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A New Chapter: Back There

Between intensely suggesting that my tax advisor reassess my taxes for the third time, and thinking about the conversation Andy and I had had the day before, I choked back tears.

But when my tax advisor came up with the same damningly high numbers that I owed in April, she and everyone in the office knew I was a little upset.

Still, she walked me through everything. Expressed her apologies.

And threw in a coupon.

But it made for a long walk home.

After all, I’d have to talk to Andy about this, and how it was going to affect what we’d decided to do.


After a horrible evening of talking things through, blankly staring at the television as The Office failed to make us laugh, we went to bed early with the weight of tax burdens coloring our formerly rose-colored outlook a dismal, impenetrable black.

But the next day, my parents reminded me why I’m so goddamned fortunate to have them.

And after I ugly cried and they told me not to freak out, Andy and I were able to breathe once again.

And shore up the crack that taxes had made in our resolve. And savings.

Soon enough, between family and friends offering their support and help, we were again reminded that we have a ridiculously amazing cheerleading squad. And can never express deeply enough how much “Go for it!” or “How can I help?” or “Here you go!” measures up when naysayers have plenty of negativity to direct at us.

So, we’ve decided to listen to our family and friends.

But, most importantly, to our hearts.


We’re moving.

To Los Angeles.

Starting over on a new coast.



Before you turn to your cubicle or cellmate and say, “They crazeh!” I’ll beat you to it and tell you, “You’re right!”

But if we’re not a little crazy or a little naive, we’ll never take the step. We’ll just languish in the “what ifs,” and will have to drink ourselves to sleep whenever we watch Revolutionary Road.

Speaking of which, we watched that amazingly good movie the night we decided to move. And you know what? It helped.

Because the next day when the tax shit hit the fan, there were lots of questions, lots of “Oh, we’re delusional. This will never happen.”

But before I whipped out a rubber hose and pump, and Andy started screaming, “She did it to herself! She did it to herself!” we kept the plan alive.

By laughing.

By crying.

By imagining that we’d still pursue it, even if we had a giant hurdle thrown in our way.

Because, throughout this process, tenacity is crucial.

Thankfully, we’re both ridiculously stubborn when it comes to folding under pressure.

Even though we know that starting over is absolutely, insanely difficult.

But we’ve each done it before.

And being doggedly determined to try rather than wonder can’t hurt.


So, it starts now.

Leaving toxic work environments in our wake.

Telling ourselves that we’re worth more, and can offer more, than the asshats think.

Living and pursuing lives we want.

Retracing our steps.

Learning from tumbles and tribulations.

Cherishing our victories.

And embracing our gay, man-infested destiny as we create a future.

Listen to Nick Metropolis! The Pomer is Yours! Wait.

All the way back there.

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A Gay, Man-infested Destiny: There and Back

You know how I was adamant that I was going to chronicle every bit of our cross country road trip in painful detail?

Epic fail.

Granted, some stuff has gone down since then.


In an attempt to make amends with my slighted conscience, I’ll provide a ridiculous synopsis of everything else after Oklahoma.


So, when we last left our heroes, we’d just left our friend Amanda in Oklahoma and were en route to Vegas, with stop offs in New Mexico and Arizona.

We passed a lot of abandoned farms.

One of a bazillion abandoned farms just outside of OK.

Floored it past weird, Jesus-centric places.

Fill up on gas and THE LORD, YOU HEATHENS! And settled into the music, as alien landscapes whizzed by.

Desolation all around.

And then we passed into New Mexico.

With snow on the ground. *Facepalm*

Then we got lost in Albuquerque, because my “familiarity” with the city–having been there once before–landed us in a neighborhood of boarded-up houses and bail bond offices.
We disregarded all red lights, defaulted to our “Whole Foods” GPS input, and ended the day with super hot Mexican food at a local haunt near our non-sketchy hotel.   
Hot, spicy Mexican food. Mmmmm.
The next morning, we set our sights on Arizona, the Grand Canyon specifically. Because, even though it wasn’t on our official route, we figured it was sort of dumb to skip over something so monumental. Even if it might be cold. 
For whatever reason, I assumed that, after Oklahoma, it was going to be, like, hot. But, no.
Why soooo cold, Arizona?!
More snow. Hooray!
But we soldiered on.
Made it to the Grand Canyon. 
Where I realized that (1) The money was worth it; (2) NEVER wear converse-like shoes at the Grand Canyon when it’s 20 degrees. Especially if you have a circulatory disease; and (3) I’m even more of an acrophobe than I thought.
The Grand Canyon is most definitely grand.
By the time we got back to the car, I couldn’t feel by hands, feet, nose, or lips. And we watched as the temperature dropped precipitously thereafter. 
Really, Grand Canyon? Twelve degrees?!
After a slight directional miscalculation, we got back on track. 
And Andy occupied my attention as we passed over the Hoover Dam, so that I didn’t scream and cry about how we’d careen off to our deaths. 
Before long, we saw the lights.
The blinking, blurry Vegas skyline.
Chattered about what Vegas would surely be like.
Finally found our hotel.
Figured we’d get food poisoning from the horrible casino food.
Spent no money at the slot machines.
And witnessed horrific parenting at midnight. 


After we realized it took approximately five hours to get coffee at the casino Starbucks, we left Vegas in our wake.

Our Luxor-ious accommodations. Meh.

Snapshots on the way out.Even though my hair wasn’t done.

Sin City has this effect on hair.

But we had one of the two key destinations immediately ahead: San Francisco. 
So we prepped for another crazy-long day.
Instagram while driving! YAY! *Never do this*
And stopped at a weird rest area. Which smelled like a port-a-john on a subway.
I think that raven was waiting for us to die of the stench.
And then we encountered the first sign that we were closing in on California: a fruit checkpoint.
I panicked.
We had oranges in the bottom of our cooler.
We’d be sent to jail.
I’d be frisked.
I’d never see San Francisco.
So, as we slowly entered into a traffic line, we tried to formulate a plan.
“WHAT DO WE DO?! Throw the oranges out of the car now!”
“No. Just don’t tell them we have them.”
“They won’t believe me! We’re from out of state. The cooler is on the backseat! I’m southern!”
“Just don’t confess.”
With a few beads of sweat trickling between my eyebrows, I rolled the window down, greeted the guard, slathered my language with “y’all’s” and the twangiest Bama accent I could muster, and disavowed all knowledge of alien fruit.
She eyed the cooler on the backseat, and I reconsidered blurting out, “Don’t worry, it’s just hearts! Delicious hearts.”
We passed through, and I found the nearest gas station to dispose of our perfectly good oranges.
“Why are you doing this? We’re fine.”
But when Andy went inside, I pumped the gas, looked around, shielded the bag of oranges under my coat, and dumped them with little fanfare into the nearest trash receptacle. A morbidly obese child in a neighboring van stared at me, and I stared daggers back at him until he looked away.
And then we left.


The California countryside took my breath away. It looked like A Walk In the Clouds took a dump everywhere. 
The CA countryside.
Every single time we looked around, we were struck by how vast and beautiful and oddly empty the landscape happened to be. 
But soon, the windy roads gave way to freeways, and traffic picked up.
And we began feeling San Francisco closing in.
Feeling the San Francisco vibe.
Then, boom. We got into downtown. 
And, whoa.
We found out hotel.
And we screamed with joy.
When we got inside, the receptionist apologized that our room wasn’t ready, and asked if we’d be happy in an upgraded corner room with a view out toward Union Square.
A-MAZING view to downtown San Francisco.
“Why, yes. Yes, I think we can manage.” 
After we got settled and Andy kept saying how amazingly dead-on my friend had been when she’d recommended this place, we listened to our stomachs.
So, we grabbed a cab, and headed to the one place we both knew we wanted to see.
The Castro. The perfect place to spend our first evening.
Had amazing drinks.
Sweet Tart martinis at Fork. Um, yes.
Ate ridiculously good food.
So delicious. And the food ain't bad, either. Ba dah bah!
And then made it back to the hotel, where we continued Andy’s tradition of watching Christmas movies, including Miracle on 34th Street (which, to his horror, I’d never seen). 
Bringing the evening to a close with a classic.
Then, for the first time in several days, we were able to sleep in, and revel in the fact that we didn’t have to repack the car the next morning.
The morning after.
And could have a more sizable breakfast than Starbucks scones and coffee.
Crepes and fruit. Mmmm.
So, we spent our time traipsing around San Francisco, seeing plenty of great things.
Like its LGBT Center.
San Francisco LGBT Center
Its great neighborhoods.
San Francisco architectural gems.
Gay, old landmarks.
Gay, old landmarks.
Amazing restaurants.
Olea's sinfully good French toast.
Its architecture.
Chinatown, San Francisco
And so, so much more.
Couldn't beat a rainbow in San Francisco. Much less the double rainbow we saw later that day.
After a bazillion photos and countless “selfie” style “portraits” of us at so many wonderful places–City Light Bookstore, Twin Peaks, throughout Chinatown, at the top of Lombard Street–we packed it in, and set our GPS for Los Angeles. 


Now, as we entered LA, I fully prepared myself for the worst. Because so many people said it was horrible in comparison to San Francisco and San Diego.
So, I stupidly let that cloud my initial judgment, and contribute to a little grumpy mood. (Which wasn’t helped by the fact that our “Standard” digs seemed like a substandard Hot Topic explosion.) 
But then we made it to a restaurant where the sangria flowed and things settled down.
And it didn’t hurt that our hotel valet ended up being a hot silver fox from North Carolina.


The next day, we found a Whole Foods, where I’m pretty sure I saw Jake Gyllenhaal.

Then, we started patrolling neighborhoods, driving through Beverly Hills, and getting lost in Koreatown.
Eventually, we started targeting antique shops, and got out in one neighborhood in West Hollywood to stretch our legs.
The architecture was amazing.
Which was why we were looking up when we ran into a group of people leaving a corner coffee shop.
And when I looked down to see whose coffee I nearly spilled, I settled on an oddly familiar face.
It was Sandra Oh.
After we passed through the crowd, muttering apologies as we went, we turned the corner and I exploded.
“SANDRA OHhhhhhh.” As if yelling it louder was going to help.
I figured that if I did see any celebrity, I’d just be like, “Oh, there’s so-and-so. They’re shorter in real life.”
Instead, I started talking about moving to the neighborhood, becoming neighbors with Sandra Oh, and referring to her as Sandra Oh every single time we decided to do something together.
Like, when we’d host a backyard barbecue.
“Sandra Oh and I are going to get pineapple for the kabobs.”
We’d become best friends. And I’d laugh with her and say things like, “Oh, Sandra Oh. Pass the goddamned sangria.”
Where we bumped into Sandra Oh.
Andy tolerated my musings while we perused a used bookstore soon after our encounter of the Oh kind.
And then we were off again.
We spent the next few days walking around neighborhoods, going to antique shops, and snapping photos of potential digs should we end up on the west coast.
One of a billion photos of random apartment buildings.
 Flea marketing in LA!
And then settled into our hotel for Christmas Eve. 
But then we realized that Les Miserables was opening Christmas Day.
We were in LA. On Christmas. When Les Miserables came out. 
Of course we were going.


So, the next day, we got changed, figured out where to go, and planned a double feature of Les Mis and The Hobbit. After we paid our exorbitant fees for tickets and reserved our seats (people in LA are serious about this, y’all), we got some super cheap concessions and turned to go into the theater.
And that’s when I saw two familiar faces.
Brad Goreski, and his partner, writer Gary Janetti.
I nearly peed myself.
And freaked out to Andy as quietly as possible as we walked into the theater.
Then, I Facebooked about it.
And then Brad walked past me, and he was wearing sequinned shoes.
And I remembered from their TV show how important Les Mis was to their first date.
And I thought, “Wow.”
Just, wow.
Anyway, it was awesome.
As was Les Mis.
After the movie, we went to validate our parking, got turned around, and ended up back downstairs. And who happened to be standing right beside Andy–who, again, didn’t notice!–but Brad, Gary, and their entourage. Andy bent down to tie his shoe, and I told him, through clenched teeth, “That’s them.”
We got a few feet away before he realized what I was saying. And he worried the rest of the evening that he’d accidentally mooned them. And I thought, “Thank goodness I looked halfway decent.”


Between the time Les Mis ended and The Hobbit began, we ran to Malibu, walked along the shore, and took in the sunset.
Christmas 2012, Malibu.
And what a day it’d been. 
Cold, but happy. X-mas 2012 in Malibu.By the time we got back, our stomachs were grumbling, but we had The Hobbit to see. (Contrary to popular opinion, one cannot survive off of Sour Patch Kids alone.)
So, as I nursed a food-induced migraine and wondered when in the hell the goddamned hobbit was going to get to the end of his journey, I dreamt about Chinese food.
Which we made a bee-line for immediately after the egregiously long movie ended.
So, at about 11:30 Christmas evening, we scored amazing takeout in Chinatown.

Merry X-mas, 2012!

And barely spoke to one another as we inhaled it. 
Reflected on the day.
And passed out.


And then the journey home began. I’d pepper this with more landscape shots and musings, but the bulk of the return journey consisted of us figuring out how to move out to California.
How much stuff we’d have to shed to do so.
How we’d made it across the country so quickly.
And how we already had to circle back.
We did make a few intentional stops, one being the Oklahoma City Memorial.
OKC Memorial, 2012.
To write that it was sobering would be a vast understatement. 


With the cold wind at our backs, we pushed back to NC from our very amazing, most excellent journey. And while we each had our own favorite moments, I found comfort in the fact that we experienced it all together.
And, back!
Through it all, regardless of tiffs here and there, we made it.
There and back again. 
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A Hand On the Wheel, A Head Under Water

Why is it that we have some of the best thoughts, experience the most crystal clear realizations while navigating a steel cage hurtling through space at 70 miles per hour?

Yes, I mean me in my Toyota Matrix.

Some of which is steel. Or aluminum.

I think.

(Except that plastic zip tie holding something to my bumper.)



Everyone experiences Inspiration While Driving (IWD).

This time, my IWD was courtesy of Girlyman.

No, not that guy.

One of my favorite bands. And one of their songs, “Easy Pearls.” Specifically, these lyrics:

We dive for easy pearls and leave the rest forgotten

We leave the best of worlds on the bottom

I know.

You’re like, “Well, what about that pearl necklace in my bureau? I didn’t leave that in the ocean.”

But I don’t have any such necklace, so you need to shut up and focus on the beauty of those two lines.


Because they basically sum up my entire life.

Alright, maybe not my entire life. But the last chunk of it.


The past few years haven’t really been great for anyone.

Jobs haven’t panned out. That bonus check never came. Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn’t fall into your cubicle.

All-around rough.

So, as a natural default, I started grabbing at whatever was within arm’s length.

Which was usually an antique. Or food. Or a bottle of scotch.

But listening to the music, and thinking about the conversation I’d had with a friend earlier that day, I was reminded why that quick fix–that easy pearl–is never quite what I need.


My friend and I had spent the afternoon catching up and talking about unemployed life, and the horrible place we both used to work.

And we talked about the future. The uncertainties. How each of us is going to try our respective hands at making a go at things ourselves.

How we almost have to get super innovative in an economy where baby-boomers (BB’s) are holding onto their jobs longer because of losses they took during the recession. How we’ve both had our fill of the rifts that occur in the workplace when BB’s collide with Gen Xers, Gen Yers, and Millennials, because the inherent power dynamics end up ripping everyone apart Lord of the Flies style.

But we also talked about the good side of things going to shit.

How we’ve learned to streamline. To embrace practicality.

To acknowledge that things won’t be the way they were, and that it’s for the best.

All of these things were tumbling around in my head when those two lyrics broke through my stream of consciousness.

And when I stood on my brakes and slowed behind a massive blue Le Sabre.

Whether it was my mind searching for some thematic thread for my discombobulated thoughts, or my eyes boring into the Le Sabre, I started analogizing my time in North Carolina to a road trip.

So, buckle up, kittens.


Early on in my professional career, I’d set a Point B on my life’s TomTom: Professorship.

Nothing was going to get in my way. I’d have a PhD by the time I was 30, a house, a husband, and a three-legged, diabetes-afflicted Corgi rescue named Chunk.

But after undergrad was over, I merged back into academia too soon, and got redirected into a cesspool of angst and anxiety with academics ill-equipped to deal with other people who didn’t fit a particular mold.

And floundered.

And gave up listening to the drone of “recalculating, recalculating, recalculating” echoing in my noggin.

And just kept going, pedal-to-floor, until I ran out of gas.


After a tune up and complete rebuild, professorship was a distant dot in my rear view. And I found myself traveling bumpy roads to make things work in rough economic times.

Everywhere I looked, people were stalled out. No one had the necessary parts they needed. Everyone was running past empty.

So, I made do with the little I had, and channeled The Little Engine That Could.

Then, when that “Maintenance Needed” light interrupted my “I think I can, I think I can” chanting, I had an out. Which a lot of people didn’t.

And I took it, because it was that oh-so-welcomed gas station in the middle of a desert.

But then, I got trapped there.

Stuck in some sort of bizarre mirage where everyone acknowledged that it was an absurd illusion full of delusional people. But no one left.

Until we had to.


Get lost in all of that?

Yeah, I sort of did, too. But you get my gist.

As every driver knows, it’s only a matter of time before someone cuts you off, or you get behind a wide load.

And things slow down. Sometimes, you idle. Sometimes, it’s stop and go, stop and go, stop and go until you want to pull out your hair.

Sometimes, there’s a break in the logjam, and you blow through, cutting off time and covering a lot of ground. Inevitably, though, you come to a screeching halt.

Or swerve off the road.

Or have an accident.

And things stop.

And you think, “How did this happen? I was being so careful.”

And sometimes, we’re just coasting along on cruise control, listening to our life play on like a record, and we don’t even notice that we’re slowing down for that big rig. And it’s not until others start blowing past that we realize, “Damn, I’ve been going ten miles under the speed limit for the past 55 miles.”

Or you hit a pothole and are jarred back to reality.

Back to the fact that roads can be easily traveled. But that everyone has to go their own speed. And that sometimes we’re all stuck in the same traffic jam.

That there will always be stretches where we can speed, and stretches where obstacles lie around every turn.

But vigilant drivers can avoid a pile up by recognizing the warning signs.

And can motor on.


I guess the reason why those lyrics switched me into uber reflective mode was that I realized that I’ve just been going for what’s easy. What’s familiar.

I haven’t taken a leap into murky water.

I haven’t gone deep.

I’ve just barely gotten my head wet.

So, whether I have to come up for air a few times before going for it, I’m planning to reach for what’s just beyond my grasp.

Stretch myself a little bit more.

Just to prove to myself that I can reach that treasure at the bottom of it all.

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Schooling Your Doctor On Gay Sex

Talking about sex isn’t a topic we normally broach with people we don’t really know.

Because, well, it’s sort of personal.

Unless you’re at work or church, there’s really no reason to bring it up.



For whatever reason, we’ve been conditioned to think that talking about sex in very basic, blunt terms is crass or *cringe* uncivilized. (I hate that word.)

Sure, other than Dan Savage (whom I love in a completely role modelish way) who of us is completely and utterly comfortable discussing every bit of our sexual history?

Show of hands?

I thought so.



Like I was saying, I’m by no means a prude, but I also don’t go around blathering on my cell phone about intensely private matters, or about things that I hope will clear up in three to four weeks.

(I’ve actually overheard such conversations in line at Harris Teeter. Let me tell you, it made me rethink buying that Chobani for lunch.)

It’s always about balance.

(Even if the fucking GOP is more concerned with our sex lives, rather than admitting they’re being hypocritical dicks or vages.)

Because, sometimes, it’s actually prudent to be straightforward and honest in terms of sex.

Even if it’s not easy.

I mean, who had an incredibly comfortable talk about the birds and the bees?

I didn’t.

I actually shut it down after my dad said “vagina.” And then we had an incredibly awkward car ride to confirmation class. (Where we all had to read about the sin of “self love.” I couldn’t catch a break that day.)

My Confirmation Class. I'm the blob nearly level with the bishop's hat (third row, right of hat).

Because, like I told him, “Gah, Dad! We already went over this in Sexth Ed. Gahhhhhh!”

Bless his heart. (And my lisp.)

Around the time we had that oh-so-fun class, Sex Ed. So, when "the talk" came about, I totally knew what I was talking about.


Now, though, I’m an adult.

I'm an adult! (Yes, completely superfluous image.)

I’m past caring about the number of notches in others’ bedposts, and really didn’t care in the first place. And my friends and I don’t want to hear about each other’s sexual exploits, because, again, who cares? Each of us doesn’t really feel like wasting precious catch-up time hearing the details about how many times so-and-so “did it” a particular weekend (and I hope for your sake you don’t actually use that lingo).

Still, the subject of sex does come up.

Like when you go to the doctor.

Now, you might remember that I had to go to the doctor earlier this week.

And, as with almost every doctor’s visit, the questions follow a set rubric, and gradually venture into the whole sexual category.

This is where it can interesting.

That is, unless you have a practitioner who’s completely comfortable talking about sex–regardless of one’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

Then it’s just boring. (Albeit wonderfully so.)

So when I went in for my scheduled follow up, I got to speak with Dr. WebMD. Who, of course, wrongly assumed right off the bat that this was the second time I came to see him about being sick with this particular malady.

Me: “Actually, no. I’ve never had this before.”

Dr.WMD: “Oh, er, well. For some reason, I thought you had.”

Me: “I just wanted to follow up as suggested and make sure everything checked out and that this isn’t meningitis.”

Dr.WMD: “Sure, sure. So, you’re symptoms aren’t as bad?”

Me: “Nope, everything is much better. Pain is gone, fever is gone, and I only have some residual joint pain, which may be symptomatic of me approaching thirty.”

*Silence. Joke falls flat. I sigh.*

Then we start talking about general health, vitamins to take–the usual spiel.

But then. The sex talk starts.

And I know what’s coming.

Because I can already tell he’s getting nervous.

DrWMD: “So now, uh, you and your partner have, uh, been together for, uh, a good amount of time, correct?”

Me: “Yes.”

And then his uh-er-uh usage becomes more prevalent, and his questions about the “receptive partner” or “giving partner” or “both,” are whispered and stilted.

He never makes eye contact, choosing instead to talk to the flyer requesting patients to please “Refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, or spray-on deodorants” hanging above my head. (Which perplexes me. I guess he prefers B.O. Or, maybe he has an allergy.)

So, to save us both time, I give him a run-down of sexually sensitive information as it relates to me–explaining top, bottom, versatile categories–to better assist him in providing medical comment in the future, should he ever have the need.

He exhales a bit, focuses on typing away on his laptop, interjecting an “Oh, okay” or “Interesting” every now and then during my succinct stream of gay-sex-discussion.

Me: “Does that cover it? Anything else?”

DrWMD: “Uh, yes. I, um, think that covers it.”

When I get up to leave, I feel like giving him a pat on the back, telling him, “Son, you’re a man now.”

Instead, I thank him, take my prescription for nasal spray (the real reason I went for the check up–because I knew the first diagnosis was correct), and go on my merry way.

And even if he didn’t really learn anything from what I told him, at least maybe he’ll see it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming to talk about gay sex.

We’re all animals.

We all have needs.

And sometimes it’s best to just cast aside formalities, let our inner Dr. Ruth take over, and be confident.

Because, even if your doctor can’t talk about it easily, you can.

And you have the woman or man stones to prove it.

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An Honest Cover Letter

We’ve all had horrible bosses.

Experienced horrible workplaces.

Tried to subvert our desires to burn the building down, the glowing embers illuminating a shadowed form clutching their precious red stapler.


Rarely do we actually get to tell our bosses exactly what we think without the threat of being fired, being blacklisted by other potential employers, or being denied the oh-so-coveted recommendation letter.

Oddly enough, I was able to do exactly that, and still eek out a recommendation. Guilty conscience on his part, I presume.


Even though it’s great to always have a handful of recommendation letters–or contacts able to pen a quick one–at your disposal, I’ve always wondered if they carry much weight.

The same can be said for cover letters.

I mean, how many employers glance over said piece of paper (which took hours to write) before tossing it into a shredder and never bothering to inform said applicant that they were denied, leaving them to flounder in a pool of expectations clouded by ambiguity?

Not that I’ve ever experienced such distasteful, unprofessional behavior on countless occasions.

But the one way I always hear about making your cover letter, your resume, your plea for a fucking job stand out is to be you.

To be, *cough-gag*, unique.

Whether it’s by choosing a fun, yet professional font, selecting a wider margin, grouping your work achievements in annotated bullet form, we all seek to set ourselves apart in the most seemingly unique ways.

And yet, it’s bullshit.

It’s not who you are.

Who you are is the person wanting a job and frustrated as hell that you can’t get anything.


In an effort to put myself at ease, knowing that I put nothing but the truth out there, I’d love to send the most truthful letter possible to any prospective employers.


Dear Prospective Employer (PE):

I’d usually start out with my name. But you’re not interested in that. You want the bare bones–the gravy, the good stuff that sets me apart from the rest of the applicants’ cover letters lodged in that manila file folder on your desk.

So, I’ll be brutally honest.

You may notice from my resume that I have an MA in Anthropology. What can anthropology do for you? Well, I’m not sure. It hasn’t done a lot for me lately, either. Except forcing me to work with the tragic dregs of said profession.

But, what it has done is teach me how to tolerate stress, manage exceedingly overbearing workloads, and delegate responsibilities among peers. It also taught me a lot about people. I people watch as a profession. I glean bits of personal histories from the slightest reactions and exchanges, like judging whether it’s prudent to align myself with Coworker X, or join the rest who think she’s absolutely cray-cray.

I’ve had a smattering of teaching experiences, and can manage a high student volume, and remember most of their names. The names aren’t so important, but it scares them enough when I call them by name that they respect me a little bit more, or take me a tad more seriously.

I’ve worked with a diverse array of coworkers, and can get along with pretty much anyone. Other than bigots. Because I will stand my ground, and won’t back down until something is done to redress the situation (please contact my last employer if you require verification).

As someone with more interests outside of work, I like to think I can use those skills to my advantage, and perhaps yours.

I like to photograph interiors, and I have a profound love for interior design. I have no formal training with either, but I think I have more than a layperson’s ability to pull a room together. With a background in art, I can frame things in particular ways, or know what’ll look best with X, Y, and Z in this room, and play off the accents in an adjoining room. Coming at design with a background in the history of artistic and style movements helps me cobble together things in ways that are fun, functional, and accessible. I don’t strive to make everything perfect, because we’re not perfect people. People like to be able to live where they rest. I think I have an eye for helping people love a space, while not overwhelming them with a decor backstory.

Writing is a lot of fun, and is probably my number one hobby. I don’t really think of it as a hobby because I do it all the time. Even when I’m not actually writing anything. Every situation I experience gets translated into conversational snippets, and I enjoy recalling them to create a cohesive story line. I’m fairly good at editing, but don’t try to over-edit, because I’d prefer someone reinvent something they’ve written themselves–with me giving them a helping nudge in the right direction–rather than me red inking everything. Because, again, I have no formal background in writing, so who am I to judge?

I can organize events, cook a ton of stuff, get people to come, and pull everything off fairly seamlessly on a regular basis. As someone who likes to talk, I can network fairly well, and can talk to pretty much anyone. I like people to feel as though they can talk to me, and that when they do, what they say won’t end up being whispered to someone else. It’s all about team-building and networking, right? No one can just suddenly be something without some sort of support. I like to think that I offer a bit of that kind of support for some people.

So, there you have it. I may have two pieces of paper qualifying me for certain jobs, but I don’t want those kinds of jobs. Quite honestly, I feel as though I’ve learned more having traversed a tumultuous economy outside of academia, and have no desire to go back to an institutional organization. I’m glad to start off with a clean slate, at the bottom of the totem pole. I learn exceedingly quickly.

I want to help people. I want to create. I want to make people feel good about themselves through what I do. Those concepts are what I’d like PE’s like yourself to know.

Because all I need is a chance. I think you’ll be surprised.

And pleasantly so.

Best regards,


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A Postmarked Message to Myself

Even before my glittery departure from the ranks of the gainfully employed, I read a lot of blogs. Now, I do it even more. Mostly because I love to read and write and look at pictures, and blogs engage all of that, making it less likely that my ADD-wired self won’t tear off and do something else. Especially if a particular blog satiates my love of design (and double plus bonus if it features our apartment).

So, I was reading a recent post on a blog I really like (and you should too), and it got me to thinking about my younger, more impressionable high school self. I’ve written plenty about my coming out process, have made an It Gets Better video, and have enjoyed becoming an LGBT advocate.

Still, I love writing letters. So, in the spirit of the Hommemaker, I decided to write one to my high school self.


Dear Matt,

I know why you’re paying close attention to everyone’s reactions to the first out gay student requesting to bring his date–another guy!–to the senior prom at your conservative, small town Alabama high school.

And it’s not because you think he’s cool.

It’s because a part of you identifies with him. But you can’t quite put your finger on that yet. You have an idea, but nothing fully formed.

All you can do is watch the fallout when the newspaper lines of the local paper read something about a “Gay student” and “Prom.”

Hear what other students call him.

Feel the palpable tension that falls over a crowd when he walks down the hall, the students parting like the Red Sea. And you part with them. Because you’re unknowingly in survival mode.

Because you know that, if you do put a name to what you’re feeling now, you’re not popular enough for it to be “cool” or even “okay.” After all, you’re that amorphous blob of an adolescent who has barely gone through puberty. Who always smiles, is friendly, and acts goofy. Who gets bullied by freshmen several years younger than you. Who has to stay in band because it’s your “only social outlet,” even if you hate it. Who has to like girls.

Because, well, you don’t want to be called “faggot.” Even if plenty of people already do, including those who’ve just learned the word and need a target to test it on, but who will probably never realize the repercussions of shouting it.

Here’s the thing: High school sucks.

So don’t believe the few people in your graduating class who’re saying that high school is the best four years of your life.

They’re clearly delusional.

Or they’ve gotten laid.

The point is, they’ve probably peaked tragically early, and will have little in the way of good times in the future. (In a few years, this new thing called Facebook will make it easier for you to realize this.)

But you know what? The fact that you’re processing such crazy-intense feelings at your age, in this context, is a feat in and of itself. A lot of people you’ll meet still won’t have found some of the base elements of who they are. And while being gay won’t define you as a person, being comfortable with your identity will help you build upon the strengths you already possess, but which need a bit of nurturing.

Identifying as gay will take a lot of mental and physical strength. You’re going to put your body and mind through an emotional wringer, trying to shoehorn yourself into an idealized notion of what it is to be gay.

But you won’t reach that point. Because, in the process, you’re going to hit rock bottom, only to come out bruised, but stronger nonetheless.

This process won’t happen over just a few years.

You’ll hit a handful of rough patches, each of which will test your resolve.

And you’ll gain clarity in the most unexpected ways.

You’ll come out to your family, and will be thankful for their support.

And you’ll write to that guy from high school who had the stones to come out when he did, who dealt with the crap people threw his way, to tell him that he was probably more inspirational to questioning students than he’ll ever know.

And you’ll get a response back. And you’ll have some sort of odd closure.

You’ll push yourself out of your comfort zone, and it’ll pay off.

You’ll become more invested in fighting for LGBT rights.

You’ll find your voice time after time.

Me speaking out against NC's bigoted Amendment One.

Your family will find theirs, and will help people in your hometown.

You’ll become part of a chosen family at a local community center.

And you’ll walk alongside others marching for equal rights.

Rally sign for Ides of Love, 2012.

You’ll gripe about failed dates, and you’ll vow to never go on any again.

You’ll meet an amazing guy when you least expect it, and you’ll be happy.

The duo on our way back from NYC, 2012.

You’ll be happy.


An Older, Wiser You


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The Prince and the Pee

Going to the doctor when you were a kid wasn’t fun at all.

Even if you got out of school early.

Because you can only play with communal toys for so long before your senses tell you that, ew, that’s gross. Especially because that snotty kid is hogging the ball and, oh look, he just sneezed on it.

Maybe my perception is skewed because I was an anxiety-fueled, slightly paranoid germophobe from the get go.

Either I was terrified of the bears, or grossed out by the tiny hands clutching the fence. Or hungry. Whatever, I was an anxious child.


Going to the doctor as an adult is just annoying. Because you have to take a sick day (if you have them), sit in a waiting room with more sickly people emitting their grossness, remember to get a sick note since your boss sucks, and come to the realization that your healthcare plan blows when you have to pay an exorbitant amount for your prescriptions.

The one time I don't request a sick note, I get one for the job I no longer have. Ouch.

But LGBT’s have to deal with a lot more–and often have to make advanced plans–when dragging themselves into that teeming petri dish.


Now, I’m not about to blather on about health issues I know very little about, especially those specific to identity groups within The Community. But these are just a few questions I’ve developed from personal experiences.

Is you doctor LGBT-friendly?

I can’t count the number of LGBT friends who’ve gotten very savvy at navigating medical networks to locate doctors who don’t give a rat’s ass what hole you put it in, or what your medical history happens to be. I don’t know about y’all, but I certainly don’t want to hear “Repent! Repent!” as I go under for a colonoscopy. Sure, I’d like to think that a highly educated doctor wouldn’t proselytize in a waiting room, tout the healing power of prayer. But from what a few doctor friends have told me, I should never assume that. Because, really, doctors are just people cloaking their biases with white coats.

Having a nonjudgmental doctor isn’t just for comfort’s sake. It’s the best for your long-term health. Because a happier, relaxed patient is always more willing to divulge sensitive information during an evaluation. Especially if they don’t feel the weight of judgey eyes upon them.

Are you more comfortable with a female or male doctor?

Don’t get me wrong. I like men. Love them, actually. Hence, Andy. But I don’t really want a male doctor. There’s just something a little weird about it for me. And I’m sure it’s just a carry-over from the past, because I always had more female friends than male friends. I just got along better with women. And, to a certain extent, still do. But I digress.

This just plays into the whole being comfortable bit. I mean, sure, I’m open with my doctor. (Mostly because I inherited a bit of my paternal grandmother’s hypochondria, and want to make sure everything is out in the open.) But there’re certain things that I can more easily talk about with women. Even if it has to do with man parts.

Will your doctor (and their office staff) honor your wishes to put your partner as your primary emergency contact?

This is a tricky one. Because, regardless of what’s on paper, any “professional” staffer can veil their bigotry by saying, “Oh, yeah, we called your partner first. They didn’t answer. So we called your parents instead.” Meanwhile, your partner is flipping their shit in the waiting room because they’re not being informed about what’s happening, but your parents–several states and a timezone away–have been. This is why it’s so terribly important to have a mini “medical phone tree” –any accepting family, close friends–who can immediately connect with other “tree huggers” to ensure everyone knows what’s going on.

Does your partner know where your appointment is, what it’s about, and what time it’s supposed to be?

You’d think this would be a no-brainer. But each of us always assumes that everyone–partners included–have mind-reading capabilities. So, of course they’d know about that 12:00 appointment in the middle of the week at that tiny office near that bistro where y’all celebrated your anniversary a few years back. And of course they know your entire medical history, like what medications give you horrible cramps or explosive diarrhea.

Now, we never think that that standard appointment for a migraine will reveal some horrible medical condition that requires immediate care. But you never know. Bodies are scary things, and can revolt on you in a minute. Even if you’re taken to a hospital that won’t honor same-sex visitation privileges, your partner can at least have a breadcrumb trail to follow and piece things together that way. (Which, again, is where that phone tree comes in handy.)


Before I found myself peeing in a cup yesterday, I thought about all of these things yet again. Because, with the way I was feeling, we didn’t know what to expect.

But before Andy left for work, we confirmed where I was going, and that I’d be in contact immediately after the diagnosis. One great thing about my shallow semi-sleep chocked-full of hallucinatory dreams is that I was up early, and first in line at my PCP’s urgent care clinic branch.

Now, this is just me. But ever since I moved to North Carolina, I’ve seen a PA-C for almost everything I’ve had to have diagnosed. And I prefer it. The lack of pretension is refreshing, and I feel more comfortable with them. Plus, each one has been incredibly thorough and a clear communicator.

And this time, it was no different.

Sure, I could’ve waited for an opening upstairs with my PCP. But, quite honestly, I don’t trust a guy who spends more time washing his hands and consulting WebMD than talking about what he thinks the problem might be. And who, every single time, has misdiagnosed me–put me on the wrong pills for the wrong thing, which subsequently leads me to the urgent care branch to get everything properly assessed. He’s really just for show–mostly for when I have to provide PCP contact information for medical paperwork.

And as this particular PA-C (one of three working there that’re awesome) rattled off her diagnosis, and was amazingly, yet thoughtfully blunt in her delivery, I was glad I chose to go downstairs rather than upstairs. Yes, I still bristled a bit when she asked about STI status, protection use, and whatnot after I told her I was gay. (And yes, I know that certain STI’s are more prevalent in certain demographics. But I still cringe every time, because there still seems to be an equation of gay=promiscuous=STI vector.) But at least she did it in a way that didn’t seem as charged as such statements have been in the past by different practitioners.

And even though I had to turn around and pee in a cup for a second time–because the assisting nurse mistook my original sample for one that was to be discarded–I was fine with it. Because I knew they’d figure out what was going on.

So after I got home and dosed up on my medication, put in 50/50 for just plain tortuous reasons, I was able to sleep a little easier knowing that, while it may be a bit convoluted, my system for dealing with medical stuff has worked out thus far.

Even if this particular visit evoked the same feelings I had when I stopped being carded for booze. The whole realization of I’m-old-enough-for-this-shit? Gah!

Still, it reminded me that we all age, and we all have to take care of the challenges our bodies throw at us along the way. We have to treat ourselves to a bit of TLC every now and then to ensure each of us, as a human machine, operates properly.

Because, while my cogs may rust ever so slightly and my wiring may fray a bit, I’ll still run as smoothly as I can.

Especially since I’m fortunate enough to have someone who’ll lend an oil can or a bottle of WD-40 exactly when I need it.

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The Little Mundane Bits

Y’all know I’ve been spending more time at home.

And for one obvious reason.

So maybe that’s why I’ve been paying more attention to the mundane tasks that soak up 99% of my day. (Yes, even you gainfully employed folks spend an inordinate amount of time doing the daily grind.)


Now, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on such things that fall on my daily “To Do” list. And even some of the tools that make corralling the tangible products of said tasks that much more manageable (and prettier).

But I’ve never really taken any real time to acknowledge a few bobbles and bits that keep me sane, clean, and in check. That I use in a mechanical, robotic way.

So, without further ado, here we go.

French Press: Thank you for being there. Without you, I probably would’ve been incarcerated long ago for smacking an a-whole, or someone of their ilk, upside their head.

Always pressed. Always loved.

Soap Dispenser: Even though you’re mass-produced and not super special, I enjoy how easy you are to use. Especially your patience in dealing with the bazillion pumps I must inflict upon you to quiet those OCD ticks. (Just don’t screw up like your cooler predecessor; otherwise, you’re kaput.)

Dispensed daily. But reliable.

Notepads. Whether you’re a pad permanently borrowed from an old office because the least they could’ve done was keep you constantly in our lives after such a horrible experience, or Post Its (oh, Post Its), you keep the crazy lists contained.

Your utility is noted.

Kitchen Stuff. Y’all are too numerous to thank individually. But I’ll throw the spotlight on a few. First and foremost, Fiestaware, we always talk about you because we love you. And use the bejesus out of you and your Riviera and Harlequin cousins.

Fiestaware, we love thee. And Riviera. And Harlequin.

Fiesta teacups, y’all get a special shout-out. Because evening tea time has become a tradition in our very non-traditional household.

Fiesta tea time!

But every now and then, we need something stronger than tea. So, Name Your Poison Glasses, we salute thee.

Name Your Poison. Daily or whenever the doctor prescribes it. And, lest we forget, the solid, possible zombie defense weapons: Cast Iron Cookware. You’re solid, sometimes finicky and labor intensive, always heavy, but so worth not ingesting all the lovely chemicals your modern counterparts contain. And you cook so evenly!

Sturdy standbys.Last, but certainly not least, the one, the only, Fiestaware Knife Set! I don’t care what they (meaning Julia Child) may say about stainless steel knives, because you’re lovely (and totally worth nearly taking out a curmudgeonly elderly woman standing between us).

Cutting to the fabulous bone.

Now, just a few more.

Like you, Fabulous Serpentine Deco Vanity Tray. Sure, you may have had a few lines sniffed off of you in the past. Now, though, all you have to worry about is looking pretty and supporting an entire tea service nightly.

Deco fabulousness is even better when it's used.

Or you, wonderfully useful Bedside Lamps that I’ve lacked for way too long. Even though Andy originally hated you both because y’all supposedly looked like you once graced a bordello, he warmed to you. Perhaps by force. Perhaps because he appreciates you now.

MCM lamps are quirky and fun. Even if they look like they may fit right in at a bordello.

Finally, we’re here.

The end.

Pointing out the things I use every single day, but usually take for granted to some degree, might be slightly annoying (especially if you stayed with me through this entire post). But I think it’s these little details that make little nooks in our home that much more functional and enjoyable.

Sure, who doesn’t have a soap dispenser in their bathroom? Or a favorite set of dishware?

The thing is, we’re often so driven by our stuff–and sometimes smothered by it–that we forget why we got it in the first place. Or why it’s followed us throughout our lives.

So even if it’s a go-to chopping knife, or a fun trinket you see every single day, remember to acknowledge the bit of oomph it gives you to go about your day.

A memory vehicle. During our massive cull, I saved one of my favorites. Because I pulled this out of the muck with my paternal grandfather, who'd taken me to a neighbor's drainage ditch filled with mostly buried toy cars (from a very destructive child who used to live nearby). We spent the entire day digging them all out and cleaning them.

And if it doesn’t do that anymore, ask yourself if it’s time for it to find a home where it will be just that for someone else.

Because life’s too short to drown yourself in meaningless stuff.

So make sure everything that surrounds you–that creates that haven from work, from crazy social obligations, from the daily grind–helps balance you out.

So that your eyes can dance from one cherished, memory-rich piece to another.

So that you can absorb the good times wrapped up within those pieces.

So that the memories and the vehicles for them fuse to create something warm and inviting.

Andy loved this Deco frame immediately. I liked it. But now that we have something to go in it, I love it. And the memories associated with it. And the guy I'm standing beside.

Something that reminds you that you’re home.

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In My Box I Trust

You know, I don’t usually like to talk about this.

Because, well, boxes are private matters.


Y’all know full well that I don’t shy away from discussing personal matters.

That I’m a little crass.

Thankfully, this post has nothing the least bit crass in it.


You thought I was going to talk about something other than a square-shaped container with four wooden sides?

You’re disgusting.

This isn’t high school.

Go wash your mind out with soap.


I love boxes.

They’re so functional.

And so often overlooked.

Because, well, they’re boxes.


We loved them as kids.

And you can glean a lot of historical information from boxes. Get a glimpse of what life was like back then. Which is probably why I love these ridiculously utilitarian things. Because, unlike so many other things marketed for mass consumption, these objects and their labels were rarely censored, their written content unblemished by those pesky social filters.

After all, they were just for carting things from here to there, storing them until use.

And while I don’t ever want a box–or anything–with racist imagery, such things are so telling of mainstream ideologies, and are much more subversively disturbing.


My fascination with boxes started early.

Whether it was used as a bank for a roadside lemonade stand or baked goods table, one simple little box proved its functionality time and time again.

My faithful box through the years.

And then it followed me to college. And grad school. And still has its place today.

It wasn’t until after graduate school that I really started collecting boxes.

(Mostly because I actually had time for a life. And antiquing.)

At first, I just collected them because each was cool in its own right.

My favorite Deco box. Which I stalked for four months.

But then, my parents moved from the childhood homestead, and I was determined to have everything that was mine under one roof–my roof. Which meant I needed more places to store things.

Store all the things!

(Sorry, I usually despise memes. But that Clean All The Things one cracks me up. As does the one with a puppy “booping” a displeased cat. But I digress.)

So, gradually, I started circulating these boxes back into use.

Pimento box turned drill bit box. This is one of my treasured boxes, because my paternal grandfather wrote the "Dril" scrawl. I found this after he died. And the other? Ever need a way to organize and easily transport those useful, but every so fussy, shot glasses? You're welcome.

And when Andy moved in, they became even more relevant. Because these two gays have a lot of shoes.

We love shoes.

Seriously, we do.

Seriously, that's all. I swear.

Because one fun thing about melding places is realizing how much hobby overlap you have with your partner.

Like, say, movies. (Although Andy’s DVD collection dwarfed mine.)

Finding a storage solution for a fraction of those DVDs that didn’t quite fit in the cabinets with the rest was another story entirely.

That is, until I realized I could make my soap box multi-functional, too.

I even made my soap box multi-functional!

So household melding became an exercise in maximizing each piece’s functionality. Including those containers I’d purchased solely for their “coolness” factor.

Not just for looks anymore! Now, it's one chic component of our mail system.

Because, really, we all have plenty of little things that make life a little easier on a daily basis, but just aren’t pretty.

So, why not house them in something that’s a bit easier on the eyes?

A little Deco never made differently styled coasters look so good, or cohesive. We pop this sucker open every single evening for dinner.

Little trinkets that'll never be tossed are easily organized in cool old boxes. Like the cool pyrography box from a dear friend, or this English pencil box for some little school kid (whose name also happened to be Matt). This massive Butter Krust box holds all of our cookbooks and paper towel rolls.  And this one from Cloverleaf Farms holds some pretty arty magazines.

This Columbia Baking Co bread tray is one of my favorites, mostly because I use it all of the time for toting food to monthly art show openings at our local LGBT Center of Raleigh.

This biscuit box holds photo frames and other little things, and the cool piece of luggage holds old newspaper clippings.

And while everyone knows everyone poops, you don't always have to be reminded of it when waltzing into a bathroom. TP storage has never been so cool.

And if storage containers can double as plant stands, double plus bonus.

A card catalog-looking feed container. The drawers actually pull out, and the interiors are metal sheeting. This holds my select design magazines (a few rolled up into each) from years past.

So, there you have it.

Boxes are fun!

They can be stylish.

They withstand more than flimsy new ones.

And they tell a story.

And, of all the reasons, that’s why I like them: They’re story-tellers.

Which is something so lacking in today’s mass-produced, disposable, now-now-now world.

Because these bits of history remind me that, regardless of how seemingly insignificant something can appear, it too has its own history.

It knows some secrets about time.

How to handle the weight and blows it brings.

And, above all else, how to weather it gracefully.

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Therapy, Apartment: Party of Two

Andy hadn’t been in the door four minutes before he realized my latest furniture switch-a-roo while he was out of town.

“But we can’t have an in-progress project, like, out for people to see. It’ll look bad.”

“Well, uh, it’s not like this is a tiny piece. It’s going to have to be out. Plus, she’s dramatic, even if she’s not done. And it’s not like we haven’t already had the Apartment Therapy shoot.”

Ever since Andy and I and a fellow antiquing friend held our collective breath this past weekend as one of our mutual friends and co-owners of a crazy-awesome antique mall ushered us into a dark nook to peek at a gorgeous 1920’s rose-mirrored Deco vanity, I’ve playfully referred to her–mentally, or when I’m telling her jokes–as the Deco Diva, DeeDee for short. (She joins the bitchy trio of Ivanca, Marge, and Betty, and will have to tolerate Hamburgler: two awesome modern chairs, a modern sofa, and a Lafer loveseat, respectively.)

Betty the Borge Morgensen sofa, Ivanca (the far chair and hassock), and Hamburglar (the Percival Lafer loveseat). Because we don't have kids, or pets, so we name our furniture.

Because, really, she’s a bit overly fabulous for her own good.

(Plus, I like to think that one of the red stains in a top drawer is from some crazy-horrible-awesome-in-its-own-time makeup her owner spilled before a big opening act on Broadway. Probably after a few lines.)

The Deco Diva, in her temporary quarters. With Marge photo-bombing on the right.

Sure, she’s weathered some rough patches–hell, it’s not like the Roaring 20’s ended well, nor did the 30’s get off on a good foot–but she’s gorgeous in her own right, even now.

A little battered. But we'll fix'er up.

Plus, there’s some intoxicating ambiguity about her that I love. Especially since I can’t find another vanity like her, even though I know there have to be more out there.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Surprise!


DeeDee happened to pop into our design lives a few weeks after our friend Katie popped by to do a house tour for Apartment Therapy (and you should seriously like Katie’s blog, Domestiphobia, because it’s awesome and I have total blog envy). As did a few other ridiculously overdone Deco delights.

The same thing happened the first time I was on Apartment Therapy. In this same, but less nice looking, apartment: right after the shoot, I rearranged everything (and got control of my hair).

It was as though once the current design scheme was commemorated in a ridiculously awesome photographic montage, I felt more inclined to revamp the whole thing.

But this time, most everything stayed the same after Katie left.

Except for that dramatic DeeDee.

Still, as the future shifts and we find ourselves looking for other possible roosts, we’re so thrilled to have our household meld documented.

Especially since we’re both ADD-wired and probably couldn’t remember how we had things arranged, even though I overly Instagram every new tableau I arrange or piece we buy.

This time, though, there’s something more.

Because this apartment is the first place I will truly miss of all the places I’ve lived since moving to North Carolina seven years ago. It’s the first place I can look back at fondly and remember a lot of great times and wonderful memories. (And yes, even the stressful moments that happen when two households combine.)

Mostly because I think this is the first place that really, truly feels like home.

But still, the concept of home is a fluid thing.

And I think we’re both ready to embrace a little change.

Whenever it happens.

And wherever we may land.