achievement unlocked: navy floral lady skater (with pockets!)

well, here’s an oldie for you: another lady skater dress modified with pockets, sewn from this navy floral knit from tasha noel’s “vintage market” collection.


yeah, i am still AWESOME at taking photos of my garments. but come on. i think this is my fourth lady skater, & there’s no dearth of other bloggers having made their own. we all know what this dress looks like.

i tried to be a lot more precise with my understitching on the pockets this time, because i had an issue with the lining on my previous lady skater peeking out sometimes. i think i really nailed it this time. i lined the pockets with the pink strawberry print from the “vintage market” line, & ramona likes to peek into my pocket & say, “mommy has strawberries in her pocket!”

i made this dress back in may or june, & it was in very heavy rotation all summer. here’s a photo from july:


look at that baby bump! i was only nine weeks pregnant here. for any blog newcomers, i am not pregnant anymore. i miscarried at ten weeks. sorry not sorry if that is a huge bummer. you’re not as bummed as me, trust!

i have some more fabric stashed away to make yet another lady skater, this one for cooler weather, since summer FINALLY seems to be coming to an end in kansas. there’s one more 80-degree day in the forecast for next week, but since october 1, it’s been pretty consistently in the 60s & 70s. i really need to get going on some cool weather sewing. i have plans for sweaters & hoodies & jeans, & i was even planning to sew my own winter coat this year.

however, the paperpieced home project that i’ve been working on all summer is still dominating my sewing table. all forty blocks are finished, & i spent a few days last week piecing them into a quilt top. i spent another few days sketching my quilting lines. i planned a pumpkin seed motif (also called orange peel, continuous curves, or cathedral windows). i got my quilt sandwich basted yesterday during ramona’s nap & sat down with my thimble & thread to start hand-quilting while jared took ramona out on a bike ride. i got about six stitches in & realized hand-quilting that beast would take a solid year, minimum. i was hoping to replace my crappy store-bought comforter with this beauty by halloween at the latest!

so i fired up the machine, attached the walking foot, & took a few test passes. at the first bulky seam, my needle broke. this is a problem, as this quilt has literally hundreds of bulky seams. that’s what happens when you paper-piece things. getting that detail on the block means you have a lot of crazy seams happening on the back. i put in a new needle & tried again. turning the quilt to make the deep curve i was attempting distorted the stitch length & i hated it. i put SO MUCH WORK into the piecing. i already know i’m a million times better at piecing than i am at quilting, but i don’t want to punt on the quilting if i can help it. so i cut all the quilting out & did some research online. i am now armed with a new technique to try as soon as ramona inevitably talks jared into going for another bike ride. so. hopefully it works a little better & i will machine-quilt this beast with the motif i originally planned. this will be my first time quilting something at my new recessed sewing table. to be frank, i am not looking forward to it.

so yeah. wrapping up this quilt is going to eat up most of my sewing time for the next few weeks. i will be THRILLED to finish it & will take a long break from giant quilting projects for a while. i can’t wait to get back to garments, which can be finished in just a day or two! maybe a week if you’re doing something really complex. i’ve been working on this quilt for over three months.

oh! also. yesterday when i was basting my quilt, i found two spots where there were little marker scribbles, courtesy of a certain two-year-old that lives in my house. at first i was pissed. but then i was like, eh. i used white sashing & i have a toddler. i was kidding myself if i ever thought this quilt was going to remain pristine, unless i was planning to put it behind glass & hang it on the wall. so now i see it as a joint effort. someday i will love to look at those scribbles & remember ramona being so little. i mean, assuming they don’t just wash out the first time the quilt goes in the laundry.

i mentioned a few times that ramona is really into riding bikes. jared got her a balance bike for christmas last year, & she is SO FAST now. i used to be able to plod along next to her & still walk faster than she could ride, but she completely leaves me in the dust now. she has an amazing amount of control too. she can take turns at speed & stop on a dime. which isn’t to say she doesn’t wipe out on occasion. she fell off her bike on friday when we were all out as a family. she cried & cried & when she was done, she said, “want mommy to put me down,” & hopped right back on to her bike & took off. jared even takes her for rides along the levee trail. she’s going to be pretty bummed when snow & ice get in the way of her bike-riding obsession.

achievement unlocked: paper-pieced home blocks, part six

i have more blocks from the paper-pieced home to show off! to be honest, i have finished all forty blocks & sewn them into a completed quilt top. i am now in the process of marking my quilting lines. but we’ll get to all that in its own time.


giraffe! i briefly considered actually going out a buying some giraffe spot print fabric for this block. my local quilt shop has a troublingly large selection of garish animal print quilting cottons. but i decided instead to keep it simple (& more in line with my personal tastes) by employing this simple yellow polka dot print. yellow & pink is one of my favorite color combos, so i used this medium scale pink print for the background. the mane, tail, & tips of the horns are made from a carolyn friedlander crosshatch print, which ultimately kind of disappears too much into the background print. maybe i should have used solid brown, like i did with the hooves. live & learn. the eye is embroidered using black floss.


this is one of my favorite patterns in the book: a classic kids’ popcorn popper push toy. i had one of these when i was a kid & i remember loving it until i was well into elementary school. ramona’s grandparents gave her one for her first christmas. i wasn’t thrilled about having a real one in the house because these suckers are LOUD, but on the other hand, it’s not an electronic noise, & ramona has other loud toys. she’s playing with her drum set as i write this. i myself intentionally bought her a set of kid-sized pots & pans, which make an enormous noise when she plays with them.

anyway! i think this is the only block for which i went out & bought fabric. the fabrics for everything else were pulled from stash. but for this one, i really wanted multi-colored polka dots on a white background for the popper bulb, & i didn’t have anything like that. i just had a wide selection of wide polka dots on various solid colored backgrounds. my local quilt shop has an entire row of bolts that is nothing but polka dots, so i was hopeful about finding a good print there. i finally found this print, which is pretty much exactly what i wanted, stuffed behind a bunch of other bolts, with only like a yard left. score!

i wanted a lemon yellow for the background & had some mini pearl bracelet charm squares that were the perfect color. unfortunately, i didn’t have enough for the entire background, which is why there’s so much solid yellow. i also made a few small changes to the pattern. as written, the underside of the bulb is supposed to have more blue, but that isn’t really what ramona’s popcorn popper looks like, so i swapped that out for the background fabric.


in the book, this is described as a “car-truck”. like an el camino? it’s from the “playthings” section of the book, so i decided to be playful with the prints. i used a pink print for the body of the truck & made the “road” from a tiny floral print i had left over from making my weekender bag last year. the other colors/prints i used were more predictable, & i balanced the femininity of the road & truck with the green wood grain background.


lion. i really love the prints i used for this block. the face is the same brown crosshatch i used with the giraffe. the mane is yellow wood grain. & the background is the polka dot fabric i bought for the popcorn popper. the pattern includes a template for embroidering cartoon-y eyes, but i found these incredible black buttons at hancock that actually have a slit-like design in the middle that recalls the pupils of a cat’s eye. they were the perfect size to work with the lion’s face, so i used those instead.


paper doll dress. this is a pretty small block, so i wanted a pretty small print that was also feminine & had a lot of visual interest. i thought the floral i used for the car-truck road was perfect, & it pops really nicely against the bright orange background. i just used basic white for the tabs because why would you use anything else? in a little connection to garment-sewing, i think this dress looks a lot like the straighter skirt version of the sewaholic cambie.

more blocks coming soon, & also other things that have nothing to do with this quilt.

achievement unlocked: paper-pieced home blocks, part five

wow, i haven’t posted in over a month. sorry, guys.

here are some more paper-pieced blocks i have made. i actually only have two blocks left to sew & then i can start worrying about how i’m going to lay them all out into a quilt top, given that they are all kinds of different sizes.


an ottoman. I love this hexagon print (left over from a quilt i made for ramona in 2013). if this ottoman was real, i would love to own it, even though it would inspire jared to make countless jokes about how “you oughta, man,” which i wouldn’t get until like four days later. i think this block tured out pretty well save for how that strip of pink is not completely even. i ripped out the stitches & re-sewed like four times. not sure what happened, but i’m just not going to worry about it.


stack of books. obviously i was going to use this old-timey newsprint font for the pages. it’s left over from the quilt i made for david & alana for christmas in 2013. i decided to go with dark, stately colors for the book covers, & the “title” on the book that is standing is cut from the selvage of some strawberry print fabric from the vintage market collection. they used those sewing machines to indicate the colors in the print & it was too good not to employ. i only regret not using one of the more solid prints for the standing book so the titles would pop more, but i think the teeny tiny zigzag stitch i used to sew them on looks really cute.


sewing machine! this block is pretty large, more than a foot square. so i decided to take a chance on using a large scale print for the body of the machine. the floral is called “social climber,” by anna maria horner. i originally purchased it to make a dress a year or two ago & just never got around to it (though i still may). i was nervous about using such a boldly colored, large scale print, but i think it turned out really well! especially mixed with such a low-volume shading print (the white is very subtly printed with sewing-related ephemera) & a solid background. this block isn’t perfect–the foot shaft is just slightly crooked–but i love how the fabrics play together.


stapler. an old-school retro stapler. i honestly would not necessarily have recognized it as a stapler save for the fact that jared has one with this same shape that he stole from the site of an abandoned mental hospital when he was a teenager. he is now haunted by the restless spirits of the wrongfully committed, but it was worth it. to be frank, the pattern didn’t excite me too much so i kind of punted on the fabric choices & just experimented. the cherry print i used for the body of the stapler is left over from the lining of the cape i made for ramona last year.


paper clip. this is another pattern that didn’t really fill me with enthusiasm. i decided to use an unconventional color for the clip, instead of trying to mimic a more traditional silver. just because. the stars on the background fabric are metallic & actually some kind of weird paint that is a giant pain in the ass to press. the colors of the stars play off the tone of the clip, which i really like, but i had barely any of the star print. i literally had a strip like two inches by ten inches or something. i just barely eked out the background with literally slivers to spare.

so, i’ve been plugging away on these blocks & not sewing anything else, even though my stash of fabric & patterns continues to grow. i’m looking forward to wrapping this project up so i can start on some fall sewing. i have a skirt i want to make before it gets too cold, since i always tell myself i’ll just wear my skirts & dresses with tights in the winter & then i never do. not that i need to worry about cold weather, given that it’s still in the 80s & 90s here.

i also bought some velveteen to re-upholster the wingback chair in ramona’s room. i think jared found the chair at a thrift store in philly like ten years ago. it’s in rough shape. the blue upholstery is discolored & ripped in places. the velveteen i got is a really bold pink & red print that i LOVE (i love those colors together), that will look really nice combined with the furniture of ramona’s that i have painted pink. let the record show that i did not paint her furniture pink because she is a girl. i painted it pink because a) i like pink & am tired of suppressing the instinct i have to always reach for pink first, & b) we had a half a can of free pink paint left over from when the landlord painted our living room. it was personal taste & cheapness.

however, i have never re-upholstered anything before, & all the research i’ve done is quick to say, “don’t expect this to be a quick weekend job!” what! but i just want it to be a quick weekend job! ramona is a real creature of habit (like all toddlers) & i’m worried that she’s going to lose it if the chair is missing from her room for a week while i spruce it up.  but seven yards of velevteen didn’t come cheap (even at 50% off, plus a bulk buying discount), so i’m just going to have to bite the bullet & do it.

all right, more paper-pieced blocks coming soon. oh yeah, jared bought me an iphone to replace my sweet 2004-era nokia flip phone so i’m on instagram now. (ps–i paid for the phone myself. jared just talked me into it & placed the order. in case you don’t know, teachings assistants are not really in the business of being sugar daddies.)

achievement unlocked: tap shorts & butterick 6031 underpants


here’s some stuff i made in june & never blogged. nothing too special. another couple of pairs of underpants from gertie’s butterick pattern & a pair of self-drafted tap shorts. i cut the back of the blue underpants on the cross-grain by accident so the fit is not the best, but they’re wearable. the black jersey i used is really thin & silky, which is wicked comfortable, but doesn’t really stand up to wear that well. it’s fine for the tap shorts, which intrinsically have a looser, drapier fit, but it doesn’t work well for something that is supposed to be form-fitting, like underpants. areas of stress (like where the lace waistband attaches to the jersey) are kind of fragile.

the tap pants are a slightly altered version of the first pair i made, with the blue silky tricot. i raised the rise about an inch all around, & added maybe half an inch to the crotch depth. the result is a perfect fit. these have gotten a ton of wear over the summer, as pajamas or under dresses. i definitely plan to make more.

but for now, all my sewing time is going into my paper-pieced home quilt blocks. i am having a really hard time carving out sewing time. the house is still not completely unpacked. there’s not much left, but what is left is the more annoying stuff, that remains where it is simply because we don’t know where to put it. like a jar of silkscreening ink that i told jared to just throw away. he packed it instead, saying that it doesn’t hurt to have silkscreen ink around “just in case” (even though neither of us has silkscreened anything since maybe 2008), & it’s been sitting on a shelf in the living room for the last three weeks.

i’ve also intermittently been feeling really sad about the miscarriage still. i can’t even say for certain that i am ready to be pregnant & have another child right now, but the fact that i was & then i wasn’t is still hard to deal with. i mentioned it to some friends the other day & they just made pinched, uncomfortable faces. perhaps these faces were meant to convey, “that’s sad. i’m sorry that happened to you,” but it felt more like they were saying, “this topic makes me uncomfortable & i wish you wouldn’t talk about it.” i really feel like no one who hasn’t had a miscarriage really gets it. i feel like no one understands what i was dealing with physically & no one understands what i am still dealing with emotionally.

i did go back to the OB last week for a colposcopy. it went great, no cervical cancer, huzzah. plus she said i had the best-look cervix she had seen in months. “it should be photographed as the platonic ideal of a cervix for a medical textbook.” that’s a quote. we also talked about the miscarriage. she pointed out that i only had a suspected ectopic, & could have been in the process of miscarrying & already lost the gestational sac before the ultrasound was performed, which is what i thought all along. but since there was no way to be sure, i had to be treated like it was an ectopic, & now “ectopic pregnancy – unspecified” is in my medical chart. ugh.

anyway, she said that if i do happen to get pregnant again, i can feel free to come in for a progesterone level right away & supplementation if necessary, since i have a short luteal phase, which could explain the miscarriage. she also said she’d be happy to prescribe clomid whenever i want. which was nice to hear, even if i don’t know that i need it. two of my three pregnancies were total accidents. kind of funny that the only one i really had to work at was the one that resulted in my child.

anyway, i am sharing all of this because it made me feel a lot better.

i am also happy because it’s raining right now & actually a reasonable human temperature. i feel bad complaining because we haven’t had any 100-degree days this summer (this is unheard of for kansas–usually we have entire 100-degree MONTHS), but it’s been really humid & i have not been tolerating it well. the heat makes me tired & depressed, & that makes me a shitty mother & partner. i wish i could live in a climate that was always like 68 degrees, with rain maybe twice a week (i like rain because it’s a built-in excuse to stay inside, which is my natural inclination anyway). i guess maybe i need to move back to the pacific northwest? they’re having a worse summer than we are though. plus there’s the whole “unavoidable catastrophic earthquake” situation.

i find it kind of funny, i find it kind of sad…

i just got off the phone with the last organization i had to contact to change my/ramona’s/jared’s address after the move. i made the list two months ago & was only getting through two or three changes a day because the process is so goddamn exhausting. you have to email some people directly, others have handy online forms for instant changes, some won’t accept changes until after you’ve actually moved, others have completely baffling websites that are unnavigable & ultimately lack all useful contact information. plus i was pregnant when i first started making the changes. i just didn’t know it yet. all i knew was that i was constantly exhausted & became weepy when confronted with confusing toll-free number user directories.

but it’s done now! whew! …until we move again in eleven months (assuming jared gets a job that takes us out of kansas). sure can’t wait to do this all again.

i’ve been struggling to find time to sew lately. or read. or finish the last little bit of unpacking. the new house is so much bigger, there’s a lot more ground to cover when ramona is freaking out about something. i’m up & down the stairs all day long, getting a wipe, or another diaper, or a fresh washcloth. & i can’t be on the steps without ramona wanting to come with, & she is convinced that she will die instantly if she isn’t holding hands with me while she navigates the stairs. so a trip up the stairs that would take me five seconds alone becomes a fifteen-minute death march because she has to pause on each step to strike a pose & tell me she’s “fast”.

but i did manage to hit hancock for their “super saturday” sale. i put it on the calendar as soon as i heard about it. the monday before, our car battery died. jared got a jump for it on wednesday so he could take ramona to her first dentist appointment in a raging thunderstorm (she is now obsessed with flossing), but it died again the next day. so jared rode his bike to the auto supply place & bought a new battery. he tried to install it on friday evening, but discovered he needed a special socket wrench to get the old battery out. so on saturday morning, he & ramona went to the hardware store & i stayed home to make my big sewing supply shopping list.

cool story, huh?

i feel like i got a ton of great stuff. i got all kinds of felt & buttons & velcro to make an activity book for ramona. i got interfacing, straps, & zippers to make a new purse. i got millions of buttons for various shirts, shirtdresses, craft projects, skirts, & jeans. i got fabric for my paper-pieced home quilt, some pretty blue pique to make a skirt, & some pink & silver madras for a shirt. my most thrilling score was nearly an entire bolt of black glittery sweater knit from the “spot the bolt” table. less than $2 a yard! i got thread, needles, a big stack of patterns, & probably other stuff i’m forgetting because i bought a ton of stuff.

i set myself a budget of $150, & i actually got all this for under budget! the receipt tallies how much i saved due to all the sales & specials: almost $250! the clerk got all teary-eyed when she saw it & i felt like i was on “supermarket sweep”.

so, i am very pleased, & now i have all the fabric & notions i need to keep me busy sewing for at least a couple of months! which is good, because i have a real stack of projects i want to tackle. i think i’m going to start with the jennifer lauren vintage cressida skirt (using that blue pique, with black buttons), which was part of the sew independent pattern bundle. yeah, i bought it. there were several patterns in the mix that i’d been contemplating already. ten for $38 sounded like quite a reasonable deal to me.

i’ve also decided to do the 1930s farmer’s wife quilt-along. i wanted to make a farmer’s wife sampler anyway, & i’m still feeling pretty into the craft sewing right now. my body is finally starting to look more like itself post-miscarriage, but sometimes it’s nice to just make something pretty without worrying about fitting.

&! i’ve been thinking lately about storage solutions for my thread. right now half of my thread is in a plastic bin & the rest is in a bag in my sewing cabinet. i’ve thought about getting one of those wall-mounted spool pin things, but i’m glad i waited because i found a solid wood printer’s tray at the antiques mall & the little compartments are the perfect size for spools! jared is going to mount it over my cutting table, hopefully this weekend.

i actually found two printer’s trays. one was solid wood & the other was a little cheaper, but with a fiberboard back. when i picked up the cheaper one, the most horrifying spider i have ever seen emerged from beneath. it had a red body with a brown head & it was huge. i shuddered & ran away. i bought the more expensive tray. i figured it was worth it for solid wood & no spiders. when i told jared about it, he said i had unearthed the “$5 giant spider discount”.

school starts again next week & i am praying that toddler gym starts up again soon too. we live a block away now & i suspect i will be taking ramona three times a week (ie, every day that it happens). i think the terrible threes are kicking in a little bit early. ask any parent with a kid over the age of four, & they will tell you that three is WAY worse than two, despite the reputation that two has. two hasn’t been that bad with ramona, but lately, i am at my wit’s end. all she wants to do is take all the books off every bookcase, take every drawer out of every dresser, sit on the back of the couch & pull my hair, etc etc. i took her to the playground yesterday to try to burn off some energy, & as a thank you, she refused to nap. i have found myself occasionally feeling almost grateful for the miscarriage, because she’s been such a handful lately, the idea of adding another to the mix is sincerely terrifying. but you know. mostly i just feel really sad about the miscarriage.

hopefully my next post will be about an actual garment. i have an unblogged dress i made in june. i’ve just been wearing it so much, it seems like it’s always smeared with peanut butter or in the wash or something.

to make up for a text-y post, here’s a photo of ramona running toward a ride at the county fair. for extra atmosphere, i should mention that there was no one else on the midway & the ride was playing “mad world” by tears for fears. it was a little spooky.


achievement unlocked: “paper-pieced home” blocks, part four

we are working on settling into our house, & i’ve managed to scrape together a few hours here & there to work on more paper-piecing projects. let’s go to the tape:


vintage TV. i thought it would be kind of fun to fussy-cut some of the unicorns & rainbows fabric left over from last spring’s cambie dress. i almost never wear that dress, by the way. i think it was the third dress i ever made, & i made it before i knew about things like FBAs. i cut the size that corresponded to my full bust measurement, so the shoulders are enormous, & i always feel like i’m flashing people, even though the mirror tells me that everything is covered appropriately. i still like that design. maybe i will make it again one day & try to achieve a better fit.


a lovely armchair. the purple fabric was left over from the bench cover i made last year. this is part of why i like paper-piecing. you can bust a lot of random scraps. & of course i had to use more wood grain print. incidentally, these photos were taken in my new sewing area, which is right in front of an enormous picture window. our new house is much brighter than our old house, which was surrounded by trees & always kind of dark. the natural light really helps you see all the seams in these blocks, which is kind of cool. i feel like people who don’t sew see these blocks & they’re like, “cool, a unicorn on TV,” or, “oh, it’s a chair.” hopefully people who do sew are like, “holy hell, that’s a lot of seams, & a lot fiddly little bits that need to be matched up perfectly!”


this clawfoot bathtub, for instance, involved over sixty different bits of fabric, & the striped towel is an applique, & i embroidered the water coming out of the shower. the whole block is a 12.5″ by 12.5″. i follow a fair number of quilting/crafting blogs, & it seems like they are also having features on “fast quilt designs” that use giant blocks that necessitate fewer than sixty pieces of fabric for the entire quilt! i see the utility in that, like if you really need to whip something together for a baby shower or something. obviously a block like this seems like an almost comical degree of work, considering that it is just going to be folded into a large quilt with 39 of its brethren. in any case, i chose that blue fabric for the tub in homage to the clawfoot tub at our old house. we only have a shower in our new house, & every night is a new adventure in convincing ramona to use it for long enough to get at least half-clean.


this was my first shot at the old-school rotary phone. the pattern suggested embroidering the telephone cord, but i really did not care for the included embroidery pattern. it looked really scribbly & just…not my jam. i’ve put some 3D elements into other blocks (like the ribbon tie on the fancy women’s shoe, & the lace on the oven mitt), so i decided to use piping to make the phone cord. unfortunately, i didn’t have any of the really slim piping i prefer, which is only sold at the sewing store out on iowa street, which necessitates a car trip, & we’ve been having a lot of car issues lately…in any case, i just used what i had & it looked okay-ish when it was done, but i didn’t really like it.

so yesterday i took ramona to the indie quilt shop downtown (our new house is only three blocks from our old one, so we still live in downtown lawrence–yay!) & we dug through the big basket of embroidery floss they have until i found the perfect shade of blue-green. it was all the way at the bottom, maybe the only skein in that color. i cut off the shitty cording & freestyled my own embroidery pattern.


the natural daylight washes it out a little, but i think we can all agree that this looks MUCH better. & i really love how the “dial” came out. it’s fussy-cut from some tula pink “pineapple” fabric & wound up being exactly the right scale.


& this is a lamp. when i showed it to jared, he said, “it’s a window! &…a jewel shape? that is happening here?” if you look closely, you can see a little bit of black & white crosshatched fabric connecting the shade to the base. but because the purple background & the green base are so dark, that connecting piece kind of blends too much. oh well! i think the geometric lines of the base are really clever. sewing them necessitated L-seams, which look like they could stand to be pressed one more time, but i love the way the seaming creates a more three-dimensional effect.

i’m halfway through the forty blocks at this point, & already panicking a little about how i’m going to lay it all out & quilt it. i’m so worried about wrecking it during the quilting process, since i am not a great quilter & each block requires at least a couple of hours of work. i’ve given a lot of thought to hand-quilting it, but i still don’t know what design(s) to employ, what color(s) thread to use…should i do an all-over design or something individual to each block? should i maybe only quilt the sashing? but i really want to do some quilting over the seams in the blocks to add stability. plus, some of the blocks are pretty big. but i don’t want to quilt over embroidery or 3D elements…well, i still have twenty blocks to go, i guess i have plenty of time to worry about it.

mo’ house, mo’ problems

so. we moved last week. we hired movers before we discovered that i was pregnant, & thank god we did because the miscarriage really took it out of me. for the last week before we moved, i was in a lot of physical pain (cramps, migraines, etc) & was basically useless as far as gathering boxes or packing. just shifting boxes around the new house & setting up light furniture did me in. there’s no way i would have been in a state for actually doing the heavy lifting.

the new house is a bit of a mixed bag, which i knew going in, but it’s been a little more challenging than i expected. it only had window A/C units–no central air. but the window unit downstairs really doesn’t do much if it’s over 90 degrees, & if it’s under 90 degrees, you don’t really need A/C. (that’s six years of kansas talking. anything under 90 is a balmy summer day here.) a shelf in the fridge broke when i was moving our cold food into it. the kitchen window was cracked & broke altogether when jared opened it one day. the toilet overflowed the other night, unable to withstand the power of a two-year-old’s poop. jared’s office is basically a construction zone, so he hasn’t been able to unpack anything in there. the shelf in my closet fell on me while i was hanging up clothes. i think the shower stall is fat-shaming me. it’s super-tiny & i can’t bend down to wash my legs without bumping the stall door open with my ass. the dryer didn’t work when we moved in & jared had to take the whole thing apart to find the giant lint ball that was blocking the exhaust hose & fix it. & our storage room is full of the former tenant’s random shit they didn’t want to move.

supposedly the landlord is addressing this stuff. he came over with his handyman on saturday to work on jared’s office. supposedly he is having a new toilet installed this afternoon. he claims that he is getting us a new fridge. to be frank, he doesn’t seem quite as responsive as our previous landperson. i think he’s used to renting to dumbass college students who don’t care if their clothes don’t dry & their toilets overflow & is not fully prepared to deal with renting to a family with actual expectations for basic functionality. like, when i told him that we wanted an exhaust fan in the kitchen because running the oven heats the kitchen up to well over 100 degrees even with the A/C running, his reply was, “don’t use the oven in the summertime.” & eat what instead? bruschetta & watermelon cubes? that actually sounds amazing. but not the most practical when you are feeding a toddler & trying to develop an adventurous palate in her.

the former landperson also flipped the script on us when we moved out. after months of crossing the street to avoid me if we happened to see each other out & about, jared pigeonholed her in the yard to tell her what day we were leaving & ask where to leave the keys. she said to “leave the house as you found it”. easier said than done with a place where you’ve been living for over four years. i knew we’d put some scratches in the floors, & there were some basic wear & tear issues. but jared spent literally hours & hours cleaning the place, going so far as to climb up on a ladder to get to any rogue dust high on the walls or ceilings.

the next day, the landlady texted me (she always texts, she never calls–like a 14-year-old), outraged because the house was “filthy”. her main complaint seemed to be that the stovetop burners were a little greasy. never mind that the rest of the house was about as spotless as a person can make a 100-year-old house, & the oven is older than i am. never mind the fact that she rented the house out from under us after i specifically told her we wanted to renew the lease, because she wanted to rent it to her friend & displace a family, & then she didn’t even tell me for a month.

i sent one text back, telling her that jared had spent hours cleaning the place, including the oven & stovetop, & that we had already returned the keys so there was nothing more we planned to do. jared had to go back to the house to get our ladder, & she was there, scrubbing out the oven with dish soap & a rag. i’ve never known a person to clean an oven this way, & jared reports that she was indeed on the verge of tears because she was basically using straight elbow grease to clean something that specialty cleansers have been developed for. it’s like trying to dry clean your own clothes at home in your living room. she told him not to expect much security deposit back, but i don’t remember paying her a security deposit, so…not a problem?

& a little extra fun: jared & ramona went out to the car yesterday to go grocery shopping & the car wouldn’t start! we had gone to IKEA the day before & bought all kinds of things: a dresser for ramona’s room, a bookcase, some storage solutions, picture frames, flatware, etc etc. apparently while loading everything into the car, jared bumped the passenger light button & we didn’t notice because it was daylight. this drained the battery. so at some point today we’re going to have to round someone up to jump it for us. it’s always something.

but one little shred of good news: i had another blood test on friday & i am officially not pregnant anymore. this was my first (hopefully only!) miscarriage & i hadn’t realized how goddamn long they take! i had some dumb idea that you bleed & then it’s over in like three days. but i am in fact still spotting a little, nearly four weeks later, & it took all that time for my HCG to drop below 5. it’s crazy that i am happy about not being pregnant anymore, but after this complete shitshow that was july (found out i was preggo on the 1st, started miscarrying on the 9th, miscarrying on my birthday on the 11th, moved on the 27th), it’s a relief to have just a little spot of normalcy. we are still working on unpacking, figuring out the new house, addressing all the problems with it, fixing the car, etc etc. it’s nice to cross “miscarriage” off the list of stressful shit currently happening in our lives.