when i was in college, i had a crush on this one guy (one of many through the years). he wasn’t super popular, super cute, or super brainy. he was just a nice guy, a man girls felt at ease around, a man I suspect had had very few girls crush on him in his life. but still, a man i was comfortable admitting a crush on to my close friends.

on some random weekend trip to the nearest mall (an hour away) this guy told a mutual friend he suspected I liked him. That was it–he only told her he suspected it, without judgement or disgust. But I immediately stopped making eye contact, stopped smiling at him or making any sort of conversation. I was embarrassed that he knew, that he could pick up on it, that i had been so obvious. (which really, isn’t that what we want? to have someone know we’re interested and be interested back?) i don’t think i ever said another word to him, ever again.

it’s an all-too-familiar scene, albeit one more routinely conducted in middle or high schools. I just never really outgrew it. I suspect that even today, were something like this to happen, I would still blush and clam up. (it’s honestly a miracle Jon and I ever got together).

you know there is no happy ending here for K and me: he started dating the woman who would become his wife just a few short weeks later. of course i think everything turned out the way it was supposed to, but there’s still a part of me that questions what that alternate reality would have looked like, if i had been brave enough to admit my attraction and own my feelings. It doesn’t matter who you are, really–whenever a person encounters a fork in the road, there is always going to be the question of what lay down the other path (you can, I’m sure, insert the appropriate Frost reference here). i know there are billions of stories like this throughout history–fear of rejection has shaped more lives than the bravery of love.

the reason I bring this somewhat painful memory up is to pose this question: what kind of difference would have been made in my life if I wasn’t so afraid of vulnerability? Because that’s what I was REALLY what I was afraid of–a sharp dart to a soft heart. but in stopping short i was defeated already. where would I, could I, have gone, if only I hadn’t determined early on to quit? Not only with this guy, but maybe with a few of the others? Or with jobs, schools, homes? What shaping would have taken place, if I had been unafraid to try, at the price of a little pride? Would i be more fully rounded? Or would parts of me have been broken off, to leave me jagged and sharp?

i have been told ‘no’ enough times in my life to be used to it by now. Not to say it isn’t painful every time, but rather–you learn that the pain doesn’t last, that you’ll live through it and it’s not as bad as you think it’ll be. the build-up is worse than the actuality. (though admittedly, my pride took quite a beating in college).

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the human experience–about how happiness is only one small component to our lives. We shouldn’t strive for happiness, but for completion. Not for consistent comfort, but for accomplishment and triumph (which will always necessitate getting a bit dirty). Discomfort not the enemy, sorrow only a darker friend. As i wrestle with the choices in my life, as I second-guess and reconsider, I have to remind myself that I am being grown and pruned and made ever more lovely by both the rain and the sun. Vulnerability cannot be shirked, it cannot be avoided simply because it is distasteful or uncomfortable. It must be confronted, endured, and triumphed over–an enemy made a friend. It’s only very difficult, I am finding.

it seems to be a theme in my life as of late, as i reach the age where you’re supposed to have more of an idea of what you want your life to look like. my problem is, i think i know what that is, but i’m not sure i’m on the right road to getting it. i’m old enough to realize everything my mother said is true: I will never be that young again. I don’t get a second chance at this life thing. all of the moments NOW are what count because I don’t get them back again. I “believed” her but not in the way that counted. it hits me all of a sudden–my precious early twenties, those golden moments in the sun, carefree of student loans and broken AC units, all the lost years of opportunity to have children young: they are gone and I will never have the chance at them again.

then i remind myself: i am living my precious late twenties, i have sunlit moments still, and I may look back on this time of freedom and selfish fulfillment with longing, that Right Now is the only time i will not mourn ever. i cannot trade these moments I DO have for the moments I CAN’T have, because then I am robbed of my whole life.


everything is awesome?

I always feel a little hesitation when I come back to this space. Questions bubble to the surface: Who am I writing for? Is anyone reading this? Is there a purpose to my ramblings, or should I write for the practice of writing? And then I hit “Add New Post” and things begin to flow, and I know within a few hours, I’ll have something I’m proud to share. Every time I read someone else’s blog and think “how can they possibly think writing a blog is a full-time job?” I remember how stressed I get about writing once a month or so, how it can consume time and thoughts and projects, and I know without a doubt anyone relying on this for a full-time income is putting in the full-time effort. I can’t imagine the pressure of writing two to three times a week, let alone once a day. So I content myself with what I can manage. After all, this space doesn’t seem to be much more than an occasional drop-off zone: unloading only. I drop off the things rolling around up top, clean out the attic, so to speak, then head out for more clutter.

I used to use this space as a way to track my derby journey. I documented every step, it was so exhilarating, so thrilling! Everything was new and intense and it was the mushy lovey-dovey honeymoon stage of a new relationship. When I finally got through New Girl and made it into the league, I thought “I should write about how this feels. This is important–the culmination of year of hard work”. But then I didn’t. And then when the season started, I thought “I should talk about how much hard work this is, because I want to remind myself of how much I’m putting into this and use it as a way to look back”. But then I was working so hard and there are so many internal politics that I have NO IDEA how to navigate so I decided sleeping was much more important. And now, almost halfway through my first season with TXRD and fresh off my first time actually skating in a bout, I tell myself it would be wise to write about all the things i am learning–the skills, the techniques, the personal breakthroughs and how to implement them, how my heart & mind are changed repeatedly and how the friendships I am forging are so fulfilling and SO instructive–but I am at practice ALL THE TIME. And when I’m not at practice, I’m trying very hard to live out my other dreams–many of which require almost as much effort as roller derby. So writing about it takes a backseat.

I also wanted to use this space to document my first year through home ownership. I want to show you before-and-after photos of all my projects, of the several coats of paints I’ve painted and the TWO new front doors I’ve been through and the popcorn ceilings I’ve scraped and the builtin bookshelves I added. But my photos aren’t nearly the quality of other home-improvement blogs, and besides, that’s not really my forte. I don’t WANT to be yet another “look at my DIY home” blog. I’m not really the “add pretty photos here” type, though I’ve occasionally tried my hand at it. Perhaps if I had a different layout, or more time to practice photography with Jon’s camera, i would try more often. But the reality of the situation is: it’s not a priority for me. My priorities are more along the lines of: go to practice a decent amount, not eat so much take-out, get enough sleep, see my boyfriend more than twice a week, buy groceries on a regular schedule, and get some reading in at the end of the day. So in my everyday life I try to make little adjustments, little improvements to my abode so that it truly is a sanctuary and not a stressor. I need the calm refuge from the rest of my whirlwind, not another box on the to-do list.

And also–something I’m sure thousands of bloggers wrestle with: I’m not sure how much of myself, of my heart, I want to put out there. i know I talk a lot in my real life (and I’m really sorry if you’re on the receiving end and I just won’t shut up–I know it’s a problem and I try to be mindful of it and I’m sorry if you’ve ever, EVER felt run over or unheard) but it’s different when you put a signpost out there that ANYONE can read, and not just the SOMEONE you’re talking to. It’s always been a fond dream of mine that I would be mysterious and intriguing and respectful of my own privacy, but I am an open book, constantly edited. Much like Anne of Green Gables, I just cannot help myself–I feel things so deeply and experience things in such an exhausting way that to try to contain it is nigh impossible. So with this space, I envisioned I would be able to show only the edited portion of my life–I don’t want you all to know about my personal disappointments, the bitter taste of things, the questions I ask myself regarding personal relationships. But then, I value authenticity above pretty much anything else–isn’t it deceiving to pretend these things don’t exist?

So I guess the whole point of this post was to say: I’m very busy in my life, which is true of nearly everyone the world over, and the thought of writing here hasn’t been a comfort to me, because if I were to say the things I was really thinking, if I laid open my heart, I’m afraid of what I might find. I am at a precarious place in my life where I’m unsure of most of the decisions I’ve made. I don’t see a clear path ahead of me, and I’m not sure if the path I’m on is the one I wanted to be on in the first place. There are so many inspirational Wilde & Emerson quotes floating through the internet that urge you to follow your dreams, to be unafraid to live the life you want, to just reach out and grab it, etc. My dilemma though, is that I’m just not sure what else it is I want. And besides, just because I WANT something, doesn’t mean it would be available. It would require more work, another start-over, and that, while possible, is highly unappealing. I also think I’m in the middle of the hard stuff right now–and I think what I want isn’t real–because snapshots of MY life are just as pretty and just as dreamy as the instagram lives I follow that make me ache a bit inside.

But I think I’ll start writing again. This was nice.

i’ll take the fairy tales

i came across something online not too long that said something along the lines of “love the girl who reads…because even though she knows the difference between books & reality…she will try to make her life like her fairy tales”.

and that could not have been truer as i sat on my back patio this weekend, hot tea in a favorite mug, next to my favorite person, reading up on herb gardens, the sky gray & rumbly. it was perfectly quiet, perfectly filling in that “I have no where to be” kind of way. Everything was slow–the turning of the page, the fall of the rain, the cat as he lazily stretched out, the sweet peas as they push further and further out into the world.

it’s bits of my life, these precious bits, that make all the work it took to get here, worth it. i tried to tell myself it would be, weeks ago, as I labored intensely all day breaking soil & mixing compost in the garden. Tying up the thorny bushes of the roses, now to see the almost-violent cascade of scarlet and burgundy flowers over the green, or to watch the lilac starts bud up and unfurl their greenery.

all the times i have to rush about, check things off my to-do list, hurry about lest I miss doing yet another “THING-THAT-MUST-BE-DONE-THIS-MINUTE”…well then when I DON’T need to, i savor it so fully. it makes me appreciate that i DID grab those two beautiful teacups at the thrift shoppe, or i took the time to craft a ‘little moment of beauty’ for a future sometime, only to have that sometime be today.

it can be difficult, to slow down, to just breathe and absorb the world in this very moment, instead of planning for the someday. i always have some plan, something that could be getting finished (although the truth of it is I never will finish it all) but on a rainy sunday, the only thing that needs doing is breathing, and all that’s automatic anyway.


As the weather begins to turn and rain begins to fall and the ground softens under my shovel, my thoughts, quite naturally, turn towards renewal. Towards rebirth, life. I leave behind me the shadows and darkness of winter, I crave a new beginning. I want to leave behind the sadness of February and celebrate this new season (quite literally) in my life–one I hope is full of dedication and cleansing and flushing out.

This month has been spent cleaning, reorganizing, re-prioritizing. The garage cleaned out and sorted. Old projects finished. New projects started. The stack of books on my nightstand, the ‘to-read’ pile, is slowly dwindling. The garden, once a fantasy, is consuming my free time and the smell of earth & compost mixes with the basil, oregano, lavender, and sweet mint. The woody rosemary comes out, the onions have gone in. The grow light situation, once a mere idea, fit like a glove right into the place I needed it to, all good things coming together to create the perfect place for germination. A whole tray of tomatoes started.

photo 4

It is almost time for the clotheslines to be tightened and once again called into service. We pulled the hammock out and set it up again this weekend, although it was blown over in the night, so maybe I didn’t calculate the timing on that quite right. The hydrangeas took root, and all the little yellow-green flowers have blossomed into giant pink globes of beauty. I plant the lilacs across from them–I imagine next spring walking through a corridor of intense color and smell, a welcome welcome to the backyard and my own slice of paradise. The grass alongside the house is thick and lush, so green and lovely I cannot bring myself to mow. Surely, I think, there is a use for it. My mind drifts towards goats.

I bought a duck on Friday. ‘But”, you protest, ‘you already have two!’ Let me tell you a story.

I went to my favorite feed shop for a fifty-pound bag (I cannot bear to buy a smaller bag, even with my flock less than half) and thought perhaps i would simply LOOK to see what breeds of chicks they were selling. ‘I won’t buy any’, I thought. ‘I just want to look’. We all know how that goes–I pulled out the brooder last weekend.

There was a stock tank full of ducklings, some a week or two older, some newly hatched, and i could barely bear the cute. I reminded myself that two ducks was enough, MORE than enough, and ducklings poop more than anything in this world.

Vickie is the sweet lady who helps those of us seeking a touch of adorableness on a Friday afternoon. When I asked her why my 10-month old ducks had yet to lay an egg, she asked me a simple question that confirmed the sneaking & growing suspicion that I had ended up, against all the odds, with two MALES. (In case you aren’t aware, boys do NOT lay eggs. Which is the ENTIRE REASON I have ducks).

‘But’, she says, ‘we do have adult ducks in the back’. Magic. Magic words.

I left with a beautiful, elegant, heavy-breasted, slappy-footed duck, and a dozen duck eggs from the kind warehouse guy. She is so…gentle? Wholesome? She is the girl next door of ducks, and my dumb little drakes have no clue what to make of her, so they run around the pen as she quietly waddles after them, trying to find companionship and a place to belong.

photo 1

She is helping this place feel new, a reminder that this backyard is not a place of death anymore. Or if it is, rather that it is all part of the Great Story. I am sad about my lost chickens, but I rejoice in the large warm egg that covers my palm (and if you have never held, then eaten, a duck egg, I invite you over to my house for a feast). I remember that it is all only a circle, that renewal always comes.

Feeling all these things, learning and relearning the feeling of the world in cycle and the past repeating itself, reminds me that people have always known this, knew this better than our world knows it today. Humans, pagan and Christian alike, have always celebrated the end of the long winter with feasts, festivals, and rituals of birth, spring, and renewal.

To tap into this new understanding of the meaning of seasons brings a sense of connection, of my humanity, of having a settled place in this world. A place I make plans in and for. The poppies go here, I’ll plant the jasmine there. Once the fence is up, I’ll plant something that vines. A new melon patch dug, and an experimental tomato plot. Should the bougainvillea be dug up, or did any part of it survive those frosts? That room becomes an office to work from home from, the photos need to be put back up on the wall. This hutch isn’t working, so let’s put this thrifted one in it’s place. Remember to empty the compost bucket. Go through the dresser and donate those clothes you REALLY don’t wear anymore. It’s the feeling of emptying and recycling and renewal and shaking off the all the extras you’ve accumulated during the winter when it was too cold to do anything (ten pounds included).

 photo 2

What If

Last night was a nightmare. A heart-breaking nightmare. It is a night I cannot stop replaying over and over in my head, and yet it is one I want most to forget. How cruel our minds can be! I promise–I am not trying to be dramatic here. I am not building this up because it would add anything to the story. So here it is:

i have had a strange & uneasy (to say the least) past few weeks. It seems nothing in my life has been going the way it is supposed to, and personal issues keep cropping up and my self-esteem keeps taking all these hits. But all these probably-imaginary problems are nothing compared to the carnage that greeted me when I came home from derby practice late last night.

I opened the back door to let my dog in, but couldn’t see him. I looked out and noticed first that i had NOT closed the door to my chicken coop before I left, which I always do. And then I saw my dog, face buried in the belly of a blonde ball of feathers.

I screamed his name and he ignored me for a moment, then came racing over, muzzle yellow and blonde with feathers. I didn’t want to believe it, I was too horrified that It had finally happened (he has attacked my ducks twice before but I was always there to stop it). Sure enough, as I spun around I noticed the backyard was littered with feathers. I saw another chicken not too far off, a large wound on her back. I knew she would probably have to be put down, but I couldn’t even continue looking at this point. I sank down sobbing, and fumbled for my phone. Even now my heart races to remember the horror I felt as I began to understand what had happened. I had forgotten the most basic safety precaution in my haste to be out the door, AND loosed in my own backyard their predator.

I will not get too much further into gory details, as I did not let myself see them. I called my boyfriend, hysterical, and he came speeding (I’m sure) from work to my rescue. As i didn’t want to see who else was gone, he did a backyard sweep and came up with a body count. He also put down the hurt chicken, which I know was excruciating for him, as he’s been a vegan for thirteen years. I have no doubt it was a herculean effort, and the love he showed for me in doing that, unasked, carries me through.

If there is absolutely any silver lining to this horror, it is that my two favorites managed to survive–George, my best little chicken, managed to get over the fence (and even came home this morning for breakfast!) and Margot, my green-egg-laying bully, although she has a substantial wound and a gimpy leg, which I nursed this morning and am hoping to help her overcome. One more survived, miraculously without injury, but that’s all. Out of a flock of 7 chickens, four were killed, including my magnificent rooster, Frodo. He put up quite a fight apparently, and tried to protect the hens until the end, but that has left an enormous pile of feathers in the yard that makes my heart hurt to see.

I don’t even want to be in my own backyard anymore. It’s a place of trauma, a place of death. There are patches of feathers still attached to skin, and when i took the dog out to pee this morning the three remaining sounded an alarm–they will not forget so soon. I am so saddened by this feeling of destruction & stress in what is supposed to be my haven–I had spent that afternoon cleaning up the yard and prepping for spring, so excited about the warmer weather, and pulling out fencing to protect the garden from chickens. A moot point now.

I cried so hard, wailing so that a neighbor came out to see what had happened. Then I sat on my couch and cried until Jon came over, while he cleaned up, and afterwards too. But as I cried, I let myself feel how much it hurt, gave myself permission to feel the bad stuff, to let it wash over me and to get it all out. I know that today is awful, and tomorrow probably won’t be much better. But they are the living, they are life. Just as death is a part of living, so too is pain a part of pleasure. One is not complete without the other. But there will be no pleasure in this memory, no funny ha-ha to help ease the pain of what’s happened. This is simply a grisly opportunity for growth, a chance to refine my character and let it inform future decisions.

So now my dilemma is this–do I keep the chickens I have left? Do I try again for spring chickens, with more chicks now? I have the brooder and a bit more experience, although I did not expect to use either again so soon. What about the dog? Because right now it is so hard to look at him–I don’t even want to try. It makes me sick to my stomach. I KNOW he was just doing what dogs do. I know that in my head. But in my heart it feels so much like a betrayal–like he has shown his true immoral self. I guess I think of him so much as a companion and person that I forget his dog instincts, his primal callings, which i know can be such a dangerous habit. He doesn’t have a soul, he is not governed by a moral compass. To him, it is, “what is right in front of me?” But still–how can i forgive this? I can’t look at him without seeing his muzzle covered in feathers. He twitched a lot in his sleep last night while I tossed and turned all night, and all I could think was he was reliving his executions. And all of it was my fault.

That’s the very worst of it all. I made a mistake–I didn’t think. Because of that mistake, four deaths ensued. Granted, they were poultry, and I understand there is a perspective needed to their deaths. They were only chickens–but they were my chickens, and I loved them, loved watching them grow and discover. The fact of the matter is, they trusted me to keep them safe and I failed them so completely. It is not grief so much as it is horror–my soul is reeling from the violence and utter disregard for life. That it came from such a sweet puppy is horrifying, that it was my own doing is almost unbearable. It is the biggest “What If” question I have ever faced–this mistake has become my biggest regret. There is so much guilt wrapped up in my sorrow.

Of course there is some grief, as when you lose any animal in your care. I’m sad to have lost fearless Balina, who always came right up to me, and Frodo, my gorgeous feathered-feet rooster (“fro-toe”). I’m sad that Lucy & Eunice, one who laid the biggest, most beautiful rose-colored eggs, would have felt so much fear and pain before the end. These four were from the batch of five I raised together, the chickens my late Mamaw “bought me”. I just don’t know how to wrap my mind around the fact we “modern” (i.e. sheltered) humans tend to forget–nature is chaotic and has absolutely no regard for our feelings. Death is a very real, very present part of life. The dog killed the chickens because dogs chase chickens, have sharp teeth, and are generally able to do so. He had no quarrel with them–he wanted to play with these soft toys.

There were many questions without answers in the long sleepless night, one of which–do I keep the dog? Because once they’ve killed a chicken, there’s no way they’ll stop. Or do I forgo chickens–if not, I’ll have to be vigilant every moment of every day. Because Hero isn’t loyal to me because he understands my wants and desires and comprehends the plans I’ve made and wants to help me accomplish them. He obeys (sometimes) because I feed him and wrestle with him. He has no higher motivation than his present needs.

At one point, in between sleep and waking, I thought it had all been a very violent nightmare, a dark dream from which I’d wake. It certainly had some of it’s unreal qualities. And, as I’ve been playing Skyrim for the last month, I had the wild (and nerdy) thought that I could simply reload the previous save, and all the bad things would be undone and I’d have a chance to start again. I could check the coop door and none of it would have ever happened. But there’s no such thing.

This is already long enough, and while it certainly helps to ‘say’ all these things, there is nothing that will make it feel better and I am tired of thinking it over. There is no tidy resolution to this piece. I just had to put as much of it out there so it doesn’t stay in here, draining my energy. Thanks for reading.


2013 was a year for making my dreams come true.  This year, I want to make them my reality–the parts of my life that keep going once the charm has worn off. I want to stick with these wonderful things I’ve started–to not let the romance die when it gets a little hard. To finish all the projects in my garage and rid myself of the other things cluttering it up. It’s about NOT being lazy—getting up and doing the things I want to do, need to do, to have a more stream-lined routine and a relaxing home environment to come home to. That means doing a lot of things I push to the back burner because I’d rather watch another episode of Adventure Time. But the problem is, that back burner is getting full.

I’m the kind of person that DOES “do” resolutions. So what? I don’t see anything wrong with them. I like vocalizing my intentions, it helps keep me more accountable. And I like making lists. And why not? I make all sorts of brash, bold resolutions but if 2013 taught me anything, it’s that things can be accomplished if you take them one step at a time, even if they are daring and wild and bold. But that maybe this year i don’t want to accomplish quite so much–I’ll be content if I get a new air conditioner and the ducks start laying eggs (and my built-ins get built-in).

So while I love my swaggering statements, this time I’m gonna bite off just what I can chew. And then I’m gonna chew it SO HARD. And then (to complete this disgusting metaphor) I’m gonna swallow it and TAKE ANOTHER BITE.

(Also I keep starting posts about starting a new chapter in my derby career and how I feel now we’re finished and what the first public bout was like….but I can’t seem to finish them. So I decided to just push through with this 2014 Resolution Post).

I want to be kinder, less selfish—more generous with my time, with my money, with my food, with my love.
I want to spend more time with my family and drive the 45 miles down to see them more and stay up late playing games and drinking cheap wine, because that’s the stuff I remember most.
I want to open my heart to those I wouldn’t normally.
I want to stop thinking of myself first or how something will impact ME only.
I want to grow in my relationships–to listen FIRST and speak second.
I want to develop a reputation for contentment, for peacefulness.
I want to stick with my Primal diet, because that worked for me. I know I can be a better roller girl, play a better game, if I’m working with more muscle than belly.
I want to skate my heart out and do as much as I can each practice. And go to those Pilates classes to keep up my core strength.



Let’s talk for a minute, shall we, about home ownership. Specifically, first-time home ownership. Even MORE specifically, YOUNG SINGLE WOMAN first time home ownership.

Because there aren’t too many people out there talking about that. Sure, they’ll mention housing statistics showing it’s a seller’s market, and there are plenty of HGTV shows about buying your first home together, but that’s the catch–it’s usually two people handling this massive project together, juggling the stress between the two of them.

Nonetheless, I had heard that home ownership was a difficult thing, that it was hard and wasn’t nearly as nice as you’d imagined. I simply brushed it off, deciding those people didn’t know me and that I would be different. had taken classes and seminars and read books and blogs and I had all my financial ducks in a row. I would be awesome at this.

I’m not.

It’s hard.

Sometimes it’s as nice as I’d imagined, especially when the rain is falling and I’m wrapped in a blanket on the back porch watching the ducks play in their pool. Or when I finish painting the guest bathroom that perfect shade of plum and I know installing the wood floors was totally worth it the pain of ripping up the 30 year-old tile. Those are the moments when I decide it is better to own than to rent.

But there are other times, times when it is much worse than I was prepared for, times when the bathroom pipes start leaking, the fridge goes out on me (TWO back to back!) and the A/C won’t turn on for six weeks and there are ants and roaches invading the house and some of the wiring is NOT connected to a power shutoff and just when I think I can’t do it anymore, the door to the garage falls off it’s hinges and I flipping lose it. All over my screen door. (This just means I lost my temper and ripped the screen door off its hinges and now it’s dented and I have to buy a new one of those too).

Those are the times I reevaluate my determination, try to figure out if I could just go back to living in a tiny apartment with two cats and no garden or clothesline or chickens or sewing room, if I could go back to Lamar traffic and no responsibility for the air filter and a utility bill that’s a third of what it is now. Those are the moments I realize doing this with a partner would make a lot more sense, when I see how much easier it is when you have someone with whom to share the stress of replacing the enormous air conditioning unit. I can see why so many people wait to be married before doing this. I start to wonder if my realtor would think I was crazy for selling the house five months after buying it.

Just to make this perfectly clear: home ownership is SO MUCH MESSIER than you think it’s going to be. Replacing baseboard and installing new floors and removing popcorn from the ceiling will show you the ugly, not-well-built side of your house. You will see how the walls are not straight, how buggies and spiders will still find a way between the walls, and you’ll shudder when you find a squished roach between the vanity and the wall (I’m still trying to figure that one out). Everything will break at once, and it’s never as simple as putting up a fresh coat of paint on the wall.

But you know what? Despite the overwhelming frustration and feelings of “I cannot possibly do this”….I am doing this. Daily. I turn on the fans, open the windows, and drink cool water–who needs A/C? I scour Craigslist and find an amazing deal on a fridge. The bugs…well I vacuum a lot and do my dishes every night and I set out ant bait. The chickens are taking care of the roach problem (If that were the only thing they did to pay for their food I would still keep them!) I work for hours every night until the bathroom is not broken and all my extra money is tied up in paint cans and baseboard, and I learn how to set a toilet seal and use a jig saw. I am being shaped, I am being molded, by this 35 year old house.

I will never again paint a room without buying three or four sample colors to walk past for a few weeks. I can install a light fixture all by myself, and I’ve learned the differences between a circular saw, jig saw compound miter saw, and table saw, as well as the necessity behind each. I now know to pull the sink off a vanity FIRST, and next time I’ll just buy a door new instead of trying to rehabilitate an old one. I have to remind myself that hardship is part of the adventure too. I tell myself that it will be a funny story in 6 months, and that part of living is getting your hands dirty, messing up the sheetrock texturing, and buying another two feet of baseboard because you didn’t measure right, even the third time.

I guess my “advice”, if you want to give this blog post a point, is to say: it really is as hard as everyone else promises. Things WILL go wrong and you WILL screw something up. You will run out of money and be uncomfortably hot and cracks will appear in your guest bedroom. Your houseguests will have to brush their teeth with water out of the shower tap, and roaches will find a way into the bathroom no matter how many drains you re-caulk. Make sure the reasons you want your own place will give you more satisfaction than the stress a house will give you, because both are bound to happen.