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Step Away.

There comes a time in every girl’s life —

(or in my case, multiple times)

— when she just has to step away.

When she doesn’t step away, bad things tend to happen. Like irrational outbursts. Family abandonment. And a swift unraveling of the cerebral cortex, resulting in complete mental breakdown and subsequent self-induced lobotomy via overconsumption of petite sirah.

This certainly doesn’t apply to all women. There are those of a rare breed that understands how to keep its cool. And I’ve been trying to learn how to be that way. I have. In fact, I know I used to be one of them until that little thing called “home ownership” happened, and suddenly things like light fixtures and paint colors and, I don’t know, mortgages became this matter of life and death.

I knew I was probably getting close to step away time when Angie called me the other day. Angie is from Australia and therefore has a cool accent which therefore makes it okay for me to say “no worries” without sounding like a poser because I have an actual Australian friend and therefore am very cool and chill by association.

The whole Australian thing also makes her very direct. It’s something to which we Americans aren’t typically accustomed, and while many are easily put-off by hearing, I don’t know, the truth, I find it particularly refreshing.

So our phone conversation went something like —

Angie: How’s the kitchen remodel going?

Me: It’s not.

Angie: What’s up?

Me: Basically, it’s like wading across a football field-sized pool filled with maple syrup while wearing flippers and a weighted wetsuit.

Angie: That sucks.

Me: It’s okay. These things can’t bother me. I’m adopting a zen way of life.

Angie: Yeah, but —

Me: Sssshhh. I’m zen. I refuse to acknowledge the truth you’re about to divulge.

Angie: But Katie. That’s denial. Not zen. There’s a difference.

Me: Dammit.

The truth about the kitchen:

As it stands, I currently have four walls and a ceiling and half of a floor, which is practically an entire room, and for that I should be thankful. It matters not that my home’s every crevasse is filled with a fine coat of white drywall powder. Or that the newly constructed “decorative” soffit overhangs the pantries with the massive forehead slope of an angry caveman.

And I can deal with the fact that what was once supposed to be a simple facelift — some new appliances and a few painted cabinets — has turned into the nearly-full gutting, re-wiring, and re-surfacing of an entire room due to shoddy mid-century electric work, the most stubborn wallpaper in the history of existence, and the possibility of asbestos-filled plaster and lead-filled paint and basically all of the terrifying and probably carcinogenic building materials those crazy Boomers seemed to unwittingly love so much.


*eye twitch*

So. For a few days, at least, I’m stepping away. I’m letting Justin deal with the contractors for a minute (they seem to respect him more for his adornment of male genitalia, anyway), while I’m in Durham, North Carolina helping Alaina with her two young kids while her husband’s away on business.

And by “helping,” I mean I’m mostly observing from a respectable distance on the sofa with a glass of wine, trying not to get in the way or use language inappropriate for impressionable young ears, and generally garnering an overall sense of respect for what stress looks like through the eyes of a stay-at-home mom.

And hey. At least I’m not feeding her daughter milk shots from Dixie cups.

I may have run away, but also I’ve come so far.

After all, maturity is a matter of knowing our limits and learning to respect them.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.


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Colleen Brynn

Oh, I feel relieved *for* you!
I totally said the F word at school yesterday, kind of totally loud. And then I was like, these kids speak Hindi and didn’t understand that. Yes, that’s right. And then I was like, No… everyone knows what the F word means. And then I was like… No one heard. That’s right. No one heard.


HA! I’ve slipped once or twice while here, and my friend said at this age, at least for her toddler, it’s not a big deal unless I make it a big deal. Which I guess makes total sense! But really. I’m sure no one heard. ;)


Good girl. I used to have a boss who’d make me lose my shit and when it got too much, I’d just leave the office for 10-15 minutes and it made all the difference.

Also, honestly, I know that photo above is of a work-in-progress, but it already really does look a thousand times better than your before shots. Don’t despair! You will get there!

ALSO, I have an untested theory that it’s good for kids to hear adults swear because then they think it’s a lame old people thing to do and they don’t want to.


YES! I would go get coffee or walk around the outside of the building. It usually helped me come to my senses.

Thanks for the encouragement — it definitely looks better to have that floral wallpaper covered up. And I’m sure once we get the drywall painted, it will make a world of difference.

Also, I like your theory. I’m pretty sure it’s legit for kids who are old enough to not want to be like the old people. But toddlers will repeat ANYTHING. I think it’s hilarious, but usually their parents don’t agree. ;)


And there’s another reason I have no interest in home ownership. It’s always more involved than you think it will be, huh? I’ve seen Love it or Leave it, I know. Sorry your having to deal with that but happy that you’re getting a break (sort of ;) )


YES! Although I have to say — I bet if you owned a home where you could do anything creatively you wanted (and didn’t really have to worry about re-sale due to military relocation), I bet your place would be spectacular. I’m picturing bright, airy, and amazing color everywhere. :)

Angie Kern

I laughed my butt off. It really is looking so much better than when we were down there for Indian food. What a huge difference. As soon as it’s finished we can come down and celebrate by consuming large amounts of petite shiraz, or merlot, or ….. The other good thing is you have field tested a few contractors/tradespeople (see how PC I am) and now have some names for the next project….Please do not throw anything at me. Cheers mate!


The drywall definitely makes a difference. Though I think almost ANYTHING would’ve made a difference from the floral wallpaper and all those holes. :) And yes. Wine will be consumed when that puppy’s done. Though I can’t make any promises about not throwing things at you. ;)


You poor thing! Glad you were able to get away!!


Yes!! Me too!! Though I suppose I’m very fortunate I have this to complain about. :)

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