Daddies

I have been so, so blessed to have many wonderful fathers in my life. So many people don’t have even one, and I have had three.

The first, of course, is my daddy. He loves us so much- more than anything in the world except for my mom and my kids probably. He’s super into them.

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He would do and has done anything in the world for us, whether sitting by my bedside in the NICU for a month, being there for us throughout our childhood, working so hard to support us so that my mom could homeschool us, or watching my newborn son for me so I could get some sleep.

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Oh, and driving to Rockford to buy tickets to a Josh Groban concert from some guy we met on the internet. (Yup. No way that could go wrong.)

We danced to You Raise Me Up at my wedding, because it reminded me of all of our best times together.

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The second is my grandpa. He loved us and taught us so much in the time we had with him, and we will never ever forget any of it.

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Well. We could forget the atrocious “halloween costume” that really was just me wearing a unitard and jelly shoes.

(Bonus shot of my almost new house!)

The third is my husband. I was exceptionally lucky, I got to fall in love with my husband as a father. Not everyone gets that experience, and I highly recommend it. Well. I mean, I don’t recommend the whole tragedy thing. That’s just awful. But, I mean, it’s kind of cool to see what kind of person your life partner will be when charged with the care and soul of a tiny little person.

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From the minute I saw him cross Squeaks on Holy Thursday, I knew he was a good daddy. And I knew he’d be a good daddy to our children. Whom I wasn’t sure would exist,but still.

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And he is. He has continued to be such a wonderful comfort and gift to Squeaks and to me. And to Buddy, our newest baby.

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From the day Buddy was born, he knew Buzz’s voice. I remember being kind of mad, because I was the one that pushed him out and was almost dead from the effort. But everytime Daddy talked, his little head would whip around. Eventually I stopped being bitter and started thinking it was cute.

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I can’t wait for the rest of our childrens’ lives with him. I know he’ll be amazing.

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I hope all the fathers had a wonderful day yesterday, and to the fathers in my life, thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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Wedding Card Booklet: A Pinterest Not-Fail (What?!?!)

I know. My somewhat complicated relationship with Pinterest is well documented here and here. I love it, but it usually leaves me feeling untalented, uncreative and also kind of poor- who keeps that many cans of Mod Podge and spray paint around?

But when we got married (like, two years ago, I know, I know.) I decided to put together a booklet of our wedding cards with binder clips.

And then I got pregnant.

And then I didn’t do anything except gestate and care for the child for like the next eighteen months.

But dammit, I was not going to move a box of loose wedding cards. So I broke out the hole puncher (which I think must be the worst hole puncher in the world), and got to work.

You will need:

– Cards (any size, different sizes, doesn’t matter. I’m going to do one with Buddy’s baby cards too)

– Hole puncher (hand held)

– Binder rings (like these. I didn’t like the look of huge ones, but try to get at least 1 1/2 inch diameter or you’ll only be able to fit like three cards.)

Gather up all of your cards and get teary looking through them. Our wedding was so wonderful for us, you guys. It was amazing to be able to form this whole new family and sacramentally alter ourselves to be one person. Looking back at the wishes people wrote for us was amazing and made me so happy to think back on that beautiful day.

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If you have children, you’ll also probably come across something like this.

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And if you’re totally on top of things, you may come across the wedding card you totally meant to give your sister and brother-in-law eighteen months ago and kind of, well, didn’t even take the plastic wrap off. Sorry guys.

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Poke two or three holes in the cards (depending on how you want the book to look). This takes forever. I did one of those 52 Reasons I Love You books for Buzz last Valentine’s Day, so I wasn’t completely new to the idea of…I don’t know, using a hole puncher. Anyway, it takes a long time. And in case you’re one of those people that doesn’t thing ahead, like, ever, like me!, make sure you use a “template” card so that all your holes line up, even on the different sized cards.

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Then just thread them on to the binder clips.

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Close, and enjoy.

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We were so blessed to have so many cards that I ended up making three books, each with a card from the kids’ three sets of grandparents as the “cover.”  I keep our unity candle, the Mass program, and my headband on a shelf in our bedroom. There’s a bookshelf in the bedroom in our new home, and I truly can’t wait to have these displayed there with the rest of our wedding treasures.

Five on Friday

1.) It’s FRIDAY. TGIF, amirght people? Last weekend was less of a weekend and more of a whirlwind cycle of parties and it was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. We saw amazing people and family and friends and I am so, so, glad that my kids are growing up with such a wonderful network of extended family and friends. I would so much rather they have that than be on their own.

And I got to dress them up in cute clothes. Which is always a plus.

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But, dude, I am tired. Most summer weekends are like that, right? Weddings, showers, parties, birthdays, whatever. Wonderful stuff that you love participating in, but a bear to schedule.

Except you know what? Tomorrow? We have NOTHING. An entire day when I don’t have to put on real pants. I know. (Which I’ve said one too many times, it appears because Sqeaks has taken to repeating, “We wear pants in this household,” which is my usual response to her desire to spend most of her days in various states of undress.) It’s pretty exciting.

2.) Also (kind of) exciting and (kind of) horrifying is that I packed away all the baby stuff yesterday. I’m in the process of packing the things we don’t really use and getting them ready to move and I realized that yup. We don’t really use the bottles anymore.

I know he’s not a year yet, and nobody crucify me, I still give him formula and we avoid milk and don’t arrest me, blah blah blah. But the bottles have stopped. He’s never liked them, and we’d gotten down to two two-or-three-ounce ones a day, just kind of right before bedtime and naptime. More out of habit than anything. He wasn’t drinking them. I was pouring money into a bottle and then letting it sit on the edge of the coffee table while he passed out sweetly.

So I just stopped and they’re gone. And I always said I wouldn’t be sad to see them go because they’ve been such a struggle from (literally) day one, but…I kind of am. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. *sob*

3.) In other news, I had time to pack away the bottles because I’ve been trying to get Buddy to nap normally.

He’s a champion sleeper at night- 11 to 12 hours, put down awake, not a peep out of him, etc. If there’s anything I’m proud of in my parenting it’s that Squeaks says the Hail Mary when she hears a siren (although that’s really more because she’s enamored with our priest) and that I stuck with the bedtime routine through all those horrible early weeks and got him sleeping through the night.

Naptime isn’t that great, though. Everything that I worked so hard to make sure happened at bedtime I just kind of ignored with naptime. We’re always in a different house, he wasn’t ever a good napper, all the typical excuses. For the last few months I’ve been letting him fall asleep in my arms around one pm and then sleep next to me while I rested or hung out in the room for a few hours. And this worked great. I got some downtime, and he got the sleep he needed.

Except remember that weekend I was talking about above? Yeah. It broke him.

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday literally crawling up my chest to avoid falling asleep. Fun for the whole family.

So yesterday I buckled down. At home, in the crib, regular naptime. We’re not exactly a cry-it-out family in that I won’t let them just scream and scream forever, but once I’m sure he’s comfy and not scared and just mad that I’m not in the room with him (how DARE you!) we’ve let them cry fora few minutes. And after a day or so this always works.

So yesterday was not to much fun. He stayed in his crib and “slept” the requisite number of hours, but he woke up every hour or so to voice his displeasure that he did not have company.

I cleaned the cabinets and put away bottles and ate half a loaf of banana bread because I am adept at eating my feelings.

Today should be better. God willing.

4.) Speaking of cleaning the cabinets, I did our pantry cabinet yesterday. Which is a sucking black hold of taco shells and bread crumbs because I apparently just buy a new container of them every time I cook with them. I refuse to box up and move a bunch of expired pancake mix.

I discovered three potatoes that must have fallen out of the bag. They had sprouted, like, trees. 

Also a bag of black mold that (according to the label) used to be hamburger buns. We haven’t had hamburgers since last summer. Oh wow.

5.) Totally unconnected, Buzz has this day-long company philosophy meeting thingy. He has to bring something of deep personal significance to him, and he wanted to bring a picture of me and Squeaks and Buddy.

(Awww.)

I, of course, had to vet the picture first. Because if the last picnic was any indication, his company is staffed by the hottest biochemists around and I am a little bit vain.

I picked a picture of the four of us from last Christmas. (Well, no, I really wanted the black-and-white shot from my sister’s wedding where I look super hot and am holding Squeaks and yeah, okay, Buddy wasn’t born yet but I was pregnant so technically he’s in the picture. Buzz said no.)

Buzz did not like my selection. “I look high!” he protested. Yeah. Well, you’re at the meeting. They can see you’re adorable.

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Reasonably Priced Listing: Midwestern Suburb Edition

You guys. I’ve discovered a new show- Million Dollar Listing. It is glorious. It’s hilariously earnest about things that absolutely don’t matter just like the Real Housewives shows, and features a series of fabulous gentlemen brokers with shellacked hair, tans that don’t quit, and wardrobes that definitely cost more than my car.

They have little hissy fits, and make more money than I’ve ever seen on single commissions, and generally exist in a Bravo-created world that in my fairly inexperienced opinion, doesn’t exactly exist in the real world of buying and selling homes.

The open houses are amazing- people are always fabulously dressed, and there are drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and people pretend to be not at all interested and oh, yes, that’s a lovely sky vault you have there, I don’t know, we saw one in Soho we liked…

I’m fairly certain when we sell our house, it will involve something a little bit more like this.

*opens door*

Oh! Hi! Are you here to see the house? Awesome. Yeah, we really need to sell it. Like, fast. I am sick of driving.

Champagne? No, we don’t have any champagne. Uh, I might be able to find some apple juice the kids didn’t drink…wine? Nope. That’s mine. Don’t touch.

Here, let’s go into the dining room. Uh, just ignore the baby in the corner eating coffee grounds out the K-cup he found somewhere.*

As you can see, there are lots of windows that haven’t been cleaned since my mother-in-law stayed here. But, uh, they’re pretty! And it’s an open concept which- Buddy! No! No no! That’s not for you!- uh, I hear that a lot on HGTV. It’s good. Definitely.

Um. Three bedrooms. Perfect for separating children who were SUPER excited to be a big sister when you were pregnant and then once the screaming, wriggly, red thing came home quickly changed their minds- Squeaks! Get Buddy away from there!- anyway, lots of room.

The closet, as you can see, is quite spacious. Big enough to hold a wedding dress you haven’t had cleaned yet because you got pregnant so fast you didn’t have the energy to do so…also all the baby stuff that you demanded your husband re-purchase because pregnancy made you crazy and you had to do everything for yourself even though the kid outgrew everything within, like, minutes, and you didn’t really have any idea what having a baby would be like anyway (Bumbo? Really? I needed a separate one of that. Really?)

Attic? Yeah, there is one. I don’t know, I’ve never been up there- Squeaks! Get off of there! Uh, basement. You can hardly hear the kids from down there. I used to take naps down there when I was pregnant. If you open the vent it’s not dangerous- you can hear screaming, I mean, just not like the normal everyday, “I see imaginary monsters and I’m scared come get me” stuff…uh, room for a lot of exercise equipment we don’t use! And an elliptical that gets ooh, gosh, maybe 20 minutes of use a day four or five days a week. I know. I’m in pretty good shape- BUDDY. NO. THAT’S A NO NO.

Diploma frames? Oh yeah, those are ours. Yeah, I used to be accomplished. Empty? Oh, yeah, I know. Well, see, I have the degree I just need to call and clear up some clerical oversight- BUDDY SERIOUSLY STOP IT- um. Bar! We have a bar! It’s awesome. I love it.

Um. Bathrooms…yeah, I don’t know, they’re nice? Lots of room for you to puke when you have morning sickness or pre-eclampsia? I don’t know if that’s a concern for you…are you married? Does your wife have a history of high blood pressure in her family? Anyway. New plumbing.

Teeth marks? On the door frame? Nope. Uh, don’t see them. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Our son does not chew at woodwork like a rabbit. Absolutely not.

So as you can see, it’s a great house. Are you interested? You know what? Let’s open that  wine now. It’s afternoonish.

Ooh, I almost forgot! The hallway that your kid can crawl up and down for hours! Perfect! It’s like a baby racetrack!

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*Yeah. That happened.

Hey! I’ve been there!

Yesterday, my husband was browsing Fox News (as he is wont to do when not on HotAir.com), and came across this article on the release of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams following questioning regarding the IRA murder of a widow in 1972 and the subsequent outrage from the Protestant community in Northern Ireland.

I have many, many thoughts on this development. Chief among them is where my mother was in 1972, because I’m pretty sure if a guy with an Irish accent told her to off a widow with ten kids, she’d do it, because surely they asked for it. 26+6=1, baby.

I wrote a paper in grad school on the Good Friday Accords and spent a lot of time going through Adams’ writings and despite my general distrust of the IRA as a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, MOTHER I do believe that Adams softened over time and the peace process would not have gone as smoothly as it did without his pushing Sinn Fein to relent on some of the sticking points on which they had previously refused to budge.

I mean, by the time he published Hope and History, he was practically moderate…wait a second. That picture. Look at that picture there.

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Yeah, that one. I’ve been there! I went to church there!

Why did you go to church there, you ask? Kathleen, it’s the site of political protest. It’s scary. There’s barbed wire and angry artwork and violent-looking people.

Yeah, I know.

See, if you’re even in a region torn apart by sectarian violence and distrust (no matter how well things are going recently), maybe don’t have me plan your itinerary.

Buzz and I honeymooned in Ireland. It was amazing. We had an awesome time. It was wonderful.

And, okay, the TSA guy rummaged through my underwear which you REALLY DON’T WANT THEM DOING ON YOUR HONEYMOON and I didn’t have my luggage until the day before we flew home and I was pretty sure we were going to be murdered in a country house by a ghost widower, but we also got to stay in a castle with a four-poster bed and a claw foot tub in the middle of the living room. So…it evened out.

But we couldn’t just do the normal Ireland tour, no. Pssh. That’s for wusses. I’m a historian! There will be no silly kissing of the Blarney stone here! Ha! I’m going to Belfast! And Omagh! I shall study and learn things and teach Buzz things and he can’t leave me because we’re married hahahaha.

*ahem*

Belfast was great. It was awesome. I loved it. We stayed in Queen’s Quarter at an adorable hotel that I was worried was going to be too much like an American chain but turned out to be delightfully bland and non-rapey after our previous stay (that’s a blog post for a different day.) We wandered around town, had dinner at an Italian place, the nice Polish woman at the front desk tracked down my luggage; it was a ball.

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We went to Queen’s College and I got a t-shirt that fit for all of five minutes when we got home before I got pregnant. I hung out with Galileo and took a lot of selfies.

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We discovered that in the UK they have beans for breakfast. Buzz was very impressed.

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We went to the Giant’s Causeway, which was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. We had so much fun hiking up the hard trail and then visiting Bushmills to reward ourselves.

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We were also there over a weekend. I knew we’d be there over a weekend, and so I figured out a Mass to attend. Which I did by googling “Catholic churches in Belfast” and then picking the one with the prettiest sounding name. (Matt helpfully queried, “We’re going to a Catholic church in Northern Ireland? I responded, “Uh, yeah, they have Catholics. That’s why there was a problem.”)

Ooh! St. Peter’s Cathedral! That sounds awesome! We’re going there! We’ve got the car out, we’ll stop for dinner and maybe walk around a little…

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Oh. Oh. My. So that’s literally on the Falls Road. Across from all this lovely protest mural artwork.

And this one.

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Right near where that guy back up at the beginning of the post was standing.

Yeah. We didn’t get dinner there that night.

And we also learned that even though the guidebooks say everything is totally fine omg, Belfast is a teensy weensy bit scary when you hang out around the barbed wire.

In case you were wondering, we got depressed and decided to scrap Omagh the next day. We went to Belleek instead.

Because if anything says happiness and we’re fine, no worries, no IRA here, it’s some painted porcelain

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Crazy pregnant bag lady.

I think the nesting thing has started. I’m not sure. I mean, it’s not like morning sickness where at 10:10 on Monday. November 12 it was all, BAM WELCOME TO HELL HERE HAVE A BUCKET YOU WON’T ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO THROW UP IN FOR A FEW WEEKS BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW SOME REASON.

And I certainly haven’t begun to do anything in his room yet. There’s a crib leaning up against the wall that has yet to be assembled. I think that should happen sometime next week. And I’m still throwing shower gifts and stuff in a box and not actually washing stuff yet. The shower is in about a week, and either we will be getting furniture to put all of his adorable things on or I will be ordering it (prime shipping) that night. So either way, it’s kind of silly to waste a whole lot of time in there until after that because it’s kind of…empty. And God willing we’ll have several weeks to get that straightened out after the shower.

(Although I did think he was coming on Tuesday night. Which was unpleasant. But actually ended up being less labor and more not eating and stress because the sink backed up [of course] and my husband is many things but happy and complacent upon not being able to immediately conquer any and all home emergencies despite not owning the correct tools to do so is not one of them.)

But it’s gotten to a point where I WANT to do those things. I want to set stuff up and get frustrated when I can’t. Because it’s another cruel twist of irony that God makes pregnant women a.) need everything absolutely perfect and fixed RIGHT NOW and b.) unable to lift more than 10 lbs frequently.

And I’ve made Buzz start cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. Because there’s a baby coming! And he’ll need places for bottles! And formula! And binkies! And then he’ll get solid foods and God knows Squeaks won’t want to share her dishes so we’ll need to double them and oh good Lord, we need to move.

(Another thing in the back of my head I’m refusing to deal with.)

The kitchen was never really organized after I moved in. I moved all my stuff in before the wedding because I figured the last thing we needed was to spend the first two weeks of our marriage fighting over where my stuff would go and what that meant for our relationship and past relationships and the world as a whole, I don’t know, it was stressful. And we had those fights, just before the wedding. So we came home happy and at peace with each other and got to enjoy the brief weeks before the puking started.

Except in the kitchen. Because while I was crazy and irrational, I wasn’t crazy and irrational and mean and making Buzz eat off of paper plates until we unpacked the wedding china seemed rude. So I kind of piled all our stuff in the cabinets when we got back and didn’t really arrange any of it with any thought as to how to easily retrieve it. Which is why in order to use a mixing bowl you have to extract the salad spinner and any time I use a 9×13 pan I have to slam the door shut with my foot SUPER FAST before the rest of the bakeware falls out.

But no more! Because we have been going through the kitchen a cabinet a night. And let me just say? I didn’t think we were hoarders? At least until I actually looked at how we keep all our stuff.

Like our snack cabinet. That contained two bags of expired goldfish, three bottles of B6 that I purchased while out and nauseated, and a handful of Father’s Day cards that never got given away. (Be surprised this year, gentlemen.) And eight tons of other crap that I don’t even know but once it was gone I have a place to put my generic oreos.

(Yay!)

We also did the broom closet, which held one broom and EIGHT MILLION plastic bags. Because, I don’t know, we were going to use them? If we decided to move using only plastic bags? And also, holy cow do we spend too much time and/or money at Target.

So this morning I got to drag LITERALLY a cart full of plastic bags into Target to recycle. Like a crazy person. A crazy pregnant bag lady.

Tonight is Eva’s cabinet. I’m not sure if there’s anything in there that needs to be disposed of, but if it does, I’ve decided that’s Buzz’s job. I’ve had enough of being stared at.

Pinteresting.

I like to think Pinterest changed my life.  I love Pinterest! It’s amazing! It combines my new imperative to cook, organize, raise a child, and make a home,1 with the fact that it’s been long enough since the whole Grandpa’s house…experience that I can look at some home improvement projects without bile rising in my throat.2

Some goals are a tad lofty. I mean, according to Pinterest, I have a floor-to-ceiling build-in-bookcase in my attic alcove, make an incredible array of healthy, well-balanced meals and delightfully sinful and GORGEOUS treats like perfectly frosted Bailey’s Irish creme cake, am pretty bitchin’ at making and hanging canvas-wrapped prints, make keep-sake books of all the important cards I’ve ever received, have all sorts of adorable first-day-of-school photo ops planned for every year of Squeaks’ life, take part in every single monthly photo challenge (which I’m sure my friends and family all appreciate),and will have mason jars at my wedding as a cost-effective and whimsical alternative to wine glasses.

Ah. Well, kind of.

I mean, I am TOTALLY all about the canvas-wrapped prints. I think that would be awesome. I have BIG plans for a set of three wedding pictures hung from ribbons. But instead of making them myself, I had Buzz buy a LivingSocial deal where someone else would do it for me. (I still have to figure out the ribbon. Which means…there probably won’t be any ribbon.) And I have a drawer full of the lovely wedding cards we’ve received because I’m TOTALLY going to turn them into a book but I can’t really…how do they…how do you get the punches to match up…I don’t know, it probably won’t be that pretty.

I would love to do a thing where I take Squeaks’ picture on the first day of school holding a chalkboard with the date and “When I grow up I want to be…” right up through grad school (Oh, she’s going to grad school.) But, I realize that I probably will forget to write it before the first day of school. Or buy a chalkboard. So she’ll be standing at the end of the driveway holding a piece of construction paper that’s used on the back. If that. A more realistic possibility is that we’ll be running late and I’ll be swearing (quietly, I’m a good mother) and probably crying because MY BABY DON’T LEAVE ME SO HELP ME GOD IF YOU LISTEN TO YOUR FATHER AND GO TO MADISON I WILL COME WITH YOU.

Probably a better chance of that.

I don’t really cook the things I pin with the exception of the easy casseroles…like the pizza casserole. I knock that one out of the park. It’s hard to screw up putting ground beef on top of noodles and dumping a bag of cheese on top.

I set out every month with the intention of doing the photo challenge…but then inevitably forget about it or get hopelessly uncreative. “How can you take a creative picture of ‘nine o’clock’? That’s ridiculous. You suck pinterest.”

I’m not really a mason-jar-at-the-wedding kind of girl. And it’s an Italian restaurant. I’m thinking they’ll have wine glasses.

And I don’t even know if Buzz has an attic and if he does I’m guessing he’s not interested in funding my ill-advised attempt to turn it into a reading sanctuary.3

So. In general. Pinterest is fun, but unrealistic. Except this one thing. This one thing I could totally do. Mostly because it involved absolutely no craftiness at all. Behold- the wine-rack-as-towel-holder thing.

YES.

This, this I could do. I mean, I’m sure the blog post it originally came from involved days of antiquing and finding the wine rack at some vintage store where it came with a card saying it was haunted or something, I don’t know, whatever. I don’t like antiquing because it’s very rarely air-conditioned and the stuff makes me sneeze and then it makes me cry because it belonged to people who obviously don’t have anyone who loves them because they sold their stuff and don’t ask me about the boxes from my grandparents’ in my basement, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

No, I wasn’t going antiquing. I was just going to buy a wine rack off of Amazon.com and hang it up and call it a day. Oh, yes, look! I found that on Pinterest! I know, right? So amazing the things these people think of!

So I did a search for wine rack. And it popped up with a lot of standing wine racks. Which, okay, awesome, but not exactly what I needed. So I searched for hanging wine racks.

And…it came back with a lot of “wine/towel racks.”

Wait. What?

Amazon figured out my trick? And took all the barely-there-creativity out of it? Well, that ruined it for me.

Whatever, I didn’t really want a wine rack in the bathroom anyway. Fine.

1 This is related to my new imperative for STUFF. HOUSEY STUFF. This from the girl who, when asked by her mother if she wanted dishes or something for her birthday said, uh, well, the seventh season of CSI:NY was just released. Now it’s ALL about the electric can-opener.
2 Not paint or wallpaper. Not yet. Dear God, not yet.

3 Although it would mean he could return all those bookcases I made him buy last night because SERIOUSLY DUDE. I DON’T THINK YOU REALIZED THE NUMBER OF BOXES OF BOOKS I COME WITH WHEN YOU PROPOSED TO ME.