Today Gabe is wearing a maroon shirt and blue shorts.
Since I started this blog, almost 3 years ago, I have almost never missed a post. I have skipped maybe 3 times on purpose and have outright just missed a week due to forgetfulness or confusion maybe twice.
Last week was one of those times.
Last Friday, when I normally would have been writing on this blog, I was packing everything I own into reusable grocery bags and suitcases, and stacking them high in the back of my station wagon, and driving up the coast to my new house in the woods.
All weekend, while listening to a nonstop stream of the Invisibilia podcast, I carried load after load into my new house and deposited it all on the floor. Then, over this week, the one main stack became several distinct piles, which then moved closer and closer to their room of choice.
Pots moved into cabinets. Clothes got hung on hangers. (Anxiety dreams were dreamt.)
And I am VERY tired.
To speak on my behalf in this week’s blog post, please accept the following photographs of things that have recently happened and my best attempts to capture the beauty of my new home in spite of its current pile-based state. (Hover over photos for captions.)
Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown boots.
This week I’m writing my post in advance because at the time my post usually goes live, I am going to be working in a sweatshop of my own creation, hand-packing and shipping Spark Notebooks to everyone who ordered one during our Kickstarter.
So I’m writing this on Sunday night, while trying to pack a full week of work into 1 weekend day and 2 weekdays before I leave for Seattle on Wednesday.
I’m driving up — it’s a 10 hour trip that I kind of love to do — and I’m staying with my Popforms cofounder from that night until whenever we get the last notebook mailed out.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We had originally set up production so that the notebooks, once printed, would be sent to a fulfillment center that would ship them out for us. But then they delayed the project. And then they delayed it again. And again.
So that suddenly, the notebooks we had promised by early January weren’t going to go out until maybe February.
And that’s when we decided: we’ll just do it ourselves. And in a way, it feels kind of right that it happened this way. Not that we wanted to spend several full days assembling boxes, printing labels, and hand-packing thousands of notebooks from Kate’s living room during the middle of a work week, but it actually kind of matches our history and who we are as a company. We have always been bootstrapped, doing things manually and keeping our hands on as much of the finished product as possible so we could make sure it was exactly what we wanted to deliver.
So I’m driving up to Seattle to pack a couple thousand notebooks into boxes.
And I don’t know when I’ll be back.
But it will be a good trip. I hope I’ll get to see some friends, but a change of scenery is always nice for me, regardless of what actually happens while I’m away.
I just hope my plants don’t die while I’m gone. Someone who I won’t name, but I bet you know who I’m talking about, didn’t water my plants while I was gone for two weeks for Christmas (his defense: “I forgot.”) and now one of them is in very rough shape. I’m hoping for a miracle while I’m away.
What should you do when every leaf on a plant has wilty brown edges? It’s very sad.
For now I’m trimming the obviously dead leaves off, giving it good light, and trying really hard to resist the urge to overwater it.
Send positive vibes our way and maybe, just maybe, when I come back from Seattle I will be a few thousand notebooks lighter and in possession of one beautiful, healthy Dieffenbachia Compacta.
Today Gabe is wearing a grey fleece, a black t-shirt, khaki pants, and brown shoes.
This week I discovered that my poor dear English ivy plant is now the home to a family of spiders. Well, more like a womb of a family of spiders.
A few weeks ago, I moved my ivy plant outside because it was dying and I didn’t know what else to do. After I did that, my mom told me it might have been wilting because it was in a too-small pot — which turned out to be exactly the case. I repotted it in a bigger pot and trimmed back the longest vines so that the growth would be focused at the center, rather than sending all the good stuff out to the longest ends of the longest vines.
But it seemed to be doing well in the sunshine, and so, naively, I left it there.
And now it can never come back.
You guys, there are bugs outside and they will just make themselves at home in whatever they find that seems hospitable. Even your English ivy plant that is ONLY THERE TEMPORARILY. But is now out there for life.
I went out to water it yesterday afternoon, and thought, “It’s looking so good. It’s finally time to bring this baby back inside so it can keep beautifying my bathroom.”
And that exact moment is when I noticed a little spider web between a couple of the vines. A spider web dotted with dozens of tiny, baby spider eggs.
Goodbye, English ivy plant. You can never come indoors again.
I mean, I tried clearing the spider web out, but listen you guys — once you have seen a web of baby spider eggs on your plant, you will never be comfortable living with that inside your house.
Making the decision to bring that back into your house is like making the kind of decision people in horror movies make.
“You guys, it’s fine to go into the basement despite all the spooky warnings, right?”
No, it’s never alright. Did you not see all the spooky warnings??
And even if there’s not a nightmare spider apocalypse scenario HAPPENING IN YOUR HOME WHERE YOU SLEEP, then you at least will spend probably the rest of your life with that twitchy feeling that there might be something crawling on you, because you know that there is a not zero percent chance that there is a family of spiders being born at any second in your house.
Listen, I know spiders are everywhere and there still might one day be a family of spiders born in my house that take over and I have to move out and just leave them all my stuff. It still might happen.
But I am not going to be the one to make it happen by bringing a tainted ivy plant inside just because I want a beautiful bathroom. No sir.
Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt and red shorts, and he’s kicked his brown flip flops off to the side.
Well, you guys, I washed my hair. And, if you’re keeping track you’ll remember, by washed I mean rubbed baking soda into my scalp and dipped the ends of my hair in vinegar. And you know what? My hair looks — normal!
I washed it on Saturday, after a week of not washing per the internet’s directions, and on Tuesday evening it was still good to go. In fact, it was better than it ever would have been going that long between washes before. I didn’t wash it again until Thursday.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean I didn’t shower — I do live a normal human life which includes things like exercise and being a functioning member of society. I just didn’t put anything in my hair. Nothing but a good scalp rub, which is apparently (again, according to the internet) all you really need to do to keep things from getting weird.
One of my biggest motivations for this (other than great hair) was a desire to spend less time in the shower, which has been one of my favorite parts of this whole process. The more days I can go between showers, and the less time I spend in each of those showers, without becoming a disgusting person, is a huge win.
Now, in other news not related to my hair but still related to my shower, the English ivy plant that I put in my bathroom is dying. And I don’t know why! I know this kind of ivy likes indirect light or even shade (my bathroom window is surrounded by big redwood trees) and I’ve heard it likes humid conditions too. And what is more humid than the place where showers happen??
But still it is losing lots of leaves and the leaves that are still there are losing their color. It’s vines are getting longer, but nothing else about it seems healthy. I AM DEEPLY CONCERNED.
This afternoon I put it outside, sighing an exasperated “Why are you doing this to me?”. Maybe some sunshine and fresh air will help? I have no idea. Maybe it’s not even dying. Maybe it’s just mad at me for buying another new plant.
I bought a Dieffenbachia Compacta (also known as Dumb Cane, which seems unnecessarily mean) for my bedroom, which is one of the darkest, shadiest rooms in my house and so one of the hardest to find a plant to put in. But today I found Dumbo, the dumb cane, who loves to grow in shade and is only slightly poisonous to humans if eaten, but let’s all just promise to be grownups and not to eat this plant, okay?
On the flip side from its poisonous streak, it’s also apparently great at removing toxins and pollution from indoor air — this according to NASA. (Why are they studying this? I don’t know.)
Other things that happened this week, unrelated to my shower:
Today Gabe is wearing a black wetsuit. Righteous!
Oh man, you guys. I got the flu in the middle of summer. And it is…terrible.
On the upside, I’ve gotten to take like 4 full days off work and watch movies. I am getting really well acquainted with my couch, and feeling really thankful for the free 500+ satellite channels that are paid for by my landlord and allow me to watch endless movies during my time really getting to know my couch.
On the downside, I’ve been housebound for 6 full days and I hate it. I’m antsy. But then again, I’m too tired to be antsy.
I had to miss my printmaking class one day, and then I had to miss yoga the next day. I did manage to make it to a coffee date on Wednesday, but spent the rest of the day glassy-eyed and horizontal on the couch recovering from spending whopping 2 hours out of the house for the first time in days. And then I missed yoga again.
Basically I don’t like it.
One great thing about being sick, I guess, has been rediscovering crossword puzzles. I started doing them on Day 2 because I was getting sick of TV, but didn’t have the energy to read. A crossword puzzle was something I could print out from the New York Times website, prop up on a big hardcover book on my lap as a surface, and then do one line at a time while closing my eyes for 5-10 minutes in between each clue.
Unfortunately the NYT doesn’t release new free puzzles super often on their website. Right now, I’m working with a Monday puzzle and a Saturday puzzle.
I finished the Monday puzzle in about 15 minutes. The Saturday puzzle has been sitting with 4 answers filled in for something like five days. I really need them to release, like, a Wednesday puzzle.
I started feeling a little bit better yesterday, and even managed to make it to a coffee shop for a brief writing session in the morning. As a reward for being so brave, I decided to treat myself (congratulations on leaving the house!) by buying some new small plants for my house.
I read a blog post on the best plants to purify the air in your house, and since my mind is melting with monotony and flu symptoms, I decided I definitely, definitely needed a plant or three to help beautify and purify my home.
Say hello to my aloe, my english ivy, and my venus fly trap. The aloe’s new home is inside a vase my friend made in a ceramics class last year that is finally fulfilling its ultimate purpose. Looks good, no?
I didn’t mean to buy a venus fly trap, but when I saw them on the shelf at the plant store, I had an instant flashback to having one as a child and I couldn’t help myself.
I remembered a time when my dad had a venus fly trap at our house — I don’t remember if it was always there, or if it was passing through on its way to an office — but he told me to stick my finger in the venus fly trap’s jaws and see it close around my finger. Which I did. And it was thrilling!
But now, as a grownup, for some reason I am afraid to try again.
But that’s okay. It doesn’t actually eat fingers, but according to Google, pretending to feed your venus fly trap your fingers isn’t actually good for it since it uses its energy for something that isn’t real food.
So I will just keep my hands to myself. And rest. And drink tea and soup. And enjoy my fresh, fresh, bug-free air.
Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, a grey t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.
You guys, the weather is terrible. Is this the case anywhere else, or is it just Seattle? It has been raining all day long, even when I accidentally parked too far away from the bakery this afternoon, forcing my poor umbrellaless Gabe to walk two long blocks while getting drenched, all for the sake of a little brioche.
Needless to say, the rest of the day was spent indoors — me working, him watching baseball — with a few indoor games thrown in between for thrills.
Last year Gabe bought himself the best present he’s ever bought himself, which is a remote control helicopter. Oh, how it has terrorized the skies of our apartment. It buzzes loudly as it flies, in a way that tells you, “If I were to become sentient one day, I would attack you. Yes, you. When you least expect it.”
Gabe is really good at flying it, and I am really good at making it shoot violently into the air, crash into the ceiling, and then plummet into the ground.
This year my parents sent us some battery-powered toy guns that shoot soft foam discs, that I originally received on what was perhaps the most raucous Christmas the Stull household has ever seen when I was maybe 10 years old. My dad and I spent basically the entire rest of that December 25th jumping out from behind couches and corners, pummeling each other with foam discs. Did I mention they also make really loud laser gun noises when you pull the trigger?
So anyways, my parents were cleaning out the attic this winter and decided these toys might make the perfect addition to Gabe’s arsenal of fun in our house.
By now, history has taught me that almost every person who crosses the threshold of our home will shoot or be shot by these laser guns. They’re inescapably fun, and the fact that there are two of them means things can escalate really quickly.
So we have had these two great toys, living together-but-separately under one roof for over six months now.
But today, on this rainy, cold, have-to-stay-indoors July day, history was made. These two amazing toys came together for the first time. And they came together in a game where — yes, you guessed it — one person attempts to fly the helicopter while the other person attempts to shoot it out of the sky with a laser gun.
These toys met this afternoon in perfect harmony, and in one perfect moment, became the ultimate indoor rainy day game. And it was just as much fun as you’d imagine.
Before and after witnessing the most perfect indoor game experience ever to have happened (is that overstating it?) I worked on lots of popforms stuff after a very busy week. I wrote a blog post! It’s about my ongoing quest to be bolder and more courageous, which is slowly but surely working, and which I hope can be helpful for other people who need a little push to do that *thing* they’ve always wanted to do. Or even just decide to pick a thing they want to do.
Naturally, this post is not for Gabe, who never hesitated for a moment in proposing or executing the most perfect indoor game by combining two of the most perfect indoor toys. But then, maybe that’s why Gabe and I go so well together.
When I hesitate, and start thinking of the reasons it would be better not to try, Gabe is already launching his helicopter into the air and cheering someone — anyone — on to shoot a laser gun at it.