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More of My Messes

I seriously feel like I have a backlog of things to tell you about on here – things other than food and house projects – but these days it seems like I’ve only been inspired to write while I’m driving or while I’m drunk (which are never at the same time), but I’m fairly certain that writing while doing either is not the greatest idea.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Sometimes I’m interesting when I drink.  At least to a point.  And then I probably just get annoying because I only think I’m interesting.

And this is why I maintain that it’s better to drink alone.

Okay, I don’t really mean that.



Is it really Monday again already?  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been bummed about Mondays.  See, that’s what happens when you quit your 9-5.  You make up with Mondays.  In fact, you might-kind-of-a-little-bit look forward to them because you will have the house to yourself and feel motivated to get things done.

But then I introduced the idiot idea of setting weekly goals for myself to get much-needed projects done around this house and announcing them on this blog so you, dear friends, can hold me accountable.

And even though my first week was a success, I have been dreading today, Monday, all weekend.  Because it’s time to set new goals.  And I think last week – and my subsequent trip to IKEA (more on that later) – sucked up all my motivation.

And it’s cold again.

And rainy.

And right now my walls look like this:

(More on that later.)

And I want my mom.

But she has a business and a step-grandbaby and has no time to visit me.


Wait.  Was I going somewhere with this?

Moving on.

I need a goal.

I have several small-ish “to-do’s” that I’d like to complete this week:

  • Mail out for a new social security card because there’s a possibility I may have misplaced my old one.  Possibly.
  • Book my favorite boarders for my mutts because there is a highly anticipated trip in our near future (more on that later).
  • Call my counselor for a reminder of which book she wants me to read and when my next appointment is scheduled because I may have misplaced the piece of paper she wrote it on.  Possibly.  (Counselor?  More on that later.  Maybe.)
  • Find at least 2 new healthy recipes to make this week (I think I already found one!) because, ready or not, summer IS coming.  And so is a vacation.  And both will involve bathing suits.
  • Brainstorm pitches for at least 3 freelance articles and potential publications.
  • Make a list of all of the things in this post I promised to write “more on later” so I actually remember to write more on them later.

The problem is, I don’t really think any of these things fall into my weekly goal category, because a) they’re not big enough, and b) I really have to do them anyway.

The other problem is, some of the house-related goals I had in mind either happen outside (like organizing the garage) or require me to work outside (like staining shelves for the office), and that was great when it was all 80-degrees and sunny last week, but now it’s like 45 and miserable and I just don’t wanna.

So here is my goal, which is slightly less labor intensive this week:

I, Katie, do solomly swear to try to dispose of or find permanent homes for as much of this pile of crap that came from the desks I sold on Craigslist as I can within the next week so I have room to finish the office:

And, time permitting, will do the same for all items in this office closet (brace yourself – this one is far, far worse than the last):

I know this seems like small potatoes, but getting Justin to purge things he doesn’t need can sometimes be difficult.

I mean, it’s hard to get past that mentality of, the second I throw this out, I’m going to need it for something else and you’ll be sorry you made me throw it out because then I’ll have to buy a new one.

But here’s my logical response:  You end up buying a new one anyway because a) the old one isn’t good enough, b) you can’t find the old one, or c) you didn’t even know you had the old one.  And then we end up with like 6 of these doohickys and they’re cluttering up my office and therefore my entire LIFE and why are you looking at me like I’m crazy?

So there’s that.

Cross My Heart and Pinky Swear


I fully intended to have a post for you by this afternoon.  I did.

But it turns out these goals actually take work and time to accomplish.

Go figure.

But, I do have great news!  I have completed the 2 goals I set for myself this week.

Let’s recap:

1.  Finish that damn closet. Yep, it’s finished!  And it actually looks awesome.  Who knew that painting the inside of a closet, replacing the wire shelf with a real shelf, and adding some hooks and organization could be so much work?  But it was totally worth it because I’m convinced this is the type of thing that’s eventually going to sell this place.

Sound crazy?

Think about it.  You can walk into a place you’re potentially interested in buying and it might appear clean, but then you open a closet and see where the mess went.  Subconsciously, this makes you wonder what else the homeowners might be hiding.

Well I’ve got news for you, judgy wudgy – we ain’t hiding nothin’ but some dog leashes and a Dyson.  No skeletons in this closet, thankyouverymuch.

The other closets in the house are another story.

2.  Sell a bunch of the “big” items taking up space in the garage and office so they can both get cleaned out.  Well, I sold almost everything I listed: 2 desks, kitchen range with hood, and a dining table with 4 chairs.  The only thing I didn’t get any bites on was an office chair, so I’ll wait a bit and try again.  I have a few other things I want to try selling, so I consider this a successful start.

Now.  Here’s the kicker.

I don’t have pictures of the garage and office for you tonight.  It’s getting too dark to get a decent picture of the closet, and I’m covered in primer and paint, and I still need to take the mutts on a walk and give them baths, and I’m so hungry and I need a beer.

So those things need to get taken care of.  Not necessarily in that order.

But I will update this post tomorrow with photos.

Pinky swear.

And I never go back on a pinky swear.

Notice that I picked the multiracial pinky swear photo from to emphasize the fact that I’m not racist.

Or maybe it was just one of the first photos to show up.

Potayto, Potahto.

Weekly Goals and Paninigasms. You Heard Me.

My friend Leslie was kind enough this morning to point out that I neglected to fulfill a promise I made last week about keeping you posted on my weekly goals so I can finally get a bunch of projects done around this wreck of a house.

I was supposed to tell you yesterday (Monday), but instead, I was actually working on fulfilling said goal.

But Leslie made me realize – If I don’t disclose the goals on here (or to anyone, for that matter), I’ll never get them done.

Because no one would give me a hard time about it.

And that’s what friends (and blog readers, who are practically friends because there isn’t much on here I don’t disclose about myself) are for – to give you shit when you start slacking.

Because they care.

I actually have 2 goals for this week:

1. Finish that damn closet so our coats can get off the guest bed and back into the closet where they belong.  Haven’t you heard?  It’s springtime, baby!

2. Sell a bunch of the “big” items taking up space in the garage and office so they can both get cleaned out.  That’s what I was working on yesterday – putting our old dining table, range, 2 office desks, and an office chair on Craigslist in the hope of selling them sometime this week.

Because this is what the garage looks like right now:

Nope, it ain’t pretty.

So far I’ve learned 2 things:

1. I priced the dining table and range too low.  I’ve gotten about a billion responses, and now I’m kicking myself for letting people convince me I couldn’t get very much for them.

2. Craigslist folk are unreliable.  The lady who was supposed to buy the range told me she’d be here before 10:00.  It’s now after 11:00, and she still hasn’t shown.  She’s probably going to be pissed when I call the next guy in line, but sorry lady!  You snooze, you lose.  This thing has got to go.

I should’ve known, though.  Erin warned us once about the perils of Craigslist:

So, yeah.  It’s not going that great so far.

On a completely unrelated note, have you ever seen the movie Spanglish with Adam Sandler?

It’s one of those movies that wasn’t originally my cup of tea, but for whatever reason I watched it again, and then again, and then again because there’s just something about it that’s so honest about human nature and our flaws and our idiosyncrasies that it just feels raw and real and… I don’t know… imperfect.  But that’s okay, because that’s the point.


There’s this scene where Adam Sandler’s life is just crap.  He’s an amazing chef with a beautiful house and family, but it doesn’t matter because things are falling apart in his marriage, the kids are suffering from huge self-esteem issues inflicted by their crazy mother who can’t recognize the reasons she’s so unhappy, his mother-in-law lives with them and happens to be a raging alcoholic, and their entire family is having a negative impact on the “pure” and holistic upbringing their nanny, who is a beautiful, single, illegal immigrant from Mexico, is trying to impart on her own impressionable young daughter.

And all of these things are weighing on him.  They tear him down every day.

But in this scene he’s about to have a moment – a moment of pure bliss.  He’s fixing himself this amazing sandwich.  We’re talkin’ the mother of all BLT’s, with crispy bacon, fresh butterhead lettuce and ripe tomato slices, mayo (of course), and thick wheat bread with some Monterey jack cheese that’s been broiled to perfection, all topped off with a glorious fried egg whose yolk doesn’t break until he slices into the sandwich’s divine center belly, the golden fluids bleeding out onto the plate for a perfect dipping opportunity.

Then – then – he pours himself some kind of gourmet-looking dark beer into a tall pilsner glass (at which point I completely jizz in my pants) and the entire scene is done in silence with just the sounds of the egg being fried, the crack and fizz of the beer as it’s poured into the glass, the grate of the knife on the plate.


I will never forget that scene.  It’s like this moment he so desperately needs – just himself, the paper, the perfect sandwich, and a beer.

Of course, it all gets ruined for him before he can take the first mind-blowing bite, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that sometimes you don’t have to get too fancy to have a completely satisfying meal.  Sometimes a sandwich – a sandwich that you take a little care and time to prepare correctly – can be the perfect ending to an otherwise less-than-perfect day.

And I want to thank my sister, who reminded me of that last night when she encouraged me to make this:

Known henceforth as the “Orgasm Panini,” which, if executed correctly, could cause a paninigasm (thanks Jeff, for the term).

For a list of ingredients I used, check out the description of this photo on the Domestiphobia Facebook page.

Yep.  I’m sneaky like that.


Here are is the cast of characters for the Orgasm Panini (I figure it’s only fair if you stumbled across this later to not make you search for the ingredients) from bottom to top:

Some type of thickly sliced bread, mayo with lemon juice and basil, Cajun turkey from the deli, fresh tomato, freshly sliced or grated Mozzarella, cooked bacon, artichoke hearts, fresh baby spinach. Toast in panini press and enjoy.

Maybe even multiple times.

Some Revelations

This month will mark one year since I started this blog.

When that realization hit me last night, I decided it was time to do something I’d been putting off this entire time.

That’s right.  I needed to define domestiphobia.

What does it mean, anyway?

The truth is, I’ve never really known, because I’ve never taken the time to define it myself.  Until last night.

And honestly, I think its meaning to me has morphed and evolved a great deal over the past year.  The word is fluid and subjective, and when you read it, it might mean something different to you than it does to me.

The following is my current perceived definition and subsequent explanation that I wrote on my newly revamped “About” page:

noun də-‘mes-ti-‘fō-bē-ə

:  the exaggerated, inexplicable and/or irrational fear of domestic life

Example:  Her fear of leading a stagnant, lethargic life devoid of personal growth and meaningful experiences could be described as a mild case of domestiphobia.


adj. də-‘mes-tik

1   :  tame, domesticated <the domestic cat>

2   :  of or relating to the household or the family<domestic chores>

3   :  devoted to home duties or pleasures <leading a quietly domestic life>


My name is Katie, and I’m a domestiphobic.

I didn’t know it when I married my wonderful husband in 2006 at the ripe age of 23.  But, for reasons I didn’t yet understand, I slowly began to feel a terrifying sense of suffocation as all of the “expected” pieces of a “normal,” domestic life began falling into place.

Stable office career?  Check.

Fixer-upper in the ‘burbs? Check.

Couple of mutts?  Check.

Kids?  Now wait just one damn minute.

These were the things I was supposed to be doing, but did I really want them at all?  My actions were leading my life into a revolving door of repeated days, weeks, years.  The same morning traffic, the same weekly meals, the same company parties, the same family gatherings.  Maybe it’s because traditions are one of the most painful castrations in a divorce-torn family like mine, but my newfound sense of repetition provided me no comfort.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.

In what can now only be described as a quarter-life crisis, I quit my job in 2010 to travel to Costa Rica with a dear friend (and temporary blogging cohort) for a couple of months.  The experience only further spurred an itch I’ve been longing to scratch for a long, long time.

Now I realize some things.  I have some wants that lethargy simply won’t feed:  I want to be a better person.  I want to be a better partner.  I want to change, and grow, and experience new people and new cultures and new cuisine.  I want to learn how to play the guitar and become fluent in at least one other language.  I want to write and make people think.  I want to inspire.  I don’t ever want to leave without leaving something good behind.

I’m not afraid to say what I want.  I’m not afraid to be selfish or make mistakes.

Because, it turns out, I can’t be who anyone else needs me to be until I embrace who I need me to be.

Today, I still live in the ‘burbs with my (astoundingly supportive) husband, the mutts, and zero babies.  But now I’m trying to find that thing that feeds my wanderlust – both physical and emotional.

This blog is a journal of my domestic and non-domestic experiences – where I struggle to tie together the things I’m fortunate enough to have with the things I’m crazy enough to want – where you will find me learning to cook and working on home renovations when I’m not playing with ‘gators in the Everglades or jumping out of planes in Hawaii.

Welcome to my world.



How to Grow a Muscle and Other Motivational Tools

So I just finished my workout with Jillian for today, and I’m writing this post while still sitting in a puddle of my own sweat because I’m suddenly, inexplicably motivated.  And these days motivation seems hard to come by, so I grab it when I can.

You know how it is when life just doesn’t seem to be going the direction you want, so you find yourself in a bit of a slump, and it gets harder and harder to pull yourself out of the slump over time?  To use an over-used analogy, it’s like quicksand.  The harder you struggle, the deeper you get, and eventually you just want to give up.  Lethargy becomes second nature.  Even the idea of picking a recipe for dinner and going to the grocery store for the ingredients seems like too much work, because didn’t I just do that two days ago?  And what’s the point if it’s just going to be the same thing, day after day?

If you’ve never known that feeling, then I envy you.  Truly.  But if you have, I’m here to tell you that you can’t let it hold you down.  In fact, all you can do is keep struggling against the quicksand, and eventually you’ll see progress.*

*Actually that’s not true – if you’re literally stuck in quicksand, I’ve heard you shouldn’t struggle because you will get pulled under.  So wow… what a f*cked up analogy.

For the time-being, I’m doing little things that have started improving my opinion of my own self-worth.

1.  This blog.  Sure, it’s mostly just a bunch of introspective rambling and random recipes and an overall log of some (but definitely not all) of my most notable life experiences, but it’s my blog.  It’s my thing that I do when I need an outlet.  Some people journal, some people play guitar, some people paint.  I blog.

Photo source:  Me

2.  Found a job.  Okay, so waiting tables at a bar isn’t exactly the dream job I hoped I might find when I quit the cubicle all those months ago.  But in a way, at least for right now, it fits my personality so much better.  No one looks at me funny when I randomly start singing, because I’m just singing with the night’s performer and everyone else is doing the same thing.  And I’m no longer getting strange looks for taking running leaps down the hallway or pretending I’m on an escalator behind someone’s cubicle glass, because I don’t have excess energy to expend at this job and therefore don’t act quite so entirely nutty.  I’m always moving.

So while I still do aspire to do something more meaningful to me, this definitely works for now.

Photo source

3.  Working out.  This isn’t a New Year’s resolution for me.  In fact, you know my resolution is to be worthy of a holiday letter, so working out really has nothing to do with it.  (Unless I end up saving someone’s life by lifting an SUV off of someone who’s crushed underneath it because I’ve been working out and am now obviously strong enough to walk around town lifting SUVs off of people.  Now that would be letter-worthy.)

I’ve never been one of those people who gets a high from working out.  In fact, it usually leaves me feeling sweaty and exhausted and there’s only one type of scenario I can think of that leaves me in the same condition and I feel really good afterwards instead of tired and disgusting.  And working out with Jillian Michaels ain’t it.

But I do it because I know it’s good for me.  Like flossing and not consuming a diet exclusively comprised of cheese.  And today, after I was finished, I noticed an actual muscle!

And yes, I took a picture.

And yes, I’m about to show it to you.

So don’t laugh.

For me, this is BIG.

Woohoo!  Maybe this is the workout high people are talking about – that point where you finally notice some progress.

So right now I’m feeling pretty good.  I wrote a blog post, I grew a muscle, and I might make a little money tonight.  Motivation is creeping back into my life.  And I wanted you to know, even though my posts have been a bit emo as of late, that I’m not just sitting here, all pitiful and lethargic day after day.  (Well I’m literally sitting here now, in a puddle of my own sweat, no less, but my point is that I’m not just a couch-drooling zombie.)

What I want to know is, what do you do to pull yourself out of it when you’re feeling a little slumpy?

V is for Validation

Okay, it’s that time.

What time?

You know what time.  Resolution time.

This year I’m keeping it simple.  None of this “I’m going to read 587 best-selling novels, earn a 43% pay increase (which in my case wouldn’t actually be that difficult at this point), and have a body like Jillian Michaels by the end of the year” bullshit.

Nope.  My resolution is to make myself worthy of mention in my mom’s 2011 holiday letter.  And not just a quickie single-line nod to the fact that I’m still alive, either.  I want an actual, unskimmable, entire blurb – or maybe even a paragraph – the kind filled with an unmistakable tone of pride on the part of the writer – about a positive aspect of my life.

An accomplishment.

This is not because I want notoriety or depend on my mom’s holiday letter for validation about my life.  I want to do something for me.  I want to not feel like I’m failing.  And okay, maybe I do need to see it in the letter for validation.

The proof of the fact that I need to pick things up came when I realized the only mention of me in my mother’s 946-word holiday letter email – the one she sent to all of her friends and family – is right after she announced that one of her (practically) step daughters is pregnant and it’s the best thing ever except that it’s not because my mom and Ed are not actually married and I guess that means she won’t “officially” be a grandmother because in order for that to happen, one of the children she bore from her womb and whose butts she lovingly wiped and whose noses she lovingly sucked free of boogers with one of those booger-sucking devices would need to have his or her own child and lovingly wipe its butt and suck boogers from its nose.  In other words, I would need to get pregnant.  Or my unmarried (but totally awesome) little sister.  Or my unmarried (but totally awesome) older brother.  Except he’s gay so there’s even less chance that he’ll get pregnant.  AND he’s a guy so actually there’s zero chance he’ll get pregnant.

So what was I saying?

Oh yeah.  I know that I need to work on accomplishing something because the only mention of me in my mom’s letter is how she’s keeping her fingers crossed that I’ll give her a grandbaby one day, but her guess is that Ed’s other daughter will be next.  That’s it.  And it’s justified because I really did not do anything worth mentioning in 2010.  Except the Costa Rica thing.  That was kinda cool.

And for the record, Ed’s daughters really are great.  They’re really nice people and they do things like… you know… visit Ed and my mom.  So they have that going.  And they want to have babies.

I suppose I wouldn’t have to actually get pregnant to earn a more notable mention in the holiday letter.  Which is good, because I have no intention of doing that any time soon.  Finding a job – especially a job that means something – would probably do the trick.  Or maybe if I make an important discovery or save someone’s life or become the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest wearing nothing but my Uggs and a smile.

And now enough of this emo crap, am I right?  This will be a year of happiness.

So while I’ll admit that I might have lost some of my earlier resolve over the holidays by distracting myself with red wine and peanut butter balls, rest assured that I’m back in the game.  The résumé update starts January 1st.  Possibly the 2nd if I’m too hung over on the 1st.  But you get the idea.

What are some of your New Year resolutions?

*Disclaimer: I am NOT blaming my mom for my lack of mention in her letter about HER year! I’m simply using it as a testament to the fact that this year I need to do… more.

Serenity NOW!

Even a jobless drain on decent working-class society like me requires some sort of daily diversion to keep myself from turning feral or buying every infomercial product ever made, including the weird ones that run on the late-night foreign public access channels where I’m never entirely sure whether I’m buying a set of knives or the somewhat frightened-looking underage model holding them.

Although if an indentured child-bride came as a bonus gift with purchase, then maybe we could talk.  ‘Cause those small hands could be really useful when cleaning under the fridge.

Kidding, of course.  That would be wrong.

Delightfully handy, but wrong.

And since I’m already caught up on all the TV shows I’d missed while in Costa Rica (**Spoiler Alert**:  Pam and Jim have a baby now and Michael’s still a moron; Phil’s still clueless, Claire’s still a shrew and their kids are still completely disposable characters; Neil Patrick Harris is still playing a womanizer despite the fact that there’s no one left on Earth who doesn’t know he’s gay in real life; Dexter’s still a serial killer, minus one naggy wife; Peg Bundy’s still in that show where we’re not supposed to think of her as Peg Bundy and Ron Pearlman still looks like a caveman) I figure I should use all this free time to work on bettering myself as a person.  You know, become a kinder, gentler Erin.

Make fun of me and I will go nuts all over your ass like a rabid spider monkey.

Ahem.  Where was I?

Ah, yes.  As I was saying:  The first step in this quest has been to start taking yoga classes two to three times a week.

Considering the fact that (a) as a general rule of thumb, I generally tend to avoid things I suck at and (b) I’m about as flexible as a Popsicle stick, this is huge news, people.  Like, Go Tell It On the Mountain kind of news.

Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t compare my taking a yoga class to the birth of Jesus, but still.  Epic.

So far, I’ve been going for about two weeks and the overall experience has been at times peaceful, at times uncomfortable, at times energizing, but always humiliating.

Apart from the whole issue of trying not to fart–which, believe me, is a serious exercise in discipline that warrants an entire post of its own (but I’ll spare you… for now)–I’m doing the Downward Dog and Boat and Triangle and all these other innocuous-named poses that do not, in my opinion, even come close to accurately describing the unholy torture my tendons are about to undergo.

I guarantee you that every single one of these people in this photo is trying not to fart.

And I’m doing this weekdays at noon at the local city gym, which means I’m surrounded by a roomful of 60-year-olds with bum knees and hip replacements and bursitis (not that I have any clue what that is, but it sounds pretty gross and contagious) who are positively spanking me in the flexibility department.

And I’m not proud to admit that, sometimes, while I’m struggling frustratedly through yet another pose that Grandma Blue Hair next to me is just nailing, I get the urge to flip out all Frank Costanza-style and start shrieking, “You know what, smug old people?  You can take your inner peace and years of practice and shove it up your bony, freakishly limber asses!”

But I don’t, of course.

Because this is the new kinder, gentler Erin.

So I just knock over all their walkers and then run like hell.

Namaste, suckers.