Saturday, August 13, 2011


I'm taking a momentary break to write this in between chores. Hubs and I are getting ready for two of my best friends from college to visit for the night from Richmond. They will be our first house guests! (Houseguests is a compound word, I think, but then the friendly red squiggly line said it wasn't... hmmm.)

It's interesting how the best motivation to clean up your house is when other people will see it. I mean, a big mess does drive me a little bit crazy. But it never irks me enough to actually act as an impetus to fix the mess. (I mean, 10 DVR'd episodes of Law and Order: SVU is obviously a better use of my last few free days before work starts, right?) But really, when you think about it, shouldn't you clean up for you - the people living in the house 24/7? Why is it that we save our best efforts for others? There has to be some metaphor of life in there or something. I'll get back to you.

Another aspect that has been interesting of having this big new house is the plethora of DIY/handyman jobs we have on the list. This, I figured, would be no problem - I have Hubs! He's a man! All men are handy and know how to use tools!

False. This was something I had assumed because I have a very handy, tool-knowledgeable father. It's funny how there are things you just take for granted - I feel like we end up generalizing our dads out to be the way every guy is. Imagine my surprise when, during our trip to the Home Depot our second day in Durham, Hubs did not know what drill bits were. He had never owned a drill or power tool of any description. I realize now that this is perfectly normal, but I fear I accidentally made him feel bad slash emasculated him a bit when I balked at his lack of handy acumen.

Flash forward to what is currently emanating from our guest bedroom: lots of muttering and the occasional outburst of expletives. Hubs is installing blinds on the guest room windows so my friends can actually get some sleep. And funnily enough, I'm reminded of why I hated when my dad set out to do handyman projects: the muttering to himself and cursing. For all the ways that my dad and Hubs are very different men, maybe cursing during home improvement projects is a universally male trait?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Live in Living Color

I just got back yesterday from a four-day trip to New York City with my mom and two brothers. (I'll just call them 14 and 23.) Madre and 14 were returning from 14's performing arts camp in Upstate NY, and 23 was on a break from architecture school. Madre makes it to New York a few times a year, and we try to join her as much as possible. She frequents fabric and trim shops (I've been to Mood from Project Runway with her) for her business, and we always see a ton of Broadway shows.

Confession: I am a huge, giant, raving Broadway geek. I listen to the "On Broadway" station on my satellite radio pretty much whenever I'm in the car (until I hastily change it to something cooler right before I pick someone up). I even spent the night after my wedding this summer - in the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta no less - watching the Tony Awards. I'll say it again: my husband is a gem.

Fortunately, Mom and 14 feel the same way. 14 is planning to be an actor and participates in any theater he can get his hands on. He's starting in an afterschool musical theater program this fall and can't get enough of his summer camp. And I must say, he is a pretty talented actor and musician. (The dancing not so much... but there's time.)

Anyway, I got a chance to see four shows this week: Sister Act on Sunday, How to Succeed... (yes, starring Harry Potter) on Tuesday, and a matinee/evening show combo of Anything Goes and Catch Me If You Can on Wednesday. This isn't a Broadway critic's blog, so I'll spare you the theatrical details - but I thoroughly enjoyed all four shows.

23 and I also had the opportunity to have lunch with two different friends of mine from high school, who are roommates in NYC. I actually have quite a few friends who live or have lived in New York after college. One of my friends works in the amazing Hearst Tower and gave us a tour. That place is freakin' amazing. (Excuse me, why don't elementary schools have organic cafes and huge gyms with complimentary workout clothes you don't have to wash yourself?)

So what do these two aspects of my trip - Broadway shows and lunch with my friends - have to do with each other, or anything for that matter? One word: regrets.

Every time I visit New York, I get the same feeling of low-grade longing to live there. Yes, I know it's difficult and expensive and the apartments are the size of an airplane bathroom... but I love that place. Hubs and I considered moving there for residency - he interviewed at two programs in the City and ranked them highly - but ultimately we decided that it made the most sense to come to Durham. But I know that I will always have a small tinge of regret that I didn't even get to try it out for a year or three.

As for seeing the shows, well, in hindsight I really wish I'd done more in the way of performing myself. I have loved to be on stage ever since my first summer at the Tulane theater camp I went to for a good chunk of my childhood. I've been dancing since about third grade (still am!) and was in the choir, school musicals, etc. While I don't think I ever had enough talent to make theater my career, I can carry a tune and tap circles around the average person... and I feel regretful now that I didn't make more of it.

I don't really know why, but I suspect it has something to do with fear. I'm an anxious person, and I struggled a lot with my self-image when I was younger. Add to that relentless academic overachieving. You end up with someone who desperately wants to be a performer - again, still do! - but never had the balls to actually try it out. It sucks that I have no one to blame but me, by the way. It's not like Madre forbid me to go into the theater, or I had some crippling injury that ended my ill-fated career before it began. Nope. I just wasn't willing to risk it.