The longest before and after post ever

P and I began dating in March of 1995. That means that we’d almost been dating for one year when our first Valentine’s Day as a couple rolled around. I was hoping for a ring. Instead, I received a large tin full of cinnamon-flavored popcorn. It’s not that the popcorn wasn’t delightfully delicious as much as the fact that there wasn’t a diamond solitaire anywhere in that tin. And, trust me, I looked long and hard and very subtly as I ate an entire tin of popcorn in three and a half minutes under the guise of being hungry.

The problem was, even after a year of dating, I didn’t know P well enough to know that he wasn’t a fan of any holiday that he deems to be a passel of lies being sold to the American public. I should’ve realized it when he chose to spend our first New Year’s Eve hunting at the ranch with his friends instead of taking me out to a romantic New Year’s Eve dinner which led us to spend the first day of 1996 breaking up as we argued over what constitutes a holiday (according to him a holiday isn’t a day that falls during the height of deer season) but love is blind and optimistic.

Now, fourteen years, a wedding ceremony, one mortgage, a child and two dogs later, I totally agree with him on the whole made-up holiday thing. Oh sure, you may say that he’s trained me to disregard Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, but it’s really no different than how I trained him to do his own laundry after one week of marriage. Frankly, I think I got the better end of that deal.

And just to be clear, we haven’t robbed Caroline of the Valentine’s Day experience. In fact, she got a Hello Kitty DVD and a new pair of binoculars this year because that’s what she wanted and how is a girl supposed to get by without her own pair of optics when she’s afield?

The thing about P is that he does really nice things for me all year long. He gets up first in the morning and turns off the ceiling fan so I don’t freeze, he brings me flowers for no reason, he doesn’t ever care when I announce that I’m too tired to cook and I’m calling in some Mexican food to go, and he never questions the fact that every purchase I bring into the house was bought for the bargain price of $15.00. And last week he completely outdid himself and installed a new kitchen faucet (even though he killed my farmhouse sink dream) and hung my new curtain rods.

Remember when I wrote about Holly and how she was helping me make some changes to my living room? And then remember how I showed the bird cage and the old suitcase that I found at the antique store? And then remember how I haven’t said anything else about it in a month?

One of the things Holly suggested was that I add some drapes in the living room. What Holly didn’t know was that I am deathly afraid of window treatments. They intimidate me. I blame it on some ill-conceived JC Penney drapes that P and I had in our first apartment. They were so unfortunate with their green swag of fabric draped across the top.

But Holly insisted that drapes were the way to go and I was too embarrassed to tell her about my long-standing drape phobia. We began to look for fabric and ultimately found this beautiful Robert Allen fabric that was on sale at for $6.95 a yard. It was exactly what I wanted, something soft and subtle that would add some texture to the room and coordinate with the fabric we’d chosen for some new pillows.

However, I let my fear keep me from committing to the fabric purchase until Holly told me that I needed to go ahead and buy it because it was great fabric at an unbelievable price. She even calculated that I’d need about fourteen yards and I’m forever grateful to her for doing that bit of math for me because I don’t know what my guess would’ve been other than JUST WRONG. So I went online to order the fabric and it had been reduced to $1.95 a yard. ONE DOLLAR AND NINETY-FIVE CENTS A YARD. You can’t buy burlap for $1.95 a yard.

Or maybe you can. I really have no idea.

Procrastination has never served me so well. I ordered all the fabric I needed for less than $30.00. But then Holly began to mention words to me like “drapery lining” and “sewing machine” and I felt frightened all over again. I actually own a sewing machine but only because my mother-in-law was getting rid of it and asked me if I wanted it and why would I turn that down? That would be akin to admitting that I’ll never learn to sew and I’m totally going to learn how to sew. SOMEDAY.

Holly realized that all the sewing might never happen and the drapery lining was wishful thinking at best, so she suggested that I might want to just “mistreat” the windows with the fabric a la The Nester. (If you don’t read The Nester, you are missing out on a veritable wealth of home decorating information) I knew that Sophie had mistreated her windows with much success and since I know she and I function at about the same level of non-crafty, I felt that there was hope for me and the mistreating of the windows.

So I bought new curtain rods and clip rings at Lowe’s. Then God smiled on me and it rained all day Thursday causing P to say out loud in my presence, “I’m bored”. Which led to this pleasant development.

I don’t know that he’ll ever utter the words “I’m bored” again.

I rolled all fourteen yards of fabric out as best I could given the fact that I don’t have a room that’s fourteen yards long and then I nearly caused my brain to explode as I tried to compute the measurements of how much fabric I needed to cut for each window. A timely call from Sophie saved me from what would have been a terrible tragedy because I was about to cut the fabric right down the middle because I was in way over my head.

Words can’t describe the level of stress I felt as I debated cutting into the fabric because Holly had stressed that it was very important that I line the pattern up and each panel needed to match. My head hurts right now just thinking about. But finally I looked at P who was sitting on the couch trying to figure out how on earth I’d decided I could make my own drapes and said, “Well, here goes nothing. At least the fabric only cost $28.00 if I totally screw this up.”

He replied, “Yeah, but if you screw it up you’ll never find that fabric at that price again.”

It wasn’t really the word of encouragement I was looking for. Also, please note that I told him the actual price of the fabric because it was such a good deal and I needed him to know how much money I’d saved him. It totally makes up for all the other $15.00 items we have around the house.

I took a deep breath, hyperventilated for several minutes and began to cut. And now I have drapes in my living room.

Here’s the before.

Let us never speak of that fake plant again. It was the devil’s foliage.

And here’s the after.

Please don’t mention that vast array of animal prints. I was a woman on the edge who just made my own curtains and I threw that pillow and the footstool over there. I’m not attempting any sort of safari theme.

New pillows and other accessories will be coming soon. And, no, I’m not making them myself.

But the good news is they’re only going to cost $15.00.

Fashion Friday: Edition how hard is it to put on some real pants

Today is the day that I am going to speak some truth in love.

Several people sent me a link this week to something called Pajama Jeans.

Their slogan is “Pajamas you live in, jeans you sleep in”.

I am all for some comfortable clothing, but that is just wrong. Pajamas are for sleeping and for wearing when you drive school carpool in the morning. That’s it.

I’m just concerned that we’ve reached a point in society where we feel like we need a casual alternative to jeans. Gulley reminded me this week that I called her several years ago to discuss my disbelief that grocery stores were actually selling frozen, pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At the time, I honestly believed that America had reached the pinnacle of laziness. After all, how hard is it to slap some peanut butter and jelly on a piece of bread and call it a day?

But now I’m wondering how hard is it to put on some pants that require a button and a zipper?

We’re better than this, America.

We’re better than this.

Although I have to admit that I saw several commercials for the Hoodie Footie yesterday while P was watching Nascar (we lead a rich life) and maybe it was just because it was freezing cold and rainy outside, but I found myself wishing for my very own Hoodie Footie.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t wear it in public.

Or try to pretend like it could take the place of an actual outfit, although that hood is kickin’.

I just think if you can’t muster the strength to put on a pair of real pants then maybe you should just stay in your pajamas, eat a block of cheese, and admit that you’ve given up on life.

It’s a harsh word, but I say it with love. LOVE.

1. V-neck sweater

Remember how I’ve repeatedly mentioned trying to replicate this look that looks like an outfit Sandra Bullock wore in The Proposal?

So I found the grey stripy scarf at Old Navy, but hadn’t really found the right sweater. But then Lindsee sent me the link to this coral sweater from Land’s End and it’s pretty darn close.

Now if I could just get my hair to look like Sandra Bullock’s hair. Too bad there isn’t a link for that.

2. Chambray Drop-Waist Shirt Dress

My friend Steph told me about this dress this week. I think it would be so cute with black leggings while the weather is still cooler or with some cute sandals and bare legs once the sun decides to show up again.

3. Ode to a Grecian Tunic

I have no idea where I’d wear this or how many pushups I’d need to do to get my arms in shape to wear it, but I think it is so cute.

4. Tiered Printed Skirts

I can’t remember if it was last summer or the summer before that I declared it to be the summer of the skirt, but I do know that these are the perfect skirts for Spring and Summer. They are great with a cute tank or a t-shirt.

5. Embellished Linen Blend Dress

I saw this dress in an email I got from Nordstrom this week and fell in love with it.

However, right now I’d need about eight coats of spray tan for that yellow color to not make me look like I have the jaundice.

6. Princess ring

This ring is so soft and pretty. Love it.

7. Pintucked tunic top

I linked to this on my Daily Links page earlier this week because it is the kind of top that I adore. I’d wear it all summer long with turquoise jewelry.

8. Embroidery Tunic

I think this would look great with jeans.

9. Studded Circles Cuff

My love for bracelets tends to run hot and cold. On the one hand (I’m so sorry) I love the way they look, but on the other hand (Could not be sorrier) they can drive me crazy with all the moving up and down on my arm.

But this one might be worth it.

10. Woven trim ruffle tank

This would look great with a cute skirt and a denim jacket over it. Or even just by itself.

Of course considering it was 34 degrees and rainy here yesterday, I probably won’t be wearing it anytime soon. Or I may be wearing it next week because it’s Texas and it might be 80.

For more fashion, you can visit Jo-Lynne at Musings of a Housewife.

Y’all have a great Friday.

Everything but the kitchen sink

About seven years ago, we did some renovations on our house. And by we, I mean that P contracted the entire job and worked tirelessly to make sure everything turned out the way we wanted while I cried every night because I was worried that the house wouldn’t be ready on time and OH MY WORD what if we have to bring our new baby home to this rental house instead of her new pink nursery?

I’d like to blame pregnancy hormones on all the obsessing over when the house would be finished, but I know I’d act the same way tomorrow except I wouldn’t be able to sing a chorus of “In the Ghetto” by Elvis Presley to drive home my point because the words “and a baby cries…in the ghetto” wouldn’t have the same impact now that the baby is six years old.

We moved back into the house exactly two weeks before Caroline was born, in spite of the fact that we had no kitchen countertops or any other necessary components that make up a kitchen but we had the pink nursery and that’s all that really mattered. Who needs an oven when you have darling whimsical letters that spell CAROLINE hanging on a pink wall and a fresh, white crib that the baby won’t actually sleep in for several months?

The countertops were finally installed the day before I went into labor along with the sink and the kitchen faucet. Everything was installed, the baby was born, and, approximately one week later, the sprayer component of our new faucet quit working. Actually, that’s not totally true. It worked fine if you didn’t mind the fact that it got stuck and would randomly decide to spew water all over the kitchen. It created a surprisingly non-hilarious situation when you factor in a newborn baby and sleep-deprivation. The kind of situation that is like shaking up a bottle of crazy sauce and then watching it explode.

Ultimately, P worked his plumbing magic to unhook the sprayer and so it has remained a non-functioning component of our sink for the last six and a half years.

Until he decided on Tuesday morning that TODAY WAS THE DAY to fix the sprayer. I don’t know why it was the day because I don’t bother to ask those kinds of questions. Why is the sky blue? Why do people watch Jay Leno? Why does Lionel Richie never age? JUST BECAUSE.

All I know is that he asked me to help him get everything out from under our kitchen sink and our kitchen looked like this.

It has continued to look like that for the past 48 hours. I try not to look directly at it because that would be like throwing a match on a powder keg just to see if it would explode. It would. It totally would.

And it certainly doesn’t help matters that, in addition to being a haven for amateur plumbers, my house has been transformed into some sort of Valentine’s Day sweat shop. Caroline’s only homework for the week was to sign her name on Valentine’s cards for everyone in her class. But, OH NO, she wanted to hand make her cards and write “Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Caroline” inside every single one. It was barrels of fun for the first two cards, but quickly became some kind of Hallmark factory gone awry as I stood over her and insisted that WE MUST CONTINUE TO MAKE THE CARDS. YOU CAN HAVE A SNACK WHEN YOU FINISH ANOTHER CARD.

But oh she is SO TIRED of shaking the silver glitter. It’s exhausting.

Anyway, P wasn’t sure that he was going to be able to fix the existing faucet because the something was leaking into the something and the bottom line is that my new bag of Pledge Grab-its got damp along with our last roll of Viva paper towels. I was out running errands to distract myself from the plumbing when he called and asked me to meet him at Home Depot so I could pick out a new faucet.

I don’t go to Home Depot very often because it is my kryptonite. One loop around Home Depot and I begin to dream about new toilet seats, granite countertops, and fancy showerheads that make you feel like it’s raining on the inside. (Shout out to Amy Grant) But I met P on the kitchen faucet aisle and found a faucet I liked. He asked, “Do you want to go ahead and buy it or do you want to see if I can fix our existing one?”

“I don’t know. I really like this one but I’m not sure it will work if we end up getting granite countertops and a farmhouse sink.”

“Well, realistically speaking, in light of all our other financial obligations, I don’t really see that there’s going to be a time when we’ll spend money on granite countertops and a whatever-you-just-said sink.”

Why does my husband want to kill my dreams of granite countertops and a farmhouse sink on Aisle 6 at Home Depot?

So I said, “I don’t want the new one. Just see if you can fix the old one.” And then I walked out of the store and past the granite displays with a wistful glance.

He bought approximately 782 parts that were supposed to fix the sink, but none of them worked. I went back to Home Depot yesterday and bought the new faucet. Which I actually really love because it’s got the sprayer thingy that pulls right out of the faucet and, yes, that’s exactly how it was described on the box. It’s pretty and shiny.

And it would look great on a farmhouse sink.