7 Quick Takes about our epic floor installation, the Lent Awards, and the TV show addiction that is bringing my life to a standstill

February 27, 2015

— 1 —

We finally did it: we got rid of the carpet of doom and had hardwood floors installed.

The upside? No more giant carpet beetle snack bar in the middle of our living room.


Outside, it was wet with wind and temperatures in the 30s and 40s. We had limited access to the kitchen. As the work progressed downstairs, our homeschooling family of eight was confined to smaller and smaller spaces in our three-bedroom house. It was like The Cask of Amontillado, but upstairs and with more fighting over iPads.


The work was finished yesterday, and it looks great. As people predicted on Facebook, it has indeed drastically upped the noise level (which was not insignificant to begin with), but I will happily take that over having a living room carpet that looks like a failed modern art experiment.

— 2 —

I just found out that I’m going to New York this week! I’m doing a quick, last-minute trip to meet with some of the folks at the Catholic Channel on SiriusXM. While I’m up there, I’ll co-host Lino Rulli‘s show with him on Monday (3/2), and I’ll be a guest on Cardinal Dolan’s show on Tuesday (3/3). If you have SiriusXM, tune in to Channel 129 to hear it!

I don’t think I’ve ever been to NYC in the dead of winter, so we’ll see how I do. I was recently in Dubuque, Iowa, when the wind chill was -18 F, and I learned some memorable lessons about taking a blasé attitude toward packing for cold temperatures.

(Pro tip: When your husband suggests that you bring gloves, do not shrug and say you “don’t know where they are” and “don’t feel like finding them” because it “probably won’t matter.”)

— 3 —

I keep telling everyone I’m “so busy” right now, and they probably think it’s because I’ve been traveling a lot while doing a radio show and having my entire downstairs demolished to put in new floors. All of that has actually been fine.

The real reason I’m maxed out is because I discovered The Grand Hotel on Netflix, and it has shut down my life.


It’s basically the Spanish version of Downton Abbey (produced in Spanish, with English subtitles), and I cannot stop watching it. It has all the gorgeous costumes and upstairs/downstairs socio-economic tension of Downton, but with twice the intrigue, triple the murders, and no seasons where the story arc suddenly falls off a cliff.

At this point, I think of my life as being about watching The Grand Hotel, with occasional unwelcome interruptions for radio and speaking and cooking dinner.

I strongly recommend that you watch this show, but don’t bring up the first episode on Netflix until you have about three straight weeks of free time.

— 4 —

Something Other than God is being released in Spanish, and I have a pipe dream that I will eventually be able to take Spanish-language interviews.

It has taken my excitement for The Grand Hotel to a whole new level to think of it as a vehicle for improving my Spanish. After binge-watching about 15 episodes the other weekend, I decided that I was completely ready for calls from interviewers from Spain.

The only problem is that the vocabulary I’m picking up from watching a show about the intrigues of early 20th-century Spanish nobility doesn’t lend itself to detailed interviews about atheist-to-Catholic conversions.

I have solved this problem by putting together a guide for interviews that will make sure I get questions that I have the words to answer:


  • Where were you born?
  • What type of cufflinks should a marquis wear?
  • Should the chamber maid or the maitre d’ clean the candlesticks?
  • Will caviar hide the taste of arsenic?
  • Can you conceal a blood-covered knife in a parasol?

My contact info is here on my blog if any Spanish media outlets would like to get in on this awesome interview action.

— 5 —

It took me a while to get into the swing of radio, since it’s such a different way of communicating than writing, but I’m really enjoying it now, especially since I have a talented producer who is great at putting together humorous bits.

Last week on the show I was imagining holding the Lent Awards, a red-carpet gala where people received gleaming trophies for their excellence in penance. I gave my producer the audio of me talking as if accepting an award for my amazing humility and holiness during Lent, and she added in all sorts of sound effects to make it sound real. This is too much fun.


— 6 —

I’ve been releasing one segment from each show as a free podcast, usually my interviews with guests. Here are a few recent ones you might enjoy:

You subscribe to the podcast free on iTunes, or listen to them all direct from your computer or phone here.

— 7 —

I have had to keep comments closed here on the blog due to an absolutely insane amount of spam, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post over on Facebook!



The 7 Quick Takes bloggers’ linkup is now hosted by Kelly Mantoan. Go check out other folks’ 7 Quick Takes posts over at her place!


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