Monday, May 14, 2012

House Tour: Main Floor

It has been so refreshing to read all these recent blog entries that have been mingling with the idea of "Hey look, I'm not perfect." For awhile I was having a hard time with a lot of the blogs I used to love reading every morning. I was starting to find myself cranky, annoyed and a little bit frustrated, and more often than not, a lot of these blogs made me feel bad about myself. It was really no good and I eventually cut out most of my daily reads. I've been much happier since.

When we moved to our house a few years ago, I absolutely loved it. And then I went through this phase where I'd cringe every time I looked around, always finding things I didn't like. It became hard for me to love something when I wished it was something else, and although I knew that I could make it something else, with time and money, I started to feel myself slowly pull away from it. I wanted to move back to Madison and I was afraid of becoming attached to it...the problem with this was that I was still got annoyed with things whenever I looked around. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, when I joined the Fire Department, I was surprised how quickly I felt calmed by a sense of connection. For the first time since moving here I actually felt like I lived was no longer a place where I just came to sleep and I didn't find myself wanting to be in Madison on all my days off. In fact, I have actually gotten to the point where I would really rather not be in Madison. Of course, I do still enjoy going to visit friends, but it's not somewhere I find myself going to just to get away from my house anymore.

I've been wanting to show you my house for awhile and although I have posted photos of rooms here and there, it always comes with a little stress. I've never felt like I could show very much of it because it's not "finished." Or things aren't how I would like them to look. Or it's messy. Or whatever is wrong with it on any given day. And then the other day I walked around the house with my camera and snapped random photos. I didn't move anything around or clean anything up, and I didn't take a photo only to realize that something had to be moved 3" to the left so I could take a better one. 

After I uploaded the photos, I realized something-- my house isn't really that messy, even though I often feel like it is. And it's really not as ugly as I make it out to be, even though I often dwell on things. It's just that all those damn interior photos of "perfect" houses start to warp my brain and twist my perception a little bit. I could go on, but I'll spare you. Here is my house. I only took photos of the main floor and some photos of the back yard. The basement didn't make it. Maybe next time.

We enter the house through the garage, which walks into the kitchen:

We really like the subway tile in the kitchen, but would like to replace the oven with something that doesn't look like it's from a 1970's Sears catalog. I've also been in search for an old wooden counter-height table to replace this counter with. I'd like it to be a bit longer than this one and I don't want it to have that weird rounded edge. Oh, and this area seems to be our "catch all" since it's right by the door.

Eventually I will replace that scalloped trim above the sink with a piece of wood that's not all fancy-like. I'd like to get new hardware for the cabinets, but it's going to be costly since we have so many. Plus, chances are likely that I'll buy the hardware and change my mind. We've only used the dishwasher once. I should probably give it another shot. We wish that it was a different color, along with the fridge, and it will come with time:

This is our dining area, although we rarely eat here. We'd love to replace the sliding door with French doors, but it's a dream that's far off. The fan will be leaving shortly and will be replaced with a drum pendant. We're going to do some kind of wooden ceiling when we find what we're looking for to eliminate that weird drop down piece. Recessed lights are in sight as well, and we'd like a different table and chairs.

This is the view past the sliding door. We hope to fill our yard with more trees over the years and I have big plans for making the hammock and garden area feel more connected.

Here is the view if you look to the left. Those sliding doors are off my bedroom. It's a luxury to have sliding doors that lead to the deck. I don't use them as much as I should...

This is the living room, which is the next room you walk into from the kitchen. We used to have a giant flokati rug on the floor, but it's really not conducive to a high traffic area. I've been in search for the right rug for about 2 years now...

This is the view towards the hallway, which leads to 3 bedrooms and a bathroom.

This is the first bedroom of the 3, which is the guest room. I have big plans for it, but since we only have overnight guests a few times a year, I decided it's not a priority. The huge mirror on the bed is from the bathroom we're redoing.

Here's said bathroom...

The next room is probably one of my favorites; I love the vibrant colors. This is actually Joe's bedroom. Yes, you read correctly, Joe and I don't sleep in the same bedroom. No there's nothing wrong and I get really annoyed when people raise their eyebrow over this. We have very different sleeping habits and it's what works best for us. Thanks to this solution, we both get a good night's sleep unlike when we used to share a room.

Oooh-kay, so this is where things get a little odd. Directly across from Joe's bedroom door is my bedroom. This is where you enter. I have no idea what the intentions of the previous owners were or why they would have built it this way, but whatever. Here we have the bathroom, which will thankfully be remodeled and un-weirdened soon. Yeah, it's effed up.

This is the view to the other side of the bathroom/hallway weirdness. I have a big sliding mirrored closet door which comes in handy for practicing dance moves. As you can see, I haven't bothered to switch my blinds yet. I don't really like spending money on things that are only temporary. I'm hoping that this is the next interior space I work on after the other bathroom is finished.

I won this rug on eBay for like $3 or something. It's one of my favorite things. It used to be in my studio down in the basement, but then I realized that I never see it there and so I moved it to my room.
Aaaaand here is the bedroom. I'm hoping to put some French doors in this opening. It's pretty wide and there's no real door right now. The eventual goal is to knock out those 2 closets and add floor to ceiling windows.

The view to the left when I walk into my room. I'm excited about changing the paint color, if I can ever decide on one. I am looking forward to the day that I can get rid of the ugly paneling on the bottom half of the wall to the right. For now, this is my hang out spot. I like to swing in my pod chair and think. The hooks are my only solution to keeping tons of clothes off the floor. It seems to work really well for me, and it also keeps them from becoming wrinkled or full of cat fur.

A really bad photo, but this is my sliding door. Most of the plants live here since it's the only room with South-facing windows. I am looking for a better solution because I really don't like them here. I'm hoping to add more windows to this wall as well sometime in the near future.

This is the view out that small window between the two closets. I am really super excited about those big windows I'm after. I can't wait to wake up and look out the windows to see my big yard. The falling snow will be really cool to see in the winter, too. Oh, and that's where our flokati rug is currently living right now. I need to move it.
Last but not least, my bed. I never make my bed. I am anticipating the day that I have bedding that I like and a nightstand that is more of a nightstand. I usually have a bunch of magazines and notebooks on the bed with me. This is usually where I read or write when it's dark outside. I'm looking forward to having a desk in my room one day. I'm going to put it where my hanging chair is because I don't really like to write in bed.

So yeah, that's the main floor of my house. I really like the layout and hope to live here for a long time. There's a lot of potential and it's great for entertaining. My favorite part is that it's really quiet and we have quite a bit of privacy. I really do love it. Thanks for coming along for the tour. I'll show you the bathroom when it's done...for now I'm off to sand it.

Monday, May 07, 2012

This is Where I Hit "Post" and then Crawl Back into my Shell

So, do you ever feel almost as if you have too many things you want to do? Not things that you feel like you have to do...clean the bathroom, shop for groceries, feed the cats, stop at the drug store for mascara...but you know, like hobbies and stuff? 

And then you stop and realize that you just can't do everything that you want to do and that some things will just have to be brushed to the side to make room? Yeah. I hate that part...and I feel like that part might be closer than I would like it to be.

This year is my golden year. The year I've waited for since the first grade. The year I'm supposed to really shine [per my own agenda for 2012 along with turning 27 on the 27th of just makes sense that I do it up this year.] 

[this photo was taken as a joke for facebook on new year's eve. the huge cheesy smile was intentional...]

Anyway, I've mentioned my to-do list a couple times and I think I'm finally okay with sharing. I've always been one to keep most things under wraps until they are a done deal. Mostly because if I tell people, then I feel like I'm held to it but also because if I fail, I'd rather nobody knew that I tried. Yeah...I'm working on some of those personal hang-ups of mine. Oh, and also- I thought that this post was perfect timing for me. It's a challenge that's been showing up in blogland over the past week. And, like Ez, I'm sure I'll want to delete this post by the time I'm finished. It will be really long and I'll feel like I've talked way, way more than I'm comfortable with.

This post is a doozy. You've been warned. Come on in.

Here are the goals I've been pecking away at for the last 4 months, along with some words for each:

1. Finish a novel: done.
2. Become a volunteer firefighter: done.
3. Find a gallery space for my first solo art show: done.
4. Pay off the car: done.
5. Start playing hockey: in the process of looking for an "in".
6. Start brewing beer: will happen this summer.
7. Take an overnight solo canoe trip: will happen this summer.
8. Start playing bass guitar again: will happen this fall.
9. Join a yoga class: will happen this fall.

1. I have not read a book since I was about 15 or so. I've never enjoyed reading anything other than magazines or blogs...I've always wished to, but never have. I'm sure that being forced to read when I was younger only made me resent the idea even more. But as an adult, it really sucks to want to do something and not understand why you have such a hard time with it. The sun eventually came out last summer when I found out that I have ADHD...ugh, saying that makes me cringe...but finally understanding why I have always had such a hard time with certain things has really helped me. My meds have helped me a lot. I never realized how tired I used to be all the time or how many things were always going on in my head every second. I guess I thought it was normal. I mean, it was normal for me. So finding this calmer rhythm has made it easier for me to sit and read sentences from start to finish rather than skipping lines or even entire paragraphs to read the end and then go back to read the middle. I don't have to re-read pages multiple times anymore, and I'm still kind of amazed that I can do this with ease now. It's cool. Anyway, the book I read was Hot Lights, Cold Steel by Dr. Michael J. Collins. I really enjoyed it...anything to do with the medical field has always intrigued me. I think it helped that the story was based in Minnesota and Illinois, since I'm right between those states, and it didn't hurt to learn that he plays hockey and drives piece of shit cars. I love hockey and drove a piece of shit car for a long time. I became a professional at getting was nice to finally get a brand new car a few years ago. But yes, the book-- it was great and I plan to read his second book soon.

2. I've wanted to be a firefighter since I was about 18. I think I forgot about it for a few years since Joe didn't take me seriously, but the idea rekindled once we moved to Madison. As it turned out, I had just missed the hiring process and would have to wait 2 years until it came around again. Those 2 years went pretty fast and soon I found myself in a room with hundreds and hundreds of people anxiously shaking their legs and rubbing their groggy eyes. It was early. The test took a few hours to complete and then it was time to wait. At this point I was more focused on the fact that I actually went through with the somewhat tedious application process and was okay with whatever happened next. Some people try 3 or 4 or even 6 times before they get hired. It's rare that it happens the first time around. I will give it another go in January. Needless to say, my letter said that I wasn't moving on to the next round. I spent the next few months trying to find the courage to join the volunteer department in my very small town. I was afraid they were going to look at me and think I wasn't serious. I suppose I grew accustomed to that reaction; I have a small frame which apparently translates to "weak" and to be honest, I was nervous that they wouldn't have gear that would fit me well. I was thrilled and relieved that they were so welcoming when I showed up. They were really nice and seemed excited to show me around and tell me their stories. Anyway, you're supposed to go on the first Monday of the month if you're interested in joining...I missed a few by accident and a few on purpose and then I finally told myself "okay, next month I will do it." I pulled out my calendar to pen it in so I wouldn't skip it, yet again, and quickly realized that the next day was actually the first Monday of the current month. I couldn't find a reason to wait till the next month as originally planned, and the following night I found myself quietly walking across the parking lot and into an unfamiliar building. I got my gear a couple weeks fits decent-ish. Right now I'm only probationary, but I'm pretty excited to see what's to come. It's one of those things that I knew I would never forgive myself for if I grew old without at least trying.

3. I booked a space late last week for my very first solo art exhibition. When I decided that this would be the year that I finally went through with it, I figured I'd have till October/November. Well, those dates were full and so I took a week long slot beginning on September 7th. I'd be lying if I said I didn't freak out a little after I did this. I mean, seriously, September 7th is in 4 months. That's really, really soon. Too soon? Hmm. Well, anyway- I have a lot to do. But, I know it will be fun and I am really excited about it! Extremely nervous, but excited.

4. We paid the Toyota off last month. We're both super stoked because for the first time in 9 years we will have extra money! We are celebrating our first month of extra cash by starting our bathroom revamp. Exciting, right? Yeeahhhh.....more on that one later. 

5. Hockey. Oh, hockey. It's the only sport I watch [photo above was taken at a Minnesota Wild game] and the only sport I have ever wanted to play [other than soccer.] Growing up, I'd come home with the waiver to join hockey every school year. For one reason or another, the answer was always the same. By high school I couldn't just go join....for one my school didn't have a team and two, I was waaay behind everybody else who had been playing since they were young. Skip ahead a few years and I lived near Kenosha, Wisconsin- land of depression and lack of personalities. It's damn near impossible to find people with common interests. Sorry if you live there and take offense...I lived there too and absolutely hated it. Ugh, I could never do it again. But, now I am lucky enough to live near Madison, and I am working on finding a way into a league. I've never skated or played hockey, other than street hockey when I was younger. I'm pretty amped that this is finally going to happen, although I am kind of feeling like I will be in over my head if I take this on along with the art and fire stuff. We'll see. If it doesn't happen this year, it will happen next year.

6. I've been talking about brewing beer for ages...I'm mostly excited to make the labels for the bottles. This is a 'Me and Joe' venture. We don't share too many hobbies so this will be fun. :)

7. I bought my Bell Merlin II [a solo canoe] last fall and have gotten out quite a few times. It's the main reason there are weeds in my garden. I'm planning to do a solo canoe trip down the Wisconsin River at some point this summer, which has been something I've looked forward to for awhile now. The reactions I have gotten about this have been entertaining as well as annoying. A lot of "that's so cool!" and even more of the "by yourself?!" and "WHY would you want to do that?!" or "that's dangerous!" My answer for them is: "yes, by myself", "to get away from people like you" [okay, that's not the entire reason...and I don't really say that. but still.] and "driving is dangerous too, you know."

8. I've had my bass guitar for about, ooohh, 10 years now. Bass is my favorite instrument to listen to in music, with drums coming in at a close second. I'm going to buy a nicer amp and I'll probably take some lessons so I can build a decent foundation. I'm looking forward to it.

9. Yoga is one of those things that should have happened a long time ago but just hasn't. I do meditate and I really could use the flexibility, along with the vast amount of other benefits, so it only seems right that I do this. I'm shooting for October...after the art show is over and canoe season takes a break.

So yeah, those are my prospects for 2012. In writing, it doesn't seem like much, but I feel like I haven't really had a direct focus in a while so this will be good for me. Next year's list includes stuff like beekeeping, welding and learning how to ski, and I'm hoping to start school before I'm 30.

I've felt great since I started working on my list. It's nice to have goals; they're so important for anyone who's after some sort of personal growth. If we don't challenge ourselves, we just stay. Staying is boring. It never changes. It becomes dull. I know that change scares people, but I don't know how people stay comfortable by living in their little boxes that always stay the same. It makes me sad that they are afraid to try new things and that they just fill the same routine, all the time. That they don't realize there's so much more to life than shopping, eating, working, watching television, browsing the internet. I know it comes down to more than simply doing something; there's usually a reason they haven't tried. But even just trying something small can have a tremendous impact on a person's self confidence. To me, self confidence is the first step towards genuine happiness.

But anyway, that's basically it. I know, it's a lot of words. It feels weird to throw all of those things into the world, to total strangers, and to people I know in real life who secretly read this blog. If you made it to the end, I'm pretty impressed. If you skimmed through, I don't blame you. Like I said, this post is a doozy. But thanks for reading whatever you did read. I'm interested in hearing about the goals you hope to conquer. Hearing about people who go through with doing things that scare them is one of my favorite things. I think it helps to feed my own ambition to read or hear about people who are living.

Okay, I need to start drywalling the bathroom now...I've never drywalled before. This should be fun.

Thanks again, friends. :)