extroversion & solitude.

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When the husband is away for Valentine’s Day…

The wife sits at home and watches Netflix for hours on end. I blame auto-play. And a lack of self-control.

This weekend had a lot of potential. Señor was in Texas having brother bonding time while I had the apartment to myself. I could have crafted. I could have worked way ahead on homework. I could have been the domestic dream queen.

Instead, I sat. And sat and sat and sat and sat.

I admit–I was a little pathetic most of the weekend. Grant was away and my typical weekend structure was shot. Sure, I had a few plans. My beautiful friends, Mark and Lauren even let me crash their Valentine’s Day. But some plans fell through and some never came to fruition because of homework. I even made the conscious choice to just stay home all afternoon on Sunday. But I was mostly alone this weekend.

What I didn’t realize is that I totally I needed it.

I can be obnoxiously extroverted. When I make plans to hang out with people, my heart literally warms at the thought. It is energizing and the best part of my day.

I can also be uncharacteristically introverted. I crave time alone. I need space to just think–or not think (though this is nearly impossible, amiright, ladies?). I did not used to always be like this. In college, I thought spending an evening alone made me an old cat lady. Minus the cat thing because I’m allergic. I also hate them. I digress.

Being alone sounded terrifying. Why would I opt for solitude when I could be with PEOPLE. Happy, joyful, make-me-laugh-til-I-pee-myself people! It’s glorious. And it’s also an easy mask to hide behind.

Too much time around people means less time with me. We live with ourselves everyday. Obviously. But how often do we place ourselves in the type of solitude that really forces us to see ourselves fully–the raw, uncensored parts of ourselves that we rarely allow others to see?

This weekend, I realized how uncomfortable I am to just be alone and how I need to do it anyway. It forces me to slow down, take a look at the state of my heart, and quiet my frantic mind. It allows God the space to speak. It forces me to shift my identity back to Him and away from my activities or relationships with others. Solitude evokes a stirring anxiousness in my heart that only Jesus can calm.

Solitude is so hard. But it is so necessary for this extroverted woman.

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husband-less valentine’s day.

Señor and I are the kind of married couple who “celebrates” Valentine’s Day by going out to a casual Mexican restaurant two days early, ordering fatty meals, gorging on a one pound chocolate cake, and giggling at all the stereotypical, cheesy couples around us. We’re mature.

We just aren’t ones to make a big spectacle of the commercialized holiday. I remind him every year that I’m not the girl who says, “No, you don’t have to do anything,” and then flips her lid when she doesn’t get a diamond necklace. Please don’t ever do that, señor. Our budget would crumble into a million tiny pieces of shattered money-saving dreams.

Despite my desire to keep it a no-gifts holiday, Grant has been known to sneak in a few goodies. Like last year’s French Press. You sneeeeeaky hubs.

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If I’m honest, I always greet Valentine’s Day with a bit of shame over past mistakes. Lemme explain.

In February 2010, señor and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. We had only been dating for a little over a month, but we jumped in head first. At that point, we already dropped the L-bomb and decided we would probably get married. He wanted a fall wedding: I made him wait for winter. Cruel, I know. Needless to say, we were pretty committed and head-over-heels.

Minus my occasional moments of “OH MY GOSH HOW CAN I THINK ABOUT MARRIAGE WHEN I’M SO MESSED UP!?” Let’s be real–we’ve all been there.

Madly in love, señor wanted to do something romantic and spontaneous for Valentine’s Day. He planned a surprise drive home to my mom and stepdad’s in Ohio where we would enjoy grilled steak and a relaxing evening at home. Super sweet, right?

Well, yes, had I not been a total brat.

I was so not in the mood for a surprise. I griped the whole way there because I had no idea where we were going, whether or not I needed a change of clothes, and how I was going to get my homework done for the next day. Total buzzkill. There was lots of awkward silence in the car and plenty of pent up aggression. Poor us. We had no idea how to argue and express our feelings in a productive manner.

The night improved, thankfully. It ended with a kiss (Or a make-out session. Who can say?) and no hard feelings. I expressed that I was having a freak-out about our relationship which led to me overreact over the unknowns of the evening. It was all silliness. And that ridiculous night has stuck with me 4 years later. I may have scarred my poor husband into thinking that I don’t like surprises or big gestures of thoughtfulness. Au contraire. I love them. I need them. They’re my love language.

It should also be publicly recorded that this was one of the pictures we took before we left for the that fateful, Valentine’s evening 4 years ago. Great photogenic spot, amiright? And disclaimer: I don’t even remember whose bike that was. Awesome.

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Why the nostalgia? Because this Valentine’s Day is the first one since being married that I’ll be spending alone. Señor is off to visit his brother in Dallas for the weekend. Clint is in the Marines, and we are crazy proud of him. Here’s another walk down Laura’s-old-pics lane. Just imagine we’re all celebrating Valentine’s Day together, mmk?

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While they’re gallivanting around Dallas, I’ll be in one of four places: my bed, the couch, a coffee shop, or friends’ houses bumming off their pity to hang with the married girl who’s alone on Valentine’s Day. But seriously, this weekend is my time to catch up on life–and by life, I mean homework. Because that is my life.

There will also be lots of Chinese food and Netflix marathons. It just seems right.

burst.

The second law of thermodynamics states that there is a universal tendency for all things to move from order to disorder. I don’t know a lick about science, but I’m pretty sure I understand the bare minimum of this concept.

It’s basically what happened to our apartment last Friday.

Last week, I posted about the small improvements we’ve been making in our apartment. Pictures went up, decorative geese were purchased, and our apartment was finally starting to feel properly furnished. Apparently, it did not want to comply with these changes, and it retaliated with a fury.

That fury: a pipe burst.

We woke up Friday morning to a welcomed warmer day. The temperatures have been well below freezing and even in the single digits and teens lately. What we didn’t realize is that when it warms up, frozen pipes thaw, and all hell breaks loose. We thought we did everything right–let the faucets drip, filled the bathroom with space heaters. We basically created a sauna. Apparently, it was insufficient. Señor and I were both running late (this is nothing new), which ended up being our saving grace. While making his coffee and trying to rush out the door, señor was interrupted by a loud POP coming from our guest bathroom. And then…waterfalls.

Waterfalls on the floor. Waterfalls behind the drywall. Waterfalls into the spare room. Waterfallz for dayz.

Being the resourceful man that he is, señor immediately ran away.

No, really. He ran out of the apartment and gave me instructions to call the emergency maintenance line. Fumbling and yelling and on the verge of tears, I searched online to find it. It’s in moments like these that you wish you would have programmed the emergency numbers into your phone months earlier when you’re advised because they know what panic does to your fine motor skills and brain functioning. I was basically paralyzed.

Back to señor running away. He wasn’t actually fleeing the situation entirely. He ran outside to find someone who could help. A maintenance man arrived within a couple of minutes (faster than the emergency line could respond…), and basically swooped in Superman style. Luckily for me, señor warned me to put on pants a mere 10 seconds before the maintenance man walked through the door.

Oh, did I mention I wasn’t wearing pants this whole time? Because I wasn’t wearing pants.

Superman (maintenance man) rushed through the door, turned off the water, and radioed for back up. There was more water on the floor than our towels could dry up and it continued to leak out of the walls and pipes.

The exterior damage was minimal:

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But the interior damage (IN OUR HEARTS) has been detrimental. After hours of cleaning and organizing and pushing my limits of domestic abilities, our apartment was left in shambles from a 5-minute pipe burst. Maintenance has been in and out of apartment for the past 5 days, dehumidifiers have been blasting, carpet has been ripped up, drywall has been damaged, and half of our apartment has yet to return back to its normal state.

On the plus side, it’s only half of our apartment. Everything else is running fine. Plus, the maintenance people have been so kind. They’ve also thanked us for being nice. I can only imagine how many expletives and complaints they’re hearing from the other residents. Kindness matters, friends.

So far, there are two lessons I’ve learned from this experience:
1. Renters insurance is a must.
2. Put on pants as soon as you wake up. You just don’t know.

domestically challenged.

Until this weekend, one might walk into our apartment and have the following thoughts:

“Sweet baby Moses. How do they live in this?”
“I know Laura said she’s not a decorator, but not even Martha Stewart could help this woman.”
“So, you’re saying you’ve never been on Hoarders?”

It was not a pretty sight for months. And I mean MONTHS. Yes, we cleaned occasionally. Yes, we did our dishes. Sometimes we put up a wall hanging. Aaaaaand 99% of our apartment looked like we just moved in. Embarrassing.

I blame it on being domestically challenged.

I could have learned it. It’s in my genes. My mother has a gift for spatial authority. Every home I lived in felt like putting on your favorite sweater. Comfortable, cute, and worn down in just the right places. Unfortunately, I did not inherit the ability to walk into a home and Pinterest it to death. If I put a picture in a frame and set it on a dresser, I expected a neighborhood parade.

But all that changed this weekend.

Señor and I were struck with a bout of inspiration. It was like all the years of living together in our un-homey apartments and living spaces was pent up and released in an explosion of trips to Michaels, Hobby Lobby, World Market (THE BEST), and Target. We were machines this weekend. We trekked to consignment shops, furniture stores, and anywhere in the Denver metro area that might have a small piece to enhance our home.

We still have more to add (like wall decor…which is terrifying), but I’d say we were pretty successful.

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No, your eyes did not deceive you. I actually decorated. And I actually allowed Señor to buy a decorative goose (wife points).

Name suggestions welcome.