Gays in the Life

building our white picket fence.

Category: GITL

A Deck of a Mess

Home ownership is the most frustrating thing at times. Our only goal today was to pressure wash our deck and clear it of old paint the weather had already begun to peel up. The plan was simple: Get to Home Depot right when the tool rental counter opened, pressure wash the deck, and return the washer with plenty of time to spare within our 4-hour rental window.

I don’t like housework that involves anything on the outside of the house. When it comes to the inside of the house and decor, it’ll always be on and poppin’, clean and sparklin’. Both our moods shifted when we realized this was going to take longer than we’d planned.

The plan never goes like it should, though. S and I of all people should know this with all the adventure we’ve had with our condo already. The tip we needed, for the spray nozzle,  to make the most progress removing the paint was broken. Not wanting to waste too much time, we immediately packed the washer up and returned to the store.

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We didn’t know the tip was the issue before the customer service rep tested our machine and the replacement in the store. Deep down we were thankful, because on the car ride over, we both thought “If something is wrong with our water pressure and this house, we will rage.” We ended returning home with our original rental and a new tip.

Sadly, the new tip made no difference in the rate at which the paint was coming off the deck. We imagined the paint would just fly off as the water made contact, but this was far from the case. S and I spent a good amount of time switching roles on the project. Scraping and spraying, we longed for larger pieces of paint to come up, but found we were barely making any progress. Our good friend, Google, ended up informing us that the machine we’d rented from Home Depot was only half the power required to execute a project like ours.

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This made sense. Why in the hell were we spending ten or more minutes spraying one spot, only to see a speck of paint chip off at a time? This couldn’t be right. We confirmed gas pressure washers were stronger, but were also instructed not to go that route because there’d be a high risk of damaging our deck. S called his dad and we’ll be borrowing his pressure washer next weekend. It’s the right amount of power, and our deck isn’t huge, so we should be able to get the work done in a decent amount of time.

Sigh… maybe we can hire some eye-candy to do this for us. Probably not, but a dude can wish, can’t he?

All Work. Hopefully Some Play.

I’m frustrated. Frustrated because most of my family lives outside of Indiana. Frustrated because my brother is coming to visit the first week of May, and I’m not sure if S will be able to get any time off. As a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) at a corporate establishment, it’s hard for S to get off during their month-end-close weeks – the last week of the month were all deadlines and balances are due. This visit was originally planned as a surprise and falls during the week of my brother’s birthday. Unfortunately, the first week of May happens to be one of these ridiculous weeks where S will probably be working late and won’t have much free time.

 

That’s the business I suppose. My corporate gig is much more lax and doesn’t run on any tight deadlines; making it much easier to say “Hey, I’m going to be out for a week. Cool? Thanks.” I know this isn’t anything S can control. He’s an extremely hard worker, and by the sounds of most post-work download moments at home, he’s always helping team members with their tasks and keeping productivity stay at a decent level.  

 

Sure, some notice before flights were purchased would have been nice, but it was a surprise. My brother had no idea until after the flights were scheduled. Blame is not what I’m looking to place. I’m more just hoping that S’s job can find a way to survive without him for a couple to a few days that week, or at least let him leave at a decent time since his brother-in-law is coming to visit from 3,800 miles away.

 

As soon as we found out my brother would be visiting, I thought “let your job know, if that’s your busy week, so they can plan for your absence, be flexible, or plan to step it up that week.” From what I understand about the accounting world, you can only plan so much and a lot of how smoothly the gig is executed depends on your team. Currently I’m a supervisor in corporate customer service, so sacrifice and hard work is something I know a thing or two about… Accounting versus Customer Service – they both have their pros and cons as they relate to each other. From a leadership point of view, I’m thinking “Why aren’t your other team members as good a S? Can no one dig as deep as he does, Monday through Friday, and get the job done?”

 

That’s the gift and curse of leadership – having to carry others, even when you don’t really want to at times, but then you’re reminded why you’re a leader – you know deep down why you’re a leader – with that amazing feeling of accomplishment.

 

In the end I’m more aggravated because S always deserves a break and rarely takes one for himself. If there was any way he could get at least two days off the week of the visit, I’d be happy, but we’ll have a great time no matter what ends up happening with his work schedule. I’m annoyed at the timing of things, BUT I’m beyond stoked to spend my brother’s twenty-eighth birthday with him. The last time my siblings and I were all together was Summer 2014. With sis now living just down the road in Bloomington, we’ll be sure to have a great week together.

 

Last night I received a text from one of our great family friends, asking/letting me know that he’d be joining my brother on this trip – he’s basically a brother to us. He’s coming up from Florida, so we’ll have visitors from opposite corners of the country! Schweeeeet.

 

End vent/ramble/whatever-this-post-was…

Adventures in La La Land

I had no idea that uploading and processing would take close to three hours today! What the #^&%, but whatever. Thank you for your patience.

There were a ton of things I wished had worked out better with filming, but I’m beyond pumped about the final product.  We didn’t get to go hiking, see the Hollywood sign, or do a handful of other touristy California things, but we were so happy to be outside of Indiana for a bit that it didn’t even matter.

The video you’ll see is a collection of moments spent in Los Angeles with Queen Ebeth Warren herself. We spent a lot of time in West Hollywood – duh – checked out an awesome ketogenic coffee bar, I bumped into some random cute guy I follow on Instagram in a bar called Trunks – a mess, I know – checked out Venice Beach, ate Kardashian salads, and caught some cool views on the Go Pro while driving around town.

(We tried to see the Chinese Theatre, but the road was blocked off by Oscars setup crews. That was kind of neat to see – the setup for a crazy huge red carpet event.)

There was this amazing moment in the Frolic Room in Hollywood. An older gentleman came over to the three of us and shared a story of how he met a sultry Doris Day as a young delivery boy in LA. I began recording only a couple short minutes after he’d come over to us. I knew he’d share some Hollywood gold with us. His energy was so warm and you could tell this man had lived. The only reason the clip didn’t make the video was because of music in the background. Damned licensing and copyright laws…

I hope you enjoy the following bits of our trip! Thanks for watching and stay tuned for the Seattle video – I’m pumped to get to work on that one.

It’s Feeling Like Home Again.

Today wrapped the last day of the SECOND floodgate restoration. For those of you who haven’t been following along, this is the second year in a row that we’ve had to have our floors replaced.

Our floors had only been down for nine months before the second leak occurred – a couple weeks away from Christmas. Here we are at the middle of March and we finally have our zen space back.


The crew this time around was better than we could have hoped. It really only took a few months because of scheduling – waiting for the crew to wrap up prior commitments. Everything came together pretty quickly once they got started.

We’re taking the past two years in remodel mayhem as a sign to change things up. We’re in the process of rearranging the living room and I WILL have arts n’ things on the walls before my brother and his girlfriend come to visit in early May.

✌🏾

Ink’d: The Grizzly Comes to Life

The North American Grizzly bear. This strong and courageous creature represents my innermost Alaskan self and breathes life into the soft and dangerous parts of my personality. I’m a very cool and cuddly person, until I’m not… Get into my latest tat in this video I pieced together – with the help of my sister, Lenci – on ink day.

Feel the burn and enjoy,

 

Big shouts to Kenny Slone and the crew at Ink Therapy Tattoo in Plainfield, Indiana. The customer service there is beyond great and you’re guaranteed to have a blast during your session.

Back from the West and Ready for Ink

Hello, everyone! Long time no WordPress post, huh? As most of you know we’ve been busy traveling, visiting friends out west in Los Angeles and Seattle. What a trip. Man, we hated to come back, but more on that later. I’m currently going through all the video footage we collected on the trip and will be putting together TWO YouTube videos – one for each city – to share with all of you.

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FRIDAY. This Friday I get my new tattoo. I’m nervous and excited. Mostly excited, though. The nerves are probably coming from the anticipation of getting the tat done. Originally, I planned on getting this done on my thirtieth birthday, but I unexpectedly had to get a new car. The time is now and it’s going to be epic. My fresh ink will meet me on the upper right part of my arm. A strong representation of my personality and representation of the North, this will be my biggest and grandest tattoo to date.

I view tattoos as an expression of who you are. Not every tattoo needs a story or a meaning, but that’s the theme I try to stick to with mine. I have a scorpion on my foot, because I’m a Scorpio and complete Astrology nerd. I have a trumpet on my left forearm because I’m a trumpet player and music has been, and continues to be, a huge part of my life. The lyrics underneath it read “It’s a bittersweet symphony this life” because that’s what life has been for me. I have a totem style Alaskan salmon on my right thigh to rep my home state, Alaska, and persistence, instinct, and determination. I got this one a week before I graduated from Indiana University. Those of you who know me personally know what that journey was like for me.

So what will my next one represent? Stay tuned! And comment with pictures of tattoos you have and what they mean to you.

Flight Prep

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Only a couple more days until we’re headed to Los Angeles and Seattle! “Vacation. All I ever wanted. Vacation. Had to get away.” Shouts to The Go-Go’s. Here are a handful of my must have travel items for any flight:

  • Reading material. Part of my airport ritual is grabbing a men’s magazine of some sort – GQ, Details, Esquire, etc – to read on the plane. This time I’ll also have my kindle in tow. I’ve started a couple books recently and want to make sure I finish them.
  • Kick-ass earbuds and your phone/iPod. I love my Marshall Mode earbuds that I got for Christmas. I’m excited to try these babies out on a flight out west. I definitely started a California playlist, but never got around to finishing it. There’s still time, I suppose, but I’m generally down for any mellow vibe, curated playlist on Spotify.
  • Oil-absorbing sheets. Even on a flight, you won’t catch me slippin’. Packing my oil cleansing supplies in my cabin baggage would obviously be too much. On longer flights, before landing, I’ll go to the restroom and use these sheets to quickly get rid of any excess shine without stealing away all the moisture from my skin. Target brand is just fine.
  • A pair of casual shades to hide tired eyes. My shades are prescription, but if you go light on the shade, you also can use this excuse without looking too shady in between connections. Or maybe you just don’t give a %&#$. That’s more than cool, too.
  • ChapStick. DUH. Don’t have chapped lips on a flight. You’ll hate yourself.
  • Shooters. Yes. You can pack shooters in your carry-on luggage. They’re under the three ounce liquid limit and you save about $7 on overpriced airline booze.

What will I be wearing? Well, this flight is at 6 o’clock in the morning. A hoodie, a couple bracelets – I’ve noticed I always have on a bracelet – Nike sneakers, some trendy joggers, and a neutral messenger bag to tie it all together and hold my light jacket.

 

 

 

Guest Post: A Woman’s Worth

 

If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know about that moment pre-impact when your body naturally tenses up in response to the impending collision. That feeling, when everything is moving in slow motion, and your head is filled with alternative scenarios and “what have I done?” – THAT is the feeling within me that has slowly been building under pressure since the late hours of November 8th.

Today, the day of Mr. Trump’s inauguration, that same question is blasting repeatedly in my mind: “What have I done? What have WE done?” Last night, as I was lamenting my lack of participation in the Women’s March on Washington, my husband looked at me and said “Well, no worries. We voted. We tried.” It’s true. I voted. I voted for Hillary.  What more could I have done? Where did we go wrong? And then the flood came…

I remembered being very young, sitting in the dressing room with my mother as she tried on dress after dress after dress. She was looking in the mirror, grabbing at bits of flesh, desperately trying to rearrange her post-partum body, half-heartedly “joking” (was it a joke?) that I was to blame for her stretch marks and her size 12 pants. She used words like “fat”, “ugly”, and “cellulite” over and over again. I’d thought she was beautiful. Was she not beautiful? Was I mistaken? Was I also fat and ugly?

I remembered my first interactions with bullies. A boy in 4th grade said I sounded like a boy. In the 7th, I was intentionally tripped during the mile-run in gym class because it took me too long. In 9th grade I was “too fat” for shorts and the line of sweat running down my back was pointed out in class after I’d raced to make it before the bell. The snickers in band class when someone whispered that the way my hair fell made me look like the head of a penis. Being dumped for another girl who would “look better naked while sprawled across the hood of a car.” Being called a “slut” for the first time.

I remembered my escape to college, where I’d hoped things would most certainly change for me. The sexual assault in my dorm room, being held face down on my college-issued dorm mattress, inhaling those who had slept soundly on it before me, silently paused for perhaps my one and only prayer, my roommate ignoring what was happening.

I remembered waking up in the middle of the night, next to my ex-boyfriend, who was trying to pull my panties down without waking me. Pretending to be asleep so I could see just how far he would go. Feeling the violation and realizing it was not going to end with just touching. “Waking up”. Being told I’d pulled them down myself. That same man later distributing a naked photo to his friends, MY friends, our mutual friends…strangers…for the purpose of shaming me. Only much later, being informed of the picture’s existence by an acquaintance.

I remembered, after giving birth to my son, and experiencing a very rare post-partum stroke, my life hanging by a thread, being asked if I’d “lost the weight”. Having to use the stroke as an explanation for why I still look like this.

I remembered that despite all of these things, I had managed to chug along. But most of all, I remembered not saying a word.

The harsh reality is, my plight is not unique. Many women have similar stories to share. It isn’t even unique to my race, sex or gender. But somehow, SOMEHOW, it’s over-looked and ignored. Those who commit such atrocities against us are glorified. In high school, they were popular. In the workplace, they are viewed as “go-getters”, “strong”…even presidential. I wanted desperately to believe that once the people heard about Trump’s disregard for women, the LGBTQ community and minorities, there would be some pause.  On November 9th, I cried because again, I felt the burden of my biological form.

Throughout my life, I did not get to decide what happened to my body. Feeling good about myself was not an option.  I was defined by my image.

When my husband told me I’d done what I could…that I’d tried because I voted, I became angry. Angry because I realized that by not saying anything, I’d contributed to the problem. I’d taken the blame, fully, and unequivocally. But nothing that happened was my fault, and the only person in control of my body is me.

Believe it or not, the collision has not yet come. We are losing our access to contraceptives, we are losing our reproductive rights, we are losing our right to breastfeed and the resources that are currently in place to protect it, we are still making less than our male counterparts, and there will be federal tax cuts to organizations focused on preventing violence against women. But we need not and should not simply brace for impact. The time for action is now. March! If you cannot march, donate! If you cannot donate, volunteer! If you cannot volunteer, share! And if you cannot share, at the very least, please listen.

And always remember, you are not alone.

Sincerely,

One Nasty Woman

Netflix and Still.

I’m not sure what’s happened to us. Making a selection on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming platform has proven to be mostly annoying and fruitless. Let me partially take that back. I have shows that I don’t mind watching and will pick in a heartbeat when I have the remote control in hand and S isn’t home. Black-ish, Scandal, Atlanta, Game of Thrones, Insecure… anything witchy, really.

 

“What do you want to watch?” I proceed to list of all the shows we’re currently watching in hopes that he picks one that we haven’t been binging on every night. “Uhhhhhhh…..” This is how most of the show/movie watching selection process goes for us. Recently we’ve been binging on The Office – great show if you haven’t gotten into it – or keeping up with whatever Real Housewives season is airing at the moment. Variety, though. Variety goes a long way.  

 

This happens, right? Couples have shows they watch together and shows they watch separately. I know in my mind, when I’m offering up suggestions on what to watch, that those are my shows. The both of us would love to watch old Real World episodes, but none of the quality seasons are available on Hulu or anywhere else. You’d think MTV would sell that shit. I know of at least two queens in Indianapolis who would snatch up and buy all of those (golden) lost episodes.

 

For now, I’ll do my best to remember his shows; or more of the us shows. This could be some form of a hidden gift – us being as busy as we have been. We didn’t really have time for television the past year. Maybe it’s a sign if we’re scanning for minutes upon minutes and still haven’t picked something to watch. It’s winter outside, so eff a walk, but maybe it’s a sign I should go practice some yoga. Maybe it’s a sign S should play some more video games or continue his post-school chill however he wants.

 
Who knows, but we’re back to scrolling now. The Office it is.

Vacay Decay

The first day back after a long week (and a day) off are so terribly slow and painful. On the struggle bus is but an understatement, let me tell you, because homeboy was dying at his desk on Tuesday of last week. Christmas fell on a Sunday, so around this time last year, I planned to have the week of Christmas 2016 to myself. I wasn’t worried about the time being gone because I’m generally smart with my time off at work and S always has extra time to spare.

The holidays are always a great time – largely in part to the amount of Crown Royal we consume. “Ho Ho Ho!” scream our livers. S’s dad definitely makes sure the bar is properly stocked when we’re down home. We’re never hurting in the wine and spirits department. The thing we were most looking forward to  was chilling at home with each other; to completely decompress.

We did a whole lot of nothing and it was absolutely fabulous. S played a lifetime’s worth of video games while I just zenned out with a plethora of self care treatments. Another huge plus of our time off was familiarizing ourselves with our new home deep fryer. We can’t say enough good things about how the fryer has stepped up our kitchen game.

2017 brings in the new grind. I’ve been drifting away from new year resolutions because there’s always so much I want to accomplish. S and I both vowed a couple years ago that working on our health, fitness, and overall well-being would always be a big focus. Your health shouldn’t have to be a resolution – I get it, I do –  but instead, a commitment that is lasting and honest.

I foresee pretty big changes on the job front for me this year. My freelance public relations projects are picking back up and I’ve been working on ideas to pitch for writing opportunities. S is doing really well at his job and can now breathe with his Master of Accounting degree being complete. There are still some late nights, but Reynold and I don’t mind too much. We understand.  

Eat Slay Love. We survived an extremely (and unpredictably) busy 2016 and we’re both entering 2017 a little sluggish; if we’re being truthful. Never fear, though! I think this is just part of being an adult. We enjoyed the hell out of our time off and time with each other, so sure, we’re wishing we could go back to that week (lol). So with that being said…

Goodnight. And don’t let the trap queens bite,