Sweet Words

freelancypants: m for maldonado

by lizzie & isaiah on September 28, 2011 · 6 comments

Isaiah’s latest project was to make us an “M” for Maldonado. I think he’s trying to make me feel better about not loving any combination of my first name with a) my last name b) his last name c) my middle name d) all of the above. It worked. We’re putting this baby above the desk and there have been a surprising number of M’s popping up around the future Haus of M and I think I just might be taking to the letter.


that time i was the “primary breadwinner”

by lizzie & isaiah on September 26, 2011 · 35 comments

Big news! I am a card-carrying member of the has-a-salary club. I’ve been working at this badass agency in the job of my dreams since February as a contractor. They offered me a job on Monday and I was all, “Sorry guys, it’s not a great time for me…if circumstances were different….I mean, HELL YES.”

Since February, my income has been our only income. That means, we’ve been just barely making it since February. It means date night kind of died. It means our puppy is the only one eating all-natural food. It means a lot of our dinners have started out frozen. It means our bills haven’t always been paid on time and we haven’t had anything new in a few months.

Okay, enough of our mid-level suburban poverty, yeah? My car just crossed over into 100,000 mile territory and I swore I saw Matt Lauer making fun of my ratty shoes, but when I rewound to double check, he was reading some jibberish off of a teleprompter.

Needless to say, we have been making sacrifices.

But working has never felt like a sacrifice to me. I have heard the “sob stories” of our generation of how they had to work retail for two years and it was the worst two years of their lives. Boo hoo. This isn’t one of those, “Yeah?! Well I…” stories at all.

I have been working since I was 14. First at the public library. Next at the movie theater. I taught piano lessons for two years. I worked at American Eagle for two years. I worked at a gyro restaurant for a year making $4.50 an hour when the minimum wage was $6.75 and I wasn’t making any tips to go along with it. I worked at a music store that was so shady I thought perhaps the guitars were filled with cocaine and getting paid in cash meant the store just might not be there tomorrow. I waited tables for a year at Applebee’s and two years at a steakhouse in Fort Worth. I worked the textbook counter at school, which was, by far, the worst of all of the jobs. I had textbooks thrown at me by a junior in college. I worked at two portrait studios for children and holiday portraits for three consecutive years. I worked as a “data entry professional” – read: endless typist at a TV listings company with a 3 hour daily commute where I made $8.00/hour for a year. I had five college internships. I freelanced all the way through school.

No I’m not 40 years old, I just haven’t had just one job since I was 15. I have always worked two or three jobs at a time. I have never had a problem with that. I always knew I was just working toward something, even when it wasn’t all that clear.

All I can say is when you’ve been 16 in three high-school team sports and working two jobs at a time, 40-hour weeks don’t feel like sacrifice, they feel like a gift. I have more free time than I know what to do with.

So while Isaiah is in school, I’m happy to say I’m working full-time to get our lives started. And after. Work is ingrained in who I am. If I’m not working, I get depressed, I don’t leave the house, I never wear makeup – it’s not a pretty sight. I feel fulfilled through being good at my job and while, someday, we both hope for autonomy to work for ourselves together, it’s not a terror to wake up Monday morning and get to work.

Especially when I’m doing it for that face. Who wouldn’t work full-time for that face?

We’ve been pushing back the wedding for almost three years waiting for benefits and some kind of security. So here we go. Ready to plan this thing for real. Sorry for the large commercial interruption called 2.5 years of uncertainty. Do you still care about our wedding? Not so much? I wouldn’t blame you. It’s been a while.

Maybe we’ll just get eloped.


the things we’re good at

by lizzie & isaiah on September 21, 2011 · 20 comments

Isaiah is taking his first photography course in the graphic design program. My job has quite a bit of graphic design and branding involved. It has only been a problem once before.

A while back we felt the creep and bleed.

We felt that thing you might feel if your fiance was your best friend and you had just about everything in common. It feels like nothing is really yours. We both love design. We both love writing. We both love art – although that is definitely Isaiah’s thing and I can’t paint, draw or do anything artistic. We both like photography in the sense that we’re mediocre at it and enjoy documenting the exciting days in our lives. We have a lot of overlap in our Venn Diagram as a couple.

It’s never been a problem until recently and even then it was only a 10-minute problem.

Working with your favorite person 30-hours a week minimum has been 99.9% fantastic and we have never needed space, we’ve never had problems with managing the money and we have never had problems with time management together. But the creep was subtle and slow. It felt like we started to lose the things that were just ours.

But it took one conversation to fix it and prepare for the future. It was incredibly simple and painless, even refreshing to see that something small, if we talk about it early enough, can just stay something small. Establishing boundaries doesn’t have to be a big, scary conversation that strangles romance and hope.

Sometimes it can be as simple as someone saying, “I know this is your thing…but I like it too. Is that okay?” The answer then is always “Yes, of course. You’re going to be brilliant.”


i am a robot.

by lizzie & isaiah on August 22, 2011 · 11 comments

We don’t totally, always love kids. So there’s that. But it’s clear to both of us that we’ll make rockin’ parents if/when we decide to go down that path. Kids tend to love us like moths love light.

We were in Target the other day when a four year old blonde munchy-kin girl was stomping down the aisles swinging her arms stiffly forward and back yelling, “I. Am. A. Robot.” past the dish soaps and the designer plastic dishes. Like kids can do, she got lost in her playtime and didn’t realize how close to hitting Isaiah’s legs she was. When she realized, she looked up at this towering 6’2″ stranger and took a step back.

He pulled his arms into perpendicular angles, tilted his neck slowly and said “Me. Too.”

She about died of embarrassment. She hid behind her mom’s legs while her parents laughed along and when she peeked back at Isaiah, he moved his arms robotically once more.

She was thrilled.

Adults are all just big kids anyway.

Photo: Flight of the Conchords


we’re the same person

August 9, 2011

Isaiah and I are pretty similar. The center of the Venn Diagram that is our lives is about 98% of the whole damn thing. We like almost all of the same music. Almost all of the same movies. We say similar things and share a sense of humor. We are often the only ones amused [...]

30 comments you know you wanna read more..

becoming the woman

August 3, 2011

We are having game-changing triple-digit heat in Texas. Really, it’s unbearable out. I have blood like molasses, meant to keep my Chicago veins moving in winter. This past weekend, we were determined to christen the grill with some kebabs despite the heat and we got talking about what we wanted to be when we were [...]

23 comments you know you wanna read more..

the little things

July 25, 2011

We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon, I promise. In the meantime, we’ve been enjoying date nights thanks to birthday & Christmas gift cards to the movies and working on relaunching our shop and freelance work and did I mention I work full-time and Isaiah’s a full-time student and GASP. We took a [...]

23 comments you know you wanna read more..

letters of note and reagan’s love for nancy

June 27, 2011

Political opinions aside, this love letter from former President Ronald Reagan to his wife Nancy is one of the sweetest things I’ve read in a while. My Darling Wife This note is to warn you of a diabolical plot entered into by some of our so called friends – (ha!) calendar makers and even our [...]

12 comments you know you wanna read more..

why him?

April 16, 2011

There was one time a year or so ago that I started a laundry list. I felt out of it. You know those weeks (months) where you just aren’t sure that you’re in the right place, doing the right thing, with the right person? I had one of those. I wondered if I was too [...]

17 comments you know you wanna read more..

if i agreed with you, we’d both be wrong

January 14, 2011

Our entire personalities changed, did you hear? Because of the slight tilt of the earth’s axis, all of that faith I put into astrology seems to have my world spinning (literally). I had kind of put all my eggs in the astrology basket. Damn. Of course, astrology means nothing to me but an interesting read [...]

12 comments you know you wanna read more..