Friday, March 28, 2014

Neglected Nightstands: A Makeover Story

Welcome, lovely readers, to yet another stunning DIY post by yours truly. Today I'd like to talk to you about nightstands. Neglected nightstands.

The pair I have are cast-off bathroom cabinets from some dude's house in Germany. I really developed my inner sense of cheapskate when I lived over there....and not the cool, thrifty, country-chic cheapskate, more like "OMG TEN DOLLARS!? THEY ARE TEN DOLLARS. We're leaving this house immediately. Let's go. We're driving over there right now. Come on. Before they're gone. Let's go. TEN DOLLARS FOR TWO THINGS, THINGS THAT HOLD OTHER THINGS!"

When I got them they had a few of those wet bumps on the tops - you know, the ones that pop up when you set a perspiring glass down on particle board or other expandable material. I like to think of the various rings and bumps as super-fly texture. Nailed it.

After three years of looking at my nightstands and realizing they were becoming more like little catch-alls than actual functioning pieces of furniture, I decided to change things up. Nothing major - ain't nobody got time for that. Just a bit of sprucing.

So here's how the neglected nightstands looked before:

Notice the huge cord coming down the middle of the wall. Sweet headboard, huh? More about that in a few sentences. 

This is my side of the bed. Stacks of magazines, books, kleenex, some fake flowers, a Maya Angelou box. I'm basically 85 years old.

Here's Aaron's side of the bed. Cologne, a dusty candle, lotion, a tie, a ship piggy bank.....he's basically a teen man.

Now you can't see it from these pictures, but I had this gorgeous piece of art hanging in a part of my room I could only really see if I was laying in bed. What if I got rid of the electric cord headboard and put the art over the bed? Then I could see her when I walked in the room! Intriguing...

...but what about my favorite lazy person light source? That cord connected to a light that could be switched off by just reaching over my head while in bed. It almost doesn't get any better than that. Unless.....

*pause here for theatrical suspense and brief side story*

Now I mentioned I was cheap, but you may not realize yet how lazy I am. I don't like to thrift for hours with a toddler, especially on my rare time off from work and writing. I also don't like spray painting in the middle of winter. And for some reason, watching Shark Tank seems way more appealing to me than crafting and Mod-Podging all over my living room after the kids are in bed.

So how in the world was I going to find an affordable new lazy light source to replace Cordy McHeadboard?

Well, like most things in life, all my problems were solved by walking the clearance isle at Target. I found these two incredible lamps on sale, with shades, for $9 each. A neglected nightstand makeover never felt so good.

So here it is. The after pic.

I knew I needed something linear and unbulky - is that even a word, unbulky? The nightstands are small and a huge lamp base would've taken over any space we needed for charging cell phones and/or dusty candles.

When I spotted these bad boys I knew they'd be visually lightweight and physically small enough to give me some room for all my stuff.

I chose an aqua-colored lamp.

Aaron wanted something a bit more masculine, so he went with gray. The shade was also his idea - it lets off a muted yellow light. He said it reminded him of an old study. Kinda almost fell over when he made that statement. Love me some men thoughts.

And the side-by-side comparison...

I gotta say, I feel like this was a huge achievement for me. I was able to use stuff I already had and spend minimal money to achieve a new look. Yes, I sometimes still find myself reaching for good 'ol Cordy McHeadboard, but it's ok. He's found a new home in my soon-to-be basement office. 

So there you have it! My nightstands are neglected no more. We cleaned 'em out, gave them some fresh n' poppin' lamps to light up all their awesome bumpy texture, and moved my art queen to a more respectful place.

What do you think? Hate it? Love it? What would you have done different? Let me know in the comments below and as always, thank you so much for reading!!! :)


Friday, March 14, 2014

Don't Talk to Pregnant Chicks

When I was pregnant with my second child, a coworker approached me with some unsolicited advice.

How old is your firstborn daughter?
She will be six in a few weeks. she'll be six when the baby is born?
Uh, yep. Yep she'll be six.
Oh no. Oh no no no. My girls are six years apart. It's awful. They do not get along. Your kids are not going to get along. Not at all. It will be bad. 
Well, not much I can do about it now, eh? But thanks!

I've had people comment about my weight, telling me I was carrying all the way around, comparing me to a duck when I walked. Hahahaha well, a very round duck! HAHAHAHAHAHA! .........yes, soooooo funny! I'm a big round duck! That is hysterical!

I've had people ask me if I'm going to quit working and do what's best for the kids...and then had people ask me if I'm going to keep working and set the best example for my daughters.

When I was a week past my due date I had people stop me in the hallway and exclaim "OH my GOSH are you STILL here!?" I swear it was like nobody wanted to see me. What gives.

Then the advice. The nonstop, constant advice...

Oh you need to eat, eat, eat! Eat more! Eat this! Eat my lunch! Here, eat this pie I made! Have my leftover meatloaf! You've really filled out but that baby is hungry! EAT!

Don't drive yourself to work anymore.

You are way too big to deliver naturally. You should tell your doctor you want a cesarean.

You're going to breastfeed, right? Is your boss going to let you breastfeed? Pumping is so hard.

You are looking really swollen. You should drink more water.

That baby moves around a lot. Good luck - that means she's hyperactive.

Have you considered any names? I wouldn't name her anything that could get her bullied.

I bet you're not sleeping at night. Have you tried going to bed early?

And then the horror stories....

I remember being so sick all the time. It was terrible. Have a great day!

I was in labor for seven days.

I tried to deliver naturally but the baby started to lose oxygen so I was immediately wheeled into the OR and they had to perform an emergency cesarean. So weird, I was in the best scenario to deliver naturally. Ah, well. Some things just don't work out! Good luck! I'm sure you'll be just fine!

The epidural they gave me still gives me back problems.

It was a boy, not a girl! Joke was on me! My poor son had to wear pink for months! HAHAHAHAHA!

When I had my second I needed 80 stitches. 

My cousin's daughter gave birth right in her office. I mean it. She was sitting at her desk and then there was no time to get her to the hospital. OOOOO maybe that will happen to you! We could have an office baby!

These people meant no harm. They were just trying to be nice......I think? Heck, we've all done it. I've done it. I've talked to a pregnant lady about my own experience, wanting to share what I've learned, wanting to spread the knowledge.

Not cool.

You never know how your words are going to affect someone. You never truly understand how deeply a person internalizes what you say. The safest bet, especially with a pregnant lady, is to just smile. Don't say a word.

Don't talk to pregnant women.

Just let them be. Smile at them, answer them if they approach you with questions, but otherwise, be silent.....

....because who knows, perhaps that advice you thought about sharing isn't all that accurate....

Perhaps the thing you believe to be true isn't true at all.

Anyone else have any pregnant stories to share? Have you said something to a pregnant lady and wished you could take it back? Have you been pregnant and had someone say something that's stuck with you for far too long? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Thank you so much for reading, lovey readers :)


Friday, March 7, 2014

Men: Way Cooler than Women

Now before I start, I want to take two seconds to acknowledge that everyone is different and people are people and gender roles can be equal and different and flip-flopped and blahblahblah.

Mmmmmkay. Now on to the good stuff.

What is WITH dudes.

So Aaron and I are right smack-dab in the middle of a pretty huge transition....he is going back to work. He's been the stay-at-home dad for a few years now, going to school, making the most of his education benefits from the military, and working part-time at a local small business. I've been the full-time lady, the commuter, the one who randomly freaks out and kinda feels justified because I've "had a hard day at the office." (heh heh heh takin' a page from the ol' school Man Handbook. Hand me my scotch and slippers!)

That's all about to change. You see, when he gets a job, I will be quitting mine. That's right. I'm going to be the stay-at-home wonder. And I'm going to write. Hopefully well. And maybe get paid for it.

See? Big transition.

I'm handling it like a total pro. I panic only once or twice a day, with crying spells lasting a paltry 1-2 hours at a time.

I've been the perfect wife, gyrating between, "Oh, it's never too early to start networking, don't you think? Get your name out there? Test the waters? Match a few names to faces? Meander into some awesome connections? Sniff arrrouuunnnd?" and then the more subtle, "OMG I SEE YOU'RE ON THE XBOX - IS THIS JOB CALLED MADDEN MASTER? WHAT DO THOSE BENEFITS LOOK LIKE? DO YOU GET GAMER POINTS AT CHRISTMAS? ARE YOUR THUMBS INSURED?"

And I'm always 100% sure this is the best thing for me. I barely ever doubt my abilities to stay home and do all the cooking and laundry and potty training and homework and dog-puke-wiping and shopping and neighborly small talk BS and school fundraisers and being on the job from sunrise to sundown while trying to pound out some semblance of a writing career with one kid connected to my non-exercised calf muscle and the other kid running to the bus stop with only one shoe and papers flying out of her backpack. Oh yea. I've got this. One. Hundred. Percent.

The job I'm leaving? Peh. I don't worry about it. Not one bit. I haven't already created a shared-drive manual of over 200 documents explaining step-by-step how to do every facet of my job. I don't feel my heart freeze up at all when I think about leaving my fun, adult coworkers for a day crew consisting of one diaper-wearing half-person and two disabled animals. I'm not concerned about missing out on retirement benefits. I'm not worried about leaving my boss to some moron who couldn't possibly do the things he needs done like I can. Nope. Not one iota of guilt or remorse there. Allllll good.

And my kids. No WAY are they gonna be sad to have their dad going back to work and have me at home. He may be 400 times more patient than I am and never yells, but hey, yelling puts hair on your chest. I'm not worried about them adjusting to a new way of getting ready, and eating, and dealing with problems. Aaron and I are very different people but I know those kids are just gonna jump right into my arms and be fine with everything. Right?

This is my brain. Every single day. And this is only the transition topic!

Aaron is totally cool with all of this stuff. So cool, in fact, that he hasn't mentioned a thing about any of it. Not to me. Not to himself. Not to anyone. He doesn't think about each individual ripple in the ripple effect. He's just focused on graduating, getting a nice, stable job, and then keeping me sane....

....because the truth is, I am so not cool. I am freaking the frick out. I obsess over the details, the timing, the money, the what-ifs. I lose myself in the worries and try as I may, the big picture doesn't always come into clear view for me. I lean on friends, family, and Aaron to help me out with that.....didja hear me? I lean on Aaron, the other side of this equation, to help me stay cool.

Not only does the dude not worry about the crap I'm obsessing over, but he diffuses it in me, too.

"I can see how this looks, but I applied to four jobs today, did the laundry, vacuumed the house, and got the small one down to bed so I'm taking a minute to just relax with some Madden. Don't worry, I try to knock out at least four-five job applications a week, if not more."

"You're totally right, networking is important and I created a LinkedIn account and check it regularly."

"I got two rejections today. Not worried about it. Just means my job is still out there."

"I get you're freakin out and it's understandable, but I've got this. Let me do me."

"Hey tell me about your day. What happened? Man that sucks. Just think, babe, soon you'll be here, not commuting, writing....."

"Here, babe, I know you've had a rough day. Drink this."

Who's the master now.

Aaron schools me in the cool department. Where I obsess and stress, he is cool and collected. Where I freak out and fidget, he stays focused and drives on.

I'm so quick to assume and prepare for the worst and he is perfectly content sitting back and waiting for the worst to get there. Which of course it never does. Because everything, absolutely everything  just always seems to work out for him, no matter how much he fails to plan, or research, or make calls, or talk to his close friends about it, or basically spend any time analyzing the situation to my level of detail..... always just works out for him.

I can sense there's a lesson to be learned here....but perhaps it doesn't have anything to do with my cool factor. Perhaps the lesson is not that I need to change myself.....but that I should trust the balance and stability having someone like this in my life has given me. I know I'll never be as cool as Aaron. I'll always be an over-analytical hothead with thoughts overflowing from my brain at a high rate of speed. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I motivate him, he tells me. I help him stay on-track when he procrastinates (I knew it!) and I'm really good at coming up with creative, fun things for us to experience together. He says I bring sunshine into his mellow sky. I kinda like that. I kinda love that.

Life is a delicate balancing act, especially if you choose to share that life with another person.

So I'm gonna let the dudes have cool. Us women can just keep on truckin' with intelligence, creativity, spontaneity.... ;)

Are you a woman who feels she's the Queen of Cool? Are you a man who tends to be more like me, the Uber-Sexy Hothead? Tell me in the comments below!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by and reading. Have an awesome weekend :)