Thursday, December 27, 2012

The end of my TSA troubles


My dislike of TSA is pretty well-documented. Despite my panic attacks, I opt out of the sexual assault machines every time I travel because a) the radiation levels in those machines are considerably higher and less safe than the government has told us and b) if they want to strip search me, they can damn well present me with probable cause and a warrant, like the law demands.

So I stand in line shaking and making snarky comments about actual freedom and the relative safety of guns in schools vs. toothpaste in airports, while I wait for my turn to remove my dignity layer by layer and prostrate it before some otherwise-unemployable asshole with a high school education. Then I opt out and stand quietly while they pretend to call for backup for 20 minutes when really they’re just waiting me out in the hopes that I’ll give up and go through the cancer machine.

Eventually an ambiguously-gendered female agent who would need to be watered once a week if she moved any slower will wander over and escort me through the metal detector (which won’t go off) and roll her eyes at me when I request a private screening with Charming present. Then Charming and I will be stuffed into a supply closet along with two female agents, one of whom will explain how she’s going to assault me before she does so.  

I grind my teeth and gnaw on my lip and beg them to get it over with as quick as possible. By the end, I’m nauseated, shaking and no more of a terrorist than I was before some poster child for inbreeding groped my ass.

But yesterday, that all changed.

You see, I discovered the magic of lying telling a future-truth to make the screening process simpler for us all (me).

Yesterday, after I’d removed my Al Qaida-issued Uggs and placed my shiv-concealing Coach belt on the x-ray machine, I approached the most grandfatherly looking of the available TSA agents and whispered conspiratorially, “I’m pregnant.”

I mean, by law in Arizona, you’re considered potentially pregnant for at least two weeks before your next period, so it possibly could have been true. If I weren’t on birth control or whatever.

The TSA agent made some sort of weird garbled noise, as old white men are wont to do when presented with Mysterious Female Issues (then some of them try to legislate on those issues, without knowing a damned thing about them of course, but that’s beside the point), and tried to assure me that the cancer rays were totally safe. But very quickly – and before I’d said another word – he offered to let me go through the metal detector instead. You know, just in case.

I simpered and thanked him obsequiously, with one hand placed protectively over my Christmas-turkey-and-sweet-potato-casserole-baby belly. “It’s early yet, and I don’t want to take any chances, you know?” He nodded hastily, made wild hand gestures at the guy operating the metal detector - while backing away quickly lest I contaminate him with my Scary Female Bodily Functions - and my still-empty uterus and I passed through without issue. Still not terrorists, and with far less wasted time and angst.

Charming just rolled his eyes at me and assured me I would have deserved it if the agent had thought I was eight months pregnant.

Unfortunately for Charming, I’m feeling like this might be the world’s longest gestation period. I look young as it is, so I’m thinking I should be able to pull this off until I’m at least 50 or so. Oh! I think my Civil Disobedience Baby just kicked! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Adventures in birth control


Last Sunday, I glanced down and realized I was nearing the end of my 3-month cycle of birth control pills. I knew I’d need to swing by the pharmacy sometime this week and pick up the next pack, since our birth control is still doled out like an allowance by a paternalistic health care industry that treats us as children.

Monday we had a family emergency, so I wasn’t able to get to the CVS until Wednesday, where I was told that yes, there were two refills available, but no I couldn’t have them because they were expired.

Wait, what? So I’m being denied access to legally-prescribed, safer-than-aspirin medication – not because the pills themselves expired – but because the prescription was written one year and 3 weeks ago. Even though the American Cancer Society no longer recommends pap smears every year, so the only reason to go back to the doctor every year would be for her to charge me money for wasting her time while she hits resend on the script.

Ok, fine. This was Wednesday evening, so the office was already closed, but I called my regular provider early Thursday morning, asking for an emergency reauthorization so I could get one more refill before the holidays. My clinician wasn’t available, and there was no backup clinician, but I was told to call back Friday, when someone should be on site. At this point, I had one pill left. I even called my mom, who’s a nurse, and asked her if she could call in any favors to get me a renewal. She couldn’t.

This morning, I called the office again, and was again told that there was no clinician on site, no appointments available today, and no backup clinicians. I tried several other Planned Parenthoods in the area, but got no answer and no help.

Then I started freaking out. I was completely out of pills, we’re scheduled to go out of town tomorrow, and if I didn’t get some pills, I would likely start my period right around New Years. That doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but it is when you deal with periods like mine.

Oversharing alert, but my period lasts a full 7-8 days, I have cramps that would knock out a full-grown elephant and my skin hurts. I don’t know how to explain it better than that – I just feel like every inch of my body is painfully sensitive and I ache and throb and cannot stand to be touched. By anyone or anything. Just the thought of putting a heating pad on my stomach makes me violently nauseous. I want to curl up inside my skin and not exist until it’s over. So I do a 3-month cycle, and as soon as Charming and I decide to have/finish having a child, I’ll be putting a permanent end to this nonsense.  

Needless to say, it’s very important to me to not miss a pill so I don’t have to deal with my period any more frequently than necessary.  

At 9:45am, I pulled up a list of providers in my network and started calling down the list, begging for a same-day appointment. And I got turned down over and over and over again.

Finally I got to Unity Health Care Center, and the wonderful admin on the phone called around and found a cancellation for me at the clinic near my office at 10:45am. I half-sprinted the ¾ mile to the clinic, and entered through what looked like a service door. Immediately I knew I was too white to be there. And too fancy. I turned my engagement ring upside down to hide the diamond, and stuffed my Burberry scarf in my purse, which I turned around so the Kate Spade logo would be hidden.

I walked toward the back of the clinic, where the registration desk was, and 25 pairs of eyes zeroed in on me the second I came around the corner. After filling out some new patient paperwork, which required me to disclose my salary (or I could just check the “I’m homeless and out of work” box, according to the very-helpful admin), and getting panhandled twice –inside the clinic– I was finally called back to the exam room.

The tech offered to hold my coat while I stood on the scale, and I handed my new white Michael Kors jacket over very reluctantly. She led me back to the exam room and took my blood pressure, then left me alone to watch the pregnant teenager crying quietly in the room across the hall.

The tech came back to ask me to provide a urine sample, and as I stood up to follow her to the bathroom, she pointed at my coat and bag on the floor and advised “You better bring your stuff – you certainly don’t want to leave it here.”

After unlocking the bathroom door and chasing a most-likely homeless lady out of the restroom, she left me alone to provide the sample.

And still I didn’t turn tail and run. I was absolutely determined to get my hands on the damned birth control.

Eventually the doctor came in, and she was actually super nice and understanding of the situation, and she wrote out a script for one refill of my preferred brand. But I didn’t relax until I got to CVS and hand the actual packet of pills in my hand. Though finally, 3 days and a stomach-full of anxiety later, my odyssey was over.

It’s unbelievable to me that in 2012, as a 28 year old professional with excellent health insurance, a good job and all the white privilege you could ask for, it took me 3 days, untold amounts of stress, a panicked Facebook posting and some tears to get my hands on a pack of birth control. A drug that is not a narcotic and – as I’ve mentioned before – is safer than aspirin. A drug that, furthermore, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends be sold over the counter.

But that change isn’t going to happen anytime soon, because that means insurance companies and doctors would have to give up one more piece of patriarchal control over women. If we could just access birth control when we need it – you know, kind of like how men can access aspirin or Sudafed or condoms whenever they need it – they’d lose this chance to shame us, to force us into celibacy and feelings of inadequacy over our inability to control our own health care.

This is the ‘freedom’ Republicans speak of – the freedom for my employer and my insurance company to deny me access to care, the freedom of doctors and pharmacists to hold my health care hostage because of their own prejudices and beliefs, the freedom to slut shame women and treat us as children, as second-class citizens in our own country. It’s downright sickening, wouldn't you agree? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An open letter to religious people


Let me first start off by saying, I absolutely respect you. In much the same way one respects a child with an imaginary friend. You can invite him over to play, but I draw the line at letting your imaginary pal dictate aspects of my life.

I’m Jewish, and I love my culture and my heritage, but I just can’t on any rational level believe that there’s actually some omnipotent being sitting on a cloud-throne in the sky wearing a crown of unicorn tears and cuddling dead fetus cell-clusters. That just doesn’t do it for me.

Fate? Karma? Kismet? There are a lot of things in the universe that can’t be explained – that doesn’t bother me, but I don’t feel the need to attribute them to the sneaky dealings of a 5000+ year old gray beard playing chess with my life.

I understand that many people find comfort and strength in praying to a God they can’t see but “sense” through faith, and I absolutely respect their right to do so. But for me, I find comfort and solace in my family, in my fiancĂ©, in my own strength. That’s not to say that either of us is right or wrong, just that our beliefs are different.

Which is why I politely ask you to respect my right to not believe in God. To not require my politicians to believe or pretend to believe in God. To not for one split second believe that your right to your beliefs is in any way more important than my right to life.  

There has been a subtle shift over the past few years or so – I can remember arguments when I was younger about removing “under God” from the pledge of allegiance and excluding heavily-religious artifacts from Christmas decorations. But now we seem to be shifting back. There was an internet outcry when the Democrats didn’t mention God during the opening speech at the DNC. Fox News is on a tireless crusade to end the War on Christmas. States are introducing conscience clauses and invoking the name of God every other breath. Mike Huckabee blamed our collective lack of belief in God for the Newtown, CT massacre.

It astounds me that people would want to believe in a God who would use violence and the brutal murder of innocents to make a point, but that’s neither here nor there.

The thing is - religion is not the sole proprietor of morality. People don’t need to believe in a higher power in order to be good people, or to teach their children to be good people. In fact, I’d argue that passing judgment on others or hating those who believe/act differently than you in the name of religion is pretty decidedly immoral.

And let’s get one thing straight – Christianity may be the dominant religion in America, but we are NOT a Christian nation. This country was founded by people seeking to escape religious persecution – now is not the time to reinstitute that same style of persecution. You want to know what it's like to live under a true theocracy? I hear Iran is nice this time of year - just watch out for the bombs and stuff. 

Which is why the idea that an employer should be able to prevent – through my compensation package – my affordable access to birth control, because he or she thinks their belief that birth control is contrary to the arbitrary demands of a mythical being is more important than my right to treat my debilitating cramps is absolutely laughable. And the fact that this idea is being taken seriously by our government and our courts is absolutely terrifying.

And conscience clauses for pharmacists are even worse. Have we, as a nation, conscripted these people into service as pharmacists, against their will, and demanded that they abdicate all their beliefs in order to do their job? No. In fact, the thing is, even if they have to hand a package of Plan B over the counter to a 25 year old woman who accidentally missed a pill, they can still continue to believe that Plan B is Satan’s Drug (even though Plan B just prevents implantation and does NOT cause abortions). What they can’t do is interfere with that woman’s right to not believe in Satan and to take that pill to preserve her own way of life.

Do you think that any Muslim/Anarchist/whomever who truly believes that their God demands the murder of all adults who eat bacon should be allowed to smite anyone they catch with a BLT in their mouth? No? Probably because their beliefs don’t trump another person’s right to life. At least not in this country. And the same goes for Catholics/Christians of all denominations. Your beliefs do not trump my right to life. Nor does your belief that a cell cluster that cannot survive outside my body is as much of a person as me trump my actual, taxpaying, life.

A lot of evils throughout history have been perpetrated in the name of religion, yet I would defend to the death any person’s right to believe in God or Allah or the Purple People Eater, if that’s their religious preference. All I ask is for the same respect. Don’t attempt to legislate or control me according to your religious beliefs, and I’ll promise to do the same.

Love and religious acceptance,

Heather 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Guns


My heart breaks for those parents and families affected by today’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I can’t even begin to imagine sending a child off to elementary school in the morning, only to get their dead body back in the evening. No parent should ever have to face something like that.

The people screaming that this isn’t political – that this tragedy shouldn’t be exploited to take away our second amendment rights – well, now would be a good time to shut up. It IS political. It IS our government’s JOB to protect us from threats to our lives – both foreign and domestic. And this is coming from a gun owner.

Yep, you read that right. And you know how hard it was for me to get that gun? My dad had to get it out of his locked safe and hand it to me.

I kept it in my apartment in Austin and felt considerably safer for it, but the problem is that not everyone has been shooting since they were 8 years old. Not everyone was raised with a proper respect for what guns can do. Not everyone is a mature, sane, mentally healthy individual capable of handling such an immense responsibility. And we have a responsibility as a country to do what we can to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who aren’t.

We have had 31 school shootings in the US since Columbine in 1999; the rest of the developed world has had 14 total in that time. When some dark-skinned idiot tried to detonate a shoe bomb, all Americans were suddenly required to remove their shoes at the airport. When someone went on a rampage at Columbine, at a movie theater, at a Sikh temple, at a Portland mall, at a Connecticut elementary school – we collectively shrug our shoulders and offer up empty prayers. There’s something wrong here.

I’m scared, and I’m angry and I’m frustrated that we live in a society where Republicans prioritize the needs of corporations over Native American women and LGBT individuals and union workers and women and people with mental illnesses and children. We need honest discourse and regulation and better access to mental health care for all, and we need it now. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Vandy photo booth scandal


Today I’m writing about something that hits kind of close to home for me. Some of you may have heard about the recent scandal involving a Vanderbilt (my alma mater) sorority girl who took explicit photos with her boyfriend in a photo booth at a sorority formal – a booth that uploaded its pictures directly to Facebook.

Within hours, the photos were viral and the girl was kicked off the cheerleading squad, out of the sorority, and the photos were forwarded to the law schools to which she was applying. It took seconds to ruin her reputation and jeopardize her entire future.

But you know what? There were two people in that booth. That dick in her mouth? It was attached to a guy – a guy who has suffered zero consequences for his role in the scandal, simply because he’s a dude, and that’s what dudes do.

A quick search of the TMB forum (which bills itself as “Excellent Whoring. Terrible Internetting, and Everything in between.” – stay classy, gentlemen) turns up such gems about the young woman involved as:

“Have to say—she has that ‘I would be comfortable getting slapped in the face by a cock’ kind of look to her.”  - PhupaPhever

“This is a blessing in disguise. Law school is a waste of time and money for women, anyways. Embrace it and enjoy your career in IT sales.” – The Guglia

“I call bullshit… aint no cheerleader gonna be a law student.” – Caga palo

“Consider these pictures this girls [sic] reparations for 9/11. It’s certainly not enough, but it’s a start.” – DeToxRox

“Yea guys, show the girl who smiled as she throated a hog in a picture booth some respect” – The Guglia

“My life would would [sic] be much worse without [sluts]. I’m far too self-absorbed for any woman that demands to be respected.” – JY

“I would def. take her [as an employee at a law firm], the photos show that she knows how to get ahead in life” – Rumpus StillStiff

I’ll placate myself with the knowledge that these assholes are all 18 year old boys with bacne and crippling self-esteem issues who really think calling a girl a slut somehow raises their own self-worth, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is very de rigueur for how our society thinks of and treats women.

Women are sex objects, plain and simple. Three of the comments focus on the fact that women are too dumb to either get into law school or succeed at law school/life. Without whoring their way to the top, of course. And the thought of respecting a woman who made a poor decision? Absolutely laughable, according to The Guglia.

The woman’s actions are fodder for public consumption and scorn, while the man involved is barely even mentioned. I saw the pictures – his face is just as clearly visible. But will this jeopardize his future? Unlikely. A man who sleeps with a woman is a stud, a conqueror, a manly man, but the woman with whom he sleeps is a slut, a grasping whore, an insipid dick-receptacle worth nothing more than a few crude jokes.

This is the legacy of the religious right. Women are subject to patriarchal double-standards that punish and castigate women for daring to claim equality or the same sexual liberation as men. Women are expected to remain lily-white pure reflections of Christ, while ‘boys will be boys.’

This is why we have a rape culture. Women who deviate from the strict moral (and ever-changing!) expectations of society are less worthy, less human than other women. It’s acceptable to call them names, to destroy their reputation on the internet, to write comments about how it’s her job to be objectified and exploited over the internet, because she’s female.

A lack of respect for a woman who makes a poor decision regarding her sexual activity is still a lack of respect for women. All women. Because not every choice does or should define who we are.

This young woman’s story impacts me personally, not just because she went to my school, but because attacking her is also an attack against me and all women in this country. Women have a right to sexuality. And we have a right to make mistakes without confirming the suspicion that all women who do X are worthless sluts. We have a right to be seen as people – fallible people, yes, but still people – and to not be degraded and exploited at every turn.

Slut-shaming this young woman for a poor decision serves to discourage and stigmatize the expression of sexuality in women, while at the same time further cementing the notion that women are sexual objects for the male gaze. She is condemned for her role in the photos, at the same time the photos are exploited for rabid male consumption.

Should she have thought twice about taking those pictures? Probably. But does she deserve to have her future jeopardized for them? Absolutely not.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

I Leibster You...

So Jake over at Caustic Snark gave me a snazzy award, but one of those strings-attached awards, kind of like my father’s love. Juuuust kidding. Apparently this thing is aimed at “up and coming” bloggers with less than 200 followers. I’m still working on that “up” part, but I’ll take it.
The first post I ever read at Caustic Snark was This is why we don’t buy flashy shit we don’t understand and I was like ‘oh my god, I’m not alone in my disdain for the vast majority of mankind.’ And it was awesome. And the fact that he occasionally stumbles over and reads my blog, too, just makes me downright giddy.

So thanks, Jake, for nominating me for this award, and for giving me permission to use sarcasm after the 17th time I’ve tried to explain to my boss just exactly how “web pages” work.

And now the list of strings that come with getting to post that snazzy pic on my blog and lord my superiority over all for at least 2 days or so before I post again:
  • Thank the person that who (ahem, grammar nerd here, major pet peeve alert) nominated you. Thanks, Jake! Also, see above.
  • Display the Liebster Heart on your blog. Done!
  • Nominate 3 to 5 more different bloggers. Done! Well, 3, because I always do the barest minimum necessary.
  • Post 11 things about yourself. Done!
  • Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer. Done!
  • Answer the 11 questions you’ve been asked in your nomination. Done!
  • Ignore the fact that you’re now being asked to nominate 11 people to award, and just stick with the original 3 to 5. Done!
  • (Option, as I’ve just invented it) Wonder why this award suddenly became obsessed with the number 11. Done!
  • (Also optional, as it stems from the recently-invented 8th task) Blame Matt Smith. Done!
  • (Also just invented; only applies to non-Whovians) Wonder why the hell you were just asked to blame Matt Smith. Done!
  • (For ambitious non-Whovians who will be glad they did, and also because it brings the number of tasks to 11, creating some kind of self-referential circle of completeness) Watch all of Doctor Who to find out. Ehhh.
Oh well. 10 out of 11 ain’t bad.

Questions from Jake:

1. Do you have any semi-useless superpowers (e.g., "I always know exactly what time it is," or "I can pay attention to two TV shows at once")? If so, what are they?

I’m pretty sure I can make things vanish. Like keys and single socks and expensive jewelry. I pick them up, have them in my hand, and then poof! Gone! I may also have blackouts. It’s hard to tell.

2. What is the worst book you have ever read? What was so terrible about it?

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner. You cannot just draw pictures in the middle of text. I refuse to accept that. This was not supposed to be a picture book! What does “Her virginity was in the shape of a     .“ even mean?? And screw you, too, Mrs. W., for making that a question on the quiz. Leaving the answer blank should have counted, because that’s what Faulkner did!!  

3. If you use some kind of analytics tool, what's the weirdest search that's led someone to your blog?

“Herve Leger Waders” and “ass oil” are two current top hits. The former is not a thing, sorry people, and the later, well, you’ll have to email me to find out more about that one… *winky face*

4. Which Hogwarts house would the Sorting Hat place you in?

Pssh. Never read the books. But I did go to Harry Potter world, and the Harry Potter ride was by far one of the coolest rides I have ever been on. SO amazing.

5. How many roads must a man walk down?

The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…

6. What's your favorite alcoholic drink? (If it's somewhat obscure, what's in it?)

For the longest time, it was an Amaretto Sour, but then I asked Charming to buy me one on his 21st birthday, and he came back with a Whiskey Sour, and I’ve been a bit leery of them ever since. Now I like Mexican Martinis, which you can pretty much only get in Austin. Depending on who’s making it, it’s generally tequila, Cointreau, sour mix, OJ, limes and olives.

7. What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? Please specify African or European.

Ugh, are you taunting me? I’ve been pseudo-sick for a couple weeks, and I can’t swallow without feeling like there are great big gobs of mucus stuck in my throat. C’mon, Mucinex, your little mucus-monsters need to go away now.

8. What's the coolest thing you've ever gotten paid to do?

Teach horseback riding. I absolutely love teaching kids, and I’m mostly over the incredulousness about the fact that people not only trust me to put their precious darlings up on 1200 lb animals – oftentimes backwards! – but that they pay me a decent amount of money to do it.

9. What's in your Zombie Apocalypse survival kit?

25 metric tons of freeze-dried space food, 100 gallons of filtered water, a 12-guage shotgun, four .22 semi-automatics, 1000 rounds of ammo, a hand-crank generator, AM/FM radio, and tools to skin a goat. Shit, no, that was last night’s episode of Doomsday Preppers. Charming is from Miami and still can’t prep for a hurricane – we’re fucked if the Zombie Apocalypse strikes.

10. What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

I never actually liked them, so not much, really. I might like, say “thanks” or something, if it was free, though.

11. Cake or death?

Uh, death, please. No, cake! Cake! Cake, sorry. Sorry...

11 Other Things About Me
  1. I secretly kind of love my hair. I complain about it a lot, and wish it would be wavy, or perfectly straight, or something, but I take really good care of it (like, sulfate-free expensive products and crap) and it’s super soft and I’m horrifically vain about it.
  2. I frequently use my lunch breaks to go shopping, then try to beat Charming home so I can remove the tags and assimilate any new items into my wardrobe before he sees them. He’s kind of caught onto this game now, though, so I’m having to up the sneakiness-ante.
  3. I tutor a 1st grader online once a week in reading. I’m such a nerd, but I love tutoring.
  4. I hate mushrooms. I loved Campbells Cream of Mushroom soup growing up, but now the texture and smell of them totally grosses me out.
  5. I got a 790 out of 800 on the verbal section of the SAT, and I’m still bitter because the one question I missed was because I made a mistake in coding the answer – I knew what the right answer was and should have gotten a perfect score. This goes back to that “nerd” thing.
  6. Sometimes I still get off the metro at work and turn the wrong way, because I really suck at directions and orientation and stuff.
  7. The first pet I ever had of my own (other than the family dog) was a hamster named Dreidel. The first pet Charming and I owned together was also a hamster, though he was named Marley and he liked to bite our fingers.
  8. My horse really likes it when I clean his sheath (penis). Creepily so. Guess I’m good at it.
  9. I’m afraid of escalators. To this day, I have to stop and wait and MAKE SURE my foot is going to land square on the step before I can get on.
  10. One of my co-workers talks really fast and I can almost never understand a word he says. I’m reasonably sure he thinks I have a hearing problem, because I always ask him to repeat himself. Then I end up just nodding and smiling to whatever he says. Which is probably just weird most of the time.
  11. I kind of loved doing this, even though I was sort of dreading it at first. It took me back to the days of the AOL chain letters. Which reminds me, do I need to make a wish so that Charming will kiss me tonight at 11:11pm? 


Questions for my nominees
  1. If you could undo one thing/decision in your past, what would it be?
  2. Who’s your favorite ninja turtle and why?
  3. How many licks does it take?
  4. If you could travel back in time to any point in history, where/when would you go?
  5. Have you ever fantasized about being the person on the plane/train/whatever who stands up and defeats the terrorist? How did you do it?
  6. What’s the biggest/best/most prestigious/etc. award you’ve ever won?
  7. (Stolen question alert) If you use some kind of analytics tool, what's the weirdest search that's led someone to your blog?
  8. What was the last thing you Googled?
  9. When was one time you took a big risk and it paid off?
  10. What’s your weirdest/most unusual talent?
  11. White, milk or dark chocolate? 


And the nominees are…

So Tabulous – I started reading her blog forever ago, and have stuck with it, because she’s so incredibly eloquent and honest and real. Also, she has fantastic hair and a separate home improvement blog that I’m just a little bit jealous of.

Sisters from Different Misters – Mostly I’m just in love with the fact that her adorable 5 year old daughter has started a campaign to donate dog and cat supplies to the Animal Rescue League. How unbelievably sweet/awesome is that?

Atypically Relevant – I don’t actually know how many followers she has, since there isn’t a counter on her site (smart girl! I’ve always assumed it was at least 2000), but I’m sending this her way anyway because holy crap her interactions with her undergrad tenants make me die of laughter, then run home and hug my house. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Ravens purple bathroom

Charming got a new grill, which apparently requires all kinds of things and processes before it’s actually ready to prepare food, so Saturday morning found us headed back to Home Depot again for probably the 200th or so time since we’ve moved.

Our Home Depot trips generally start with us standing in the tile aisle ogling slate tiles, while Charming promises to do more research before we commit to anything. Then we migrate toward lighting – this time to look for outdoor lights for the grill area – but sometimes to stare at ceiling fans. Occasionally there’s a detour through cabinetry to look for a butcher block cart (which they never have) and to wistfully stroke the granite and quartz countertops. Then I finally give into the call of the semi-glossed wild and end up in the paint section.

This time I needed an off-white color for the stencil accent that will eventually go on one wall in the kitchen. The problem was, I bought the main kitchen color at Lowes (a Valspar color) and forgot to bring the color sample with me. So I had to guess as to a white that would make a good accent against the mushroom-y grey color that will be the rest of the kitchen. Do you know how many damned shades of white there are? I finally settled on Glidden’s “Muslin White,” mainly because I read it as “Muslim White” at first and thought that was really funny. Alas.

But then I got distracted by the purples. Oh the deep, rich, saturated purples. I’d been dreaming of doing something to the main floor bathroom (white tiles, white shower, white counter/cabinet, white medicine cabinet, white blinds, white walls…) and I couldn’t resist. I wandered from display to display, snatching up purple color samples, until I’d narrowed it down to three. And finally I decided… it was a little dark, a little intimidating, but I thought the contrast against all the white in the bathroom would be gorgeous. So I bought a quart of Behr’s Wine Frost in the satin finish (after much arguing with Charming, who was convinced we needed semi-gloss or gloss for the bathroom, even though I hate shiny walls).

I planned to be a good girl and finish up the kitchen before I tackled yet another new project, but I just couldn’t resist the lure of fresh paint and walls that didn’t need to be sanded/plastered/primed/caulked. So I jumped in. Even though I’ve never painted walls before in my life.

Let me first say that taping walls/things sucks.

I forgot to tape that right edge of the medicine cabinet mirror and had to go back and do it with paint all over my hands. 
I decided to start with the wall sections over the shower, since they’re kind of hidden in case I screwed up. Which I did. Using a roller is really hard (don’t judge) and I ended up with lots of purple on the ceiling. I’d bought Goof Off wipes which are supposed to remove paint, and they helped a lot, but unfortunately they also took old layers of the original paint off the ceiling as well. Along with several layers of my skin. My hands are fuzzy right now from dry, peeling skin. I look like a leper. It’s really gross.
This is about the point where I started to get overwhelmed. I wasn't very far in. 
About 3 hours in, I realized that one quart of paint wasn’t going to cut it, so I sent Charming back off to Home Depot to get a second quart.

The Behr has the paint and primer in one, but I needed two coats in most places, probably because of my aforementioned lack of skill with a paint roller. I finally finished, though, and the Goof Off wipes were great for cleaning up spots where extra paint had gotten under the tape and onto the tile splash around the bottom of the wall.

Yes my toilet is wearing a trashbag. Hey, it worked. 
Then the fun stuff. Once it was dry, I finally got to put my Pinteresting skills to use and style the space. I bought Mural shelves from Home Depot – I thought we’d gotten the floating shelves, but we got ones with brackets, which I ended up really liking. I had an extra basket in our entry area that I bought at some point because I really like baskets (mess just vanishes!) which turned out to be a perfect width for the shelf and for toilet paper rolls.

I finally got to hang my raven printed on burlap picture – it’s maybe a tiny bit small for that wall, but I was afraid anything bigger would make the space feel small and crowded. And most importantly, I found homes for a cool-looking old clock my stepdad found at a flea market, and my crown-prince frog reading. I just assume the frog is sitting on a toilet, because that’s where I get the majority of my reading done…

It is really impossible to find an angle to take a full shot of the whole bathroom. This was the best I could do. 
I'm still missing a bathmat, curtains and the new switch plates I ordered, but I’m totally thrilled with the way the bathroom looks, even if there are a couple of messy spots around the edges of the counter. And Charming is just thrilled/relieved that at least the whole house won’t be grey.

I’ve also discovered that I absolutely hate painting. Which is an unfortunate revelation, since I still have a lot of house left to paint… So who’s coming over to help me work on the kitchen??