The joy of painting.

We have a beauticious living room now.
It's been a long road. Quite a little process. Quite a few tantrums.

Home decorating is just not my forte. I can accessorize myself. I cannot accessorize my house. So, for months and months and months, the living room looked like this:

Amazing right? So much life. Vitality. Stunning.
It's exactly what you want people to see when they come to your house.
It's what first impression dreams are made of.

We needed a change. This room is like the anti-Susie. Boring. Plain. Neutral. And we all know that I am fantastic, exciting, and opinionated. Duh.

The giant room needed color.
I bought the trinkets and knick knacks.
I picked the paint color.
I set up my little project.
Only, I am not actually capable of doing said project.
Not with 17 foot ceilings and a 30 foot extension ladder.

I always feel guilty over projects like this.
It was my idea. It was my game.
But he bares the brunt of it.

The rest of us sit and watch until we can participate at a lower level.

Because it isn't safe for us to be on extension ladders.
It's barely safe for me on solid ground.

But it's done. Decor (for now). And painting (forever).

And I'm pretty darn happy with it.
Don't you just love a good before and after?
I know I do.

He's pretty happy about it all too.

Oh hey, kitchen.
You're next.

We call this "high gear".

We had to kick it into high gear yesterday.
There was the mess from painting, the mess from having adult boys at our house all weekend, and the mess that we call "My Life".

And we had about 6 hours to fix it all because today, this arrived:

Its name is Mother-in-Law and it's come to visit.
By looking critically at this picture, you can tell that she is also 6'4 like Chuck.
Or that Chuck is sitting flat on his "rumper bumper" (that's first grade speak for butt) in order to fit in the frame.

Nothing can clean a house better than Mother-in-Law.
Not that I'm making her clean, golly no. I did it. All. In a hurry. And it's not like a quick vacuum will get the job done. We have to really sell this "clean" thing. Make it look good.

I needed to bring my house up to code so she thinks that we live this well. It's like having the Building Inspector at the work site and knowing that the Building Inspector gave birth to one of the occupants. It's a critical walk-through. I don't want to lose custody of my husband.

And in the name of retaining custody,
We now have a pantry that looks like this.
Even rows. Shelves with definate purpose. The discovery of several cans of chiles (it's like Christmas in that place). And the throwing away of anything with Happy Valentine's Day and kisses on it.

Our fridge has never looked prettier. Someone call Cribs.
Did you know that you should probably throw salad dressing away if you, oh I don't know, moved into the house owning it?? Evidently, 2008 is not our current year.
I threw away 7 cardboard boxes from this cupboard. Lie. It was more like 9 and three empty toilet paper bags. What?? Now, I'm wondering what to put in it. It's in the bathroom. It's spacious. Roomie. It needs help. I'm thinking this would be fun: go here. And let me know. I'm waiting.
Look how evenly rolled the towels are. This is so Monica Gellar it makes me want to cry. For Friends (I miss it, still). And for the fact that I'm 2 years older than Monica on the series premier. Now I want to die. This post is depressing.

It is worth it.
Because she is joy. And I miss her. And she wouldn't care if the house was trashed to high heaven, she's just happy to be here (I know that). But I don't see her a lot so I want her image of me to be of perfection, joy, and simplicity.

Not like reality: Hot mess. Moody. Boarderline hoarder.

We'll give him a point for this one.

The painting is the done.
The clean-up. Well. It's a work in progress. Kind of like Me.
We'll get some pictures up tomorrow. Promise. But it's fabulous so far even with two ladders, three tarps, and a contract still taped to the window.

Painting takes it out of you. Just ask Chuck. There's a 17 foot ceiling involved, you're hanging off an extension ladder, and babysitting your wife. Man, does Chuck have it rough around here. That man wears a lot of hats and takes on a lot of responsibility.

I love him for it.

I love him more that the second he finished, he laid on the living room carpet and I caught him like this:

He doesn't usually show weakness.

He took a 5 minute breather and was off again.
He's been working on a very important project for a week and wasn't about to let painting exhaustion stop him.

I want it for the record that I never asked for this to get done.
I certainly never asked him to get it done today.
But he did.

He fixed my Schwinn.

It's a 1950s Hollywood Beach Cruiser.
Try not to be too jealous.

I debuted it last year on the blog, but that disgusting event known as "painting the exterior of our house" (that sucked the life out of every bit of last summer) put the bike on the back burner.
And I never got to ride it.

So Chuck was bent on making it up to me with an early start to this season.
And he's a promise keeper. One of us has to be.

This baby and I have some serious memory making ahead of us.
Chuck gets one point in the "good thing I married you" column.

The Contract.

We (I) decided that we (I) didn't like the lack of color in the living room/dining room. It needed to be painted immediately. And we (I) would have it no other way. Paint was purchased. Dreams were made. Goals set.

That was 6 weeks ago.
We're a little slow on the uptake around here.

But today. This weekend. The number was up for the uniroom. Goodbye Sherwin William's Flat Boring Beige. Hello Sea Wall.

I love painting rooms.
I love the transformation.
I love rolling, and trimming, and taping.

Chuck loves it too.
He does not, however, love painting with me.
I have no idea why. I am a joy. Usually.

But apparently, I have had a bad attitude a few times during the process. Evidently, I have said some things I shouldn't have about paint colors before they were done drying. And there may have been some foot stamps and huffy breaths in the past over how things were looking before they were finished. I have a lot of opinions and I like them heard.

It seems that Painting with Susie may be Chuck's breaking point. On an aside, it's a personal win to find this breaking point, because that guy is a tough one to push too far. He'll put up with anything -- look who he married. I can't believe I finally did it. Score.

Painting started this morning.
But not before I signed "the contract".

Chuck called me to his conference room (the kitchen, in layman's terms) for a meeting.

He was preparing his document.

I grabbed my camera. Whatever this was, it was going to be good.
He used a marker as the tool to craft his Painting Contract because he knows that in my world, Crayola carries much more weight than Bic. I practically say my own version of the Lord's Prayer to Crayola every morning. "Our crayolas that art in boxes, sky blue and violet be thy name."

I read.
I signed.
I whined.

(and you will care not to judge my nail polish in that picture.)
Chuck had Jack serve as the witness.
He read and notarized.

"I, Susan Elise Allison, promise to not have a freak out over the paint color until the paint has been on the wall for not less than three (3) hours. I will not say that I hate it, the house, or my husband."

He taped the contract to the living room window to help me uphold my agreement. But I did good today. He only tapped the window twice to remind me of our contract.
That's good for me.

Really good.
We'll see how tomorrow goes.

epic epiphany.

We aren't big into trendy around here.
You may have noticed.
Chuck has Billabong Tees from junior high. I habitually order a Roy Rogers with dinner. And there's a ship's wheel attached to our balcony. Lord knows we wouldn't have iPhones. or iBooks. or iPods. Basically everything that Apple makes is way too trendy for us. Trendy like that terrifies us.

Thus. The iPad is literally mind-boggling to me.

I don't get it. Really, no, I mean it. I DON'T GET IT. Why? Why??? I've taken a few weeks since its introduction to mull this over since I'm not one to jump to conclusion (lie) or make snap judgements (lie).

Today. I figured it out.
[cue angel chorus]
I get it. AND I totally agree with the iPad's creation. I completely understand why it's necessary.
Because is it just me, or did Apple bring Penny's computer book to life and call it an iPad? WHICH IS COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY WONDERFUL.
God bless that Steve Jobs. He must have been a BIG go-go Gadget fan.

It's thrilling, when you think about it, that something so futuristic from childhood has come to fruition. It's real. Now I can help rescue Uncle Gadget from Dr. Claw with a computer book. I'm sure there's an app for that.

There are just so many doors this opens now.
So many possibilities.
What else will they create?
What else is on the technology horizon?

Hey, you in the black, Steve, right? I have some suggestions. A few things I'd like brought to life a-sap if you wouldn't mind.
While we are on the Gadget topic, let's just go for broke and make Penny's watch, too. I don't see what's so difficult. They made the freaking computer book. The basic design for this piece was perfected by Timex in the mid-80s. Add a touch screen and an app. Done.

How difficult would it be to manufacture and create Falcor?
It can't be anymore difficult than the iPad.
And, it would be much more useful.
I would like the technology/ability to dive into a pile of money. This just feels right. Side note: Is anyone else's life like a hurricane? Or is that only in Duckburg? Race cars. Lasers. Airplanes.
Hoverboard. Obviously.
Can they make up some sort of a mobile telephone device like Don Adams had on Get Smart? Wouldn't it be so convenient to have a transportable telecommunication hardware? It would be ideal. A phone in your hand! Consider the possibilities! And what if you could also add written language to this speaking telegraph like a sort of computer generated telegram.
I would also like them to begin manufacturing the potion for Death Becomes Her.
And yes. That's the movie poster in Spanish.
It came up first on my search. And I'm lazy.
You spend 10 hours at work, 6 of them chasing 7 year olds, and then muster up the energy to click and save picture number 2 when number 1 is just oh-so-convenient.
Naturally, I would also like Apple to create the telephone booth from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, complete with So-Crates.
Couple of points of discussion:
1. Does this movie translate to the youth of today?
sub point a: Do they know what a phone booth is?
sub point b: Do they know what/why/how a phone booth is necessary?

And once the phone booth time machine is invented, immediately go back in time and destroy the script to Speed 2. And Sweet November. And The Lake House.

Did I miss anything?

[almost] meeting PW

A few weeks ago, PW announced she was coming to town for a book signing.
My heart stopped.

Why wouldn't she want to come to Seattle and meet her best friend?
Because I am awesome and fantastic and we were MFEO (and I have that whole humility thing going for me).

Back in February, I got a delivery from Amazon.
Chuck was immediately suspicious because I usually run all Internetting purchases past him. Not because he doesn't trust my spending, but he feels I'd be highly likely to help a Nigerian Princess without constant supervision. It's true. I'm a giver. Anyhoo. This mystery package. I hadn't the slightest idea what I'd bought myself, but I was super psyched to find out.

Turns out, I wasn't sleep shopping again.
It was a for-no-reason gift from my best friend Cheryl. That's my favorite kind of gift. The no-reason-kind and the Cheryl kind. Score.

It was The Pioneer Woman's cookbook and I died.
It was everything I wanted and more.
Because PW is everything I want to be and more.

PW is my Godfather.
Leave the gun, take the cannoli. And the Nikon. And the butter. And the Punks.

Her visit to Seattle was ticker tape in my mind. I could get my Cheryl-sent PW cookbook signed and all would be right in my life. Except that the signing was April 17. Which didn't actually work for me. It was my school's auction and something about being a teacher means you can't actually skip those things. And they wouldn't reschedule for me.

But I had to try.

The signing started at 5.
The auction started at 6.
Dang. Still. Had. To. Try.

I wasn't really sure how signings worked and apparently, I should have been tutored beforehand. I didn't know to get the tickets early. I thought you came and lined up.
Susie fail.

I got to Third Place Books at 2:30 and sat. And waited. And waited some more.
I wasn't really dressed for the occasion so I stuck out a little. I was in auction attire. I found out later that my new book signing friend called me Miss Fancy before we were BFF. That's ok. I called her Voodoo Lady and now we'll get to why.

See, everyone was there with a friend.
Except me. I was a party of 1 because Cheryl sucks and moved to North Carolina which is a bag of issues in my life. So I sat alone with a book about Reading Instruction (jealous??) until I became friends with Voodoo Lady.

Voodoo Lady was making a doll for PW's littlest girl punk.
BUT, it looked like she was doing voodoo on the doll, sticking it repeatedly with a pin. In my mind, someone, somewhere had done something very bad and for once it wasn't me.
I texted everyone I knew about this.
I was seeing real life, New Orleans style voodoo, and everyone needed to know.
Then I found out that it wasn't voodoo, but a sewing technique, and it was worse than finding out about Santa. The depression hasn't subsided.
This is the voodoo doll. Tell me something. If you saw someone stabbing this with a single pin for 10 minutes, what would your thoughts be?

Voodoo Lady was a near perfect substitute for Cheryl.
She was one of those people that can strike up a conversation with a stranger and sustain it for 3 hours. I've seen Cheryl do this a million times. I wouldn't even know where to begin. We traded blogs (her's is here --I made it on her blog. Holla.). We traded Photoshop secrets. We traded PW recipes. It was like meeting a person who speaks English when you're in a foreign country. It felt like home.
This is us.
We needed a myspace pic to commemorate the experience together. Obviously.

Voodoo, or Jesse as her driver's license apparently says, kept trying to break it to me that I wouldn't be able to do the Auction and meet PW. She was definitely a Mom: trying, ever so gently, every 15 minutes, to point out how unrealistic my expectations were. Finally she got me to a point where I could admit that maybe I was fine with just seeing PW in person and that was that.

And that's about the time she said she'd get my book signed for me and mail it to suburbia.
Who does this for a stranger?
Cheryl would. And Jesse definitely would. She's already sent the book.

And it was also about this time that PW walked through the door. I bolted, purple taupe dress waving in the wind, to catch a glimpse and a picture. And breathe the same air as her. Too far?
Got it.
I took it. Wee'd myself. And fell.

Apparently, running in these is a hazard for people named Susie.
I've never quite understood what to run in and what to just wear mellow. I'll work on that.

There she was.
In all her happy, lovely, PW glory.

I never did get to meet her.
My group didn't get called until 2 1/2 hours after I'd left. I never had a chance.

But I did get to meet the oldest Punk.
I wish I'd been that nice and gracious at 13.
I bet Fe wishes that too.

At least I got my book signed.
And by Voodoo Jesse's account, PW was a big fan of my post-it covered book.

Don't judge. I like to label my cookbooks. They're as close to a journal as I'll ever keep.

It was probably the best, almost meeting that I could have hoped for.
Save for the almost part. And the no-Cheryl part.
Because Cheryl would have planned ahead and gotten us tickets a week before.
No. That's a lie.
She would have shown up 15 minutes before the signing.

don't ever call me sue. that's for cheryl only.

What I'd do for Twilight and Oprah.

Perez Hilton changes lives. I think we can all agree on that.
During my daily blog rounds (you know you have your rituals, which ones come first, which are weekly, which are on whims), and of course Perez is in a high rotation in my US Weekly fed life. Perez. What a saint. He alerted the masses that Oprah was trying to fill her audience with TwiHards.

Hello. Have we met? Total Adult TwiHard. I'm ashamed in as much as I am not. I own it. Maybe my first graders shouldn't know that I'm "Team Edward", but they do. The giant metal lunchbox tipped them off. And the Valentine's, birthday , and every other card in between that gets delivered to my room with a Twilight theme. Sigh. Again. I own it. Shame is rarely a factor in my life.

Once I read about Oprah, I sent out the Cullen Crest bat signal to my TwiHomies to find an idea that proved, without remorse or reservation, what hardcore fans we are. I'll give full credit (or blame) to Jessica for the idea for our entry submission. Stroke of genius or insanity. Whatever. We're 25, 26, 27 and we're pretty awesome.

Below. Our pictures for Oprah, except that I Susie-fied it for the blog because you know me, you know my humor, my style and I don't have to tip-toe. Oprah, however, I'll need to tone it down. Probably.
Hopefully Oprah will. And if not, well, we had a heckuva Sunday.


We've never totally fit in the Twilight crowd.
TwiMoms can be pretty obnoxious.
TwiGirls are at a questionable level on appropriateness. I get that the books were written at a fourth grade reading level, but the content? Well, it would have been beyond me at 15, let alone 9.

But these fans have nothing on us late-twenty something TwiHards. We can take "fan" to a whole new level because we don't have minivans or curfews. It's the one thing we have on other Twilighters. And it's what we think about while lined up for a midnight release next to them.

The Oprah question is: How has Twilight impacted your life?
The answer is: Twilight isn't just a fad, for us, it's part of our everyday.

Figuratively, we carry Twilight with us everywhere.
We haven't had a non-Twilight conversation amongst our group in years.
We haven't had spaghetti without saying we were "making Italiano" since 2008.
And we certainly haven't signed an email any other way the Mrs. Cullen in Edward-only-knows how long.

Our spouses would care for us to take a breather.
Our families have rolled their eyes for so long they risk staying that way.
And now, well, they'd all like to disown us a lil'bit.

That whole figurative part. Well, we decided to go literal and literally carried Twilight (more specifically, Edward) with us for the day.

See? When I said we literally carried him with us, I was dead serious.
Don't ever doubt me again.
We literally CARRIED HIM WITH US. Get it now? I thought so.

We took Eddie all over Seattle with us, showing him the sites and a good time. We thought it best to show him where we think of him most, where we wish he'd be, and where we'll probably be the day they take us away in cute little white jackets with arms at criss-cross.

Now. Let's get to our day.
A classic. We took him to the Space Needle. This is stop one, photo one. Jessica was reasonably nervous and (quote) "embarrassed, but not enough NOT do this". We did the "park in a loading zone" and ditched the Civic. By the end of the day, we'd perfected this move.
Edward was kind enough to sit with us during lunch even though he's on his special "vegetarian" diet. What a gentleman.
The thing that bothered us most during our Book Club was the NO ONE CARED. No one. Look at the picture. Business as usual at the Pike Place Starbucks.
It's a couples pic. I'm sitting on his lap. It's our favorite pose together.
Play Where's Edward?
Flowers from Edward. Livin' the dream.
I don't usually "get" my friends, but this one got Jessica. Win. Total PDA. Don't tell any camp counselors.
Someone should always be watching me drive.

Note the people in the background on the streetcar.

They needed to get in on the action. Dealing with fans and paparazzi is always a challenge with Edward. We knew to be prepared.
Taking a shopping picture at Nordstrom was the worst.
It was nerve racking.
It was embarrassing.
It's like taking a picture in church. You just feel icky.
We ran to leave.
See, Edward's a musician. Naturally, when he saw the piano, he had to pen a lullaby for us.
Jumping. We're just so happy together.

Our own personal meadow with Edward.

I'd say, pretty successful little adventure since this is about 1/3 of the usable pictures we took. Chuck took administrative privileges and made me limit the post. Who even likes that guy?

Writing my Oprah essay tomorrow.
Fingers and gold eyes crossed.


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