Tag Archives: moving


Oh, you guys.  I know I’ve sort of disappeared.  I know I don’t call or even answer text messages.  No one has died, I’ve just been busy.  Busy aparguing.

Aparguing has taken over much of the time I spend outside of home and nearly all of the time I spend in our apartment.  What is aparguing, you ask?  It must be fun, enchanting really, if you are willing to dedicate so much of your precious, precious time to it.  Well, let me tell you! Aparguing is arguing about your apartment (apartment+arguing=aparguing).  And it turns out that Turtle and I are pretty darn good at it.

Turtle, ready to apargue with me and/or the color of the walls.

The thing about it is that it’s just a starting point. It brings your ability to be snippy and rude right to the surface, and there it rests until someone says something like, “Are you going to make dinner tonight?” or “How was your day?”  And then the only rational response, of course, is “Why would you ask me that?!” followed by a flood of tears.

I’m exaggerating a little bit, but not too much.  We come from completely different places on this apartment thing.  I want things organized, and then we can clean them; she wants to clean everything before we put anything anywhere.  I think we’re both at pretty extreme ends of our spectrums; a coworker recently said, “Of course you should clean the floor before putting the couch there!”  Oops.  I just want the room to look like home as fast as possible.  Turtle, on the other end of things, washes the wall before we hang a picture up.  So we end up with either a cluttered, but clean home if she gets her way, or a tidy but filthy home if I get mine.  The other option is that we argue about it and then crash and we end up with a cluttered, dirty home. Fun times.

What’s hard about this right now is not only the arguing itself, but the proximity to the wedding.  My stupid little ticker countdown thing was cute and fun until it hit Day 100 and we argued about which corner of the room the TV should go in and whether the cats got their dinner in a plastic bowl or a glass bowl.  Big, important arguments, you guys.

angry faces

I suppose if we can get through this chunk of stress, we’re just getting stronger.  We’ve gotten through worst in the past, and I’m sure we will again in the future.  It’s just frustrating to argue over such trivial things as where to put a chair or who left a magazine in the middle of our excessive counter space.  Really, me? You need to use all that counter space at the same time? You can’t move that magazine all by yourself?

we are mad! ready to apargue! (photo by Ellie Leonardsmith)

I just finished reading Kate Braestrup’s book Marriage and Other Acts of Charity and she talks about how she and her husband used to argue.  And by argue I mean fight, I mean break a coffee table or a window.  And they are having a really hard time and they go to counseling, blah blah blah. And then she realizes something:

Cringing beneath the merciless gaze of my own eyes, I realized how utterly I had failed to do something simple.  I had refused to love the one I loved, the one I had vowed before God to love, the one God had placed not only in my path but in my own damned bed! Remedial Goodness was clearly in order.  I could be good to Drew… I love him…nothing matters more than this.

While Turtle and I are not breaking things by any means, we are certainly quicker to anger than we have been in the past.  We are slower to apologize and less willing to cross the line and walk to the other person’s corner.  But I don’t think I realized that until I read this.  It’s only been a day, but every time I find something that I might normally grumble, “Oh, Turtle,” about, I try to say to myself instead, “I love her…nothing matters more than this.”

Braestrup points out that when you marry and vow to love each other, “you aren’t really promising to feel love. You are promising to do love.”

So what does that mean?

Today it means that when I come home from work and find Turtle asleep on the couch, I don’t grumble and drop my stuff loudly, because we are supposed to go to Ikea and she knows that.  Instead, I kiss her on the forehead and when she asks for five more minutes, I give her twenty.  It means giving, and letting go, and hoping that what I’m giving is returned.  And while it’s scary to be doing so much aparguing only 98 days before our wedding, if it’s making me stop and think and slow down and remember why and how I want to be with Turtle, then it’s perfect timing.

photo by Ellie Leonardsmith



Filed under Home, Relationships

My Fiancee is (an) Amazing (painter)

… and family helped too!

Here, dear readers, is some before and after:

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Obviously we didn’t totally fix up the view out our bedroom window, but I did put plants there! The grass just cooperated.  Turtle and I painted the pantry together and I think it is lovely, if I do say so myself.

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Filed under Home

Excuses, excuses

Dear Blogland –

I know, I know, I have disappeared. And excuses are ridiculous, but I’m sort of a Frozen Brain these days and can’t think of productive things to say beyond the loop of “keep it together, Bird! No, really, keep it together, it’s going to be alright,” so I figure at the very least I can entertain you with thoughts of my stress-inducing life.

So here’s what’s what:

  1. We moved.  You may have heard about this in, oh, a million other posts.  We have had to do all the normal moving things, like acquiring a method of getting all of our stuff from one apartment to the other, and as it turns out movers are really expensive.  Then we had to do a lot of cleaning and some painting, and yes these are all still the normal moving things – the hard part has been the relationship part, where we are both on edge and are like, “What do you mean you want to move/paint that before we paint/move that?! You have to clean/unpack before we unpack/clean?”  You may think I’m writing the same thing over and over again but if you read closely you’ll see that we exactly disagree on the order in which we should do things, and this, my friends, is hard when you’re already stressed out because you can’t find the tea and you don’t know where your clean underwear is.
  2. Painting is hard: I painted this entire wall a color we both ended up hating. Oops.

  3. Piper got sick. Again.  The week before we moved, she started vomiting everywhere; at first we thought it was Jake, cause he vomits everywhere all the time, so we were just like, “Jake, please stop vomiting, it’s gross.”  But then Piper didn’t want to eat and we went into kitty panic mode, because Piper is never sick.  Bloodwork, xrays, medications, and an abdominal ultrasound later, she seemed fine… until a couple of days ago when she curled up into a ball and  didn’t move. And was open-mouth breathing.  Um, another few xrays later she’s fine again.  We have no idea what happened.
  4. My family is sort of in crisis.  Not really appropriate to write about here, but something that is definitely affecting stress levels and decision-making skills.  On a related note: my therapist is pretty much awesome.  If you don’t have one, get one – you never know when you’ll need it, and when you do it’s pretty great to already have one you know and like.
  5. We’re poor.
  6. Wedding? What? Oh yeah, we’re getting married! We should probably be planning the whole wedding thing, and I should probably be blogging about it, since now I’m a Bee.  But the wedding has totally taken a backseat to all this other stuff.  I mean, we’re getting married, we know where and when, and these other details sometimes have to wait until I know where our wedding stuff even is (answer: in our apartment. At least I have it nailed down to “somewhere in an area of 1100 square feet*”).

Here are some things, though, that are good:

  1. Our current abode is twice the size of our old abode.  This will mean big quality of life improvements once we have everything painted, cleaned, and unpacked. And did I mention we have a yard?
  2. So big!

  3. Getting through all this chaos and hard stuff together is such – such! – a good preview to whatever else is going to come our way.  If we can handle all of this at the same time, I think there’s not much we can’t handle.  Plus I know Turtle can still be way supportive when I’m being a huge jerk and I’m crying a lot (snot is gross) and I keep making her walk the dog.  She’s kind of awesome.
  4. We’re still making time to get out, together.  We went on a hike on my day off, and we went and explored the lake at the end of our street (um, yeah, did I mention there’s a lake at the end of our street? There’s a lake at the end of our street.).
  5. I get lots of supportive comments on my WeddingBee posts about how cute we are and how my writing is nice and how I even inspired someone to comment for the first time.  It’s a huge ego boost, and it makes me happy.

I’m sure there’s more than that that is good, and there are more things that are not good, but there you go – a brief overview of where I have been and a little reminder that everything doesn’t suck.  Sorry this is so long – points for you if you read the whole thing!

Now, tell me what is happening in your life and what you are doing to balance out the hard stuff.  And then come over and help us paint the bedroom.

Love always,


*omg our new apartment is so big!

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Filed under Menagerie

Pretending it’s home makes it home

Moving is hard.

Every single obligation I have has fallen by the wayside and making this apartment *home* has become my sole purpose in life. This, as you can imagine, might be stressful, since people still expect me to show up for work, the dog still expects to be fed and walked, and my affianced still expects me to be present in our relationship. The demands! Oh the demands.

This morning – Saturday morning! – I woke up at 5:40 thinking “I need to put up lights in the kitchen.”  It was even in italics in my head.  I have this huge sense of urgency that I have to get all of these things done now, or else it won’t be home, and then how will we function?!  So I spent an hour and a half lining our new, fairly dark kitchen with strings of white lights.  My fingers hurt from pushing so many thumbtacks into the walls.  And then Turtle got up and said (read this in a very ambivalent tone), “Well… I like it.  It’s a little… well, it’s nice sweetie.”

Moving in with someone is hard.

When we first moved in together, we rented a very small, brand new apartment.  They had just gutted it all the way to the studs and redone the whole thing.  Every single thing in the unit was new except for the fridge and the toilet.  And it was beautiful.  We did some minor cleaning, and focused more on how to move in together, how to live together, how to balance this new portion of our relationship.  As we settled in and got some more things and Mr. One-Eyed Jake moved in with us, the apartment started to feel too small, and that is why we moved.

This place is enormous.  We have an entryway larger than the second bedroom in our old apartment, a living room, kitchen, and dining room! and pantry!! AND two large bedrooms, AAAAND a front deck and back deck.  And a small but very real, very sunny and grassy yard.  Last night we spent our last “walk” running around and tossing the ball for Daphne in our yard. This is good stuff, people.

Anyway, back to what is hard: what is hard is having two people who have very different approaches to packing and unpacking.  I was to get all the boxes empty, put the pictures up, and make it look like our space in as little time as possible.  I don’t care if the couch is not in the ideal place – it rarely is on the first go.  I don’t care if the pictures aren’t centered, just get them up!  Turtle, on the other hand, wants to make sure everything is in its right place before we put it there.

We are doing a good job compromising on things, and I think, two days in, we are doing a good job settling in as well.  Which is not to say that there are not boxes everywhere.

For your entertainment, two pictures of the process: one of the corner that I look at when I want to pretend we are happily living here, and the other of what the rest of the apartment looks like:

We totally live here, and it's clean and relaxed.

um, living here for real.

Suggestions? Comments? Tell me your magical moving tips, please.


Filed under other

Keeping our shit together (in boxes)

Ahh we’re moving! We are chaotic in our current apartment, we are empty and dirty (read: everything has a nice thick layer of dirt on it) in our second apartment, and we don’t know where anything is! Fun!

The excessive exclamation points should indicate either excitement or almost-panic-mixed-with-KEEP-IT-TOGETHER. Your call.

Post-freakout at the new place (everything’s dirty! there are cracks in the walls! we have to paint EVERYTHING), we are home briefly to collect the rug, the dog, and a chair. Rug to muffle the sound, the chair to make it look like home, and the dog because oh so often a dog is what makes home home. And also, she’s good comic relief.

Wish us well! Hopefully the internet will continue to exist wherever I am living and I can update with exciting house pictures, because if any of you love seeing the insides of houses as much as I do, it’ll be way fun.

P.S. Who wants to come help paint?


Filed under other

Whose idea was it anyway?

I always want to do things first.

That is to say that I am always the first to want to do things.  Occasionally she’ll mention something that is technically her idea, but it seems that if I participate in the actual carrying out of the plan, then I am the one to take the blame for it being my idea for years to come

Case A, in which Turtle mentions something that I get blamed for in all relevant future situations: the dog.

Turtle: Hey, let’s go to the Heifer International festival out in Sterling next weekend! By the way, we’ll pass that dog shelter with those puppies you keep ogling online. Maybe we can stop and play with puppies!
Me: Maybe that’s a bad idea, but I love puppies, and I only want a real adult dog, not a puppy.  This seems like a safe idea.

We stop and visit Sterling Animal Shelter. We meet “Luna” and I spend the next two days obsessing over her.  I go back Tuesday morning. She is sitting next to me staring at me as I type this. Her name is Daphne now.

Turtle: Well, I don’t know why you decided we should stop at the animal shelter, everyone knows that wouldn’t be a good idea for you.  By the way, did I tell you what your dog did today?

Case B, in which we discuss moving in together:

Me: Let’s move in together.
Turtle: I like my own space.
Me: Let’s move in together.  It’ll be cheaper and I won’t have to keep walking my dog home in the morning.
Turtle: I love you, but I want my own space. And I hate your dog. Why did you get a dog?
Me: I love you, let’s move in together, and remember when you wanted to stop at the animal shelter?
Turtle: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Fine, we can go look at an apartment.

We look at three apartments. We love the last one.  We decide to move in.

Me: I like living with you.
Turtle: I like living with you too!  I’m so glad I decided we should move in together. Thanks for agreeing with me. I don’t know why it took you so long to come around.**

Case C, in which we discuss marriage:

Me: I am in love with you.  Do you want to marry me?
Turtle: Maybe some day. I never thought of marriage as something for me.
Me: I love you. If I asked you to marry me, would you say no?
Turtle: No.
Me: Does that mean you’d say yes?
Turtle: What’s on TV?

Time passes. More time passes.

Me: Marry me.
Turtle: I think your dog needs to go out.

Time passes.

Me: I should probably stop talking about this, huh?

Time passes.

Me: I’ll pick you up after work from the train station since you had a rough day.
Turtle: I would like to marry you.

So this time, for once, it went something like this:

Me: How was your day?
Turtle: Let’s move.
Me: Um… I guess our lease is almost up.
Turtle: Let’s move!

I should note that, even when I come up with crazy ideas like the ones I mentioned up there or the ones I didn’t, like getting a kitten or buying a car or quitting one’s job (um, it’s been a very busy year), she has been there all the way to discuss and support and figure out what’s best for us and not just for me and not just for her.  We’re really solid and I’m really grateful for the support she gives me and the support that she relies on me for.

That said, it’s really, really nice to be the one just going along with the idea for once.  So, thanks, Turtle, for starting the big adventure this time around.

**Note: Many of these conversations are fabricated or exaggerated.  Turtle may or may not deny many of these or similar conversations occurring.


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, Relationships

My favorite adventure…

My doctor finally called me back and upped my dose of drugs from a very experimental, hope-it-doesn’t-make-you-sick, 1/4 of a normal dose to a this-might-do-something-for-you, 1/2 a normal dose. I’ve been on this 1/2 dose for two days, and today is a *huge* difference from Saturday.  It’s kind of amazing, this difference – to feel more like myself, instead of feeling so awful and knowing that fit’s irrational, but feeling it anyway. Where on Saturday I spent a portion of the day hiding under the covers and crying, today I finished our Save the Date cards! Yay for being a real person!

The other thing that we spent some time on today was looking for somewhere new to live.  Now that we finally have a place for everything and have finished hanging up our art, it’s time to go somewhere else!  No, the actual reason is that this weekend we realized just how loud our current living situation is.

Right now, we live in a parking lot, surrounded by auto repair shops and right next door to Enterprise. I don’t know how Enterprise is to deal with as a customer, but I do know that they are bad neighbors – blasting their music, and being very rude when we ask them to turn it down when we can still hear it with windows and doors closed and our own music blaring.

So this is the upside of no derby and of Fancee’s not having a job – we can just go!  Our schedules are flexible, we can get anywhere with our car (we’ve had it for 2 weeks tomorrow), and we are ready for adventure! We are looking for a house, or even just a portion of a house, where there aren’t fuel trucks driving in and out every day, and where maybe there is a grassy spot for our dog to run around in.

Do you ever want to just up and move?  I feel like this could be our chance…

Some adorable houses (and that’s just the outsides!):

from craigslist

source: craigslist

source: craigslist

source: craigslist

As much as I know I hate packing, and moving is expensive, I love the idea of starting somewhere new, starting somewhere together as the five of us (ahem, that’s the two of us plus a dog and two cats), making a home together with *our* things.  I love the idea of being able to let Daphne out into the yard at night, and to not have to worry about neighbors.  I love the idea of having an address without an apartment number tacked on the end.  I love the idea of creating a home with my fiancee that will be ours for a long time to come…

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Filed under Relationships