A room of one's own.

Virginia Woolf once proselytized that a woman needs a place of her own, “a room of one’s own” in which they could think, create and have their own space without outside interferences. The slim book by the same name sits on my To Be Read pile, with the hopes that one day I will have the space of my own (and to finish the damned book!).

I think about having my own space a lot these days, not necessarily my own apartment, but a place where I can go shut off the world, lounge on a chaise reading or writing and basically just having time for me. How Justin and I have existed nearly half-a-year in a 600 sq ft apartment where everything we do is broadcasted to the other is still kind of a minor miracle. How Justin survives with his “desk” actually being the dining room table, no room for his things except for one large closet and a corner by his “desk,” again, a minor miracle. Granted when he moved in, he came with just a carload of things, mainly a box of books, clothes, and some personal effects — but everything else in the apartment is me.

We can’t wait to shed our skins from this dump and get our own place to make “ours,” because everything in our apartment reeks of a mish-mash of collegiate chic and IKEA furniture. While the bed, dresser and couch are less than a year old, they were not first selections or picked out with care but chosen because they were best of the lot of what was presented to me at the time.1

Soft household goods, such as sheets, towels and the like, are carry-over from stuff I purchased over the years. Nothing really matches (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – shabby chic?), but there is no cohesiveness to the mess. Towels I bought a few years ago are starting to go yucky, sheets are starting to get threadbare and there is only so many duvet covers one can purchase before you just have to realise that the duvet itself probably needs to be replaced.

What’s interesting about Justin and I is that our approach to home furnishings is directly related to how we grew up. His family saves everything so he loves minimalism while my family saved nothing so I border on being a pack rat. Things purchased, regardless if they are for personal or communal use, are based on negotiation. Purchasing new shoes for me requires that I get rid of two pairs. Buying new sheets would require ditching two existing sets. Buy one, get rid of two. The paring down of my closets and soft goods has been amazing. However, I refuse to budge on paring down books and media because I am determined to have a library in our (eventual) new home.

When we move next year, we’re getting rid of mostly everything. What we will be keeping will be incredibly minimal. The bed will be relegated to the guest room and we’re purchasing a king sized (He’s 6’6, I’m 5’11.5″ and the pug — we do not fit comfortably on a queen bed). We need a couch that is at least 12′ long to allow us to both sprawl or some kind of sectional were choosing to intertwine our legs is not about necessity but about wanting to touch, so the current couch will be secondary.

We want new furniture, so the IKEA stuff will be sold or donated via FreeCycle or Craig’s List. I’ve been carting around electronics that may or may not work for years, those will be donated or recycled. My TV, which was awesome when it was purchased in 2006, is slowly dying and will need to be replaced.2 But we’ll end up giving/selling for cheap when the time comes because when we move, we’ll not keep most of these things with us and purchase new when we arrive at our new destination, regardless of where that may be. But what is important to both of us is space — lots and lots of lovely space.

There is no room for us to ramble without tripping on the other. Justin gets the advantage that with my schedule, he gets alone time when he gets off of work since I will not be home until many hours later. Typically 2-3 days a week, I’m gone 10-14 hours a day which gives him time to himself, which he finds to be incredibly important. I don’t get that kind of alone time because when I get home from doing whatever, both he and the pug are there – as whatever gym events/errands that he has to run will be done well before I get home. 600 sq ft in some areas (Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, San Francisco) can be considered to be “spacious” if the design of the space is done right but even with the open plan our our apartment, we’re still crowded since we lose so much wall space to floor to ceiling windows and radiators. (This is one of the many occasions where my skills as a Tetris master come into play. Whoever said gaming was destructive clearly did not look at Tetris, Breakout, or Pong.)

This paring down, we’ve often discussed, is a direct result of consumerism — we buy cheap because it is cheap and what we can afford at the time but because of this, we end up spending more because we often have to replace the item. I recently created a Wedding Registry on Amazon so we could, privately, start keeping track of items we’d like to get when we move and I balked when he added salt and pepper grinders that were roughly $120 for the pair. His reasoning is that the mechanism on most grinders were such that after some time, the ground seasoning goes up into the shaft and not on the food. Our current grinder is currently behaving in this manner and we seem to spend more time trying to “fix” the damn thing than get pepper out. He found a set that used a different type of mechanism and shouldn’t have this problem, but really? $120 for the pair? His argument is that he would rather spend the cash on quality rather than deal with cheap and keep replacing, as we have been doing so much of lately.

I get his mentality, but after being graduate student poor for so long and the idea of having a disposable income in which spending $120 on grinders is not really a big deal still appalls me. Recently, I started researching combination espresso/auto coffee machines and it seemed most people were happy with the $100 Mr. Coffee combo than the Krupp’s or other higher end brands. While this was surprising to me, as I was expecting the prices to be much higher, crowd mentality rules, right? A few days later, Justin gave me a link to a coffee “system” that seemingly did everything under the sun, including being programmable via the Internet. The cost for such a treasure? $2k USD. That is not a typo — and I think I visibly blanched. Do I love coffee? Sure, but to spend $2k USD on such a machine, I’d expect it to give me sexual favors and start smoking a cigarette when it was through. I’d rather spend say up to $500 USD for such a machine and bank the $1500 towards something else, such as putting money down for a new car or putting it towards my retirement. You know, something sensible.

But a room of my own and a room for Justin, where we can each not worry about the others habit since it will not be communal space. We’re so freakin’ excited about the prospect of nesting, of getting rid of the old and coming on with the new, that it seems to be all that we talk about these days.

And we’re okay with that.3


1. My family knows someone who owns a local G-Rap furinutre store so we were given preference for stuff from the showroom for a great deal. But since the store is quite small, I had the choice of say four couches and maybe a half a dozen dressers to choose from.
2. The volume randomly doesn’t work when you turn the TV on, but works when you turn it off and then on again. The tube needs to be degaused but we’ve searchd high and low on the web for instructions and can’t find them. The TV has also started emiting a loud whistle that randomly pops in and out. We’ve troubleshot possible causes of the whistling but nothing seems to be working.
3. While we may be okay with it, not sure how Wednesday will feel about all the space. She tends to favor whomever is where she wants to be over one person or another. She seems to get antsy if she has to choose between me in the bedroom or Justin in the dining room.

that’s entertaining

Virginia Woolf once proselytize that women needed a place of their own, “a room of one’s own” in which they could think, create and have their own space without outside interference. The slim book by the same name sits on my To Be Read pile, with the hopes that one day I will have the space of my own.

I think about having my own space a lot these days, not necessarily my own apartment, but a place where I can go shut off the world, lounge on a chaise reading or writing and basically just having time for me. How TheHusband and I have existed nearly half-a-year in a 600 sqft apartment where everything we do is broadcasted to the other is still kind of a minor miracle. How TheHusband survives with his “desk” actually being the dining room table, no room for his things except for one large closet and a corner by his “desk.” Granted when he moved in he came with just a carload of things, mainly a box of books, clothes and some personal effects — but everything else in the apartment is me.

We can’t wait to shed our skins from this dump and get our own place to make “ours,” because everything in my apartment reeks of mish-mash of collegiate chic and IKEA furniture. While my bed, dresser and couch are less than a year old, they were not first selections or picked out with care but chosen because they were best of the lot of what was presented to me.*

Soft household goods, such as sheets, towels and the like, are carry-over from stuff I purchased over the years. Nothing really matches (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but there is no cohesiveness to the mess. Towels I bought a few years ago are starting to go yucky, sheets are starting to get threadbare and there is only so many duvet covers one can purchase before you just have to realise that the duvet itself probably needs to be replaced.

What’s interesting about TheHusband and I is that our approach to home furnishings is directly related to how we grew up. His family saves everything so he loves minimalism while my family saved nothing so I border on being a pack rat. Things purchased, regardless if they are for personal or communal use, are based on negotiation. Purchasing new shoes for me requires that I get rid of two pairs. Buying new sheets would require ditching two existing sets. Buy one, get rid of two. The paring down of my closets and softgoods has been amazing.

I refuse to budge on paring down books and media because I am determined to have a library in our new home.

When we move next year, we’re getting rid of mostly everything. What we will be keeping will be incredibly minimal. The bed will be relegated to the guest room and we’re purchasing a king sized (He’s 6’6, I’m 5’11.5″ and the pug — we do not fit comfortably on a queen bed). We need a couch that is at least 12′ long to allow us to both sprawl or some kind of sectional were choosing to intertwine our legs is not about necessity but about wanting to touch, so the current couch will be secondary. We want new furniture, so the IKEA stuff will be sold or donated via FreeCycle or Craig’s List. I’ve been carting around electronics that may or may not work for years, those will be donated or recycled. My TV, which was awesome when it was purchased in 2006, is slowly dying and will need to be replaced. But we’ll end up giving/selling for cheap when the time comes because when we move, we’ll not keep anything with us and purchase when we arrive at our new destination, regardless of where that may be.

But what is important to both of us is space — lots and lots of lovely space. There is no room for us to ramble without tripping on the other. TheHusband gets the advantage that with my schedule he gets alone time when he gets off of work since I will not be home until many hours later. TYpically 2-3 days a week, I’m gone 10-14 hours a day which gives him time to himself, which he finds to be incredibly important. I don’t get that kind of alone time because when I get home from doing whatever, both he and the pug are there. 600sqft in some areas (Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, San Francisco) can be considered to be “spacious” if the design of the space is done right but even with the open plan our our apartment, we’re still crowded since we lose so much wall space to floor to ceiling windows and radiators.

This is one of the many occasions where my skills as a Tetris master come into play. Whoever said gaming was destructive clearly did not look at Tetris, Breakout or Pong.

This paring down, we’ve often discussed, is a direct result of consumerism — we buy cheap because it is cheap and what we can afford at the time but because of this, we end up spending more because we often have to replace the item. I recently created a Wedding Registry on Amazon so we could, privately, start keeping track of items we’d like to get when we move and I balked when he added salt and pepper grinders that were roughly $120 for the pair. His reasoning is that the mechanism on most grinders were such that after some time, the grinded seasoning goes up into the shaft and not on the food. Our current grinder is currently behaving in this manner and we seem to spend more time trying to “fix” the damn thing than get pepper out. He found a set that used a different type of mechanism and shouldn’t have this problem, but really? $120 for the pair? His argument is that he would rather spend the cash on quality rather than deal with cheap and keep replacing.

I get this mentality, but after being graduate student poor for so long and the idea of having a disposable income in which spending $120 on grinders is not really a big deal still appals me. Recently, I started researching combination espresoo/auto coffee machines and it seemed most people were happy with the $100 Mr. Coffee combo than the Krups or other high end brands. While this was surprising to me, as I was expecting the prices to be much higher, crowd mentality rules right? A few days later, TheHusband gave me a link to a coffee “system” that seemingly did everything under the sun, including being programable via the Internet. The cost for such a treasure? $2k USD. That is not a typo — and I think I visibly blanched. Do I love coffee? Sure, but to spend $2k USD on such a machine, I’d expect it to give me sexual favors and start smoking a cigartte when it was through. I’d rather spend say up to $500 USD for such a machine and bank the $1500 towards something else, such as putting money down for a new car or putting it towards my retirement.

But a room of my own and a room for TheHusband, where we can each not worry about the other’s habit since it will not be communal space. We’re so freakin’ excited about the prospet of nesting, of getting rid of the old and coming on with the new, that it seems to be all that we talk about these days. We want to have the space

*My family knows someone who owns a local G-Rap furinutre store so we were given preference for stuff from the showroom for a great deal. But since the store is quite small, I had the choice of say four couches and maybe a half a dozen dressers to choose from.

New Crack: Condo Porn via House Hunters International

Due to our often conflicting schedules, when Justin and I spend time together it has become more often than not in front of the teevee. Lately, this has more to do with the fact that I often don’t get home until late or he is often working late, so planning for things outside the home tends to get a bit chaotic. Despite the copious amount of time we spend on the couch, what we watch tends to be an agreed upon listing of “together” teevee as opposed to whatever is available on the DVR. Our tastes in television and movies is more often than not, polar opposites: He likes depressing, post-apocalyptic, foreign, pretentious materials. In movies, if it has Nazis, an unhappy ending or some kind of mutilation/violence aspect to it, he loves it. I, on the other hand, tend to go for a bit lighter fare such as period dramas, indie films, or something with a twist.

Television is much the same way in that he loves sports (primarily football and basketball), the Hitler channel, Jeopardy! (You’d think I was marrying a 70 year old.) or something along the lines of the aforementioned topics. Personally, I am a sucker for series (In Justin’s opinion, read: crappy) television, stocking up on guilty pleasures such as Gossip Girls 1, Grey’s Anatomy or The Big Bang Theory to name a few.

But with the weather getting colder and our ability to go outside becoming less of a reality these days, we’ve started watching series shows on premium channels (Nurse Jackie, Dexter, The Tudors, and Bored To Death), but the problem with these shows is that the series’ are much shorter than network television and we have gotten into the habit of watching the entire series within a week or two, catching up on back episodes and having marathons. Thus, we are back at square one with nothing to watch.

A few weeks ago, friends of ours tipped us off to a HGTV show called House Hunters International. The point of the show is that a person/couple/families/whatever are looking to buy in X locale for Y reason, and they need help to find their home/condo/apartment/flat/beach front mansion with Z budget. A local to the area real estate agent takes the wish list and presents the person/couple/family/whatever with a listing of properties that match their requests. The person/couple/family/whatever then select from the top three choices as their next crib.

The show format never varies, thus it is always consistent from episode to episode: Intro to the house hunters, their background, their budget, where they are moving to and why. The viewer is then shown clips of the house hunter going through three properties, their likes/dislikes of the properties and the “finale” of their selection of one of those three properties and why the chose said property. In short, it is the same formula on every show regardless of who/what or where the show is being taped. There is also very little surprise as to what the house hunter chooses in that based upon their wishlist, location and budget, 90% of the time we correctly guesstimate which property they end up choosing and it is almost always property #2.

At first glance, this show doesn’t sound like something that would interest me in the slightest. I don’t consider myself a domestic goddess, my panties don’t get wet at the thought of a new vacuum (I was pelted by a vacuum ad on HGTV’s website that bothered the piss out of me and wouldn’t let me read the site until the ad did its thing. Usability fail.), nor do I get passionate when discussing herringbone versus parquet floors. These things, however, excite Justin. He spends hours every week not only cruising real estate sites for the search for our perfect home but he also has a surprisingly aesthetic appeal to what he likes and doesn’t like.

We’ve spent dozens of hours pouring over real estate ads for condos in a variety of markets around the US and we’ve picked apart every nuance from the floors, to the window treatments and bathrooms. What does interested me about HHI is that it appeals to my wanderlust in the hopes that someday in the future (hopefully nearer than farther), we might be able to move and live abroad. I see HHI as research then, to get an idea of what the markets are like around the globe and what our budget (roughly about $400K USD) would get us in other countries.

In Paris, that would barely buy us a pied-à-terre while in Fuji, that’s beach front mansion and even better, in Buenos Aires, that would give us a nice sized condo in a great location. What also interests me about the show is that I’m nosy and I want to know what people do for a living to make the kind of money they make — especially the ones who talk about buying a home on the Amalfi Coast and their budget is $750K USD but hey, the villa they really want is $1M USD, so they buy that one even though it’s over their “budget.” Then there are the people who are buying second or third homes — and I wonder, what the hell do they do to juggle all those mortgages and they seemingly always have some generic job such as “marketing manager” or “mid-level manager.”

What kills us though is the over expectations these people have. “I want a 2 bed, 2 bath, 1000 sqft condo in Paris for $400k USD, with a ‘view,’ American kitchen, and a bathtub. And oh! I have to have the outdoor living space!” When shown that for $400k gets them a 5 story walk-up in one of the outer districts, at 600 sqft and the bathtub is a little bigger than the sink, they get all indigent. Specifically when for that range, the properties are fixer uppers.

Maybe then this is why we are so addicted to the show and we push through 4-6 episodes a night, which sounds like a lot but considering that each show is only 30 minutes long, take out the commercials its down to about 15-20 minutes and we do watch a few of them in our bedroom as we are getting ready for bed. Also, the show is on ALL THE TIME. While we were gone for two days over Thanksgiving, we had 20 new episodes to view on our DVR. Currently, our DVR is telling us that there are 43 new episodes to be recorded in the next two weeks.

Plus we like the snark value, picking on people’s poor taste and decisions, wondering why they were idiots in choosing a cookie cutter home in X neighborhood instead of going with the one with character outside of their favorite neighborhood. Why they would paint X color in Y room over leaving the current combination alone or even better, when they misuse terminology to make it sound like they know what they are talking about. The crack is getting a little out of hand in that we’ve decided to start DVRing regular House Hunters, to give us an idea of what markets look like around the US and makes it much easier than hunkering around a laptop looking at grainy photos of properties in various areas. Even if we have a spare hour before bed, we watch HHI.

This is getting bad.
But I’m not sure if I am capable of asking for help.

Yet.


1. I will maintain and stand by that Gossip Girls is perhaps one of the better written “adult” dramas on television. I’ve started stop watching most network television this season as many of the shows I used to love have become convoluted messes with wooden characters, plots that beyond ridiculous and of course, the trusty jumping of the shark.