Housezilla and Other Monsters

The house is completely unpacked and in its place... has been since last Wednesday. I have no idea how I did it all so fast nor why I felt so ridiculously compelled to get everything in total order within three days but I did. The walls are filled. The patio set has been assembled. The new benches have replaced fold-out chairs.

This last week I've been a monster - tightly wound and heavy-fisted, like a girl on a mission to get everything done and in its place and perfect. I remind myself of someone I don't feel like I am. And yet? I can't stop.

I haven't been able to stop.

I live in a state of anxiety-ridden impatience - an inability to sit still, not to mention an unhealthy obsession when it comes to controlling the few things I know I can. Like unpacking a house for instance. Like where to hang the family portrait and which way to face the television set and which books belong on which shelf.

"You're crazy," Hal tells me. And he's right so I yell at him. Tell him, "I just want everything in its place IS THAT SO HORRIBLE!"

And he puts his hands up in the air and leaves me be - surrounded by boxes, eyes bloodshot, shirt soaked with sweat. I know I must look crazed but this is me. This is how I operate. It would be impossible for me to step aside - allow even my husband to help me put things away.
I've told myself repeatedly this past week to slow down - to enjoy the buzz that is this new home - this new life. But patience is not my strength. Neither is quiet. It took me almost four years to get the massage Hal bought me for my twenty-fifth birthday because "I couldn't find the time," which I am only now realizing is insane.

My biggest fear is falling behind. Losing an idea because I was too tired to get out of bed to write it down. Relaxing for just enough time to lose my window, my place in line, my drive... And so? I refuse to break.

I am afraid of things unfinished. Petrified, even. The kind of fear that paralyzes: Living in an unfinished space. An unfinished life with unfinished days and unfinished stories and blog posts... I need endings. Closure. Neat little tidy little living rooms with bookcases full of books and everything in its place. I need everything neat, perhaps to balance the fact that I'm such a bumbling slice of disasterville - tucking wires and errant string inside my shirt- hoping no one notices.

It's all a bunch of craziness and I wish I could rid myself of the monsters that make me feel this way - inadequate unless finished - fixated on the end instead of the during...

Every morning I lace up my sneakers so fast I forget to double-knot. And by mid-day, I'm tripping over shoelaces untied and unraveling, trying to keep up with everything - afraid that if I stop for even two seconds, to take a breath, to close my eyes, that I will open them and my entire life will turn to sand.

In the meantime, I go. I go and I go and I go. Because I don't physically know how to stop. Because I know that if I do, I'll crash hard. And while I'm healing in body casts? These holes I've been digging through the night will fill with water and close. And everything will be gone. This house and this blog and every person who has ever stood behind me, supported me, loved me despite my inability to vibrate within a normal frequency.
Blessings and curses are the same clock at different times of the day. I can get it all done but I can't do it all. Far easier to write in a blog post than to convince myself during moments of derailment, when I cannot appreciate my own progress - so blinded am I by the frustration that comes with being a woman not superhuman.

Go away monsters. Back into the closet. Back under the bed.

The house, as I said, is unpacked. You win.

And I? Would like your permission to sleep now, please.

I'm very, very, veryveryvery tired.

(Also? I'm very, very, veryveryvery glad I never had to plan a wedding.)



Anonymous | 8:00 AM

I was going to say something poignant (or whatever), but then... OMG beautiful tile floors. Those look good enough to eat. (I think I would just live in that room because... wow.)

Adriana | 8:05 AM

im the same way. It drives my husband nuts. I hate boxes and being disheveled.
The new place is beyond beautiful! Congrats.

My Bottle's Up! | 8:14 AM

rest well mama... you're home.

Call me Kate | 8:18 AM

I'd rather plan a wedding than unpack a house. Dorm rooms annoyed me enough. Once my roommate asked how I wanted my t-shirts organized. Uh... in the closet? I said. She was like no... organized by color? size? I was just excited she folded them.

Steph(anie) | 8:22 AM

I was like that when I was pregnant, but sounds like you're just that way. And I'll say it yet again: that house is beautiful!

Desiree | 8:23 AM

I can hardly believe what a fabulous place you've found -- I'm in awe! And you SOOOOOOO deserve it! :)

ps. I also never want to plan a wedding :)

Jess Kiley | 8:34 AM

Love the lavender in your header. Such a journey captured!!!

Pres. Kathy | 8:38 AM

Enjoy your house! It looks beautiful!

Amy | 8:43 AM

First, I can't get over how gorgeous your new house is! A simply awesome Los Angeles find. This is your first real house and those are the feelings that go with it. You want to see everything pulled together. The "home" fantasy in your head is now a reality and you want it picture perfect--allow it. You'll get over it. Also, when I was approaching thirty I had these feelings that I had to rush to do everything, get every thought down, have my house in order, zoom to the top of my field. You are already so accomplished though. Enjoy your success and your home and let yourself be a little monstery about the house for a bit. You deserve it but be sure to temper it by hanging out in your new backyard!

Sara B | 8:53 AM

Woah. The house looks great, good work there.
The whole running too fast thing... maybe you need to see someone about that, or maybe its just the crazy energy of a mid-twenty something. You have stuff to do and you want to get it all done, and maybe it's just passion burning fast to keep up with the speed of life around you. Maybe just accept it, apologize to your husband if you upset him, and keep powering through things!

CrystalC2B | 8:54 AM

Like mommybyday I was all deep thoughts and then... OMG! DOGGIE ON GORGEOUS TILE FLOORS!

But yeah, Bec? I unpack my apartments within 24 HOURS! Sure it's about 1/4 the size of your new house (HOUSE!) but still... SHUT UP AND GET ME THE BOX OF KITCHEN UTENSILS!

So yeah, I know where you're coming from.

But unfinished blog posts? Good thing you can't see my Blogger Dashboard!

k5brown | 8:55 AM just described me! Please tell me if you find a solution! (Your hard work paid off...gorgeous house!!!!)

Trysha | 8:56 AM

I totally had deja vu when I saw that last photo and the part about not planning a wedding. I swear I dreamt that part on your blog before I read it. Weird.
When everything is put away I'll relax...just with three kids, a husband and a dog there's always something to be done. ;)

k5brown | 8:58 AM

Show more house please! You might want to create a section on decor and art.

Sarah | 9:03 AM

Aww .. can I just first say that I wuv your dog! What a cute little wupper woo.

Ok .. now that I've got that overwith - girlie, sit down and rest. Enjoy the moments now, slow down and enjoy your kids, your house, your life. You deserve it!

Still a little jealous of your house :).

Anonymous | 9:05 AM

Hey Rebecca,

Your post really touched me today. My husband is going through this right now and I haven't been able to help him. I'm like Hal...I just throw up my hands and slowly back away from the anxiety and the need to control.

We're in the process of buying a house and he just started a new job with a LONG commute and he's so stressed and feeling out of control that he can't stand it. He actually cried last night because he can't stop thinking or doing. And I can't fix it for him.

I thought I ran out of kindness and patience with him last night. I was done. I had no more compassion in my soul. But I think your post helped me see into see how afraid he is. I understand better now. Thanks, friend. I hope you can slow down. Nothing bad will happen, I promise.

Loukia | 9:15 AM

Oh my goodness! Your house is STUNNING! That last picture... I LOVE IT. I hear you on not being able to slow down. My mom is the same way. She NEVER EVER sits down, EVER, unless it's to eat.

Lauren | 9:23 AM

I feel this way all of the time. All of the time. And especially recently. I feel pulled in every direction, going going going and constantly exhausted. I have been feeling incredibly frustrated by this because no one else seems to be feeling as frazzled or as stressed as I am. Reading this post was a relief. The feeling of not being alone, of knowing that someone else understands your own special slice of crazy, is incredibly comforting.

Thank you for writing this. It hit me right in the soft spot. I really needed to hear this from someone else.

Anonymous | 9:42 AM

You can come over and unpack my room :D
Usually I am totally anal about getting everything in place, but this time around I just can't get motivated.
Le sigh.

And once again, your house is awesome.

Sarcastica | 10:03 AM

I've unpacked a house & I'm planning a wedding right now (for July 23rd - of this year). I can safely say I'd rather unpack a house or two.

mommica | 10:23 AM

For God's sake, Sleep!

The more we do, the more we NEED to do. I'd advise you try not to take on any more projects for now and let yourself finish a few. Like I'm one to talk: Currently planning a baby shower AND a bridal shower. And I can't just go buy the invitations they have at the store. Nope, I have to order and personalize ones that match the nursery and the wedding colors and, oh yeah, did I mention the bridal shower has a roller derby theme? So now I have to make fucking T-shirts for a dozen people. Nice.

Great, now I need a nap.

Anonymous | 10:51 AM

Your new place is stunning. Your words are even more so.

You might not be superhuman, but you are one hell of a woman--beyond talented with the pen/keyboard, humble, and with an inspirational love for your family.

Thank you for what you do.

Megan | 10:54 AM

amen sister. amen.

wonderchris | 11:24 AM

What a wedding it would have been!!! Every detail - Perfection! :)

Love the new place...looks great.

Sounds like it time for another massage!

Kat | 11:46 AM

Having planned a wedding all by myself for a year (I have no mother or sisters, and my friends live far away), I can tell you very honestly that the big wedding thing is highly overrated and the planning can be horribly painful. In that same obsessive kind of way that unpacking your house has been. Only for a year.

You did great, love. Everything looks fabulous. I should have you come do my apartment. :)

jo | 11:51 AM

Even your maincure is perfect in the picture....hum, maybe you could invest in a hammock for your new back yard and relax in it with your lovies!!

I know how you're feeling because I'm feeling much the same as a new college student at 40.

Bless our hearts!! :)

Congratulations on your lovely new home. I hope you find your peace very soon.

Michelle | 11:57 AM

After such an honest posting about your inner demons and worries... I'm going to comment on your dog!!

Love, love, love!! Did not ever realize you have a dog. Boxer? (We have a boxer, they are the best.) You've just upped your coolness rating in mind!

Roseanna | 12:05 PM

What you've written here is way out of sync with my impression of you, because when I look at your pictures I can't imagine that they weren't taken by someone who knows exactly how to slow down and savor the moment.

And weddings, yes. Sometimes I really wish that I wasn't planning one (or a sorta-wedding, the ceremony is going to be tiny and simple and hopefully involve very little planning, but then a few months later we will have a big party), especially with a fiancé who wants to jointly decide on EVERYTHING and keeps shooting down my awesome ideas.

The Wh0le Story | 12:11 PM

The house looks great! Also, I am the same way when it comes to unpacking - I must put 99% of our stuff in its place. If I don't, I may never find it again!

A.D. | 12:39 PM

Wow, I have the exact opposite problem. I can't focus on one thing long enough to just FINISH it before moving on to the next. But most of the time I just have zero energy. So I never get done the things I want to get done which results in ugly words being exchanged in my head about how I'm lazy and pathetic and worthless. My "slow" life doesn't allow me to enjoy and savor the moment either.

It's funny to hear you complain (not in a bad way!) about how all you want to be able to do is slow down and enjoy the journey rather than focus on the destination. Because DAMN I just wish I could make myself DO something every now and again. At least your brand of craziness (I mean that lovingly) means you get shit done! I wish all of my anxiety would manifest itself into productivity. But then I guess I would just feel the same way you do. There's no winning, huh? I realize this comment probably isn't too reassuring...just know that we all have our issues and if your blog is any indication, you will figure it out....
Enjoy your lovely new home!

candace | 12:59 PM

I think driven, successful people feel this way. I've seen it a lot in artists and writers too. I would like to have a little of it myself!

Very honest post.

L.A. Stylist Mom | 1:01 PM

1) Where in God's name did you find a house like that to rent in L.A?

2) You are me.

3) Being that we share this inability to relax (and based upon the fact that it will be the minutiae that causes me to jump out a window) how the fuck do you deal with the dog hair? Tell me. Please...?

L.A. Stylist Mom | 1:03 PM

P.S. Hence my Vegas wedding. No minutiae.

Maja | 1:25 PM

Whew. I've moved umpteen times and EVERY time I do EXACTLY as you do. My hubby has moved 28 times in his 42 years of life so it makes us a great team. He does the furniture arranging, wiring, and "big stuff" (as he calls it) and I do all the details . First room=kitchen and being one who adores takes me HOURS AND HOURS to do because I know I will NOT rearrange where things are for as long as we are in the place.

Like you, I am a filthy mess with dry mouth the whole time until its "right".

Bless you dear. It's only 3 days and you have 362 to just enjoy and keep it nice :)

Well done my dear!!

Alexandra | 2:57 PM

I'd be eager and in a hurry, too!
What a place.

Day-ummm girl..

mrs.notouching | 3:10 PM

The only reason I didn't go bat-shit-crazy with this move is because I am pregnant and have a 14-month-old. But on the weekends when my husband is home? Let's just say he looks happy to leave the house on Monday...

P.S. I need a reproduction of your painting from the bedroom.

Tara | 3:18 PM

The house looks amazing.

Calm down. You're great, really.

Breathe. :)

Mrs. Q. | 4:02 PM

I, for one, am done apologizing for my neat-nick-crazy ways. Yes, it's exhausting and sometimes tough to be around me when I go on an organizing bender, but ya know? I get things done. I can't rest my body until I can rest my mind, and my mind does not shut down when there's stuff just waiting for a place to go.

I blame my father. He used to sort nuts and washers and nails by size.

When we bought our first house almost ten years ago, I had the last box unpacked on the first day. Because it had to be. Now that I have children, and all their stuff, I guess it would take me two. :>)

[That photo of your foyer looks like it was torn from In Style magazine. Lucky family, lucky you.]

Jess from Laundry, Meet Floor | 4:21 PM

I love your photo taking skills. They rock. I also am stunned that you got the entire house unpacked and in order!

I am the same way though, I can't stand to trip over boxes and have things out of place.


alissa | 4:43 PM

i love this. i can relate. and your home is beautiful!!!

Ray | 5:00 PM

Slow down, Rebecca. The house is done, yes. Thanks to your persistence. But don't let it be at the cost of your well being. Take time to enjoy, "the now." To enjoy your husband, children and most of all, "treat yourself to another spa treatment. Because you DO deserve it.

I think it's normal to be in such a frenzy when moving. I guess it's all the nerves of something new and wanting everything to turn out perfect. Wanting the best future you could have and knowing that the choices that you made were the best ones.

I loved this line: "Blessings and curses are the same clock at different times of the day." I too, at times (a lot of the time lately), feel that the clock/time can be a curse. I guess the only thing we can to counteract that is to make the most of our time, in the right manner. With calm and ease. In knowing that sadly, no, we are not super humans. But that in imperfectness there is true beauty. True beauty in honesty.

Thank you writing this.

P.S. LOL on the wedding comment! ;D

Glenda | 5:44 PM

Your house looks beautiful. Enjoy it now that you have it all set up to perfection. Sit back and relax and admire what you did. Enjoy the children. I too am the same way. Especially when we moved (hubby was in the military so we moved every 3 yrs) and my kids were little. I had to have everything in it's place in 3 days. The house always had to be in order (still does) but kiddos are all grown up, so it stays neat and clean :) Congrats!!

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife | 5:52 PM

I'm so glad that I'm not the only one.

Though, you've got me beat. It took us two weeks to get unpacked completely. I blame it on moving during finals week though....

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife | 5:53 PM

P.S. I'm your newest follower.

LOVE your blog.

Anonymous | 8:08 PM

Something I wrote on my blog a while back that pertains to this:

"...I prefer wonder, and to be a person in this world whose marvel > skittishness...
I get annoyed with GO GO GOERS!!!
Because too many goers aren't doing anything worthwhile anyway."

don't miss the marvelous moments, bec. the house can wait :)


I do really well at living in the moment when I allow myself the time - We get out of the house A LOT and on those days, during those hours, I can be present. I can be present outside the home - outside my office - away from my computer hence our weekend outings. It's being at home that turns me into a bit of a whack-a-doo.

I know I need to calm, to slow, to put down the to-do list and exist. I have dozens of shows on tivo I'm behind on - books I've been meaning to read...

My goal in the next few months is to work less, BE more... It's a juggle, that's for sure.

Thanks, all.

Pam | 11:03 PM

what a fabulous space...a home to come home to and a family to love...what more....:)

Tracie | 6:05 AM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracie | 6:06 AM

I was a MESS when I moved into my house and had to get things unpacked and into place asap! I was pregnant at the time and had a 2 year old and was just a horrible mess. 4 years later, we have spackle on the walls in two rooms and I just don't care. I have given up the control freak-ish aspect of my personality and embraced the imperfection of my home. Eventually I'll paint the dining and family rooms, but for, it's okay.

SWJ + LRB | 6:17 AM

I cannot rest until things are put away. The joy that a "put away" household gives me outweighs exhaustion and my family thinking I am a bear...
Now you can rest and I think you will rest very well!

Anonymous | 7:37 AM

Take a nap women!

mfk | 10:51 AM

the house looks A.MAZ.ING. dare I say, a-fucking-mazing. I am totally impressed that you're moved in so quickly! My boyfriend and I had a pile of crap in our kitchen for MONTHS after the last time we moved. so way to go. now go take a nap ;)

mommymae | 11:35 AM

this is why we eloped. my sister & mom were kinda bugging me about every little thing & we were fed up. so we ran off.

the house looks stunning & i hope you rest well.

Unknown | 6:55 PM

In many ways I am so jealous - I'm the complete and utter opposite - finishing something for me is like pulling teeth - because once something is finished it's like 'done' - and you can't go back. I leave finishing anything I do right until the very last minute, and if possible I avoid it completely, and then I angst over it and lose sleep and berate myself but ultimately, nothing works. Everytime we've moved there have been boxes that have NEVER been unpacked. My Masters was never finished and I stopped opening the letters the uni sent me (la la la - in total denial). It's a disease - and now with 3 kids and a full-time job I have some kind of excuse for myself, but it still drives me crazy...

Kaitlyn | 4:05 AM

I'm glad you posted this. It can be so hard to admit our flaws, especially in such an open way. You're home now, though, and soon you'll be able to relax. Enjoy :)

Kim | 3:38 PM

Ditto AD.

Um, My neighbor says the same thing-- she can't stop sitting down. I wish I had that problem. I have a million things to do that I never finish. The fear and anxiety of finishing something... well, starting something that I won't like when finished. "It'll never be as good as I want it to be." haunts me. So, I procrastinate, put it off, etc, which aggravates my husband. I have a million different things to do all around the house and can't actually get ONE thing done to save my life. Like, I'll run the wash, but then forget to dry it. Or I dry it, but I don't want to fold it and put it away, so I just throw it in the basket. I've started a couple of books, several scripts. Nothing finished. WHY? I wish I had your problem. I just make excuses for myself and occasionally will push myself to just stay up all night and get it done.

Kristina | 11:17 AM

I kill it when it comes to packing/unpacking. In a completely disturbing way, I actually love it. There's something cathartic about letting go of the old and jumping into the new ...

And yet, the prospect of planning a wedding (got engaged 2.5 seconds ago) and I am lost. Budget issues ... design ... dress ... ehh?!

For those of us who are less fashion/design oriented, maybe you wouldn't mind at some point making wedding-on-the-cheap suggestions? I don't want to put your OCD into overdrive, but if it's for someone else, maybe there's less of a deathgrip involved and more joy?