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Wordless Wednesday: Adulthood is Annoying (Sometimes)

 

Photo via Inha Leex Hale’s photostream via Flicker.

Quarterly Writing Theme Winner: Inhabiting – The Bench in Apartments

“‘We’ll just write and be artists,’ we said over a jug of cheap wine.”

Inhabiting – The Bench in Apartments

By Two Girls on a Bench (Siana-Lea Gildard & Patricia Marsac)

We are often known for sitting on benches.  But when it comes to inhabiting, we have actually lived in quite a few places.  When we were first welcomed into adulthood (the day after we graduated from college) we moved into a motor home.  It was parked in our friend’s parent’s driveway.  We had no apartment lined up, no real jobs lined up, so this was our big plan, to move into our friend’s parent’s motor home.  Yes, we had humanities degrees – planning is not in the DNA of those with English and Theatre majors.

TRICIA: We aren’t that bad at planning, at least we had the motor home.

SIANA: A motor home is not a plan, an apartment and a job would have been a plan.

The best part of inhabiting this motor home was the adventure.  We felt so cool, so bohemian, we were just “crashing” somewhere until we figured things out.  Sure, the motor home was musty and the plumbing didn’t work and we had to go in the house to shower, but we got so much street cred.  Not sure who gave us the street cred, guess it was all in our minds, but we felt kinda cool.  We laughed about it a lot, mostly because we didn’t allow ourselves to be nervous about the idea that we didn’t have a frickin’ clue what we were going to do with our lives.  “We’ll just write and be artists,” we said over a jug of cheap wine.  But then our friend’s parents started asking when we’d be moving on and we really did miss running water, so we took all the checks we got as graduation presents and put them together for a deposit on an apartment.

Our first real apartment was in a sketchy area where we lived next store to a drug dealer.  We aren’t exaggerating, Tricia went to pick him up from jail one day because his pregnant fiancé needed a ride.  We really loved that place, it was a few blocks from the beach and had huge bedrooms and we wrote and painted all the time.  Sure, our window was broken by someone throwing a bottle through it one night.  Sure, Siana’s crappy ass car was broken into and nothing was taken because there was nothing to take.  Sure, Tricia felt it necessary to walk down the street carrying her Econo Club to protect herself rather than to protect her car late at night.  But that place was a gem.

After six months of living the life in that apartment, we  needed to move closer to the jobs we finally got (Tricia lugging things around the theatre, Siana lugging papers around a publishing company) and moved into what we now refer to as the roach motel.  This place sucked, but it was cheap and our reflexes became lightning fast as we killed roaches left and right with whatever we had in hand; whether it was a paper towel, a frying pan or a shoe.   We chalked this up to life experience and wrote a song for one of our performance art shows about roaches, which received the acclaim of many.  Writing what we knew, that was really living the dream.

SIANA: Yeah, I don’t remember the roach thing being that romantic.

TRICIA: Shut up, that roach song was beloved by all.

Finally, our last apartment together (before we moved in with the men that would later become our husbands) was the best.  We still talk about it with such nostalgia.  We set one of our screenplays in this apartment just so we could spend more time there in our minds.  It was a sort of two story apartment with a great kitchen where we really started learning how to cook and a living room where we really started learning how to drink and party.  We had a neighbor that played the piano, an old man across the courtyard that sat there with a little girl watching the swimming pool and a next store neighbor that became Tricia’s husband.   We had people over a lot; cast parties from the shows we worked on, birthday and fondue parties and random gatherings with strange people showing up that we didn’t know or invite.  But it was all fun.  And we wrote a lot together in that apartment.

TRICIA: I loved that apartment, I miss my bead curtain.

SIANA: Me too, I miss that old papasan chair too.

Now we live in houses just a few miles away from each other.  We thankfully share a 7-11 between our houses that we can frequent to keep our youthful spirits intact.  We’re thinking inhabiting may be more of a state of mind than where you live.  Although we have to admit, we are kind of attached to indoor plumping now.

 

***

­­­­­­­­­­­Website: www.2girlsonabench.com

Email: blog@2girlsonabench.com

 

 

Quarterly Writing Theme Winner: Life in a Box

“Out of necessity, I grew accustomed to never owning anything that I couldn’t move up or down three flights of stairs on my own.”

 

 

Quarterly Writing Theme Winner: Inhabit

Life in a Box

By Luke Williams

The tumultuous days of young adulthood are often marked by a lifestyle of near-vagrancy. Dorms, houses with eight occupants, coffin-sized studios, and the ever-popular Craigslist leap-of-faith roommate – I’ve lived them all. Looking back, I was a new-millennium cowboy living life out on the open range of new possibilities without anything to tie me down.

And while I would band together from time-to-time with other likeminded young adventurers it was always apparent that I was riding solo. “Self,” I might say on occasion, “your Craigslist leap-of-faith roommie suddenly has a brand-new wardrobe, and you seem to be missing a couple checks and a few sawbucks from your dresser…Suspicious?”

Looking out for yourself and anticipating betrayal out of someone you share a bathroom with was such a foreign concept that it nearly threatened to steamroll right over me. I was lucky enough to grow-up in a reasonably functioning household –at the very least I never had to worry about finding someone other than myself getting horizontal in my bedroom (and my bed!) until my grown-up years.

It was during these early days that my concept of home radically shifted. It was no longer a safe haven, a respite from the outside world, it was just literally where I could fall into unconsciousness for varying spans of time. Most striking of all is that it was never permanent. Nine months here, six months there, and one anomalous year-long stint with a signification other.

Out of necessity, I grew accustomed to never owning anything that I couldn’t move up or down three flights of stairs on my own. I stopped searching for random cardboard boxes and instead invested in giant rubber containers. I never gave a passing thought to hauling around personal treasures, pictures, or anything that fell outside of utility.

I became an expert at urban, young adult survival. I could screen out the Craigslist roommates who might try to put broken glass in my cereal simply from the number of smiley faces they used in the posting, and should I sense any impending doom after move-in, I could have my truck loaded-up within a day and be off to my next stop-over.

As I continue down my path through adulthood, the challenge has now shifted to learning how to turn that survival instinct off, or at least dial it back a notch. I’m in a stable work environment, I have a stable living situation, and yet I can’t seem to bring myself to unpack everything I own. I struggle to convince myself that hanging a picture isn’t a futile gesture, and I still come home expecting everything I own to have been pawned.

I find myself once again readjusting my conceptualization of what home means. So maybe, just maybe… adulthood is about knowing when to reassess expectations just as much as it is knowing how to avoid a roommate who is prone to perform pirouettes off a balcony.

***

Luke Williams is a freelance writer and graphic designer. He lives in a modest apartment in San Diego and recently purchased a couch. For more of Luke’s work, visit his blog LukusnotLucas.  

Photo by Amsterdamize via Flickr.

Moving – Phone Update #3

I am currently in the process of moving from one apartment to another. This means I no longer have access to internet on bf’s computer (my computer needs a new motherboard apparently). Therefore, you get another iPhone blog!

What do you do if you are moving residences and you receive a census form at both addresses? Further, it asks you who lives at the residence as of April 1, 2010 and since we are still technically living at our old apartment AND our new apartment until April 18, 2010, how should we answer that question without duplicating ourselves?

Other thoughts on the census: this is the first time in history that married gay couples can be counted as a such! Progress comes in baby steps, I guess.

How about you? Have you filled out your census information yet, or are you waiting until after April 1 to send it in?

FYI – blogging from a phone is very time consuming! I am off to get cable/internet installed and my computer fixed.

Guest Blog: Mastering the Art of Laundry and Other Lessons on "Growing Up"

Today I am so excited and proud to present Emily Lieber as our guest blogger. Emily is really a phenomenal writer (she is also a writer-by-profession) and I have been hinting to her for the past few months how honored I would be to have her as a guest blogger. Well, Merry Christmas to me, because this morning, in my inbox was this little jewel of a piece. It is so spot on our theme of adulthood, and so insightful, funny, and poignant, especially during this holiday season when many of us will be going back to our parents house for celebrations. I hope you will enjoy this one as much as I did. The best part is, Emily promises it as part of a series, so we will have more to come from this talented lady.

Enjoy it! Show her some comment love! What kinds of social norms exist when you go back home? Do you still live by the “house rules”? How has your relationship with your parents changed/grown/evolved (pick any, or others, that apply) since adulthood? We will all be expecting riveting stories in the comments after the holidays are over (because we know we will all have lots to share after 4 days of family bonding.) I look forward to our discussion! And, of course, may your yuletide days be merry and bright!

So, ::drumroll:: without further ado:

Part I: Mastering the Art of Laundry and Other Lessons on “Growing Up”

By Emily Lieber

My husband and I are in the process of buying and renovating our first home. With escrow, permitting delays, cracked slab fixes, and other hidden problems, the process has taken more than twice as long as we thought it would. In the meantime, the house we were renting sold and escrow closed. We would have been searching for a month-to-month rental had it not been for my generous parents, who have opened their home to us and our two dogs until our new house is move-in ready.


We moved out of our old house and into my parents home, the one I grew up in, in one, long day. It has been good thing for all of us that my parents have a granny flat of sorts, complete with a restroom, bedroom, and living area separated by a door from the main house. We do have privacy and space so that we are not underfoot, but we still must venture into my parents’ space for meals, shows recorded on the DVR, and laundry. We spend most of the evenings eating dinner and sitting by the fire in the main house, so there is plenty of time to discuss healthcare reform, watch shows like the Sing-Off, and play board games.

There have been primarily positive things about our temporary living arrangement. For example, I no longer have to worry about making dinner. My mom works part-time and is a great cook, so she is fairly content handling that area. My mom has also taken over the daily task of walking our dogs at lunch, something I used to run home from work to do every day, making my life fairly harried and rushed. More importantly, I think my husband and I get along pretty well with my parents. We enjoy spending time with them and get to do a lot of that right now.

But this is real life, and with the good comes the “less-than-pleasant” things that come with sharing living spaces (in my life that has included parents and siblings, roommates, and my spouse, and all have come with very different, but still “less-than-pleasant” things). In my current living situation, the main issue that has arisen is the laundry situation. My mom has a knack for cleaning, sanitizing, and organizing, and laundry is one of her favorite things to do. Seriously. Not favorite cleaning task to do, favorite thing to do. I, on the other hand, absolutely despise doing laundry. When I had the luxury of my own washer and dryer, I would stuff them as full as I possibly could to get the as much laundry washed and dried as quickly as possible. I don’t like the process of moving wet things from the washer to the dryer, the process of folding piles of clothes and towels, or the process of hanging damp clothes to dry on hangers. Somehow, I have still managed to do this task weekly for the 9 years I have lived on my own since I left for college at age 18.

Despite my many years of experience in this area, I failed to realize when I put in my first load in at my parents’ house that my process was quite deficient. I stuffed a couple of blankets in the load (and maybe some towels) and went out to run a quick errand. When I returned, my mom and a little girl she watches from time to time were waiting triumphantly to tell me how my too-full load had caused the washing machine to jiggle out of its place all the way across the laundry room floor (or so they say). The washing machine had already been returned to its rightful place, and my load had been pulled out, divided into thirds, and restarted by the time I had returned with plans to transfer it all to the dryer. I really do think that part of the issue is that my mom has super high-tech machines that require more delicate handling. I will admit that another part is that I definitely push the limits of how much can fit in one load. I accepted their joking at my expense and promised to run smaller loads in the future.

I tried to continue doing laundry as the weeks progressed, but I soon realized that it was best for all of us if I simply dumped our dirty clothes, the doggie beds, our towels, bedding, and blankets onto the laundry room floor for my mother to sort, wash, dry, hang, and fold as she sees fit. I simply am not capable of doing laundry to the standard that my mom does it. I wash blacks and navy blues with light blues and reds. I throw all whites, regardless of fabric type, into the wash at once and douse the whole load with bleach. I throw in tennis shoes to dry on air dry instead of using the special drying rack. I pretty much always use the normal cycle, failing to use the special options like “sanitize,” “wrinkle care,” and “delicate.” Based on all of this, you might think my husband and I look like ragamuffins. Maybe we do, but if you ask me, our clothes always come out clean and seem to last as long as ordinary clothes should. Yet, I am confident that my mom still has a mental checklist of things that I do “wrong” in the laundry room.

Sometimes when you grow up and move out you think you have accomplished something. You think, okay, I’ve learned to do my own laundry, make my own meals, and plan my own day-to-day activities. Well, if your head is getting a little bit big regarding the accomplishments you have achieved in adulthood by living on your own, you might want to spend a weekend at my parent’s house. My mom will reeducate you on what temperature to cook things at and how long to microwave them, how to properly wash dishes, when you should bake cookies (not at 9:30 p.m.) and for how long, and when you should go on runs (not after dark). You will quickly learn two things: (1) what you thought you knew about the domestic realm is not enough; and (2) while you toyed with a false sense of independence for a time, you likely need to be retrained in the art of running your own life.

(Photo by Anne Taintor)

Wordless Wednesday: Three Babies and a Mom

I am instituting a new feature for the blog: Wordless Wednesdays.
Let’s celebrate and commiserate adulthood in a narrative of photo memories.

Still need some inspiration? Our first photo comes to us from my dear friend Jenn. Jenn is mom to an adorable but extremely hyper-active 18 month old, and two precious 8 week old twins.

I give you, My Day: Three Babies and a Mom — proving that a picture truly does say a thousand words.

Here is your challenge, my glorious readers: dig through old photo albums, old computer hard drives, old social networking site profile pictures and tell us a meaninful story in just one photo. Give it a name, or don’t name it at all, and send it along to me at mara@welcometoadulthood.com.

Now looking at My Day, what kinds of things from this narrative speak to you? How amazing is this woman in the image?

To me this narrative reads as a woman who is strong, fecund, resourceful, and resilient. To me, this photo seems to celebrate the power of Mother, and also remind us that motherhood means being present for your children in every way: sacrificing your chin to feed your baby if need be, and sacrificing your sanity to make sure your children are happy, healthy, and loved. This picture, my friends, oozes love in a real, tangible, way. And I know, if I grew up and found a picture just like this of my mom, with me and my brother, I would feel something very powerful. I would think, wow, my mom gave me everything she had, and she was really somethin’ special.

Let’s talk about it! Send me any thoughts in the comments. All you mothers out there, does this inspire you? Or does it remind you how hard it can be sometimes to be a mommy? All you readers with no children, how does this make you feel? Does this scare you? All views are welcome here. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

(Photo courtesy of J.G.J.)

Calling All Guest Bloggers and JT Eco Project

Let’s share our stories!

I would like to feature at least one guest blogger each week (new or recurring). So far, I have a few really exciting bloggers lined up, and I am very excited to see what kinds of great stories they will regale us with. If anyone else would like to contribute, by all means — send any stories, thoughts, quotes, or pictures my way. What is meaningful to you? What have you learned along the road of this crazy life? Or maybe you just have a good recipe to share or a really cool picture. Email me: mara@welcometoadulthood.com

I feel inspired. I hope you will feel that way too as we watch this little blog…grow up.

Here’s a little inspiration to hold you over:
These pictures above are from my good friends Melissa and Pete’s off-grid Joshua Tree Eco Project, in its very early stages. Melissa and Pete bought a bunch of land out in Joshua Tree and are building a series of cabins, built from all recycled materials, complete with solar energy! These cabins will eventually be part of a sprawling camp site in Joshua Tree where visitors can enjoy the desert beauty while camping in unique “green” cabins. This project is a labor of love, let me tell you. Melissa and Pete have built everything (including leveling the land and laying the foundation) with their own hands! And, nearly every material they have used has been free (it is recycled after all!) They really are amazing and these pictures do not do their project justice.

Hats off to these two! I can’t wait to post more pictures as the project progresses.

For more information about the Joshua Tree Eco Project, visit Melissa and Pete’s website at nestandnook.

You know you are an "adult" when…

Here is a picture of my most recent artifact of adulthood. It is honestly my most prized possession (and since it was given to me by one of my dearest friends, it is even more special to me.) Isn’t is sooo beautiful? When did a MIXER become my most prized posession?
What artifacts of adulthood do you consider prized possessions? Maybe your wedding dress? Your motorcycle? Your house? Your knife set? Your grad school diploma? Let us know in the comments! Or send me an email with a .jpeg and I’ll do a little artifact posting party. 🙂

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