Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

i’ll be home for christmas (almost)

In Home, News and Politics, Religion on December 28, 2015 at 9:25 pm

I bought a house today. My agent was my friend Laurie. I met Laurie ten years ago at a long-defunct bar called The Lab. It was a bar in Over the Rhine and being just a few years out from the riots, having four people there on a weeknight meant the place was poppin’. I was recently out of a poorly-considered reunion with an ex and Laurie was annoyed enough with men in general to lend a sympathetic ear to my story of mid-20s love gone wrong (or rather, was never love in the first place).

Over the years, that barstool friendship evolved across husbands and boyfriends, jobs and different jobs, debauchery of youth and the circle back to good conversation over a few beers. After referring a few friends to her real estate agent services, I got serious about buying my own place. And when I finally found The House of Dale, I wrote the following heartfelt letter in hopes of swaying the sellers with my earnest declaration of emotions (it turns out all I had to do was want to buy it rather than rent it, but who knew?):

Dear Brad and Angelina*,

Attached is my purchase offer for the home on Pennsylvania Avenue*. I also wanted to share what has led me to this place.

I never thought I’d be able to own my own home. After unemployment left our family leaving Detroit unexpectedly when I was 14 years old, we moved to a small town in Ohio, renting a house from my sister and brother-in-law. My parents still rent that tiny house, 22 years later. After three years of dorm living, I started 18 years of renting. Mostly apartments, a couple houses, usually alone, sometimes with roommates. I thought my “property” ownership would be limited to my car and a square foot of an island off the coast of Maine (life is weird).

A year ago, I got a new job. Previous obstacles to my gainful employment, mostly health-related, had diminished to a point where I could consider what had seemed impossible: home ownership. This not merely a purchase for me; even the mortgage pales in comparison to the true meaning of this contract: security and a willing responsibility to the commitment of providing my life’s sanctuary.

I love this house. It’s a place where I can feel at the home for the first time since we drove away from our house in Detroit 22 years ago. Any dollars and cents in this contract is eclipsed by the heart I offer for my American Dream come true.

Thank you for considering my offer in its entirety.



Brad and Angelina didn’t give a shit about my heartfelt letter. They are business people who flip houses for a living. If they gave a shit about my heartfelt letter, they wouldn’t be good at their jobs. It’s okay. I still got the house.

But those words are still true. This hasn’t been so much a financial transaction as the fulfillment of a dream deferred. A home is security. A home is safety. A home is where you have the liberty to wear robes all the time and eat cookies and pizza for breakfast and enjoy privacy for multi-flush poops. You can play music loud and take long showers (but please be responsible in your water use). A place to lay your head is what keeps you going when you’re out in the world, with its unpredictability and disapproval of robe-only ensembles.

When weather is bad, we want to be at home. When we’re sick, we want to be at home. When we’re tired, or scared, or stuck in traffic – especially when we’re stuck in traffic – we want to be at home.

The refugees of Syria, of Sudan, of Afghanistan, of dozens of countries where unspeakable abuse – trafficking, child soldiers, pirating, blatant violence – has driven its people to flee with only the clothes on their backs, risking their lives and the lives of their children, are looking for homes. They are looking for the most basic of necessities – shelter. They are looking for the most essential of liberties – safety. They are looking for the most sacred of blessings – serenity in the comfort of a home.

Any refugee seeking asylum could have written that heartfelt letter. The refugees who are being turned away, who are dying – quite literally – in their efforts to find a home, are being turned back to nothing. Their home is gone. When refugees are turned away, we – the countries that are homes by the very nature our liberty – not only deny them the dignity of acceptance but we shirk our responsibility to care for our neighbor. Their blood is on our hands because we refuse to shield them from the sword.

When we turn away refugees, we. are. Assholes. As my mom said about the sellers after reading my heartfelt letter, “If that doesn’t make them want you to have the home, they are heartless awful people, and I’m sure that isn’t the case.”

Many Americans just celebrated Christmas (and/or the War on Christmas). We are told There is a Reason for the Season. That reason started with a young couple looking, if only for the night, a home. Somewhere safe to bring their child into the world. Somewhere that if say, a deranged king was trying to hunt down and kill their child, they would be secure against the danger. The really Christian thing to do is to help people who are looking for home – a safe place to birth their child, a land where their lives are no longer in daily danger, an urban bungalow for robe-wearing. The Christians would want those refugees to have a home. Because they aren’t heartless awful people. Mom is sure that isn’t the case.


*Names have been changed

the least snarkler post ever

In Home on February 14, 2015 at 1:22 pm

This has nothing to do with anything I ever write about. But a friend asked for advice about buying used, I mean pre-owned, I mean vintage furniture. Once I wrote it all out, I thought maybe it was helpful to other people. Enjoy:

Craigslist is nice because you can see stuff from home and they usually provide the dimensions so you can measure to see if it will fit before buying. You can also usually barter on the price. Downside: sometimes the seller is far away, and you have to be prepared right then to pick it up in whatever vehicle you can wrangle. Also, with furniture, people usually want you to come to their house rather than load it up themselves to meet you, so be careful and bring someone with you, meet in a public, well-lit place (grocery store parking lots during the day are a good option). Lastly, items on craigslist tend to be overpriced. People’s emotional attachment and skewed sense of their own frugality means they often price things unrealistically (I’ve seen people price IKEA stuff OVER the price of IKEA because “they put it together for you”). However, there are still great deals to be had, even from dealers. PS – some sellers will offer delivery.
Vintage stores tend to be the most expensive – since it’s their specialty, they know the value of items. BUT they will usually price good-quality items that have been made over super-ugly at a good price because their customers tend to not have the imagination to see what could be done with a piece beyond the current ugly. There are also some smaller stores that have to keep their prices competitive with bigger shops, and there’s the possibility of bartering with them.
Goodwill/Salvation Army/St. Vincent de Paul are usually the cheapest options. They don’t have an emotional attachment, and they are non-profits. There are days where everything is half-off… I got that blue chest of drawers for $12.50 because it was half-price day. If you pay at the time, you can usually pick it up within 24 hours so you have time to get help with transport. You can also trust to buy upholstered items from these stores because as non-profits, there are federal guidelines, including the professional cleaning and guarantee of items being free from bedbugs/fleas/etc. However, the selection is limited and varies from store to store. There is a Salvation Army furniture store in Norwood and I can give you some specific locations that are good to go for furniture. In addition, they are less likely to have quality items. There are some gems, but there’s a lot of particle board.
The ReStore stores, which are run by Habitat for Humanity. Around Cincinnati, there are locations in Bond Hill, Hamilton, Cheviot, and Florence. You can see some of their stuff online (and on craigslist) and it’s generally more commercial stuff but there are some really good deals. I got a bathroom cabinet for $20. They are also good for “character” salvage parts that you can add to other plain furniture for interest.
Trader’s World/flea markets: I got an amazing horizontal bookcase for $24 at Trader’s World and if I had the money, I would have gotten a spectacular steamer trunk for $60. You have to wait for spring for these because most of the furniture vendors stay outside.
Side of the road: I have gotten some of my best stuff as roadside pickups, including a chair that is a vintage model by a famous designer – a furniture company recently released a line of reproductions of it and they sell for about $1000. Finding out what day trash day is and doing drive arounds is the easiest window shopping you can do. Cincinnati-wise, Avondale, Clifton, Northside, and Walnut Hills are particularly good for curb pick-ups. Some curb items are also listed on craigslist. Be prepared to get in the car right away, because if they are advertised, they go quickly.
Yard Sales: Again, seasonal, but often advertised on craigslist with some pics of the furniture. They have some of the best deals you’re going to encounter.
The best advice is to be open to what comes to you and let people know what you’re looking for. Some things were gifts from friends (or trades); some were something I found out about from a friend, so let people know you’re looking if they know of someone who has something you need (or if they themselves do). You never know unless you ask!

Back to snark and sparklers next post.

don’t hand me no lines

In Communication, Entertainment and Nightlife, Home, Relationships on May 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Did you know that some people marry people they aren’t in love with? Did you also know that I’m overcoming the visceral reaction to rearrange that sentence so that’s is too awkward to read but does not end in a preposition? Let’s move on. Damn it!

I’m in my early 30s, which is when folks begin to nest. They start settling. There isn’t so much a biological clock as there is a dearth of single, childless friends to carouse with on weekends. You look around and start realizing that the make-out party is becoming less party and more make-out and you’re running out of suitable partners.

While I don’t think everyone is going to meet their soulmate, I take the oath of marriage pretty seriously. I take it so seriously that I haven’t taken it. People stay in relationships with someone they don’t love, sometimes even going so far as to marry them. They might divorce, or they might stay unhappy forever. There might be affairs. There might be children.

Men always think I like them more than I do. They think each crush is love. They think they hold my heart in their hands and it’s up to them to care for it. You don’t do me favors by faking feelings. You don’t do me favors by being half-invested. You don’t do me favors by putting off breaking up.

Often, people are afraid to end things because they don’t want the other person to get hurt. Honey, the hurting is inevitable. And in the meantime, you’re stealing from them. You’re stealing time and energy and love that they could be sharing with someone who reciprocates. You’re stealing their ability to trust again, and their self-confidence.

I never get worked up when someone doesn’t like me “like I like them.” First, I hardly know you yet. Second, there’s been unrequited love in both directions in my past. Sure, it sucks – both ways (that’s what she said). But I haven’t had much stolen and I haven’t stolen much.

Which is pretty good for 32.

all the news that’s fit to print

In Communication, Home, Sports, Work on March 28, 2011 at 12:33 am

It’s been quiet here at The Snarkler and I apologize. I would have fired the person responsible, but a) I am the person responsible, b) I don’t get paid anyway, and c) I’m a pretty understanding boss.

Part of what has kept me away is some good news- I will be writing a sports blog for Sports writing is pretty much my dream job, so I’m understandably excited and scared shitless. It’s a freelance gig, so I am still available for all of your furniture and mattress sales needs.

For the four readers who pay attention to this thing: I’ll still be writing on here, but the majority of my sports stuff will be on that blog. If you come here strictly for swear words, dick jokes, and poop philosophy, you’re in luck. I’ll will continue my sporadic and at-will writing on here.

The sports blog is yet to be named but will debut on April 25.  You don’t have to read it, but I would appreciate if you clicked on it a couple hundred times a day.

Despite its lack of valuable content, this totally counts as a post. Suck it, analytics!

parents just understand

In Communication, Home, Relationships on March 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

If family-friendly comedies and cell phone commercials are any indication, teenagers suffer from near-fatal humiliation at the hands of their dim-witted parents on a daily basis. I’ve been lucky enough to be spared by this dreaded disease, as my parents are the two most awesome people I know.

This is not a recent epiphany. My parents. Are. Awesome. And always have been.

Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around coming home on Saturday nights after my dad’s bowling league, having spent the past 3 hours sitting on the floor and eating grilled cheese, and my parents letting me stay up and watch stand-up comedy. That’s right. 8 years old and watching Evening at the Improv and Caroline’s Comedy Hour at 1:00 am on a Saturday night, and I think it made me a much better person. Or at least one with a more discerning taste in stand-up.

My parents didn’t just bring me to bowling alleys and bars (where I learned how to play pool from my godfather). They also brought me to volunteer on political campaigns. I still have t-shirts from the HOPE team (Hayden, Olmstead, and Patrick for board of Education). I went door to door passing out literature for Michael Dukakis, with my elderly French-Canadian neighbor/best friend standing behind me, as protection but in complete befuddlement. I remember at one point asking my mom the difference between Democrats and Republicans (I was maybe 6 at the time), and she paused for a moment and said, “Democrats care about people, and Republicans care about buildings.” First- please do not take that definition as a catalyst for a political argument in a series of TLDR comments. Second, my mom is awesome.

Both of my parents had been through some real crazy shit before I came along. I’m talking Lifetime movie shit, and one of the big budget ones with Tara Reid or Jennifer Love Hewitt. And yet, they have managed to be the most awesome parents ever.

They are still my favorite people to hang out with. I talk to my mom every day, and no decision is made without her advice (whether I take it or not). I visit them often and have more fun hanging out with them than pretty much any of my friends (sorry!). We share the same sense of humor and a lot of the same interests.

I never went through a stage of rebellion, really. Even in the brief pre-teen phase where parents shouldn’t exist, they stayed in the background, dropping me off at the mall and allowing private upstairs slumber parties.

I feel almost guilty at how awesome my parents are- kind of like that twinge of guilt a trust fund baby gets when he spends money he didn’t earn. But just like the trust fund kid, I get over it quick and revel in the fact that, let’s face it: I lucked out.

god and other unacceptable topics

In Communication, Health and Wellness, Home, News and Politics, Relationships, Science on March 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm

For the people who thought they knew what tonight’s post was about: Sorry. That’s for another day.

Religion is one of those things, along with sex, politics, and poop, that you aren’t supposed to talk about in mixed company. As you may guess, I enjoy talking about things that should not be discussed in mixed company.

My personal take on religion is that, like relationships, it’s a personal thing that is no one else’s business. In other words, I don’t give a shit what you think, and what I think is not your concern.

Still. Sometimes I feel like there is a dichotomy that religion boils down to, and it’s whether there is an omnimpotent being. God-ish, you may say.

I’m willing to admit that I’m in the fold of belief in God-ish. And I hesitate to narrow it further, as my beliefs are varied and broad and as far as I’m concerned, not mutually exclusive nor any of your business. What events result in that faith are pretty simple.

When I’m at the end of my rope, there’s a knot. I know that is totally 5th grade book fair poster involving a kitten philosophy. But it’s true. Yesterday was mad shitty. I mean, mad shitty. Think about the shittiest day, dial back someone dying, and that was my Wednesday. It really fucked up the whole week. I figured that life as Wednesday was barely worth it.

Then today happened. And it wasn’t perfect. There was still no sun. But I got a surprise gift from someone who thinks about me when I’m not around, which, let’s face it, is a pretty awesome compliment. Then a bit of good company sandwiched between the next slice of awesome: a childhood career dream come true. To settle the day, good conversation with good friends and a cuddle with my dog.

I suppose it could be a coincidence that a horrible day was followed by a day full of steady pick-me-ups. But it’s happened far too often to make me think that it’s not statistically significant. There’s too many times where I get to learn my lesson, but then get my scrapes bandaged and my lollipop received to think that someone isn’t looking out for me. Whether it’s the soul of my grandmother, a God, or magnetic energy from the sun in the form of Tom Cruise, I can’t help but feel like I’m not alone. Which is nice.

charlie sheen is not cool

In Entertainment and Nightlife, Health and Wellness, Home, News and Politics, Science, Work on March 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

As much as I hate to be one of the billion people talking about Charlie Sheen when there are far more important matters in the world (Libya, unions, Bockfest), I feel like mine might be a minority (or solitary) opinion.

Charlie Sheen is not cool.

He’s not funny. He’s not winning. He’s definitely not inspiring. He’s sick.

Whether his brain was fried before the drugs is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is that this is a grown man with 5 children. What would be mildly entertaining if he were a 22-year-old guy drunk at a party is a serious problem when it’s a 45-year-old man with responsibilities he is ignoring. As quotable as he has been in the past few weeks, he has 4 children under the age of 10. His youngest two children are with a woman who has plenty of her problems of her own. I don’t think any of us suspected that Denise Richards would come out of this family looking like the smart one.

Charlie Sheen is tragic. The likelihood of this ending happily ever after is slim. The United States is cheering the destruction of a human being, while ignoring the thousands who are losing their livelihoods and their lives.

I hate to be such a Debbie Downer, trust me. I prefer to keep this and my Twitter account as light and as bummer-free as possible. But the admiration people are showing for Charlie Sheen is distressing. Mental illness isn’t cool. Drug abuse isn’t cool. Having a harem isn’t cool (no, really. It’s not).

Charlie Sheen is not cool.

And he’s definitely not winning.

be careful what you wish for

In Health and Wellness, Home on February 21, 2011 at 7:06 pm

As a child, I had a huge gap between my two front teeth. More accurately, I had it well into adulthood. I prayed and prayed that my gap would close. It was the only thing about my appearance that really bothered me (and I spent a great deal of my childhood with a poodle perm and spent high school with eyebrows that could serve as toupees).

Over the years, the gap has closed gradually. A few years ago, when my wisdom teeth started coming in, the gap is all but closed. In fact, now I have a new concern. Is something in my teeth? (Yes, there is.)

While I’m thrilled to have one of my dreams come true, another wish I had ended up being granted a little differently. I always wanted dimples. I have dimples in my chin, which is not cute once you’re past your first birthday. So when I was little, I would pass the time while I was pooping by poking in my right cheek (the one on my face) (I preferred to only have one dimple, as I felt the asymmetry would be more interesting). Strangely enough, even after years of poop-time spent poking my finger into my own face, I did not develop a dimple.

Now that I’m aged (32, to be exact), I’ve noticed a few changes in my appearance. While I still look pretty good for my age, there is one wrinkle in particular that is very pronounced.

Right where a dimple should be.

take two

In Communication, Health and Wellness, Home, Relationships on January 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

If you read this, you might also read my Twitter.  If you read my twitter, you know that one of my favorite topics is poop.  Not just in the realm of humor but in a philosophical sense as well.  I have favorite poops (floaty ones) and least favorite poops (sticky ones).  As Dr. Oz enjoys pointing out, poop is an excellent indicator of your health.  I think poop is hilarious and will bring it up as a topic of conversation in all sorts of mixed company.

There’s a good reason I feel comfortable discussing poop in mixed company.  Because those are exactly the folks who poop.  That is where the philosophy comes in.

One million years ago, I taught teaching public speaking at a few of the local universities.  All three required every student to take public speaking, regardless of major.  Public speaking is often reported as the number one fear, even over death.  Basically, if I was teaching death class, I’d have more comfortable students.  I understood- when I took public speaking as an undergrad, I had an asthma attack during a speech and they found me lying on the bathroom floor.

As a result, I could relate to their fear.  There were a couple of strategies I employed for making students more comfortable, and one of them involves poop.  People often recommend to picture your audience naked when giving a speech.  While I guess that makes sense, I would be distracted, interested, and repulsed if that was the case.  I recommended my students picture their audience pooping.

Everyone poops, and it could be the most vulnerable position.  Your pants are around your ankles.  You can’t really go anywhere.  And you are stinking the joint up.  It’s the great equalizer, because no matter your job, your income, your looks, your popularity… all y’all poop.  Whenever I have the chance of being intimidated, I picture the person taking a big ol’ dump.  And it humanizes them.  No one is scary when they are pooping.

The reason poop jokes are funny is because humor relies on shared experience.  You have to be able to relate to find it funny.  And everyone knows poop.  You might not be black.  You might not be gay.  You might not be a blonde.  You might not have a penis.  But you poop.  So you get it.

Some people find poop to be embarrassing.  Even I have been known to make a man I’m dating not just leave the apartment but the building if I need some freedom to let loose, so to speak.  I’m not saying you have to (or should) talk about it as much as I do.  But if you are looking to feel more comfortable, just remind yourself: everybody poops.

i’m just a girl

In Communication, Entertainment and Nightlife, Home, Relationships, Sports on January 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I am not a girly girl.  There are some aspects to my personality that are decidedly feminine.  I love makeup and fashion.  I watch HGTV all the time.  I still get giggly and play with my hair when I’m flirting with some dude.

But then, I’m a sports fanatic.  I know more about baseball than most men – not just trivia but strategy.  I was 4th overall in points in my fantasy football league this season.  One of the top 3 moments in my life is being on the 18th green when Tiger Woods came back to win the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.  My dream job is General Manager of a baseball or football team.  (Mike Brown, did you hear that?). 

I hate chick flicks.  I would rather poke myself in the eye for 90 minutes than watch The Notebook.  If I can sit still long enough to watch a movie, it better have sophomoric humor, car chases, and/or guns.  Pineapple Express, thy name is Trifecta of Awesome. 

I have zero desire to get in touch with my feelings.  In fact, the further I can push them to the back of my brain, the better.  I’m a commitment-phobe to what is probably a disturbing degree.  I have had essentially one boyfriend, and it lasted about 4 months, tops.  My only long-term relationship has been with Verizon Wireless (12 years, going strong!).  While I expect to eventually get married, I imagine it will be more of a “hey, let’s get married.”  “Okay, is the courthouse open?”  And, we’re married.  And maybe I’ll tell people at some point.  But I don’t want a diamond and I don’t want a dress.  A honeymoon would be nice, though.  And I ain’t gonna tell you about that, either.

It’s not easy being such a dude of a girl.  For some reason, guys are not always excited about girls who win arguments about sports.  Girls don’t trust me – I guess they see me as enemy territory.  Like I will lure away their men with my arguments for changing NCAA football to a playoff system.  I don’t dislike girly girls.  I just don’t get them.  I don’t get being mad at a guy who doesn’t like me.  I don’t get caring what someone says about my body.  I don’t get wanting to watch a movie knowing it will make me cry for 6 hours.  I don’t get how a vampire and a brat makes for a fairy tale.  I don’t get giving a shit over Valentine’s Day.

But still.  I enjoy being a girl.