Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of Blogging: How to Get Your Husband to Do What You Want

The Nester's 31 Days of Blogging is here! I wrote what I know best...
I have a rockin' relationship with my husband. I'm not bragging and I'm not comparing (though we'll get to that later)- it's just the God's honest truth. I'm crazy about Mr. E and I'm not afraid to say it. Or blog about it. I think it's sort of evident, though, when we have friends ask us how we do it. In truth, it's a little embarrassing to hear people "want" a relationship like yours. We're human, too! We have fights and arguments and problems just like anyone else! But what is it that makes us so special? Why are we the poster children for a great relationship?
Because I've figured out how to get my husband to do what I want.
This sounds crazy. Downright impossible.
First of all, this implies control or domination of some sort that isn't actually present between my husband and myself. There's no pants-wearing, no exclusive shot-caller. This isn't about orders or rules.
Second of all, husbands are not machines. This isn't some month-long rant about secretly gaining the upper hand in your relationship, or manipulating your significant other to your every whim.
I am not an expert, but I think I've been advised enough times by countless married, unmarried, living together, "it's complicated", significant other-d couples to know a thing or two about what works for us. And may work for you. These are words of wisdom as interpreted by myself...and my husband.
This isn't perfect. This isn't fool proof. But I firmly believe that this a start to encouraging a relationship between other words your husband will do whatever you want.

Step 1: Choosing the Right Partner
Step 2: Fostering a Positive Environment
Step 3: Indulge Him
Step 4: Hold Your Horses. And Your Temper. But Not That Knife.
Mr. E on How He Does What He Wants
Step 5: Accept Blame
Step 6: Choose Your Battles
Step 7: Show Him Some Love
Step 8: Be Frank (But Mostly Yourself)
Step 9: Leading By Example and Pulling Your Own Weight
Step 10: Avoiding Comparison
Mr. E on Service
Step 11: Don't Set Him Up to Fail
Step 12: To Get You've Got to Give
Step 13: Bribery
Step 14: Make Him Choose
Step 15: Change What You're Asking For
Step 16: Communicate Your Desires
Mr. E on How Cooking is Good for Your Relationship
Step 17: Timing is Everything
Step 18: Be Honest (?)
Step 19: Politeness Isn't Just for Strangers
Step 20: Ask, Don't Tell
Step 21: Short and Sweet
Step 22: Stop Trying
Mr. E on Balancing Work and Home
Step 23: Love Languages
Step 24: Are You Focused?
Step 25: Some Things to Not Do. No Matter How Tempting
Step 26: Know Your Limits
Step 27: It's Okay to Fight. Just Do It Fairly.

Friday, September 27, 2013

True Story

I feel like I cheated, a little bit.

I didn't twitter party last night because Mr. E and I were enjoying our new mounted-on-the-wall TV (new mounting, not new TV) and this morning all I skimmed through was that the FMF word was TRUE. And instead of reading, I wrote. So when I linked up and saw that she asked for "our true stories" I felt like I had cheated her (and you) out

There's not a whole lot that I don't say on here. I blog my life and the things that happen in it. If I didn't say it here, I might have said it on twitter, but overall you're getting my true story every time you open this page. As I feel more and more comfortable being me, I write a little bit more- revealing myself in bits and pieces, peeling back layers to expose my inner and most protected self.

You'll read things like how Mr. E and I met (over a blind phone date) and how we knew we were going to get married within a month (and only two months before he left for his LDS mission to Kentucky). How we've been married for two years and together for five and a half and I've never found anyone as perfectly imperfect as my husband.

Or things like my dissatisfaction with the career choices I made in college (microbiology degree) and my penchant for sewing and crocheting and cross-stitching and painting. That all of these things- both the artistic and the logical- make me who I am though I have yet to find that balance.

I told you how scared I was to move to LA, but after a two month (and finally successful) job search, I've spent enough time navigating the sights and sounds of the city that I realized I will love this city. Eventually.

I'll tell you things like how our weekend was or will be, and why things make me feel the way I feel. That I'm broken and confused but uplifted and set straight, sometimes all in the same day, and that I am exactly where I need to be right now. That there are seasons in my life that made me cry and get angry, but there's always sunshine after the storm and these things don't last forever and as much as I love the person I am now it wasn't always that way and I still have a ways to go.

I'm the kind of girl who wears capris without shaving her legs and can sometimes go two days without washing my hair because it's always in a bun. I can't hang a picture nice enough for my husband but I can bake a mean pie. I lose chapstick and I break sunglasses so I never buy the expensive kind. I will challenge anyone to a Wii Just Dance-off but mostly I just want to spend my day reading a really good book.

This blog is my story. My true story.

Don't be afraid to share yours.

True #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday

"Your turn."

The girl from 501 smiled shyly. She ran her fingers through her touseled hair and picked at something sticking to the bottom of her shoe. She sat directly opposite the red emergency light and it lit her face like fireworks.

"Okay. Um..." She held up one finger. "I've broken every bone in all of my major limbs." She held up a second finger. "I had a one night stand with a Harry Potter film star." She smiled and held up her third finger. "I can brush my teeth with my toes."

The other girls tittered. They sat cross-legged, leaning against the mirrored walls, everyone sharing a Nutrigrain bar one of them found in their purse. The air felt close and muggy.

"Eight-oh-eight. You're next."

Their eyes were bored and curious at once. This was the fifth game in as many hours.

She took a deep breath.

"I know how to skin and de-bone a rabbit in two minutes."

There were a few gasps.

"I have built a natural resistance to most man-made poisons."

They started to exchange looks with one another. In the dim light, their eyes seemed huge, their features unnaturally sharpened.

Now that she had their attention, she whispered.

"I rigged this elevator to fall in"

The lights cut out and the girls started to scream.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Last Day of Summer

We spent the last day of summer at the LA County Fair. Mr. E and I have gone to the fair almost religiously every year- usually San Diego County, then last year at the Orange County and then we missed BOTH and had to settle for LA. We've determined Del Mar is the best- as OC was incredibly boozy and LA was too spread out.
We sorely missed all of the crazy booths and products. Where were the SHAM-WOWS? The dog brushes and the popsicle-makers? The stained glass and the personalized bracelets? We were impressed with the hanging terrariams (below) and the iron work, but they were small potatoes compared to the fried food.
We're crazy about that fried food. We've tried something crazy every time we go to the fair- because if not then, WHEN? Bacon-wrapped pickles. And deep-fried watermelon. Amazing.
We made it a double date with one of the friends who introduced us to each other (him) and his girlfriend. The best part of the fair this year was our $5/3 cupcake frosting class! Look at these adorable farm animals we created! That's Mr. E's pig down there- despite the fact that I'M the cake decorator in the house!
Goodbye, summer. We had a hard time enjoying you, what with the move and all. But now we're firmly ensconced here in Burbank and we plan to enjoy every pumpkin-flavored confection fall has to offer. Bring on the season of cream cheese.

Movies This Week:
The Crow

The World's End

Major League

Monday, September 23, 2013

That Time I Was Almost A Receptionist (Again)

Job searching is something I'm very good at. That doesn't mean I get all of the jobs, it just means that my internet-scouring skills are put to good use (finally).

I've been tip-toe-ing around with a company; phone-tagging and emailing back and forth. I thought there was something, but then they'd wait a week before responding and I would beat myself up about hoping and apply to more jobs that I didn't want. Then they'd reach out with something vague and insubstantial (1 of 4 phone interviews, anyone?) and I'd find confidence in the very tips of my fingers and then...nothing for another week.

It drove me batty.

Literally insane.
I wanted to get out of this house. I didn't want to spend money.
I wanted to be doing something productive with my day. I wasn't getting any calls back.
I wanted a job in my field. I wanted money to pay bills more than that.

I think we hit the point where Mr. E was afraid to come home because of my dark abysmal moods. What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I hearing from anyone? Was I over-qualified? Under-qualified? I was willing to work at Michael's. At Starbucks. Just give me a freaking shift and I'll blow you away with my work ethic.

So when after all of the final interviews with this company, I still hadn't heard from them- despite a sweetly worded email inquiry- it was time to move forward. Right? Craigslist, of all places, came through for me: a receptionist/ sterilization technician position at a local orthodontics office.

This I could do. Would I enjoy it? Sure. Would it be fulfilling? Probably not. It was part-time and it was minimum wage and would not cover ANYTHING, but it was a job. So I applied. And I interviewed. And I tested and I passed and they wanted me to work a few hours in a "working interview" which really meant they were training me.

Mr. E was ecstatic. Heck, I was ecstatic. After researching the price of scrubs and setting my alarm clock for the first time in two months, I went to bed a happy woman. And then I sat there a very very stressed woman because this was not enough. I knew it, but it was all I had and you have to build on something.
But when it rains, it pours and three hours into training I got the call that I got the job. The first job, the coveted job. The job that pays more than twice as much as minimum wage and is full-time to boot. The job that is fulfilling and productive and no where near anyone's braces.

That's how this sweet people-pleaser turned from her phone to her almost-co-workers and let them know quite decidedly that this was not going to work out but thanks so much for the training and the coffee.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

You Might Notice a Slight Change...

Or you might not. Whatevs.

I was really impressed by my sister-in-law's new blog layout (go check it out!) that I started tinkering with mine. Make it a little cleaner, a little more mature. And then I had a full blown new color scheme on my hands! But I like it and I hope you do too!

Our big news for the month (or two) is that I found a job!
Cue mass excitement.
Excited Lucille Bluth Arrested Development Excited Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development)
I'll be working with St. Jude's Medical on a team that processes and assesses product complaints for their products- mostly pacemakers and fibrillators. I'll have to pull out all of my old textbooks (and some Internet-sleuthing) to make sure I remember all of my circulatory pathways. It's still a contract job, but there's the possibility to stay on after the contract is up. I start Septemer 30th.

In the vein of jobs, Mr. E's got extended one more week, although shooting on Wish I Was Here by Zach Braff has officially ended. Mr. E's just mopping up the loose ends around the office and with post production- and then he's done! He's on the lookout for another project to work on as well.

Sort of seems like we're passing jobs off!

Keep on the lookout for this blog in October: I'm participating in The Nester's 31 Days, which means I'll be posting once a day every day for the month of October. Sort of like the NaBloPoMo I did in February, only this time I get to choose the topic! So I've got a little something near and dear to my heart, funny, sweet, sassy, honest and above all else, my own experiences. It'll be fun, I swear.

Movies This Week
What Dreams May Come
Monster's University

Thursday, September 19, 2013

She #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday
It’s a Tuesday.

She always wore red on Tuesday
She had little pig tails tied with little red ribbons
That flopped as she ran to catch the morning bus
Her bright red backpack bounced with each step

She was always so curious
She asked why some stars were brighter than others
Or where snails bought their shells
She was too curious

She saw a cat laying in the street
And ran quickly to see if it was alright
The cat was wearing red too
Red spilled out from the fur and onto the gravel

The neighbor never watches where he drives
No more Tuesdays
No more curiosity
No more red

This week was written by Mr. E!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The problem with apartments in this city, she had come to find, was that no one cared about anyone else. Sure, they made the appropriate offers to help move in or walk the dog while you're away, but for all they know, you could be just another relative helping yourself to the couch. Except she wasn't.

The door had failed to latch, the way it did 7 times out of 10, but who was counting? She was, of course. She had to. Home theft sure beat working minimum wage.

She watched them for weeks, learning the comings and goings of the young couple. They had a tiny dog. They both worked, she left first, he did after. Weekends they went for day trips- probably visiting family or friends. They took the pup with them and that took care of the only alarm system they were likely to have.

Walking in was like satisfying an itch too long unscratched. She took it all in: the humble seating arrangements, the thrifted couch, the handmade throw. At first it looked like they didn't have much, but then there was the flatscreen, the computer system, the Bluray collection...they scrimped to spend on other things. Time to get to work.

She knew to start with the bottom dresser drawer and work your way up and don't waste your time closing anything. To grab all of the jewelry first, validate diamonds later. To always keep a handful of Jehovah's Witness pamphlets in your purse- so when you case a house you have an alibi. To check the Holy Trinity: the dresser, the entertainment, the portable electronics.

She unslung her duffel bag and zipped its mouth as wide as it would go. She eyed the TV and decided it was too cumbersome, but the game consoles were money in the bank, adapters and all.

Closer inspection of the shelves revealed nothing but gold leaf, the trendy accent color of LA home decorators. Amused, she turned, searching for...chevron. In the kitchen. Of course.

She never bothered with desktops since they were much more complicated than the eight minute average she allowed herself. In, grab, out, was her second rule. Leave the passwords and the PINs to the pros. But the iPod charging under the desk? Money in the bag.

A few steps to the bathroom (once again thanking the tiny floor plans of the city's elite one bedrooms) and the medicine cabinet was hers for the taking. She hummed softly under her breath as she swept the orange tubes into her bag. On a wire between will and what will be...

In the bedroom she caught her breath, then let it out in a long slow sigh. Crap.

There, on the dresser- the first place any respectable thief zooms in on- was a tiny pile: folded fabric, a black and white photograph, a bow.

She picked up the cardstock, careful to avoid smudging the glossy surface. The curve of his forehead, a tiny snub nose and perfectly shaped lips. The onesie underneath proclaimed "Studmuffin" with a tiny muffin cartoon flexing biceps.

Debating one moment more, she upended the duffel onto the bed; plastic thunking and pills clattering all over the perfectly folded duvet. She let herself out, taking care to check the door.

Her number one rule? Don't steal from kids.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pros and Cons

I know this is a lot of home-related posting- but all of my craft projects are packed away! Besides, cooking and baking is more in the manner of "eat what's quick" lately, so bear with me.

After being in the new house for a month and some change, it's time to total the tally marks in favor and against this new apartment.

The stove clock is broken. We hit one o'clock four times a day.
This is actually dinner, guys.
There is only one bathroom. We might have cockroaches. But they're actually tiny cockroaches, only one at a time and only in the bathtub. They sort of look like Wall-E's buddy until they're squished. The steam from our shower sets off the fire alarm. There's a bathtub. With a seat. Aaaaand a scum ring I'll have to clean once a week.
Air conditioning.
Our drawers are too tiny for dividers. The hot water goes from "meh" to "sixteenth degree burns" in .6 seconds.
There is no room for our grill.

Our stuff is actually in three different places.
This is how I figured out my gallery wall....
It costs $11.50 to do all of our laundry for two weeks.

I am getting mad crazy organizing done, yo. Remember, this is what it looked like when we moved in!
 I love it, but now that the house is organized and put away, let's see about that job, shall we?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mercy #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday

"Look, Michelle, I've told you what I expect from you. It's up to you, now. Make the right choice," he said with a smug tone from behind his mahogany desk. The lamps were dim and the room smelled of expensive aftershave- the kind that made her first trimester all the worse.

"We can't possibly get the goods to you that fast! I need time- I need more people! You have to give me something!" she pleaded. She snuck a glance at the clock. Four more minutes. She just needed to stall for four more minutes. 

He regarded her quietly before heaving himself to his feet- all three hundred pounds of him. He unfolded his pocket square, patted his neck, and casually folded the small piece of linen back into his breast pocket before his mouth turned into a sour sneer. 

"I could have reported you the minute I knew what you were up to, Michelle. But I didn't. Think about that. Think about that before you tell me what you can and can't do."

"That's not mercy, Nic, that's blackmail. You of all people should know the difference," she spat at him. And began to walk backwards. You never turned your back on Nic.


The look on his face as the SWAT team sent the doors flying open was one she would tell her children for years to come. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dilemma Solved

Ask and ye shall receive.

A while ago I posted my decorating dilemma: how to hang my gallery wall in our new bedroom. After a few nights of rearranging and some very well-timed Pinterest pins (thanks, Jenny!), we slapped all those suckers on the wall!

No frames were harmed in the process, though our pride might be bruised.

I'm more of a "hang it then fix it later" type of gal, but this drives Mr. E batty. So to compromise I traced all of our frames onto packing paper and taped them to the wall so we could move them around as we pleased. No holes, no spackle, less mess.
The arrangement we decided to go with
Then, when you want to hang, add a little dab of toothpaste to the back of the frame where the nail should go, level and press against the wall. You get a dab of paste right where you need to hammer the nail with no extra holes.
That little blue dot is toothpaste
After a while I got a little toothpaste happy- where I was putting toothpaste willy-nilly on frames that actually had hangers...
But they're all finally up and frames aren't littering the floor anymore, so we're all good. Phew.
It's all about utilizing your space wisely in such a small apartment, so the opposite wall looks a little something like this...
Now if only it wasn't so freaking hot.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Need Help

This hasn't been the best month for me- and that's hard for me to say. I'm a mover and shaker; I make things happen; I pull up my big-girl panties and get to work and I really really don't like to listen to pity parties, but I seem to be throwing myself the biggest one ever.

Moving has been such a blessing for us. I was so scared to uproot ourselves and change our lives by moving to the city. I planned and postulated, trying to prepare myself for each possible pitfall. We scoped out neighborhoods months before we actually needed to move, just so I could see what Burbank was like. I had doubts even when we were signing the lease, but as soon as we stepped outside and saw the rain haphazardly misting around us, I knew it was the right decision.

Rain, in the summer, in Los Angeles. It was my sign.

And when the car broke down on Mr. E's first day at work- a job where he would be required to drive all over God's green earth- I had my doubts again.  We didn't have the money to fix our clunker and we didn't have the money for a new car. I was already beside myself preparing for our move by myself- packing and storing and donating and organizing while Mr. E was away. I thought for sure this was the straw to break my back. Mr. E and his brothers and his father came through- researching deals and plans and before I knew it, we were being handed keys to a new car.

That's when the rain started falling to calm my heart.

I've sat in this house for a month now, unpacking and organizing and re-assessing. Sure, our stuff is technically in three places at once, and we fit now despite the doubts. It's cozy and welcoming, just the way I wanted it. I split my days in half: the first half on the computer looking for jobs and the second is cleaning and sorting while I play catch-up on TV shows Mr. E would never watch with me. I have all the time in the world and yet I feel like I have no time at all because I should be working working working and all I'm really doing is sitting like a bump on a log. I'm productive but not productive enough. I need help to see past this season of waiting, this period of uncertainty.

Waiting is not my strong suit.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Red #fiveminutefriday

Write. For five minutes straight. One-word prompt, five minutes, no editing. I'm linking up over at Lisa-Jo Baker (aka The Gypsy Mama) where we read, write and encourage.
Five Minute Friday

I licked my lips and studied myself in the mirror. The carpet felt dirty underneath my feet and the mirror was streaked with cleaning fluid, but the picture was clear. This was the best this dress was going to get.

When I stepped out to show it off I tried not to let my body aversion get the best of me. Twenty years of wishing my thighs had the skinny gap and flexing my stomach as flat as it could go- still I hoped the draping chiffon covered the bits of me I wished people would gloss over.

My hair was cut short, leaving my shoulders exposed to the beaded straps, apple green and shimmering, but green wasn't her color. It was mine.

As the salesman drifted over, tutting about store sizing and hems, he zoomed in and frowned at my chest. Too small, you'll have to stuff.

To my credit my cheeks didn't turn. I brushed it off and laughed with them, participating in the age old custom of bodily misdirection: focus on something else to hide what's truly bothersome. And when the order was placed I refused to react, despite the fact I find it harsh and boisterous and too loud.

"Seven dresses in candy apple red."