A Mission of Cleanliness

The state of the apartment has been driving me crazy for awhile now.  It’s been bitter ass cold around here, so that meant I didn’t have a whole lot of motivation.  Couple in all the issues involving work and you pretty much had two useless lumps of nothing occupying a space that was continually getting messier and messier.  My husband does not come from a clean house.  My mother-in-law will make you think he does, but he doesn’t.  As for me, I was expected to do chores and the like growing up, but my bedroom was my castle.  My parents didn’t give a hoot about it… provided I didn’t try to grow anything disgusting in there.  All in all, though, we are not dirty people.  My husband does not carry–completely–the habits of his parents; he likes things to be neat and orderly, he just doesn’t always have the attention span to accomplish it.

My husband… the genius with severe ADHD.  Ooh, shiny!  It’s a constant battle, it really is.

Since we both had off this weekend, I decided we were going to do some serious cleaning.  Not just scrubbing, I mean gutting out the closets and really giving the fairly large dumpster outside a good workout.  I decided it would be Sunday.  On Saturday, we would have a nice day of shopping and taking the father-in-law out for his birthday dinner (which was Thursday).  So, we woke up fairly early (for us) on Saturday and got ready to brave the cold.  I finally, finally managed to get the husband to go to Corridor G so I could pace the aisles of Petsmart and coo over the cute, adoptable critters.

My husband hates and refuses to drive anywhere near Corridor G.  It’s a large expanse of road littered with huge shopping plazas.  It’s the go-to shopping place of people for miles.  It’s a nightmare at Christmas time, you can wait at a stoplight for upwards of an hour.  On off-days, though, it’s a fairly reasonable destination; my husband is just obstinate and traffic of any kind except the ‘familiar’ kind makes him nervous.

We had a nice time there, bought way too much stuff for our animals, and then headed towards the mall.  We do not go to the mall located in our city.  We hate that mall.  I’m sure the people here like it, but then again, they also like living here, so there you go.  Instead, we go to the mall we’re comfortable and familiar with (and also one not likely to be in the newspaper the following Monday.)  So, we arrive, we eat lunch, do some light browsing and shopping… then it’s off to Target to buy storage supplies!  We meet the in-laws, see an awesome winter sunset (see above picture), buy them dinner, part ways, and then we’re off to Walmart for more supplies (and groceries.)

Fast-forward to the next day and I’m forced to realize the mess I’ve gotten myself into.  I made a list to try and give both of us an idea of where to begin.  I like lists, I function better with lists, and it turns out the husband does, too.  So, we consulted our list, pulled up our sleeves, and dove in.  It was six or more endless hours of nonstop cleaning action.  We’re still not done, I’ve got to finish the bedroom tomorrow and he has to finish the computer room clutter… but all in all… we did good.  In some ways, it looks like it did when we moved in.

I’ll get to that another time, though.  Let’s go back to what the place looked like before.  The first thing the husband did was tackle the refrigerator.  This might seem like an odd man job, but he’s made for it.  He’s done it randomly, twice, in the depths of the night when unable to sleep.  So, he got nominated to do it again.  He didn’t just clear the bad food, he emptied it completely, yanked out the racks, and cleaned that sucker good.  Only… now instead of being so full there’s no room, you can hear the echoes of your breathing off the big, empty walls.  It looks like we didn’t buy any groceries at all!  Yikes!  I forgot to take a before picture… whoops.

Note the band aid. I did that late in 2009, before getting my new pair.

Meanwhile, I was tackling the bathroom.  While I was clearing out the very large closet, I found a stockpile of glasses and assorted cases.  Why had I felt the need to keep these I am unsure… but they were every pair of glasses I had owned since I stopped wearing contacts full-time when I was fourteen or so.  I kept one of the cases, because it’s a nice, hard case and just threw the rest away, along with the glasses.  I told my husband I had no idea I had bought so many ‘designer’ glasses.  When I was that young, I had no idea about most of that stuff.  It now makes sense why my dad always groaned when it came time to buy me a new pair of frames.

After we finished our separate areas, we went for the bedroom as a team.  I didn’t take any before pictures of the closet… but you couldn’t see the walls or the floor.  It was overrun with every manner of clothing you could think of!  The space bags were tossed aside, partially full and completely unsealed.  It was a disaster.  The bedroom itself wasn’t exactly a pillar of cleanliness, either.

Clothes, everywhere!  I have so many clothes I do not have places for them.  It’s because I went through this phase when I moved down here where I bought everything I wanted without thought or consequence.  This mess is even after donating three bags worth of clothes last summer, some of them still with tags on them!  This time, though, I was serious.  I gutted everything.  I now have around five bags worth of stuff to send to charity.  My mother-in-law is going to crap herself when she sees it!  I’m horrified by it, to be honest with you.  I never saw myself as a clothes hoarder, but I guess I am.

Along with not having room for way too many clothes comes the fact that you have so many clothes, you don’t know what to wear.  I would throw things on the floor or the bed in an attempt to assemble an outfit.  These clothes would just build up in piles on the floor.  Anytime I come home from work, I’m so exhausted I just strip down, throw my dress clothes on the dresser, and pull out the comfy pants/t-shirt combo.  It got to the point where you could barely see the mirror on the dresser!

There’s also the suitcase from Christmas still on the floor, still with clothes on it!  What you can’t see are the shoddy looking piles around it.  The clothes are clean, they’ve just been thrown on the bed because I needed the basket and then shuffled off the bed at nighttime.  If I don’t prioritize putting away clothes, it never happens.

There’s a shot of the bedroom in-progress.  The closet has already been gutted (thus the blue Tupperware now once again filled with sealed space bags) and all the clothes on the bed are waiting to be folded and put away.  The rest are all going to charity.  I had tried to put them in bags, but ran out of room.  They turned into this huge pile on my husband’s side of the bed and on the floor.  I’ll be washing them tomorrow.  Let’s hope the poor old washer is up for it…

You can see some of my organizing things in this shot.  I have a lot of hoodies, so I got a big, open basket to put them in.  I also bought these cute little storage bins from Target (need to get more, actually) for my loose items like bras, sleepwear, and hosiery (working where I do, you have a LOT of tights/hose/etc.)

The bedroom actually looks better than the above picture now, with the closet completely sorted and cleaner than it’s ever been!  There’s also a lot more room now that I finally got rid of 50% of what was in there.  Most of it was old career stuff I’ll never fit into again.

And this, this is our living room.  We were piling all the trash and boxes, trying to get them ready to go out the door.  All our storage containers/etc we bought the night before were also hiding out in here.  Needless to say, Loki was very confused.  I’m pretty sure he thought we were moving!

I’m still in awe at all the stuff we’ve cleared out.  The computer room still needs some serious TLC, but the husband did a good job consolidating some more of his boxes.

This was the list I put on my husband’s ancient whiteboard.  He drew the Trogdor and all of that, because he is a smart ass and he thinks that he is hilarious.  He is, but it’s best not to tell him that… his ego is much too big already.

Whew.  It’s been a long, long day and I’m exhausted.  Time to go enjoy the husband’s company and rest up.  I’ve still got some serious cleaning to do tomorrow.

So Quirky, So True

Marriage is an endless learning experience.  This is both a thrilling and annoying realization.  Thrilling because I’ll never get bored; annoying because we’re going to be doing this back and forth shit until we’re dead.  The world couldn’t have picked a better guy to stick with me, though.  I’m pretty sure we’re the only two people on Earth capable of handling each other.  I’m pretty sure the in-laws know it, too.  Anytime it seems like we’re fighting, my mother-in-law always gives me this worried, “are you two fighting?”  She acts like one fight is going to be the end of us.  So that’s where he gets it…

Despite being polar opposites, we don’t fight a lot.  I’m not someone who likes to get upset over things I consider stupid.  If he does something that upsets me, I don’t immediately tell him if I feel like it’s something small or stupid.  I’ll wait and see if it happens repeatedly before I bring it up.  Due to my environment growing up, I can be a little too sensitive about some things, so I try to filter those out from the issues that actually do truly bother me.  I also do this because mentioning any issue to my husband is the equivalent of filing divorce papers.  I’m not even kidding.  His parents, being the ridiculously dysfunctional people that they are, felt that “arguing” was never warranted.  So, instead, they practice passive-aggressiveness that would make even the coldest of women’s skin crawl.

It’s something that bothers me a lot, but it’s only one thing.  He’ll kick it, eventually.  It’s not something that’s natural to him or his personality but a learned, environmental thing.  Those things take some time to topple, but they can be defeated.  It’s not as bad as it used to be, so there’s a plus.  But, there you go… if I wasn’t married, I wouldn’t deal with this.  I’d wash my hands of it and walk away.  I’m not someone who is desperate to be with someone the rest of my life, so relationships were never a big deal for me.  I never dated before my husband and I never planned to until he beat me down.  But, since we’re married, I have to deal with it.  Such is life.

At least our day-to-day lives are relatively quiet.  We don’t fight a lot and certainly not about stupid stuff.  If one of us is cranky, the other one usually ends up laughing and when then cranky one is unable to continue because they are also laughing.  It usually involves saying something stupid or saying a word wrong, too caught up in trying too hard to be cranky.  Even when we have had big fights, we’ve ended up laughing.  They also don’t carry on for days.  I’m not one of those people, I can’t stand that.  When I address a problem or a problem is brought up, I want it discussed and moved towards a solution immediately; none of this harboring guilt or anger or whatever for days and months.  That’s just ridiculous and it leads to things getting very bad, very quickly.  You can’t walk away from me, I will follow you.  My husband has realized the attempt is futile and no longer tries it.  I will, quite literally, sit on him until we are in some sort of agreement or compromise.

I’m just glad our little spats are usually quirky.  We’re not usually angry so much as annoyed and it just comes out in humorous ways.  We still joke about the time we couldn’t decide what to eat (it was my first year living down here with the in-laws).  My husband gets frustrated when he can’t get answers out of me.  We had been debating for an hour.  We both get moody when our blood sugar gets low and we were way, way past that point.  He kept asking me what I wanted to eat and I kept telling him that I didn’t know.  He asked me if I wanted my favorite, go-to fast food choice, I said nothing.  He eventually got so frustrated that he leaned over me (I was lying on the bed) and put his face to mine.  He said, in a very angry and guttural tone, “do you want chicken nuggets?” drawing out the last syllable.  He hadn’t intended to sound so… bestial.  I lost it.  I laughed in his face and he doubled over and started laughing, too.  It was too damned funny.

Just this weekend, we had another, but less frustrating tiff.  We both worked our secondary jobs on Saturday and my husband, against my wishes, wore one of his nicer shirts to work.  He claimed he would change as soon as he got there and then change back so we could go to the grocery store.  Well, we both got there before the mall opened because I had to open.  So, he hung out at his store before opening.  I had no idea, but he had decided to help out and managed to get a lot of very bright red little stains on his nice shirt.  The shirt’s primary color was white.  Go figure.  My husband has a bad history of getting all his nice clothes stained.

When we met up for lunch, I told him that I had been looking at shoes and found a pair I liked.  I needed some flats to wear to work during the winter that also had treads, since our mall doesn’t salt or anything.  I’ve nearly fallen on my ass every morning I’ve had to open.  So, I took him to see them and I tried them on.  I asked him multiple times if it was okay if I got them–they were $85–and he kept saying, “yeah, great, get them.”  My husband is a great shopping buddy, but he never relents to me buying shoes over $50 on a whim!  I should have known something was up!

When I went by his store after getting off work, they were closing up.  I walked into the back and he said he was going to the bathroom before we left.  I grabbed the bag with my shoes and his shirt inside.  I had given him the shoes to hold at the store for me.  Well, I pulled out his shirt to hand to him to change into… and saw a BUNCH of red spots EVERYWHERE on it.  He looked panicked and said, sheepishly, “I uh, yeah… I can’t wear that” and quickly shut the bathroom door behind him.  Sigh.

Any attempt to scold him was met with cries of “but you got shoes!” Sigh.

At least I managed to get the stains out, because I am awesome.  Okay, so Shout! is awesome and I’m just its slave, but still.

And I have some pretty sweet shoes–totally guilt free!

Pretty much a win/win for me.

Winter Wonderland

I woke up to a butt load of snow coming down with no signs of stopping anytime soon. I have to admit it, I was disappointed by our lack of “winter storm” on Sunday and Monday, but this? I didn’t want this! I still have Christmas shopping to do and my husband is at work right now. We have no idea how he’s going to get home. He probably never should have left.

I love snow, I really do.  I mean, I’m from Pennsylvania… I have to love it.  However, I don’t love snow when the only vehicle we own can barely make it through hard rain, much less accumulated white powder.  My husband’s Honda is worse than the Mazda my parents had when I was eight!  We did have a second car, though, and eventually rid of the Mazda all together for equally sporty, but sn0w capable, cars.  We do not have this luxury… we have our Honda and that’s it.  Worse yet, we live in West Virginia, where the concept of clear the roads seems foreign and strange.

You’d think a state primarily occupied by the Appalachian mountains would know something about snow, but it doesn’t.  My husband claims they take care of the roads, just in certain areas.  What he doesn’t understand is that where I come from, there are no “certain areas”; the only way the road isn’t equally cared for is if we’ve got one hell of a blizzard coming down on us.  I remember driving to college in a foot of snow, the main highways still covered, winding up one of the seven mountains.  It wasn’t a lack of preparation–the trucks were out there, they had been waiting–but just too much to keep up with.  Down here?  I can count the number of times I’ve seen a snow plow outside of our apartment building on one hand and I’ve lived here going on three years.  Don’t even get me started on the whole “running out of salt” issue.  ARGH!

Enough of that, I’m sure I’ll be ranting about this all winter like I did last year.  Eventually, I will either get the hell out of this terrible state (never work for the State government, it makes you hate the State as a whole) or get tired of complaining about it.  I’m going to guess neither, but a girl can hope, can’t she?

Christmas is approaching entirely too fast.  These past two months have been a blur and that sucks, because they are my favorite two months!  Thankfully, I have most of my shopping done except for some last-minute stuff.  I was hoping to do that today, but that’s obviously not going to happen.  I have some things set to arrive in the mail before we leave on Wednesday… except for my dad’s girlfriend’s present, which says it will arrive on the day we are leaving! Argh.  I wonder if we can just pick it up at the UPS office or something?

Despite some of the obvious stress of traveling for Christmas, I am so happy I’m going home!  I know it’s not going to be the old Christmas I’m used to, but I don’t care.  I’ll just be happy to be a part of a family gathering.  I love my in-laws, but we know how I feel about their approach to the holidays.  It feels like forever since I’ve had a true, family holiday.

As for gifts, the husband and I are already taken care of.  I had planned on surprising him by purchasing an Xbox 360 Holiday Bundle (Xbox 360 slim, 250GB HD, Alan Wake and Forza III included), but I ended up having to tell him about it so we could hunt it down.  That and I was having a dilemma about what to get for Christmas.  I really wanted my dream camera, but it just would not have been fair to the both of us for me to get such an incredibly pricey gift.  So, our mutual gift was the Xbox bundle.  I also got a really nice wool pea coat and the husband still has to pick his secondary present…

Ugh, the snow is still really coming down.  I am crossing my fingers and hoping that the husband can make it home at lunch.  We had a dentist appointment today, but they called and cancelled because the weather was too bad for them to make it into work!  So, he’s coming home anyway… hopefully.

Being An Adult Sucks

After much waffling around, I’m finally back to keeping track of our budget again.  Looking back on my logs of last year… I’m sort of startled.  How in the hell did we manage groceries each month for under $300?  Maybe that’s why I’ve gained weight, we’ve started eating more!  Although, our fast food expense was a lot higher than it is now.  I’m guessing it is now balancing out.  I’d rather eat good food more often and pay for it than live off Chicken McNuggets.  I did that for a year and a half when we worked at the mall and lived with the in-laws… ech.

Of course, the highest and most ridiculous expenses are the ones that have me buying crap.  Yes, crap.  I love the crap, but my buying of it is almost ridiculous.  It’s made even worse than when we’re bored, we got to the mall.  Why?  All our friends are there, working, and we’re lame like that.  There’s a lot of stores in our mall… and let’s just say, I’ve made ‘friends’ outside of husband’s range simply because I was such a damned regular.

We were at the mall twice this past weekend.  Once, on Saturday, to just hang out and see the people.  My husband’s one friend and former boss was out for gallbladder surgery, so after calling him, he went and checked up on the store.  I also needed some boot-worthy jeans and after the fiasco of trying them on, found three pairs on sale… all together, they cost less than one pair.  Sweet.  Too bad I have such a terrible issue with pants.  I have to get a short inseam, since my legs are about 2-3 inches shorter than the 30-31 inch standard.  Unfortunately, leggings and jean leggings do not have this… they don’t even have real jean sizes!  Small, medium, and large do not sizes make!  I had to get a large for my ass… but it’s big in the waist.  As usual.  And too long.  At least they’ll be in boots.  Anything smaller and I was like Kim Kardashian trying to squeeze her ass into spandex.  Scary.

I’m trying to curb my spending, but this is my favorite time of year approaching–Fall.  I love fall.  I love everything you wear in fall.  I LOVE SWEATERS AND BOOTS! I’m already scoping out boots for my birthday or Christmas, since my husband fails at surprise gifts or even thinking of presents.  Case in point, while we were at the mall–again–yesterday, I picked out his mother’s birthday gift.  Sigh.  Anyway, I managed to bypass all the sweaters and boots and just get the gift for the mother-in-law.  Go me!  (and then I went and bought a sweater and shirt elsewhere… oops)

Of course, then we had to go to Walmart for two things and ended up leaving with ten.  I was good, though, I ignored the hair products and managed to get a new hair dryer that we desperately need.  The current, crappy little one we have is pretty much dead.  It dies in the middle of drying my hair… stupid thing.

I’m hoping the budget will help me out with my issue.  I like knowing where my money is and contrary to what you might think reading this, I’m actually pretty damn good with money.  My husband is a tight-wad and I know what’s in our bank account better than he does.  With Christmas coming up, I’d really like to get everyone good gifts, especially since we’ll be at my house this Christmas.  Well, hopefully.  I’m looking into getting a second job to try and bolster our savings a bit.  We’re keeping steady, but not going up.  We’ll see what happens.  Working two jobs?  Ugh.  But you do what you have to.  This is where my connections come in.  The managers I know personally will be more apt to keep with my current work schedule than to cause problems.

The husband is looking into a possible job opportunity at work, but when it comes to that place, I’m less than optimistic.  We’ll see what happens.  It is quite the long shot and it’ll be a bloody freaking miracle if anything comes of it.  I’ve already spoke to the husband and said that if it doesn’t pan out, he needs to start looking for another job.  I’m willing to go anywhere that will pay him what he’s actually worth.  It’s pretty fucking pathetic that my two year degree could make more than his six year one.

Now, though, I have a ton of cleaning to do.  The original plan yesterday was to head to the mall quick-like for a book purchase, go to Walmart, and then come home and clean.  Instead we wandered the mall for two hours, went to Applebee’s where I had a terrific Red Apple Sangria (it was HUGE) and then we meandered Walmart while I giggled a lot.  I’m a lightweight.  When we came home, cleaning was ignored in favor of GTA IV’s Ballad of Gay Tony.  Woops.

My Mother-in-Law Eats Schedules

This past weekend was pretty insane.  Before that, though, it’s important to mention that my headaches seem to have gone away… I actually went through a full day of work Friday.  My head hurt a little after we got home and I was dying for a nap, but my mother-in-law called and wanted to see a movie.  What happened during this whole exchange (via speaker phone on my husband’s cell phone) was hilarious.

I wanted a nap and husband was disinterested because there were no movies she’d want to see that we wanted to see.  So, we were kind of like, “meh, there’s nothing playing” and then, we realized at the same time, that my father-in-law was out of town.  That meant she was all alone and it explained why she was being clingy and desperately wanting to do something with us.  So, we quickly backpedaled and decided to go see ‘The Switch’.

The moment we realized our error, we both shared this face over the phone that basically said, ‘oh crap!’ and quickly began speaking over one another, trying to backpedal and act like we were totally okay with everything.  The things we do for our parents and in-laws.  The movie wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t something I’d pay to see in a theater, either.  Afterwards, we stopped at Arby’s and got some food.  It was pretty late, so the place was empty.  My mother-in-law tried out the chicken tenders with buffalo dipping sauce.

She started twitching and making crazy faces, so I threatened her with the camera.  She was quite horrified when I kept taking pictures, but she didn’t stop eating or making insane faces!


As soon as we got home, I was so tired I went to bed around 11:30 or twelve, I can’t remember.  We had to be up relatively early on Saturday.  The alarm was set for 9am.  We were going to head up to my husband’s grandparents and visit with them.  It’s about an hour and fifteen minutes north of us.  I had a nice schedule planned, we’d leave around 10, arrive at 11, get some lunch, head to TJ Maxx, and then go hang out with his grandparents and have dinner.  Of course, that all changed on Friday when we realized that my mother-in-law would be alone and had to go to the baby shower we were skipping out on.

The baby shower was on Saturday, too, and we had already purchased gifts.  We had gone to Babys’R’Us on Thursday, again with my mother-in-law, to get the gifts.  The baby shower is my husband’s cousin’s… for her second child.  We weren’t really digging it, so we were just going to let my mother-in-law go on her own.  Unfortunately, with her coming along with us, my schedule went all to shit and we had to go to the baby shower.  At least my MIL is amusing enough to make up for all of it, too bad chaos follows in her wake.

It started out that we didn’t leave until 11, because my MIL is never on time and we forgot to tell her an hour earlier so she’d be here on time.  By the time we get there, we’re hungry, but I’m determined to go to TJ Maxx.  I get two Calvin Klein tops for super cheap and a beautiful white knitted cover-up for cheap, too.  All of these items were originally priced around or over $100… and I got them all together for nowhere near that amount.  I was quite pleased.  It’s worth mentioning that the no buy embargo was lifted a week after it started.  Whoops.

By the time we left TJ Maxx, we were ravenous and late for the shower.  We managed to find it, stopped by for about 45 minutes and ate some of the food there to tide us over.  I don’t have any pictures because I was so hungry, I couldn’t even think of getting my camera out.  After some cake and soda, we headed out towards my husband’s grandparents.  When we got there, his grandpa had wandered off to a car show, so he picked up food on the way home and we all ate hurriedly.  It was almost three or four o’clock by this time… talk about coming off the rails.  My schedule crashed and burned when my MIL was an hour late.

Thankfully, the visit still managed to go well and we headed home around six.  I was happy to have my MIL with us, because I know she misses us and didn’t want to go by herself, but I also mourned for my schedule.  I had a nice, calm day planned.  Instead, I came home stressed out and frazzled.  I ate some leftover spaghetti and I was ready for bed!  I’m sad I missed out on some of the places, like the Swiss choclate place, but there’s always next time…

Sunday, was thankfully, a bit more low-key.  We didn’t get out of bed until almost 10am and we were out the door between 11-12.  We got some lunch at Burger King, went to the mall to use my GAP give and get program coupon (get 30% off and give 10% of what you spend to charity of your choice).  My husband needed some work pants, so it was a good time for a coupon.  I tried on some leggings, but yeah, that was a disaster.  We headed to the in-laws, put together some plaques and then we headed to Kohl’s.  I again, tried on some leggings, and then I tried on some skinny jeans, and was furious.  I usually wear junior sizes in things, especially jeans.  I’m comfortably a six in some things and an eight in others (usually low-cut stuff needs 8 for booty room).  I tried on a pair of 7 Levis and couldn’t get them past my knee.  Those are some seriously freaking skinny jeans.  I gave up, ended up going to the misses section.  Found a nice skirt and top, husband got one of those BPA free water bottles and we wandered around aimlessly for awhile, looking at home stuff.  This around the same time last year that we shopped here for our apartment.

We’re getting ready to leave when my husband tells me to look at the shoes.  I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of flat soled, gray boots that I can slip on over jeans and wear comfortably in the fall and winter.  The only ones I’ve found that would fit me… came at a hefty price, $90 and that’s not even for real suede. It’s definitely a good thing I checked, because I found these:


They’re not as roomy in the calf as I’d like, but they look exactly like a pair I had tried on at Macy’s that couldn’t accomodate my wide foot.  They’re pretty comfy and from what I’ve read, the material will slouch a bit, so it should fit pants more comfortably as time goes on.  Until then, I’m gonna have to find a way to shoe horn my ass into some skinny jeans.  Sheesh.  These were originally priced the same as the other boots I liked, but on sale for $50.  There was another pair of leather boots the husband liked, but I’ll save something like that for birthday and Christmas and go high-end.

So, giving up my calm, scheduled weekend had its reward!  I’ll let my MIL ruined my schedule for a good pair of boots anyday, ha.