Monday, September 22, 2014

goodbye, peppermill



Oh, that house. The house Andrew bought when we had only been dating a few months. The one he saw so much potential in. We went through a phase where we imagined what a deck would look like, and what we wanted to see, and then reality and cost smacked us in the face and we never really spoke of it again.

This is the house where I attempted my hand at gardening. I bought flowers and watered them religiously until they started looking tired and I let them die. We replaced the decaying wood around the flowerbeds, brick by brick, getting dry hands in the process. We got a couch stuck in a hallway and nearly got a van stuck in the garage. I moved in, and Andrew worked nights, and there was my room and our room, until there was just our room and it started to feel like our house.

This is the house Baby Bauer came home to. I still remember going to dinner at The Melting Pot (my, how things have changed!) and coming home to his little face peering into the entry way for the first time, the way he has done nearly every day of his life. When we got laminate floors, the click-clack of his paws on the floor was new to us all; now our house doesn't feel complete without it. The garage is where we spent some of our most trying times, trying to get Jake to eat in his last days. It's where we learned teamwork and compassion and how to say goodbye. I'll miss the duck pond that Duncan and I visited so often in those first few days after his buddy was gone.

We painted the rooms, replaced the sink, and made a home. The attic housed my engagement ring for so many months and I didn't have a clue. This is the home we came home to post-honeymoon, decorated by my maid of honor with rose petals and champagne, and the place where all those DIYs happened. We've celebrated all of our Christmases here so far.

Christmas 2012

I'll never forget the pattern in the ceiling that I stared at so intently the morning we woke up and Andrew suggested I move in. The familiar sound of the screen door opening that lets the pets know not to worry, it's their people who are home. I'll always have a scar on my right forearm forever tying me to this house. My father-in-law accidentally broke the lip on the globe on our ceiling fan, but it was still able to hang. It started falling down one night and I reflexively tried to catch it. It slashed my arm instead, and the scar will forever remind me of him and the room where it happened. And my floors. Oh, those floors. I never knew I could have a love so deep for laminate, but I do.

The house that was ours is on a ridiculously-named street often confused for "peppermill." I hope the new owners have fun spelling it out every time they give their address over the phone. I hope they bring home a kitten or a puppy or a baby for the first time to this place and make their own memories. I hope their meals are shared with people they love and they quickly learn that the oven runs hot. Christmases will be celebrated and I hope they put the tree next to the fireplace - it really does look good there. Maybe they'll have their own vision for the huge yard and they'll execute it, and they'll paint the house colors I never would have dreamed of but wish I had. Mostly, I hope they're lucky enough to build a life and memories there as great as the one we've worked on the past few years.

So, house on Peppermill, this is goodbye. I've hated you and wanted to leave you for as long as I can remember, but now I realize I'm going to miss you and your quirks (except your low water pressure - not going to miss that!). May our life and memories in the new house be even better than those we shared with you.

Friday, September 19, 2014

soon I won't have moving to talk about

As per usual, there will be no apology for my disappearance as of late. Suffice it to say that buying a house is a huge timesuck. We set up everything just to cancel it and set it up again. Deliveries are being rerouted, time off work is being renegotiated, and the packing. Oh, the packing.

Clearly, Bauer is over all the boxes, too.

BUT... there is light at the end of the tunnel full of paperwork and cooperation (and money. Lots of money). We successfully closed on selling our house on Wednesday and now, quite possibly as you read this (7 a.m. central time) we're making it official on our new house. I feel like Beyonce's Put a Ring on It is an appropriate song for the situation, but maybe in a parody form, like Put a Wreath on It? Like I liked it, as in my new red front door, so I put a wreath on it? Get it? Can someone get Weird Al on that?

Anyway.

There's still much to be done with moving and decorating and picture hanging and the like. I basically want to go to Waco, Texas, buy everything at Magnolia Market, and then kidnap Joanna Gaines (form Fixer Upper on HGTV) to make my house look perfect. I keep trying to figure out an affordable, legal way to make this scenario work, but so far, no luck. I guess Hobby Lobby and pinterest will have to do. And antique malls, at which I have become a regular. Apparently there aren't many almost 30-year-olds searching out quirky teapots these days.

Oh, and I applied to be on House Hunters on August 5th because YOLO and all that. I honestly forgot about it because the reality of buying a house was bigger than possibly being on a reality show. I got an email yesterday - six weeks later - from a casting agent asking where we were in the process and that ideally we would be newly under contract. Sorry lady, that ship has sailed... but it's kind of a bummer because how pretentious and ridiculous would I have been? The answer is very. Gotta play it up for the cameras.

Beyond house stuff, I did get to have a little Mindy Project watch party with two of my favorite people and it was great. Thai food (in honor of Beyonce Pad Thai), champagne, and girl talk during commercials. A simple night, so fun, and we've already decided we have to do it again for the finale.

I'm taking Friday and Monday off of work to move and being that Comcast is nothing but problems, who knows when I will actually have internet? I'm sure I'll be posting on instagram because I have to see which filter my new house looks best with, so keep up with me there.

Friday, September 12, 2014

friend time and good finds

This week was s-l-o-w. If only the weekend moved at that pace, am I right?

1) Last weekend, a pastry chef who grew up in my suburb, was on Top Chef: Just Desserts, and who now works in Chicago (I liked her enough to make sure I ate at her restaurant when I visited) came to Houston and did a breakfast pop-up with a Houston chef who was also on the show. I mentioned this to my awesome, food-loving coworker friend and then told her I wouldn't be able to go because the pets had vet appointments and Andrew had to go to work. She texted me a little after 8:00 that morning saying she was on her way with one of everything from the pop-up. Amazing treats (house made plum pistachio pop-tarts, everything kolaches, and funfetti cinnamon rolls to name a few) and good company showing up unexpectedly made my week.

Funfetti Cinnamon Roll  (very sweet, not a ton of cinnamon) | Clockwise: Everything kolache (bread with cream cheese in the center and then garlic, bacon, and green onion sprinkled on top), plum pistachio "pop-tart," basque cake (kind of spongey with a light, buttery middle),  kouign-amann (like a smaller, slightly sweeter and crispier croissant), and chestnut coffee cake (kind of disappointing but maybe I just don't like chestnuts?)

2) I got it in my head that I wanted an antique stained glass windowpane to hang somewhere in our new house. I found one that was perfect and half the price of every other one I found at an antique mall. Twenty minutes after spotting it, I went back to get it, and the dealer had closed his booth for the day. I was so bummed - it was mine. I went back to the antique mall six days later, spotted it laying behind something else, and learned that someone else had put it on hold the day before... but hadn't paid a deposit so it was up for grabs. I held onto it until I handed over my credit card and made it official. I'm the queen of wishing I had bought things when I saw them so the fact that this thing is now mine is a small miracle.

3) I got to have drinks with my friend Heidi the other night! You might remember her because she used to blog but since moving back to Texas, hasn't found the time. I can tell you she's doing great. We went to Heights General Store because they had a $5 happy hour menu. The prices were right and drinks were good, but the food left something to be desired. Maybe if we had spent more than $5 per plate, it would have been better, but we were too busy catching up to care too much about dinner.

4) If you have Kohl's near you and you don't shop there, I think you should start. I'm not a great shopper but I love a deal. A few weeks ago, Andrew and I stopped in because I had one of those great "free money" coupons and found a small patio set for 90% off. After coupons, it was $25! The more I shop, the more coupons they send and they are often $5 or $10 with no minimum purchase. I have no shame running in there just for a bottle of nail polish or something...

5) And for a little moving update - we are currently scheduled to close on selling the current house on September 23rd and buying the new house on the 24th. Our realtor negotiated a seven day lease-back into our contract so we would have a week to move. Movers, cable installation, and utilities have all been set up accordingly... until I got an email yesterday that the buyers of our current house want to try to close as early as Thursday. I'm not prepared! We have plans this weekend that were made pre-move and I'm slightly panicking, but also excited because I'm ready for our new house. I'll keep you updated, whether you like it or not!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

losing my voice

I think if you know me, and especially if you know blog me, then you know that I am mostly as I seem (within reason - I don't want to put ALL my business on the internet). I don't have opinions about books but I have tons about food. I don't love movies but I could binge watch a good TV series all day (please note that "good" can mean Emmy-award winning or a Lifetime movie...). My point is, and to quote my favorite TV doctor Danny Castellano, I'm all in. I don't pretend to be something other than me in real life or on my blog because, quite honestly, that takes a lot of time, and as I often say, lazy always wins.

I have thoughts I share readily. I want to challenge you and be challenged. If you hate a food, I want to know when you last tried it and see if you're open to doing so again. If you love the gym, I want to know what motivates you so maybe it will get me back in my long-dusty running shoes. I want to know the whys and the hows and expect that you want to know them, too. But apparently, to some, the whys and the hows, the questions and the prodding and the difference in opinion comes across as judgement or disapproval.

So what about the times when being me is less than palatable to someone else? When someone feels that I'm not who I seem, that the goods they purchased in building a relationship with me weren't what I advertised? How does one toe the line between IDGAF and caring enough to want to change, to be better, or to at least listen to some criticism? Can you ever go too far when being yourself and not caring what other people think?

I've lately been told that I crossed a line, I went too far, and there's no going back. Just being me wasn't enough and the effort required was too much. It's been a tough pill to swallow. On the one hand, I want to accept the criticism, to be better, and to over-explain myself and my feelings. On the other hand, IDGAF. I'm me and I never pretended otherwise. I don't want to hurt feelings or come across badly, but I can be blunt and I will share how I feel. It's part of the friendship experience - we all have something different we can bring, so let's discuss it, right?

This recent experience has made me feel like I've lost my voice. I want to talk about my house must-haves, but if I don't like something in a house and you have it in yours, will you think I'm judging you? I overthink comments and text messages and the things I say in fear that any semblance of disagreement will come across as negativity. I want to keep asking the whys, keep voicing my opinions, but I worry about how it will come across. I don't like that. I like being me, as tactless and upfront and enthusiastic and opinionated as I can be. I can also be loyal and empathetic and encouraging. It's all a part of the package.

So today I confess that I do GAF. I want to be me, and I want that to be enough.

linking up with Kathy

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

some thoughts, in confession form

It's been too long since I linked up with my friend Kathy so here's what's happening, confessions style.

This has nothing to do with anything, but it's from a place near my house that specializes in building backyard ponds. I loved the HUGE lily pads that look like trays.

- Andrew and I are big on traditions. You may already know about Bullwinkle on the tree and he loves to have crabs on the first Sunday of football season. One year, before football season started, I lamented that we wouldn't be able to have Sunday brunch during the season and I was sad, so he took me to Hugo's for an amazing brunch buffet. And from that year on, we decided to go with it - the last Sunday before football brunchstravaganza. We went this past Sunday and it didn't disappoint. I confess that I ate so much that I didn't eat another real meal for over 24 hours.

- I confess that the amount of joy I felt when I realized Apple would replace my crappy phone battery for free was a bit on the ridiculous side. Not leaving home without a charger and charging at least three times a day made my phone a lot less mobile. It took two hours on a busy Sunday, but my phone is fixed and it feels so good. If you have an iPhone 5 with crappy battery life, see if your serial number was affected.

- Wedding planning and buying a house are similar in that money loses meaning. When you're getting married, it's all "Oh, we have to invite that family of five? What's $500 more in the grand scheme of things?" and then you snap back to reality and realize that there is no other time where you would ever spend that much to share a meal with those people but you do it because they're your family even though you've never met them. With our house, we just had to make a concession that cost us a few thousand dollars. House buying Lauren said why the hell not, let's get this thing sold. Real life Lauren freaked out a little internally because my first car didn't even cost that much. I confess that I'm trying to make sure Real Life Lauren stays out of matters until the papers are signed and we've moved.

- I confess that "collected and eclectic" is the look I'm going for in our new house but I really don't know what that means. Follow me on pinterest as I try to figure it out. (Sidebar, I found something I pinned three years ago that I forgot about that looks eerily like my current living room, so at least my tastes are consistent?)

- I confess that I still don't like or really get pinterest but it has helped me see that wrought iron beds can look cool and updated and I don't have to get an upholstered headboard just because they're everywhere (no offense but my cat will turn that into a scratching post at the first opportunity).

- Finally, I confess that I fell in love with Bath and Body Works' Caramel Bourbon candle over the weekend but $22 for a candle was crazy so I'm depending on blogs and twitter to tell me when they're on sale. Help this non B&BW shopper out!

For those following along with the house hunting saga at home, things are still looking good and if all goes according to plan, we close on buying the new house three weeks from today. I'm more excited for all the new things I can buy than the actual act of moving itself, but I think I'll be the most excited when it's all said and done. I will undoubtedly continue to update about it. Bet you're happy I stopped blogging five times a week!