Time to build the 6 ft cat tree. Or “Let’s see if this relationship will survive”

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“He won’t read directions”

“We can’t do any home project together without wanting to rip each others hair out”

“He’s a control freak and wont let me help”

“She gets all the tools, and hardware mixed up.”

“She doesn’t know what a flat head is compared to a phillips head”

Does any of this sound vaguely familiar to you? If so you might be suffering from ~ Incompatible Home Improvement Syndrome.

It affects 1 in 3 couples, and has been known to tear apart relationships before they can even have a chance to get off the ground running.

“Hey hun, I found a great painting that would look fantastic in the hallway. Let’s put it up?” Does hearing that question send shivers down your spine? 

If so, let me assure you, your compatible mate to home improvement projects is out there and waiting for you to find them. Quite possibly in your nearest home improvement store.

All joking aside, if you think about how many times you and your partner have worked together building something, working on a home improvement project, cooking, etc. it probably hasn’t been without some flaws, and sometimes you realize that it’s just better to not do something together. It’s not a bad thing to do your own thing. You may not be interested in laying tile, he may not want to crack a few eggs for brownies, you may not want to get down and dirty with grout, and he may look at you with three heads when you say you want to make a souffle with him. Or vice a versa if he enjoys doing the cooking and you’d rather paint the back deck. Whatever it is you like to do, it’s often fun to at least try to do it with your partner.

Sometimes it doesn’t always work out for the best. You can get on each others nerves for the littlest thing.

That has been my luck in some of my relationships. Often times, because I am a little extra independent and will do the home improvement project as well as the souffle, we can end up butting heads. Everyone has a better way of doing something that they think is the best way to do it because they’ve done it millions of times before and sometimes (yes I’m singling out men here from my perspective) men don’t like it if women know how to do something that they believe they should be doing. Especially if the woman does it faster and presumably better than them.

I’ve been really lucky in the sense that David and I work really well together, either in the kitchen or in the project fix it area. We have our moments where I’d like a little extra space while mixing up something in the kitchen, or he would like me to hand him the allen wrench a little faster. Like before he asks for it he expects I’d already know he needs it and have it waiting for him lol. I also have moments where I think he should know when to hand me an egg for mixing up a cake, but we don’t always get what we want.

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Last week, we had a lot cut out for us. We decided to tackle the project of the 6 ft cat tree for Lilo and Stitch to play and lounge on.

We almost bought one in Petco, but found this huge one online at Chewy.com at a really great price and it was larger than the one in the store.

What did we get ourselves into, we thought. Actually it wasn’t that bad.  25 some odd parts, screws, hoozywatsis, and about an hour later, we came out with a stronger sense of self. Or each other if you will.

It didn’t happen without a few little hiccups, let’s be frank, because at one point we thought we had an extra screw. It turned out to be the anchor for the wall if we chose to use it. We worked well together, until part 10 had to go into slot b, then it was all a mess…for a moment.

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He expected that I knew he needed the allen wrench at that exact moment.

“Hello where’s the wrench?”

“Why, we don’t need it yet, I’ll get it when we get to screw 19.”

Expectation is the root of all evil… or a grumpy moment for some people. I turned around and pointed to the wrench…

“If you want it so bad, reach over and grab it!”

He perked up pretty quick, and made a joke out of it as usual with a grab of my bum and we were off to finish up our project.  But then Stitch decided she was making home of one of the cubbies, before we could get to it. Finally after some coaxing with the treats, she came out and let us finish up.

All in all we worked very well together, and that in and of  itself is a huge accomplishment in many relationships. The ability to work together on a project when both partners are strong, independent people that know what they’re doing. Hell we even read directions together. It was fun, and we made it fun. We didn’t make it a chore. Heck we painted the laundry/walk in closet room together a few months ago and even worked on taking apart the washer and dryer to spruce it up and replace one of the belts in the dryer.

Teamwork.

So I think it’s safe to say it was a success, for us and the kitties. They seem to have settled into their new treehouse quite nicely if I do say so myself. Although Stitch seems to like that top perch wayyyy too much lol.

 

 

Nature vs. Nurture, thank you for your compliment anyway

pregnant-woman-1130611_640No matter where I go there are children all around. A store, a park, even just now while I’m at the coffee shop trying to write a post for the day. Kids are everywhere. And they are drawn to me like a magnet. It’s all good, and I will happily oblige a curious conversation, play with a dolly, or action figure, read a line from a book that’s sitting nearby, and even listen to baby babble that hardly anyone can understand.

Kids have always seen me, smiled, and started engaging with me for as long as I can remember. I would be told “You just have a way with them, a demeanor they can feel comfortable with. Kids are like animals, if they sense something bad or off with you, they will let you know.”

Just now, as I sipped my Iced Cinnamon Americano, thinking about writing about what NOT to say to a woman who doesn’t have children of her own at my age, a little girl no more than 2 years old decided to walk away from her mother’s side and come sit with me at my table.

She stood by the table side and showed me her dolly. Baby Doll is her name. Baby Doll wanted to read the stories that were in the Coffee Book. The ones that tell you all about coffee beans from harvest to poured in your cup. Obviously, the little girl didn’t know what the book entailed but she wanted to read it. So I happily started going through the book she handed me, as she pulled the empty seat out and started to climb up to have a seat and listen to the story I would read. All while mom was apologetic for her daughters intrusion of my personal space.

I assured mom that all was good and I was happy to read to her daughter. So we flipped through the book (which is a photo album) and as I’m holding the book, and Baby Doll, I started to create a story which was more on her level of understanding than the technical aspect of harvesting beans.

“See this picture right here, this is a coffee bean. Once it’s grown up they take the bean and make the coffee that your Mommy and I are drinking right now.”

“Mmmmm coffee.” she says with a smile on her face.

As Mom is still apologizing for the intrusion. I assure her again that had I had a better book to read, and she didn’t mind, I would have happily entertained her; as I love to see children reading. Mom so happened to have “Goodnight Moon” in her free hand. We laughed a little and she said…

“You must be an awesome Mom for sure! Thank you for taking time to read to her, and not be totally annoyed by the interruption. Your kids are really lucky to have you as a Mom”

I honestly didn’t know what to say except, thank you.

Do I reply “Oh I don’t have kids” and make the person feel bad for assuming?

It was in that moment I just took the compliment and thanked her for it. I have often said, I am not a mom by nature, but by nurture I sure as hell am. I’ve mothered many children over the years, and although I don’t hold that title specifically I do almost everything a mother does, except for birthing and breast-feeding.

Let me be clear, I was not offended at all by the compliment and kind words of this stranger. Her observation of my caring nature, made her associate me with a mother. That’s totally fine. In fact I found her statement to be quite nice, and was definitely appreciative of what she said. However, at my age, I’ve heard many comments about why I don’t have children. Questioning the reasons why there are no little ones running around. Just as a pregnant woman gets tired of all the questions regarding breast or bottle, names, staying home or going back to work, and the list goes on. Still not sure what gives someone the right to question and ask why. That becomes annoying. Just like asking how much money someone has in the bank, or what their weight is, or any other possibly intrusive questions you could think of.

Why do you have the need to ask

  • Why or why not?
  • Is it a choice?
  • Can you not have children?
  • If you can have them, why wouldn’t you want them?
  • Why haven’t you had any yet?
  • You’re getting old, the clock is running out.
  • Don’t you want to go through the experience of having a baby?
  • Don’t you want to make your Mom a Grandma?
  • Don’t you want to be called Mom?
  • It’s not fair you have to raise someone elses children but not have any of your own, why wouldn’t you want to have your own too?  *Let me clear this one up before someone jumps to conclusions~ I don’t raise my boyfriends children, they have a Mom & Dad. I am Dad’s Girlfriend. I am around a lot, and I care deeply about these boys, but I will never replace their Mom. She is, and always will be, Mom. I’m an extra special person that cares and loves them unconditionally, because I want to, not because I have to. 

People chose to judge, jump to conclusions, and place their own self-proclaimed feelings, thoughts, wants and/or needs (that might even be their own truths/issues that they are fearful of acknowledging) upon someone else. It’s called projecting.

IMG_5890-0My capacity to love, care, nurture, etc. has no bearing on whether or not I give birth to a child. Nature does not need to provide me a biological child for me to be a nurturing woman.

That solely has to do with my nature, capacity to love, and my personality.

It’s also my body, my choice, maybe or maybe not, and a collective decision made by two adults on what they want/need, can/can’t have in their relationship. If you must cast judgement or just have a curious nature, maybe broach your question with some care and a little class so you don’t come across like a nosy little ass!

 

 

 

 

What a difference a year makes, Oh Happy Day

img_0848-2Today is Dave’s Birthday!

It’s also our Anniversary!

Or maybe it’s tomorrow 😉 lol. We often joke about that, because today is the day I walked through his door looking to buy some cups for my stepdad’s nebulizer machine after spending a week in Pennsylvania visiting my Sissy and her family.

After chatting for a while and having that epiphany , he would have liked to go out that night, but had his sons for Boy Scouts so he asked me if I’d go with him to dinner the next night. Little did I know my life would change soon after stepping foot inside his store. 

I’d often go to his store to buy those same cups and upon returning from my trip, my stepdad had run out of his stash. So I needed to go to the only store in the area that sold the good ones. It was about 20 minutes away and I was rushing to get there before they closed for the day.

That day was a funny one and feels as if it was yesterday. Like I said today’s his birthday, so when I arrived he joked that I was his birthday present. I admit it made me blush a little, ok a lot at the time, and it still does to this day. Although I wasn’t his birthday present in the sense last year, or maybe I was in some cosmic, divine intervention, fate way, I joked with him this morning that I was his present this year 😉

Although we celebrated our Anniversary and his Birthday together this past weekend out in Montauk , which was just the thing we needed to get some good quality time togehter. We try to celebrate all the time, not in the grand scheme of things, nor over extravagant ways, but in the simple gestures we do for each other on a daily basis.

This last year has had it’s ups and downs for both of us, yet through it all, at the end of the day we each know the other has our backs. I often say life’s not all rainbows and unicorns, it’s got it’s sprinkling of chaos, but like all great baked sweets you need a little salt to bring out the sweetness. A little rain to bloom the flowers, and cultivate the lifecycle. So bring on the pinch of salt to add spice to our life.

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Wishing you the Sweetest Birthday and Happiest of Anniversaries, Hun. I’m blessed to spend today with you, and looking forward to all the days that will follow.

XO Paula ❤

If we were having coffee…

imageI’ve finally had a moment to sit down and enjoy a cup of decaf. It’s already 5 pm probably by the time this gets posted and I’m exhausted, so decaf will do. It’s all good though, I’m not complaining.

So grab yourself a cup of what you like, pull up a comfy chair and enjoy the view.

Dave’s watching Paul Blarth, Mall Cop, funny movie if you haven’t watched it before, and I’m here curled up next to him but blogging for a little bit.

We had a funfilled weekend with the boys. On Friday night we all went to a Chinese Auction at the local middle school for their SEPTA fundraiser. (Special Education Parent Teacher Association) It was filled to capacity with people, and they apparently raised over $23,000 on this their 20th anniversary. N even won a basket of baking utensils, cookbooks and some other goodies that he gave to his mom.

Saturday was an outdoor adventure day and we took them out to the nature trail I go to quite often, and although it was mixed with some slight apprehension of “getting out in nature” they enjoyed every minute of it and are looking forward to going back again. We packed a nice lunch for everyone, went inside the visitor center/educational center and checked out the animals/flowers/trees and basically everything that create the protected wildlife marshlands at the National Wildlife Refuge. After some time in there, we headed out on the trail with hopes of catching a glimpse of the Bald Eagle that has a nest nearby. No such luck on catching that view, but our views were nonetheless just as lovely.

 

 

They boys, all three of them 😉 came with me to the coffee shop, and I got a little caffiene pick me up just in time before the rain started coming down. They ate their lunches, but I was embarressed by the fact that I assumed something with Dave’s youngest son, N. He’s a bit of a picky eater, and I packed a Lunchable with lite bologna in our cooler for him to eat while we were out. He swears he loves them and eats them all the time, so when I saw he ate everything but the bologna, I thought he just didn’t want the protein again. Afterall he ate the cookie, crackers, and cheese but no meat. I asked him what was going on, but said “how come you’re not eating the cookie? are you saving if for later?” He says no and has this look on his face like he’s upset. So of course I don’t know what’s going on and that’s when he pulls back the plastic wrap he had crumpled up inside the bologna part, and I wanted to vomit. The damn bologna was green molded!!!! Seriously I was ready to freak out. I never buy these for him, neither does his dad, and I double and triple check expiration dates ALL the time and he I was again looking at the date. May 10th, 2016! This should not be molded. I showed Dave and was so embaressed. That’s the last thing anyone wants to do is feed someone something that is bad. N took the package from me and ran to the garbage and threw it out. The person I am was like….wait, I should take it back to the store, I only bought it yesterday this shouldn’t be happening. But at that point it was too late. I wasn’t garbage digging for moldy bologna. Luckily I had other food packed. I’m always over prepared lol. And he had plenty more to eat. When we got home we played Headbandz yet again, and watched some of the original Star Trek episodes with the boys last night. I had no idea they liked Star Trek, the original that is. Which I think extremely cool.

And today was a nice relaxing day at home watching How it’s Made, and some Food Network. J keeps asking to cook with me, so I’ve got to get an idea of something he would like to eat so we can make it together the next weekend they are over. Of course this evening wouldn’t be complete without some finishing touches on the laundry/walk in closet room. It’s almost done, just need to put the clothes back on the hangers and the dressers into the room.

After a long weekend even the cats are a little exhausted taking in the setting sun. Now I bid you a good evening, because I’ve got some relaxing to do myself. 🙂

Thanks for joining me in Weekend Coffee Share~See you soon.

***The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster.  You can join this week’s Coffee Share on her blog or by clicking on the Linkup .

 

Monday Musings, Spring Ahead

Another weekend has come and gone and it was an especially nice one. We had a full house again, but this time with a weekend visit from Dave’s sister and brother in law, and we had the boys as well.

Early mornings and late evenings made for some fun times. Playing chess, watching movies, card games, Headbandz, and some other card games the boys invented. I love their creative minds and how they can come up with new games just from their imagination alone. Although it takes the rest of us a little while to catch on to the rules of game play, it always turns out to be a fun adventure of sorts.

J, as usual lately, was side by side in the kitchen with Dave and I making dinner, and he even helped bake some cupcakes with me as well. We were going to go watch the Junior Iron Chef Competition they were holding at Whole Foods Market while Dave took, N to his friends birthday party, but J was invited to tag along after all. So I was asked to find a similar competition that we could attend another time because he was really looking forward to it since he loves watching the Food Network kid competitions and basically all the shows on there.

I’ve got some research to do lol!

The weather was especially lovely this weekend too, and what better way to spend some quality time but to go feed the swans, geese, and ducks at the nearby lake, per the suggestion of my Mom. She is beyond sweet, she’s my rock, tells it how it is and even though she gets on my nerves sometimes, I am blessed to call her my mom. It was her birthday on Sunday, and she “wouldn’t have it any other way, go spend time outside with the kids, go to the park, go to the beach, feed the birds and celebrate my birthday by enjoying quality time with them. That’s what I want you to do. We can spend time together on Monday.” she said. So we took her suggestion and we were going to head down by my house and the ocean, but figured the breeze was still kinda strong and ocean breeze would have been even stronger. So the local lake it was.

At first the boys were against going out, of course they wanted to play on the computer with their friends since they hadn’t really had time the rest of the weekend, but once we got there and the huge loaf of Texas toast bread was gone, all we heard was the conversation between the boys

“Where’s the bread, there’s no more bread to feed them” said J. ” Let’s go to the store and get bread and come back and feed them some more.” N replied

We told them there were plenty of nice weather days ahead and we can always come back and feed them another time. So instead of saying they wanted to run home and go on the computers to play, they ran around the lake for about 30 minutes just hunting for rocks, skipping them on the lake, and trying to measure the low level of water with random cattails they found in the marsh.

Boys being boys, I found myself saying. Even the big guy was being a boy. It was adorable. I love these moments where I find myself seeing them being silly, and even N got over his fear of the geese. I think we’ve all had that one memory where a duck, goose, or swan nips at our feet or fingers when we are out there feeding them, or even minding our own business. Well today, N walked up to one of the biggest swans that I’ve seen in a while, and fed it a little piece of bread. He allowed it to eat from his hand, not just throw it at its mouth. We were so impressed, we all high fived him. The smile on his face will stay with me for a long time I believe.

Even loosing an hour sleep on Sunday morning, Dave and I felt we gained so much “time”. Because simply put, it’s not the amount of time that matters, but the quality of what you’re doing during your time that does.

 

Wordless Wednesday 

Monday Musings~ a weekend with a house full of teenage boys

Pretty much what the title says. We, David and I, spent the weekend with a house full of teenage boys. What were we thinking?

Well it was, David’s oldest son’s birthday on Saturday, he turned 14, and for his birthday he wanted a sleepover with some of his friends. So David, as any great father would do, said sure thing son, a sleepover it is. J invited some friends and even his younger brother was allowed to invites some friends over as well, this way everyone had someone to hang out with.

Preparations for the party included everything you could think of for a birthday party but also included stuff for the sleepover and the next morning, as we told parents we would also serve breakfast. Up until the drop off, at 3 pm on Saturday afternoon, we weren’t sure how many kids would be sleeping over. There was some miscommunication from the RSVP’s  and we also thought only 1-2 kids would be able to sleep over because some had prior early morning engagements to attend. But once the parents were inside and we saw more and more sleeping bags and backpacks, David and I looked at each other and he said, What did we get ourselves into? Not sure dear, but we will soon find out!

By the time the last kid was dropped off, we had 9 boys, and 1 girl. No she didn’t sleep over, let’s clear that up now. One of the moms, upon meeting me for the second time (the first was at David’s son, N’s birthday in October) didn’t know how to address me. She says hi and asks, “You’re the mom? Aunt? Please forgive me I know I met you before but I have a terrible memory” I’m an easy going person, and don’t mind the confusion especially when I’ve only met you once before, so many months ago. “Oh no, I’m not mom or aunt, I’m their Dad’s girlfriend, Paula and no worries I forget who people are all the time.” She was visibly embarassed and couldn’t stop apologizing. I said all I could to reassure her no harm no foul, and I wasn’t insulted at all. Honestly, I wasn’t. It’s a simple mistake. I think she relaxed a little after everything I said, and she left giving us a resounding “Good Luck”

Oh boy, why would she do that? Did she know something we didn’t? What are we in for?

What we were in for was a handful of kids for about 16 hours. When the kids all got the game plan for the day, we changed our minds and let them all outside to play manhunt and whatever else they wanted to in the large back yard. It was chilly out and originally we didn’t think outside was a good idea, some kids had the sniffles, who was coughing, etc. But then we said go for it. They were out there about an hour while we got a few more last minute things set up for the coming night.

Snacks, juice, water, everything was set. Pizza and garlic knots for dinner, and a vanilla cake with chocolate pudding filling, and a chocolate butter cream frosting was for dessert. I had expected a sugar rush running through their bodies and the house for hours, but it was surprisingly good. They mainly chose to drink water all night, who would have thought.

After pizza, some games, and dessert the boys started to divide into groups. We had about 4, 10/11 year old boys, and about 5, 13-15 year old boys. The older boys played on the PS3 in the family room, and the younger ones were in the den watching Night at the Museum and Return of the Jedi. The little guys were out cold by 11:30 and well the older boys were up after Dave and I went upstairs to be at 12:30.

We talked for a while before falling asleep, and couldn’t be happier how things were turning out. This was a first for me, I don’t have children and well all of these events with kids are a first for me, and for him I think this was the first time in a long time he had so many kids overnight. A learning experience and one I think turned out splendidly.

Everyone was up before the alarm rang at 8, well the kids that is, and it was soon time for breakfast. Although I had plenty of options, eggs, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, waffles, french toast…all but two boys wanted the pancakes/waffles/french toast, so they had cold cereal. In the oven the frozen mini creations went. Yes I took the easy way out. But with all those boys it was the most logical option and fastest way to get them to eat. And eat they did. I’m so glad. Last thing I want is a hungry kid.

By 12 noon, two cases of Poland Spring water were gone, and not like they picked up a bottle and left half of it randomly around the house. I was impressed. We actually have left over juice boxes, multiple bags of sealed chips, and some popcorn boxes leftover. I over estimated on the snacks, and David’s sister who tried to help out a little brought over a ton of juice boxes, so a donation to the local food pantry on Wednesday morning it is. Not that that is the best thing to donate, I just don’t want the food to go to waste and none of the parents wanted to take any of it home. They, like David, don’t give that crap to their kid(s) on a regular basis, but for a celebration it’s a different story.

By 1 pm Dave, the boys, and I were all cleaned up, mainly because every kid helped clean up after breakfast and before they were picked up. We had an amazing bunch of kids over for J’s 14th sleepover birthday party. Polite and well behaved, manners that you would hope your own children have when they are out and about or at home for that matter, and it honestly was a wonderful day. Exhausting is an understatement, because by the time Dave and I dropped the boys off at their mom’s Sunday afternoon, all we wanted to do was fall into bed and stay there. But that wasn’t an option since we had more to do for ourselves for the week. We woke up this morning just wishing for another Sunday to catch up on sleep. But the world awaits and things need to get done. We wouldn’t have it any other way because the weekend was a success.

We can sleep tonight…

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