I know that by putting this out into the Universe that it may just come right back around and bite me, but I think it’s finally Spring in Utah (holding breath, waiting for a rock to fall out of the sky and hit me in the head). It’s still unseasonably cold, but I will take whatever I can get, especially since the blooms all over town are under the same impression that I am: time to move forward, put the snow boots in storage, and party like it’s thirty degrees warmer.
Some of you have asked how my sister’s basement is coming along, and the answer to that is probably one that has plagued every remodel in the history of the world: it’s not! Everything has stopped, halted, been put on hold! Call it a delay, a setback, a change in schedule, whatever you want. I call it The Inevitable.
In early February we ordered my sister a couch, one that was said to be in stock minus a couple of parts. Let me explain: it’s a sectional, and because my sister has five kids and they all want to use the basement to watch BYU football games together, we configured it so that it would be almost fourteen-feet long. So it was going to have to come in several pieces. Like, a hundred.
Recently the drawer that I use to store my cosmetics has become an unmanageable mess with bottles of lotion and hair product thrown haphazardly here and there because my daughter is late for school. And putting things back in their proper place is just so much work. No, it really is. Because I’ve just spent the last half hour repeatedly screaming, “YOUR SOCKS GO ON YOUR FEET.” Or telling my husband over and over again that the baby is in the fireplace.
And then I inevitably forget to throw away things that should be thrown away. Or more accurately, I get down to the last three drops of lotion, think I’ll eventually use those three drops, and then leave that empty bottle sitting at the bottom of the drawer for the next three years. Multiply this by about a thousand, and THIS IS MY LIFE.
When my husband and I moved back to Utah from California several years ago, we knew we’d be making several sacrifices in terms of lifestyle, the biggest one being the fact that winters here seem to start at the beginning of October. And then end… never. Two days ago, this is what our deck looked like. Remember: It’s the middle of April.
This morning I woke up to eight inches of snow on the ground, a horrible reality I discovered seconds after stumbling out of my warm bed and into the cold glare of the window. Normally I like to smash things when the weather in Utah shows such disrespect for the calendar, but the first thing I did after dropping my oldest off at school was drive to the nearest florist, grab the most colorful flower I could find, and shove it into my face to muffle the crying.
Then I brought it home and placed it in a vase on the nightstand next to my bed. So that if I woke up the following morning to more snow I could close my eyes, press my nose to its petals, and pretend that Mother Nature really was a corporation I could sue.
This week I took a last-minute trip to Washington DC to participate in a forum organized by the Department of Labor and booked a room at the W Hotel located hardly a block from the White House. Having traveled extensively in the last five years since I became a professional blogger, I’ve seen every sort of hotel room that exists, and once came face to face with a discarded condom wrapper underneath my pillow. Didn’t know it was physically possible, but I jumped like a cat and ended up hanging from the ceiling by my fingernails.
Last year when I was thirty-weeks pregnant I embarked on a three-week book tour visiting nine different cities and sleeping in nine different hotel rooms. And those rooms were all perfectly fine, some very nice and at times lovely. But you know when you’re watching a makeover show and a client sees her redecorated bedroom for the first time? And without fail she will say, “I feel like I’m in a boutique hotel room!”
She did not stay in the hotel rooms I stayed in.
Of course, she’s probably not thirty-weeks pregnant, either. That can affect your mood.
Until this week. Until I walked into this room, saw the decor and fell madly, deeply in love. It was everything I imagined my dream home would look like. From the eclectic mix of furniture in the sitting area (I love how they covered such a traditional, hard-edged chair in white leather and paired it with a soft suede, semi-circle couch):
I grew up in a suburb of Memphis, Tenn., — not necessarily in the country, but nowhere near the city. And both of my parents were born and raised in Kentucky out near bales of hay and chickens. The decor of my house growing up could best be defined as A Product of The Eighties, meaning tons of teal and pink and decorative borders everywhere. And my mom liked to hang baskets and farm equipment from the ceiling in the kitchen:
It’s taken a few days—scratch that. It’s taken many, many, many days and countless hours of toiling through pages and pages of instructions that don’t make sense to assemble the new cabinetry in my sister’s basement. I think my brother-in-law is ready to strangle me. I don’t blame him.
Yes, there’s still a tiny bit more work to be done: the kick boards need to be put in place, and obviously there’s a door missing. But considering that this thing came in 800 different pieces, I think my brother-in-law deserves a beer even though he wouldn’t drink it.
TOTALLY against the BYU honor code. Maybe I’ll buy him a huge Sprite.
Yesterday was Christmas at my sister’s house, at least, that was my initial impression when I drove over to see how the carpet installation in her basement was working out and one of her twin nine-year-old boys HUGGED me. There was actual physical contact, and it wasn’t a shove or a punch or a kick in the groin.
Because, I mean, that’s how we are as a family. There is an occasional, brief hug here and there, but usually we just bump shoulders or forcibly push someone off of their feet to say hello. We’re safe that way. Because physical affection can be awkward. How long do you linger on a hug until the other person is like, MAYBE YOU NEED THERAPY. We’re always walking that fine line, you know. And yesterday when Joshua hugged me at the door, that line said, “Aunt Heather, I’ll risk it. THE CARPET IS AWESOME.”
Indeed, the carpet is awesome:
My older sister September (yes, that’s her name despite the fact that she was born in January, long story but the gist of it is that my parents are nuts) has five amazing, albeit a bit rambunctious kids and a house that is holding on by a thread. Her husband is a principal at a local middle school, and because she has chosen to stay at home to raise the kids they’ve had to budget here and there where they can in terms of home improvement. Meaning, the cabinet doors in the kitchen are falling off, but at least the water heater is working!
Several weeks ago I stopped by her house to see how their basement renovation was coming along, and I’ll be honest. My first thought was, oh dear. This is going to take you guys ten years to finish. Because her husband was doing every single thing himself: from painting, to patching, to laying down every piece of tile:
And when I saw the arrangement of the tile my right eyebrow started to twitch and I began itching my neck uncontrollably. I mean, look at it. LOOK AT IT. That right there is a violation of every law of thermodynamics, am I right? No? I should up my meds? Point taken.