Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Buying New Pants

A few weeks ago, my cousin Miriam and I were shopping. I pushed Luca in the stroller as we walked into a store, making our way past a rack of multi-colored shirts, a wall of spring scarves, a table of perfectly folded patterned pants.

I don’t remember what we were talking about, if I pulled out a shirt to get a better look, or if she checked the size of something. Though that probably happened.

Here’s the part I do remember though. She said, offhand: “Well, I have to either lose a little or just buy new pants.” It was just a sentence, just thrown out there in between looking at one thing and the other, in between making sure the stroller didn’t get stuck in the small aisle and Luca wasn’t wandering off somewhere.

It was simple and straightforward, not earth-shattering, not something that hasn’t ever been said. And yet.

And yet, I went home and wrote it down. And yet, I could sit here and write paragraphs and paragraphs about it. About how it’s not really that simple, no. About how so many other things get in the way. Preconceived notions and ideas about size and self worth and the various stages of life.

I could talk about that time in college, when I stopped eating “acidic” food (I’m rolling my eyes too, don’t worry) and stuck to canned peas and lots and lots of broccoli. Or that time, right before my wedding, when I went to kickboxing three days a week and could do lots of push-ups in a row. Or now, when life invariably gets in the way but when going to a boxing class feels good in a way that has nothing to do with food or scales or fancy workout gear.

It feels good because it makes me feel strong at a time when most things don’t.

When the “balance” of it all, if we want to use that awful, loaded word, sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. When each day feels like a negotiation between who you are and who you want to be.

Sometimes (most times?) I forget how simple it really can be.

…or just buy new pants.

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? That it’s not really about losing weight or looking a certain way or doing a certain thing. Or being able to say you do a certain thing. That there are seasons of life when you throw your hands up and you say, maybe it’s just time to buy new pants. To stop fighting it all and wishing so hard and just accept it. The new vision, the new way. Maybe it’s the same premise, even, but a new approach in getting there. A new road.

Just buy the damn new pants.

Pants come in bigger sizes for a reason, anyway.

[Photo via unsplash

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bathroom Renovation – The Before

So you know on those home improvement shows, when the couple goes for the fixer upper in the great neighborhood and they’re walking through this worst house on the best block and the designers keep throwing around words like “knock down that wall” and “so much potential” and “if you look past that” and “let’s get that open floor plan you really want”—you know those?

We are kind of living in that right now. Except—and this is a big except—we have no designer, no cameras and none of those cool programs that’ll show you exactly how everything will look once three lousy weeks have passed and it’s all done.

What we do have is main bathroom that needs a complete overhaul.

When we bought this house—which really is a needs-lots-of-work house in a really nice neighborhood—we knew what we were in for. But also, we kind of didn’t know. We were so grateful and felt so lucky to have found this place and since John is crazy into these kinds of projects and I’m crazy into Pinterest, we figured it was a win-win.

So while we’ve done painting, and we did knock down half the wall between the kitchen and the dining room and build a peninsula, we really haven’t “tackled” (to steal another design show favorite) any major, major renovations.

That time has come.

This bathroom is the worst. There are no outlets, the wallpaper is peeling and yellowed, your knees can hit the tub from the toilet and almost every single thing is blue. It’s a true testament to the 1950s—though unfortunately, it's really one of the only midcentury things I'm not into.  

So even though it’s been done 8.5 million times on the Internet, I want to keep a record of this process.

Step 1: The before photos. Here’s what we’re working with:

This is basically that same photo from up at the top of the post. It gives a good overview of what the whole space looks like. It's super narrow and everything is really close together. 

The view from the shower--of course the soap holder (official name?) would be blue. 

Oh wait, here's a closer view. Yes, friends, that IS a string holding up the shower curtain! 

Here's that distance between the tub and the toilet I was talking about. Also, that grout. 

Blue sink! 

That's a closet on the right side there, which was HUGE. It sounds great, but also like a waste of space. 

And in case you wanted an "aerial" view of that tile floor, you've got it. 

At this point, John started the demolition and we're basically starting from scratch. Here's to hoping everything comes (back) together in the end!