Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Niece

As most of you have probably heard, my father-in-law died last Sunday.

Last weekend we rushed out of town as soon as we heard and traveled up to Michigan to be with my husband's family.  It was insane and hectic and sad and disastrous, but I am so glad we did it.

I tend to think of myself as a huggy person, a person who loves easily, but I don't think I come across that way outside my own mind.  It's hard for me to think of them as my "____-in-law"; rather, I tend to think of them as "Husband's mom" or "Husband's dad".  And it is utterly impossible for me to call them Mom and Pop.  Not because I don't love them, but because it just feels too weird.  Maybe because I'm a child of divorce and so got all the counseling lectures about how "he's not trying to replace anyone"?  Who knows.

But I really do love my Husband's family, especially his sister and his younger brother.  And his younger brother's new daaaaaaaauuuuuuggggghhhhterrrrrrrrrrr.

She is seriously just the cutest little thing.  She looks exactly the way his other niece did when she was a baby, and they both look exactly like my late father-in-law.  I would show you a picture, but I DO try to be circumspect about showing other people's kids on the internet, and also my sister-in-law-in-law unfriended me on Facebook a while back.  I think she thought I swear too much.  She's probably not wrong :)

So last weekend I cuddled her LOTS and lots amidst* all the sorrow.  She is very sweet and very happy, and ended up watching nerd videos with Husband and then mashing the keys on his computer. She also has this habit of sticking her hands not only in her own mouth, but also in your mouth. Which offends me not at all.  I probably spent several minutes blowing raspberries on her palm last weekend.  It's like our own special greeting.

This past weekend we went back to Michigan for the memorial service.  Since my father-in-law was an Episcopal bishop, he had LOTS of parishioners from over the years who wanted to say goodbye.  I got a tiny taste of what it was like to be a P.K. this weekend - meeting lots of strangers who felt they knew you or knew your father better than you.  At one point, a parishioner approached my husband and asked him how he knew Father ______.  Well, why do you think we were sitting in the front row and sobbing our eyes out, asshole?!

After the service, we went down to the church basement for meatballs and chocolate cake and whatnots.  Which, can I just tell you, Husband's sister's friend sent a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing that was SUCH AMAZE.  Everyone, of course, wanted to hold the baby, because she is so cute and because she looks just like the deceased.  She handled it with aplomb but was definitely nonplussed.  I decided to let her pass on being snuggled by Aunt Jen.  (I prefer Jennie, but I seem to have gotten a firm name from all of them, so I don't argue.)

The next morning, we went to Husband's brother's hotel room to say goodbye, and his brother and sister-in-law were lying in one of the beds with the baby.  The sister-in-law got up to hug everyone and chat, and I went and snuggled the baby a little bit.  She looked at me in that same old way with her absolutely GIANT blue eyes, and stuck her hand out at my mouth.  And when I leaned in to raspberry that little hand, I fell even more in love.

I know it sounds incredibly cheesy, but it strikes me that that is what life is all about.  Our sorrow at our losses can be lessened through love and contact with other human beings.  It doesn't always seem that way to introverts such as myself and Husband, but it's true.  Snuggle, hug, and cry together.  It sucks the poison out.

* I'm sorry, how is "amidst" not showing up as a word according to spell check?!?!?  It's totally a word, dude.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Some Items of Note

Well, wasn't THIS weekend just full of upheaval!?

So, last Monday I got an elliptical machine.  It's a NordicTrack 1300(?), apparently a commercial-use machine.  I got it at our local Play-It-Again Sports for what we in the financial industry call Pretty Damn Cheap.  Which was nice, because at least it won't be a giant sunk cost if my determination fails.

Monday and Tuesday I worked out till my legs were rubbery and it was great.  Wednesday was just too busy, but don't think my determination was flagging.  The reason I was so picky about finding one that I LOVED was so I would want to use it even when inertia was easier.  Thursday I took the dog to the vet, and Friday I decided that having it in the middle of the basement was not the best plan. It was between the TV and the couch, which is not exactly the most enchanting decor option.  SO after I returned a few bad clothing choices to the store, I got to work.

Husband had to work out of town on Wednesday and Thursday, and got back late Friday.  He thinks moving the furniture around occasionally for no good reason is a cockamamie practice, so I wanted to get it done before he got home.  But the elliptical weighs approximately the same amount as a fully-loaded Continental limo, so it was a little difficult to move on my own.

When I got everything into position, it was clear that it wasn't going to work.  Our chair in the basement (which was in the living room in the old house) is just too humongous and it was blocking the path to the laundry room.  So I called my neighbor Kim, who is a realtor, in for her professional opinion.  When Husband arrived home, we were discussing the merits of arranging everything diagonally.  Oops.

On Saturday, my plan was that I would finish rearranging the basement.  Originally I thought my dad would be bringing some junk cabinets to use in the garage, and taking home some of the excess furniture that is still in our basement after our move.  (Hard to believe it's already been a year and a half!)

But he had worked three double shifts last week and was in no condition to be hauling furniture.  He had only gotten about five hours of sleep between Monday and Thursday.

I also thought we might be meeting my work mentor for drinks and gossip, but he was moving this past weekend.  So I decided that Saturday would be perfect for continuing my good works in the basement.

Life did not work out that way, however.  After we showered, an accidental nap commenced.  I woke up and chowed leftover Korean food.  Then Husband woke up and wanted a Philly cheesesteak, so we made our way to a local pub-food chain.

While we were there, we saw a girl get arrested for outstanding warrants.  It was the quietest arrest that I have ever seen - I didn't even know that the cops were there until I happened to turn my head toward the kitchen and see them!  I was amazed, too, that the girl's mom and other members of the dining party stayed and finished their meal after everything went down!  It was the craziest thing ever.

It was drizzly and nasty on our way home, and smelled like snow.  Yuck!  I mean, I like that actual smell, but I hate what it signifies.

We did some bookkeeping work and other chores, and then decided to reward ourselves with a trip to the OUTLET MALLLLLLLL!!!.  We had previously discussed starting an eBay selling scheme wherein we would sell Kate Spade and Coach purses from the outlet mall, and decided that Saturday was as good a time as any to go explore that option.  There was a big football game on, they were playing at home (I think??), and it was rainy and shitty.  So we figured it would be deserted!

It wasn't exactly deserted, but it definitely wasn't as busy as it could have been.  However, we also got skunked.  All the purses were selling on eBay for the same or less as the outlet mall - I don't know how people are selling at such low prices, but I seem to have temporarily missed the boat.  Since I also didn't find anything I HAD to have for myself, we took our damp carcasses home.

Since I hadn't done any rearranging on SATURDAY, I figured SUNDAY would be a stay-at-home-and-clean day.  But I got a text from my friend A. asking me to meet her for lunch.

We took her car to NTB to have them look at her tire and then went to Steak & Shake.  We have this inside joke about when we go out to eat together - it always seems to take F.O.R.E.V.E.R.R.R.R.R.R.R.  Sunday was no exception.  There was one swamped waiter who looked like he was on the verge of quitting, and I would have applauded him.  It was a madhouse.

Since I was already out and since we had errands to run, I picked up Husband and we proceeded to the mall.  The fancy mall.

...Which almost made me lose faith in humanity.  The Von Maur women's restroom was closed, so we went to the food court.  It was full of caroming children and women who apparently think they own the food court bathroom.  I kept involuntarily clenching my fists to keep from screaming at people.

Then we made our way to the Chinese restaurant to hopefully prevent a Katie Ka-Boom incident.


While we were walking, a lady with four children cut us off and got in line in front of us.  The last of her small people, whom she was completely ignoring, almost ran right into Husband.

We were waiting patiently behind her while she tried to decide what she wanted to eat.  In the meantime, the girl behind the counter asked me what I wanted.  I was unsure of what to do, but I told her because she asked!  The lady in "front" of us got very angry and started making passive-aggressive comments about how we had jumped the gun.  I was furious but didn't say anything.  I didn't know if I could count on being able to hold onto my temper.  I really felt like she was in the wrong because (1) she cut us off originally; (2) she wasn't ready to order when she got to the counter; and (3) THE EMPLOYEE OF THE RESTAURANT ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED.  So how is THAT my fault?!??!

We sat down and I started to eat uneasily.  They sat down right near us and I was really afraid she was going to come over and start some shit.  I don't know how to tell you how profoundly uncomfortable it makes me when people get all passive-aggressive or overtly aggressive in stores. One Mother's Day, Husband and I were at SteinMart and were forced to listen to two ladies arguing that the other party had ruined Mother's Day by stealing her dressing room and by screaming at her about stealing her dressing room, respectively.  PEOPLE.  Keep it on the inside.  It's not worth ruining a perfectly good shopping day, you know?!

I completed my dinner without incident and we went to the AT&T store to talk about a few things.

A few months ago, we got rid of cable and have been doing internet-only.  It's kind of expensive for what you are getting, but I thought it would get us out of the house more and save us money at the same time.  It didn't work out that way, however.  It seems to have created a grasping fear of scarcity, so Husband wants to watch everything that's on there.  Plus Netflix has lots of really great documentaries, so he has been watching even more than when we had cable because there is more interesting stuff on!  I got a voucher from AT&T to switch to U-verse for about four dollars more than what we are currently paying WOW for internet-only, and I wanted to explore that option.  Plus, we want new phones and wanted to find out if there was a way to avoid waiting until January when our contract renews.  And once we got there, we saw that they have some home security and automation things that looked interesting.

We waited until our guy was available, and talked about phones first.  We have been grandfathered in to unlimited data and were adamant about wanting to keep it that way, but then I learned that if you go over a certain amount of data in a month, they slow down your access.  So you have unlimited amounts of data, but not unlimited speed.

So for the same price, we could switch over to a non-contract option and get a few more goodies.  First of all, nearly-limitless data but all with good speed.  And second, your phone can act as a mobile hot spot!  So that's exciting.

Then we talked about the new thing where you finance your phone, and went with that option.  It adds like $30 to your monthly bill, which kind of sucks, but it's 0% for 24 months so you know.

We ordered Husband an iPhone 6 but he didn't want the Plus.  Hopefully it will be here soon!  I am excited to trade in his phone and get the $200!  It makes paying for a phone a little less painful.  Since I am used to getting phones at a subsidized price, I had a little bit of sticker shock at paying the full price of the phone.  But I guess if you want to be an early adopter, you gotta pay the price.  And under my super-duper budget system, it is $15 per pay that we won't have to spend on other Discretionary stuff.  So not too painful.

I was really debating.  I liked the iPhone 6 Plus, because I have recently found that I want a bigger phone instead of a smaller one.  I like to read e-mails on my phone and then be able to follow the links to see what deals Groupon is offering on cruises of Vietnam this week, for instance.  It's not very much fun to try to look at exotic locales on a tiny screen, and I find myself feeling frustrated that I need to wait until I am at home on my couch to look at things on my laptop.  First World Problem, I know.

On the other hand, I'm not crazy about the way that Apple tends to be inflexible in letting you do things you know you can do.  This sounds weird, but it's like PowerPoint.  In like Office 95, you could do all these little tricks.  But later versions of Office wouldn't let you do those things in PowerPoint anymore, and it is annoying.  Apple tends to be the same way on its mobile devices - you are not allowed to do this, that, or the other thing.  So I am tempted to switch back to Android.

Once we ordered Husband his phone and decided to wait on mine, we talked about the security stuff. Unfortunately, their home automation things don't really work for us right now.  But believe that we will be automating more and more - I love the idea of KNOWING that I closed the garage door versus just hoping.

We then moved on to cable.  We acquiesced to our worse-er natures ;) and signed up for cable again.  It's soothing to be able to watch Jewelry Television or the aquarium display channel while you're doing other things, you know?

By this time it was well past close.  I felt terrible being there so late, but the guy said it was okay, and he works on commission, so it would have been meaner to NOT follow through on our plans after we had monopolized two hours of his time.

As we walked through the deserted mall, we faced our new technological future with both trepidation and excitement.  I know that the world is moving away from all-inclusive cell plans, but it's still a little scary to join the new decade on this one.

So basically it just felt like a whole weekend full of taking leaps into new things without being able to fully know whether it was the right decision.  Existentially weird.  Even WITHOUT taking into account how often one can say that they have seen a silent arrest on a young mom in a well-off suburb's chain pub :)

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mexico 2014!

Husband and I just got back from my first trip to Mexico.  Here's the beef on how it all went down.  Turn back, ye faint of heart, because this is gonna be a looooooooooooooong post.

"The Day Before the Week"

On Friday night, I went to Target with my friend-neighbor after my dad picked up the dog.  My plan was to get a few cute sundresses that would double as beach coverups so that I could get through the entire trip to Mexico without wearing any actual CLOTHES.  Just dresses and swimsuits.  Husband had already declared that he would not be taking any pants, just board shorts.

Unfortunately, I naturally was completely unable to find beach coverup sundresses, because it is October.    Moving on.

We collapsed into bed after midnight, which caused us to forget a few things.  Like, oh, say, Husband's epi-pen.  Fun!

Saturday, October 4

We woke up at 6:30 and got to the airport around 8:30, for our 10:30-ish flight.  We were both crabby and it was kind of hard to be nice.  Not sure why, other than the late night.  And because of all the SHIT going on at O'Hare this weekend, the gate agent announced that our flight was delayed just before we were to start boarding.  Due to "weather".  Cue many people rabbling noisily and fomenting rebellion.  Which of course ended before it began, because once you are checked in and at the gate, there is nothing American Express can do for you.  Plus all the other flights were full.  DUH.

Once we were all boarded, we had an uneventful flight to O'Hare.  I know lots of people hate O'Hare, but I absolutely LOVE it.  It reminds me of going to visit my dad as a kid, so it always feels like the gateway to adventure to me - a travel playground!  This feeling was only improved by the fact that UNLIKE SOME AIRPORTS (*cough* Atlanta), there was no separate terminal for destinations outside the US.  That meant we didn't have to go through any crazy separate weirdness to get to our Cancun gate.

UNFORTUNATELY, because it was O'Hare, the gate changed six times.  I'm not exaggerating even a little.  Eventually we just camped between the two gates at an Eli's Cheesecake cafe and waited for the powers-that-be to decide from whence we would be departing.  This, coupled with a long layover and the fact that some members of our party were not able to go outside to smoke, did not result in happy travelers.

We did have a good time people-watching, though, seeing folks from all over the country wandering around.  I even saw a guy in an Iowa wrestling sweatshirt!  I know that's not SO unusual in northern(ish) Illinois, but it felt crazy because I now live deep in Buckeye Country and don't see Iowans that often.

We watched about three trillion people walk by, and pondered our place in the universe.  We marveled at the idea that it was 37 degrees where we were, and would be 88 degrees where we were going.  We mocked the cluster of humanity that tried to queue before it was time.

So eventually we were able to board the plane.  It felt like ten eternities.  We get into our seats and settle in for a longish ride to Cancun.  And guess who sits down next to us?!  The guy in the Hawkeyes sweatshirt!  He was from Bettendorf.  I refrained from calling it the forgotten Quad City, which was the quickest joke I thought of when he said where he was from.

I don't know about Husband, but I napped for a good long time while we were flying over Alabama or wherever.  There was a really great part, though, before we went over the ocean - I think I saw Lake Pontchartrain!  There was a humongous bridge.

Then we chatted about the meteorological formations, because we are so interesting.  Here is a picture I took - it's a little hard to tell in the pic, but in person these little clouds looked like puffs riding on waves.  Please forgive the boring pictures - for some reason I wasn't quite as snappy as I usually am about taking pictures of E. V. E. R. Y. T. H. I. N. G.

Our ride was your average ol' regular plane ride, and we got into Cancun during the last full bits of daylight.   The vegetation and general feel of the place really reminded me of Florida.

We quickly got past immigration etc. and through the gauntlet of people trying to pretend that they have your safe whisking to your hotel at heart.  It was pretty much just as crazy as everyone said it was, so I was really glad I did all that reading up beforehand.  I was also excited to use my Spanish after so many years, so I was throwing out "con permisos" like there was no tomorrow.

We had our transport booked through a company called Trafic Tours, and they were pretty great.  Everyone was friendly and we ended up getting a private transfer to the Sun Palace.

At the hotel, we got checked in and then heard the short spiel about the resort credits, the hotel restaurants, etc.  The guy seemed really nice - his name was Arturo.  He asked Husband about his bitchin' black ceramic wedding ring, which was cute.  Then we went up to our room, which was exactly what I expected from reading the reviews.  I had asked for a quiet room and lots of diet Coke, and that was what awaited us.  We were on the corner facing the "quiet" pool.  I was pleased.

We were in Room 721, which I have marked on someone else's picture with the arrow.  It wasn't as private as I would have liked, since I saw a guy across the hotel getting dressed in front of his giant sliding window, but it was a great spot.  I was also a little surprised that it didn't seem as though we got a Concierge room, but I'm thinking that's another function of me asking for quiet over all else.

We went down to the beach and got a little bowled over by the surf.  It's not really steady - you'll get some little waves and then one big one out of nowhere.  We ordered room service, and then crashed and burned.

Sunday, October 5

Of course we woke up at five the next morning, because that's six o' clock our time, and our bodies hate us.  But it wasn't too terrible because we got to see the sunrise.

It's kind of crazy, because you can't ever actually accurately capture something like that.  It was a perfect pastel sunrise, exactly like Bad Ocean Art from a Florida hotel room.  Impossibly gorgeous.

We got breakfast and went down to the beach.  I also had to stop by the gift shop while we were downstairs, because I was getting the Stink Eye from the other ladies at the resort.  It was so weird.

See, I have this thing.  I feel like it's really strange to get super-dressed up when you are supposed to be relaxing.  And it's hard to reconcile, because I understand that we all need to not be walking around naked, but at the same time, I'm on vacation!  I don't want to be worried about what I look like when I am trying to have fun!  But forgive the digression.

I bought a little dress at the gift shop so that I would be socially acceptable to the other women at the resort.  Then we plodded on down to the beach.

Here is the view from our room on our first full day:

They set up loungers and an umbrella for us, we went in the water, it was all good.  But everyone was clustered together, there was no breeze, and I am definitely more of a water person than a sun person. I finally convinced Husband that we had to get off of the beach, and have some 'VENTURE!

So we caught the bus to La Isla Mall.  The great thing about the bus in Cancun is that it costs one dollar.  Awesome.

La Isla mall is a sort-of outdoor mall.  It was kind of like coals to Newcastle, though, because it was all full of Express companies - Victoria's Secret, etc.  And we have lots of that here in Ohio.  But there were some fun stores!

Here are some pictures that other people took, just to give you an idea of what it was like.

It was hot, but fortunately not too crowded.  We didn't buy anything, though.  I did try on a really cute dress that was too big on top and too small on the  bottom, so I got that goin' for me ;)

We took the bus back to the hotel and went to the beach.   It was a lot less crowded at that point.  We went in the water again.  I thought if I got past the surf, I would be fine.  But I underestimated the random big wave and ended up accidentally body surfing.  I lost my hat and my ten-dollar sunglasses, and Husband lost his expensive sunglasses.

But here's the cool thing!!  We were laughing about it and sort of searching for everything.  An Aussie found my hat and brought it back to me, and then the lifeguard found Husband's sunglasses!  Then he found mine!  It was pretty sweet.  Husband gave him some money, which amazed him.  All the staff at Sun Palace were so nice, but the lifeguard really took the cake.

We stayed on the sand a little longer and then decided to go upstairs before we got too much sun.  We ordered room service again, and again it was delicious.

We ended up falling asleep at like seven o' clock while watching Men in Black.  It was very cool of us - we are certainly not old and boring.

Monday, October 6

Since we went to bed so early, we woke up around 2 AM.  We sat out on the tiny balcony and listened to the ocean.  Then we realized that you could see the ocean and the stars from the bed if you didn't close the curtains, and no one could see us because we were on a corner facing away from the other wing.  So we snuggled and looked at the stars and listened to the waves.  And, thank Bob, fell back asleep.  I know there's lots of stuff to do in Cancun at 2 AM, but not a lot of it involves pajamas.  And we were NOT looking for a Coco Bongo time.

It was not quite as sunny on Monday morning, as evidenced by these slightly more moody shots:

But I think you will agree that it was still frigging gorgeous.

It started raining while we were on our way down to breakfast, which meant that everyone was gathered in the random spots under cover.  I cannot overstate how wonderful and friendly the staff were, but the guests were a whole different vibe.

I'm not trying to be like, "Oh, that OTHER place we go is so much better", but we are used to people being a little more friendly.  But the visitors that we encountered in Cancun were, for the most part, completely uninterested in acknowledging anyone else's existence.  And it wasn't like they were too busy being lovebirds - one group of three couples were basically constantly together.  I am incredibly grateful to have been able to go, and it was really beautiful, but there were some parts of it that were just weird.  The fact that no one wanted to talk to each other was one of those things.

It got sunny again, so we hit the beach again!  Woo hoo!  Cancun really does have fantastic beaches.  Then we went in the little shady part of the pool, which was great because I am pasty-white and am not looking to get any more sunburns.  It only takes so many second-degree burns on one's nose to deter one....

Here is the "shady pool" spot, again on someone else's picture.  Parasailing is one of those things I would have loved to do if we had more time.  Then I would have taken approximately one billion more pictures, because I absolutely love pictures from above everything.

Even though we were only there three nights, and one of those nights was the travel night, we kind of had a thing going.  Go to beach, go do other stuff, go back to beach, go to bed.  Not a terrible life!  If we had more time, I would have loved to go see lots of other spots, but it was also really nice to just be lazy and boring.

And get ready, 'cause here comes the best part of the trip.  We didn't take any pictures, and it's really hard to explain why it was so cool.  Are you ready?  'Cause here comes the caps-lock.



Here is a picture that illustrates how I feel about baby turtles.  This isn't a sea turtle, but BABY TURTLE!

So it happens at ten PM.  We went down early to make sure we didn't miss it, and almost missed it. We were on the beach, and I looked up and saw them gathered at the shade pool.  I ran up there, arms flapping, and got some baby turtles.

I mean honestly.  Couldn't you just?

They kind of sit motionless in your hand, for the most part.  Although on my way down the stairs, one started squirming.

We all got down to the beach and started letting the little dudes go.  We got to each release a few, which was beyond all my baby turtle dreams.  I figured out that if we waited until the wave was going OUT, they didn't get backwashed into the sand.

They were so funny!  They would just chill until they felt the water hit them, and then they would start flapping their little flippers like "Put me in, Coach!  I'm ready!"  It was amazing.

After we were done, we went up to the room and finished packing.  Unfortunately, we had been instructed to wear warm clothes, which meant that my airplane-travelin' sweater was soaked.  As were my shoes and yoga pants.

Tuesday, October 7

Tuesday morning we got up early and checked out.  Our ride to the airport left at 8:40.  It was sad to leave - everyone was so nice and the hotel was so relaxing.  Our flight didn't leave until like 12:40, so we got to spend lots of quality time in the airport.  We ate at Jimmy Buffet's restaurant, which was disgustingly expensive.  We bought cigarettes in the Duty Free shop!  We people-watched.

It was my first time going through the Houston airport, and it was really nice.  I could have done without another four-hour layover, but I did manage to get a sweet NASA hoodie and we ate gourmet airport food.  Plus there was free wifi!

We got home super-late, which super-sucked.  We were the last flight into the airport, the parking cost MUCH more than I expected, and I was worried that the dog would be climbing the walls.  Next time we fly to Cancun, I am going to plan better and catch the nonstop flight.  The endless air B.S. was not worth the money.

To Sum Up

It was a great trip, but not the greatest.  I was super-glad we went and I would go again.  Three nights was not enough.  And, most glaringly, we are not fancy people :)

Here are a few more pics from around the internet of Cancun and the Sun Palace.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Need to Be Known

For some reason, it is incredibly comforting to me when I feel like people get me.  I don't know why.  When I was in therapy a few years ago, I talked about it with the therapist.  She could not understand WHY I wanted to tell people everything.  I have made a concerted effort to give lots of thought to anything I am about to say or write since those discussions, because I have learned that the joy you get from sharing isn't always worth having people know certain things about you.  And sometimes the seemingly-innocent or harmless things you spill can show people undesirable things about you.

But I took a short little quiz based on Myers-Briggs, and got that same familiar frisson of joy from its accuracy.  So here is the link, and below is the text.  I am very amused by its accuracy.

Portrait of an ISFJ - Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging
(Introverted Sensing with Extraverted Feeling)

The Nurturer

As an ISFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you takes things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system.

ISFJs live in a world that is concrete and kind. They are truly warm and kind-hearted, and want to believe the best of people. They value harmony and cooperation, and are likely to be very sensitive to other people's feelings. People value the ISFJ for their consideration and awareness, and their ability to bring out the best in others by their firm desire to believe the best.

ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. It would not be uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occured, if the situation made an impression on the ISFJ.

ISFJs have a very clear idea of the way things should be, which they strive to attain. They value security and kindness, and respect traditions and laws. They tend to believe that existing systems are there because they work. Therefore, they're not likely to buy into doing things in a new way, unless they're shown in a concrete way why its better than the established method.

ISFJs learn best by doing, rather than by reading about something in a book, or applying theory. For this reason, they are not likely to be found in fields which require a lot of conceptual analysis or theory. They value practical application. Traditional methods of higher education, which require a lot of theorizing and abstraction, are likely to be a chore for the ISFJ. The ISFJ learns a task best by being shown its practical application. Once the task is learned, and its practical importance is understood, the ISFJ will faithfully and tirelessly carry through the task to completion. The ISFJ is extremely dependable.

The ISFJ has an extremely well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal. For that reason, they're likely to have beautifully furnished, functional homes. They make extremely good interior decorators. This special ability, combined with their sensitivity to other's feelings and desires, makes them very likely to be great gift-givers - finding the right gift which will be truly appreciated by the recipient.

More so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people's feelings. They do not usually express their own feelings, keeping things inside. If they are negative feelings, they may build up inside the ISFJ until they turn into firm judgments against individuals which are difficult to unseed, once set. Many ISFJs learn to express themselves, and find outlets for their powerful emotions.

Just as the ISFJ is not likely to express their feelings, they are also not likely to let on that they know how others are feeling. However, they will speak up when they feel another individual really needs help, and in such cases they can truly help others become aware of their feelings.

The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. The ISFJ has a difficult time saying "no" when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. In such cases, the ISFJ does not usually express their difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because they tend to place other people's needs over their own. The ISFJ needs to learn to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming over-worked and taken for granted.

ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even become depressed. When down on themselves or under great stress, the ISFJ begins to imagine all of the things that might go critically wrong in their life. They have strong feelings of inadequacy, and become convinced that "everything is all wrong", or "I can't do anything right".

The ISFJ is warm, generous, and dependable. They have many special gifts to offer, in their sensitivity to others, and their strong ability to keep things running smoothly. They need to remember to not be overly critical of themselves, and to give themselves some of the warmth and love which they freely dispense to others.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's Official!


This may seem a little ... ironic* ... after the Shopping Addiction discussion but I wanted to outline some now-time-tested items for you that are my very most favorites.

*Sorry, I have a mental block since I thought the things Alanis listed were ironic - this is a concept I have trouble with.

Anyway!  Below are three things I have been using basically every day.  They are relatively expensive as far as makeup goes, and for that I apologize.  But as I told my friend Kelly this morning, loving these things and feeling like I have finally found a mascara that lives up to its promises and a lipstick that actually feels amazing and STAYS PUT means that I forego other items to have these.  I don't buy other mascaras "just to try"; I don't buy other lipsticks.  I just stick with these because they have proven their worth.

My new favorite mascara is not waterproof.  So I use this to make sure I am covered when I need it.  It's not just for crying or the beach, though.  I like waterproof mascara because I am VERY VERY LAZY and do not take off my mascara every night.  Waterproof mascara makes it possible to wake up, wipe one's fingers under one's (greasy) eyes, and move on with taking the dog out for his morning constitutional.  I work with mostly guys, and have come to feel that if THEY do not have to wake up three hours before leaving, then I certainly am not going to go through a ton of primer, base, concealer, foundation, powder, brows, eye shadow, mascara, mascara top coat, lipstick, blah blah blah.  NO.  I give to you: Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat.

This mascara is just unbelievable.  It is not waterproof, but it doesn't seem inclined to come off unless I am really spitting like a fire hydrant out of my eyes.  THEN I will look full-on raccoon, but just a little teary-eyed does not seem to result in DOOOOOOOOOOOOM.  This is Guerlain Maxi Lash in black.  They have purple, too, which was too red-purple for me.  Also brown some places.  They have a waterproof version, but I tried it recently and was unimpressed.  This is my first, my last, my only.

AAAAAND to the lipsticks.  I want more of these.  My only possible complaint is that this can get on my philtrum (thanks Stephen King for telling me the name of that part of one's face!) if I'm not careful when applying, but I usually apply this without a mirror with almost no trouble.  So unless you are going crazy wiping it around your mouth while driving in a thunderstorm, you should not have a problem.  This color is Rock 'N' Roll, which they claim is red but to me is a bright sparkly pink.  NOT bright sparkly pink like a Justice store, bright sparkly pink like the Italian Riviera.  Try it.  You'll like it.  Dior Addict Lipstick.  I did try it in one of the non-sparkly colors and was not as impressed, but as soon as I overcome my terror of the mall on weekends I intend to go spend the rest of my gift card branching out into other colors.

So there you have it!  Not paid, etc etc etc.  These are just items that I thought I would share in case you were looking for something new.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Spoiler Alert: Barbie Fed (Caused?) My Shopping Addiction

When I was little, I had a ton of Barbies.  I was Barbie-obsessed.  Everyone used to joke about how I was the Barbie child.

And I was a weirdo and an only child, so Barbie influenced my thinking in lots of ways.  For instance, I only went to the bathroom once per day.  Like, once every twenty-four hours.  I thought I was abnormal for having to go to the bathroom.  Nobody on TV went to the bathroom!  BARBIE doesn't go to the bathroom!!

Barbie's style became my style when I was old enough to start dressing like an adult.  Of COURSE you wear skin-tight sweaters and pants!  Of COURSE you wear tiny dresses!  That's what BARBIE wears!

I know most of the people who read this blog have known me a long time, so I am covering familiar ground with the Jennifer-plus-Barbie thing.  Suffice it to say that Barbie was a huge part of my education on how to be a woman.

When I got older, I had something that I would definitely qualify as a shopping addiction.

I was not popular in school, and (as I have said ad nauseam) the group I hung out with got spit on by the popular kids.  Whenever I would go to the mall, I was dizzy with the possibilities.  I could be whoever I wanted if I just had the right clothes.  So buying new clothes became equal to changing my life in my mind.  I still remember going back-to-school shopping before starting sixth grade and being SO excited that instead of ugly sweat suits, I was going to be wearing all these great solid tops with patterned Hammer pants (don't judge!) all the time and was going to be a totally new person and was going to be SO popular and happy!!

Long story short, wearing different clothes has never changed my life.  And I never connected the idea that I thought they might until last weekend.

The man-person and I were talking about random stuff and got into a discussion about girls in STEM fields.  Then we started talking about how girls tend to quit things if they aren't good at them on the first try.  THEN we started talking about how boys are not socialized to believe that putting on the uniform will make them Alex Rodriguez or John Elway or Michael Jordan.  They, it seems, are generally led to understand that practice is the only thing that will get them there - their lives will not change the minute they put on a suit, tux, yachting outfit (LOL), or sports uniform.  But girls, through Barbie, ARE taught that.

Barbie puts on a lab coat and is a doctor or a veterinarian.  Barbie puts on an astronaut outfit and is suddenly Sally Ride.  Barbie puts on a suit and is a business woman or the President.  But we are never shown the work that Barbie puts in to becoming a doctor, or an astronaut, or the President.  Only the result.  And the result is never actual work, just the outer trappings of whatever career she has that day.

SO even though I feel that the advertising message of Barbie from the eighties is as empowering as toy advertising could be - "We girls can do anything! Right, Barbie?" - the underlying message still remains that you don't have to actually WORK at BECOMING whatever it is you want to be!  Just put on a lab coat and start dispensing those pills at the pharmacy.  Just put on a flight suit and hop on into that fighter jet.  The underlying message is still that for girls, buying clothes will make you into the thing you want to be.

My epiphany was pretty crazy, since I had done some art pieces once with different Jennies in different clothes - President Jennie, Southern Belle Jennie, etc etc etc.  But suddenly I realized, in a way that I never had before, that Barbie had taught me something insidious.  Something that had not brought me happiness, and in fact brought me some amount of needless debt.  Barbie had taught me that all I needed to do to be whoever I wanted to be was to go to the mall!

My epiphany comes a little late, as I have already made significant progress on my shopping addiction.  But I thought it was so interesting that two of the things that made up "who I was" in my teens and twenties were connected in a way that I had never before realized possible!  Here's hoping that the generations of girls who come next will be socialized to be themselves from a much earlier age.  Here's hoping that they will be socialized to understanding that mistakes are not failure, that they are a springboard to success.  Here's hoping that they will be able to, along with the boys their age, become whole, happy adults who will be able to successfully carry humanity to a brighter future!

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wherein I Learn An Important Lesson

NOTE:  Sorry, guys, this one is much longer than I thought it would be.  I apologize for my windy explanation of the situation, but please know I am only so VERY Cliff Claven-like in order to give you sufficient background into my humbling.

Two of the most influential people in my life were well-known for not taking any shit! from anyone.  And I have always admired that.

Let's talk about one.  My dad.  When he is over a situation, he is OVER. IT.  He doesn't want to talk it out, he doesn't want to fight over who gets what, he just wants to do whatever it takes to be done.   I have always felt a little uncomfortable at the thought that I take after him in this regard.

I will take shit from someone for a while.  But then, sometimes when I don't even know it's coming, I will lose my patience with it.  That is why, when my boss berated me for several minutes one day for something for which I had already apologized, I lost it.  Was it smart?  Probably not.  But he was, in my opinion, continuing to harass me for something I could not control and for which I had already tried to take responsibility.  When I quit that job a few weeks later, he was a big part of why I left.  He left a few months after that, but of course I do digress.

ANYway.  I consider myself a more willing vomit target than my father, but not much more.

I also have noticed that I tend to let people get away with things that add up until suddenly I am frustrated.  I try to treat people as if they were my friends when they are providing me a service.  For instance, if I were having jewelry repaired, I try to be as flexible as possible regarding when I need it back.  But when people take advantage of that, I feel frustrated.

Which brings us, at long last, to our point.  We switched insurance companies a month or so ago.  I researched and filled out forms and e-mailed etc etc etc to get the best deal and to try to find the best vendor.  We ended up going with ... let's call them "A" - they have an office just down the road from our new house.  I e-mailed back and forth with the girl who set up our account, trying to make sure we got everything we needed.

However, since we switched banks too, I was restarting our budget in a new "Bill Pay" account.  I keep our budget in Google Drive and basically have all our regular monthly expenditures pool in that Bill Pay account.  Everything else gets transferred to "Discretionary", and used for doctor visits, haircuts, etc.  Because the Bill Pay account was with a new bank, it didn't have the same years-old buffer.  So I was worried about playing it close.

The old insurance company debited us one last time for our auto coverage, which I wasn't expecting.  Fortunately, I had left money in the old Bill Pay account to cover that just in case.  Because Tuesday.  The new company was originally supposed to debit our account on like April 2, but I requested a withdrawal date that was timed to duplicate that of the old insurer.  They had debited their payments on the 27th of each month.  I was prepared to double-pay for April and May on April 27th.

However, that's not what happened.  I was debited once on April 27th, for an amount about $30 more than the agreed-upon auto premium.  "No worries," I thought.  It was probably just extra because we waited so long to have it debited.

Then I received a statement that May 27th's debit would be that same $30-more amount.  So I e-mailed the girl.  This was her reply:
"I called billing to see what the problem was, and because we changed the date of the withdrawal you went from being an "early" payer to a "late" payer. I completely apologize for this, I have never encountered this problem with a customer before. Because the late payer has less billing opportunities than an early payer, you have higher payments."
I was pretty furious, but I held my cool.  It certainly was not the Girl's fault that I had chosen a later payment. I was fully prepared to take all responsibility for not understanding the ramifications of later payment.  But then, as I drove home, I started to become frustrated.

I feel like equal parts Rick Moranis and Mommie Dearest when I attempt to craft an angry e-mail.  I don't want to be too mean, so I meekly suggest alternatives and pull all the blame onto myself.  But I also want them to know I'm angry, so I threaten to pull my business blah blah blah.  Here was how my angry e-mail looked when complete:
"Thanks, {GIRL}. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m frustrated. I would NEVER have agreed to be billed so late if I had known that it would result in a permanent increase in our monthly expense. I only did it because we used {OLD COMPANY} Bank, too, and I had switched all our bank accounts. I had the money but didn’t think it would increase our premiums - I wanted to build up our budgeted bill money in the new bank.  
Please talk it over and let me know if {NEW COMPANY} is willing to do anything to rectify this situation.  
Again, {GIRL}, I appreciate your time."
Pretty toothless, n'est ce pas?  But I was both glad that I had sent it and glad that I hadn't ripped her face off, because here was her response:
"I completely understand! I will call them in the morning and see if they will make an exception. They are only open until 5, or I would call tonight. I'm sorry for any frustration this may have caused. As soon as I hear back from them I will let you know. Enjoy your evening!"
I was satisfied.  This is what she replied today:
"Okay, so I'm glad that I called them, because I got a much better explanation of why your bill increased. Since we changed the date of the withdrawal they didn't take the first 2 payments out, they just divided the entire premium among 5 billing opportunities, instead of 6. Not that this is helpful, because it still gets in the way of your budget, but at least it makes more sense. Are you still going to keep the higher deductibles to maintain a lower monthly rate? Let me know what you think, and if you have any other questions. Sorry about all the confusion! Enjoy your weekend!"
I decided to just suck up that extra $30 per month for the next five months, because it will go back to normal after that.

So basically, by shutting up the demons of my usual nature, I had achieved what I wanted.  I had been polite so as not to give the impression of a suddenly-infuriated shrew, but I had stated my problem and gotten a satisfactory resolution.  One of the threats I had written and then deleted was that we would have to go with one of the other insurance companies that I had previously researched, but I was glad I had let that go unsaid.  Plus, I didn't want to switch AGAIN!!  I am coming to the conclusion that one is just as bad as the next and the second runner-up was the only company that was pestering me to e-mail my VINs - all the others were able to find VINs when they searched for our names.

All in all, I am very pleased with this outcome.  Sure, my trusting nature is costing me $30 more per month, but it will all go back to normal in relatively short order, and I didn't have to deal with refund checks and VIN-finding and all that other business.  And more importantly, I got a question answered.

Instead of just running away when faced with a conflict, I resolved it.  And while I readily admit that some business relationships just can't be saved, I'm glad I saved this one.  I learned that running away will sometimes take the problem off your hands, but will also often result in more pain than just dealing with the issue.

Obviously does not always work in marriages.  I said business relationships, people.  I don't blame my dad for divorcing my stepmom.  She turned into a true poop.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On Being British

I don't think I come from a particularly closed-off set of people.  My mom is infamous for sharing her life story with the people waiting in line at Nebraska Furniture Mart and my dad comes from an Irish family of seven/eight kids.  As you can imagine, the stereotypical Irish storytelling-loving boisterousness applies perfectly.

I don't think of myself as particularly non-touchy either.  I like hugs.  And I was an ordinary type of gregarious child, making friends with the rest of the carpet monkeys running around at Tuesday evenings at the square or during the blanket laying-out in preparation for Fourth of July fireworks.

So it has come as something of a surprise to me that now I am firmly within the jaws of something my husband calls "Being a WASP".

Now, he doesn't really mean WASP in the original sense, as I am not technically wholly any of those things. But very mostly Caucasian, yes.  Formerly Protestant, yes.  Partly Anglo-Saxon, yes.  But what he REALLY means when he uses that shortcut word is "New England-ish" or "British".

See, I have found a Twitter account that really speaks to me.  The following tweets had me nodding my head vigorously (but silently!) in agreement:

All of those things are totally things that I do, too!  Especially the not-hearing someone.  If I'm giggling like an idiot at something you've said and it's not appropriate to the situation, it's probably because I didn't hear you and I am too embarrassed to say so.

I don't hug "strangers" now, with the definition of the word "stranger" being synonymous with "someone outside my immediate family".  The first time my husband's parents said they loved me, I was struck silent with awkwardness, not knowing what to say back.  My next-door-neighbor and friend just lost her good friend to cancer, and I couldn't bring myself to offer a hug.  I offered her beagle kisses instead, which are well-known as a panacea for grief.  When one of our clients lost her 20-year-old son to a sudden aneurysm, I stood with tears pouring for several minutes before I broke completely free of my Work Situation Protocols and rounded the desk to give her a hug.

I don't know when this transition took place, but it weirds me out.  I'm not that stiff-upper-lip person on the inside, so what has made me that way on the outside???

I wonder if British people and New Englanders feel it too - they think that a growled "Ayuh" as the lobster boats pass in the pre-dawn is equivalent to a Midwest potluck in late afternoon, I'm sure.  So then I naturally start to wonder where it came from.  And I think I have isolated its peak in British society:

Now, I haven't done any research and I'm certainly not going to do so before I say this, but I presume that this was a popular sign during the Blitz.  One of my favorite World War II spy novels has tales of joking signs outside bombed police stations and stores that say things like "More open than ever!" and it is easy to imagine Londoners during the bombing raids stiffening their upper lips to the point that no one would ever be able to smile naturally ever again!

SO please know that inside my stuffed shirt beats the heart of a little kid who will gladly dance in the road with you during a nice spring day, and a sympathy-giver who wishes that she knew whether or not it was appropriate to hug you.  I apologize for the weird jerky movements that look like David Cameron trying to smile.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Monday, May 5, 2014

You Can Never Go Back Home

Last night I cried watching "Game of Thrones".

I don't know if you watch it, but there is a boy, Bran, who has a chance to be reunited with his older brother Jon in last night's episode.  To me, Jon represents home to his little brother, a home that has been burned down to the ground.  If Bran chooses not to reunite with Jon, he has chosen his future, chosen to continue his path towards his destiny.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and even came up with a novel idea about it.

When I was a child, we moved often.  I attended three different elementary schools in six years.  We celebrated every special occasion in my parents' hometown, at my maternal grandparents' house.  To me, the town in which I grew up never felt like home.  The place that was my "home" was my grandparents' house and, later, my paternal aunt's house, a few miles away from each other.  I got ripped apart in college once by a friend when she heard me call my parents' hometown "home" - she insisted that the town where I grew up was my home.  But, again, I never felt that way.  "Home" is where you celebrate Christmas, Easter, birthdays.  "Home" is the place where your heart goes in your dreams.

I chose to be estranged from my grandmother when the list of horrible things she had done and said reached its zenith (nadir?).  She died without speaking to me again, and all the things that reminded us of our old life were eventually given to a random stranger.  So, like Bran, I couldn't go home even if I wanted to.

I tend to be a backward-looking person.  And I came up with a story about a girl who has a choice: go home, go back to being a happy child with a limitless horizon; or grow up.  As you grow, your horizon perforce must narrow: you can't be an astronaut, a veterinarian, a doctor, and a lawyer all at once.  You must choose which path to follow, and you can't always break free of that path once you start.  Or you can, but the consequence may be that your time to walk another path becomes limited.  So the temptation to stay nestled in the warm cocoon of childhood is great: my summer vacations with my grandparents meant endless reading, eating my favorite foods, riding around having adventures, and falling asleep to the eleven 'o' clock news.  Certainly, there was emotional abuse, but that seems sort of fuzzy looking back when the clarion call of no responsibilities and endless possibilities sounds, doesn't it?  "Home" echoes through one's mind and the memories act like Teles, Thelxepeia, and Thelxiope to draw one in toward the shore.  But just like the song of those creatures, it is a trap.

Thinking about my story idea made me realize that that trope is part of Pet Sematary, too.  Louis Creed wants his life to go back to being exactly as it was before a car accident stole his son from him.  He follows the path back toward the past but finds that the past cannot be resurrected.  He cannot have his son back from the grave.  The novel ends with him smiling as his dead wife walks back into their house, having been resurrected using the pet cemetery's juju.

In last night's episode of "Game of Thrones", Bran chooses as he must: he chooses not to reunite with his brother.  He chooses to forge ahead into the icy unknown, which is what we all must do in the end.  But I cried for him, for me, and for all of us as I watched him struggle to make that choice.  Funny that "life" is our everything and we do everything we possibly can to keep it moving forward even when it takes us from those people and places with whom and where we most wish to stay.  No one wants to live their life as a stagnant pool, but sometimes the rushing tide seems too fast and too hard.

And with the famous words echoing in my head, I launch once more unto the breach and start a new day.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Another Proud-of-Myself Moment

I don't know what's wrong (right) with me lately that I'm so pleased with myself!  So weird.

But of course I am still going to toot this horn.

Was reading an article about wedding etiquette and people are talking about gifts.  One person mentioned that a friend is marrying a man whose culture generally gives checks to the bride and groom to "cover their plate" and the bride is worried that people not from that culture will be offended.  AND, thank God, multiple people brought up the idea that you don't say ANYTHING about gifts because that's mega-tacky.

And it made me think if our li'l wedding.  We were so genuinely glad to have everyone there, especially since most people had to travel at least three hours to be there for us.  So the gifts we received were a nice bonus.

The end of the night went like this:

My dad and aunts followed us back to our house.  Hub carried me over the threshold but it was unexpected so no one got a picture.  The aunts got a tour of our house, and then I went over my dad's taxes with him because the filing deadline was during the honeymoon.  Then everyone left and we opened the cards and gifts we received.  THEN we wrote thank-you notes.  RIGHT THEN.  And I mailed them on the way to the airport.  That's right, we wrote thank-you notes on our wedding night.  I'm pretty sure we were still dressed up, too.  So we wrote thank-you notes in our wedding clothes.

Now, the credit doesn't ALL go straight to me on this.  My mom taught me right around the time of my high school graduation that if you can't thank a person in person, you write a thank-you note.  And since we weren't about to open frigging gifts at the frigging reception, we wrote them.  I was really, truly SO grateful that people even gave us gifts that my heart was bursting.

So that is today's reason why I am not a total piece of shit. :)

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weird Proud-of-Myself Thing

You know what?  Today I am proud of myself for my foresight.

Hubs and I have been talking about what to do with this house, and yesterday were discussing whether or not any layout changes could be made to the kitchen.  (Short answer: no.)  And he had some suggestions that would be GREAT for us, but horrible for the people who will buy our house when we are ready to move.

For instance: we always eat meals on the couch.  So when we bought this condo, we knew that the breakfast bar was all we'd ever need.  We only eat there when the couch would inevitably become tikka masala-covered.  That shit STAINS like no other.

So when he made the suggestion that we push the breakfast bar further into the living area, I was like No.  Because WE think a table and a breakfast bar is unnecessary, but every frigging place we looked at in this development had both.  OTHER people think it is important to have both.  And so I don't want the next owners to be put off when they look at our place.

And so I explained it using the OTHER thing we would like to do but won't.  WE would love to rip out the closets in the master bedroom and install giant floor-to-ceiling armoires instead.  From Ikea, of course. Duh!  But the problem is this:  WE love modern-looking clothing storage, but the next people would probably be mega-creeped by it.  So I am saving us a couple-thousand (so grammatically wrong but #NO1CURR) dollars by not buying us something that we probably couldn't take with us and that the next people would ABHOR.

Although these are so frigging hot that it's making me reconsider.


Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dee Eee Tee Eee Are Em I En Aay Tee I Oh En...

Before I met my husband, I did not have a lot of determination.  If something was too hard, I stopped doing it.  To me, it wasn't worth it to keep working on something that sucks.  For him, on the other hand, something difficult just adds to his NEED to overcome that obstacle, no matter how much it stinks to keep going.

I first realized his determination had rubbed off on me when I was gardening one evening.  I was trying to uproot a sucker that was too close to a tree using a shovel.  My hands were absolutely ripped open, my arms and shoulders hurt, and that sucka is still there to this day despite all kinds of manual and chemical attempts at botanocide.  I realized I was no longer the person who gave up.  And I'm not sure I like not being that person any more.

So yesterday I realized I wanted a place to plug my phone in the living room.  Hubs sometimes misses calls/texts because his phone is out of juice and he's plugged it in on the bedside table.  I have been running out of battery life long before bedtime lately, and leaving it plugged in on the breakfast bar just doesn't really work for me.  SO!  I decided that a little box I bought and didn't love for its intended purpose would get re-purposed as a charging station.  It is like woven paper, so I figured I could just cut a hole and Bob's Your Uncle!

I put it on the sofa table, and it looked like crap.  I needed something shorter, that didn't interfere with the other boxes on the table.  Yes, I have a box problem.  I like putting stuff in boxes so no one can see how much JUNK! you have lying around.  Cables, pills, pens, lip stuff, nail polish, all in BOXES!!

So I went to visit the love of my life, that wonderful lady dressed all in red.  And Target did indeed yield answers to my problems!  Big boxes, little boxes, fabric boxes, wood boxes!  And also possibly a fox in socks ;)

I bought two boxes and brought them home.  The first (and cheaper) one looked like yuck.  The second one, however, was kinda goin' with the vibe!  Alright alright alright.

BUT!  The hinged lid did not have quite enough space to put the cable through without the metal rubbing the cable.  And the last thing I want is to burn down our house.  So I needed a plan.  I considered moleskin wrapped around the cable and rejected it as being too bootleg.  And then I realized that I could gain some space by removing the peg that held the lid to the box, and just let it sit on top.  Glory!

So I began.  There were three hex nuts.  One on each end, and one inside the hinge mechanism.  WHY, INDIA, WHY?!?!   Laze out a little, wouldja?  The first two came off without TOO much issue, although the problem tended to be that the bolt/pin spun freely when I was trying to use needle-nose pliers to unscrew the nut.  Oh yeah, that's the other thing: I didn't have a socket that was small enough to get in there, and a regular pair of grips were too big as well.  And I only had one set of needle-nose.  So: fun!

I worked and worked and worked, getting frustrated and losing the grip on the pin a few times.  I took a break to do some laundry and again to reset my phone.  After I got the outermost nuts off, I realized that the third nut (ha ha ha haha ha) would be even worse, because there was nothing to push against and it needed to spin the opposite way.  Instead of "lefty loosey" like the other two, I had to "righty tighty" to pull the pin down through the holes so that it would unscrew from the nut.

Long story longer, it took me probably about three hours to get it all done.  Today my pad of my palm is sore from tiny turns of the needle-nose pliers.  The bolt's threaded ends are completely stripped.  But my frigging phone can now charge on the frigging sofa table in the frigging box.  And I'm pretty damn proud of that ;)

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Monday, March 3, 2014


This blog post made me laugh out loud.


Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Monday, February 24, 2014


This weekend my dad came to visit.  His house flooded and he wanted help picking out flooring to match his cabinets and countertops.  So we went to Lowe's!  We wandered through the flooring section, comparing and contrasting.  Then he needed to pick out drawer and door pulls, and find the ceiling fans we had looked at online.  I wanted to return the cabinet door sample to the cabinets department, so I pointed him and Hubs in the direction of ceiling fans.

I was so proud of myself; I knew right where they were in relation to where we were standing and they both looked at me, just dumbfounded, when I answered so quickly.  I blushed and said, "I come here a lot."

I know it's a weird thing to be proud of - the fact that I know where everything is at my closest blue big-box hardware store.  But there it is.

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


From Cracked:

when any obese person talks about how hard it is to lose weight, and their thin friends helpfully tell them they "just" need to watch what they eat, and "just" get a little exercise. They "just" need to win the brutal war that has exhausted every ounce of their energy, time, and emotional well-being for as long as they can remember. "And to be honest, dude, it's kind of weird that you and the other 1.4 billion obese people on Earth haven't tried that already."
I'm sure I've said this to people many times over the years, along with all of the other terrible advice on this list. So if I could go back in time, I'd tell Past David, and anyone else offering this condescending, dismissive, wet shart of an attempt at advice, to please grasp something:
The fat people you make fun of and condescend to probably have more willpower than you do.
Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
And they look much more awesome in a headband.
That's because (and you would know this, Past David, if you were capable of pulling your head out of your own asshole long enough to grasp the idea that the universe contains beings who aren't exactly like you), in order to just stay at their weight, even if it's 300 pounds over the healthy level, they have to successfully resist the urge to eat more often than you do. Mocking them for having more fat on their body is like mocking an MMA fighter for having more bruises than you. You're not stronger, you're just living a different life.
That's because obesity physically changes the brain. The obese eat more, because they feel the urge more -- they feel it more often, and they feel it much stronger (if you want details, overweight people have 20 percent higher levels of the "hunger hormone" ghrelin and abnormally low levels of peptide YY, which suppresses the hunger urge). Their muscle tissue also burns fewer calories than yours, meaning each failure costs them twice as much. They usually gained these fat cells in childhood or adolescence, and once you have them, it is physically impossible to lose them without surgery -- dieting can temporarily shrink them, but your entire physiology will work to put them back the way they were.
I know you don't believe me, Past David, because your moral superiority has to come from somewhere, so if you want to know what it's like to be a fat person trying to lose weight, just don't eat or drink anything for the next 72 hours. Sure, you'll make it through a day. Maybe part of a second day. But soon, maybe 30 or 40 hours in, you'll understand how your power to "just" stop eating can be smashed to rubble by the body's base urges. That hunger part of your brain is much stronger, because it's also the part that regulates basic survival.
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
As seen in this extraordinarily thin person.
At that stage, when the starvation triggers get flipped, the thinking part of your brain will start coming up with rationalizations ("Wait, why am I suffering like this just because some Internet writer from the future told me to?"). You'll tell yourself lies to save face. But here is the undisputed truth: I could chain you up in a room with nothing but a box of live cockroaches to eat, and at some point, you will eat them. Your disgust, your self-respect, your dignity, all will eventually be obliterated by the crashing tsunami of your hunger.
And your dieting obese friend feels like that all the time.
"But I lost 15 pounds one summer just by cutting back on chips and soda and walking to work! I know what it's like!" Yes, Past David, and I know what it's like to climb Mount Everest because I have to walk up two flights of stairs to my bedroom. I'm going to get the fuck away from you before you start wondering aloud why those black people in the ghetto don't "just" get jobs, at which point I'll set your goddamned smug face on fire and ask why you can't "just" stop feeling the pain. And then I'll feel the scars spreading across my own face, because oh shit, I just forgot how time travel works.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-5-most-useless-pieces-advice-everyone-gives/#ixzz2sNZJeUlF

Disclaimer: My opinions are solely my own; they are not necessarily those of anyone else with whom I associate.