Remember When….

Remember When….

I moved my blog headquarters from the boudoir to the formal dining room?

Yeah, that didn’t work. It lasted one day. I am once again blogging from the comfort of our bedroom.

However, I did manage to find a way to store my electronics when I am not using them. I picked up this Joseph Phelps wine box for free back in January while visiting their winery. Now I keep all (most of) my bloggy stuff in one central area instead of strewn about the bedroom.

Remember when I wanted to replace the buttons on this Ralph Lauren jacket from 1996?

It was so old the navy blue buttons faded to an ugly shade of purple.

I searched without luck. Then my seamstress, Christina, searched, looking as far north as Eureka (six hours away) while visiting family and southward to Marin: no suitable buttons.

The day Christina and I met at our local Jo-ann’s to pick out fabric for the LBD, we decided to look in the button section one more time before it went to donation. And there they were: ten perfectly sized, perfectly colored buttons. And here is the not-so-new but improved jacket today:

Remember when I de-cluttered our kitchen countertops?

They went from this:

To this:

For weeks, I felt as though I was in someone else’s empty kitchen. Last weekend, I reorganized the pantry and selected the items I missed seeing: balsamic vinegar and olive oil brought home from Italy, French fleur de sel, a tiny ceramic pot from Siena, and my favorite teas, lugged home from Paris, along with my cherished Mariage Freres tea pot. I also returned our tea kettle to its proper place on the stove top.

Incredibly, the island has remained junk-free and has ceased to be the dumping ground that it once was. Hurrah!

Finally, remember when I stopped complaining for a day? And afterward, I said I was going to cut back on mentioning each tinge of discomfort or every inconvenience?

Well, I am still complaining, but not as much.

Here’s why:

I notice that every time I say something to my husband like, “My back hurts” he says, “My back hurts too. I think it’s out again. It’s really painful and sore! I guess I did too much yard work, or maybe it’s from working on the RV”.

Or perhaps I’ll mention, “I am really congested.” He immediately sniffs, demonstrating for me how congested he also is and says, “Me too! I can’t even breathe through my nose. I am so stuffed up! I think I’ll go do another nasal rinse.”

This annoys me. A lot. I decided that there must be a way for me to complain without him one-upping me. One morning I said with a straight face, “My uterus hurts.” He just looked at me, blankly. Then I asked, “And you. Does your uterus hurt?”

We both burst out laughing and it became our running joke for the remainder of the day. We went down the list of gender-specific body parts – don’t worry, I won’t elaborate – cracking up every time one of us introduced a new one. So uncouth, yet so funny.

Now, I mostly keep my complaints to myself because I don’t want to hear his follow-up complaints. And if I do bellyache about something, we either laugh it off, or I get another blank stare accompanied by an “I’m sorry”. Which is all I wanted in the first place.

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32 Comments

  1. March 9, 2011 / 9:49 am

    OK Adrienne…you one upped him all right!

    Laughter has pierced the relative silence here in the Bungalow kitchen!
    I don’t normally laugh out loud when alone but you have given me the opportunity and I thank you!

  2. March 9, 2011 / 9:51 am

    You are so funny! I was laughing out loud about Bill one-upping you…why do men do that?! I would like to see a man, any man, make it through one menstrual cycle.

    Love the wine box idea! And I am glad to see your kitchen mirroring your charming personality. xxBliss

  3. March 9, 2011 / 11:11 am

    Ha ha, that’s funny your husband one-ups you! You have a beautiful (and spotless) kitchen!

  4. March 9, 2011 / 11:23 am

    That last one made me laugh so hard, you have no idea! My FIL, God love him, is just like that. Only it goes something like this: someone coughs and then he says, “Oh, you have a cold too?” He’ll suddenly become sick (scratchy voice, hoarse) etc, even though he might have been fine 5 minutes before. It drives my MIL crazy!

    I’m glad you brought some things you love back out in your kitchen. It still looks clean and nice but more like you live there.

    And yay for the buttons!

  5. March 9, 2011 / 11:26 am

    those updates seem so satisfying, and they’re not even mine!
    So glad the one-upping has come to a hilarious halt, I would find that annoying too!
    ps, I like the kitchen with a few items on the counter, it adds some personality.

  6. March 9, 2011 / 11:41 am

    This post was hilarious..thanks for the laugh, its been a bit of a rough day. The part about your husband and you competing for “the worst pain” is sooo funny, and reminds me a little of the dynamics between my husband and myself….all in the name of fun (and love) (and loving to poke fun at him and his many woes:)
    I am very impressed with your kitchen..WOW so neat and orderly and funny but all those “goodies” you were missing that you wanted around, are all things I love and use every day…..great post!

  7. March 9, 2011 / 12:03 pm

    Men are shockers for doing that, aren’t they? All a big bunch of sooks 🙂
    I hear you wrt the kitchen – I tried clearing mine away, but it was just too bare. Sometimes it’s good to have a bit of stuff around.

    TDM x

  8. March 9, 2011 / 12:17 pm

    Loved the laugh today. I do that to my husband. I guess I better stop. So funny! Your kitchen is lovely.

  9. March 9, 2011 / 12:18 pm

    I love your outlook on things.

    It makes it so much fun to come visit your blog!

    I am majorly in love with your kitchen.

    Can I come over for tea?

    kthxbye

  10. March 9, 2011 / 12:23 pm

    Hostess,

    I’m delighted I could give you a morning giggle.
    I have pointed this irritating trait out to him a few times before I decided to get ‘female” on him. It’s like he can’t help himself!

    Bliss,

    I think that generally Bill has a high tolerance for pain, but I agree that a good old fashioned menstrual cycle would be quite eye-opening.

    It feels cozier in our kitchen now. The only thing I don’t miss is cleaning and dusting my canisters, bottle and tea pots. But it’s worth it to gaze at them while I laboriously tend to meal making.

    Marie,

    It’s always spotless at picture taking time! Actually, I have been better about keeping the kitchen neat and tidy. No body likes a messy kitchen.

  11. March 9, 2011 / 12:32 pm

    Kalee,

    That’s funny about your FIL. That would also be annoying. Thankfully, we can laugh about our whining and moaning. What I really want for him to say is, “oh, that’s too bad. Are you okay?” or something to that effect. I want to own my own back pain or what have you just for two or three minutes!

    Those silly buttons took seven months to find! I could not believe they were so hard to find. Unfortunately, they only had 10, so the single buttons on each sleeve had to go. But I am not complaining 🙂

    L.,

    I often write about something I have done or new thing I tried and I never follow up. I am thinking of doing a weekly “Remember when…” just to keep me honest. Obviously, the dining room office thing was a total failure, but the jacket turned out well.

    Thank you again for doing the guest post. It was fantastic. If you would like to respond to anyone in the comments, feel free.
    I am picking up your thank you this afternoon and mailing off tomorrow!

    xo, A

  12. March 9, 2011 / 12:36 pm

    The Enchanted Home,

    First, I want to tell you that I am dreaming about those lamps in your give away. It’s really is the give away of all give aways!

    It is funny how the dynamics change over time between two people in a long term relationship. A dozen years ago, he probably would have been so concerned with my back, or me with his. Now it’s, “you think you have it bad, listen to this!”

    Our kitchen is a much happier place with my beloved knock knacks and oils and such about. I enjoy the memories they conjure up.

  13. March 9, 2011 / 12:54 pm

    The Distressed Mother,

    I don’t think I would be happy living in a bare, minimalist, clutter-free environment. Having said that, I also would not be happy with loads of clutter about. I only want the things that I think look nice and bring me joy. It is a constant chore, however, to keep clutter at bay.

    H-S,

    Thank you! We remodeled it back about five or six years ago. I am very happy with our kitchen – it was a huge improvement over the 1970’s autumn gold and formica deal we had for the first five years we lived here!

  14. March 9, 2011 / 12:56 pm

    PBJ Dreamer,

    Yes, of course – come on over. I would love to have you sit down and enjoy a spot of tea with me!

    Thank you for reading and leaving me a comment. I love comments!

    A

  15. March 9, 2011 / 1:43 pm

    hi adrienne,

    your kitchen is gorgeous and i have a naughty joke to tell in regards to this but i won’t tell it here. anyway, you two are hilarious.

    xo
    janet

  16. March 9, 2011 / 2:07 pm

    That gave me quite a laugh too…My daughter is a chronic complainer and I also do what your husband does, but I don’t mean to one up her, I just am telling her it happens to me too and I always get “you win, mom”….haha…Have a great day! xxoo 🙂

  17. March 9, 2011 / 3:09 pm

    A few observations:
    1. I lived in Eureka for 3 years as a little girl. My dad was posted there when we worked for the federal government. I have found memories of clamming and climbing redwood trees.
    2. The Kind Life was my bible of sorts last year when I went vegan for Lent. The best recipes are the rice krispies squares, the noodles with paprika, and artichoke bruschetta.
    3. I love your wine box! Such a chic storage device.
    4. My husband doesn’t mimic my little complaints, but every once in a while he zones out when I’m talking about something unimportant. I’m going to try the uterus line and see if he will snap back to attention out of shock.

  18. March 9, 2011 / 4:54 pm

    I have to admit, my uterus hurts right this minute. For real. I took an Aleve, and we’re leaving in a few minutes to have the most divine lobster mac & cheese for dinner. That pretty much makes anything better!

  19. March 9, 2011 / 5:05 pm

    Adrienne,

    This was a hilarious post. I also laughed out loud, and I was at work! ha. You are very funny and I really do enjoy reading your blog…Hey, my uterus hurts right now too…really!

  20. March 9, 2011 / 6:24 pm

    Love it! I am cracking up! Your mention of how every time you complain about something you get one upped proved to me in a funny way I am on the right track…negative begets negative. You did a great job stopping it in its tracks! Uterus hurts! Ha! Brilliant!!

  21. March 9, 2011 / 7:44 pm

    Hi Adrienne,

    Your jacket looks great with the new buttons and your kitchen looks perfect!

    My husband and I were both complaining last night that our backs were hurting. And now my neck is hurting as well. Time for the heating pad…if I lived at your house I would be fighting the dogs for it! (or have my own)

    Linda

  22. March 9, 2011 / 8:03 pm

    Wilzie is a topper too! I am going to have try the uterus thing – that is awesome.
    And your kitchen is fabulous!

  23. March 10, 2011 / 2:18 am

    “someone else’s empty kitchen” – I like that associaton. A junk free island is the best! Friends of mine have an island in the kitchen (they are not really common in Austria I guess) and it is always cluttered with mail, boxes, some fruits, more paper … Of course I would never dare recommending something like de-cluttering the island. I rather come and pay your blog a visit and take a look at your island.

    Do you have an office-room in your house? The kitchen seems to be so spacious, I assume the whole house offers lots of squarefeet?

    My “office” is either the couch-table (very very bad for any back) or the dining/breakfast-table (not a very inspiring atmosphere)

  24. March 10, 2011 / 4:12 am

    I really need to work on my organisation skills. I’ve turned our dining area into a mini library with textbooks, loose sheets, my laptop and exercise dvds all in the same place.

    I’m on the hunt for some cute preppy-esque buttons as i’m trying to customise a blazer i’ve had for 2 years but never worn. The fact that you’ve found buttons means i should be more patient

    xoxo Hermine

  25. March 10, 2011 / 8:44 am

    That is too funny about Bill on-upping you! When I seem to be complaining a lot, Jim just tells me his ears hurt. Such a stinker!

    Jenny

  26. March 10, 2011 / 9:16 am

    janet,

    Please tell me you naughty joke! You can email it if you want a_shubin (at) comcast (dot) net.

    My husband read all the comments last night and he said, “so where’s the joke? I want to hear it!”

    Cathi,

    That’s funny about your daughter – I like the “you win, Mom.”
    Last night, I had a headache again. And, even though I knew better than to complain, I did anyway. I just had to voice it. And my stepdaughter says, “me too! I have a really bad one.” And she meant it. We both looked at each other and started laughing. Oh, the humor of family dynamics!

  27. March 10, 2011 / 9:28 am

    janet,

    I just read my previous post (really need to edit these better) and saw that I said “you naughty joke”. “You” are not a naughty joke – I just want to hear youR naughty joke.

    Rebekah,

    1. Bill and I adore the entire northern coast of California – it’s so wild and natural there. And so spacious.
    2. Thank you for pointing out the recipes you like in Silverstone’s book. I haven’t made anything from it yet, but so far I have enjoyed looking through all the pretty photos. I will be certain to tag those particular recipes.
    3. I feel a bit like a cheapskate for taking not one, but two of their free wine boxes. We had just spent an hour sipping on their very expensive ($225 per bottle) wine and our tasting fee was waived because our friend knew someone who was a big spender there. We didn’t buy a thing, then walk out the door with two boxes. What must they have thought of us?
    4. My husband also tunes me out. He’s getting better now that we have had some discussions about it. I make him put down his smart phone if I have to tell him something urgent or I’ll wait until he’s done if it’s not that important. I have a huge pet peeve about repeating myself. Please try the uterus thing out on your husband and let me know the results 🙂

  28. March 10, 2011 / 9:35 am

    Luxe,

    You lucky girl! I’m not eating meat for awhile. I sure miss shellfish. And mac and cheese always has been and will be my favorite comfort food.
    I hope you feel better!

    AA,

    It is rare that I am funny on my blog – am glad I could make you laugh!

    Beth,

    I am trying to not complain as much, but it really is a huge challenge. I wonder what the psychology behind complaining is.
    Good luck with your Lent challenge. You picked a tough one, but if anyone can stop complaining for 46 days, it’s you!

  29. March 10, 2011 / 9:58 am

    Linda,

    Coco really will fight someone for the heating pad – you might get snapped at if you were to try and snag it!
    I haven’t had the pads on much lately so Coco’s new thing is waking Daisy up from her nap and kicking her off her warm bed so she can lay there. Isn’t she a brat? I have said it before: If Coco was human, I am certain I would not like her.

    I hope your back and neck feel better – and your husband, too! Tall people often have more back issues than other people.
    Julia,

    I am happy I could make you laugh, but sorry to make your uterus hurt! That’s not good!

    fojoy,

    Bill read all the comments last night and he said, “Great. Now everyone thinks I’m one of those topper people.” I just looked at him and shrugged. I think he is really trying to work on that.
    If you try the uterus trick, please let me know. I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be very effective on any man.

    Paula,

    Our island is just a natural dumping ground. It piles up around 6 p.m when husband and child come home. Then in the morning, it’s disappeared. My family is pretty good about not leaving their belongings lying about for too long. I am probably the worst of the three of us about that.

    We do have an office room, but I do not like it. At all. My husband and stepdaughter use it, but I steer clear. It’s just not my thing. I prefer our bedroom. I like the way our room has lots of Paris things about and it’s comfortable. I just have to make sure I don’t spend too much time on the computer! Always a challenge for me!

  30. March 10, 2011 / 11:01 am

    Hermine,

    You are a student, so it makes perfect sense that you would need a big space for all of your studies! But keeping it all centralized saves time and your nerves – running around to multiple locations looking for that one book or that one note can be annoying!

    Buttons: I thought they would be easy to find. But they are not! If you can figure out what size you need, you may be able to find some on Etsy. I needed a perfect color match, that’s why I waited until I found some in a store.

    Jen,

    My ears hurt? That sounds like a complaint to me, Mr. Jenny!

  31. March 10, 2011 / 9:41 pm

    What a fantastic idea the wine box was! And the buttons on the jacket look great 🙂
    Oh, and my husband does that one-upping thing to me too. Gets on my wick!

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