Sunday, January 11, 2009

Six Things About Myself

I haven't been tagged yet--my blog is less than a week old, so what a shocker. (As an aside--I think if I actually were tagged I wouldn't like it. I am very much panic-stricken when it comes to other people asking me about myself. What if they don't like me? What if I say something wrong? What if I just sit there staring at them, or the computer screen as the case may be, unable to think of anything to say? Oh, the hand-wringing.) Everything here is stuff I'll post about eventually, so I figured I'd format this post as if I had been tagged with one of those “seven things about yourself” thingamabobbers so it wouldn't seem quite as schizophrenic. (I know the title is Six Things About Myself. That's because I couldn't come up with seven. I'm not going to read too deeply into that.)

1. I have a love-hate relationship with sleep. I hate to go to sleep. I love to be asleep. I hate to get up in the morning. (Bed so warm and cozy; do the kids really need to eat and be supervised?) I love to get up in the morning. (Yay! I don't have to waste any more time sleeping. I can do something worthwhile, like catch up on old blog posts!) I hate going to sleep because I feel like it's a waste of time. I cannot even tell you how many nights I've been trying to get to sleep and thinking petulantly about how I wished I didn't need to sleep because sleep is so stupid. Stupid sleep, I hate it. Wah. But at the same time, there is no place I would rather be on a day with inclement weather. (Inclement weather being a chilly breeze in my book, but there is something just sleep-inducing about rain.)

2. My blog title is an MST3K quote. To be honest, I wanted “Normal View.” If you've seen the MST3K movie you know what I'm talking about. But Normal View was taken by a photography blog, so I settled for Must Add Fabric Softener. So, you know, if the title seems weird and random, that's because it kind of is.

3. Despite being married with two children, I live with my parents. If you read the first post, you know that it's because we're remodeling our house right now. It's not liveable. There are no floors, people--not no flooring, no floors. We've been working on it since September but it won't be done until February or March. Fingers crossed for February.

The story: Way back in spring 2008, we were looking at buying a house and moving from our (awesome and super cheap) apartment. The house deal fell through, and I decided that the few hundred dollars it would take to fix the stuff I didn't like about the apartment (basically no washer/dryer in the unit) would be worth it if we didn't have to move, because moving sucks. B was totally fine with staying in the apartment in the first place, so he had no objections to my plan.

Maybe two weeks after we made that decision we got notice that the apartment building had been sold. I had been nervous from the day we moved in that the place would get sold out from under us. The rent was super super cheap. I cannot reiterate that enough. The previous tenant listed the apartment on Craigslist (how we found it) and I thought she had left a one off the price. When we learned that it had been sold we were sad, but not really surprised. Thankfully I hadn't invested more in the updates than the price of a few gallons of paint.

The move out dates we were given were really wishy-washy. It was the very end of June 2008, if I remember correctly, and we were told maybe August, maybe September. I decided that I wanted OUT of there. (That is another thing about me—I hate stasis. If I've made a decision about doing something I want to do it. Or, if it's a craft project, buy the supplies, start it, and then abandon it for six months.) So we looked for apartments. And looked. And looked. Nothing. No houses, either. So, in August we reluctantly moved in with my parents until something turned up.

In September we got our mobile home. It was “free.” There are quotation marks around that because we had to pay $1100 in back rent, late fees and application fees to actually get in, and we're looking at roughly $4000 in remodeling costs, but hey—lot rent is cheap and we'll own it outright. We plan on living here for five to eight years, saving up a 20% down payment on a house and then moving. After that move we'll be moving maybe once more, maybe twice. I haven't decided yet. The first move (at the five year mark) will probably be into a ranch or a split level or something that's not going to take a lot of work. After that, when the kids are out of the house or whenever I get bored and we have the money, we're going to buy an old house for me to fix up. I have a thing for old houses--I want to buy something totally run down and restore it completely. I don't think I'm insane, no. But it's possible. I would like to think that when we get that house and get it restored, if we haven't died of old age in the meantime, we'd stay there forever, but I know that things come up like stair issues and illnesses. So I do see it as a possibility that we could, at some point in the future, have to move back into a ranch house. Old houses are my favorite but midcentury's cool, too.

(A random picture of B at Halloween. I made the lab coat.)

4. I write romance novels. And I'm damn proud of it. I have been writing since...forever. The first story I remember writing (not a romance) was when I was maybe seven years old. It must have been at least coherent, because I remember my mother asking me, in all seriousness, if I'd copied it out of a book. I wish I still had it. I played around with writing fiction—what I guess would be referred to as “chick lit”—until I read my first romance novel when I was fourteen. (Julie Garwood, “The Bride.”) It was love at first sight...or page turn. Or whatever. I am slightly ashamed that my first manuscript—a historical—had absolutely no research done on it whatsoever. Not that I ever finished it, but you know. I basically figured I'd just make it up as I went along, and that went for plot, too. I don't know where that is, either, but I know I still have it, and I'm one hundred percent certain it's absolute crap. Dreck. Whatever your word of choice is, that's a bottom-of-the-desk-drawer piece. (So is my second MS, for that matter, but not for lack of research. I just don't like the plot anymore. Maybe I'll post a chapter here someday.) These days when I write I am nearly paralyzed by the need to know every single historical detail that could possibly be included in the text, even if it's not going to be included. I really need to find a happy medium there.

5. I feel like a bad mother a lot of the time. I don't really think I am--I hope not, anyway--but I feel inadequate a lot of the time. I also have these weird, completely unrealistic fears about my kids getting taken away. Like I have this fear that I'll be at the store and someone will accuse me of kidnapping one of my kids away from their real families and somehow I won't be able to prove that they're actually my kids. When they were younger I had this irrational fear that I would drop something on them and hurt them. I still have all these fears, although every day that passes I think I relax a miniscule amount. I still can't stand to have either of them near potentially harmful things, though--I hate it when either of them get near the fish tank (they could pull it down on themselves!) or the stove. Once, when I slept in in the morning B let YaYa help him make pancakes. On the gas stove. And B took pictures while YaYa poured the batter so it was like there was no supervision at all! I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the pictures, although I think I showed great restraint in not saying anything. (After all, he lived, so I guess it wan't all that bad. Maybe.)

I also feel like a bad mother because sometimes I just want to get through the day and I don't have activities or super healthy meals planned. Is it so wrong that I think the hundreds of toys they have should entertain them? Or that peanut butter and jelly and a glass of milk is a perfectly fine lunch? I'm also really bad about letting them spoil their appetites. I graze a lot, so I feel like it's kind of unreasonable of me to expect that they will eat breakfat at 8 AM, lunch at 11:30, snack at 3, dinner at 6 and then to bed. Things usually go that way, but sometimes YaYa isn't hungry at a meal time. (Mr. Man is always hungry; this issue has never come up with him.) If it's 11:30 and I'm not hungry, I don't eat, so how can I ask that of him? OK, I know I'm the parent, but I've struggled with food issues for more than half of my life, including anorexia (not that you can tell now) so this is a really hard thing for me to find a balance on.

6. I worry that people see me differently than I see myself.
OK, logically I know that that's true, people do see me differently than I see myself, but I worry that there is a really big discrepancy. On the show 30 Rock there have been a couple examples of this with Liz. Liz and Jenna used to be roommates in Chicago, and Jenna would do all these awful plays. Liz thought when she talked to Jenna after the shows she was being really supportive and helpful. Jenna thought she was being a condescending jerk. When Liz went to her class reunion, she found out that everyone hated her. She had always seen herself as the loveable nerd, and her perception was that her classmates were always making fun of her. Her classmates saw it as she was a rude and--yes--condescending jerk. I worry that that's me.

I actually have reason for this. Recently I was going through my mom's big box of pictures looking for stuff I can put in a scrapbook. I found this note from my sister Doodah to my mom, and...I read it. That's the kind of person I am. Sorry. Anyway, it was about me. (HA! See? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you! So there!) Basically she called me a certain word (rhymes with witch) and said I was mean to her daughter Moogs and named a few specific incidents, blah blah blah. The thing is, I do not remember said incidents. At all. I mean, I remember that time in my life, but I have no idea what the note is referring to. It was in mid-2000, so I suppose it bodes well for me that I can't remember an argument that I may not even have known was going on from eight years ago. I did ask my mom about the note, and she has no memory of it, either. I am not stupid so I have no intention of asking my sister about the note, but something tells me she would remember. There's some weird family dynamics here that I'll probably get into at some point in the future, but that's why I think she'd remember--sometimes it's almost like she's keeping score or something.

(I love this picture. If I had a wall free I would totally do this. As it is I might put it up over our bed. Picture from Desire to Inspire, not sure of the source beyond that.)

Anyway, that's it for now. I suppose I'd better stop posting random pictures and go fold the laundry that is threatening to take over our bedroom. I'm not making any promises about putting it away, though.

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