lessons from a new homeowner

1. Always take a close look at the layout of your windows before deciding you would like to put an offer on a house. Here’s a very real conversation we had recently:

After grocery shopping (or some other incredibly exciting activity), we walk up to the house from the garage. I stop short.

Me: I just noticed something about our house that I can’t unsee.

Y: What? (Considers house.) The fact that it looks like a crazy robot?

Me: YES. How did we not see this?
Y: (Shrugs.) Can we get a mustache for it?

2. If you discover you have magnetic walls in your bathroom, celebrate. You now have a built in place for your electric toothbrush heads.

3. Be prepared to learn new things about each other. For instance, I learned that Y is a secret fan of chalkboard art.

4. If you and your loved one get into a fight at Ikea (and you will), a really great way to relieve stress is to visit the rug section and battle each other American Gladiator style. Trust me. I felt better and more able to rationally choose between the Hemnes and the Brimnes.

Minneapolis residency vacation

Y’s vacation is over.

And by vacation, I mean a consult month, a rotation with an 8-5, Monday through Friday schedule. He calls it vacation. The rest of us call it real life. 

Tomato, tomahto.

Today he switched to a more stressful rotation, but honestly, I think it’s for the best for both of us. 

For him, it means I will stop making him pose in front of walls. I didn’t realize how obnoxious I must have been until I looked back through my pictures.

I will benefit from not having to listen to Y rap/sing anymore. Approximately 2 seconds after we moved to South Minneapolis, Y discovered that “South Minneapolis” and “West Philadelphia” have the same number of syllables. Cue the constant, Minneapolis-themed renditions of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song. Even Ike is over it. 

Put a sock in it, plz.

Below, some pictures of our “vacation” adventures:

exploring downtown

Amazing seats for our first Twins game, which was really more of a kettle corn scarfing fiasco. We finished an extra large bag of the stuff in about 20 minutes. I’m not sure what the deal is with kettle corn around here, but I’m not complaining.

“Spoonbridge and Cherry”. From what I can tell, this : Minneapolis :: The Bean : Chicago. 

Reading (currently reading State of Wonder by Ann Patchett) while Y fished. Unsuccesfully. But more on that later. 

A stop on an 18 mile urban bike ride. We spent all 18 miles marveling at how Dutch the city felt…

…and then we remembered we had tickets to see the Rembrandt exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (which happens to be the largest collection of Rembrandts in the United States). The day, needless to say, was sufficiently Dutch.

The Fault in Our Stars: a sort of review

Here’s a tip for my readers: read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Here’s another tip for my readers: Don’t read The Fault in Our Stars on an airplane, when the person sitting one inch away from you is privy to every emotion you might experience while reading a book. This book is about kids with cancer. Cool, ironic kids, who talk about the C-word in a refreshing way. But no matter how cool, ironic, or refreshing one tries to make cancer, there will be tears. That’s a fact. I know a doctor. I know what I’m talking about. 

Here’s a tip for anyone who happens to sit next to me on an airplane while I’m reading such a book: When I — clutching my armrest for dear life every time the plane makes a sudden movement — mention that I am reading a book about kids with cancer, don’t say, in your broken English “I do not like death from cancer. I rather die in plane crash.”

And as the plane descends quickly (but not quickly enough… never quickly enough), and I bury my nose back into my book, trying to make the terror of air travel just end already, don’t say, loudly “I have not felt plane like this before. Something is wrong with this aircraft!”

But back to you, readers. If you’re in the mood to feel, and you like teenagers who speak above their grade level (a la the kids from Dawson’s Creek, but less angsty, which is amazing because they have cancer and bigger things to worry about than not getting in to film school), and you enjoy reading about Amsterdam… you will like this book. Just not on a plane next to a Pakistani college kid who doesn’t understand plane etiquette.

the target lady teaches a valuable lesson

“What is this?” asks the cashier, holding the strange fruit gingerly, as if it might eat her.

“A kiwi,” I reply, wondering how a person gets through 20+ years of life never seeing a kiwi.

She looks at me angrily. Not only am I stumping her with a strange produce item, she now has to find said produce item on her list and match it to a number. I am making the woman working as a Target cashier do actual work and I am going to get a death glare.

The above describes a typical encounter at a Target in Shreveport, Louisiana. The below describes a typical encounter at a Target in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“Paper or plastic?” The cashier’s smile is so wide I worry her face might split in half. Her pigtails bob up and down as she begins to scan items.

“Paper is fine, thank you,” the man replies.

“Okie dokie smokie!” she yells, so loudly I can hear her from four aisles over where I am having a conversation about why some people don’t like cilantro with my own cashier. (Sidenote: MY CASHIER KNOWS WHAT CILANTRO IS! What is this magical place?)

The man four aisles over laughs politely. “I say okie dokie smokie too sometimes,” he admits. The cashier stops what she is doing. She pumps her fist in the air.

“Okie dokie smokies unite! We should start a club!” She leaves one hand lingering in the air so her customer can give her a high five. Which he does.


Before I moved to the midwest, I appreciated Kristen Wiig’s Target Lady sketch abstractly. I thought I got the joke — I’ve watched every single one multiple times and cried silent tears of laughter — but I’m now realizing that I didn’t get the joke. Target ladies are a real thing.  Contrary to popular Southern belief, retail employees are not required to shoot laser beams of hatred out of their eyes.

Life is a little different here, and even though these differences manifest themselves randomly and seemingly insignificantly, you can tell.

It’s nice to live somewhere different for a little while.

PS. something to give a little PERRRP to my floor length western dress. 

okay, NOW I’m a crazy dog lady.

I’ve struggled for a long time about my inevitable transition to Crazy Dog Lady. There was the time I tucked Ike in. And then there was the sweater…

But I think it finally happened last week. Some transitions are seamless; so seamless you’re not even sure they’re happening.  But this…believe me, I knew.

I saw this dog at the vet:

Obviously, I asked its owner if I could take a picture. That’s weird enough, right?

Then I got to my car and looked at the picture.

And then I talked to it.

 The general gist of my speech to this picture of a puppy: you’re so cute, do you want to meet my dog Ike, you guys would get cutest couple in the puppy yearbook, you know. The usual.

It’s like my brain shut off, and any sense of what is and isn’t acceptable vanished.

But you know what? IT WAS THE BEST 10 SECONDS OF MY LIFE. 

the BEST thing about residency

This might be a tad premature — Y is only about 55 days into his residency, after all — but I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’ve figured out the very best part of the whole residency thing.

It starts with a little argument about our house that turned into a full blown, silent treatment kind of dispute. I wanted to put shelves up in a certain part of our bathroom to display essentials like the 20 year old bottle of Chanel No 5 I found in my mom’s drawer, and the 95 cent bowls I scored at Anthropologie. Things that absolutely need to be on a shelf center stage in our bathroom.

Since my brain turns to mush as soon as it tries to think about tools and drywall anchors and studs, I needed Y to put up these shelves. But when he tried to drill, it was more difficult than he thought due to a piece of metal in the wall. He managed to successfully put up one shelf, but he wasn’t willing to do more damage to the wall to put up the second shelf.

I — because I’m so handy, remember? tried to convince him that one tiny hole in the wall wasn’t going to affect anything. This is where things got hairy. Apparently, I was “nagging”. Psh. 

“Why can’t we put them over here?” he asked, pointing across the room.

“That doesn’t make any sense!” Why would we have one shelf on this wall, and one halfway across the room? Boys. 

“You literally picked the one spot in the wall where we shouldn’t drill. Find a different spot.”

Eventually — it took at least 3 days — Y realized that I was not going to shut up about the shelf. He successfully hung it, much to his chagrin. So far our house is still standing.

The second part of this story involves the facts that a) these shelves are above the toilet, and b) Y believes that when he “only pees a little”, flushing the toilet is not required.

You see where this is going.

When my moisturizer fell into some fresh urine the other night, there was no question: HE was fishing it out. Not only was it his urine, but he has dug around inside a) dead people and b) rectums. And probably c) dead people’s rectums. All gross tasks should default to him.

This is where it gets good, fellow naggers. Listen carefully.

As he gingerly placed the bottle in the sink, I shook my head. “Whose idea was it to put those shelves there, anyway?” It was sarcastic; slightly apologetic. I was ready to take the blame.

He looked at me, anger flashing in his eyes. “Where else would we have put them?” he retorted indignantly, as if I had insulted his greatest work of art. 

You guys. Residency makes them forget. The possibilities are endless.