Another Awkward Week [10.101.4] - On Adulthood and Ugly Kitchens

Friday. Finally! It is Friday, right? This week has felt endless – it has essentially been a series of increasingly frustrating exercises in futility, all in pursuit of “getting my life together.” Being a functioning adult is exhausting. And time consuming. How does anyone get anything done? I spent so much time this week just dealing with…stuff. Hours on the phone punching through automated answering service after automated answering service dealing with issues with our electricity bill, the cable company and my student loans. A visit to the dentist. Running all over lower Manhattan exploring new phone plans – after dropping my cellpiece on the sidewalk and shattering it. It looks like it’s decorated with spiderwebs – just in time for Halloween! – and every time I swipe, little glass pieces come off and get stuck to my  finger.

That can’t be healthy.

ALSO: my laptop chose this week to fully stop functioning. Like, it won’t even turn on anymore, cool beans! And we need a new mattress, which…I don’t know how to buy a mattress! What am I looking for? Why is everything so expensive?!


I just genuinely don’t know how anybody gets anything done, ever. And! We don’t even have kids. Thinking about how stressful I found this week trying to just keep me and Brian organized and afloat, I truly don’t know how parents get anything done, ever.

And it fully cemented for me that whatever monster came up with the idea of “having it all” was smoking crack. No one can have it all! You’re crazy.

I know I can’t have it all and will probably never be a functioning adult human and that’s fine.

HAHA JUST KIDDING I will get there or die trying.

First step: painting our kitchen.

We lucked out when apartment hunting this year, finding a spacious one bedroom with lots of light and big closets (two closets! Basically a New York City unicorn) and a fancy modern shower that has various settings so you can take a regular shower or use the hand-held nozzle, OR turn on powerful jets that shoot into your neck and lower back, giving dreamy and free massages after a long day.

The one downside to our apartment is the paint. OY the paint. The apartment has three rooms – a kitchen which opens into the living room and then the bedroom. Each is a painted a different bright and vibrant color. The bedroom is blue, the living room green and the kitchen is some kind of orangey yellow, which makes me want to die inside but I’ll get to that in a moment.

My friend Mary, who grew up in Miami, came over recently and commented that the colors made her feel like home.  YES. This small apartment is painted the gaudy colors of a kitcschy Florida shopping mall. You know, the kind of outdoor tourist emporiums you’d find in Fort Meyers or Coral Gables, decked to look like some kind of vibrant island paradise where vendors hock tacky shell art and ankle bracelets and $15 ice cream cones.

Key words above not applying to our apartment would be outdoor, Florida, tropical.

The living room, I can live with. PUN! The green is fine. Whatever. The bedroom I find too bright and would prefer something a little more neutral and soothing but I don’t outright hate it and Brian loves it and apparently marriage is about compromise - even though I think the world would be a much better place if everybody just did everything I want all the time! - so we’re sticking it out.

But OH THIS KITCHEN. I hate the kitchen so, so, SO much. The orange tones blend in with the light wood cabinets and when the evening sun comes in the kitchen window the whole place glows in one horrible orange blob. The only thing brighter than these walls is the fire of hate that burns deep inside me every time I look at them.

I am a woman obsessed. Every day since we’ve moved in – all 76 of them (yes, I counted) – my hate for this ugly yellowy-orange kitchen has grown and grown and grown until it is poisoning me inside. It is all I can think about. Good days have been ruined the second I walk in the front door and find myself smacked in the face with these hideous walls. I can see into the kitchen from the couch and instead of watching TV I just sit on that couch, stare at the walls and stew.

I know, I know, I KNOW: I’m out of my mind.

These ugly walls have become almost a physical representation of all of the things I find negative or stressful in my life. They represent my inability to be assertive - they wouldn’t be orange anymore if I’d just asked the landlord to paint before we moved in…but I didn’t want to be “difficult.”  And our out-of-control busy weekends – we haven’t had TIME to paint in 76 whole days! Where does the time go? What am I achieving in this life? And they are the reason our house is a MESS – the kitchen could be organized if only we hung shelves and racks on the walls but we can’t hang anything until we paint, lo the counters are scattered with pots and pans and spices and the mess spills into the living room which spills into the bedroom and it’s all the kitchen’s fault, not mine!

Add to that the stress of marriage. Marriage is great but, as I said above, it’s a compromise. Being a partner with someone means you have to practice, you know, partnership. It’s not just YOU all the time, there’s someone else involved and you have to consider their thoughts, needs and opinions. Let's just say I'm not the best at that.  Brian doesn’t seem to care as much about the walls as I do and I find myself getting angry with him that he doesn’t share my zealous fervor. Which isn’t fair at all. He’s been perfectly supportive of this plan and NO ONE could care as much about these walls as I do. I’m a maniac. No one has had this much single minded passion about something since Napoleon decided he needed to conquer France or wherever.

What was Napoleon’s deal again? Prussia? I should go back to high school.

I have become convinced that it is just these fugly walls standing between me and the picture-perfect adult life I know is unattainable but continue to strive for. As soon as these walls are painted our house will become a home! Constantly tidy and organized. I’ll discover a talent for interior décor that’s been hiding latent inside of me for the last 30 years. As soon as we paint this kitchen we’ll be one step close to having it all!

I know it isn’t wise to put all of your eggs in one basket – or, in this case, all of your brushes in one bucket of Valspar Candlelit Dinner (or should we go with December Starlight??) –and recognize, of course, that after we paint the kitchen we’ll still live in a frequently messy, adequately decorated, small apartment – now with light walls! – but I’ve gone too far down this path of insanity …there’s no turning back.

I'm nuts. I do know this, but this weekend, it ends. I am taking control!  (PS: remember just last week when I decreed this was the year I learn to chill out? LOLOLOL I’ll chill out just as soon as we paint this godforsaken kitchen!!!)

I’ve decided it must happen this weekend.  I refuse to get up Monday morning without the kitchen being painted. I have a plan. It involves going to Lowes twice in one day…on foot, uphill both ways, in the snow! Just kidding…it’s only uphill on the way back, at which point we’ll be carrying heavy buckets of paint. And I doubt it will snow BUT the weather does call for a 100% chance of rain so this should be a TREAT. Brian may divorce me and I’ll certainly cry at least fourteen times but none of that will matter when I’m sipping coffee in the comfort of my fresh, neutral, not orange kitchen, HAVING. IT. ALL.

Wish us luck? Come over and help us?

Here are some photos of our kitchen as it currently stands, just to illustrate this tale of madness. I’m not wild about that light fixture either but…one issue at a time, Hobag.

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I still haven’t decided exactly what color we want to do but definitely something pretty neutral, to offset the Tropicana Café feeling of the rest of this joint. The problem is, there are so many different shades of white. In my next life I want to be the person who comes up with names for paint colors. They’re so hilariously evocative. Apricot Haze! Snowy Dusk! Sweet Slumber!

Valspar weirdly has a whole line of paints named after Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson Presidential White…Woodrow Wilson Putty. Now there’s a sexy paint name. Why Woodrow Wilson?! Was he known for his interest in tastefully neutral interior décor? Did he start out as a house painter?

Obviously I don’t know a thing about Woodrow Wilson…I don’t even remember where Napoleon lived.

ANYWAY that’s what I’ll be up to this weekend, just in case anyone was curious which, surely they were not.

What are your plans? Coming to my house and painting??? Buying me a new laptop? Balancing our family budget? Basically I’m just trying to convince someone to be my free Personal Adulthood Assistant. I will pay you in JOKES!

Happy weekend, kittens!!!

xoxo Woodrow Wilson










One Awkward Drive

I was at home in lovely Lancaster County, PA this weekend, working on the family’s Amish farm. Just kidding, I WISH. Modern technology has brought the choo-choo train to my small town, but I’m too poor to afford a full round-trip Amtrak ticket from NYC to Elizabethtown (Amtrak! Are you reading this? Lower your fares, please!), so every time I go home I have to do a whole, Trains, Planes and Automobiles scenario. Except no planes. And also no automobiles. So just Trains. Unless busses count as automobiles, which I guess they do (?), so Trains and Automobiles. Oh god. Just bear with me today, OK? I’m trying to cut down on my caffeine intake, as I fear it is the leading cause of some pretty intense gastrointestinal problems I’ve been dealing with of late, so at this point in the day I’m barely functional. Also, you’re welcome for that information. Is it possible for a woman to be too sexy? An-eee-waaaay, where was I? Oh yes, I was on a train! So what I like to do is to take the New Jersey Transit from Penn Station NYC to Trenton, NJ and then take the SEPTA from there to Philadelphia 30th Street and then I wait around that station for a while and take an Amtrak to my hometown. And then, on the way back, I add a Bolt Bus to the scenario to really jazz things up. This generally saves about $14 and doubles my travel time but whatever, fuck Amtrak! My trip was mostly uneventful (unlike the last one!), though I did spend some quality time with a strange Russian man who methodically unpacked and repacked three large suitcases, right in the aisle of the train, muttering quietly to himself in Russian. He had many shirts, bags of souvenirs (or drugs!) and a portable blood pressure machine. I also spilled hot coffee all over myself, and the floor, and spotted a man who logic would say was a Ben Franklin impersonator (we were in Philadelphia, after all) but I’m pretttty sure was actually proof that Ben Franklin is now either a ghost or a zombie. Is it possible to be both?

Whist at home I was forced to do something I swore I’d never try again. Crystal meth. JK! I love crystal meth. But I hate driving. I am, certifiably, one of America’s Worst Drivers. (Someday soon I will tell you the greatest tale ever told, about a lil accident I once had. Spoiler alert: mine was the only vehicle involved, and it happened in my driveway.) I’m a disaster behind the wheel and my anxiety only makes me more of a mess. 85% of the reason I live in NYC is so I can take public transportation. The other 15% is mostly pizza related. In the suburbs you have to drive, no matter how short the distance. If someone spots you walking in my town they assume you either got a DUI or are a migrant farm worker. It’s whack. But it must be done.

Monday afternoon rolled around and I found myself with many places to go, and no one to bribe to drive me there. So for the first time in at least a year and a half, I strapped myself in, strapped on a pair, and drove a car. And it wasn’t that bad! I didn’t hit anyone or anything! I may have gone the wrong way down a one way street once or twice but I blame this on poor city layout, NOT on myself. (Yiiiikes!)

My strategy, and this is a great one, was to drive like an old lady. We’re talking big sunglasses, hands clutching the wheel at 10 and 2, never breaking the speed limit. I’m sure everyone on the road hated me, but that’s certainly an improvement over running into stone walls. (Spoiler alert AGAIN!)

What surprised me was, the more I drove like an old lady, the more I became and actual old lady. Sure I had the windows way down and Mariah Carey way, way up (I dare you not to blast this jam, but the longer I drove, the more curmudgeonly I became. A few blocks from my house, I was headed up a small hill when, down towards me in the other direction came a couple of teenagers (teenagers!) flying down the hill, weaving over the center line and I legit stopped my car, leaned halfway out of the window and, waving my balled up fist yelled “Slow down, kids! You’re going to kill somebody!” The driving may not have been as scary as I thought, but the image of me doing my best impression of that crabby old lady from the Hallmark cards is enough embarrassment to keep me out of the driver’s seat for another year and a half.

You know, this broad.

Now slow down. And get off my lawn.