The Prodigal Condo

Well, I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but….the condo is finished.

Like, actually finished. Like it has a floor now. On Friday, the miracle worker arrived at my house and when I went by after work, there it was….and there he was. He may have been covered in tattoos, but he might as well been Jesus Christ himself. It was all I could do not to have a mental breakdown in front of J.C., but I did. I cried for a lot of reasons. Mainly for the stress of everything that has happened over the last two months. And for the sheer joy of knowing that the laminate that’s been sitting in boxes for two weeks was finally on the floor. So I’ve spent the weekend actually living in my condo, and attempting to move giant furniture around. It’s been exhausting, but it finally feels like mine. Like I actually live here. And I realized something, that as awful as the renovation process has been, it was exactly what I needed. I needed a distraction, something to take away from everything that has gone wrong in the past two months. A lot changed. I’m not at all where I thought I’d be, but I think that’s a good thing. I have a full time job, I’m attempting to be a homeowner, and for the first time, I feel like an adult. Because here is what I’ve discovered, the universe is a confusing and at times infuriating. It doles out things we can’t even imagine, and expects us to take it and run with it. And like the change-phobic creatures we are, we cringe at this. We stomp our feet, and we cry and we cross our arms. Or maybe that’s just me…. Anyways, what I’ve discovered is that the universe always has a plan. Sometimes it takes a couple curve balls, and an awful looking condo, and feeling miserable for two months to realize it, but eventually you realize that it was necessary change. I was comfortable, but was I happy? No, definitely not. I think the cosmic forces out there saw that, and they dragged me kicking and screaming into a new phase of life that has shown me that you are ultimately your own hero. As Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids put it, “you are your own problem, but you’re also your own solution”. So, in honor of all this I have attached pictures of the prodigal condo so that you can see that I haven’t made all of this up and that the struggle was very much real.

Living room/kitchen

Living room/kitchen

image (2) image (3) image

So there you go….proof! There are also two bedrooms, but they are currently filled with stuff and look like an episode of hoarders. It’s hard to believe that it all has actually come together. I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in the struggles and the processes of attaining the things we want that when they actually happen we don’t know what to do. I spent so much time on this condo, and now it’s here. Sometimes I find myself scratching my head and thinking…well what next? The truth is, I think the thought of not knowing what comes next is scary to everyone. I know it is to me. But I also think we don’t give ourselves credit enough for getting to where we are now. It’s okay to not know what will happen next, but it’s not okay to discredit your current journey. Whatever cosmic force that you believe in, just know that it has a plan for you, and that it’s going to work out. And trust me, I am not saying this to be all knowing…I’m saying it also so that I may believe and apply these principles. I don’t know where I’m going. I’m almost 23 (on this upcoming Friday!), single, and working my first full time job. Did I think I’d be here 3 months ago? Absolutely not. But am I glad to be here now? Absolutely. I think the divine forces that govern us have a way of throwing us the necessary curve balls to alter out paths to where there supposed to be. But we’re all going to get there, and it’s all going to be okay. So, I think today we all deserve to pat ourselves on the back and be grateful that we’re heading exactly to where we’re supposed to be.

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Update

So, for my fan base (ha! jokes) here is an update on why I have been so MIA the past week or two. I’m writing this from the seven circles of condo hell. To be it delicately, shit has hit the fan. Or should I say floor in this case? From my last post, you know that only half of my living room/kitchen has flooring on it right now. The remaining part of the kitchen and dining room are a dusty, bare concrete slab.

Yeah, minimalist was not quite what I was going for with that. The other horrible discovery I have made about my kitchen floor is that it is extremely uneven, and therefore unsuitable for laying laminate on top of. Of course, my contractor said: “I can fix that”. But unlike the man from the movie Holes, he could NOT fix it. But he thought he could. Because what we do when we don’t know how to do something? We do it anyways, and hope no one calls us out on it. But floor shouldn’t be included in this rule. So, my contractor laid down what he believed would fix the floor. And Lowes came back out to install the floors. And funny thing, they couldn’t put the laminate down STILL because the floor wasn’t relevant. So my contractor said “I can fix that”. But again, unlike a la Holes, he couldn’t fix that. What he should’ve said was “I can make that even worse”. Because he laid more of the leveling product and Lowes made a third trip. And now, I can’t get a call from Lowes without getting a PTSD flashback, because surprise they still couldn’t put down the laminate.

This was the point where the humanity in me shriveled up and died. This was also when I fired my contractor, threatened to inter him in my bare kitchen floor, and promptly drank a bottle of wine. But, can it get worse?

….Oh yes it can! Because what’s worse than not have a floor? Having your furniture arrive because you assumed you’d have a floor by now. Silly girl. So yes, my furniture showed up, and is now promptly stacked on the section of my condo that has floor. My stove is unhooked and sitting in my living room, and my fridge is beside it. So I have spent most of time crying and having contractor after contractor come and stare at my kitchen and scratch their heads. However, there might be light at the tunnel because my new contractor is supposed to have my floor in by Friday. Which is great, because my washer and dryer are supposed to come in on Saturday. And I’d really like to have a floor to put them on. I’m really not enjoying my only option for clothes washing being Oh Brother, where are thou style in the pond behind the condo. Hopefully the next post I write will be in a happier state of mind, and I will have crawled out of the pits of condo purgatory. Because I’m not happy at the moment, and I’m running out wine and clean clothes.

-Celeste

Condo Dust

So…good news everybody!! My condo is almost finished! YAY! Not that I don’t love living on a deserted island…

Actually, I like living out here a lot. I’m quite unsocial. And being out here allows me to talk to no one while drinking all the wine i can guzzle. It’s an introvert’s dream.

But, they finally installed my counter tops and carpets and the laminate…

Oh, wait. Because it wouldn’t be a renovation if something didn’t go horribly wrong.

This is the story of linoleum, and the dark secrets it hides.

In my tiny, glorious condo, the kitchen and utility room are covered with linoleum. Now, I have yet to see good-looking linoleum, and this does not help that case much. It’s yellow, it’s peeling, and it’s ugly. So my grown up ass decided it had to go.

But little did I know, the linoleum wouldn’t go down without a fight.

SO. When I first decided that I was going to replace the nasty linoleum with beautiful new laminate (because I’m on a budget, after all!) the man came out to measure my condo. I showed him the nasty linoleum, and even had him get down on its level, and inspect it.

“No,” he told me, “we can just lay the laminate over it”

And like a naive, 22 year old…i believed him.

So, today, the day when my condo was supposed to become livable and my little 22 year old dreams were supposed to come true…they didn’t.

I knew it was bad when my contractor even refused to tell me the news. The Cathy had to tell me that my linoleum, which suddenly became too uneven to lay laminate on, had been ripped up and under it a horrible secret.

A body? You ask? No….

Water damage. And this water damage has to be patched. And that means my laminate couldn’t be installed. So this has left me with half my condo laminated, half concrete, and a fridge and stove in my living room.

So I stood in my half finished condo today, attempting to hang shower curtains and not inhale the pounds of dust that have magically accumulated from all the renovations. And I’m not referring to regular dust, but a fine white powder dust. I’m not sure where it comes from, but every time I leave the condo, I look like I’ve just rolled around in a pound of cocaine. So I stood on my step stool (because I am as tall as a Keebler elf) trying to hang these shower curtains, and cursing the linoleum that now lay in large chucks in my living room.

“What do you want us to do with it?”

“Leave it,” I growled through my teeth, “I want it to suffer”

But I stood up there, mentally cursing everything that had gone wrong that day. And having the poise of a mini horse, I lost my balance, fell off the step stool, and landed on my ass in the middle of the bathroom. And up went a cloud of dust that resembled the mushroom cloud of Nagasaki.

So I sat on my ass in the dust, and this was when I realized something. I had been bitching all day about how things had not gone according to plan. But I had been so busy doing that, that I forgot to remember:

This is my condo. I bought this. ME.

This dust bowl was my creation, and in the midst of all the dust, it was important to remember that and to know that eventually this would be finished. It took something going wrong in my day to make me realize all that had gone right. Weird, right? I think we all do this. I think we all get caught up in the dust that seems to settle around us. Because dust represents details, and it’s easy to get so caught up in them that you lose sight of what’s under the dust. Under the dust is actual stuff, under the dust is our lives, and under the dust is my condo. The good thing about dust is that you can wipe it away, and it’s easily changed. Details can change, and if you’re as crazy as I am, you hate this. But to my knowledge, this is how life works, and unfortunately we just have to accept that we are always going to be dusting. It’s realizing that there is stuff under the dust, and this stuff is important.

That sounded deep, and almost like I know what I’m talking about. Weird.

-Celeste

My Tattoed Angel

This is a story about redemption.

Just kidding, that did sound really epic though. This is a story about how I went to Lowes and realized that being an independent woman is a tough business. But I was a woman on a mission: tonight I was going to get all the lighting for the condo. I knew what I needed, I had my handy list in hand, and I had brought my can-do attitude. If you can’t tell, I was also jacked up on some Starbucks.

You can do this Celeste. You are an independent woman who doesn’t need anybody’s help! You have a job, you just bought a condo…. (And yes, I am aware that I’m actually talking to myself, but sometimes you need a pep talk. And I have no one to give me these pep talks. Like I said, being I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T is tough stuff)

In retrospect, I should’ve added, “has the wing-span of a t-rex” to this list.

I went into the Lowes with my can-do spirit, and grabbed myself a cart and was off to the races. Now, here is what I learned immediately:

1. the carts they give you at Lowes are impossibly small compared to the size of the boxes their products come in.

2. Lowes is a horrible place to go if you’re single.

Immediately, I noticed the hordes of couples that swarm through Lowes. It’s like a giant breeding ground of newlyweds. And they’re all nesting. Cue mocking voice that I frequently use:

“Oh honey, which faucet should we get? Should we get this one, or this other one that looks exactly the same? Oh look, a single person. Let’s be super in love all over the place”

…if you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit of a pessimist at times.

But while everyone else in Lowes was busy being in love, I was trying to bench press the four fans I needed into the cart that must’ve been made for a Barbie. But I was clinging hard to my independent woman mentality.

Nope, I don’t need any help. I am woman hear me roar-oh GOD why is this so heavy?! I had thrown my proverbial bra into the flames, but was starting to regret that decision. I was doing my best to be a strong lady,  but as strong as my intentions were, they simply overpowered my noodle-like arms.

So there I was, sweating, and grunting in the Lowes. The Lowes Gods did finally answer my prayers; however, and it was then that I heard the voice of my guardian angel.

“Do you need some help, ma’am?”

No, I love the feeling of my ribs puncturing my lungs. YES I NEED-

But when I turned around, there he was. There stood my guardian angel, 6 feet tall and covered in tattoos. But he was standing next to a flat bed cart, and to me he had wings and a halo.

I was at an impasse. Part of me wanted to stamp my feet, proclaim my independence against the tyranny of Lowes and its haven of newlyweds. But, the other part of me wanted that man to wheel all my boxes to the car with me on top of it.

Life Lesson Time: sometimes, you just need help. You can be as independent as you want, but sometimes you need a hand…and longer arms.

So I took my tattooed angel up on his offer, and he even summoned his tattooed cherubs to help me with the rest of the lighting to my car. So I walked beside the heavenly Hell’s Angels and thanked them as they loaded everything into my car. I left Lowes with a renewed sense of humility. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re dependent or needy. Maybe it makes you more independent to admit when you just need help. Either way, my tattooed angel taught me an important lesson: if you need help, ask.

Or maybe just hijack a flatbed cart when you get in the door.

-Celeste

Why I Write

So, I’m trying this new thing where I write try to write everyday. I know, what could go wrong, right? But I’m a big believer in the phrase, “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”….I have no idea who said that. But it describes me perfectly. I get out of situations, and I say that i want a different result, but then I do the same things over and over again. Well, this is me doing something different. This is me proverbially kicking my own ass. Because sometimes you have to kick your own ass.

I’m hoping that writing everyday will lead me to some higher clarity of how my brain actually functions. Because let me tell you, it’s weird in there, y’all. But it’s mine and doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. If you couldn’t tell, I’m ridiculously introspective and I spend way too much time in my own brain. Sometimes, it’s like a tornado that’s constantly churning out feelings and memories. And why it is always things I don’t want to remember is beyond me.

“Oh, were you trying to bury that memory that makes your soul shrivel up? Let me just bring that back up” -my brain.

For me, writing is cathartic. Writing slows down the storm and forces me to organize my thoughts. It’s my meditation, and I think everyone needs a form of release. Some people run, and experience the runner’s high. I have never felt this high, only the feeling of my own lungs imploding. Some people craft, but I’m no Martha Stewart. Every pinterest craft I have ever attempted has only left me drunk and angry. So instead, I write. I started writing because of therapy. Yes, someone as neurotic as me has certainly had their fair share of therapy. When I was younger, I had a lot of unhealthy habits. Though I have control over them now, they’re always with me. I believe we all carry around demons. They remind us of things we don’t want to remember. They try to get us back into old habits. Writing is my way of silencing these demons. Therapists often encouraged me to journal, and the act of writing down my thoughts would help control my habits. And what do you know, it worked! At first, the entries were random thoughts and feelings. But as time went by, they became more coherent and eventually began to form passages. And I started to feel more in control of my problems.

The truth is, I don’t care if anyone reads this blog. The only reason it’s public is that if someone stumbles upon this and can relate and not feel so alone, or just laughs at my utter stupidity, then I’m satisfied. Because here’s the thing: I don’t write to change people’s minds. I write to understand my own mind. This is my zen. This is my peace.

-Celeste

The Heavenly Hampton Inn

“The Cure to anything is a good laugh and a long sleep” -Irish Proverb

Campers,

I write this from a hotel room in Charleston.

Why are you in a hotel in Charleston Celeste? We thought you lived there? Why yes, readers, I do live in Charleston. I am in a hotel because I was displaced tonight by the biggest storm I have ever witnessed.

I knew it was bad when Mom and I left the Piggly Wiggly with our groceries in tow, only to witness a beautiful display of jagged lightning dancing across the sky. Because remember, I live on an island. An island only accessible by ferry.

Also, yes-my mother was with me. I refer to her as Mom, the Cathy, or super nugget. She embodies all three terms. She is a nugget because she is short. She gets a “the” in front of her name because she is fierce.

The Cathy and I made it to the ferry dock, and it was already pouring rain, which is never good when you’re about to load yourself and all your stuff into a golf cart. The rain began…oh excuse me i mean THE HEAVENS OPENED UP. So did the lightning and the thunder. I looked at the Cathy, and I saw something I’ve never seen. Fear.

And let me tell you, when Cathy the Conqueror is scared it is time to pack up shop and get the hell out of Dodge. She looked over at me and said:

“Well maybe we should get a-”

And then the biggest crack of thunder I have ever heard shook the tiny ass ferry dock. And by that I mean if this thing could’ve talked it would’ve said:

THE EARTH IS ENDING! HIDE YO WIFE HIDE YO KIDS BOOOOOOOM SHAKALAKA!!!

I hopped onto to that tiny nugget like I was five again. And the funnier part is that she jumped into my arms as well. This might have been a moment of bonding, but we both have the arm spans of a t-rex. This was my first realization of the night: the Cathy is afraid of thunder. And if the Cathy is afraid….we should all be afraid.

We then made the executive decision to NOT get on the ferry of death and to retreat to a hotel room. So we gathered our already soaking bags and began wading back to the cars. And wading in ankle deep water (which on me is practically up to my knees) i felt truly miserable. I hadn’t felt miserable in awhile, and I’ve been pretty well acquainted with misery for the past 2 months. I was mad at myself for being miserable, but I just felt MISERABLE. I was soaking wet, wading through the river Styx that had developed in the Dewees parking lot, and wanting to just give up. I think we’ve all felt that way from time to time. I had been working so hard to be strong, and to feel better that I hadn’t given myself a chance to feel miserable. It had found me in the form of a torrential storm.

But I did make it to my car and drove through the horrid lightning and thunder to heaven’s pearly gates: The Hampton Inn. Now, I haven’t ever really had an other worldly experience, but this moment can only be described as religious. There it was, big and yellow, and friendly and welcoming. It’s sign read: HAMPTON INN AND SUITES, but all I saw was HEAVEN. So the Cathy and I dragged our soaking wet selves through the lobby, and I’m sure the man behind the desk thought the girl from The Ring had invaded his lobby. But to me, I had just walked into heaven and the man behind the desk was St Peter, waiting to let me through the pearly gates.

Shaking from the near death experience with the lightning and the hypothermia from exquisite, arctic air conditioning of the Heavenly Hampton, we asked if there were rooms available. And in that moment, he could’ve said that a room cost a bazillion dollars, my kidney, and my first born and I would’ve blissfully signed the receipt.

….Sorry, kidney and future first born.

This was also when my mother handed me a cup of coffee, and I had my second religious experience of the night. This coffee was glorious. This coffee was incredible. It was like drinking delicious, high octane jet fuel. It was like Chuck Norris rode in on a unicorn with a caffeine bat and hit me so hard all I saw were cherubs with lattes in their chubby cherub hands. I had reached nirvana. I had found the nectar of the Gods, and it was in the heavenly Hampton Inn.

That night, I lay in my fluffy, cloud-like bed, warm from a piping hot shower, and shaking like a coked out Chihuahua. Despite the caffeine buzz that made me feel like I was having a stroke, i felt better. And I realized that what I had needed so badly, was comfort. And to not be struck by lightning. But I needed comfort. I think it’s a basic human need to feel comforted at times. I had spent so much time trying to be strong and invincible that I had forgotten how easy it is to miss basic necessities. So that night I found my comfort in a warm bed, a hot shower, and a cup of coffee strong enough to kill an elephant. No matter how old we are, we will always need these basic items of comfort.

I pondered this as I fell asleep.

I also hope that heaven actually looks like a Hampton Inn.

-Celeste