awhile. The school didn’t close often, but my professors would follow whatever the local elementary/middle schools were doing. So if they were closed, there was no class. My sister and I spent a lot of time sitting around the house that winter, since her high school would be closed too. We’d hang out in the kitchen eating chicken noodle soup, listening to Nsync, and baking cookies. We baked SO many cookies.

We’d completely destroy the kitchen, and then send our mom pictures to her work e-mail so she’d see what she was missing. There would be sugar and flour everywhere, the guinea pigs would be running all over the kitchen table, Miss Pamela (our adorable beagle and living floor cleaner) would be pacing the kitchen waiting for things to drop on the floor.

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One night it started to snow really hard. It was 10:00 and my dad said he would need to clear the snow at least once before bed so that it wasn’t too high in the morning. My sister and I piled on all our winter gear and ran outside after him screaming and laughing like children, one in college and the other in high school, Pamela right behind us, acting like a puppy. Only a few minutes of being outside and we were covered in huge snowflakes.

Our dad started to blow the snow into mountains, and we climbed them and tapped on the kitchen window glass to wave to our mom inside. She rolled her eyes and laughed while sitting at the kitchen table. We went and grabbed a yard stick to measure how deep the snow was, taking pictures and acting like Top Models, exactly how Tyra would tell us to be.

Pamela dove into the snow and chased the falling flakes. My dad yelled over the sound of the snow blower for us to stop kicking the snow back onto the drive way. The neighbor came out to see what all the noise was about.

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One thing that’s so great about being older, is you can run around in the snow in the middle of the night and act like you’re on Top Model and your parents just accept the fact that they’ve just lost control at this point. Back when Top Model was our favorite show, when nothing mattered except snow days and baking cookies and eating chicken noodle soup and Nsync. There’s something magical about a snow day, it’s like nature is telling you that you have this day where you can do anything.

I mean, except drive, I guess you probably shouldn’t drive. Unless you have to, cause I mean being an adult means working usually even when it’s snowing. Ugh, adulting sucks. Let’s just bake cookies instead.

 

Popover Pans, Fire Pits, and Air Freshener Beads

Popover Pans, Fire Pits, and Air Freshener Beads

When reality TV started to really become a thing, I always wondered how the people being filmed had enough to cover a full season. I mean 22 to 24 episodes is a lot, and I was amazed at how active the teens on Laguna Beach were, and how there was so much drama, and I couldn’t imagine someone ever seeing say, me, and thinking, oh yeah, we could get so many seasons out of that. I mean I know a lot of it’s scripted for that reason, but its fun to think sometimes that people’s lives are just that ridiculous.

If someone were to make a reality TV show out of my life, there would be a lot of bored camera guys sitting around filming me while I cleaned the house, played on my phone, did the laundry, or grocery shopped. I mean I occasionally do something interesting. Like on Friday’s I go to a self defense class and learn how to kick ass. But that’s just one hour of one day. I can’t see someone settling down with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to watch me go to my class, though it would probably make a great one hour comedy show because I’m uncoordinated and very out of shape.

There are times though, when I wish there was someone recording when Marc and I are talking. Because seriously, every now and then we have one of those great moments, where it’s like a Jessica Simpson a la Newlyweds Chicken by the Sea so weird it’s like is this really happening type of things.

Being married to Marc is like a little adventure of its own. He likes to tinker with things around the house, and sometimes he just gets ideas for things on his days off and sets out to take on a task that we’d never talked about ever in the entire time we’ve known each other. I’ll go to work and he’ll have the day off, and I usually try and ask him what he’s going to be up to that day, to get an idea of what I’ll be coming home to, and sometimes he has some sort of plan, other days he says he has to go to the store and the plan is hatched right there in the aisles of merchandise.

Right now he’s really into doing a big set up on the deck of our house. He wants to get a pergola and fancy outdoor furniture to go with the fire pit that we currently have and never use because I am convinced that having it on a wood deck is a terrible idea. I mean the box said, “Not for use on wooden decks” yet it’s out there on a wooden deck, prepped for the spring. When I expressed some concern, he went out and got some cement blocks to set it on. I don’t know what this does to keep it from setting the house on fire, but I’ve been told its fine.

The fire pit thing sort of came out of nowhere. When we first got our house we needed to get all these things but he insisted on staring at fire pits every time we went to the store. We needed a lawn mower and a snow blower, but the fire pit was an obsession.

Same with the popover pan. We were downtown for Icefest and there was a kitchen store that was going out of business. We were looking around and he just suddenly says, as if he’s been searching for it and thinking about it for the entirety of his life, “I wonder if they have a popover pan!” Since I have known him he has never spoken of popovers. Not once. I have never heard him utter that word. But that particular day, it was as if he was searching for some sort of rare collectible amidst the clearance priced bowls and spoons. Well, we now have a popover pan. We’ve had popovers exactly one time. He now says he needs a second pan, to make enough popovers for when there are guests.

Anyway, I’m leading up to something here. So, yesterday, we come home from grocery shopping and I’m putting things away. I take a couple items and go to place them in the bathroom cabinet and notice there is a small drinking glass in the back of the cabinet, with a dry paper towel and some of those air freshener beads. You know, those scented gel beads that come in the containers and you put them in rooms to make them smell nice.

So I take this cup and walk it out to the living room and I’m holding it and I’m like, “What is this doing in the bathroom cabinet?”

Marc strolls over from the kitchen, sees what I’m holding, and smiles this goofy smile that he gets when he thinks he’s been very clever. “I wanted to see how small they’d get.” He’s very pleased with himself here.

I continued standing there holding this glass, and I stared at it, and then stared back at him. “So, I don’t understand, am I putting it back? Why does this currently exist? How long has this even been IN there?”

He shuffles over and takes the glass from me and looks at it very intently, studying the beads. “About a month.”

Do you ever have that moment where you realize you’ve just completely lost total control of your household? I imagine it’s how parents feel when they come into a room and their kids have drawn all over the walls or they’re covered in poop or something. Obviously I’m being dramatic, but still.

So he takes this glass and off he goes into the kitchen. I watch him as he shakes the dried beads off the paper towel, tosses the paper towel into the trash, then goes into the Tupperware container cabinet and pulls out a small Tupperware dish. He then pours the beads into this Tupperware dish (that’s right, we are keeping them, I have no idea why), and proceeds to then fill the glass up with water. After it is just the right amount, he takes one of the dried up beads, and places it into the glass of water.

“Now we are going to see how big the bead will get.” He brings the glass of water with this bead in it, sets it on the dining room table, and then goes into the living room and starts to watch TV.

I’m standing there, after watching all this happening, trying to figure out if this is real life.

Later, I’m sitting at the table in the dining room eating my lunch, and Marc in the living room watching TV. I’m staring at the glass of water with the bead in front of me, set now inside a glass bowl that has flamingos on it (I am not lying to you all this is true and we do have a glass bowl with flamingos on it). “So, are we like, taking data or something? What is our end goal here?” I casually shout out to the living room. The bead is slowly growing in the glass.

“I don’t know.” Is the casual reply.

Now, this morning, we had to inspect the bead’s growth before breakfast.

“Looks like it melted.” I said, standing over it while drinking hot cocoa.

“Nope, try picking it up,” he said, very pleased with the results of the bead this morning.

“I’m good, thanks,” I replied.

So he sticks his hand in and pulls out the bead, now much larger and full of water. “See?”

“Yup, there it is. Just like it was when we bought it in the container.”

Content, he placed the bead back into the glass, where it is still sitting on the counter as I type.

When I went to take a shower this morning, I opened the bathroom cabinet and there the little Tupperware container was, with the other dried up beads that were not used in Experiment B. I guess we’re keeping those now. God knows why.

It’s funny because when I was in my junior/senior year of high school and early years of college, I used to write all these fiction stories about weird families, and I’d think up all this weird quirky shit for them to do because I loved writing about weird families with weird lives. Then after awhile I found it more fun to write about myself because sometimes weird shit happens and it’s a lot more fun knowing that it’s real. I mean, usually I’m the one being all ridiculous and crazy, but sometimes Marc just has these really great moments.

I think the last few days would have made a great reality show episode, with some of that bouncy music, a few of those stares at the camera like Jim on The Office.

Today as I was washing the dishes, finding myself again face to face with the glass of water and that damn bead, I thought of that Dr. Seuss quote, “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”  Dr. Seuss, sir, you have never been more correct.

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Exhibit B
via Daily Prompt: Record

“You look ridiculous. You should sue.”

“You look ridiculous. You should sue.”

I grew up hating my hair. I never knew what to do with it, and the trends at the time were not my friend. My hair untamed is a frizzy wavy mess. I’ve had it many lengths and it wasn’t until recently that I finally just gave up and let it live the life it wants to live. My hair owns me I do not own my hair. We have a weird relationship.

Let’s start from the beginning.

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When I was little my mom always did our hair. There was always a lot of hairspray. No really, our hair crunched and was not far from being a helmet with a giant bow. I used to be so jealous of the girls who would wear their hair down at school. They’d play with it and braid it and put it up in a ponytail and then take it down and swish it back and forth. My mom would pull ours out of our face every morning, put it in a ponytail, a barrette, or a bow, and then spray that sucker down. There were no loose hairs anywhere. It would not move for the entire day. Even if there was a strong wind.

We also did dance recitals, where our hair would be pulled back so tight that our eyes were at our ears. Up in a bun it would go, with a blue eye shadow and a bright red lip before the red lip was a thing. And of course more hairspray.

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As I got older I used to go in to the hair salon with my mom and I’d have a magazine cutout of the latest female pop star and I would ask them to make me look just like them. This never worked. Ever. I wanted to be Lizzie McGuire, Michelle Branch, Vanessa Hudgens. The poor hair stylists would try so hard. But the one thing these ladies all had in common was straight, flat hair. I wanted that hair so bad, and I wanted the woman at the JCPenney hair salon with crazy colors in her own hair to change me.

I would try slicking my hair down with gel, then I’d try to give myself bangs, also like Lizzie McGuire, and they would just be these stringy gross strands on each side of my face waving around back and forth. My hair was an oily scraggly monster.

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Lizzie McGuire was my hair idol. Her and Miranda. I once went to Winterfest (I think it was called Winterfest? That’s what came to me first so I’m sticking to it) in middle school with my hair in pigtails and then the pigtails were separated into braids. I also wore overalls. I saw it on the show and I thought I was the shit.

You see I always wanted that Princess Diaries moment, where Princess Mia has that crazy mane and then Paolo does god knows what to it and suddenly her hair is on the same level as Mandy Moore. Because Mandy Moore was where you wanted to be, you did not want to be pre-Paolo Princess Mia.

I would want that reaction, I wanted to go to get my hair done and come to school the next week being like BAM, BAM, BAM AWESOME HAIR NEW ME. Again, this never happened. No one ever noticed when there was a change in my hair, because to be honest I never really did anything that different to it to make it noticeable. JCPenney woman would trim it and tell me it was up to me to get it to look like Michelle Branch. I was like 13, I had no idea what that meant.

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I also went through a phase where I wore a lot of headband bandannas, and these weird plastic clips up and down my hair in patterns. Lizzie McGuire can be thanked for that as well. Oh, and I for serious bought one of those As Seen On TV things where you could part your hair in weird patterns. I. Thought. I. Was. The. Shit.

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But no one noticed. Obviously.

Then one day my aunt took me to Nancy. My aunt sort of gave me my Princess Mia moment. We went to this fancy salon (like a real salon) and my aunt and Nancy chatted about my hair and my eyebrows as I sat there unsure of what would happen. Nancy trimmed my hair, gave me proper bangs, and also reddish highlights. Then another woman waxed my eyebrows and my eyes watered so bad. Then we went to Tommy Hilfiger and I got a new outfit and then I started 10th grade being like BAM, BAM, BAM NEW HAIR AND NEW EYEBROWS AND NEW CLOTHES BITCHES. Honestly though, not much changed because you can have pretty hair and no self confidence so people still sit on you because they don’t realize you’re sitting there. High School fucking sucks.

Anyway, back to hair.

So after I graduated High School I stopped caring about my appearance mostly because everyone goes to classes in college in their pajamas. I went to most of my classes in sweatpants and an oversize sweatshirt. I started to only trust Nancy with my hair anyway, and unless I was going to visit my aunt, I just didn’t get my hair cut. The split ends were horrifying, like they could have poked someone’s eye out they were so all over the place.

I met Marc while my hair was in full wild things mode. I was going through this phase where I would put this curling spray on it, blow dry it, then tease it and hair spray it to death. My hair was HUGE. It was huge and it was crunchy and then the Florida humidity gave it LIFE. IT WAS ALIVE. I lost headbands in there. You couldn’t even tell I was wearing them my hair was so big.

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Yet Marc STILL talked to me. Which, people of the internet, means looks don’t always matter. What’s that? I know I was laughing too, let me wipe the tears from my eyes. We aren’t here for life lessons we’re here to talk about hair and laugh at all my pictures. I mean look at this one, what the hell is happening in that nest on my head?

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After our wedding I decided I wanted to do something drastic. It was the end of August and I was in my car at work one day eating lunch and my hair was sticking to the sweat on my back and I decided I just wanted to chop it all off. It was the first time I’d gone to someone other than Nancy, but I found a fancy salon in Florida and a nice woman chatted with me while she snipped away at my hair. She did a very nice job and it turned out super cute. I could wear it in cute pigtails, and I had it under control.

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A few months later though the cut was getting a little out of hand as it was growing out, so I decided right before Marc and I went on our honeymoon to go back and have the style fixed up. The woman who did it originally wasn’t there, so they said they would assign me to someone else who had the same skills.

This was all a lie. All of it. This woman, with her crazy blonde Kate Plus 8 haircut hacked all my hair off and left me with nothing. She was also like cutting herself up with the scissors while she was destroying my hair. I’m being serious, she was BLEEDING, blood was running down her fingers as my hair was floating to the floor. But, you see, I’m basically blind, so I have to take my glasses off while I’m getting my hair cut. So I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. It was horrendous. I looked like a soccer mom. I went home and cried.

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A year later I went to Nancy and she tried to shape it out so it would grow better. I vowed to never trust anyone but Nancy ever again. I heart you Nancy. Nancy is one of the most important people in my life. She makes sure I don’t make bad choices.

I have gone to someone since I moved to Ithaca, only because Nancy told me I should probably do that because the last time I went to her it had been three years since I’d had my hair cut and I got quite a look when she saw the disaster that was my hair. I went to the Regis in the mall and paid a girl a lot of money to convince me that I could trust her. She did an acceptable job, so I’ve decided she can be my stand in Nancy for the time being. (Nancy will always be my number one though. #StephanieHeartsNancy4Ever)

I feel though like now my hair and I are sort on good terms in that I have given up trying to make it do things it doesn’t want to do. If one day it’s all like, “Girl, curls aren’t gonna happen today.” Then I’m like whatever and it just waves in some places and straightens in others and then it frizzy poofs on the top sticking every which way. I bought a hat to show some sort of authority on days when it just gets out of hand, but sometimes even that doesn’t matter much.

The new thing since the weather has been cold is the static. It is literally everywhere. Sticking to my cheeks and floating in the air like some sort of alien trying to suck the life out of my face. If I didn’t have glasses I’m sure it would go straight for my eyeballs to blind me. I’ve tried dryer sheets, but they do nothing. The beast cannot be contained.

I’ve also decided that once I get to a certain age I’m just going to let my hair grow and grow and grow. I would like to be cousin It, and wear my hair as a scarf and a dress or a shawl all at the same time. It will have it’s own personality and it would keep me warm, like a nice fuzzy blanket. Or it could be a cape. Because honestly a cape would be cooler. All the cool kids are wearing capes now. Super heroes are in. My hair will one day kick some serious ass.

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