Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mourning Jane

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but Jane magazine died about a month ago. That's right, my favorite "women between 18 and 34" magazine just up and died without my knowledge for an entire month. I should know about this tragic death, as I still glance at every so often in my build-a-house-get-engaged-and-still-manage-to-have-two-jobs frenzy. However, I missed it completely.

Until today when I stopped by my mailbox on the way to the house site, and lo and behold, there's a little postcard in there from Jane magazine. It says, "Jane will no longer be published. We are sending you editions of Allure magazine in its place until the end of your subscription."

It's as if someone punched me in the stomach, and then offered me a hot dog. My mom once said that hot dogs are really just "lips, tits, and assholes." Allure is like a hot dog. Sure, it's good for a quick fix if you're hungry enough. But it's not like it provides sustaining nutritional value. Allure is no substitute for Jane, people.

You see, Jane was the brain child of Jane Pratt, the ex-editor of Sassy. And while I didn't really read a lot of Sassy as a young lass, I was familiar with it and knew it was different from your run-of-the-mill, "how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days" chick magazine. Don't get me wrong, I like Vogue, but Jane had more edge, and it gave me just a sliver of hope in the form of publishing for this Paris-Lindsay-Britney generation. Instead of a makeover, it presented readers with a monthly makeUNDER every issue. Pamela Anderson had her own column, and it was fabulous. Bimbo meets editor.

There are those that are slinging mud about it. I suppose that's they're business, as they're in the business. I just read the thing, and I'll miss getting it in my mailbox, so screw the naysayers.

Then there's the symbolism of it. The timing is sort of apropos, I guess. I'm turning a year older. I'm no longer in the 18-34 bracket. I was out of it last year, actually, but I guess it's time to move on and start reading Redbook or Oprah.

I think I just vomited in my mouth. Seriously.

Or maybe I'll just start reading more Plath and buy old copies of Sassy on Ebay.

Farewell, Jane. And farewell 18-34. I'll miss ya.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Seeing the finish line...

Craziness. Insanity. Chaos. That’s the best way to describe my life these past few months, especially in the last few weeks. Closing is on the 30th, moving is Labor Day weekend, and the house of my dreams will be mine in less than two short weeks.

Time has flown since we broke ground back in March. Well, sort of. The days fly, but the closing and the reality of it still seems like it’s a million miles away. After working at the house last night, I was driving home thinking about the things that have literally gotten me through this stressful time. And, in my I’m-too-busy-to-write mode, I shall put forth my concise list instead to convey those things that have literally carried me.

So, what’s kept me going until I get into the house of my dreams, get married, and start my new life in my new digs?

- First and foremost, the huge Kohler soaking tub, taunting me every day since framing was completed. It beckons….calls my name like a welcome ghost. I’ve already planned my first lavender bath to be an hour long, involving enough pruniness to make my skin look like an 80-year old woman’s. It’s a symbol of peace, stability, and relaxation. Something I feel I’ve earned in my life, and I can’t wait to grab hold of with both hands.

- Looking in my driver’s side rear-view mirror every evening on the way back to our dinky apartment and seeing Tess’ jowls flapping in the wind as she shoves her head out the window to smell the passing cows. She’s the best damn dog ever. My little shadow. When she closes her eyes and shoves her snout up into the air like she’s in a canine trance, I just smile and remember that I, too, must stop to smell the cow shit once in while.

- My power-bright-red office. I can’t wait to write everything my brain can dump from that fabulous, all-mine office.

- My fiance’s utter exhaustion. I know, it sounds bitchy, but it’s quite the opposite. This man is the antithesis of my ex-husband, who believed that work consisted of playing video games in his underwear as I held down two jobs to pay the mortgage. Fiance’ man is just that: a real man. He’s a Midwestern workhorse; your typical “I worked in the cornfields in high school” kind of guys. He’s never once spoke a negative word about working. The man can fix the electrical system on an F-16 without batting an eye, for chrissake, so his idea of a nice Saturday consists of doing something with his hands, involving way too much sweat equity (I’d rather be organizing an underwear drawer, reading a book on a hammock, or getting a pedicure). So, when he becomes exhausted, you know that real work has been accomplished. He’s been literally working his ass off, and he had a back with a crack to begin with. This alone is an inspiration. I’ve got a good one this time.

- Brussel sprouts. Yes, those little green vegetables. I just have to throw them in as being little inspirations in themselves. My cafeteria at work serves brussel sprouts nearly every day. I’ve always been obsessed with them. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I love everything miniature, and brussel sprouts are really just miniaturized heads of cabbage. Let’s face it; they are a divine creation packed with vitamins and minerals, and they make me smile. It’s always been the little things, you know, and if asked how I’ve managed to work some 15-hour days, I’d have to say that it’s the sprouts, really. My version of Popeye fuel.

- My 3-acre front yard and my 4-acre back yard. Me...a city girl on 7 friggin acres to do with what I please. It just doesn’t get any more glorious than that.

- The thought of driving my new, red Arctic Cat ATV out on the property. Perhaps pulling a teenager or two on an inner tube in the snow. With my stiletto boots on, of course.

- And, lastly, but perhaps most potent - thoughts of my old life in the ‘burbs. I mean, when a substandard vendor does something like, I don’t know, relieves his bowels in my house when there were no toilets (yes, this has happened – don’t get me started), the day can be somewhat disillusioning, to say the least. In fact, some of these guys that call themselves upright humans (as opposed to chimpanzees) are absolute morons. I’ve witnessed Darwin’s theory in action, although I’m amazed some of these guys have managed to stay alive this long to receive a paycheck. Anywho, even with the irritation here and there, and even with the thought that I may never want to do this house-building thing again, I’m truly grateful. I look back at my old life and it pales in comparison to the fresh air and non-claustrophobic digs we’ve created here in the cornfields. It’s breathtaking, and while I’d have to be on some heavy drugs or in a jacket-that-ties-in-the-back to do it again, it’s one of the best accomplishments of my life thus far.

Building a house has been a lot like running a marathon. It starts out fun…at the beginning phase, the thought of it seems so exciting, brimming with hope and expectations of yourself and the journey. You make it through the beginning, smiling and still buzzing from the cheers at the start line. And then you hit mile 18 and want to start stabbing people, including yourself. At mile 24, you’re beyond exhausted, weary, and spent. And, all you can think about is how great it’ll be to finish, how fantastic that cheeseburger is going to taste, and how appealing a big bed full of pillows is going to feel in a mere two miles. My two miles are the equivalent of my two weeks, and I can feel that lavender bath now...

I don’t run marathons anymore. I do halves, but marathons are out of the question with my aging body and my equally wise mind due to life experience. I did it once, so I’ve got nothing to prove. I suppose the same thing goes for this house. I’m hoping it’s the last house I’ll ever build, not only because it’s been a royal pain in the butt, but more so because it truly feels like home. And that’s more rewarding than any finish line I could ever cross.