Stunted Adults

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Nancy Reagan Was Totally Talking About Bulk Plants

When ErinGoBrawl and I were in college, we used to make weekly pilgrimages to the promised land.  And, by the promised land I mean Wegman’s, obviously.

Wegman's

Oh greatest of grocery stores, I pray every day for you to return to my life.

During those delightful visits, we learned many important life lessons, including that a few fresh vegetables can turn a packet of ramen into a gourmet dining experience and that wearing excessive eye make-up does not make it more likely that the cashier will sell you beer without an ID.

But, the most important lesson that we learned, which we repeatedly had to yell at each other when tempted by the bright lights of the dairy section, was this:

DO NOT BUY BULK CHEESE.

JUST SAY NO.  This is what Nancy Reagan should have been about.

JUST SAY NO. Maybe this is what Nancy Reagan was talking about?

It never tastes as good as you think it will, you will never eat it all, and it always ends in digestive distress.  Always.  Just ask ErinGoBrawl.  She knows.

I have fastidiously applied the Just Say No Bulk Cheese rule ever since, extrapolating the hypothesis to reach all bulk items.

I have never succumbed to the Sirens that are CostCo, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s (who named that company?  I mean, really?! How did that make it out of market research?), refusing to be seduced by their sweet discount songs into shipwrecking my already too small home on giant jars of pretzels, mountains of toilet paper, and industrial sized vats of vile mayonnaise.

I know better.

I know that buying in bulk always ends badly.

But, recently, that magic life-saving mantra escaped me just when I needed it most.

As you know, Country Boy and I have been remodeling our house for approximately 4.5 eons.  We are FINALLY on the last phase of the outside overhaul, which is the landscaping.  Because Country Boy is a landscape architect, our yard revamp is not going to just be a quick sod, shrub, and mulch job.  Oh no.  He has a much greater plan that I am absolutely in love with.

But, with great plans comes great time commitments.

As Country Boy began lining up nurseries from which to obtain his plethora of plants to transform our yard into the world’s smallest botanical garden, he began casually dropping little gems like “We’ll need to rent a UHaul to pick-up all of the plants,” “Most of these nurseries are over an hour’s drive away,” and “This could take months.”

Things that I do not want to spend one, let alone many Saturdays doing?  Riding in a UHaul for hours on end while shopping for plants.

JUST SAY NO.  Perhaps this is what Nancy Reagan was really talking about?

JUST SAY NO. Maybe this is what Nancy Reagan was talking about?

But, I really wanted my amazing yard to be finished.

And then, one of the nurseries told Country Boy that if he bought all 250 plants at once, they would give him a substantial discount and deliver those plants directly to our door.

No UHaul?!  No epic journeys to nurseries?! No belabored plant shopping with a picky professional?!  A discount?!

I am weary and they sound so inviting as they sing to me about days where I don't have to engage in absurd feats of home owner manual labor.

I was weary and they sounded so inviting as they sang to me about days when I wouldn’t have to engage in absurd feats of home owner manual labor.

SIGN ME UP.

I immediately and effusively praised this as the greatest idea ever, and I insisted that Country Boy take the nursery up on its offer.

I was so overjoyed at saving hours of shopping and getting a discount that I overlooked one glaring detail of this plan that became painfully obvious on delivery morning.

We had just bought bulk plants.

BULK PLANTS!

And this was only part of the delivery.  My house was overrun by a veritable army of foliage.

And this was only part of the delivery. My house was overrun by a veritable army of foliage.

NOOOO!!!

WHAT HAD I DONE??  I KNOW BETTER!

As with everything that is purchased in bulk, operation landscaping has ended badly.

Because you know what happens when 250 plants arrive on your doorstep? You have to plant them. You have to plant them ASAP to avoid them being stolen and to avoid having to hand-water each individual pot to prevent a bulk-plant dust bowl.

fruit trees

In the ground you must go my little friends.

But, it is physically impossible for two people to get 250 plants perfectly aligned and in the ground in one day, which means that we had to start doing things like this at 10:00 pm on a Monday night after a 10-hour work day:

Headlight

Though its cold and lonely in the deep dark night, I can see plants by the Prius headlight.

It’s been well over a week of midnight gardening sessions, and we still have not managed to get our foliage army safely packed in the soil.  As soon as I arrive home every night, I reluctantly trudge myself out to the yard to commence planting and watering the never-ending battalions of plants.  I’m like Khaleesi, except for that my soldiers don’t respond to my commands.

I clearly need some dragons to finish this project.

I clearly need some dragons.

By the time we (hopefully) finish planting this weekend, we will have spent countless long weeknights and several 12+ hour weekend days furiously and frantically flinging dirt around our yard all while coddling our over-stressed and unhappy little green friends.

 You can do it little gardenia!  Keep on growing! PLEASE! DON'T LEAVE ME!

Don’t you know you’re supposed to be my loyal follower now that I have freed you from your enslaved pot?

And, in the course of this insanity, Country Boy and I are both exhausted and so sore that we can barely walk normally, requiring bulk-plant-discount-negating financial and emotional investments in Aleve, massages, and general disgruntledness.

So, to recap, buying in bulk has resulted in no euphoria, yet has produced a host of physically, emotionally, and socially destructive side effects.

She was TOTALLY talking about bulk plants.

She was TOTALLY talking about bulk plants.

Remember kids, Just Say No to Bulk.


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How Did I Get Here?: House Hunting Edition

I am reminded on a regular basis that I am of the “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” Adult variety.  This has become clearer after the latest chapter in the Brawler family’s life: buying a home.  

I couldn’t be trusted to find a safe, affordable home to rent (we are currently living in the Hobbit House, a cute 1920s era death trap), how the hell should I be trusted with buying a home that I will be solely responsible for in every way imaginable.

It’s time to move out of the Hobbit House and find my Forever Home (like an adopted pet). So we’ve pulled the trigger, have chatted with mortgage companies and are starting a marathon house hunting excursion this weekend. I’d say this is great, in theory, but it isn’t. What kind of idiot goes and signs up for a 30-year debt right before the second housing bust in 6 years?

This idiot.

A little background.

A mere two years ago, I found out I was carrying twin aliens, and BigBrawler and I realized that our cool, upgraded loft apartment in an old house in an urban neighborhood was not going to work. No walls, no space, no parking… no dice. So we started the ridiculously stressful process of finding a new place to live.

This is stressful for most people, but we were 30 somethings that actually still owned their AMAZING, GLORIOUS condo in another part of the country that we just couldn’t sell in the awful market. This condo, guys. Calling it a condo is pretty shitty, because it was a Den of Awesome. It was a corner apartment in a super old, gutted building in a young, fun neighborhood in an amazing city. I had new appliances, great light, and touches of the 1920s – like glass doorknobs and original flooring. I had parking! And a deck with plants! AND, there were no less than 15 bars within a 6 block radius, along with a pan-Hispanic restaurant with the best damn margaritas that your sorry ass could wish for on a hot day. Nouveau Xanadu. Shangri-La. Perfection.

In my mind, it vaguely resembled Versailles.

In my mind, it vaguely resembled Versailles.

[As an aside, it took two whole years to sell that place – TWO – and only after taking a huge hit. You’re welcome, America.]

Enter the Hobbit House. It was blah and suburban but it had a back yard for our pooch, and was located directly across the street from a supermarket chain to end all supermarket chains. We thought “okay, it’s a lease, this will do for now.”

Almost immediately, we noticed that things were not what they seemed. And I am not talking about the ghosts in the house, because we have those, too, though they are more of the Casper variety than Poltergeist. Thanks be to Jeebus.

Yes, this is me remembering a huge crush on Devon Sawa/Casper. Just go with it.

Yes, this is me remembering a huge crush on Devon Sawa/Casper. Just go with it.

The ghosts weren’t the problem; the Hobbit House has been actively trying to kill us since we moved in. We’ve had huge roof leaks, red water raining in our bedroom, lead paint peeling off, flying slate shingles assaulting guests and neighbors, prehistoric fungus in the yard, and, most recently, a killer mold infestation.

TOTALLY LIKE MONSTER HOUSE.

TOTALLY LIKE MONSTER HOUSE.

So it’s time. We are being adults. We are finally jumping back into the pool of responsible home owners even after Uncle Sam smacked us around. Being gun-shy, we are being even more frugal this time around and looking at the red-headed stepchild of the real estate world: “Fixer Uppers.”

As we’ve been basically living in a Fixer Upper for the past year and a half, I’m a little nauseated by this whole process. I try to say positive things about each house we see: parroting things like “great space” and “lots of potential.” But being optimistic is against my very nature and the training I’ve received through endless watching of real estate shows on television.

You see, I watch a LOT of housing shows (anybody surprised?). And over the years I have yelled, gasped, and thrown things at the TV when I watch young couples go on a house hunt and just complain that they don’t like the wallpaper or the wall color. Wall color is NOT a deal breaker, you senseless, spoiled Yuppie. Do you know what a deal breaker is? Flooding in the basement (seen it), rotted attics (seen it), and a house full of faulty mechanics (you bet I’ve seen it).

But let’s be clear, I am not one of those people looking for a second home in these shows. These are not my problems.

Also, my problems do not include “there’s no space for our piano.”

Surprisingly, it’s hard to wade through some of the House Hunters clips online, but let me assure you, this comedy sketch poking fun at the home buyers on the show is not that far off.

Basically, I am going to end up with a major Fixer Upper and then I am going to require the assistance of the Patron Saint of Lost Housing Causes, the one, the only – Jeff Lewis. We could be featured on Interior Therapy, because I am sure Jeff and Jenni would have PLENTY to say about our house, but also about my hoarding tendencies and the fact that I am a very messy person. It would be a GREAT episode.

If this is all foreign to you, get thee to Hulu and search for “Interior Therapy.” It’s a magical piece of television.

Oh, the things he would say to us. It would be AMAZING.

Oh, the things he would say to us. It would be AMAZING.

And, honestly, if having Jeff Lewis dish out tough love to the Brawlers is even a possibility – I will find the ramshackliest ramshackle house and pledge my life to that mortgage. It’s the only way I will get through this process.