Friday 5: Know When to Fold ‘Em

  1. What did you last place into a file folder? So, for most of my bills, I still get paper statements–I’m afraid that if electronic ones pile up in my e-mail, I’m gonna be more likely to miss one over the course of the month, so I prefer to have something physical. My mom advised me when I first went out on my own to keep the statements for about a year, just in case there’d be an issue where a company claimed I hadn’t paid them or there was a mistake somewhere. So I have a fireproof safe where I keep them and other important papers with little file folders organizing them based on utilities, credit cards, etc. So the last thing I put into a file folder was one of my paid statements.
  2. What do you know how to fold a piece of paper into? I mean, I could probably make a pretty cool paper snowflake.
  3. What’s your laundry-folding procedure like? Man. We have more clothes than we have space, so typically, clean laundry goes in a pile in the corner and it gets put away as we wear other clothes and space opens up in the dresser and closet. The house we’re moving to has a smaller closet, but because it has more built-in shelving, I’m hoping we can use that to our advantage.
  4. When do you next expect to invite someone into your fold? Eh, who knows? The closest thing to that is probably gonna be we’re having a thing for Memorial Day, and depending on who comes, people we hang out with here may cross paths with our other friends and family.
  5. When have you slept on a foldaway bed? I don’t know that I’ve slept on an actual foldaway bed, but things that are very similar–fold-out couches at people’s houses, including at camp in the summer; my dad’s old military cot as a kid, often while traveling; air mattresses in living rooms.

As always, from Friday 5.

My Life Is a Boring HGTV Show

First of all, wallpaper should be illegal because it’s terrible. It’s such a pain in the ass to take down. It’s not even that it’s hard, it’s just really tedious. But the paint under it was pretty terrible, too, so I don’t blame whoever said, “Fuck that, just put up some wallpaper.” The challenge is going to be dealing with the fact that it’s an open-concept house and we’re gonna either need to match the paint in the living room next to the kitchen or find a way to have it not look stupid. Or paint the whole room. I’m hoping the paint I bought for the other room accidentally matches, but that seems unlikely. The plan is to slap some joint compound on the thing to fill in some cracks in the drywall, then finally finish priming that and the little fireplace room, then paint them both.

In the meantime, Paul’s dad came out to rip up carpet so we could see what’s under it and get that project moving. I’d been warned that it could get shitty–with no basement, there was a chance that it was just concrete underneath and that the carpet would stick to it and not come up easily. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. It was laid on tile, which, granted, is asbestos tile, but I’ve been told that’s okay to leave in place because it’s only a problem when you, say, sand it and inhale the fibers. In a solid tile form, you’re fine. But it all came up really easily and is pretty even, so as soon as we get new flooring picked out, we’re good to start putting it down. The plan is to get it picked out this Sunday.

It wasn’t a huge amount of work, but it’s the one thing we were kind of waiting for before we started really moving. I’ve been taking things over in small bags and boxes that we don’t absolutely need, like some wedding presents, books, and stuff like that, and putting it where it’ll be out of the way of flooring projects. But once the floor is done, then it’s gonna be on to the bigger things, and hopefully we can make good, quick progress on that and get it down to where we spend a weekend moving the bigger, bulkier furniture and everything else that’s ready to go in.

The reality of owning the house has set in, but the reality of making it what we want and actually living in it is gonna be a whole other thing. And I’m excited.

The weekend was a great success.

Friday night, we had concert tickets in Greensburg, but Paul had a doctor’s appointment he’d kind of forgotten about. It was early enough that it didn’t really mess with our plans, mostly, and he was done fast enough that we grabbed some dinner. The downside was it was late enough that finding parking was a bitch–we got one of two spots left in the garage near the venue.

The show was for Andrew McMahon, of Something Corporate and then Jack’s Mannequin, and for some reason I kept thinking I’ve never seen him live before when, in fact, nope–I’ve seen both of those projects live one time each. I think maybe I keep thinking of them as separate from him, I don’t know. But the point is it was a great show. I remember Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin being a bit more raucous, and this whole tour is more stripped down, so that was nice. He reimagined a lot of those old songs to fit a softer, more acoustic sound, too, which was pretty cool.

We grabbed dessert in town before we hit the road back home, and Paul and I switched roles–I drove, he fell asleep partway down the interstate.

Saturday night brought the return of the annual Dancing Queen fundraiser for the fire hall near where Terra lives, and after our pre-wedding dance lessons, I got Paul to come with this year. For someone who claims to not really enjoy dancing, he sure did dance a lot.

And Sunday, we went to my parents’ house to watch the Pens game and wrangle Seger. My dad was out of town for the weekend and rambunctious puppies don’t do much for productivity, so to help my mom get some work done, we went over, hung out, and played with him. The game was good, too–we won, ending the first round of playoffs. I’m hoping to make it out to watch games at Primanti’s and the big screen at the arena, but the house has been keeping us busy.

Saturday 9: Love Don’t Cost a Thing

Saturday 9: Love Don’t Cost a Thing (2001)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Love may not cost a thing, but everyday stuff does. What’s the most recent thing you bought? How much did you spend? I hit Sephora’s weekend sale but my store didn’t have Kat Von D’s new eyebrow products I wanted, so I got them online. That and a couple other things were a tiny bit over 50 bucks.

2) This video begins with Jennifer Lopez on the phone, on a veranda with a view of the sea. What’s the view from the room you’re in right now? I mean, if I opened the curtains, the courtyard of my apartment complex. But let’s pretend I’m moved in to the new house and it’s of my backyard and the woods behind it.

3) She sings that she doesn’t want her lover’s gifts or money, she just wants his attention. Let’s change that a bit. Which would you prefer: a gift that was personally chosen but you know you’ll never use, or cash? Cash, honestly, because as nice as thoughtful gifts are, I get really frustrated by useless ones–but I’ll put a caveat here of those are rare. My loved ones are pretty good at giving gifts. It’s the gifts from the type of people who feel like they have to get you something but have no idea what you even like that are the problem. It’s taken me a long time to not feel guilty about quickly getting rid of gifts I know I won’t use.

4) She met her first husband, dancer Cris Judd, while working on this video. She met Ben Affleck, to whom she was once engaged, while working on amovie. Think of those you’re closest to — where did you meet them? Pretty much all of them at school. I even met my husband at my high school, even though it was for our younger brothers’ graduation.

5) She and her current boyfriend, former Yankee Alex Rodriguez, are both workout fanatics. How often do you exercise? I used to be in a killer routine of going to the gym almost daily, and then the holidays happened and then I was sick a couple times and then I was busy and then I bought a house, so getting back into a good routine is a work in progress. I did go twice last week, though.

6) Her high school nickname was “La Guitarra,” because her curvy shape reminded her friends of a guitar. Share a high school memory about you and your friends. We used to wear wigs and weird hats and go around to Taco Bell and playgrounds.

7) JLo just completed filming her third season playing a police detective on NBC’s Shades of Blue. Did you see anything memorable on TV this past week? I don’t have cable, but I did go to my mom’s house to watch the Pens beat the Flyers in the first round of playoffs!

8) Jennifer Lopez posts often on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram. Do you feel you spend too much time on social media, do you wish you posted more often, or do you try to avoid it altogether? Somewhere in the middle, I guess. I definitely don’t think I’m on it too much and I don’t avoid it entirely, either, although I don’t really spend time on my Facebook feed much. I post in spurts when I’m scrolling through and want to share something, and I’ll post pictures when I take them or what I’m watching or reading. So I’ll have a day where I’ve posted a lot then a few days, probably up to weeks, where the only posts are like, “Janelle is currently watching The Twilight Zone.” I feel like with trying to promote writing, I can’t entirely abandon it, and I do want to see updates from friends and family. I was reading an op-ed earlier about the problems Facebook and Twitter need to address, and it mentioned a few shortlived alternatives. I feel like sites like Google+ could really take advantage of the state of social media and find a way to position themselves as alternatives.

9)  Random question: You’re at a yard sale and come upon an unusual little knicknack that would make the perfect gift for your best friend. The tag says $7. You think that’s rather high for a castoff. Do you pay it? Do you pass on it? Or do you try to get the seller to lower the price? I probably try to get a few bucks off, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Even if it’s just stuff someone’s getting rid of, seven bucks doesn’t mean a lot to me.

Friday 5: Vive la Différence

  1. What’s a food that tastes completely unlike anything else you can think of? My beloved pad thai, I think, because it seems like no two restaurants do it the same.
  2. What’s a movie that’s completely unlike any movie you can think of? This is tough, because I so often see pieces of things in other things. Maybe Mulholland Drive.
  3. Who’s a musician or band you consider completely unoriginal but whom you still like? I love rock, but I’ll admit there’s little variety in the genre. The bands I love are just the ones who are doing it really, really well, because some rock bands can and do sound very generic. Some of the rock bands I’ve come across in recent years haven’t brought anything new to the music world, but they’ve just had kick-ass songs.
  4. Who or what are two people or things you keep mixing up with one another? I don’t know why I do this because they’re very different things and it’s really obvious which is which, but the movie Mad Max and the restaurant Mad Mex. Also, blond actors named Chris. Except Chris Pratt. I never get him confused with anyone.
  5. What’s something you’ll do this weekend that’s different from your normal weekend activity? Going dancing! It’s time for the annual Dancing Queen fundraiser at the firehall, so the usual relatives who like to hit a dance floor are going out tonight. I’ll also be doing work in the new house, which is a normal weekend activity as of late but not a normal weekend activity in the grand scheme of things. It’s new to us, and it’s temporary.

As always, from Friday 5.

Getting sick doesn’t do much for progress with fixing up and moving into a house.

The original plan was to finish priming ugly wood paneling the weekend after my mom came out to get it started, but I ended up sick the rest of that week and although I was back at work by Friday, spending another day or so painting seemed like a bad idea. So we put it off.

Thursday night, Brandon and I went to see JD McPherson in Pittsburgh–and the show was amazing–so I took Friday off. Mom’s been offering to come help some more, so she took the day off, too, and we figured we’d either finish the priming or get to taking down ugly wallpaper in the kitchen. A stubborn coat rack kept us from finishing the priming, so wallpaper it was. We ended up not having a whole hell of a lot of time thanks to a late start and a deadline of dinner with Paul’s coworkers, but we got the bulk of it down. All that’s left is the parts above the cabinets and the stubborn sections that didn’t come off easily.

Paul and I headed over to dinner, then to his friend Andrew’s place–by the time I was showered and we got to the restaurant, he and he fiancée had already left, so we swung by for drinks and an illegal stream of Thor: Ragnarok. 

April decided to turn into summer for the weekend–it jumped back to late winter/early spring today–so we took advantage of the heat and sunshine and went for a walk. I was still not feeling so great and a walk probably wasn’t the greatest idea, because it really wore me out, but I’m glad we got out. We swung by the outlets for a food-truck festival, which was about picked over so all we got was lemonades, then did a little shopping.

Sunday was mostly House Day. Paul had to stop into work and we needed to make a Home Depot run, and then we figured since we missed out on the food trucks Saturday, we’d try again Sunday. We got some pretty great Polish food, which seemed a little silly since we eat Polish food all the time, but sometimes, a girl just needs a styrofoam box full of haluski…

The work in the house actually went by pretty quick. Paul was able to take care of the stubborn coat rack, so aside from some spots that need a touch-up, the priming is done. We also got just about all of the wallpaper off the bottom half of the wall and just need to do the top half and above the cabinets, so we made good progress. The goal for this weekend is to officially finish up the priming and maybe prime the wallpaperless wall if we get it all clear. I understand why it was put up in the first place, though–the top half is white, and the bottom half is, like, this Pepto Bismol pink.

Now, the fun thing is in doing this work, some big differences between Paul and I have emerged. He’s kind of enjoying the process. He doesn’t mind the work because it’s our house, so it’s kind of like a goal for him. As for me, I’m just impatient. I want all of this done and I want it done yesterday so I can spend the rest of my time moving in and saying good riddance to the apartment. You can imagine how well I’m doing with having to wait on contractors before we can redo the floors and siding. I realize I have to and I’m not, like, being a bitch, but man, do I just want to skip ahead a solid two weeks. Paul’s dad is gonna handle the floors, at least, so as soon as he can come out, get a look at what’s under the carpet, and get going, that’s taken care of. The siding is gonna take a little longer, but at least I can live in the place in the midst of that.

Saturday 9: High Noon

Saturday 9: High Noon (1952)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) What will you be (or were you) doing at high noon on Saturday? I think I was at home doing not much of anything. Or wait, I think that’s when I was sleepy and took a brief nap.

2) In this song, Tex Ritter sings he doesn’t know what fate awaits him. How strong is your sense of intuition? Tell us about a time you knew what would happen before it occurred. I think it’s good when I pay attention to it. In college, I was in class one morning and my mom sent me a text saying to call her when I was done, and I just knew she was gonna tell me that my grandma had died. And sure enough, that’s what it was.

3) This song was the theme of a hit movie western by the same name. It starred Gary Cooper as a small-town sheriff. When did you last interact with a member of law enforcement? I don’t know. Definitely not recently. Maybe when I got my last speeding ticket, and that was a couple years ago now.

4) Grace Kelly co-starred as the “fair-haired beauty” mentioned in this song. Four years later, she gave up films to become Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco. Which job seems like more fun — movie star or royal? Movie star. The scrutiny on you as a royal would be too aggravating. I’m sure Meghan Markle is really happy, but I kind of feel bad for her because she can’t go anywhere without her appearance and behavior being heavily scrutinized. I’m sure the royal perks are awesome, but that’s certainly not one of them.

5) Though he cultivated a “just plain folk” persona, this week’s featured artist, Tex Ritter, was really cosmopolitan and highly educated, earning a degree in economics from the University of Texas before going on to study pre-law at Northwestern. Do you think the “real you” is consistent with the image you convey? I do, actually. I don’t really put on any kind of facade or try to present a certain image or version of myself. My interactions with people are sometimes different–obviously, my coworkers get the more professional version of me than, say, my friends and family do, but the core of who I am is always there.

6) Tex Ritter was the father of Emmy-winning comedic actor John Ritter. John is remembered fondly as the voice of Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Clifford appeals to children because he is “gentle, friendly, loyal, lovable and clumsy.” Do any of those adjectives apply to you? I think I have little bits of each one.

7) Tex is also the grandfather of Jason Ritter, star of ABC-TV’s Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. If you followed one of your grandparents into their line of work, what would you be doing? If I had to pick one, I’d go into psychology like my paternal grandfather. And that’s the route my brother went, actually. I have the interest, but the career path I chose was a bigger pull for me. Psych would be a close second.

8) In 1952, the year “High Noon” was popular, Stopette, the first antiperspirant deodorant spray, was introduced. Do you use a deodorant spray, stick or roll on? Right now, I use what could best be described as a bar from Lush.

9) Random question: What’s something you have always wanted to own, but never have? A sewing machine. There’s no space in our apartment, but now that we’re in the process of moving into a house, I may finally get one. I’m gonna wait until our furniture is moved–and after we buy some new furniture–and see what space is left, though.

Friday 5: Aloon Again, Naturally

  1. With which Looney Tunes character do you have the most in common? I don’t know! I didn’t watch a whole lot of Looney Tunes growing up, and I can’t think of any personality overlap. I can say a went through a big Tweety phase as a kid, though.
  2. Who or what are your metaphorical Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote? Myself, I guess–I’m the coyote chasing goals, the Road Runner, and it’s not so much that I never reach those goals so much as it is I find new ones to chase.
  3. What’s up, doc? Went for a walk in the park since our first nice weekend of spring decided to act more like summer, went to the outlets for a food-truck festival, am now home and really need to shower.
  4. When did you last hear some opera music? I was listening to NPR on my way home the other day, and they were interviewing a former opera singer and asked her to sing a few lines.
  5. What’s a good life lesson you learned from Looney Tunes? None, really. I didn’t watch it a lot, like I said, so I didn’t take away much.

As always, from Friday 5.

Well, illness foiled my weekend plans to finish painting in the house.

I caught whatever Paul had the week before last. I felt it coming on Tuesday, a day I already had off and was planning to use to paint some ugly wood paneling. I knew going ahead with the painting plan probably wasn’t a great idea, but I didn’t want to lose the day, so I did it anyway. And I was pretty much fine until the end of the day, when we finished up and I was exhausted and achey. I did use the house’s shower for the first time, though, which was great. Hot water is so unreliable at the apartment anymore that I spent a lot of time just standing there in the house.

I called off work Wednesday, slept in, lounged around the apartment, then went back to the house in the evening for a bubble bath. I thought maybe I’d be able to go to work Thursday, but I felt pretty shitty in the evening and when my alarm went off in the morning, so I called off again and spent Thursday much the same as Wednesday, including another bubble bath. Let me tell you, it’s worth it. Hot, relaxing, quiet, with the added bonus of being really, really satisfied that we own it.

I did go to work Friday and hoped to feel up to finishing the painting over the weekend, but I could tell Saturday wasn’t gonna happen, and Sunday wasn’t much of an improvement. It’s frustrating. I don’t want to overdo it and make myself feel worse so I’m being patient, but man, I just want to get these little improvements done so we can start really moving in. I’ve been taking small bags and boxes every time I go over, mostly of books these past few trips, and the plan is to slowly clean out the apartment and move things over and go through them and organize them, but man, it’s making me antsy.

On the one hand, we’ve gotten really apathetic with apartment upkeep, knowing that we’re just gonna be packing it all up, but we also have the same issues of lack of space. I’ve hauled over a few small stacks of books and you’d never know when you walk into the apartment. But the thing, too, is it’s getting harder and harder to leave the house, even if I’m just there with my Lush bath melts (I smelled so good and my skin was so soft for those couple days, just so everyone’s aware). There’s nothing there, other than books and a box of wedding cards, yet I don’t want to come back to the apartment. I mean, at the same time, the fact that there is nothing at the house is what keeps me from staying put. I have to come back to eat, sleep, and entertain myself, but the second I have an excuse to keep me there, I know that’s what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna end up spending a night on the floor there one of these days, and I’m gonna love it.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll see how the next few days go. I have Friday off, and my mom might be coming out again to help with whatever I need her for, so maybe that’ll be finishing the painting, maybe it’ll be taking down ugly wallpaper in the kitchen. We’ll see. One way or another, I’m really hoping to get back to making progress this weekend, rather than being stuck.

Saturday 9: Nights on Broadway

Saturday 9: Nights on Broadway (1975)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) It’s estimated that there are more than 200 separate streets called “Broadway” in the United States. Does your town have a Broadway? I don’t think so, but I know a couple towns nearby do. We do have a Wall St., though! And boy is it a letdown.

2) Think of the last time you celebrated well into the night. What street were you on? I’ll give you two–the more recent one would be New Year’s, but that barely counts as a celebration because it was four of us eating pizza and trying to keep ourselves awake. That was on a Jefferson St. Just before that, the weekend of Christmas, my husband and I went to a couple parties and hung out with some friends, and one ended up being a little get-together where much karaoke was sung into the very early morning hours. And that was Slaughterhouse Lane, the best street name ever.

3) The Bee Gees blame it all on those songs that go straight to the heart. What love song always makes you go, “aw …?” Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” It has some amazing lines. It’s also one of those songs where I love every cover version I’ve ever heard.

4) Even though their sound depended on tight harmonies, all three Bee Gees were heavy smokers, which is not good for the throat. What habit do you have that wish you could break? My messiness–not putting things away, not cleaning quite as often as I should, that kind of thing.

5) In addition to the three Gibbs who sang this song, there was a fourth brother, Andy, who also had hit records. But did you know the Gibbs’ had a sister, Lesley? Your turn: share some trivia that’s rattling around in your head. This shouldn’t really be a surprise, but the way we Americans eat sushi is absolutely not the way its meant to be eaten.

6) “Nights on Broadway” was recorded in Miami. When you think of Florida, what comes to mind? Beaches.

7) In 1975, when this song was popular, Sony introduced the Betamax and JVC gave us the VCR. Sam admits she was glad to see VCRs go because she never could program hers. What about you? Do you adapt easily to new technology? Yes and no. I’m a slow adopter because half the time, I just don’t care. I’m not the type who feels the need to get each new thing as it’s released, but when I do upgrade, I have no problem setting up something or learning how to use it.

8) The Bee Gees’ greatest success came two years later, in 1977, with the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. Have you ever seen the John Travolta movie? No, but my mom showed me clips of Staying Alive specifically to show me Finola Hughes, since my mom and I are both fans of her on General Hospital.

9) Random question — Your mail carrier is very attractive, and flirts with you each day when dropping off the mail. Would you a) ignore it or b) let the carrier know, firmly but politely, that you’re not interested or c) complain to your local post office or d) subscribe to more magazines and order more stuff to guarantee that the mail carrier comes every day? I’m happily married, so I’d ignore it until I felt like I had to say something. If it continued, then I’d complain.