I stared at myself in the Macy’s dressing room mirror. Crisp black sheath dress. Sharp black suit jacket. Professional. Grownup. Just a jaunty neck scarf shy of stewardess.

I’m sorry. Flight attendant.

Oh, honey, my reflection said. You’re not fooling anyone. You’re just a kid in a suit.

But I’m not.

At 31, I’m inching past the age of young professional toward…what…professional? I’ve reached the point of no return—I’m in deep, this thing called adulthood.

But it doesn’t seem that way. Not really. It’s more like I got in the car and drove for hours, days, weeks, and now I’m standing at a gas station on the corner of the Past and the Future and wondering, how did I get here?

I have a full time job with a nice title and a computer with two monitors where I write Important Things for Important People. It’s not just a job. It’s a career. And even though some days I’m not sure I know what I’m doing, I’m pretty sure I’m good at what I do. So I’m told.

The other day I got excited about the arrival of my new vacuum.

I have a husband. We bought a house. We’re decorating a guest room—like a real guest room with art on the walls that didn’t come from Ikea. We talk about things like chimney repairs and floor tiles.

We rescued a dog. An entire being that we are responsible for naming, feeding, walking, trips to the vet.

I worked hard to get here, and I am so lucky.

And yet, it feels like only yesterday I was a lowly copywriter, asking my 30-something colleague when it was that he finally felt like a grownup.

“Still waiting,” he replied.

I am the same age now that he was then. An adult, but still waiting to feel like a grownup.

Even though I’m pretty sure I am one—I just don’t know it yet.

Scott and I have been homeowners for more than a month now and have actually lived in our house for 3 weeks. We are very much a work in progress–as I understand from the many, many shelter blogs that I have followed since before we decided to buy a home, we will be in this ‘work in progress’ stage until we slap a “for sale” sign in the yard (hah! never!) and move on to our next project. We are pouring our blood, sweat, tears, and a good percentage of our bank account into this structure we call home–and it’s worth every band-aid, laundry load of sticky t-shirts, tissue, and dime.

First things first, floors. Our previous owner had a dog, and an apparent aversion to housework. Finishing the floors had an amazing effect not only on appearance, but, frankly, on the house’s unpleasant aroma. We were referred to an excellent and insanely affordable flooring company that took our floors from gross and grimy:

….to clean and shiny.

It was a transformation that took the house from “oh my gosh, I can’t sleep here, and what is that smell?” to “Feels like this could be home.”

Someday, Scott and I will tell our children about the journey we took when we bought our first home. Knowing Scott, who loves a good reminiscence, we will tell them this story over and over again. We weren’t sure what to expect on that fateful October day when we started our search.

This was how I felt when I got to the car:


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They sat on fraying blankets and sheets of cardboard under bridges and flanking pedestrian walkways. Women, stocking footed, crossed-legged, dozens upon dozens. Some had constructed makeshift rooms from boxes and tape. They left their shoes, respectfully, outside of the door.

Passers-by flaunted Louis Vuitton shopping bags and clacked past in Armani suits and Prada shoes. They didn’t look down, barely a glance. Continue Reading »

Hello. My name is Susan. And I’m a commaholic.

I left college with an unflinching grasp on the high-holy rules of writing as dictated within the spiral-bound book known well by journalism school survivors: “The Associate Press Style Guide.” To this day, certain AP faux pas make me cringe.

As in:

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If I had the time, the energy, a rhyming dictionary, and a firm grasp of iambic pentameter, I would write a sonnet to my Kindle.

That said, every time I slip the nimble little e-reader out of its case and curl up with it in bed, I feel…well…it’s like I’m cheating on my books. I look up at the shelves and I see them, gathering dust, no new additions for months and I sense…judgement. Through the broken spines and dog-eared pages I hear the voices of my fellow bibliophiles, like Becca, who, upon hearing I had purchased said Kindle refused to IM with me for at least 20 minutes. (Incidentally, she recently confessed that *gasp* now she wishes she had one too.)

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There is a man standing behind me. And I’m pretty sure he wants me to die.

“You can either jump, or I can push you,” he says. His head is round and hairless, connected to his shoulders by a thick slab of a nearly nonexistent neck. He looks not unlike the bulldog tattooed on his bicep. Swirling script beneath the image weaves a single word: Spike. I don’t know if it’s my tormentor’s name or if it honors a beloved pet. Judging by this man’s studded collar and sleeveless T-shirt, I’m pretty he’s self-representing on this particular piece of body art.

It figures that I would ushered through the doors of death at the hands of a man named Spike.

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