Suddenly I’m Homesick

Every morning in the Englehauer household, the Today Show is playing, giving me the weather, a little bit of news and a lot of gossip.

And when I am home in time for the evening news, Brian Williams is the one who gives it to me. Brilliams in my favorite Robin Hood board member (sorry to everyone else – I can’t lie). I even have a truly remarkable photo of the big man himself from our 2012 benefit hung up at my desk. Other people have pictures of babies and significant others. For me, it is b.wills.

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And anyone who knows me, knows that although I may live in NYC, in my heart I will always be part of the 603. The ‘shire. The granite state. Those who say “live free or die” and truly mean it. That’s right: New Hampshire.

So, when NBC News and by boy speak about the greatness that is NH, my heart melts.

 

“Anyone who has spent time in New Hampshire has an emotional tie to the state … but what I appreciated when I was governor was the people, and I believe they are what made a difference in getting the peace treaty negotiations done. … It’s been the people: their independence, self-reliance and imagination. It’s all possible in New Hampshire.”
— Jeanne Shaheen

Spring Cleaning

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This weekend Matt and I undertook the task of spring cleaning. I am not entirely sure what inspired Matt to lead the change in this effort, but I am not complaining. To me, the greatest way to spend an afternoon is cleaning out my closet. I love the feeling of de-cluttering and then refolding and color coding all of the clothing that I want to keep, there is no greater joy. I know, I have a sickness. So when Matt suggested that we spend the day de-cluttering our entire apartment, I felt like I died and went to heaven.

After 5 hours of cleaning, we were left with 4 bags of garbage/recyclables, 5 bags of clothing to donate and a few miscellaneous piles of thing that we needed to figure out what to do with. The piles contain the following:

CDs and DVDs – honestly, what does one do with these things? Suddenly, I fully understand why my parents had boxes of records in our basement for years. There is nowhere to put outdated technologies.

“Things for when we own a home” – This pile consists of a down duvet – when we upgraded our bed to a king, this one no longer fit; however, I want to keep it for when we have a guest room (I know, I’m dreaming), a beautiful picture frame that we got for wedding  – it really needs to live in a formal dining room (which we don’t have) with my china (which is all in a closet at my parents house), and a few other things that I want, but don’t have room for right now. Now I just need my parents to ‘swing by’ and pick all of this stuff up… I’m sure they will be thrilled to serve as my storage unit for more stuff.

Baking Supplies – well, not exactly supplies, but super cute containers to put cookies and treats in. I know, whatever happened to good old Tupperware? Blame Martha.

Craft Supplies – anyone who had been to our apartment can attest to the incredible amount of craft supplies I have managed to fit into our one bedroom apartment. Honestly, it rivals most preschools in the city. Unfortunately  my collection continues to grow. As a result, I created a pile of things that I thought might find a better home at Robin Hood’s offices. I know, lucky them!

So even after 5 hours of cleaning and a trip to Housing Works (an incredible Robin Hood funded program) to donate our clothing, there is still a bit of work to be done.  Looks like this episode of hoarders to be continued next weekend…

Staying Put

After looking at more than a dozen apartments in Brooklyn, Matt and I have come to the decision that we are going to stay in our current apartment for another year. While I am disappointed that we won’t have a new neighborhood to explore and a new home to decorate, I know that it was the right decision.

It seems like every day there is a new article written about the crazy rental/real estate market in New York and Brooklyn is certainly not excluded from that. After seeing what was out there, Matt and I decided that our current place wasn’t so bad and we could handle it for another year.

So now the real fun begins: trying to rethink the current layout of our apartment. Particularly because Matt wants to incorporate an office/desk space for himself. I thought I was being generous by offering up my craft table, but apparently Matt isn’t good at sharing and needs an areas that is “all to himself.” Good luck finding that is our already packed one-bedroom apartment!

So I’ve turned my “When We Move to Brooklyn” pinterest board into “Redecorating.” First on our list – bedroom furniture. Any suggestions? We are trying to be a little more grown up than Ikea, but not quite ready for the maturity level (and money) it takes to shop at Pottery Barn!

What have I created?

Matt came home late tonight and while h missed a delicious home cooked dinner by none other than myself, he saved room for fresh strawberries for dessert. I had been watching HGTV when Matt came home and at 10pm, House Hunters came on. Typically, Matt comes home and immediately start channel surfing trying to find something better than Cupcake Wars, Toddlers & Tiara or some other trashy show that I am inevitably watching. But tonight, it was a different story.

Matt was immediately captivated at the massive square footage that 350,000 dollars can get you in Texas. His amazement soon turned into jealously displayed in the form of a temptertantrum. However, the bowl of strawberries that I placed in his lap soon distracted him.

As I was loading the dishes into the dishwasher, I started to ask Matt about his day…

“Matt, how was your day? Why did you have to work late”

“It was… ummm… give me a second. This is like the crucial part…”

Needless to say, the couple that was house hunting for the last 25 minutes was about to make their decision and Matt needed to hear this one – without distractions (and by distractions I mean me!) He normally only reserves this level of concentration for True Blood and Game of Thrones.

Maybe watching tv together isn’t a good idea.

Meet My New Mom

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This comment was so good I decided it needed its own post:

I am officially applying for the position of adopted mother. Although I had not considered more children, your plea tugged at my heart strings. First and foremost, you are my favorite and always have been. Your sister is selfish to hog your birth parents like that. I promise I would never do that.

I have my cell beside my bed, so you can call me day or night. If I don’t answer on the first ring, I will by the third. I make the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet, just ask your new brother. I also like the idea that you are a married adult living away from home!!! This is so novel, I will want to visit you regularly, but especially for special occasions, birthdays, holidays, playoffs, NYC marathon, etc. I love to shop and spend time with my girls doing what they like, that brings joy to me. I must insist that when or if a grandchild arrives, I get to come and take care of both of you. I have my degree in early childhood education, so i am fully qualified to be baby opinionated like all great grandmas! Mostly I want a free place to stay while I’m in NYC, but would happily adopt you and welcome your husband into our family! xoxox

Love mom

PS- I miss you already :)

Thanks mom! You are the best. I can’t wait to meet you!

Available for Adoption

 

Recently, I have started to think that my parents, specifically my mother, aren’t up for the job of being my parents any longer. As a result, I am putting myself up for adoption.

It all began when I asked my mom if she would consider coming to New York City to visit me. I haven’t seen my parents since Christmas — I know, it has only been 3 months, but it feels like a long time to this homebody.  My work/life schedule has been pretty busy and is only going to get busier of the next couple of months, so I thought inviting her for a long weekend of mother-daughter bonding in the big apple would be a great idea since I probably won’t be getting home anytime soon. However, when I mentioned it to her, she didn’t seem very enthused about the idea – saying something about not knowing her work schedule and whether or not they (meaning her and my dad) had any upcoming plans. I told her that I would really like to see her (and my dad if he could get away from work) and left it at that. I thought I was pretty clear.

A few days later when I was chatting with my sister on the phone she mentioned something about how mom and dad were going to visit her the last week in April. I practically dropped the phone and fell over in the street. I immediately hung up and called my mom.

I questioned her out on their upcoming trip to see their beloved daughter – who was not me! I could hear my mom’s guilt coming through my iPhone headphones but I didn’t care. Why hadn’t she mentioned this trip to me earlier? And why had they chosen to visit Abby over me? Just because I am married doesn’t mean I don’t need my parents. Angry and hurt I hung up the phone with my mom and called Matt to complain. He wasn’t very sympathetic, but I do think he would have enjoyed a visit from my parents as well, at least to take the burden of “dealing with me” off his hands for a weekend.

Since this information was leaked, I have done nothing except make my parents, particularly my mother, feel guilty about this blatant display of offspring favoritism. I thought for sure she would put a visit to NYC on the calendar just to get me to be quiet. I am shocked and disappointed to report, that has yet to happen.

And today – it got worse (I know, I didn’t think it could either!) During my 15 minute walk to the subway this morning, I called my mother to have our daily morning chat. Thankfully, she answered the phone, which has become a rarity lately. She mentioned that she couldn’t chat long because she was meeting a friend at Panera. Most people know that Panera is my favorite suburban restaurant. As a former employee I hold this establishment in the highest regards. Whenever I am home, I make sure to squeeze in at least one trip to the mecca of the lunchtime soup and sandwich combo – usually with my mom. So for her to partake in this ritual with someone else – well I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. At least it was with a friend and not my arch nemesis sister.

She was meeting a friend to strategize about an upcoming political fundraiser that she is throwing for someone running for Executive Counsel in NH (man I love local politics!). When I probed her about the event, it became painfully obvious that she needed my fundraising/event expertise. When I offered to review her invitation she seemed more annoyed than elated. Hmm – maybe she is forgetting that I work for a non-profit that throws THE most successful fundraising event – ever/period/hands down. Oh, and did I mention that since I am now on the communications team, me, Molly Brethauer – her daughter, is often the copy writer for our invitations/programs/newsletter/every form of communication that we produce (ok, so maybe that is an exaggeration, but what parent doesn’t embellish how important their children are?) Even after pointing out that these facts to her, I still had to practically beg her to let me help.

So that’s it — I am taking a stand and I am officially accepting applications for my adoption. Requirements for my future parents include (but are not limited to):

1. Frequent visits to see me
2. 24/7 phone availability
3. Weekly care packages (these can contain things like homemade cookies, interesting articles from the local town newspaper, and/or fun things from the dollar section at target)
4. Sympathy when I don’t feel well
5. A deeper and more genuine love for me than for my sister
6. Constant praise and adoration

What you will get in return:

Joy and pride for all of eternity (and I am certain that your friends will be insanely jealous at your incredible parenting skills — obviously they are amazing if you were able to produce me.)

My husband will be screening all applications. You will only be contacted if I think you are up for the job.

Thank you.

 

 

My Top Five Guilty Pleasures

Wikipedia defines a guilty pleasure as, “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The guilt involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes. Fashion, video games, music,movies and junk food can be examples of guilty pleasures.” I define it as something I like and get enjoyment out of, but would probably be judged for it and therefore, I don’t go around broadcasting it to the world…

or do I?

 

5. Rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher at work

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I’m not going to lie, we have a pretty crappy dishwasher at work. The “spokes” of the rack are spaced much too closely together and we have rather large/thick dishes in our kitchen. People are forced to shove their dishes into place and  the spokes become bent creating even more inefficiency. Regardless of the technical flaws with the machine, people just  pile their dishes into the dish washer, not really taking into consideration proper dish placement, an art form that I have definitely mastered. As a result, I spend approximately 5-10 minutes, probably every day, rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher. Honestly, it is really embarrassing when someone catches me doing this – I try my best to conceal. But the thrill of seeing all the dishes lined up properly, as well as the creation of more usable space, it really quite exhilarating. I know, working with me is pretty much a nightmare dream come true.

4. Refolding, sorting and color coding my clothing

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Every five or six weeks I tackle the project of reorganizing my closet. Most of the time when I begin this project my closet is pretty neat and organized. Or at least that is what most people would think, but not me.  I begin by piling everything onto my bed and begin folding, sorting, and organizing before putting it all back in place. The entire process can take a few hours. In the end, my goal is to have my closet look like the shelves and racks of a high-end designer boutique. I want all of my sweaters to be folder perfectly with a piece of tissue paper inside. I need matching coat hangers – at least within each “section” of my closets (i.e. dresses, skirts, blouses, tank tops, etc). And ideally things should be color coded. Basically, I want my closet to mimic that of Ms. Martha Stewart herself. When Matt and I moved in together this goal became much more challenging as I lost roughly half of the hanging space and now have to deal with his disorganized system, which includes metal hangers and shirts in plastic bags from the dry cleaners. I’ve yet to include his clothing in this re-org project, but I am not too sure how much longer I can hold off. Although Matt would probably be furious with me, the idea of having our entire closet organized is just too tempting.

3. Buying things on sale and bragging about it

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I love a good sale. The thrill of getting something at a discounted price is definitely a high for me. Even though there is typically a huge retail mark up, I think that because I am not paying full price, somehow I have “won”. After nearly every shopping trip where I have saved something, be in 5% off or 75% off, I need to brag about my accomplishments. Typically I call either my mom or my sister – they are the most likely to be impressed and make me feel good about my purchases. Sometimes, if I have purchased a really practical item, I will call my dad. I NEVER call Matt because he always makes me feel guilty about spending money – no matter how much I have saved (major buzz kill –  I guess it is something about perceived savings…) Just last week I called my mom to tell her about the great articles of clothing I got at the Gap, all at ridiculously discounted prices. She was appropriately impressed and even thought about making a trip to her local Gap store as well. Unfortunately in my haste to score a deal, I didn’t try on anything and ended up returning half of the things I purchased this afternoon. Sad. But hey, returning clothes is essentially like making money, right?

2.TLC

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Toddlers and Tiaras. Extreme Couponing. John and Kate Plus Eight. 19 Kids and Counting. Say Yes to the Dress. Sister Wives. Hoarding: Buried Alive. Sarah Palin’s Alaskan Adventure (I know, I just threw up in my mouth a little). You name it – I’ve probably seen it.

I’ve got nothing here – I just like trashy, low quality tv. John Hamm – please don’t hate me. I still love Don Draper.

1. Tween Music

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It began when I was a tween – New Kids on the Block, Spice Girls Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Back Street Boys and 98°. It then progressed to Hanson, Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson. Lindsay Lohan, Jesse McCartney and Hilary Duff rounded things out as I ended the teenage chapter of my life and entered my 20s. Unfortunately, my love of the tween pop sensation stayed with me. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, the Cast of High School Musical, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber  all  make regular appearances on my iPod.

And now, there’s Carly Rae.

Please don’t judge me.