Day 1 Down, Day 15 Done

I was so nervous for the first day of school, but then I always am. It went off without a hitch, though – the kids were pretty enthusiastic about the class overall, and we had many great conversations about the purpose of the course and how it could benefit them. I didn’t even get through my syllabus or my class rules, but the typically hour-and-a-half class times were reduced to 40 minutes, so the day flew by. The nicest thing of all, though, was how simple and controlled the environment was, compared to the chaos of the administrative offices. When I worked as a counselor, I literally ran out the door the minute the end of the contract day arrived, but as a teacher I willingly stayed late to work on lesson plans and other duties without an ounce of resentment. I think it’s because I don’t have a job I want to escape anymore. It just felt so normal. I know I will still have stresses and challenging times and frustrations, but at the heart of it is a situation I can control, and long swaths of time where all I can do is teach and everything else has to wait. I’m much more convinced now that this was the right move to make  – although I’m still nervous about what might be coming down the pike later, but that’s just how I am.

So, day one of teaching down, and day fifteen of the 365 project got done – sort of. It’s a pretty horrid little picture, although I do like the primary colors and geometric shapes it created. But it’s another iPhone pic, and was snapped at the end of the day without much planning or thought:

Day 14

That, my friends, is a completely full box of donuts that sat on the floor in the hallway the entire day. I have no idea why. I kept walking past it and thinking, surely there’s a reason for this, a joke someone is playing or something, but nope. Even after the bell rang and the kids left, the box still sat there. Finally I picked it up and threw it in the trash. Weird.

On another note, I haven’t talked about this at all, but another reason I’m so busy right now and not taking many pictures is because an elderly family member is quite ill, and my husband is the primary caretaker for this person. I go with him to help when I can, which means my weekends are pretty much taken up with errands and trips to go visit family. I don’t know how long this will go on, but it may be awhile. That combined with the first weeks of school just hasn’t afforded me any time to do studio shots at all, but perhaps when at least the school side dies down I can get back to it. Then again, maybe not. I’ll continue taking what pictures I can, when I can, and we’ll see how things go.

Ready Set

Go.

School starts Thursday, so of course our furniture didn’t come in until about 3:00 PM Wednesday. Then it had to be assembled and arranged, and it wasn’t until my desk was put together that a computer could be set up in my room. We still don’t have any filing cabinets, so we’re stuck as far as getting files and things together because it’s all confidential information that must be locked down. So we’re really only halfway running at this point – but the kids will show up Thursday morning regardless.

day13collage
At least they will have somewhere to sit.

That is my Day 14 photo, by the way. Truth be told, I’ve considered at some point during each of the past three days just chucking the 365 project, but in the end some little picture has presented itself to me for a photo opportunity to keep me going. Some of it has been crap, or using my iPhone, but at least it’s something, as I’m sure not taking any studio photos right now. Just way, way too busy for the past week and a half getting ready for the year (even though I’m still not ready).

day 12

This was my Day 13 photo, and so far I like it least of anything I’ve shot. But I was seriously out of time Tuesday evening when I snapped it, and I was exhausted from getting only two hours’ sleep the night before at the godawful school lock-in I’ve still barely recovered from. I’ve starting using these DevaClips to get some lift in the crown area, and in spite of my intial doubt that these would be a useful purchase (it’s $13 for 8 clips) they actually work. They’re much bigger than normal clips, and I can pinch a pretty large section of hair together, stick the clip in perpendicular to my scalp, and it will hold the hair up nice and tight until it dries. I’ve even slept in them once or twice and they did not budge. When I take them out, there’s a big old lift and swoop to my hair that I can then tame down with the diffuser. Anyway, I put these in Tuesday night after taking a shower, stuck my head in front of my Canon SL1 and snapped this, then added a ton of quick filters to it in the hopes of making it seem interesting. All it really did was confuse people, but I was too exhausted to even explain. Moving on.

Let’s talk briefly about that lock-in though. I was pretty much dreading it, showed up around 9 PM because I was told I was only needed for the sleepover part and there’d be nothing more for me to do aside from be a spare person available in case of emergency only to find out that the coordinator of the event expected me to do a hell of a lot more than that, then got chewed out by her in front of everyone when I expressed surprise at suddenly discovering I had all these other duties I was not expecting to have. It was terribly embarrassing and upsetting, and led to me having weird panic attacks all night long, resulting in me getting a grand total of two hours’ sleep that night. I know I said it to some of you in the comments already, but to repeat: NEVER. AGAIN.

I should have known I was in for trouble when, as I arrived to the lock-in, it was raining pretty hard, and as I walked up to the gym I had to step through this grassy esplanade-like thing, and I tried to step on the little metal storm drain that was stuck in the ground because, I thought to myself, I could keep my foot dry if I stepped on it since the grass was so wet – but my damn leg went all the way through it and down the drain. Thank God someone was with me to pull me out, and that all I got was a small  bruise on my shin from the experience, as I could have easily injured the hell out of myself.

Photo Aug 11, 9 51 22 PM
Given what came after this, I should have just stayed in there

After checking that I was not injured, my friend pulled me out and then, quite honestly, we laughed about it because it was funny at that point instead of freaking tragic (after knowing what the rest of the night turned out to be like, I actually think getting my leg ripped open and spending the night in the emergency room might have been preferable to chaperoning the sleepover). The left leg of the pants I was wearing were completely soaked, as was the brand-new shoe I had on – thank God it was a vegan Birkenstock sandal that survived no worse for the wear – so my friend and I had to drive to her house (I don’t live close to the school but she does) and get some sweatpants for me to wear, and I had to get a new pillow because I dropped mine and it was soaked too. Honestly, I should have just gotten back into my car and driven away, as clearly this was God trying to stop me from chaperoning that thing, but I failed to recognize it as the sign it was.

A bit of an odds and ends post here, I guess, and the next few days are also likely to include hastily-written  blog entries and sloppy photos, but eventually this will all settle down and I’ll get back into the groove. Wish me luck!

 

354 More to Go

This is going to be a brief update, because as the first day of school draws near (Thursday) work gets more and more intense. Not a bad sort of intense, just very busy and rather desperate.

I have a classroom but still no furniture – no desks or filing cabinets or anything. So I’m at a point where it’s hard to plan. I want to determine classroom procedures, but without knowing, for example, where the sign in and sign out sheet is going to reside, I can’t exactly write that into my class rules. And I can’t organize my student files, which are confidential, until I have somewhere to lock them up and file them. So I’m just twiddling my thumbs waiting for my furniture to come in – oh, and I still don’t have a computer so I’m lugging my laptop up to work and back home, which is its own sort of PITA because I have to work off of flash drives, and my laptop isn’t connected to any of the printers at the school, so I can work on documents in my empty room (sitting on that little sofa), then I have to save them, yank the flash drive out, and go log in to some other computer, open the docs back up again, and print them. All of this shuffling around gets me flustered and I start losing things! Not to mention that for almost a week now the air conditioning has been out on the first floor where my room is, and it gets so sweltering hot during the day that I can’t concentrate. Just your typical buildup to the first days of school. Those of you who’ve taught before probably recognize the insanity.

Overall though I am enjoying planning for the school year without having to think about counseling. I’m nervous, as I’ve mentioned before, but as I make my plans I feel much more in control and “in my element” than I ever did as a counselor. I think it was a wise decision.

Here’s something that was NOT a wise decision, however: the school puts on a special camp for all new students at the beginning of the year (we are a small private school, so new students each year don’t total much over 100) and that camp involves a sleepover at the school. I don’t know why they insist on doing this, as it always seems like such a time-consuming and bad idea to me, but they think it’s awesome, so whatever. Except this time, the woman who runs the camp had a hard time getting volunteer chaperones to sleep up at the school (the Diocese insists there be 1 teacher to every 10 kids for lock-ins) so I told her I’d do it if she couldn’t rustle up enough people, but I emphasized I only wanted to be signed up as a last resort. Well guess what? The last resort was needed, so in an hour or so I am off to the school to SLEEP on an AIR MATTRESS overnight in a GYM with 100 high school students. WHYYYY???

They did say I could show up very late as they literally just need me for the sleepover part, so I’m going to roll in around 10 PM in my pajamas and get the hell out of there first thing in the morning. Then I’ll have to drive home, shower, get dressed for the day, and go right back up there for another day of work. Again I say it, WHYYYYYY????? Well we know why. Because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut that’s why. They do pay $100 for everyone who sleeps over, so there’s that. But still. This is so far outside my comfort zone, it’s not even funny.

I thought my photo for the day would be something like my sleeping bag or me lying on the floor in the gymnasium, but then as I was getting ready I spied Simon chilling out on top of these chests that sit on top of a decorative table in our living room, and well, it was too cute not to be my Day 11 shot. So, here it is, and wish me luck tonight. This is in no way going to be fun, and I probably won’t get a lick of decent sleep.

day 11_final

A Photo Another Day

I managed to get to Day Two of my 365 project, so yay me:

Day2

I know I mentioned earlier that I have a real love of toeless socks, and as a bonus they take cool pictures. I’m not going get into why I love them, because there has to be some limit for what I will go on and on about here, so why not draw it at toeless socks?

I also edited a photo of my mom and dad from back in May when we spent the weekend at that beach house:

momndad_Snapseed

My dad, I think, had discovered I was snapping a photo of them and was goofing around with me, but I don’t think my mother had figured it out yet (I was shooting this with my telephoto lens from quite far away). My mom would be furious with me if she knew I was sharing this photo anywhere, because I’m sure she would say she looks terrible or something like she always does, but I really like the composition of the shot as well as the humor. There were loads of telephone wires behind them in the original, but I managed to edit them out without too much trouble.

Annnnnd just like that summer is over. I have to return to work for real on Wednesday, but I need to go in sooner than that to clean out the rest of the things that are in my office (which is no longer mine) for the new counselor. I have not given the coming school year much thought at all this summer, so I’m sure it’s about to slam me in the back of the head and knock me over, but at least I’ll be back in the classroom this year. We’ll see how much blog posting and 365 photo-ing I’ll be able to keep up with once things kick into gear!

Non-Celebrity Playlist

I read an article today about an actor’s “Celebrity Playlist,” and even though the parameters of assigning songs to the Playlist were a mystery (Is it favorite songs of all time? Songs with the most sentimental value? Who knows) and even though I am not a celebrity, I made one too. So here it is.

My parameters were that I am too lazy to actually sit down and think about what should be on my Celebrity Playlist, so my list was compiled by scrolling through what is currently in my iTunes cloud and looking at the songs I listen to the most, which is a quite a bit for someone who doesn’t listen to music all that much.

Antony and the Johnsons – Cut the World

I just discovered Antony Hegarty a little over two years ago, and I love him. Very operatic, moody, reflective, and inspiring, with an unusual voice and some interesting lyrical perspectives. The video for “Cut the World” that I linked to above has a violent scene in it, so be warned (but it also has Willem Dafoe, which can never be a bad thing IMO). But it’s an interesting piece and a beautiful song.

CocoRosie – Gallows

“Freak Folk” that utilizes everything from children’s toys to kazoos to harps to make really strange yet pretty music. Bianca Casady’s scratchy voice often raps over the melodies of her opera-trained sister. Their first album was recorded in a bathroom, I believe, but they’ve moved into the studio since then while maintaining the weird beauty that attracted them to me in the first place. Cool videos too – I’ve linked before to their video for “We Are on Fire,” which I find visually inspiring.

Dr. Wu – Steely Dan

I love Steely Dan. My favorite band, hands-down. I had a hard time choosing which songs to put on my playlist, but I chose this one because I my first pet, a little rat terrier, was nicknamed (among other things) Dr. Woo, and I would often sing parts of this song to him (are you with me,  Dr. Wu…). Great saxophone in this song.

Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. – Be Blessed

A gospel song a friend of mine sent to me the day my grandmother died; I was feeling so terribly low, and I really didn’t know this person very well, but she sent me a link to the song and I listened to it over and over while I cried for my lost granny. I don’t listen to gospel music, and I’m not particularly religious, but this song touched my heart at a time I really needed solace, and I still listen to it often, especially when I’m feeling down or frustrated (when they sing “I see you in the future/and you look better” well, it always gets me just a little).

Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights

I love Kate Bush. I could put loads of her songs on this list,  but Wuthering Heights sums her up so well, I’ll just stick with this one. The song, the video – it’s all so seventies and perfectly cheesy and fabulously dramatic. Love love love her.

The Flaming Lips – Feeling Yourself Disintegrate

I’m a fickle Lips fan, primarily loving The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which probably makes me uncool, but they were two excellent albums. And I once had a cat named Yoshimi –  sadly, she only lived five years. Feeling Yourself Disintegrate is a lovely song about mortality and one’s need to accept it in order to appreciate the beauty of life. Great stuff. (life/without death/ is just impossible/to realize…)

Peg – Steely Dan

It’s Steely Dan. This song makes me so happy I want to bash my head against something every time it comes on. I will be that woman humiliating herself by dancing ecstatically in her car on the freeway if I hear it while driving. Best groove ever, with a killer bass.

Bodhisattva – Steely Dan

Same.

Joe Henry – Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation

OK, now I’m getting all moody again. “Scar” is a bluesy, jazzy, gorgeous album, and this song, with its long, mournful Ornette Coleman alto sax solo, is six minutes of sublime. Fabulous title, too.

Old 97s – Big Brown Eyes

The Old 97s were the pride of Dallas back in the 90s. I always expected them to break and become huge, but it never happened. Their early albums were part of the alternative country wave that eventually burned out, and they temporarily turned away from the scene and started recording poppier stuff. I lost interest, and never got into them again when they returned to writing songs more in their original style. They’re still around, but for me their first 2 or 3 albums are still the best ones.

Richard Thompson – 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

In my humble and non-musically educated opinion, one of the best folk ballads I’ve ever heard. Richard Thompson is one of hell of a guitarist; I love him overall but for me this song sums up why more than anything.

Rufus Wainwright – Sonnet 20

Rufus Wainwright playing setting Shakespeare’s sonnets to music and singing along? (A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted/ Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion) Sign me up. I actually like his Sonnet 10 better, but couldn’t find a decent video recording of it.

Tom Jones – It’s not Unusual

Another song that makes me so happy I want to smash something; after listening to all the apparently depressing stuff  I like (never realized it until making this list) it’s no wonder I need a song like this every now and then. Must stop and dance every time I hear it no matter what I’m doing. My friend Candace and I spent one summer day years ago driving around town, getting out of the car in weird locations and doing the “Carlton” dance to this song (from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air); we filmed the whole thing and put it into a video with this playing. I’ll have to dig that up from wherever I stored it and let you all see it. We danced at a putt-putt golf place, a library, a fire station…all over town. It was a blast.

Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues

I guess there are better Tom Waits songs, but this has always been my favorite. Sad and pretty and rather depressing while still melodic – which seems to be a trend with me.

FM – Steely Dan

No static at all. I dunno, just had to end with another Dan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

De-Beed At Last

lana12_Snapseed

Just a quick catch-up post to say that I’m preoccupied with “real life” stuff right now, so both photography and blogging have been on hold the past few days. Between taking care of work responsibilities, dealing with the bee situation, taking time to visit with family around town, and binge-watching my way through The Sopranos (I’m up to Season 5 out of 6 now) I’ve had little time left for much else – well, if I’m also going to relax and enjoy some down time the last few weeks of summer. It’s OK, as photography-wise things are starting to feel a little stale, so a break will do me good. I have some ideas for a composite shot or two I’d like to pull off, but I need to do some reading and learning so I can avoid the usual pitfalls I encounter when attempting them so I don’t have those frustrations moving forward. Primarily, I need to find a way to ensure my lighting and color will match better from shot to shot so when I layer them all over each other it’s not so noticeable. More internet research and YouTube tutorials are definitely in my future.

But the bees are finally gone – until we got a contractor out here to completely remove and scrape clean the area that housed the hive, though, they were still flying around in the house and making me crazy. I actually spent several nights at a friends’ house because I could not handle getting buzzed at and dive-bombed every time I walked into our master bathroom, which was where the main entry point into the house was located (we had one entrance covered, but unfortunately did not find the other one until the day the guy came to remove the hive). They didn’t just contain themselves to that bathroom, though, and on occasion they’d be buzzing around elsewhere in the house too, and because I am so afraid of  flying, buzzing insects I convinced myself I could hear buzzing bugs nearby even when there weren’t any around – I was even hearing the buzz of bees in my sleep. It was incredibly nerve-wracking.

Anyway, they’re gone now – it only took 4 hours to do the work, and cost us $900, which is a ton less than we expected. We thought we’d be looking at removing an entire side of the house, but it turned out the bees had only built a hive in one section of our subfloor, and hadn’t made it into the brick or anything. So, without further ado, here it is (or was):

bees

My husband thought it looked “cool,” and one of my friends said it was “pretty,” but I am in agreement with my friend Candace, who took one look at this photo and just texted back, “UGH.” I start itching just looking at it. But anyway, it was all cleaned up and re-sealed, and there’s been nary a buzz in our house since, a month after the whole ordeal started. Quite honestly, my husband and I are so sick of home repairs at this point that we may wait until next summer to do the interior painting, but we’ll see.

Bee-lieve in Yourself

So Bee Man #1 came out Friday morning and said, basically, that we have a massive hive in our wall which may require an entire side of the house being torn open to remove. And there’s no way around it really. If you don’t remove the hive, even after extracting the bees, the honey in the walls starts to go rancid and smell, which not only stinks but also attracts more bees, as well as other insects and even rodents. So let’s say you take your chances, extract the bees, and just seal up all the possible entrances where bees and other critters could get in, and tell yourself you can deal with the stench…then you still will get rancid honey seeping through your drywall. So there’s no way around this one, I don’t think. We have to wait a week for Bee Man #2 to come out and inspect the situation and give us a new estimate, since Bee Man #1 couldn’t do anything because the job was too big.

Bee Man #1 got to our house about 9 AM and was gone by 10:30, and I immediately left the house to run some errands. I was feeling pretty foul about the whole thing; cranky and depressed in general, and while driving home I started to dig into why all these home repairs have me so thrown and moody; I mean, these things happen. But I feel like such a terrible failure about it all. You should have heard this guy going on about how many bees we had, and how huge the hive must be, and oh wow, look at this huge hole you have in your wall back here (the space where the air conditioner is hooked into the wall actually, so I don’t know what the problem was – he actually wanted me to crawl back there and look at what he was talking about but it was hot as hell and there were bees flying everywhere and I was already dressed for the day and I do not go crawling around sticking my head into wall-holes, sorry), and hey look at the siding peeling off over here against the fence and OMG you sure have a lot of cool air escaping from the wall over here and blah blah blah on-and-on-you-suck-at-homeownership-cakes.

True, our house is old. True, we are not the most fastidious of homeowners in the world by a longshot. But we are not losers, although we may slack on occasion when it comes to tending to the house – only in a cosmetic sense, at least that we’ve been aware. We get the house exterminated every three months, inside and out. We clean up after ourselves. When we see a serious problem, we fix it. We just don’t sweat the carpet or the paint job or the age of our appliances. But this whole summer has worn me down and made me feel like a loser anyway. I know this stems from some other place, some lack of confidence I have in myself as a capable adult that has its roots in childhood, when I was repeatedly told that I didn’t have what it took to take care of myself in the real world. My mother and grandmother always believed I was too sensitive, too soft, to survive on my own, and they both loved to criticize me for it. Grown-ups don’t behave that way, they’d say to me on a regular basis. You’re going to have to get it together and stop being so sensitive if you’re going to be able to function as a grown-up.

I’m not blaming anyone, and my past was what it was. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t always great, and I carry some scars from ways in which I was treated. Whatever. The fact is, I was driving back to the house today, and I was hearing this voice in my head over and over saying Face it, you’re a failure as a grown-up in relation to this house business. And I realized that I always feel this way when things go wrong with the house in particular. I didn’t feel like I’d “failed as a grown-up” when I thought I’d damaged up my hair last week, for example, or when I gained weight in the two years when I didn’t work out, or all the times I’ve had problems at work, or conflict in my marriage. But when anything goes wrong with the house, I feel like an absolute failure as an adult. I’m sure there’s a lot more analysis I could get into here – the fact that my mother was a quite unhappy yet meticulous homemaker whose house was the castle she ruled with an iron (if metaphorical) fist, perhaps? But I’m not going to get into that any further here. My mother has apologized for the mistakes she made, and I know if she had it to do over again she’d raise her children differently – and that’s all I can ask for really. What’s left is for me to deal with, without laying blame. But all these years later, it’s still there. And it’s messing with me this summer, in the weirdest way.

It’s at least part of the reason why I’ve felt so strangely bored and restless all summer, I think, something I’ve mentioned here before is rather unusual for me. It’s probably partly to blame for why I haven’t played dress-up and taken pictures. There’s all this stuff wrong with the house, stuff I should have taken care of sooner, and it’s all being pointed out to me and demanding my attention, and rattling my fragile little ego-cage, and triggering my neuroses and making me stir-crazy, and a little depressed. I’m glad I at least got a little glimpse of what’s going on with me though; I think I’m onto something with the connections I’ve made today and that I can start to work through them now. I’ve been reading about people having bees in the walls for years and never realizing it, and it’s actually not all that uncommon, so that makes me feel a little better about all this. But the process of dealing with this is not going to be fun, so I’ve got to suck it up and steel myself for the onslaught of more banging and ripping and exposing the dirty little secrets encased in our walls – like any good grown-up would do (and in fact, when I was feeling down about all this tonight and Doug was gone to play guitar with friends, I actually called my mom to talk through my bee-anxiety, and she didn’t make me feel like a “bad grown-up” at all. In fact, we were laughing about it by the end).

 

The Mysteries of Spam…

Sorry to hit you with three posts in one day, but I have to let everyone know that Akismet has started marking legitimate comments as spam and dumping them into that folder. It started with Rebecca about two weeks ago and has begun affecting Beth and even Lana today got her comment dumped. Now that I know what is going on, I will keep checking my spam folder daily until Akismet solves the problem! I have to go into the spam folder and mark the comments as ‘not spam,’ then move into moderation and approve them, which is ridiculous, but it at least gets those comments back up. I emailed them and they claim they will check into it – we’ll see. Not sure why I didn’t think to check the spam folder before now, sorry to everyone who got their comments dumped without me knowing what was going on.

OK, no more posts for today, I promise!

Lace Has Been Around for Thousands of Years…

There are so many great quotes in this video, I didn’t even know where to start for a post title (some others that come to mind, as I’ve seen this video a million times by now – “Notice the slit?” and “Ostrich feathers, anyone?”).

I’m not sure if I’ve posted this video here before, but even if I have, I know it’s been awhile, and if you went back to try and find it I’m sure the YouTube link has been taken down by now. Brenda Dickson, the creator of this bit of eighties loveliness, who was a soap opera villain on The Young and the Restless for many years, got wind of how popular this video became on YouTube and got it shut down so she could market and sell it herself through her own website. Every once in awhile someone gets brave and uploads it again, and it generally only lasts a few months before they get shut down too.

Anyway I thought of this video again for some reason, and went searching for it to show a friend. Lo and behold it’s been up and running since January 6th, so I’m going to go ahead and post a link to here so you can enjoy the cheese yourself. The video cuts off abruptly, as all copies of it do – whoever uploaded that first version to the internet did so back in the day when you could only upload 10-minute increments at a time, so you only get about that much of it here. But the ‘fashion show’ is truly not to be missed.

Also amusing are the various parodies that have been made about the video over the years, so feel free to check those out too. And don’t think I’m not aware how close some of my own blog posts and photos come to reaching this level of cheese (I can totally hear me saying “Let’s teleport into my closet!”) but I think that’s part of what I love about it. And now, onto the show!

Fresh Start Carpet

Well, we managed to get the carpet installed in a day, but the installers didn’t leave until about 8:30 PM (they arrived about 10:30) so it’s been a long night of trying to put the house back together. I started out taking photos and even made a little collage to post to Facebook as the festivities were just beginning, with the intention of adding progress photos throughout the day, but that didn’t happen.

carpet_collage1

That up there is, of course, is our old Berber carpet, which has been thoroughly trashed over the last 12 years. In really thinking about it, it’s surprising it got as ragged as it did; we don’t have kids, never entertain, and while we do have pets, it’s not like they’re elephants or anything. And yet, that Berber has completely come apart in the past five years. I’ve read reviews of Berber that are less than stellar and complain about the sort of snagging and unraveling  we experienced – especially coming from people with indoor pets – but the extent of the damage we experienced still seems extreme. I actually took a picture of some of the worst bits, but then decided there was no way in hell I wanted to share that mess with blog readers, so you’ll have to look at the photos above for your only reference.

Photo Jul 01, 1 45 02 PM (1)

While I do not want to go all  First World Problems here whining about sitting around in a warm house all day watching other people install carpet in my home, I have to mention that I am still out of sorts about the whole experience. There is something about strangers coming into your home and ripping it apart that’s unsettling; it’s not just the presence of the strange people but also the weird secrets that tearing apart reveals about the home’s owners. Or at least it felt that way to me. And it’s not just how small and simple and shabby the floors looked once the carpet and the pad were removed, although that was disconcerting enough; it was the little patches of rotted wood in the bottom stairs, and the strip of fallen wainscoting we’d haphazardly stuck up on the bookcase that fell down when the men were stretching the carpet in the den, exposing our laziness. Every piecemeal, patchwork, slapdash, and half-ass “repair” we’d made to our home over the years was on full display, and while I’m sure this is not a unique experience, and I wasn’t exactly embarrassed by it, I still felt as if dirty little flaws were being revealed – to me as much as to anyone. Not to mention the surprises that occurred throughout the day – the yellow jacket’s nest the installers discovered in an upstairs wall (spent the rest of the day killing them, and obviously have to take care of that ASAP) and the air conditioning unit on the bedroom side of the house that decided to stop working mid-day (we were all boiling by the time they got done). So, we get to take care of that now, too. Secrets and surprises, all tied to a sense of disarray and, I guess, this homeowner’s guilt that I’ve fallen down on my duty.

But for now, this step at least is done, and I’ve tried to put the house back together and regain that sense of security I had before, when I was convinced it was all rock-solid and indestructible – but I haven’t settled back into that yet. I’m still seeing it with all its ugly guts exposed, and it’s odd. I don’t know if that makes sense to any of you – but Simon gets it. He’s kind of skittering around the house hesitantly, sniffing everything as if it’s all new now, and not just the carpet. As if we tried our best to set the house right when it was all over, but we didn’t quite get it done, and things are still off-kilter. As am I, obviously, given the weird tone of this post. I mean, it’s just carpet. And by the way – holy crap, is this stuff soft. The Berber we had before was hard and unyieliding, and we went from that to this carpet called SmartStrand that is marketed as the softest available, with more strands per fiber, organic materials, lifelong stain resistance, blah blah blah. But it’s seriously so soft it’s almost puffy. It’s actually lush. I am a hard-core shoe-wearer who never takes hers off, but I can’t bring myself to wear flip-flops or even my Uggs when walking on this new material. I bet when I jump on it for pictures it’ll be like landing on a huge marshmallow.

I think I need to go to bed now. This post makes very little sense. And also has very few pictures, because I’m still feeling weird about this whole home invasion, and I kind of want to spin a safe and new cocoon that doesn’t include outsiders. Sorry. Those of you that know me will understand. :)