26
Jul 17

Ghost Pictures (TAKEN IN MY NEW HOUSE OMG)

Let me begin this post by saying that I love my new little house. But it’s trying to kill me. I’m not being dramatic. This is for real. AND I HAVE THE GHOST PICTURES TO PROVE IT.

Ghost Pictures

Original photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Let me explain.

Okay. So, let’s talk about why I love this house. I’m walking distance from:

  • my polling place (important for democracy!)
  • the post office (important for correspondence!)
  • 3 live music venues (rock and roll will never die on my watch!)
  • like, 87% of the bars in Norman (dollar beer sustains me!)
  • the university where I work (parking for faculty now costs $300 a year, so this is awesome!)
  • multiple restaurants that serve cheese fries (DIP THEM SUCKAS IN RANCH, Y’ALL!)
  • build-your-own ice cream sandwiches (amen!)

Clearly, this house is ideal for me. And as I’ve mentioned before, Rosie-the-not-so-wonderdog loves it. We can walk all over the most walkable parts of the city, and she has become a very good leash dog.

But there are always downsides. Nothing gold can stay. No light without the darkness. And all that.

REAL LIFE GHOST PICTURES Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing about my house. It’s 90 years old. That’s three-times my age. And in my heart of hearts, I know this means that the house is full of ghosts and spirits and demons and bad juju and negative energy. (I mean, as stated previously, I have ghost pictures to prove this.)

For this reason, I smudged the house the day after I moved in. The first night I was there, I had such aggressive night terrors and paralysis dreams. And while these were probably caused by the stress of moving, it could very well be any of the aforementioned supernatural entities trying to ruin my night. So I felt sage was in order. (The woman who cuts my hair and the owner of the local Wiccan supply shop both confirmed this was necessary.)

Before I go further, let me explain something.

I live in a constant state of terror. Everything is something to worry about. And occasionally, I catch myself feeling really optimistic, and wonder if that optimism is inviting some negative energy from the Universe. Like, are my good vibes telling the Dark and Evil Forces that I deserve to be knocked down a peg or two?

Probably.

Anyway, someone is following me every time I take Rosie for a walk, which is 5 times a day. My job is in jeopardy, even though I’ve been reassured it’s not. I’ll probably never amount to anything as a writer, and I’ll have dementia by 35 because of my Diet Coke consumption.

And going to sleep is harrowing, as I recently explained on Twitter.

So this is where I’m coming from. It’s not ideal. I’m working on it. But anxiety is hard to break up with, and I’ve watched too many horror movies in my life to for my brain to not fear so many mundane things. And, lest you have forgotten, I HAVE REAL LIFE GHOST PICTURES TO BACK UP THESE FEARS.

Honestly, there isn’t a moment where the scene of Regan crab walking backwards down the stairs in The Exorcist isn’t playing on a loop in my head. I know there’s a non-zero chance that Freddy Krueger will murder me in my dreams with that creepy claw hand. I see those twin ghosts from The Shining down every hallway, no matter how short it is.

That’s the reason for this post today. Well, that, and I have some ghost pictures.

I have been doing a good job of living alone, in that I have not called the cops every time the foundation settles or the pipes rattle. (THOSE SOUNDS COULD BE A MURDERER YOU GUYS!) Even so, my imagination has done runned off and brushing my teeth is now THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD BECAUSE IT’S WHEN THE GHOSTS HAPPEN.

(I promise, I’m getting to the ghost pictures.)

You know those scenes in horror movies when the protagonist is washing their face or taking their behavioral meds or just leaning on the bathroom sink? And the shot is them from behind, but you can see their face in the mirror? And then, they close the medicine cabinet — WHERE THE MIRROR IS — and the new angle of the mirror shows the terror behind them?!

If this isn’t making sense, know that TV Tropes has written about the mirror scare, and they did it way more clearly and eloquently than my current psychological state will allow.

Check out this textbook example of the ol' mirror scare! Click To Tweet

Basically, when I close my medicine cabinet, GHOSTS/DEMONS/ENTITIES/DEMENTORS/TAX COLLECTORS are revealed to me.

So, I’m just brushing my teeth, with the medicine cabinet cracked, and when I’m done, I close it all the way. AND THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENS.

I’ll just allow these REAL LIFE GHOST PICTURES to illustrate.

(As with all ghost pictures one finds on the internet, these are low quality. HOWEVER, they do contain the terrors that have been haunting me and my home.)

See, look at me, just practicing basic personal hygiene and enjoying life.

ghost pictures

AND THEN I CLOSE THE MEDICINE CABINET AND MY LIFE IS IN DANGER.

ghost pictures

Let’s look again.

“Hum-dee-dum, life is good and I’m so fresh and so clean!”

ghost pictures

OH MY GOD WHAT NEW DEVILRY IS THIS!

ghost pictures

One more time, just so you can understand what I’m going through.

“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!”

ghost pictures

“MOTHER OF GOD DON’T YOU DRAG ME DOWN TO HELL SATAN”

ghost pictures

So yeah. There you have it. And, maybe these aren’t REAL LIFE GHOST PICTURES. But know that every time I close my damn medicine cabinet, I FEEL JUST AS SCARED AS I WOULD IF THESE CREATURES ACTUALLY APPEARED.

Perhaps the real horror here is that crappy paint job on the medicine cabinet, and how my landlord didn’t touch that up before I moved in.

How do you get rid of ghosts in the bathroom? Click To Tweet

Anyway, what do you do when ghosts and other horrors try to ruin your face washing and teeth brushing routine? What should I do about the things that keep appearing in the mirror behind me? Does anyone want to cleanse my house of all the crazy energy that’s in my brain?


22
Jul 17

A Visit to Spruced Cooperative in Edmond, OK

Last Thursday, Mari and I got the opportunity to check out Spruced Cooperative in Edmond. My good friend (and Megaphone Summit conference roomie) Allison at Refunk My Junk got together with a couple of other local entrepreneurs to create a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

A Visit to Spruced Cooperative in Edmond

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond isn’t your typical boutique shop. It’s pretty well known that I have a lot of issues with a lot of the local boutique shops. But Spruced Cooperative is different.

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond merchandise

For example, they offer more than any other boutique I’ve seen. Allison brings her skill and passion for painting and fixing up old furniture. There’s a space for classes, and while we were there, we saw a group painting signs with chalk paint!

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond Painting Class

There’s also a two-chair salon in the back. The space is adorable, and I want to sit in that pink couch all day and listen to the beauty shop gossip as it rolls in. (But I won’t do it because I understand why perhaps Allison and the other owners wouldn’t want a weirdo just eavesdropping in their shop all day.)

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond Hair Salon

And then, there’s the shop itself where you can purchase home decor, Heirloom Traditions paints, and lots of clothes and jewelry. I would argue that if you need to buy a gift for a woman between the ages of 12 and 65, you could probably find something for her here. The jewelry selection alone is amazing, and there are so many fun little home goods that it was really hard not to go home with everything.

When I first walked into Spruced Cooperative, I set an $800 budget. Click To Tweet

When I first walked into Spruced Cooperative in Edmond, I was a little afraid. I told Mari not to let me spend more than $800. (Yes, that’s a ridiculous budget.) EVERYTHING was sooooooo cute, and it all looked so expensive.

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond Dresses

But upon further inspection, everything was so reasonably priced that I knew I’d easily keep to that budget. (To be fair, I came in way, way under that budget.)

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond Jewelry

However, I had a momentary bit of panic. One of the big issues I run into with smaller stores and boutique shops is the very limited range of sizes they offer. In fact, there are several local clothing stores that I’ve gone into once, only to find that they offer nothing larger than a medium or a size 8.

Naturally, I don’t return to those shops.

But Spruced Cooperative in Edmond is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PRAISE THE LORD. Not only do they offer extended sizes in a lot of their clothing, but so much of their clothing is made of very relaxed and drapey fabrics that fit a wide range of body types. It was so easy to find items that not only fit me, but that I was absolutely in love with.

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond Paint

I wound up purchasing 2 dresses and a kimono-style wrap. Oh, and a cute sign and an adorable notebook.

While Allison is a business bad ass in her own right (remember her amazing blogging e-course?), it’s great to see women-owned businesses making their mark. With their unique concept and wide range of services, I can easily see Spruced Cooperative becoming a go-to shop for a lot of local shoppers.

Spruced Cooperative in Edmond is located on 610 S. Kelly Avenue, and their having their grand opening this weekend. If you’re in the market for a cute outfit, some fun home decor, a new haircut, or you just want to sign up for a painting class, I can’t recommend the store enough.

Check out Spruced Cooperative in Edmond! Click To Tweet

And if you happen to make it down to Spruced Cooperative in Edmond, tell them Marisa sent you!


29
Jun 17

How a Resurrection Really Feels

To explain the current state of my life, I’m going to need to pinch a The Hold Steady song title. But like, if you’re here, you know that’s what I do.

How a Resurrection Really Feels

A lot has changed since my last post. Basically, I’ve purged a lot of stuff, got some new stuff, put all that stuff in a new location, and I’m building new routines.

I have found my swinging bachelorette pad.
To be fair, it’s not really that swinging. In fact, I spend the majority of Friday nights washing my towels. I do this because I bought what I thought were nice towels. But they are actually fuzz dispensers. So, when I use these nice, fluffy black towels to dry my body after a shower, they cover me in a layer of fuzz. The internet said that if I washed them with vinegar or baking soda that all would be fixed.

This is false.

I’ve washed them twice with vinegar, and twice with baking soda, and once I even mixed some vinegar and baking soda in the washing machine like I was making a science fair volcano. Still covered in fuzz post-shower. I washed them about 8 times regularly. Nothing is working, so I’m pretty much doomed to a life of washing towels in the vain hope that they will no longer leave me looking like a swarthy muppet when I get out of the shower.

This is what I get for trying to buy nice towels.

Rosie and I have been walking A LOT.
If you’re my friend on Fitbit, (you should totally add me!) then you may have noticed this already. Basically, when I moved, Rosie was pretty anxious so I took her for some extra walks here and there. This has turned into a 4-5 walks a day habit.

And, while I’m definitely glad for it since I’m pretty sedentary, I have to say the worst time of year to get into the habit of walking extra is during the sweaty summer. (Sorry to everyone who has hung out with me and been too polite to mention how terrible I stink.) But you try telling that to a dog that needs to smell everything in your new neighborhood at least 4 times a day. I suspect the only reason that she wants as many walks as she does is to ensure that I have to bag her poop at least twice a day.

This is probably her punishing me for the breakup.

I’ve been going out quite often for a 30-something spinster.
My new house is walking distance from downtown and from Campus Corner, so naturally I’ve been inviting everyone to park at my house so we can walk to get dinner and drinks. It’s been pretty nice, and it’s nice to never have to find parking.

Also, real talk: I can put away the cheese fries like you wouldn’t even believe. But if you have to walk half a mile to get them and half a mile back, you don’t feel so bad about eating roughly 1,500 calories in a meal. It’s also worth noting that I NEVER feel bad for eating 1,500 calories in a meal, but I know that not everyone has separated guilt/shame from food that simply exists without a moral motivation.

And most importantly, I’ve been blown away by the kindness of friends.
It seems that the little extended family I’ve built for myself is pretty badass. So, shout out to anyone who helped me move or took me to dinner or basically ensured that I didn’t sit around and wallow in my own self-pity.

Special thanks go to Allie for getting me a TV, to Nicole for sending me the nicest box of tea, and to Michael for sending me a copy of Miranda Pennington’s A Girl Walks Into a Book. (I haven’t started it yet, but really can’t wait!)

So know that all is well in the world, and I’m contemplating some pretty big life changes, as one does when the world gets turned upside down like a snow globe and all the little sparkly flecks fall into new places. And while I’m thinking of changing up even more, know that I’ll still be back here at this blog on a regular-for-me basis. (I’ll be posting, but don’t even try to hold me to a schedule because I will not have it.)

So with that, I leave you. Know that I’m alive and well and completely back from the dead.


10
May 17

A Breakup Story

This breakup story starts on a Thursday. The Thursday in question was perhaps, the worst Thursday of my life. Though, admittedly, the breakup was only part of that.

A Breakup Story

This past semester, I’ve been teaching an extra class. And that fifth class took place Thursdays from 6 PM to 8:50 PM. And since Thursdays are the last day of my week, they were always a little arduous.

Imagine if your Fridays required you to be a functional human for a really long time. That’s what it’s like.

Anyway, I came home carrying extra bags of library books and an umbrella. The day itself had been gross simply because it was one of the most humid days in recent memory, and I was covered in several layers of sweat that had dried throughout various times in the day.

My clothes, for the record, smelled like the cast iron skillet of onions and bell peppers that accompany your order of fajitas.

This Thursday was also the final day before my students would be turning in their formal reports. It’s always a harrowing time, simply because no matter how much time you give your students, they will wait until the last minute to ask questions. So in addition to giving tests in my two classes, I had 3 hours worth of questions in my office hours. I tweeted about it.

After office hours I grabbed nachos in the student union, because you get to eat nachos when you’re worn out. And if you work on a college campus, you get to eat like a college kid. It’s in the employee handbook.

Then I went to my class, gave a test, and let the students leave when they were finished.

And when I got home that night — that’s when the breakup happened.

I don’t feel it’s right to say all the reasons why, because some of them are Chris’s reasons, and not my story to tell. But I will say this: The breakup was probably a long time coming.

Which feels weird to type after posting about house hunting, but like, I guess forever decisions like mortgages make you take stock, and had Chris not done so, I probably never would’ve either.

All that is to say that yes, Chris is the one that brought it up. He stood at the kitchen table just minutes after I walked in the door that night. As I put something in the trashcan right next to the table, I asked him what was up, because he looked super anxious.

And that’s when he did it.

There were no major fights or blowups. There were no big red flags. There were no conversations with friends over drinks about all the problems we were having.

Because there weren’t any major problems, nor have there ever really been. Chris and I are really good friends. And we always will be, at least I hope. But we’re not meant to be together.

We’re like a reverse When Harry Met Sally.

And I think we both knew that the relationship itself had been on autopilot for a really long time. It’s kind of like we had built up enough momentum over the years and we were able to just coast for the past few years.

But coasting and momentum are no way to live.

If we hadn’t broken up when we did, I’m sure we would’ve gotten married. I’m sure we would’ve had a couple of kids. And I’m sure that we would be the couple that gets divorced when we were in our fifties because the kids had grown up and we no longer had anything in common.

I can’t say that it’s been easy, because it hasn’t. And I haven’t told many people. (If you’re getting the news of the breakup via this post, and you feel slighted, sorry, I guess. But also, I owe you nothing.)

The breakup itself hurt. I cried. But I gotta be real. The minute Chris did it, I exhaled. It was like a small weight had been lifted. Because I think we both felt that we were moving in this direction. But I’m glad Chris did it, because I don’t think I could’ve.

See, in the sober light of day, we aren’t the same as we were almost 7 years ago when we met. I was 24, a bartender, and barely capable of being a human. He was 30, fresh out of a divorce, and just going to a bar to blow off steam on a Monday night. Neither of us were looking for a relationship, but, well, life happens.

In those years we’ve been together, we’ve changed dramatically. And though we’ve pretty much grown in the same direction as friends, we aren’t in love anymore.

I think here is a good place for me to say that I’m not posting this to solicit advice. In fact, I rarely, if ever, solicit advice. I know some will say that there are natural ebbs and flows in relationships, and that Chris and I should just stick it out. But as my friend Mari said, when you know, you know. And I know we’re doing the right thing.

So, I dealt with my emotions the way I always do — on Twitter.

I am a garbage millennial, always on the social media. WRING YOUR HANDS AT MY LIFE, BOOMERS.

But other things that have helped during this time are:

  • Bingeing 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. I absolutely hated the show, thought it was poorly done, and tried too hard to be deep and serious, all while paying lip service to actual issues. But, hey! A breakup can’t be worse than having to be the overly tattooed 20-something pretending to be a high schooler for a show that will probably go down in history as one of the worst portrayals of mental illness and revenge fantasies. So, there’s that.

  • Reading Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons. I love Brittany’s blog, and her general attitude toward life. Plus, she’s relatable, so much so that I can imagine us meeting up for nachos and margaritas to gossip and just bitch about life. (Second nachos reference in this post, because I use food to deal with life.)
  • Listening to The Minimalists podcast. If you ever find yourself in a life situation where you’re going to need to pack up all your crap to make a life change in the very near future, it’s so much easier when you’re listening to Josh and Ryan answer questions about the process of downsizing and getting rid of crap. Bonus points for how soothing it is too.
  • Grading papers. I seriously went through all the papers I had to grade in 9 days. That’s a new personal record. But it’s so much easier to get work done when you don’t really want to be alone with your thoughts.
  • Talking about writing. Thankfully, I was able to attend the OWFI conference this past weekend, and just being there felt really energizing. It’s great to know that there are people in the world who are into what you’re into, and that they believe in you even when everything else is falling apart. Also, as if the universe needed to remind me that everything is a very small, closed circle, it was announced that Jay Asher, the author of the book 13 Reasons Why, will be the keynote at next year’s conference. Weird, huh?

As for future plans, I’m slowly making them.

I’m still house hunting, but for a very different type of house. Me and Rosie, the greatest dog in the universe, need a swingin’ bachelorette pad.

I also plan to put a lot of time and energy into writing. Chris didn’t prevent me from writing, but I was in a really comfortable place in our relationship, and I definitely didn’t focus on artistic growth in the way I should’ve. It’s time to stop coasting.

Fitness is going back on the radar too. I mean, it’s always on the radar because I am a woman in a First World country, and I’ve been conditioned to believe I’m garbage if I don’t obsess about fitness in a pathological way. But I’m looking forward to establishing a new workout routine.

As for dating again, I’m sure it will happen eventually. But for now, I’m going to respectfully decline all your offers to hook me up with that one single guy from your office/church/homeowner’s association/fantasy football league/biker gang. I’m really good at being single, and after 7 years of being in a relationship, I’m really looking forward to being single again.


11
Apr 17

House Hunting for the Person You Want to Be

I mentioned on Twitter the other day that Chris and I have been doing some house hunting. We realized that we’re ready to get out of our current place and we’ve been falling in love with houses all over the city.

House hunting for the person you want to be

For Chris and I, the location of the house is more important than the house itself. I mean, don’t get me wrong. We don’t want to be living in some ramshackle shanty that happens to be in a really cool district. But we definitely don’t want to live in a dream house that’s nowhere near anything we do or like.

We know we want to stay in Norman. It’s where I work, and it’s close enough to where Chris works that it would be silly to go anywhere else. And we really love Norman. Sure, it’s boring sometimes, but it’s our city. And you really can’t beat a college town in the middle of summer. Then the city really feels like it’s ours.

(Yeah. I know. I work at the university and students are my livelihood. But you know what else students are? More traffic, 45-minute waits at restaurants, and impossibly long lines at Target. I appreciate all the tuition dollars that make their way into my paycheck. But I really savor those summer months.)

But here’s the thing: We’re struggling to figure out what kind of house it is we want. And the more we look, the more two very distinct paths emerge.

Our original intent was to purchase a home in a historical district. But all the historical districts are around the university. This would be great since I could easily walk to work. But it also sucks, because if a house is in a historical district, people get away with asking $200k for a cardboard box that’s duct taped to a milk crate. The listing will call it a “cozy fixer upper.”

I CALL IT GARBAGE.

The listing will call it a cozy fixer upper. I CALL IT GARBAGE. Click To Tweet

If you’re not familiar with the Oklahoma City metro area housing market, the majority of good, decent houses in a good, decent school districts are typically between $120k to $250k — depending on the size and the particular area. And historical houses are basically a bajillion dollars for 1,000 square feet, one bathroom, and zero closets.

Chris and I tend more toward the minimal side of things. (Though we’d gladly take this place on Main Street in a heart beat.) We don’t have a ton of tchotchkes or collections of things. Basically, everything we have means something to us. And we are well-known for taking a load of stuff to Goodwill once a week. So, we don’t need a whole lot of space. Besides, we currently reside in a house that’s just over 1,000 square feet, and it feels like a good amount of space for us.

So, our house hunting started with looking at what the historical districts had to offer. And we quickly became disenchanted with that because apparently you can ask for over a million dollars for a house that hasn’t been renovated since 1963 and is missing 30% of it’s siding. And people will pay for it.

(I have a theory that these people are rich alumni who want a place to hang during football season. They can eat my dirty socks.)

We expanded our search, and that’s when I could see two distinctive futures in front of us.

The further from the university we looked, the bigger the houses became. The more we searched the online listings, the more we kept coming back to “the dream house.” Nestled at the end of a cul-de-sac, this house was 2,200 square feet, two floors, four bedrooms and two living areas. I spent a lot of time imagining how awesome it would be to turn one of those living rooms into my library/office.

We did fall out of love with it pretty easily though. The online pictures were obviously taken by someone who knew how to manipulate the depth of field. When we saw the house in person, it was the choppiest, space-wasting floor plan I could imagine.

But there it was. On the one hand, we wanted a small historical house near the university. On the other, we wanted a huge, suburban place to keep up with the Joneses.

Chris and I had a come to Jesus sort of talk via Google Hangouts, because we’re terrible people who can really only communicate with some sort of digital interface between us. (That’s not entirely true. We are just more likely to be brazenly honest when we chat via computer rather than in person, where we will couch what we say in non-specific and overly nice terms.)

In this conversation, we really specified what it is we want in a house. Here’s our house hunting wish list:

  1. 1,600 square feet maximum: This may seem small to some, but it really is a lot of space for just the two of us. We know we want a bedroom for us, one for a guest room, and then we’ll both need some space to work when we’re at home. If that means we put some office space in the corner of a living room, or another bedroom, then that’s good. Plus, I grew up in a house about that size, and there was plenty of room for four people to avoid each other in there.
  2. Library space: Right now, my office in our current home serves as the library. I have no trouble putting my massive, messy collection of books in another bedroom in our new home. But if there’s a nook/small area in the living room for them, that would be awesome too.
  3. Two bathrooms: I feel I don’t need to justify this. When I used to live in a one-bathroom house with roommates, there was many a morning when one of us would drive to a nearby gas station to use the bathroom while the other was in the shower. I don’t want to live that life ever again.
  4. A location we love: There are a lot of fun areas in Norman, and they all tend to be around the university. We’re okay with paying a little more to be near campus and downtown, since those are the two main places we go. We have this beautiful vision of someday only owning one car, and even then, we mostly walk wherever we need to go. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but if it does, it’s going to be because we live around campus. But we’re definitely open to other neighborhoods that can offer us quiet, less traffic, and easy access to the highway for Chris.
  5. A non-galley kitchen: This is perhaps the most important thing on the list. The problem with the galley kitchen is that I’m really good at getting in Chris’s way when he’s doing something in our galley kitchen. Like, if I open the dishwasher while he’s stirring something on the stove, there is a good chance that we’ll bump into each other, or Chris will trip on dishwasher door. (Yes, just like what happened to Zach Braff’s mom in Garden State.) For the sake of our relationship, we need more space in the kitchen.
  6. Absolutely no wife-swapping: You may think that this item is a joke. It’s not. I would wager a guess that if you live in a more (but not necessarily) suburban area, you have people in your neighborhood that you suspect of wife-swapping. I’m not here to swinger-shame your groovy lifestyles, but I am saying that sort of thing isn’t for Chris and I. I think there are a lot of neighborhoods in the Oklahoma City Metro suburbs where wife-swapping, cheating on your spouse, and living a generally empty life is the norm. And that sort of things tends to stem from people earning a decent living, then coming home from work and not knowing what to do with their time. (I’m sure a level of marital dissatisfaction or a manic need for new and exciting things comes into play too.) Chris and I have side hustles, so we don’t want to get sucked into weird neighbor drama when our time off work is spent working on other things.
How wife-swappy is your neighborhood? Click To Tweet

So there you have it. House hunting in a nutshell. What do you look for in a house? What’s your house hunting wish list? How wife-swappy is your neighborhood? Are you selling a house near the University of Oklahoma? Wanna forgo realtors and sell it directly to me? Please?!