Part-time entry-level microbiologist

If you recall from previous episodes, Tony and I recently moved into my parents’ house. They’ve moved to a new city in Missouri, and Tony and I are fixing up their place during our unemployment. We’re knee deep in home improvement projects these days, so let’s start with the best part: some before and after shots.

Here’s a radiator that once served as a looking-out-the-window perch for dogs. Before side is dirty, after is clean.

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I can’t help but appreciate the immediate reward of “projects” like this. I suppose I owe a thank you to my parents’ dogs for providing me with many such small thrills of cleaning. Thank you for being so gross, canine siblings!

Here’s a before of the stair railing in the backyard.


I’m not convinced that the after is an improvement, since the fresh paint mostly just accentuates the desperate need for paint everywhere else.


The railing itself definitely looks better and is more protected against rain and snow, but I’ve really got to paint the post next to the railing.  I didn’t quite realize how atrocious it looked until I saw this picture.

While the railing paint is arguably a success, there is no argument about this next before and after. I definitely failed here!

It began well enough with some spackle over several large nail holes in the TV room. I love spackle.

Unfortunately, it quickly devolved when I painted over said spackling with the wrong paint.

In my defense, it was cruel and unusual for my parents to paint a cabinet a slightly different shade of turquoise than the TV room, and then keep the half-full jar of cabinet paint next to a bunch of previously-used wall paints. My parents don’t have any remaining TV room paint, so it looks like Tony and I will be repainting the whole room. No, I haven’t got any regrets about that spackle project! Why do you ask?

A few days ago, our new next-door neighbors let us borrow a chainsaw to cut down some of the dead limbs in the front and back yards. I believe that Tony and I fell in love at first sight, but I now know that that experience pales in comparison to the passion that Tony felt upon first using this chainsaw.

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He was literally sawing stuff down for hours. When I gently suggested that it was time to return the saw, he quickly thought of several more things that needed to be trimmed back or removed. It was twilight by the time I finally convinced him to give the chainsaw back and come inside, and I credit that mostly to the fact that I promised we could borrow it again if we needed it. The heart wants what it wants, and Tony’s heart really wants a chainsaw.

Thanks in large part to Tony’s amazing chainsawing efforts, the backyard looks better than it has in years. Also, we have a ton of wood to burn since Tony took down so many dead limbs. There was really only one solution: create an awesome backyard fire pit.

Isn’t it beautiful?

In the midst of all this manual labor, I’ve started taking a microbiology class. It might seem counter intuitive, but I’ve discovered that there’s nothing quite as lovely as doing yardwork all day and then coming inside for some microbiology reading. The physical and mental exhaustion that one experiences after a day like that will, I have proven to myself, lead to the best and most rejuvenating sleep of one’s life. I’d highly recommend it.

So far I really like microbiology, and I’ve decided that perhaps I should switch career goals again. Instead of fundraising or dietetics, I think what I’d really love is working as a part-time landscaper and part-time entry-level microbiologist. Can someone find me that job?

I’ll close this post with a brief public service announcement. Now that the weather is warming, it is officially Bud Light Lime weather (although, obviously, one can and should drink BLL all the time, no matter the season). Please don’t make the mistake that I did by trying Michelob’s answer to BLL.  If Miller High Life is the Champagne of Beers, Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus is the Kool-Aid of Beers. And not in a good way.

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That’s all for now. I hope everybody who celebrates had a nice Easter! Tony and I had great one with his parents and sister (hi Gene, Kathy, and Kate!).

Posted in homely home, Ozark Voices, review | 1 Comment

Boyoncé

Since I last wrote, I had my last day at work, said goodbye to all my Missoula friends, got engaged to Tony, packed up all of our stuff, drove 26 hours across the country to Missouri, helped my parents move up to Kansas City, and unloaded a bunch of our stuff into their house. There’s still a whole bunch to do (unloading more of our crap being top of the list) but I wanted to stop in for a second to say “hi!” and “I got engaged!”

So, yeah, now I’ve got a boyoncé (or, if you prefer, fiancé). Yay! He’s a really good one.

My ring is from the 1940′s. I love it so much.

Yes, Tony did bring Bud Light Lime rather than champagne to the proposal site. Dude knows what I like. (Also, I really want BLL to sponsor Fawn Log and/or my wedding. How do I make this happen?)

I really like this picture of us and think maybe we could use it for our save the dates or something someday, who knows?

So, yes, we’re happy! We don’t know anything about when or where the wedding will be, so don’t bother asking (but thank you for your interest! I’ll keep you posted!).

Also, I just wanted to say before I stop writing and move more stuff: on the off chance that anyone is reading this and feeling sad that he or she isn’t engaged, please keep in mind that I am 26 years old and living in my parents’ house. My life is definitely not one to emulate. Relationship statuses are so loaded, especially for women, and I never want to be the person who makes anyone feel bad or less than because of who he or she is with or not with at all, ever. In fact, my personal dream is that someday America may be a bit more like Sweden, where you can be in a marriage-less relationship that is still considered legitimate. (Shout-out to Kristina for teaching me the word sambo and many other cool things about Swedish culture!). Until then, I hope that Fawn Log only ever makes you feel (a) happy or (b) confused but never, ever (c) bad. There’s plenty of  internet for that, but this blog ain’t it!

Love you all! I’ll be back soon, hopefully.

Posted in Internet, Ozark Voices, Parents, the best things in life are bud light limes, Writing stuff down | 3 Comments

Goodbye, Missoula

Tony and I are leaving Missoula next week for our hometown of Springfield, Missouri. The word bittersweet always seems a little over the top, but it’s the only adequate way to describe how our move feels to me.

On our first night in Missoula, sleeping on some blankets in the apartment we’d rented via craigslist, we were woken up at 2 am by the creepy sounds of maniacal laughter outside our window. Upon investigation, it turned out to be a couple of twenty-something dudes hanging out in the apartment yard, one of whom was doing wheelies on an old, broken down wheelchair. I remember thinking that Missoula was a horrible place.

The view from our old apartment. Note wheelchair in lower right.

Fortunately, I was completely wrong. Missoula has been an incredible place to live.

I learned how to be an adult in Missoula. A big part of that was my job as a fundraiser with the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana. It was a job that was simultaneously rewarding and frustrating, and it taught me so much about the ways that philanthropy fails and how–sometimes and in spectacular ways– it succeeds.

There were certainly times, over the past three years, that I’ve had fantasies along these lines:

But as my last day gets closer, it turns out that leaving is much more difficult and (there’s the word again) bittersweet.

Another bittersweet aspect is leaving behind our friends. We’ve met so many great people here. I am typically horrible at staying in touch but I’m really, really going to try to stay in touch with my Missoula friends.

This is a really old picture from this post. I used to be so youthful!

You might be wondering why in the heck we’re leaving, then, if we like it here so much. There are roughly 10 bajillion reasons, but the only one that really matters is that we know that our future isn’t here. It feels like there is a next step out there for me and for Tony, and we need to leave Missoula to get there.

For the foreseeable future (i.e. the next few months at least) we’ll be living in my parents’ old house while getting it ready for sale (my parents are moving to Kansas City, MO. Hi mom and dad!). While doing that, I’m going to take a bunch of prerequisite courses in the hopes of applying to graduate school in Public Health-Dietetics. Tony is going to try to find work that uses his skills and education in writing. I think it’s going to be an adventure.

A coworker recently saw this blog for the first time (hi Tara!) and asked me why I wrote it. I fumbled around for an answer and ended up basically making a bunch of incoherent noises. The correct answer, however, is that it helps me process my feelings. I am sure that I will have many, many feelings during this transition, and I am equally sure that I will continue to vent about them here. For those of you who are interested, please stick around and keep reading.

I sometimes think about writing a book someday about...something. Until then, I have Fawn Log. Seen through that lens, this post is the end of a wonderful, challenging, and transformative chapter, but it’s nowhere near the end of the book.

Posted in Ozark Voices | 6 Comments