Monday, January 17, 2011

Tough Conversations

Last week Ray and I were talking about the difficulty of having "tough conversations" with each other, coworkers, family, basically everyone.  This conversation actually started months earlier when he and coworkers were asked to read a book called Fierce Conversations for a work-education project.  After Ray read it, he suggested it be one of the books I read this year so we could discuss it.  I think that's a great idea.  I'm not sure if the book discusses the full spectrum of conversation types, from teaching kids about the birds and bees to handling professional criticism at work, but I'm quite eager to find out.

Although I'm not usually one to avoid a tough conversation (my pendulum probably resides too far on the other side), I do sometimes justify a dodge.

Especially when just leaving a note will do:

The Note

The Evidence

Another Note

More Evidence

On the other hand... sometimes a note only delays the tough conversation.

I can hardly wait for Ray to get home so we can start conversing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One-Eleven-Eleven at 11:11.11

Yesterday was a great day, especially for Ray.  He ate up every single 1 and 11 of the day... and has the documentation to prove it.

Ray's gas-mileage odometer also rolled over 111.1 miles yesterday.  A good sign indeed.

Ray and eleven have been SPECIAL friends since he was a teenager.  I think the bond is only getting stronger.  Some of my favorite memories of Ray, eleven and I:

I.  One Sunday when Ray and I were dating, we went for a walk down to the Ballard boat locks so we could watch all the  boats get elevator-ed between the Puget Sound and Lake Union.  While we were looking at the boats I asked Ray what he would someday name his boat (when he got one).  He didn't even look over at me.  He just kept watching the boats and in a monotone voice said, "you don't even need to ask.  You already know the answer."  I quickly started scanning my brain trying to recall if we'd already had this conversation in the past.  When I felt confident we hadn't, I fixated on the idea that maybe he was suggesting he would name it after me.  I was suddenly sure that was what he meant.  I couldn't decide whether that made me feel good or weird.  THEN, it dawned on me... he wasn't suggesting he would name his boat after me.  I looked at him and said, "you'll name it Eleven-Eleven, huh?"  He said, "yup."
Later that night I would declare I loved him for the first time.  He would get mad at me and say I 'd stolen his thunder because I said it first.  I would tell him I got tired of waiting and couldn't hold it in anymore.

II.  Ray still wakes me up occasionally at 11:11pm to kiss me and say, "I love you.  Happy eleven-eleven."  Then we both fall back asleep.

III.  Last night (when I got home from the hospital and Ray got home from a full day of snowboarding in Utah for work), we got out our Sake cups, filled them with orange juice, waited for 11:11pm to arrive, and toasted to our happiness.  We even figured out how to set the timer on the camera so we could document it.

Ray and I both home from a LONG day of work and taking a picture to document 1-11-11 as a day in our lives.

Toasting and trying to figure out the camera timer.  The alarm clock between us says 11:11.

Toasting in front of the other clock in our house that still said 11:11... after missing Ray's head in the last shot.

Two-thousand and ELEVEN is going to be a great year.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Just In Case You Were Wondering

Just in case you were wondering what I spent my last 48 hours doing.

A 5 year supply of contact solution
Our 5 year supply of contact solution arrived.  Ray's health insurance has a flex-spending account... which we had to use up before the year ended or else the money in it would be dissolved.  We had $90 to try and spend.  So at 11:45pm on December 31st, Ray and I were frantically searching the internet, trying to buy something that would qualify as "flex-spending appropriate."  The only thing we could spend it on, that we even remotely needed, was contact solution.  The UPS man just delivered my box of 24 large bottles of contact solution, so if you need some contact solution...

I finished sewing the top to a quilt I started in November.  It was bugging me that I couldn't vacuum in the guest room because my quilt blocks were all laid out on the floor, so I slayed that Goliath... and then I vacuumed.  I'm quite proud of myself for doing this quilt because:
1.  I've never quilted before and I taught myself how.  I even made up my own pattern.  I drew it on Microsoft paint... you know, that program on your computer by solitaire and the calculator.  I then did all the math to figure out how much fabric I needed.
2.  I went for the big prize.  No sir, no lap quilt as a starter for me.  I made a California King size quilt.
3.  I actually like how it turned out and want to do another one.  I was worried that as with most beginning sewing projects, it would need to be "stored" in the cedar chest until it was old enough to be an antique and not some heinous thing I sewed.  I'm even pleased enough it'll reside on our bed.

The Conservatory
I pulled all the house plants out of their holiday greenhouse and returned them to their rightful places in the house.  Because Ray and I knew we'd be gone for portions of November/December, and because I knew Ray would be adamant we turn the heat off while we were gone (even if it was only overnight), I had a 5 minute brainstorm on how to keep my house plants alive through those 2 months.  As with most brainstorm sessions, I produced 9 idiotic ideas and a single genius one.  The idiotic ones were things such as asking neighbors to plant sit or try the Darwinian approach again and see if their genetics were hardy enough to survive (tried that one last year).  The one genius idea: put all the plants and Houdini in the bathroom which has its own heater with its own thermostat.  That way I could shut the door, turn the thermostat in there up, and even if the rest of our house froze over, our bathroom would be a sweltering 70 degrees.  It worked pretty well.  Even Houdini thought it was awesome, she came out of hibernation and spent the holidays in her swimming pool.

Snicket's first attempt at bearing fruit
I finally gave up on the first fruit from our lemon tree.  I kept hoping that despite its size, it would turn into a stellar firstborn.  When half of him turned black, I called it a bust and threw the dang thing away.  Luckily, there's a normal sized lemon on the tree that's starting to turn yellow as well.  I guess the first was just a practice round... we're calibrated now.

The table top, which hasn't been seen for months
I cleared off the dining room table.  That table has had stuff on it since Halloween.  It's been a toss up between gifts that needed to be delivered, decorations that needed hung (and never were), projects that needed finishing (and finally are).  A short quip for a HUGE accomplishment.

The shattered window
The pimp boots
I've been calling glass people and asking them how much they would charge to replace my windshield.  Last weekend when Ray and I were in Portland for our anniversary, someone threw a pair of black boots off a tall building and they hit our windshield.  We were parked on a street, trying to decide where to eat our anniversary dinner, and suddenly there was a WHACK!  After they hit, Ray and I just looked at each other and with our eyes said, “What the hell was that?”  Ray gets out to assess the situation while I sit inside the car and keep trying to decide where to eat dinner... no need for both of us to get cold out there.  A few pedestrians came up and said they could attest that the boots came flying out of the sky.  They all stare and scratch their heads.  Finally the small crowd dispels and Ray pulls out his camera and takes a picture of the windshield, the boots strewn on the sidewalk, and me sitting in the passenger seat still deciding where to eat.  When the pictures are all snapped, he picks up the boots and puts them in the back seat.  I ask him why on earth we’re taking those nasty, black pimp boots with us.  With a straight face, and I assume all honesty, he answers, “just in case it goes to court.”  I laugh because the only court this will ever go to is daytime TV court… and even then we would need to locate a perpetrator.  SO, if anyone has size 9.5 feet, likes black, velvety boots with shiny, silver buckles, and doesn’t mind looking like a pimp, we have some boots for you.  OR, if anyone knows of someone living in Portland that is missing their boots, we've got 'em.

Ray's court picture: boots at the scene of the crime
Ray's court picture: me looking up to the roof top to see where on earth those boots came from.
Proof in fact, I stayed in the vehicle.

The mantle, half finished
I got two coats painted on our Ray & Calvin Inc mantle.  Ray decided it needed more sanding however, and sanded off one of my coats.

Rose petals drying
Ray gave me a dozen pink/orange/yellow roses for our anniversary.  I've kept a handful of petals from all the roses he's given me (since we started dating) dried and in a jar.  I de-petaled this batch and put them out to dry.

I got my teeth checked and cleaned.  It was such a brutal cleaning that afterward I had to text Ray "you can't kiss me too aggressively tonight.  The dentist worked my teeth over.  I'm sore."  It was kind of a sad day because, as I lay there in the chair with every muscle in me clenched, I had a moment of truth.  I don't like going to dentists anymore.  I think the reason it took so long for me to come to that common opinion is because I had a great childhood dentist.  He had a bunch of movies we could watch as we were waiting and good magazines like Highlights.  He had a treasure trunk we could get a toy out of after we were done.  And best of all, I had no idea until I was an adult that dentists gave you a shot in your mouth.  He hid that needle from me for over 18 years.  I never once saw it or felt it.  Anyway, I don't like going to the dentist anymore.

Most importantly of all... I've been growing a baby.*  I've been doing this for 4 months and although he's only the size of an avocado, he's proving to be a powerfully needy being.  Well, either that or my body's trying to reject him.  I'm afraid I can't really prove it with a profile picture... isn't much to see.  However, "brick by brick my citizens, brick by brick."**

*Actually I should say we've been growing a baby.  Ray claims half ownership.
**Emperor Hadrian of Rome