it’s his game but I have the advantage

thoughts

I knew he was trouble. I knew his reputation. He always bought the drinks. He always drank too much. I’d see him with one girl or another. Then he came to my bar during my shift. He asked me who I was and what I did for a living. His voice was soft and intimate. He stayed all night and asked if I was going anywhere after I closed up. I was, and he was there when I walked through the door. He asked me to sit with him and tried to give me his double vodka.

When I said it was time to leave, he followed me to my car, but I left him standing in the parking lot. I had a Facebook message from him before I got into bed.  I knew he was trouble. So I had the advantage. I added him on Snapchat and waited for the fun to begin. I knew he sent dozens of girls the same cute pic of him laying in bed with his dogs. I could tease him and call him out on his bullshit. I could act like I needed him and then walk right out on him.

This went on for months. If he messaged me, I responded. If he bought me a drink when I ran into him, I drank it. If he wanted to come to see me during my bar shift, I flirted as best as I could. I knew he was trouble, but I was bored. Plus, he was good for business. I never met up with him when he asked. Until one Friday when I was feeling lonely and self-conscious, I decided to see how it would go.

When I got to the bar, he was, for a lack of a more appropriate word, cocked. He was drunk and obsessed with my body. He slapped my ass twice and spilled a drink down my shirt. Even drunk, he was seductive somehow. He stood so close. We were side by side at the bar, his arm pressed tightly against mine and his voice in my ear. He sang Kenny Chesney. He told me he wanted to have kids. He talked about how much he loved his grandpa. He asked if I would go see a movie with him. He bought drink after drink trying to get me drunk, but there was no way I could, or would, catch up to him.

Then this guy, who had been drunk messaging me for weeks and wouldn’t even ask me out to dinner, said he wanted to marry me. I just about walked out of the bar right then. I was both entertained and somewhat baffled. Here he was, in the flesh, Mr. F*ckboy. You can’t want a wife and want to sleep with strangers. You have to choose.  He either really didn’t know what he wanted out of life or he knew exactly what he wanted and he was that manipulative.

You can’t want a wife and want to sleep with strangers. You have to choose.

Still, it made me feel powerful to tease him. Knowing what I did gave me a clear vantage point. I stayed until they kicked us out. Before that night, I wavered on what I would choose when he, inevitably, presented the opportunity to me. I had told myself I was in control, but when it came down to staying the night or going home, I wasn’t sure what I would do.

That night it appeared I was going to find out. He couldn’t drive home, and as I pulled into his driveway, he asked if I was coming inside. As I drove away, he yelled at me, “You’re beautiful! I hate you!”

Driving home I thought about how I could have been in his bed at that exact moment. I was proud of myself. If I had wanted a meaningless hookup, he’d be the guy to call, but I would be lying to myself if I said that’s what I wanted. I would get hurt because what I truly wanted was a best friend.

A lot of people have settled for less than they deserve because they can’t deal with the alternative: being alone. It’s so much easier to let an asshole tell you that you’re sexy than to think straight and realize he says that to every girl. I did it though. I made it through his trap.

He messaged me to tell me he was sorry. I kept it friendly. “Don’t be sorry… actually, you did try to kidnap me. Be sorry for that,” I responded, laughing. I wasn’t looking for an enemy. I just wasn’t going to sleep with him.

To my surprise, he came walking in on my afternoon shift the next day. Drinking double Rum and Cokes all day will get you pretty messed up by 7 pm, and he never slowed down. Again, after my shift, we went for more drinks. Then he got a call asking him where he was. “I’m not with anyone,” he responded.

I got up to leave. He asked for a hug, and I walked out. I deleted him on Snapchat. I ended that temptation. I’m not one of his Snapchat girls, and I decided I should stop pretending to be. In retaliation, he deleted me on Facebook and Instagram.

“We aren’t friends anymore?" I messaged him. 
“No you deleted me on Snap.”

That was the end of that. A few weeks went by without hearing from him. I expected it. He was bruised from me taking away his favorite line of communication. I saw him around and was pleasant. He always looked like a puppy in solitary confinement. I did miss the thrill. I missed the game. I can go days without getting a call or a message from someone. That stings a little. It’s where I am in my life. I work a lot and rarely see friends. One day, while walking through the park in the dark with my dog, I messaged him.

“are you being good?" I asked.
"trying to be. y?”
“no reason.”
“are u okay?” he said. I was caught off guard.
"yeah. just wondered how you were. will you be at the club tomorrow?”
“you working?”
“yeah”
“I’ll be there.”

Just like that, there he was again. This time he wasn’t drinking doubles, he was slowly sipping on a cheap draft beer. He brought up the movie he still hadn’t seen yet. We talked about taking vacations and traveling. He spoke quietly and laughed and smiled. He was the second to last guy to leave when I closed. I debated going out after because I knew he would be there. I decided against it, but, sure enough, he messaged me, “You coming out?”

I explained that I had to get up for work the next day. He responded that it was all good, and we said good night. I thought the conversation was over, but another message appeared. He said he still wanted to see that movie and that if I was interested, we should go. I knew he was trouble, but I’m not one to turn down a movie so I agreed, picked a date, and said I’d meet him there.

"do you want me to like pick you up and open the door and be all cute and shit?"
"is that how you want to do it?" I asked.
"yes."

I mentally gave him an “A+” for acting the part of a gentleman. My friends seemed genuinely shocked that he had made a move beyond drinks. They figured he didn’t ask a lot of girls out to anything other than the bar. I told them that my expectations were lower than low.

Two days later, the day we planned to go out, I hadn’t heard from him. I wondered if I should let him forget about it – and then call him out for flaking – or if I should remind him, and listen to the inevitable excuse. I opted for the latter.

"are we still on for tonight?" 
"oh I'm out-of-town helping my sister. what time is the movie again?"

I didn’t respond.

"Hello?" He demanded.
"what?"
"what time is the movie?"

I repeated the time, and he asked why I had an attitude. I told him if he was out-of-town he probably should have thought about telling the girl he asked to a movie. He apologized, but the apology was back-handed. Instead of owning up to the fact that he forgot, he made it seem like I was out of line.

I was actually kind of relieved. I had gone back and forth between thinking it was a social experiment and thinking I didn’t want to cross this line. I knew he was trouble. Out of sheer boredom, I continued this odd relationship. I’m not sure if he just always gets what he wants or is there is something seriously wrong with his mental state. Maybe he is an alcoholic.

Knowing what I know, and being treated the way I have, makes it hard for me to imagine developing feelings for him, but sometimes, I can’t play this game because my heart is tired of hiding. I need to let it be sad and protect it from misguided attention. Most of the time, I still find this game fun. This might be a dangerous game to play, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m still ahead.

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book review: the prestige

literature
The PrestigeThe Prestige by Christopher Priest
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The person that gave me this book told me it was nothing at all like the movie. Up until the end I wasn’t sure what he meant.

This story reminded me of H.G. Wells. The combination of magic, supernatural, and science are all in it’s pages. I was surprised by how easy it was to read. It’s a book I think almost anyone would enjoy. I specifically really want my younger brother to read it. Magic, mystery, Tesla, the turn of the century, all subjects that I think he would enjoy.

Of course, now I want to watch the movie again. 😆

View all my reviews

before/after: ewash bath

home

I think my sister and I developed a taste for cool, toned down colors in reaction to Mom’s tastes (although my tastes are a lot more eclectic than my sister). Our mom loved bold, warm colors like red and brown and purple. My sister likes everything in neutral/soft palettes. Houzz calls it Transitional. It’s not quite contemporary and definitely not modern – which sort of evolved into a modern farmhouse vibe (thank you Joanna Gaines). I think the house she owns lends itself to that style.

E.Wash is what I call my sister’s house. Like me, my sister owns a home that had never truly been updated. For most of the homes in my area, an update means you paint the wood paneling. In 2017, when I was living with my sister, she decided to rip out the bathroom and refinish it. I forgot to take photos before we started demolition. I apologize, but as you can gather even from the demo photos, this bathroom was very hopeless. The tiles were plastic and glued on. The tub was super small and shallow. The walls were a combination of paneling and wallpaper. It’s a good sized bathroom, but it was not a welcoming place.

ewash bath before

We assume that people in these small houses (over the course of a hundred years), rather than investing in quality products, did what they could with the money they had. A lot of the time this meant doing things yourself and doing what was cost efficient, ie. drop ceilings, wood paneling, roll out linoleum, etc. Instead of taking things out and replacing them, a lot of the time everything is layered on top of each other. In this case, there were three layers of linoleum floor that we had to peel away.

There are always layers upon layers.

ewash bath before - 2

I was in the tile industry for almost three and a half years. In that time, I learned so much about tile standards and ceramics in general. Glazed tile and brick are truly pieces of art. From mixing the materials to laying the tile, a lot of care and attention goes into making the tile and making it work. I’ve seen badly made tile and photographic evidence of under-qualified tile setters, and neither are very pretty.

A big part of my job was making sample boards for showroom displays. I built hundreds of mini-installs. I played with color combinations, sizes, and patterns to give dealers something with which to sell our tile. Tile is amazing. If you’ve ever done a tile project, you know the satisfaction of wiping away that last bit of grout haze.

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After making hundreds of tile boards, I was eager to install tiles in a home. My Dad found ceramic floor planks with the wood grain finish at auction which we installed in the kitchen and bathroom. The subway tile was rejected development tile that was cut improperly and glazed at different weights. You can see the variation in color that turned out so beautifully when blended together.

ewash bathroom before after

“Hannah, you tiled a bathroom in a house you don’t even live in?”

Yes. Let’s not talk about it. Home renovation runs in my family. I like doing house projects, and I cannot wait to redo my kitchen and bathroom – if I get the chance. Not to toot my own horn, but the tile work in E.wash is fantastic.

ewash bath after

I sometimes joke that I wish I was there the first time someone grouted their tiles and realized what they had just done. Could they perceive the endless capabilities and scope of what they just created? It was an ancient civilization, so some ruler probably said, “Hey this is beautiful. Now cover the entire building in it.”

Tiling is back-breaking work and really an art. Measurements seem to be constantly changing as you go and keeping lines straight is so important to the overall finished quality. I learned that tiling vertically is entirely different from tiling on a flat surface. Also, a tile cracker is an excellent investment if you are cutting subway tiles. The cracker made it so easy to salvage cut pieces and use them elsewhere. Not running outside to the wet saw was nice too.

I think we did a good job. What do you think?

Bonus: Niece in the tub.

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I didn’t manage to write something new for the blog this week, but my post did go live on Thought Catalog. The first draft wasn’t accepted, but I was thrilled to see the second iteration go live. The subject of this post is a little off topic then my usual blog posts, but being single has been really hard lately.

I’ve never submitted something to an online blog. This has had over 400 views already which is crazy in my world. I can cross something off my bucket list though. Now, if I could just get paid to write… I’d be set.

They want to know when you’re going to meet someone – like you can answer that question.

via 7 Things That Can Make Your Single Heart Ache — Thought Catalog

i did a thing

thoughts

my top Instagram posts of 2018

thoughts

Instagram, not unlike this blog, is a tool I use mostly as a creative outlet. I had a conversation with a guy once who thought Instagram was all about self-worth and how many compliments you get, but I never cared about the number of followers I had, and I never deleted a photo because it didn’t have enough “hearts.”

My personal Instagram is a private account, and I do restrict who I allow to see it. Overall, it has very few selfies but many photos of my niece and my dog. If anything, I’m fishing for comments about how cute those little nuggets are.

As for my Lost Upstate account, I try to be more engaging with it. I like to think of it as an art gallery rather than a personal runway.  I don’t post photos of the people in my life, but I try to capture the aesthetic of the life I live. I’ve been taking “Instagrams” since before it was a thing. My first phone was full of little 30 MB photos of sunsets and lakes and dogs. I still have those old photos too. Now, instead of carrying them around on my phone with no one to see them, I get to share them with my followers.

Since Instagram shows you insights about your posts (because so many people have turned social media into a business), I decided to give mine a look. What were my most engaging posts? What did my friends and family like to see from me?

Here were my top 5 Instagram posts.

1.

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This series is of my living room and “office” post-paint and post-carpet, right before I sanded the floor. It had already undergone a decent transformation after removing the pink carpet and painting both rooms the same color. I left the floor untreated for longer than I wanted too, but I was reading up on how to use floor sanders. I wanted to get it right. Plus, there was a gap in the floor where the house had shifted. We had to crank the house back up to bring the gap back together.

2.

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This was just after I put some furniture in the living room. This was a pretty rewarding moment as far as house projects go. I didn’t have any idea what I was going to put on the windows and walls yet, but all my ragtag furniture came together to feel quite homey.

3.

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These two images compare how the office looked before I ripped the carpet up and after I had just finished painting. The first photo was actually from the assessment of the house (what it looked like when I toured it before making an offer). It’s pretty easy for me to visualize life in the 70s.

4. living room before after

This was when I posted the final reveal of the entire overhaul to the blog. I love this pic.

5.

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This gram got a lot of people talking (a lot for me – haha). Everyone was so encouraging about my student debt progress, so thank you, all you nice people. I’m in a little bit of a conundrum right now. I have been debating whether to continue to pay down my loans so intensely or to throw every extra cent into my savings. Unsurprisingly, I’m back to paying down my loans because I’m too close to quit now.

I’m not at all surprised about this now that I’ve looked at it. Everyone loved the house-grams: the before and after posts, the wood floor transformation, etc. I’m not going to lie, I love that stuff too. I love it because I’m proud of it – or maybe I’m proud of it because I love it…  I’m glad that the monthly breakdown of my loan payments made the top 5 too. The reminder of the support I have has helped me get back to my goals and continue to “tough it out.”

Tuesdays really know how to sneak up on me. I had hoped to type a few of the mental notes I have been taking for my kitchen renovation, but that will have to wait until I compile my visual inspirations (aka Pinterest). I still have (hopefully no more than) five months left to pay off my student loans. So, I’m getting a little ahead of myself with the kitchen anyway.