Notes & Stories: Elbow

Obviously, we are spending a lot of time in our house these days, and I can’t continue to ignore the parts of my house that need to be fixed. Our economy is plunging down into a black hole, so it seems like a bad time to borrow money. All of that adds up to: I’m reluctantly becoming a DIYer.

First up is the bathroom. I started off quick: It took me about five seconds to pick a paint color—making lingering, slow, thoughtful decisions is not the way to shop these days, right? Have a list, be decisive, get what you need, get out. That applies to hardware just as much as groceries. So I picked a color (a warm off-white), picked a finish, got it mixed, got home. Buying paint was quick, but painting is very slow, just one wall at a time. I’ve lived in this house for ten years and haven’t repainted the bathroom until now; it’s a pleasure to have freshly painted walls. 

But here’s the deal: The color I picked in five seconds is just fine in the daytime, but in the evening, it changes to the most godawful shade of peach. It’s the color of a band-aid, the color of Charlie Brown’s head. It’s the color of cartoon white people. If I had to name this paint color, I’d name it “Elbow.” I’ve mastered the art of keeping my eyes down when I brush my teeth before bed, or any other time I go into the bathroom after the sun goes down. 

Luckily, a solution is in sight. During our last pre-virus trip in February (and who knows when we’ll ever be able to go anywhere else), we stayed at a surf hostel that was decorated inside and out with murals by street artists. Poppy wants to paint our bathroom that way, and I’m fully on-board with the idea. Poppy’s taking one wall, Harper’s taking another, and I’m going to do a horizontal band around three walls to tie everything together. All of the murals will be in glorious, riotous color, and we won’t even notice the background color. Problem solved.


I’m not too worried about running out of toilet paper. We’d deal. I’m also not too worried about a national meat shortage. We all need to eat less meat anyway. But when I went online to reorder my favorite instant noodles (a stir-fried noodle, not ramen), and they were out of stock, I freaked right the heck out. I did some intense Googling, found some at H Mart, and they arrive today. (They were also restocked on Amazon, and a 30-pack is on its way.) During my Googlefest, I ran across this article from the Chicago Tribune listing the favorite instant noodles of several food writers—which also caused me to do some more ordering.

If you’ve been watching Li Ziqui and you’re ready for more relaxing, escapist food videos, try this series from Marobud, a group of Viking history reenactors. 

Single moms by choice (just like me!) in the NY Times. 

Gophers have invaded my parents’ backyard (again). Poppy thought we could catch them by pouring Coke and Mentos down one of the gopher holes. This mind-blowing video was her inspiration.

I have discovered the joy of fictional podcasts—audio dramas with sound effects and all. Typically for me, a lover of junior and YA fiction, the two I like so far are aimed at tweens. The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel was great, and now I’m in the middle of Six Minutes. They’re both suspenseful, exciting, and very distracting. Thank goodness, because I can use as much distraction as possible right now.

Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy and (relatively) sane.

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