I KNOW THE ANSWER

May 6 2017

Is it mental illness? Or just my personality? I asked you yesterday, and today I’m happy to report I KNOW THE ANSWER, at least as far as the toast is concerned.

I know the answer, friends, because Greg, bless his sweet heart, made me a video.

This video, which you should listen to, as I did, with the volume ALL THE WAY UP:

Yes.

Yes, I definitely know the answer now, and the answer is this:

I AM A TOAST TORTURE VICTIM.

And Greg is so good at Toast Torture that I have a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

I have developed a deep psychological alliance — an ABIDING LOVE — for the very man who butters his toast in this manner. He video tapes it. He sends it to me at midnight. He sends me instant messages and texts until I watch it with the scritch scritch scritching turned to HIGHEST VOLUME. And, even as I cringe, friends, I also laugh and laugh and laugh, so complete is his brainwashing of me.

But it is NOT mental illness that drives me to want to love/murder this man.

It is NOT a personality flaw.

It is the fact, becoming ever clearer, that I AM A TOAST TORTURE VICTIM
and RAGE IS THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES SENSE.

The End

Love,

Is It Mental Illness? Or Is It Just My Personality?

May 5 2017

There’s a fun game I like to play. It’s called “Is It Mental Illness? Or Is It Just My Personality?”

I thought we might play together today, instead of keeping this delightful game selfishly to myself.

Ready? Here we go.

Lately, I’ve been pissy. <– That, right there, is a true truth.

Lately, I’ve been pissy, and mostly at Greg because a) he’s the luckiest, b) he’s in the closest proximity, and c) he thinks I’m the type of animal who eats from a trough, which he continues to insist he doesn’t think at all, but I believe I’ve made my case.

Now, about my pissiness, my family would say, “So? How is this any different than normal?” But that’s just because my family is mean and full of terrible people. Yes, technically I’m mouthy, and technically I’m mouthy with great frequency, especially where mouthy = opinionated and verbally demonstrative. After all, the Bible says whatever you do, do to the best of your ability, so I’m obligated by Christian duty to use my mouthiness to its full potential. Yes? Yes. That’s theologically clear. But I do try, honest, to use my mouthiness for good as much as possible; words of love, words of joy, words of kindness, words of peace. I’ve even learned, in recent years, to be OK with my volume — which is LOUD — and to own, more and more, the Power of Voice. The Power of Vulnerability. The Power of Using My Words — of Knowing Things and Not Knowing Things out loud and in public — as if it’s OK to be both human and divine, made of magic and mess, grace and grime intermingled.

However, the truth is, I sometimes… occasionally… move past the Magical Mouthiness and the Messy Mouthiness and into a sort of Prolonged Pissiness produced by Inexplicable Rage, which is, well, less than ideal.

And then I bottle my rage, seal it, and bury it deep, deep inside, where it cannot harm me or others. Except when it leaks. Which it does all the time because rage is corrosive and does quick work on both the bottle and the seal. That’s when the rage bubbles to the surface and breaks in adorable little pissy pops. *pop* *pop* *pop* … mini-rage bubbles bursting beautifully. Iridescent, shimmery, and suffocating the wildlife, just like an oil sheen on the ocean. Just as persistent. Just spreading everywhere, you know? Impossible to clean.

Now, my friend Heidi, who ruins everything, is trying to teach me how to be mindful; how to accept my feelings as they come; how to judge them as neither good nor bad; how to recognize and acknowledge them — Hey, look! I see you’re here to visit, Rage… or… JOY! I’m so happy you’re hanging out today! — before deciding what to do with them, or before, say, jumping Rage in the back alley, wrestling it to the ground with a switchblade in its kidney, shoving it in that bottle, lowering it into an unfathomably deep grave, covering it with dirt, and whistling while I walk away, pretending not to be bruised. So, sure, sure; Heidi’s way may be better, more healthy, and less brutal in both the short and long term, but my way is FASTER, friends. I think we can all agree.

Unfortunately, as we have discussed previously, inexplicable rage can be depression in disguise. UGH. And blerg. And boooooo. The trick, then, is to figure out what is a normal, human amount of pissiness to experience, and when have I plunged over the cliff into the eternal, turbulent sea of unmitigated fury? A sea where I sit my sexy siren self upon the jagged rocks with my hair whipping in the storm-driven wind, hungry for blood, and sing the song that lures my loved ones to their deaths? So. You can see where this gets complicated.

Usually, when I’m trying to decide whether my pissiness is a symptom of my mental illness or just, you know, my awesome personality, I use the Toast Test.

See, Greg has a very specific way of buttering his toast. First he takes the teeniest, tiniest bit of butter — a modicum of butter — an particle of butter — on the very tip of his knife and spreads it on a speck of toast. Then he studies it. The layout. The structure. He does a mathematical analysis of the next spot to put butter. Writes algorithms. Considers the best foundation for laying the next fleck. He conducts a study. He publishes his results in a peer reviewed engineering journal. He builds computer models. And then he takes another teeny, tiny bit of butter and applies it to a new granule of toast. Then he repeats. And repeats. And repeats ad infinitum, scritch, scritch, scritching that butter onto the toast. It takes days to butter toast. Weeks. Veritable years, I tell you. Whereas I do nothing annoying ever. The way I butter my toast is a model of grace and efficiency.

Logical Beth believes people should be free to butter their toast however they like. Reasonable Beth believes this is an inalienable human right. Rational Beth believes we needn’t come to marital or household consensus on the Correct Way to Butter Toast, nor do we need to Belittle Those Who Do It Wrong, even if they do it really, really, really wrong. Sensible Beth believes we Live and Let Live and We Love Each Other, Always, Anyway, even if we have different Toast Convictions, and, in this way, we shall not smother each other with a pillow.

Pissy Beth believes none of these things. Not a single one. And Ragey Beth feels the scritch, scritch, scritching inside her skull.

The Toast Test, see? When murder-by-pillow feels like a super reasonable alternative to witnessing the buttering of toast, it’s time to up my meds, friends. Or past time. You know… WAY past time.

Unfortunately, Greg hasn’t had a hankering for toast in, like, FOREVER, so I’ve been pissy but I have NO WAY TO KNOW whether this is a flare-up of the mental illness or just my darling personality.

I suppose I could simply ask Greg to make himself some toast, but I think he might do it quickly and with suspicion, so it kind of ruins the test.

In conclusion, there have to be ways OTHER than toast buttering to play this game. WHAT ARE THEY? Is it mental illness? Or is it just my personality? I’m on a need to know over here…

Delightfully yours,

I’ve Decided to Collect College Kids. Also, We Should Probably Pray for Greg.

Apr 30 2017

We’ve mostly been with Abby since arriving in Hawaii. Not a ton of time on our own. We’re helping her hunt for next year’s apartment. Doing the grocery shopping. Gasping over the cost of bread one minute (FIVE DOLLARS, you guys, and that’s for a cheap loaf) and piling All the College Kids in our car to force feed them pancakes at IHOP the next. It’s like feeding puppies, y’all; they’re just so wiggly and enthusiastic and grateful, and they look at you with those eyes, like, “You fed me, and now I’m yours forever,” and suddenly you’re all, “MORE PANCAKES FOR EVERYONE. EVERY KIND OF PANCAKE. ANOTHER ROUND ON ME,” and, “Can I KEEP them, Greg? Pleeeeease? I will do ALL the work. You won’t have to do ANYTHING. I will walk them EVERY DAY, and I will feed them and water them, and I will never ask you for anything ever again in my whole life if you just give me All the College Kids.”

I have searched, lo these many years, and I have finally found my calling; feeding college students. I was born for this. This is my sacred duty. This is my calling from the Lord. This is how I shall fulfill my destiny.

Greg says I can’t keep them, though. He says they don’t belong to me. He says we already have five kids and that five kids is enough kids.

I’m not sure about his logic. I think there’s a flaw in there. I’m pretty sure collecting College Kids isn’t the same as collecting Kid Kids since College Kids are technically grown-ups. Also, they’re way cheaper than Kid Kids because College Kids only cost you pancakes. Greg says they don’t only cost pancakes; he says they also cost tuition and fees and apartments in Hawaii. I say that’s practically the same as just pancakes; we can call it pancakes and sundries, and we’ll be fine. Surely, we can fit pancakes and sundries into our budget. How hard can it be?

Greg says I’m the one with flawed logic and that I need to work on my budgeting skills. Since I recognize an expensive loaf of bread when I see one, though, I’m not sure what he’s talking about.

Then he called me a cow, which was mean and temporarily put my Collect All the College Kids plans on hold.

Greg feels like it’s important at this point to note for the record that he did not call me a cow, but I was there so I would know.

See, we took one night to ourselves while we’re here. One night while Abby was studying with the rest of my Future Children to walk the beach in Waikiki. We found a little patio restaurant at sunset looking at Diamond Head. We took this picture and posted it on Facebook.

He ordered the pulled pork sandwich. I ordered the fish tacos. We eavesdropped on our neighbors’ conversations while I had a pretty drink, the color of the purple clouds in the azure sky.

Greg leaned over and took my hand. He looked into my eyes and said, “I really like that trough they served your tacos in.”

That trough, he said.

That… trough.

 

“Greg, did you just say I’m eating out of a trough?”

Greg looked afraid.

“NO,” he said. “I definitely did not say that.”

“Did you, Gregory, or did you not just say that this is my taco trough?”

“I DIDN’T,” he said. “I SWEAR.”

“DID you,” I asked, head tilted curiously to the side, eyes turning as black and alien as the approaching night sky, eager to swallow the human before me, “therefore liken me to a trough-like creature? Say, a horse? Or a cow?”

“NO!” he said.

And now, days later, he continues to deny it.

Whenever I want to mess with him, I just whisper, “trough.” He winces, and I giggle. I haven’t told him yet how many College Kids he has to let me keep for me to let the Trough Comment go; I’m holding that part in reserve for negotiations to be held at a later date.

In conclusion, let’s pray for Greg, friends. Although he must have committed some sort of heinous crime in a previous life to have to go through this one with me, he really is a dear and doesn’t quite deserve the eye tick I’m giving him.

Dear Jesus,
Please help Greg survive his trip to Hawaii.
And also his life with Beth. 

In your precious name,
Amen

 

 

 

P.S. Greg loves travelling with me. My family calls him Poor Greg. I don’t know why. He’s the luckiest.

MiniPost: Just a Little Fairy Dust

Apr 28 2017

I made it across the Pacific Ocean without dying in a fiery crash. A miracle, every time. Greg insists it’s the physics of aerodynamics, and I believe him, but only mostly. You know; like, I believe him, but only with my head and with logic. Not with my heart. You’ll never convince me there isn’t also fairy dust involved in air travel. Or a whole host off angels rolling their eyes as they hoist yet another tin can full of reckless humans on their backs and take them where they’re bid, grumbling all the while at the Lord Most High, “Oh, my GOD. If you would just LET THEM ALL TUMBLE INTO THE SEA FOR ONE DAY ONLY, they wouldn’t pull stupid crap like this EVER AGAIN.” But no. Nope. God keeps letting us do what’s crazy.

I made it. All the way here to Hawaii where my kid is finishing up her first year of college. We dropped her off 8 months ago, taught her how to use the bus, and bought Every Single Thing at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond. I spent 300% of my budget, I told her she didn’t have to stay, and that college was overrated, and that I was pretty sure she ought to give up on her dreams and move back home with her mommy FOREVER, because who doesn’t want that?? She said no, and told me I was going to be OK. She said I’d be fine, and I could do this, and I knew she was right, but I cried on the way home, anyway.

Now here we are, only a few months later. Hardly any time at all, but this time this is Her Place, and now, for the first time, I’m the visitor in a world she’s created for herself. She took me to her favorite beach and let me play Twinsies in the water with her, where we take pics of our stunning dance prowess and have people try to guess who’s who. She took me to her favorite restaurant with her friends — the one that’s open ’til 2am with the vegan peanut butter shakes and the cartoons playing from a projector onto the concrete wall. And, in the grand tradition of college students everywhere, she let me buy her groceries, but then she said thank you, because she knows now that food costs money, and money has to be earned, and that, while we’re glad to give it, it’s still a gift worth acknowledgement and gratitude.

Eight months is all.

A blink, really, and she’s grown.

Which we knew would happen, but only mostly. In our heads and with logic, you know? Because it’s part of the physics of becoming.

So of course she’s grown. It’s inevitable. But you’ll also never convince me there isn’t fairy dust involved in helping her fly.

Sending love, friends,

 

 

 

Updates…Plus the Mathematics of Being Behind on All the Things

Apr 24 2017

I spent the last week sick, knitting and binge watching 13 Reasons Why and Sneaky Pete. Which is to say, I spent the last week feeling lowly and unproductive. And guilty I was unproductive. And defensive that I felt guilty I was unproductive. And telling myself it’s OK, dammit, to be unproductive every now and then. And productivity doesn’t define my self worth! Except, of course, it obviously does because I spent the whole week in the cycle of guilt followed by defensiveness followed by failed attempts at giving myself grace. All in all, the whole week looked a lot like defiant laziness bolstered and excused by a hacking cough and the inability to walk up the stairs without stopping halfway to catch my breath.

It was relaxing.

I knitted a whole hat, though, so there’s that. <– PRODUCTIVITY!

And if I’m another week behind on All the Other Things? It’s probably OK. I mean, if we look at it mathematically, I’ve been a parent for what? 18.5 years? So that puts me 962 weeks behind. Add one more week to that, and I’m only 0.001% further behind than I was before. Statistically insignificant. This is why math is important, friends. Because without math, we would not know things like this.

Tomorrow, Greg and I are off to visit Abby as she finishes up her first year of college. We’ll be packing her stuff and helping her look for an apartment for next year with, you know, money we don’t have. I’m strangely fine with this; Money We Don’t Have appears to be how we fund college for the Woolsey kids. And also how we fund college in America. Millions of people do it. It’s practically patriotic. ‘MURICA! Right? Right. And we’re not exactly feeling sorry for ourselves, while we suffer in Hawaii for the week. What’s not to love? Sunshine, surf, sand. God knows we need the break and the respite. We’re tired, man. It would be genuinely perfect if I didn’t have to bring my brain along. My brain, though, guys. My brain is positive, as always, that our plane will go down in the Pacific in a fiery crash, and we’ll leave our littles orphaned. I’d tell my brain to shut up, but she doesn’t follow directions very well, and, frankly, she gets pissy and defiantly louder when I say things like that. Instead, I’ll follow my tried and true travel preparation method over the next 24 hours — a chattering brain giving me the worst, most horrific scenarios possible while I shove my fear deep down inside except when it leaks out as anger at Greg. Good news is, my brain calms down when exposed to sunlight, so she and I should be just fine very soon. I mean, if we don’t die in the fiery crash.

Wheeeeee!

All of this to say, friends, I’ve missed you and hope to be back in this space more soon.

Love to you and yours,

 

 

 

P.S. ONE OF THE THINGS I DIDN’T DO this month was tell you the April BOOK for our Escapist Book Club. This is a serious bummer because I actually CHOSE a book at the end of March. I just didn’t tell you that. Therefore, let’s make this our April/May book…

The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

P.P.S. I have a Magic in the Mess Writing Retreat coming up in just 2 weeks! If you’re interested in discounts on a last-minute spot, do let me know; we have a few openings left! This retreat is perfect for beginning writers as well as writers hoping to hone their craft. Plus the location, food, and especially welcoming community of friends are AMAZING. I’d love to see you there.

An Update on the Messes: Church, Holes in the Wall, America, and Pants

Apr 11 2017

It’s raining outside and the window is open because the puking kid in my bed wants it that way, and we all know pukers get what pukers want. Except red juice. Pukers don’t get red juice. Not ever again.

I can hear the delicate pitter patter of the rain drops hitting the patio interspersed with the giant KERPLOPS of rain gushing over the clogged gutters which we didn’t clear this winter — a mistake in Oregon — but there’s only so much time and SO MANY projects to fail to complete. The gutters made the Fail List this year. And I think last year, too. It’s OK, though. They’ll rust, and the water will get in, and the house will crumble around us, but it’s OK. It’s important, after all, to build Long Term and Short Term plans. Our Long Term House Destruction plan, for example, is water damage and mold which will lead to total structural failure. Our Short Term plan is, obviously, accidental fire. Since one of the kids left the gas oven on all night last week, we feel like that one’s a real possibility.

This is a strange season of life for Greg and me. For our family. For America. For the universal church, and for ours specifically. For the world, too.

We’re just… really weary most days. Struggling. Straggling. Doing what we can right now, which isn’t always what we need to do, like clean out the gutters, but we’re going for barebones survival here, you know? Trying to make it through each day with our awesome, assholish kid without doing irreparable damage to him or ourselves. Trying to figure out where we belong after finding ourselves in the wilderness of the unknown when it comes to our faith community. Trying to figure out how our country and our world can inflict so much suffering on so many people who are so very vulnerable.

It’s a strange thing to be in our 40’s and adrift, especially when we thought we knew where we were moored. We thought we’d carved out a space to belong in America, and we figured we were raising our transracial, multicultural children in a country devoted to becoming kinder and more inclusive. We certainly thought we’d always be welcome at church. I understand how clearly I’m highlighting our embedded privilege here and our naivety, but it’s still true. And now, the places we thought we belonged — the places we thought were sure bets — the places we thought we were well established — are no longer fully home. Maybe they never were. And we adorable, white, highly educated, middle class, English-as-a-first-language, Christian Americans are just now, belatedly, figuring it out. Bless our hearts.

Those on the outskirts and the margins of our church have been trying to tell us about their suffering for years. For years and years. But Greg and I, sweet little baby bunnies that we are, are only now waking up to the Matrix. We’re only now looking around, eyes beginning to see. Only now beginning to understand the price we’d have to pay in our Consciences and Integrity and Deepest Understanding of what it means to Love God and Love Our neighbors as Ourselves to stay in those safe-for-people-like-us places. It’s been a real eye-opener, I tell you, and I say this as a person who is still largely blind and who has much to learn before the scales fall fully away.

But here’s my secret for the day… shhhhhhhh, don’t tell… I’m starting to like it out here with the wind on my face.

I’m starting to feel excited about the unknown.

I’m starting to believe that being cut loose may turn out to be a gift. I had grown terribly weary, after all, of having to behave to belong.

I feel like we’ve jumped onto the ship of the Wayward and the Wanderers. All the way on, instead of trying to straddle it and the other. We had to pick. Stay on the old ship and comply, or leave and do a new thing. And so we’ve thrown our lot in with the Weary and the Wary and the Wild and the Free, and we’re out on deck, just getting under way. Just now feeling the wind pick up. Just now watching the shore recede.

And so, Greg and I are in the process right now of waving good-bye to the things we once knew and clung to. Waving good-bye to our false idols of Comfort, Conformity and Compliance. Waving good-bye to the rules of the evangelical Christian subculture which haven’t fit us well for a long, long time. Waving good-bye to our desperate desire to have beloved members of our former community approve of us, see the best in us, and believe we are racing toward God and the Gospel and Good News instead of away. Shoving the anger that masks our hurt firmly over the side, and shoving it over again when it crawls back up, because angry and bitter is not who we choose to be, and we’re not going to give it a free ride to the New Thing where we’re headed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where my loyalty lies as we begin this new journey. I’ve been considering what it means to live in the Freedom and Fullness of Love and Grace, and about what I might do — or who I might become — to help invite others, who are as tired as we are, into that space. I’ve been thinking about how to become a Light-bringer and a chain-breaker and a justice-monger and a Love-dweller the way Jesus taught us to be. The truth is, I don’t know yet. I don’t know, but I feel like we’re headed the right way.

Sending love to you, friends, and waving, waving, waving in the dark,

 

 

 

P.S. For lots of reasons, mostly related to the oldest boy child but partially related to being batshit crazy, I’ve been housebound this month. Housebound and focused on keeping my kid afloat. With an itchy brain. While contemplating a country and church that are hard to make sense of.  It’s been a MONTH, in other words. A MONTH, friends. But I’m able to put one foot in front of the other and no one has smothered anyone with a pillow, so we’re counting it in the win column.

As a result, I’ve spent the last two weeks building the fairy house and pestering Greg to cut the door and find the right screws and drill holes and basically be my beck-and-call fairy house construction manager, which he has LOVED because who needs to work from home to make money when you could be running fairy errands for your wife? Amirite? Greg thinks so, too. You can tell by the loving way he rolls his eyes and says, “Not right now, Beth. Maybe tonight.”

The thing is, I’m finding solace in hunkering down and building a sanctuary for the magic to get in. It feels right just now. Like it makes All the Sense in the Whole Entire World to use bits and pieces of things we overlook every day to build a visual reminder that the mysterious is welcome and will be sheltered here.

P.P.S. Here are 100,000 fairy house pictures. Because priorities.

BEFORE:

The destroyed Mouse House.

THEN:

A bigger hole.

THEN:

The bones of the Fairy House.

THEN:

We get serious, man.

Also, side benefit — making Greg work on the Fairy House during his lunch break.

And cutting up 1000 pine cones for shingles.

THEN:

Assembly.

UNTIL, FINALLY:

A Fairy House.

Now, obviously, there are still a million things we can do with this, but for our purposes, this is essentially complete.

I decided to spend $0 on this project because a) I’m cheap, and b) I’m cheap. My mommy gifted me the fairy lights. They came in an old onion jar so they smell horrible. I think the fairies will like it.

And I pulled the wooden thread spools (table and chairs, obviously) from a stash I inherited from my grandmother.

I figure, anything else the fairies need, they can create with magic, just like I do.

So there the Fairy House sits.

Directly across from our hall closet, Harry Potter’s Cupboard Under the Stairs,

And when people walk in our front door,

they’re greeted by All Things Magical — the Fairy House, the Cupboard, and the Ravenclaw Room… and that end table, not marked, is from the set of Grimm.

Plus discarded pants.

I feel like this is just honest.

We’re magic and mess, after all. Magic and mess.

P.P.P.S. Love to you. That’s all for now. Hopefully more soon. xoxo

How to Fix a Hole in the Wall (… with a bigger hole… also, I need your help again…)

Apr 2 2017

Six years ago, Greg was really angry, so he kicked a hole in the wall because that’s how we handle our anger around here. Through violence to walls.

(Psst… Greg wants me to note he wasn’t angry, nor did he kick a hole in the wall. He tripped over the baby gate which punched a hole in the wall for him. He tells the story his way. I tell it mine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Whatever.)

Long story short, I fixed it because I am a genius with drywall repair.

All you need is a permanent marker and zero compunction about drawing on the walls in front of your children. One Sharpie decoration later, and voila!, problem solved.

Which is how we’ve had a hole in the wall and a Mouse House in our hallway lo these many years. In other words, I AM SO PINTERESTY, FRIENDS!

Now hold that story in your head while we return to the present.

Greg left me home for the past 10 days while he went to Mexico to build houses, and, because our oldest kid is struggling mightily right now, I was pretty much housebound.

Housebound.

Minus grown-up supervision.

Which usually leads to acquiring farm animals.

But not this time.

This time I decided to do house projects. Even though I wasn’t finished with the last house project. Or the 12 house projects before that. All of those = irrelevant! Because doing house projects means one is productive, and completing said projects is definitely not required in order to check off the productivity box. Did you work on a project? Yes? HOW PRODUCTIVE OF YOU. <– It works like that, friends. The definition of productivity, after all, is the act of producing something. Did you produce an unfinished project? GOOD FOR YOU; YOU ARE SO PRODUCTIVE!

However, because I am both productive and responsible, I decided to check in with you first to be sure I was on the right track.

“Quick question,” I wrote on Facebook, “Ripping up the carpet on the stairs while Greg is away in Mexico building houses for those is need is a) a perfectly reasonable choice which has the added bonus of saving $$$ on renting a carpet cleaner to clean that which is basically unsalvageable anyway, b) a perfectly reasonable choice which will speed along the plan to convert to wood stairs which I say should happen last year and Greg believes is more in the “never” timeframe for house improvements, c) likely to mean walking up/down unfinished particle board for the next 10 years, and/or d) likely to lead to divorce?

“Please answer with whichever letters you believe best apply. You may choose more than one.

“Bonus question: Do I have to actually finish painting my bedroom before buying paint for my entryway, hallways and living room? Greg might say yes, but Greg is away so I can’t ask him. I feel like maybe starting 12 simultaneous projects and actually finishing zero of them isn’t irresponsible; it’s more like being true to myself. Yes? Yes, that’s what I thought.”

And you, because you are People Who Get It, responded with A, B, and a whole lot of C. Not so much worry about D. And only, like, two of you — who are, I assume, like my father the Marine who believes in Doing Things Right the First Time, and Measure Twice, Cut Once, and Do You Want to Know a Better Way to Do That, Beth?? — thought I needed to finish painting my room before destroying carpet. You really are SO my people. The Do Things Right Eventually and/or Possibly Never People. The Measure Never, Cut Till It Looks OK People. The NO I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW A BETTER WAY TO DO THAT People. Hallelujah and AMEN.

So.

I set about finding a box cutter, a mallet, and a tire iron to remove the carpet. I don’t know if that’s what one uses for such a project, but I figured they were the best way to start. I dunno. But on my way to procure said items from the garage, I found a dog who shall remain nameless…

…this dog…

…this sweet, muddy, baby, puppy dog…

…eating the Mouse House.

She figured out how to get juuust enough of her teeth inside the hole to pry off bits of drywall,

… and swallow them.

You know why?

Because she is PRODUCTIVE, and she was producing a mess.

Now, I get that some people might be dismayed by such an event. Baby Puppy Dog’s owner was horrified when I shared the news with her, for example.

I am not some people.

I looked at Baby Puppy Dog, and I looked at the new, improved hole in the wall, and I immediately discarded the stairs project so I could make the hole even bigger.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, Baby Puppy Dog.

We can disappoint Greg with the stairs later. Let’s disappoint him with GIANT WALL HOLES first.

I concocted a plan.

I bought paint.

I borrowed a drywall saw from the neighbor.

And BEHOLD, the new and improved mouse house:

Which fits a shadow box exactly:

And, after wall paint and another trip to the neighbor, who’s a set designer, is now a bare-bones outline for our brand new Fairy House:

I have hereby officially decided all future holes in my walls shall become fairy houses. Within 10 years, I anticipate the ENTIRE HOUSE will be a giant fairy haven. A fairy sanctuary. All fairies all the time.

Greg is home from Mexico now, and he’s ecstatic about this plan; ecstasy expressed the usual way, via eye rolling and a slight uptick to the upper lip some may take as disdain but I know to be Greg’s special way of thanking his Heavenly Father for gifting him with such a productive wife.

Thus we have solved one problem but created a new one. As usual. I now have the structure for a fairy house and must decorate it, except we all know I am barred from decorating alone.

This is where you come in, friends.

How do I decorate a fairy house??

Here’s what we’re going for… EASY and cheap, then cute. (This is why I’m barred from decorating alone — this is always my list, in priority order — easy, cheap, cute.)

Like this one from Beneath the Ferns:

Pretty sure I can duplicate those roof shingles.

And I’m pretty sure I can create a hinged front to the house with windows and a door. That way the entire front of the house opens so we can get to the box inside.

From there, though, I’m stuck. How do I decorate the inside? How do I light it with some kind of battery-operated gadget that doesn’t look clunky? Most importantly, how do we create the kind of environment that will lure cleaning fairies to my house??

In conclusion, I’m living into my areas of spiritual giftedness: 1) Starting projects and not finishing them, and 2) Creating problems for other people to solve.

Help me, Obi Wan; you’re my only hope.

Sincerely,