Eleven Years

S on SnowdoniaWe take a quick break from our new house decoration posts to note that the Architect and I started dating ELEVEN years ago today. It’s insane to me how long that is. I’ve recently been going through old family photos, and it’s like I’m a child and then BAM! There he is with me.

He said we weren’t going to celebrate, since last year we went on vacation to Vermont and called it our “tenth anniversary goodbye vacation” since after that we were going to celebrate our wedding anniversary. But, he came home from work with some beautiful flowers for me. What a sweetheart.

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So I thought I would post some factoids about our eleven years together and some photos from throughout.

Together, we have lived in seven places–an apartment in his college town for one winter break, DC where we met the Artist, three different places in our last home city, and now two here.

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We traveled to three countries together on our honeymoon: England, France, and Wales. I’ve stayed at home while he’s gone to France, England, Switzerland, and Italy twice.

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We got married when we had already been together for nine years.

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We were in a long distance relationship for five years, during which we went to college. That was when I learned how to have friends and be in a relationship, and I’m very grateful for that time, even though it was difficult.

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When we first got together in high school, we agreed that we would break up if we were still together come graduation. That obviously didn’t pan out, which is wonderful.

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The Architect briefly dated K in 9th grade. It lasted about three weeks, which is 1/190th of the time the Architect and I have been together.

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However, he’s lived with her all but five months of the time he’s lived with me, which means he’s lived with her 93% of the time he’s lived with me.

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I’m sorta running out of number facts, so I’m just going to talk about how cool he is. He designs lots of buildings for lots of architecture firms, and when people come over to visit, I just walk them around and point out all the cool things he’s made.

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He has a really cute giggle and he’s an excellent listener. He always does whatever he can think of to make someone’s day a little better, like bringing me home those flowers even though we said we weren’t celebrating. And he really loves dogs.

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And….one time in high school for twin day he dressed up as me. Doesn’t he look way different now?

Bikes! Bikes! Bikes!

S on SnowdoniaAs I mentioned a couple weeks ago,  the Architect and I made a big purchase that we were super excited about.

Well, we picked them up this weekend and it’s just the most wonderful thing. They’re bikes!

Now, before I get to the big reveal of how incredibly pretty they are (since I know you’ve been waiting in suspense since I mentioned a mysterious new purchase), here is a history of why we bought them.

My Bike History

I was one of the kids who rode bikes to school and friends’ houses back in elementary school. That stopped when we moved for middle school  because we lived in a suburb that was simply not suited to life in anything but a car (or a motorcycle, which is what my mom uses and loves). I had a bike in college, but I only used it for a little while because it go so darn cold in New York State, and then it was all rusty come spring.

The city we used to live in actually had a lot of bicyclists. Between the few small businesses I worked at, I had at least five coworkers who biked to work at least some of the time, and at least one who used his bike as his sole mode of transport. And he loved it. The distances were relatively short, so I decided I, too, could bike to work. But I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to, so we went to Target to buy me a cheap bike I could use while I decided if  I really did like biking. That was Leggy:

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I liked riding Leggy to work, but I only did it three or four times. There were just too many things making it slightly too difficult to bike to work.

  • Number one–my commute was already so short that biking didn’t really help that much–it was only a 10 minute walk.
  • Number two–the streets in my neighborhood were so narrow that cars had no ability to pass me whatsoever, so I felt like I was in the way all the time.
  • Number three– we didn’t have a good way to store her at home other than just leaving her in the living room, where she took up way too much space.
  • And finally, number four– she weighed about 50 pounds, which I had to carry up three or four steps to get into our house. It was way too difficult to lift her comfortably, so I just didn’t do it. And so Leggy lived in our basement for the next two and a half years. She didn’t come with us on this move.

What We Wanted and Why

Before we moved here, we knew it was a really car-focused city, and we wanted to find a way not to have to buy another car. Note that we currently have three cars between the four adults living in our apartment, and it was important to us not to have a fourth.

Since we moved here, I noticed that aside from the 30 mile drive I have once a week to teach my ballet class, almost everywhere I go is less than 2 miles from my house. The 19 hours or so of dance rehearsals I have every week are all within that radius, the Architect’s office is within that radius, and most of the fun places we go are, too. I’ve found myself over and over actively wishing I had a bike when checking google maps for directions. Most of them are a 30-40 minute walk and a 6 minute drive. I feel really lame getting in the car to go what really amounts to a few blocks when I think about the poor atmosphere and everyone’s lungs, but that long of a walk just isn’t always feasible. But then we’re talking a 15 minute bike ride, which is absolutely a reasonable distance.  Plus, the Architect is always wanting to find ways to be more active but never really having the time. Bikes were a perfect solution.

The failure that was Leggy gave us all kinds of information we needed when choosing bikes this time in a way that means we really would ride.

We knew the bikes had to be much lighter than Leggy so I could lift mine if necessary. Also Leggy was a one speed, which was fine with the flat terrain where I rode her, but it’s hillier here (not super hilly, just not a pancake). So we wanted more than one speed. I knew I needed a step-through frame with the swooshy lady bar so I could ride in my skirts. And finally, they needed to look good. Now, not everyone is this way, but with me being super girly and the Architect, well, being an architect, aesthetics are very important to us. I wouldn’t get that excited riding a bike that I just didn’t think was pretty. We wanted to invest in quality bikes that have quality components rather than going with the cheapest thing possible we end up not wanting to ride, since we’re very serious about using them as commuting vehicles.

What We Got

So we told all that to the sales guy at our local bike shop, and he suggested Linus Bikes. They are just beautiful bikes inspired by 50’s and 60’s French films with some really useful parts that come with — a leather seat, a handlebar bell, a back rack, leather handle grips. And oh, so pretty.

Mine is the Dutchi 3 in Marine. Ever since my mom had a blue bike with a brown leather seat when I was a kid, I’ve secretly dreamed of having my own. And now I do! I named her Bluebird. Here she is!

BluebirdThe Architect’s bike is the Roadster Sport in black. Of course it’s black. He’s an architect. I think he actually wanted a really cool bright color, but men’s bikes tend not to come in them. Anyway, his bike is named Nevermore. (Get it, since black birds are Ravens?)

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After we picked them up, we took some pictures riding around the parking lot to show you guys. And I’m sure to have a bunch more bike-related posts coming up as I solve a few of my bike problems–which currently have everything to do with how to carry my things easily.

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Riding around town here, we discovered that it’s actually very bike-friendly, even though you wouldn’t think so given how many cars there are. But the city is really making an effort to encourage other modes of transport–it’s one of the few cities in my knowledge actually building public transit infrastructure. There are a lot of bike lanes and signs reminding drivers to share the road. And, the roads are wide enough that cars can easily pass at a safe distance without having to wait for me to wave them by at all the stop signs.

So far, we rode home from the bike shop, and I went on a couple errands by bike. The Architect has now commuted to work by bike twice, and he really likes it. Here’s to our whole new life, freely flying through the streets without being stuck looking for parking spots. I am hoping to work my way up to using the car only for that 30 mile drive to teach my class and travel long distances.

I know my mom rides a motorcycle for fun and to save gas. Anybody else reading use modes of transportation other than cars?

See you next time!

S riding away

Two half makeovers (Kitchen is Finished! Jacket is Short!)

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Happy New Year! What a ride it’s been since last year at this time. K and I had just returned home from Christmas festivities with the family, but the next day instead of going to work, we had to fly to the midwest to see our grandmother on her death bed. She was born in 1919, so she had lived to see so much.

2013 was a year of big changes for your resident egg halves. K got her MBA and moved in with her long distance boyfriend of five years. The Architect and I moved here to be with her. I got my worm bin and started growing plants for the first time ever. I sewed through my finger with my sewing machine. And now this week the Architect is starting his new job here. I am looking to 2014 to find a new career and explore. Now that he has a job, it isn’t so critical that I find one right away, so I’m planning to take my time and make sure I find a job I truly want.

And now I’ll jump back into Two 1/2 Eggs land. Here’s a reminder of some of our favorite posts from this, our first year blogging.

Posts by me:

First Wedding Anniversary

Refashions and more refashions

A Goodbye Apartment Dance

Posts by K:

Making Bath Salts for Relaxation and Gifts

Ren Faire Fun

Table Surgery

And now, without further ado, we move to this weeks’ projects. Back home visiting my mother, I made her a Christmas present of a refashioned jacket out of a too-large denim jacket I found at a thrift store:

Mom jacket beforeAs you can see, it isn’t the most flattering thing you’ve ever seen. This refashion was a bit more involved than most of them I do. I took out the seam at the hem of the lining, took in the jacket through the shoulders and back, cropped the jacket, and then rehemmed the bottom. It came out looking rather lovely, if I do say so myself:

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Ahhh. That’s better.

You can also see our other project in the background of that photo. Yes, the Architect and I finished the kitchen makeover that K and the Artist started at Thanksgiving. When we arrived at my parent’s house for Christmas, this is the state of the kitchen. Exhibit A: missing wallpaper.

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Exhibit B: The cabinet pulls don’t go with the light switch covers.

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For problem A with the wallpaper, we simply installed it along the chair rails around the room. It was pretty simple. The wallpaper was pre-glued, so all we had to do was wet the backs and then smooth it over. We used a razor and a putty knife to get it tight in the corners. Here’s the Architect being awesome.

IMG_20131224_110408 (1)As you can see, the wallpaper is little coffee cups. We decided to go with a little French cafe look for the kitchen, so little coffee cups was step one.  The next thing to do was to fix the cabinet pull situation. Mom had these ugly beige pulls that had come with the house, and the Architect decided they were just the thing.

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The metal tabs on the end went with the outlet covers, but the beige was just so drab looking. So we acquired some spray paint that’s formulated to stick on enamel, and dismantled the handles, leaving this big pile. The drab color is washed out in this photo, but you can see how dirty they were.

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We cleaned them off, and then the Architect put some nails in some boards and then spray painted the hands with nice, even coats.

IMG_20131227_113800Then we put them back together. You can see what a difference the spray paint made for the color in this photograph:

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We installed those, changed out the big painting on the wall to something that definitely looks more French cafe, and did a little styling. And the kitchen makeover is complete! Before I show you the beautiful after photos, though, I thought I would go ahead and remind you what the whole thing looked like before K and the Artist painted at Thanksgiving.

BeforeAlright, here goes!  The suspense is killing you, right?

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Oven after

An Egg Reunited!

S on Snowdonia The Architect and I arrived at our new apartment on Sunday night! We live with K and the Artist again! Hooray!

Except, in case you can’t tell from the photo, I’m sick. The Architect has been sick, too. We spent Thanksgiving with a sick baby, so of course we both have colds now. But he was cute even though he wouldn’t stop screaming! It was my first Thanksgiving with my in-laws, and I think it was really nice.

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I’m so happy about getting back together with my other half. But I’m sick, and, to be honest, we’ve been much too busy to really enjoy or appreciate the soulmate reunification. We’ve got unpacking to do! The movers dropped off all of our stuff yesterday, and since then, our house has seen a veritable explosion of things with no home yet, empty cardboard boxes, and crumpled paper. I think we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though.

I noticed that some of our things are magic at making it seem like we live here. Those purple doors we’re standing in front of were like that. As soon as they were unpacked, K, the Architect, and I all kind of breathed and said it suddenly felt like our real house. And today, we accomplished our very first everyone-FINALLY-living-in-the-same-house DIY.

We had this mail sorter thingy in our old apartment, but never really found a good way to use it. Junk mail doesn’t even make it into the house. And I don’t understand why bills don’t go in the IN box? It’s not like we get a lot of real mail that isn’t junk or bills.

photo 1Also, p.s., see how much of a mess it’s been in here?

photo 2Anyway, I suggested that we assign each person their own box, since there are four of us. The Architect suggested putting letters on them in chalk pen, and the Artist took care of the rest. He’s fancy. First, he picked out pretty fonts to use. Then he printed out stencils using his fancy vinyl cutter. While it’s cutting, it totally sounds like a 1980s robot toy. Here he is working hard.

photo 3He used his fancy stencils to trace and then he filled them in by hand. We decided to use chalk pens so that the whole thing would be reversible in case we decided we don’t like it. Turns out we do like it, though. So we probably won’t wash it off.

IMG_20131203_144553And the final product! So pretty.

photoWe have named it Sbills Duh-junk Kin Dout.

A Goodbye Apartment Dance

S on SnowdoniaThe movers came yesterday, and took away all our furniture. Now our apartment is big and empty, and it’s making this move feel so real. Next time it’s my turn to post, I’ll be living in our new city. (Posts are every Tuesday evening and K and I take turns, for those of you who haven’t picked that up yet). And K and I will finally be reunited. Hooray!

This weekend was my last professional dance performance here. It went amazingly, and of course I cried. We rehearsed for that show in this apartment. We would just move the kitchen table out of the way, and we had so much space.

I’m very sad to be leaving this apartment. It’s more or less our dream apartment–a big, huge, beautiful factory loft conversion. It’s the apartment I came home to after my wedding, it’s the first apartment I’ve lived in that has felt like my home, the first apartment I lived in because I wanted to instead of because it was the cheapest thing I could find.

Our big empty apartment with the beautiful wood floors makes me want to dance some more. So, I improvised this ode to change.

This big beautiful apartment? Just a passing moment gone.

First wedding anniversary

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Just over a month ago, the Architect and I had our tenth anniversary of when we started dating in high school.  And now this weekend was our first wedding anniversary. It was a lovely day. We went mini golfing and rode a carousel and cooked a delicious dinner and ate our surprisingly not-that-freezer-burned year old cake. (I was expecting it to be horrible. It was actually pretty tasty.)

Anyway, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about what marriage means to me, especially as it relates to living with my sister and our expectations to live together forever. Plus, bonus wedding pictures mixed in!

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There is a story in Plato’s Symposium on the origins of soul mates. The story goes like this: Originally, people were these round blobs with four arms and four legs and two heads. Some had a boy part and a girl part, some had two girl parts, and some had two boy parts (because the Ancient Greeks loved them some homosexuality!). These people were very powerful, and Zeus was afraid, so he cleaved them in half to weaken them. After that, people went around looking for their other half in an attempt to once again be whole.

K is my soul mate.

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Many people worry that it is cruel of me to tell my husband that he is not my soul mate, and when we were children our mother warned us that any men we dated would be jealous of our bond. But it is not cruel and doesn’t mean I love my husband any less. It is simply the fact that K and I were originally a round blob that was cleaved in two by the forces of our mother’s womb which left us two people who need one another to be whole.

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The Architect and I spent five years of our time together in a long distance relationship, and K and I have been apart from one another for a total of about ten months of our lives. I can say with complete honesty that without both of them, I am lost, and I am incomplete.

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K and I have planned to live together for as long as I can remember. Now that we’re adults, I can see all kinds of logistical benefits to the situation like shared living costs, increased resilience for the entire family in case anyone loses their job, shared childcare, and companionship. But the truth is that those reasons are not why I intend to live with K in my house as long as I live. I remember telling the Architect early in our relationship – probably three years in, which was long enough to know we intended to marry one another–that if he married me, it would mean living with K. That she and I were going to live together with our husbands and our children because we are family and that is what family means to us. He was opposed to the idea until later that day when I got heat stroke and I lay crying and shaking on the floor of my parents’ living room. K walked in and put ice on my wrists and I shortly felt better. He saw then that I needed her and that I would be happy with her and, by extension, so would he. That day he agreed to our bargain.

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It is not uncommon for people to be completely shocked at this arrangement. When K recently told a coworker that she lived with her sister and brother-in-law, he said, “Yeah, you live with your sister until one of you gets married.” And she laughed and told him I already was married and there were no plans for us to maintain separate households. Even twins who live states away from their sisters sometimes tell us that we will have to cut the cord eventually. But why should we cut a cord that makes our lives richer and more joyous, that weaves the web of our family stronger and makes us into stronger people by virtue of providing a strong support system?

Mom-Dad Cry

When we were children, we used to talk about how we have matching genes, and so, genetically speaking, our children would be half-siblings. We have always intended to love each other’s children as our own. And besides that, we are a family. Not just K and I or the Architect and I or the Artist and K. The four of us together are a family. We are a family when we wake up on Saturday mornings, the Architect and I make breakfast while K and the Artist sleep. And then we wake them up and they laugh and snuggle and act silly and it injects such joy into our lives. K understands me on a level that no one else ever could because for literally every experience of my life, she has been there. She has heard my stories day in and day out for nearly twenty-seven years. I have held her as she sobbed with heartbreak and she has told me I can handle things I didn’t think I could. The Architect makes me feel loved and he holds me in my sleep and he laughs at me when I dance like an idiot in the living room and he is my home. I said that in my wedding vows.

But there is an extent to which it isn’t home right now, with K living several states away. Yes, I have my husband who is my home and whose home I am. But home is where the heart is and my home is equally with K. And so I am lost in having too many homes that aren’t together.

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On our wedding day, K was my maid of honor (of course). She was the one who asked the Architect if he took me to be his lawfully wedded wife because as my twin she is the one who will watch as he holds me in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. She will watch over our arguments and help translate them for us. On our wedding day, after I kissed the Architect and we walked out of the circle our ceremony was held in, I turned to look back at the circle of my family and friends, and K was sobbing. I immediately left the Architect’s side to rush to hug her. I needed her then, and I needed her to know that I would always love her. She is almost as much a part of my memories of my wedding day as the Architect is.

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But still, it was my wedding to him, not to her. So I will finish this post with a copy of the vows that I said to him. Vows that brought on the winds and a stamp of approval from the forest itself. The Architect nourishes me spiritually. I love him. I love her. I love my family.

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My wedding vows:

I will never forget the first time I told you I love you. Ever since the first day I met you, and you asked me for a smile, I had always known you were different from everyone else. But that day, I saw your home. I saw the way that you and your family treasure your belongings and your house that’s practically a museum and your fireside dinner conversations. You walked me around those forty acres, showed me the history there. You showed me the trees you used to climb and the branches where you did your homework. You tried to teach me to climb a tree, but a branch broke out from under me. You caught me.

That day, I learned to understand you. I knew why you are so different from everyone else, why you care so deeply for everyone you know even slightly, Why I want you to be in my life always. That day, the words “I love you” slipped out of my mouth the way I slipped off the broken branch: suddenly and by accident.

But the fact that I love you is no accident. I have loved you since even before I knew it, since 9th grade gym class when I told all my friends that I somehow wanted to take care of you, and how silly I felt about that because you were so much stronger than me. And you are strong, both physically and emotionally. But I will be there for you in your moments of weakness. I will tell you I love you on sad nights when you reveal to me your deepest insecurities, and when we deal with our lives’ greatest tragedies. I will hold your hand on life’s long journeys and when the branches beneath your feet fall suddenly away.

Then, when those same branches are strong, I will hold you as tightly as I can and smile. I will tell you all about the wonderful new things I am learning, and I will push you to learn the things you want to learn. I will dance and make silly faces to make you laugh in the living room, and I will laugh at the quiet asides you murmur to me during group dinners. We will make things together, and discover things together, and I will rediscover myself every two days, and you will discover things and annoy me by showing them to me every two minutes, and we will be home together.

I want to finish these vows with a poem that has always made me think of our long, fruitful and beautiful future together. As you hear these words, remember: as your wife, I will help you to harvest the comfort, joy, and passion that life can hold.

I was wrapped in black
fur and white fur and
you undid me and then
you placed me in gold light
and then you crowned me,
while snow fell outside
the door in diagonal darts.
While a ten-inch snow
came down like stars
in small calcium fragments,
we were in our bodies
(that room that will bury us)
and you were in my body
(that room that will outlive us)
and at first I rubbed your
feet dry with a towel
because I was your slave
and then you called me princess.
Princess!
Oh then
I stood up in my gold skin
and I beat down the psalms
and I beat down the clothes
and you undid the bridle
and you undid the reins
and I undid the buttons,
the bones, the confusions,
the New England postcards,
the January ten o’clock night,
and we rose up like wheat,
acre after acre of gold,
and we harvested,
we harvested.
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*Poem by Anne Sexton and Entitled Us. All photographs courtesy of Meghan Hayes of Meggi Leigh Photo

One Egg, Divided

S on SnowdoniaIt’s been a sad couple of weeks here in Two Half Eggs land.

K moved 550 miles away from me. And I miss her.

As we’ve mentioned before, she just finished her MBA. Her company named her Director of Marketing and asked her to move to their new corporate office. We all decided to follow her there. This week marks the first time that she’s lived with the Artist. Also the first time I’ve lived alone with my husband.

Princess K leavingK and The Artist have lived in different cities for the last five years because they both loved their jobs. We don’t like his city, he doesn’t like ours. So this new city, which is closer to our parents, seemed like a good compromise. We can all be together.

The Architect and I are finishing out our lease here before we move to go be with them at the end of November. And then we’ll all live together in one little apartment and be a happy family, all of us together.

She left on Saturday morning, and we cried, and her room was so empty. We had to reorganize our furniture because the whole apartment was so empty without her things. Then one of the Architect’s college friends came to town, and we took her out to dinner. And then our good friend came with a delicious ice cream cake to celebrate the Architect’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Architect!