Sleep vs. Vampires

Dear Erin,

Congratulations on finishing the kitchen. The backsplash looks great and definitely more your style than what was there before.

I woke up this morning with a headache, which is unusual for me. I’ve thought of all kinds of reasons for it: maybe it’s because I just started using Splenda in my coffee again; maybe it’s the new cleaning products I used yesterday; maybe it’s the dust that got kicked up by those cleaning products.

Maybe it’s the painting I did yesterday. I put a couple patches of color on the walls in the office, and so far so good – although it’s not as red as I’d always imagined. But we’ll see; that’s still in process.

Maybe it’s too much caffeine. Or too little. Or … well, it could be anything, really, or nothing.

To be honest, I suspect it’s the result of a stressful dream life last night. Have you ever read a book or seen a movie, and you knew, the further you went in, that it wasn’t a good idea? Maybe it’s the kind of thing to give you nightmares, but often it’s just that it puts images and thoughts in your head that you really don’t want there. They might not really be nightmarish, but they’re unpleasant in some way – crude, tiresome, stale. This is what has happened with the latest book I’ve been reading. So no more of that one for me, although I might still skip to the end to find out who the bad guy is.

I’m kind of conflicted about this problem. The literary scholar in me is embarrassed to even consider not finishing a book simply because it offends what most people would deem ridiculous sensitivities. That part of my brain, the Critic, says that this book is solidly written, clearly evocative, and obviously popular, and that an aspiring writer should have an awareness of what sells in the current market. That discomfort is no reason to abandon a book.

The other part of my brain, the … I was going to say Feeler because it’s about how I feel, but that’s too condescending. To be honest, I think this is probably the Holy Spirit, pointing out to me that I don’t need to be filling up my head with nonsense like this, regardless of how popular it is. Regardless of how much my Critic might enjoy it (not a problem with this particular book, but a problem I had in trying to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

So what’s making me conflicted is that I imagine the range of things I’m pretty sure I’ll fully enjoy is shrinking considerably. And I’m really worried about becoming provincial and parochial, dismissing things because they’re outside my comfort zone; that’s something I’ve always fought against in myself and others. But at the same time, I can’t sleep after some of these things, and I enjoy my sleep and my peace of mind.

To be fair, we’re not talking great literature here. Maybe the calculus would be different if this book was Joyce or Wharton or Henry – authors who aren’t easy and in some ways are outside my comfort zone, but who are offering something besides escapism. This book is just a bit of genre fiction I picked up for pleasure.

Wasn’t expecting to have a philosophical crisis over it.


Munchkin’s Fraternal Twin

Dear Kristen,

Did you know that Munchkin has a twin?  Kinda.  You’re probably wondering why this twin hasn’t come to any family get togethers. Well, that’s because she looks like this:


Let me explain.  Since moving into this house, we knew we wanted to remodel the kitchen.  She looked like this when we moved in:


Not really our style.  So we saved our pennies and the couple of months before Munchkin arrived, we got to work.  Actually, Matt got to work. By the time it was mostly done, I was due in only a couple of weeks. A nine-month pregnant wife is not much help when it comes to hanging cabinets.  So Matt provided the muscle and I provided the moral support. (A role switched when Munchkin came.)

But Munchkin’s twin sat around mostly done.  Now she is all-the-way done.  You see, when the remodel was going on, we couldn’t come to agreement on a backsplash.  We hemmed and hawed and ended up deciding to wait.  That has been the situation for almost two years now.  But I’m here to tell you that it is finished!* The backsplash is in – subway tile.  It was a hard couple days of work to get it laid out, cut, installed, and grouted, but Matt and I are relieved that it’s done. The kitchen now has the feeling of finality.

Here’s some of the progression – enjoy!

* We actually have a couple more cosmetic things to do, but they’re minor.  So I’m calling this done!


Projects Finished!

Dear Kristen,

Can’t wait to hear more (and see) about your new digs.  You guys must be so excited! Such a big week for you and Charles!

Its been a productive week on this side of the continent.  I. Have. Finished. Projects!

IMG_9132I altered my pajama pants AND maxi skirt.  They both fit me!  (cue the clapping)  I am very pleased with both as they are comfortable and lightweight, still wearable for the summer months.  Who cares if its been over a month of them sitting around waiting to get finished? They are done now!

To celebrate this success, the Munchkin and I are hanging out in our pjs this morning – no need to get ready for the day quite yet.  Savor the success which comes from completed projects, and enjoy another cup of coffee.  And block stacking.

Frog pants, whale top.  Who cares about coordinating?

Frog pants, whale top. Who cares about coordinating?


Dear Erin,

After a very long day, we’ve finally gotten to the point where we can sit down and relax a bit. The movers came at about 8:30, and although we had prepared everything to maximize the use of their time, it still took them until early afternoon to get everything out of one place and into the other. But they took good care of our furniture. Most importantly, my desk is in its office, in pride of place.

Since they left, we’ve been unpacking, with a break for dinner and our first trip to Home Depot to buy things for the new house. Just a couple little things, though. The kitchen is done, the bed is made, and the internet works. You know, the necessities. But I know what I’ll be doing for the foreseeable future.

I was going to take pictures for you, but I’m not exactly sure where my camera’s storage card is, so that will have to wait.

I’d like to keep going – tell you about our deplorable lack of rugs, discuss how exactly I’m going to fit three boxes worth of stuff into a single bathroom, paint you a word picture of exactly how tiny our dining room table looks in its new room – but I’m afraid I’m just not up to it tonight. Too tired. So I’m going call it a night so I can get up bright and early for a full day tomorrow.

Before I go, though, what about your music question? I notice you have no classical music on there, so I would suggest a good proportion of that be added – a little Bach, a little Mozart, a little Debussy. But to tell truth, I’m not really up on my kids’ music these days. I remember a certain sister of mine used to really like Raffi; what about him?