Saturday, May 28, 2005

Keeping House

You know, for a long time I thought I was lazy. Tossing clothes on the floor. Leaving dishes in the sink until I ran out of clean ones. Cat hair everywhere.
But, I finally think I figured out that it's not me.
It's my house.

For the first time in about...six years?...I live someplace where people might actually come visit. It's a nice feeling.
And, with hosting comes great responsibilities. Namely cleanliness.

OK, most of my friends wouldn't really think twice if my counters were dusty and sprayed with coffee stains but seriously, is this the sort of home I want to present to people?
Not so much really.

When I was a child I was disorganized and slovenly. At least that's what I heard from my parents. They probably didn't use the word slovenly but if they thought I knew what it meant they probably would have.
My room was a Grade A disaster area. I was constantly rearranging it, stacking books and comics where ever I could find space and had dolls EVERYWHERE. I think there's actually a history of me drawing on the walls as well but let's not talk about that.

High School? No different really. Except now it was less dolls and more clothes and videos strewn about willy-nilly. There was very little my mother could do to get me to keep the place clean. I think we finally settled on just keeping the door closed after a while.
I am convinced that my mother thought I would always be that messy. This theory was proved on her last visit when she expressed surprise at how clean the house was AND didn't feel the need to reclean anything during her stay. (Once I caught her scrubbing the stove at 6am when she was visiting one of my earlier apartments.)

In college, well nothing got clean in college. Even a parental visit meant little was done except to clear out the pyramid of empties accumulating in my dorm room. Not an easy feat in itself but how much of an actual visit to college takes place in the dorm room? Very little. They pick you up there, comment on your decor. Meet the roommate (if you have one) and then drop you off with a load of "groceries" after you're done. I use the term groceries loosely because we all know what dorm groceries are - ramen, cereal, cup-a-soups and probably some cold cuts or frozen pizzas if you were hiding a microwave.
When I moved off campus it was into a house with five other people. Yeah, probably don't do that to yourself. I mean, it was fun, but hectic.
My favorite cleaning story from that house was when the "Dish Fairy" visited and left dirty plates under my friend Dave's pillow. Cruel but I believe it was justified at the time. Who really remembers anymore?
That house never really seemed clean, even if the six of us spent a day cleaning it. It was an old building with lots of nooks and cranies and ghosties. I think that was where I started keeping a cleaner room just because it was my only sanctuary from whatever drama was going on. And, believe me, when you live with five other people, someone is ALWAYS having drama.

After college (and I realize I am skipping over about 2 years here but yadda yadda yadda OK?) I moved to Chicago. Hack, my boyfriend at the time, and I moved into a place that in retrospect was beyond our means and way nicer than anywhere we had ever lived. Wall to wall carpets, a hallway of mirrored closets and central air. We kept that place pretty nice. It was difficult though. Hack, not the cleanest person (but I love you dear) and at the time he was way into found objects as art and selective dumpster diving. Which, you know, sounds fun but sometimes isn't so much.

Once Hack and I broke up I took up with ole whats-his-nuts and we lived in a number of unsavory neighborhoods. Well two but serious on the unsavory end. Uptown and Humbolt Park. Consequently we had very few visitors on any sort of regular basis. Sure the place was always pretty clean. But, for someone who wasn't holding down any kind of regular job, that boy sure did master the art of sitting on his ass. And, as we have discussed, I am not the most motivated person when it comes to cleaning up my own mess - let alone the mess of someone else.

Yadda yadda yadda

I live on my own. With my cat. In a studio. A series of studios, each one larger than the last but still not places where you could invite people over. Unless they wanted to sit ontop of the kitchen counter. Let's see...since 2002 I have lived in 4 different studio apartments. My excuse for not cleaning those all that thoroughly was lack of space. There was never anywhere to put anything, how was I supposed to clean? Clean meant stacking things under stuff, behind curtains, in drawers and cabinets.

Now however. The Boyfriend and I have a pretty nice pad. Sure, there's no jacuzzi bathtub but we do have a dishwasher, a guest bedroom and space in the livingroom for two couches (whenever we get the cash together to finish paying for the new one that is.) People come over. They eat dinner, have beers, play video games and actually spend the night on occasion. Our first real out of town visitor is expected in two weeks (A to the mutha fuckin Z.) This is an apartment I WANT to keep clean.

I don't even mind cleaning it all that much. Because I know underneath the dust and cat hair that accumulates over the week there are nice white counters and wide windowsills for plants (that keep dying) and the rug is brand new.

I have also discovered the beauty of stain removers and those nifty cat hair roller things that work better than a vacuum on the shediness of both my cats and myself (yeah I shed, so what?) There is artwork on the walls and pictures of loved ones hung on the staircase. My cousins are a much better looking group of people when not coated in a fine layer of dust thank you very much.

I have also started buying things just for the sake of having something pretty. Fashionality over functionality for the first time in my life. Not that I can really afford some of this stuff but how can I NOT afford it really. It is making my house a home.

Finally, after ten years of skipping around from place to place, hopping apartments like lilly pads, I have a home. And sure, we are still a little messy. A little disorganized but perfection is over rated.

And we still don't have a vacuum cleaner.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Finger On It

So, I was at the gym today literally working my butt off and I finally figured it out.
I finally figured out what I don't like about the gym.

It's the other people.
Also, the locker rooms but, duh.

If I could just be in there when only 5 other people were there. I would be fine.
If I could be in charge of a TV and NOT be watching Wheel of Fortune, I'd be happier.
If there wasn't anyone stinking up the toilets in the locker room. Woo-freakin-hoo, I would be all the better for it.
Because seriously, nothing makes poop stink more than a well-balanced diet, regular exercise and putting the bowls right next to the hot, steamy showers.


Nuff said.
I am going to bed.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Back to my original idea...

Sort of.
I'll get around to it.
First of all I have to say that YAY FINALLY IT WAS BRILLIANTLY BEAUTIFUL WEATHER here in Chicago today.
About time I say.
Sadly, I was a little too hungover and sleepy to really enjoy it. But, The Boy taught me the trick of climbing the fire escape and getting onto the roof of our garage. Nothing like a little laying out on the blacktop to get the tan kickstarted.
Can I get an amen?
And,no I don't want to hear anything from the skin cancer contingency on that. I just like to be a little brown is all.

So, tan. Yes. Why, you ask?
Well Super Ridiculous Crazy Good Time Fun Bachlorette Weekend In Vegas is just, count 'em, 2 weeks away. And, if I can't afford to buy a pile of new clothes at least I can look hot in the clothes I've got.

To that end. I get a little tan and I workout as much as possible over the next two weeks.

I have indeed rededicated myself to the original intent of looking smoking hot for all of these wedding this year.
Or, at least to raise the temperature a smidge as they say.

The way I see it. I rarely have what I consider a good opportunity to get all "girled out" ... dress, make up, fancy hair, painful shoes and all that jazz.
A wedding really is the only thing I dress for these days. So, I want to look good!

Mom, you can just hush right now with the whole "blah blah beautiful no matter what blah blah."

Heard it. Got it. Still want to rock the Surprise Hot Chick look this year.

Also, now that I have Happy Boyfriend going on, is that an excuse to get all fat and lazy with the whole "look at ma belly!" thing? I say nay. Too many people I know get all beer gutty when they are really into the swing of dating someone. Off the market and all, why maintain show weight?

Why not I say?
Every day is a show. Show it up showy!

I begin to think this entry isn't making much sense.
I think I just wanted to post for the sake of posting.
If I could draw I would have made a cartoon.
You can check out for some of that.
I am going back to bed now.
Perhaps there will be more of interest later. After all....12 days til Vegas...but only 5 until the holiday weekend and ONLY 4 until I get to go see the new Star Wars.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Fool And Her...

I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately. How they ebb and flow in your life and sometimes disappear altogether for no good reason.

How some people stick. And some people are the type you can ask favors of and some people...just aren't.

How there are some people who you can pick up with after 2,5,10,20 years of not having seen each other as if a day has not yet passed since the last time you spoke and sometimes, if you don't see a person every day they quickly fade out of existence.

It's curious.

Recently my father asked me which of my 8 weddings this year I could skip, as...well plane tickets are expensive and he wasn't taking the bait on my hint that he could help me out. (sigh)

Truthfully, there is not a single wedding I am invited to over this next year that I would skip. Each and every one of these events means a great deal to me for whatever reasons...Love, friendship, sacrifice, salvation, sanctuary, a good chuckle.

These are the people who make magic in my life.
Sounds hokey right? Yeah well whatever, I'm in that sort of mood.

Mostly though I've been thinking about the friendships that failed.
I don't think there are a lot of those on my list. Maybe five that have ever really failed. And in that five I count the three kids who lived down the block from me growing up as one because that's the type they were.

I have a really hard time letting go of people. It means that I stay in bad relationships far too long sometimes and that I get really upset when people move away to places like...California, Australia or Arizona. But worse even than moving away or being a crappy boyfriend are those friends who just seems to disappear off the radar for no discernable reason.
One day they are there to get your back and then *POOF* gone like a leaf in the wind.
Where did you go?
What happened to friendship eternal, one soul in two bodies?

I feel a little dupped when that happens. I am a little dupped when that happens. Chances are I probably wouldn't have been so nice and made friends with you in the first place if I knew you were going to pull a David Copperfield on me.
Plus, now how I am supposed to cash in on all the favors I racked up? You know, all the moves, the dinners, the back rubs on rough days and have I mentioned the cash I loaned you that I could use back right around now?

Not that friendship is all about who owes whom what but what's left after a friendship takes a long walk off a short pier? Memories. Obligations. And, sometimes an article of clothing that looks good on you.

If you are lucky, all of the memories you have of friends who are no longer in your life are beautiful and full of camping trips, getting mimosa-drunk on inappropriate mornings or eating entire angel food cakes. Sometimes you get the short end of the stick and all you can do is wince at the thought of all the sacrifices you made for the sake of the friendship and how you feel a little taken advantage of now that your mind is clear of the chaos masquerading as charisma.

What do you do? Well you move the fuck on, as they say in the rodeo.

I have a picture. It is of me and my friend. It used to be by my bed where it was the last thing I looked at every night. Then I brought it to work to sit on my desk. It is a picture that reminds me to have fun and live life big.
Later, that picture made it's way onto my desk at home, where it reminded me that art is everywhere because we used to see it that way. At some point, it got relegated to an upper shelf where it was neglected but still visible and it lives in the extra bedroom. I don't ever really go in there. I imagine someday we'll have visitors who never met my friend and I'll have to explain who my friend is. Who my friend was at that point in my life. Wearing our dress up clothes, sitting in a booth at Unnamed Swank Jazz Club, sticking our tongues out at each other.

"Oh, that's just someone I used to know," I will say. I do say. I say it all the time and I don't know when I drew the line between knowing and having known but it's there. And it turned out OK because, while you can never recreate the good stuff you've left behind, the same holds true for the bad stuff too. So it's done. I decree it done as done can be.

Beware the red fish.

And the list grows to six.