On possibly-maybe building a house.

We don’t know anything about building a house. One day last summer, Kyle dragged me through a “model home” for a builder company that has homes popping up all over Chicagoland. “It’s just for fun,” he said. “Just to get ideas.”

And it was fun. And boy, oh boy, did it give me ideas.

The open floor plans. The stone fireplace. The shiplap “accent wall”. The fake-wood floor that looks like a real wood floor. “The can lighting is nice”, Kyle said. I didn’t even know what “can lighting” was until we started this adventure – but now I’ve realized that I can’t live in a house without it.

I know this because, after we sat down and started “building our house” with the builder rep last weekend, I asked her what the “alternative” was if we didn’t do can lighting. Because apparently can lighting – much like pull handles and stair railings and granite counter tops – would be “extra”. “You’ll have a switch with an outlet,” she said. “So you could just plug a lamp into it. And it would be on the switch.”

I don’t know why I was expecting her to say “uh, different lights?” Instead our only other option is a lamp. On a switch. And I’m assuming they don’t give you the lamp as a housewarming present. So, the alternative to can lighting is no lighting.

“We’ll need can lights in every room.” I said. “Add that to the list.”

“The list” started filling up fast with things like – stainless steel appliances, “Group 2 cabinets” (because that’s where the white cabinets are), brushed nickel faucets, a 4-ft garage extension, the fake-wood vinyl floor that looks like real-wood-and-not-vinyl, the French doors for my office, plumbing for the basement, one of those blower/fan/exhaust things in the kitchen…? It’s supposed to help with smoke, I guess, when you’re cooking. I don’t know, that one was Kyle’s idea. Apparently he thinks I’m going to be doing a lot of cooking.

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On Writing A Novel.

“I want to write a book.”

This is one of those things that can be kind of scary to tell people. “You want to write a… book?” they’ll ask. “About what?” And then what am I supposed to say – “I don’t know”…? Because that’s the God’s-truth-honest-answer: I want to write a book, I just don’t know what it’s about. Yet.

“That can be your first line.” Kyle said. “‘I want to write a book, but I don’t know what it’s about.'” I’d been hesitant to tell him. (And when I say ‘hesitant’, I mean hesitant for about five minutes. It was too exciting NOT to tell him! I’m going to write a book! I think!) But what’s he going to say? I thought. What if he doesn’t believe me? Why WOULD he believe me? What aptitude have I shown that proves I’m capable of WRITING A BOOK?

“You should.” Kyle said. “I think you’d be good at it.”

I’d thought he was going to say, “Hah. Right.” or “Sure – what’s it going to be about? Shoes?” Or worse – the same thing one of my friends had told me years ago when I’d told her I wanted to write a book – “Oh come on, Jenn, you’re not smart enough to write a BOOK.” (True story.) But he didn’t say any of that – he, without hesitation, was SUPPORTIVE.

Which threw all of the excuses that I had lined up “I really think I could do it!” and “I’ll show you!” – well, it threw them right out the window. Because it turns out my fiancé is a supportive, kind human. (Which are two things that you really want in a fiancé.)

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Living with Intention.

Do you remember high school? I mean, really remember it.

I thought I’d grow up to be a model.

I’d forgotten about that until recently when I went back through and found the old diary I’d kept when I was 15. There’s a whole story in there about how I told my friend I wanted to be a model and she was like, “What’s your back up plan?” and I was like – “uh, RUDE” –then went off on a spiel about ambition and drive and told my super-rude friend that “If I didn’t believe I had a CHANCE to make my dreams come true, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning” – to which my dumb, mean friend said, “So you’re telling me that you wake up every morning and say to yourself ‘I’m going to be a model’…?”

No. No, I did not do that. I was ambitious and overly optimistic, but not clinically insane.

Her next question (according to my notes) was – “What are you doing to get there?” as in, what steps was I taking at that point in my life to make this whole ‘modeling dream’ happen. This should be the first question you ask yourself for any career path. If you genuinely want to do something, or “be” something in this case, you have to lay out a plan and take the necessary steps to get there.

I get that now – at 30 years old, but I did not get it at 15. Instead of coming up with a career plan at 15, I got all bent out of shape because my so-called-friend didn’t “believe in me”. How DARE she? I’m going to be a STAR!

I had no formal training. No experience. No portfolio. And when I’d asked my parents if they’d pay for modeling classes at Barbizon, they said – “Eh……..?” and changed the subject.

But still. I wanted to be a model! How DARE she ask me about my “plans”. Did she think I couldn’t get “discovered” at the mall like one of those girls on America’s Next Top Model? I thought we were FRIENDS!

So that’s who I was in high school: lots of ambition, a little bit of delusion. And a lot of frizzy hair.

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2019: Goals for the New Year.

I went downstairs to the storage unit yesterday in our parking garage. This is one of the finer luxuries that we pay for in apartment living. Storage units and parking garages. Some of our friends own entire homes with an entire garage hooked onto their house. We pay the same amount of money to rent a 900 square foot space and keep half of our clothes under the bed. “It’s cozy!”, we say. “We love it!” We paid extra for the spot in the parking garage (Spot. Uno spot. We share it. “So cozy!”) and the storage unit. The apartment people (manager? leasing office? whoever we signed with) said that it would be “SO NICE to have just a little extra storage space!”

So we paid extra for the little wire cage in the garage. The apartment people called it a “storage unit”, but it’s a cage. It looks like a bird cage or a dog kennel. This means that it is not a heavy-duty, weather-proof steel locker that can guard our stuff against the elements. (LOL what elements? It’s in the garage, right? RIGHT.)

We don’t keep anything important in there. Just a random suitcase, some extra cleaning supplies, and seasonal decor. Things that we literally-can’t-fit-into-the-apartment. And the box to hold our Christmas decor. That’s why I was down there in the first place – to get the box to pack up our Christmas tree. I hadn’t realized yet that – apparently – the family of squirrels that have been living in our garage for the past month had decided to pee all over it.

Let me just say that again – so that it sinks in, like the pee that sunk into our box labeled “Christmas Decorations” – I opened the door to the little, wire cage in our garage (smelled a fantastic aroma), pulled out the box, and realized that my hand was greasy… from the pee. I had squirrel pee, on my hand.

So, in case you were wondering, that’s how my 2019 is going.

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The Day My Yoga Pants Finally Made It To A Yoga Class.

I love yoga. I mean, I’m not “good” at it or anything – I don’t know what I’m doing, or how to breathe, and it took me a year just to figure out what “cat cow” was.

But I love yoga. I love rolling out my little, pink yoga mat in the middle of my living room floor, and picking out a yoga video from my favorite yoga YouTube channel and pretending that I’m confident and relaxed as I stumble (and sometimes fall down) through the twenty or thirty minute sequence of my favorite YouTube yoga instructor saying “just breathe”.

I love yoga, or whatever it is that I’m doing on my living room floor (mostly just trying to twist my body into weird shapes and pretend that it’s totes relaxing). It makes me feel good. But to say that I  actually “do yoga” feels a little bit like saying I’m a salsa dancer after taking a couple of Zumba classes. It’s just not the same. My yoga pants have spent more time grocery shopping and walking to 8 AM college classes than they have on yoga mats.

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Getting out of your comfort zone.

We went hiking on one of our first dates. I say “one of” because neither of us can remember which “one” it was. I think it was the sixth or seventh, and Kyle thinks it was, “Maybe the fourth? Fifth? I don’t know.”

Here’s what I can tell you – it was late enough in the game that we were comfortable spending an hour and twenty minutes in the car together, yet it must have been in the EARLY stages, because I remember waking up at 6 AM to shower and “get ready”.

Get ready. For hiking.

A day in the woods. Weaving through trees. Climbing over rocks. Walking through spiderwebs.  Doing that thing people do where they take really big, wide steps over puddles and act all, “What? Like it’s hard?”

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