Tag Archives: petty issues

Crotch Gate Gate.

Yesterday I mentioned that my post was going to be in three parts, and there ended up being only two parts, for two reasons. The first reason was that I kind of got carried away talking about how I was going to talk about The Wet Brush, which is kind of the problem here – it’s never what I want to talk about that ends up being so many words, but me talking about what I’m going to talk about, and the lead in to what I’m going to talk about, and the things I think about that are kind of related to what I’m going to talk about that add so much bulk on to what could be an average size blog post. What does an average size post weigh in at these days, anyway? What are all the kids doing? 1200 words? 1500? I don’t know. Probably somewhere in there, right?

And then the second reason that I had to abandon part three was that there was a whole other development to the story when Phil came home for lunch. I was initially already planning to write this little bit up, like I usually do, “Hey, listen to this ridiculous thing my husband does,” and wrap it up with something like, “So, at what point does he cross the line from thoughtless knob into total inconsiderate ass captain?” BUT THEN. He came home for lunch. And not only was he wearing the team uniform of the New Mexico Inconsiderate Ass Captains, he proceeded to break one of our number one marriage rules or possibly THE NUMBER ONE rule of our marriage, thus DOUBLE SEALING his place on the losing side of this situation, which is pretty much my favorite kind of thing to have happen.

We have this really big expandable baby gate that we bought when we were still living in Arizona and had this weird half wall situation around the den that we used as an office. We had tried several different gates and sent them back because we needed to find one that was the right combination of wide enough to stretch across the very big opening, but also short enough of go up against the very low wall we were dealing with on one side. We ended up with this Safety 1st Wide Doorways Fabric Gate. It’s 27″ high and expands up to 60″ across and it can be a little tedious to install, since you have to twist these little knob thingers on the top and bottom on one side to pressure mount it to the wall firmly. That worked for us, though, since we were renting and didn’t want to install anything permanently.

We kept it across the opening to the office area for awhile, but eventually moved it to separate the two halves of the split floor plan house, mounting it in the normal-sized doorway between the kitchen and the playroom. This effectively divided the house into a dog side and a Penelope side, with the kitchen, back living room and our bedroom for the dogs and the big playroom, two other bedrooms, and office area for Penelope. As an aside, I will tell you that that is not how this new house is laid out and the dogs are not pleased with the new development. (“Stop. Stop. STOP. HE IS RUNNING AWAY BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LIKE YOU.“) We kept it up almost constantly, because it served the dual purpose of keeping Penelope out of the kitchen and keeping the dogs out of the playroom (Brinkley is a toy-eater). Sometimes, though, we let it down, because we have a toddler, and we have dogs, and toddlers and dogs just go together, most notably when you don’t feel like getting out the vacuum, so you just let the cleaning crew rumble through.

Phil was usually the one to let the gate down, in the evenings, after Penelope had gone to bed (which means after I had also gone to bed, because I go to bed when Penelope goes to bed, no exceptions). In the mornings, I’d wake up and the gate would be back in place. Or it would look like it was back in place. If you’ll recall, I mentioned that the gate is 27″ high – convenient for the space we were looking to fill at the time, and I guess a convenient height for dogs and toddlers. Now, pardon me if I’m about to be crude, but it’s also the exact height of my crotch. I can’t just step comfortably over the gate. It touches. I can’t physically get over the gate without brushing it. With my business. It’s not that I’m very short – I mean, I’m short, but just regular short. You might meet me some day and note that I’m not particularly tall but it’s not shocking. You wouldn’t have to make a mental note to yourself to not stare or anything. I’m just regular not tall. I know that bringing up lack of height on the Internet is dangerous because it can quickly turn into a faux-humility pissing contest over who is the most petite and what you can’t reach on the shelves and whose crotch touches what but I will tell you now I don’t consider height or lack of height to be anything. And that is not a partial sentence, I meant to stop right there. I’m just stating a fact for this story, I am a regular short person. It’s not a thing I wish to bond over.

The problems would arise when I would step over the gate I assumed was placed correctly only to find that, no, in fact, it was not. It was placed BY PHIL. So in a perfect world, gate placed correctly, I’d step one foot over, brush, and place my other foot over. In the real world, gate placed BY PHIL, I’d step one foot over, brush, the act of brushing would DISLODGE the gate that was only half-assedly twisted against the wall, knocking it into the leg that was already over, usually taking me to the ground with it.

The first time? Weird. The second time? Weird. The third time? I’D CAUGHT ON, PHIL.

“Dude. If you take the gate down, you’ve got to put it back on tightly.”
“I do.”
“Uh, no, because it comes down and knocks me over.”
“Okay.”

Fourth time. Fifth time.

“Phil. Seriously. The gate.”
“I do put it back on tightly.”
“I was carrying her lunch. I threw it all over the playroom.”
“Sorry, but I put it back on this time.”
“No, THIS is putting it back on.”
“Okay. Okay.”

Six. Seven. Eight.

“PHIL. COME ON.”
“I get it. Okay. Sorry.”

And then we moved to New Mexico. Before we moved here, we talked a bit about the layout of the new place and where we were going to put the gate, and if we wanted to get a permanently installed gate, since the new place has stairs. Also, Penelope can just force this gate down now, no matter who screws it in, but she knows she’s supposed to leave it up when it’s up. It’s more of a symbolic gate where she’s concerned, but it does still keep the dogs where we want them. For now, we’ve decided to keep it at the bottom of the stairs, in front of the bottom step. We keep the dogs downstairs during the day, to keep Brinkley from running up and down the steps. In addition to his current injury, he’s also almost 10 and does have arthritis. We initially even considered keeping them downstairs entirely and went with that for a few days, but I thought they were lonely and we started letting them sleep upstairs at night pretty quickly. In the morning, Phil takes the dogs and usually Penny, if she’s awake, downstairs to eat breakfast and he replaces the gate. I leave it up for the rest of the day and it comes back down at night when everyone comes up.

CROTCHGATE

Incredibly boring picture of the scene of the crime.

Yesterday, I came downstairs with Penelope and went to step over the gate, as I do – you know, step, brush, step – only to enjoy my first New Mexico ass-over-tea kettling courtesy of the crotch gate. Step, brush, CRASH. It was not even half-assedly pressure twisted to the wall. I don’t even know if it was leaning against the wall. I swear, it was hovering there. Just balanced. Like he spent time and effort achieving some miracle of physics specifically to screw with me, so I’d end up with my face in the carpet. Why? Why, Phil? We haven’t even been here long enough for you to set up any hidden cameras. Why? Why do you do this?

I immediately started composing part three of yesterday’s post in my mind. What I was thinking was something along the lines of what I said about – when does someone cross the line from thoughtless knob to inconsiderate ass captain when it comes to something you’re asking them to do for you? See, I know that Phil really seems to think he tightens the gate enough. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t at all. When I put the gate up, I can safely step over it without it budging at all. It takes effort – I have to get down on my hands and knees to tighten the knob on the bottom or the lower half of the gate will swing freely, which loosens the top half. That’s why it’s not tight when Phil puts it up – he tightens the top knob, but he doesn’t bother with the lower one. Because it’s a pain in the ass. I know it is.

The first couple of times I fell, I brought it up to him nicely. Please tighten the gate properly, because I don’t know if you know this, but my crotch. It touches.

The next few times, I was annoyed, but I still brought it up pretty kindly. Dude. I ride low to the ground. You’ve got to tighten that gate.

The gate was still loose and still causing issues. Is he not getting it? Phil. I am physically being knocked to the ground. My body. My person. It is hitting the floor. Please. The gate.

And that’s where I was at lunchtime yesterday. I was going to pose that question to you yesterday. Has Phil crossed the line yet? Is his refusal to take an extra admittedly pain in the ass step to do something properly for my benefit alone (I assume his business makes no contact) over the line into inconsiderate ass captain territory yet?

BUT THEN.

HE CAME HOME FOR LUNCH.

I was making Penelope a quesadilla and I couldn’t find my piranha pizza cutter, also known as the best pizza cutter I have ever owned (I’ve owned three, which I think is enough). It was nowhere, so I was furious, because Phil has a habit of just putting things wherever, which he promised he wouldn’t do in this new place. I know that if I give a shit about where things go, putting them away should be my job, but still. There’s a line. And that line is put my piranha pizza cutter somewhere where I can find it when I need to cut a quesadilla, especially when I’m already pissed at you. (Side note: It turns out Phil doesn’t know where it is, either, which is a nightmare.)

He came into the kitchen, and I was stomping around, slamming drawers, and immediately started bitching about the pizza cutter. When he said he didn’t know where it was, either, I calmed down a bit, but I was already worked into a good huff, so I wheeled around and said, “THE GATE. I FELL. AGAIN. INTO THE LIVING ROOM. YOU NEED TO TIGHTEN THE GATE. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.”

And that’s when it happened. The biggest crime you can commit in our marriage, the number one rule, the thing we Do Not Do, the ultimate in unfairness: Retaliatory Anger.

“I DO TIGHTEN IT.”
“Obviously not.”
“I TIGHTEN IT PLENTY ENOUGH FOR ME!”
“Plenty enough for you? The fact that I’m still falling over it means there’s obviously a problem with your method.”
“WELL I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO.”
“What do you suggest I do, Phil? GET A VAGINA LIFT?”

At that point I went upstairs and I know it probably looked like I was storming away angrily, but I wasn’t, because I already knew I had double won. I didn’t need to be convinced I was in the right about the gate, because I am. I just am. He’s wrong. On top of that, I know I’m in the right about the gate, I brought it up to him, and he came back at me aggressively and angrily in response. Oh hell no. Not in our marriage. We may be weird and we may keep score and we may be locked in a lifelong battle to the death for superiority, but there is no retaliatory anger allowed. If I get mad at him, or he gets mad at me, if one of us has a legitimate beef with the other one, it is absolutely forbidden to get angry in response. No. Nope. You cannot get mad at me because I am mad at you for something you did. Is that a reaction that people do have? Sure is. That’s a thing that happens. That’s a thing that used to happen a lot in this relationship. That is also a thing We Do Not Do Anymore. So if you’re counting, that’s a Double Win for me.

Before he left, he came back upstairs in a much more docile mood, clearly having the experience to know it’s best to give in quickly and completely and let me beat my win out of you rather than holding on to pride, heading back to work, and letting me simmer on some kind of revenge for the rest of the day.

“Hey.”
“Hello.”
“I will try to tighten the gate from now on.”
“Thank you. You know, it’s not my fault I have a low crotch.”
“I know.”
“And I did approach you very kindly the first four thousand times.”
“I know.”
It’s not like when you used to leave the shower head pointed so it hit me in the face every time I turned it on. That was just annoying. I keep falling down.”
“I know.”
“So it’s understandable that I would come at you aggressively after reminding you so many times and you seemingly not caring enough to make an effort.”
“It really is.”
“I’m not an asshole for that.”
“You’re not.”
“You’re kind of an asshole for not making an effort and letting your wife fall over and over, really.”
“I am.”
“And then, when I finally get angry about it, which you agree is understandable, it’s not really fair of you to get angry back.”
“It’s not.”
“You’re kind of an asshole for that.”
“I am.”
“So you’re kind of a double asshole.”
“I am.”
“And I’m not one at all.”
“No, I am the asshole.”
“Good talk.”

Anyway, it turned out I actually didn’t need you at all yesterday, Internet.

Disclaimer: You will never find a serious marital issue or argument discussed on this website.

I won’t adjust to this and you can count on me for this. These are two different things.

I have three different things I need to inform you about today, three totally different and completely unrelated things. I was thinking that a novel way to tell you about three different and totally unrelated topics would be to write three totally different and unrelated blog posts and then maybe even post them on three totally different days, maybe even three consecutive days, but it turns out that that’s just not the way I wobble. Much like I now literally live in the actual middle of the actual desert, so too does this blog exist as a bunch of nothingness with occasional giant blobs of stuff. I guess in this comparison I am the giant blob? I think in my old age I’ve stopped giving even half a crap about whether or not people like me or not because I don’t have time to waste a thought on it when I’m sitting here thoughtlessly analogizing myself to a giant blob. If you’re out there not liking me, take an early lunch, I’ve got it handled.

First, a small thing. I’m adjusting to living here, but it’s in increments, because when you move, it’s not just that you have to get used to a new place and you get used to your new place in a big chunk as a place and that’s that. No, there’s a whole lot that goes into it. You have to shop in new stores and go to a new church and the traffic patterns are strange and people drive like different kinds of everyone’s a total idiot except for me. The washing machine is on the other side from where it was in the other house and Penny’s got toys in her room in this place and she didn’t in the other so she just does not go to sleep at night for hours at a time and I don’t care, just stay in there, because my bedtime is still 7pm. Nothing is in the place is used to be in and this house is arranged in a way that is completely unfriendly to my style of watchful yet gently neglectful oversight kind of parenting. I’m just saying, you can’t just sit in a new state, look around after a couple of weeks and say, “Well, I’m adjusted.” One thing at a time. One small thing at a time.

And sometimes? You don’t adjust. You don’t adjust to everything. And that can be fine, I guess. Not everything is going to be okay in your new place and maybe you’re going to have to come to terms with that, or not come to terms with that, and live with the fact that you’re not going to come to terms with that, and that you’re going to live with a non-adjusted something for however long, until you can get back to the way things should be. Maybe it’s healthy, once in a while, to live for a bit with something that is just not the way things should be, to experience something a little uncomfortable. That’s how people grow as people, right? You get a little uncomfortable and you really face up to what it’s like to — you know what, I’m just going to tell you, low flow toilets are an abomination and I shouldn’t have to live like this. The whole point of the toilet is to remove the evidence of the crime from the scene. I appreciate what you’re trying to do by going low on flow but you can only go so low. No. No. I object. These things leave me feeling like I’m either the world’s worst housekeeper or some mustache-twirling anti-environment villain with a heap of glowing barrels under a tarp in the backyard, just waiting for my next dead of night trip down to the river for a little stealth pollution.

I hate them. I refuse to adjust. I refuse. Whose idea was it? I mean, honestly. I get it. “I have an idea: less water in toilets!” Okay, good. I see where you’re coming from. But something went wrong along the way, or maybe you franchised and got lazy with vetting your franchisees, low water toilet guy, I don’t know, but walk the line once in a while, because it’s ugly out here.

I don’t know how to break between this and the next completely and totally unrelated idea (again, maybe a day would be good, but no), so here’s a picture of something.

pennytothesplashpad

Surprise, it’s my kid.

This second thing isn’t so much an actual thing, but something I want to establish now so that we can all lean on it for the future and I can call back to this time that I established it. Remember that episode of Friends where Paolo hit on Phoebe and Phoebe needed to tell Rachel about it, so she made her some cookies and used the fact that she made the best cookies to back up the fact that she never lied? That was killer technique right there, but I can’t do that, because it’s already established on this blog that I actually have made up good lies for fun, good lies that are so good that other people have reported back to me that they themselves have told other people the same lie about me. Oh, and also, when I was in college and for a while after, pre-Tobias, I used to tell people that I hated to be naked so much that I had a mitten that I called my shower mitten, and when I showered, I would put it on one hand and stick that hand outside of the shower to keep the mitten dry and use the hand inside the shower to wash one side of my body, and then I would turn around and put the mitten on the other hand and stick that hand outside the curtain and wash the other side of my body. And people would look at me sincerely and say, “Oh, wow, really?” No, idiot. I definitely made that shit up, what is wrong with you. Even if I did hate being naked that much, why wouldn’t I wear a bathing suit? Why wouldn’t I wear a mitten I could get wet?

 Anyway, don’t worry, I’m older now and I stopped doing that to people. If you think that chastising past me for my behavior is a good use of your time, let me know when your DeLorean is ready and we can go together, because I know exactly where and when my Elvis Zippo fell out of my car at the gas station. Besides, I have a kid now, and I can put way less effort into my lying and the lies come premade, and I only have to embellish some details about exactly how Santa gets into the house and why she found our shelf elf Roland Oriol in the bottom of a packed box in the laundry room. Also some family classics about unscrewing her belly button to watch her butt fall off. And I promise you, when her butt doesn’t fall off, I don’t call her an idiot. I just tell her I must not have twisted enough. This time. The point is, as long as I’m continuing to tell lies, even butt-centric ones to toddlers, there’s no way I’m going to convince you I never lie.

But that’s fine! Because I’m not trying to establish myself as a non-liar! I was just using that Friends example because I don’t remember anymore why. I had a reason when I started. No one made a pass at me, there’s just something about me I need you to know, going forward, so that I don’t have to tell you again – we can all just accept that it’s true and you can believe that it’s a thing about me that is A Thing, and you can rely on it as something that won’t let you down, like the fact that Phoebe was telling the truth when she said Paolo made a pass at her, because she backed up the fact that she never lies with the really good cookies. HA, TENUOUS CONNECTION, BUT I THINK YOU CAN SEE HOW I WAS CIRCLING AROUND THERE.

So, this is the thing: I am really very, very serious about saying something is “just as good” as a more expensive version. That is what I want you to know. In the past, I’ve said something inexpensive that I bought was probably just as good as the expensive version when I hadn’t even tried the expensive version, so I don’t know what I possibly could have thought I was saying. Since then, there have been several cases where I’ve had the opportunity to replace my less expensive things with their more costly counterparts to find that in some instances, more money meant more better. Obviously. Sometimes I had the cheaper option as a temporary measure until I could afford what I really wanted, but other times, I really assumed that there wasn’t/couldn’t be a difference and said as much. I’ve adjusted my stance on low cost/high cost versions of the same item over time.

Don’t get me wrong – I still want to pay as little as possible for everything, always. If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably aware that I will helpfully enable you to do the same as often as I can. It’s just that I am way more hesitant to dub a generic or drugstore product and its name brand or higher end equivalent to be “just as good” as each other without thorough investigation. You know, like actually owning both products, past self.

There are a lot – a lot – of products where I will only use name brand. Like ketchup. Do not even approach me with watery, grainy garbage. No, I won’t try. I won’t give it a chance. I won’t. I don’t care if you think I’m a great big cents-waster, they’re my cents. And there are also a lot of products where I will only buy generic because I just do not give a crap. I’m drawing a definite line here between “just as good” – like how generic ketchup is NOT AT ALL JUST AS GOOD AS HEINZ – and “good enough for my needs.” There are plenty of types of products that have varietals all along the price scale, and my needs are met somewhere near the lower end. More needs could be met with more money, or someone else’s needs may not be met til closer to the top of the ladder, but for whatever reason, I’m happy close to the bottom with that particular product. Like lip gloss for example.  I buy drugstore lip gloss by the armload. I like it. I like it a lot. There is nothing that lip gloss does that is worth more than $8 to me. This is obviously different for everyone. I won’t buy drugstore eyeshadow. I just can’t do it.

AND LET ME TELL YOU A SEMI-COMPLICATING FACTOR. When there’s a product that is kind of pricey – or not even pricey, really, but just, you know, costs more money than another product, and I buy it, and it performs as promised, I get LEGITIMATELY PISSED OFF. Oh, how dare you be worth your cost. Asshole. I don’t know why. I just get mad. I think it’s because I’m ashamed to report to people, a little. “Yeah, I bought the thing that cost the money… but, guys, it shot rockets out its butt.”

EXAMPLE: The Wet Brush. I’m going to steal a picture from the Internet because mine has hair in it.

Thefreakinwetbrush

Image from The Wet Brush

Okay, so this is The Wet Brush, and it’s for your hair when your hair is wet. It looks like all the other brushes that I buy when I eventually lose my brush. It is the same shape. It has the same black bristles with the same plastic knobbly things on the ends. It is the same. It looks the same. Except this brush costs $9 and a “just as good” Conair brush with the same black bristles and the same plastic knobbly things on the ends costs $5. Is that a huge difference? No. It’s not. But when you’re at Target and you’re throwing things in your cart the way that you do at Target, all those little $4 differences and whatsits are what happens to cause that phenomenon known as “WHY CAN I NOT GET OUT OF TARGET FOR LESS THAN $100?”

I don’t know what happened, though, I bought it. I have so much hair. I just have so much hair these days. I can’t wear it up when I sleep because the size of the knob it forms on my head makes sleeping impossible. So I wear it down, but every time I turn over, I have to raise my entire upper body off the bed and negotiate my sheet of hair to my other side first in order not to inadvertently strangle myself. It’s a whole other misery when it’s wet. I took a shower before taking Brinkley to the vet the other day and threw on jeans and a t-shirt while I ran around getting him ready to go before Phil came home to stay with Penny. I was just putting my hair up in a ball of hot mess when he got home and turned around to ask if my shirt was soaked through down the back from where my hair was laying. Of course it was. Super.  “Don’t worry,” he told me. “It’s muggy out there. People will just think it’s sweat.”

Neat.

Before you ask, the idea of cutting it short to alleviate these problems has never once occurred to me because simple solutions to daily frustrations aren’t my style.

ANYway, I got this brush, The Wet Brush, and I’ve had it for a while. I’ve had it for a long while, actually, so long that it just feels like a brush to me. It didn’t even occur to me that I should say anything about it to anyone, because it’s just a brush. It’s just a brush with the same black bristles and the same colored plastic knobbly things on the end and I paid nine stupid dollars for it like some kind of idiot who doesn’t know that you can get a brush and wrestle it through your hair after a shower for only five stupid dollars. Because I do have to wrestle it through my hair. I still have to spray detangler and leave in conditioner into my hair and I still have to tug the brush through and if I wait too long after I get out of the shower, I still have to hold the ends in my fist and brush underneath where my hand is, you know that maneuver? So it’s just a brush and the other one is just as good.

BUT THEN I MISPLACED IT. And I grabbed a regular Conair brush – one of the $5 ones, not a fancy one – off the bathroom counter and I put it to my scalp and IMMEDIATELY yanked my hand back. I hadn’t even drawn it down through my hair yet, I just TOUCHED IT TO MY HEAD, and I pulled it back and looked at it accusingly. WHOA, BUDDY, a bit aggressive there, HM? That thing THUDDED into my head. With force. I don’t know what it was trying to do and what its intentions were, but I tell you, there was no kindness in its approach. Not the same black bristles! Not the same knobblys! Not the same AT ALL. After beating me lightly about the skull, it quickly reminded me of what I’d left behind when I jumped ship for The Wet Brush.

PAINLOTSOFPAIN

 In short, no. NO. Not “just as good.” Not JUST AS GOOD AT ALL.

And listen, you can trust me on that, because I take “just as good” very seriously. I hope we have an understanding on that going forward.

THING THREE!

Actually, thing three is going to have to wait until tomorrow, because it was going to be The Main Thing of the post, which I started to write before lunch, but then Phil came home at lunch at there was a Major Development in the thing, expanding it into an even bigger thing.

In place of Thing Three, here is a minor life update:

Before we moved, I gave you a really long but still actually brief summation on what was going on in our lives, including a really sketchy overview on what is going on with the Air Force and voluntary retirements and nonvoluntary retirements.

Well, just before we left Arizona, we got an update on that situation. The timing wasn’t right just then to share this news, but we found out a couple days before the movers came that Phil’s career field has been closed out for nonvoluntary retirements. He will not be facing the Enlisted Force Retention Board this year.

The whole process will be repeated again next year, which isn’t cool at all, but after that, the plan (ha!) is that it should be finished completely. While it’s still not in our plans for Phil to retire next year, it’s nice to have it off the table for this year and to have another year to make plans in case it does happen next year.

That’s it! Meet you back here tomorrow!

Speaking of all the soap, here’s three dozen of another thing.

You know what’s just appalling? The state of our environment due to the overproduction and slow landfill decay of single use products and on top of that, holy shit, have you seen how much decent paper towels cost? I am not even kidding you, I will not purchase them. I won’t. I won’t buy them, but I have no alternate solution. I just don’t buy them, and I wipe my hands on my pants or on my shirt or I conveniently drag my boobs across a spill on the counter because that’s how tall I am and I don’t even like that shirt anyway. And then Phil buys some.

Yes, I lay out dishcloths, we have some, and we use them to dry dishes until they’re TOO WET to dry any more dishes, and then they have to sit and dry, or go in the wash. Or there’s one nearby when there is a spill, and we went on this long streak – this INCREDIBLY LONG STREAK, most of it happening while Phil was away for six weeks – where every towel in the house was called into action at the same moment. Like, beef juice ocean, and dish soap in the carpet, and why is water coming out of that pipe, and NO, TOILET, NO. Things that it’s good that you have towels for. Things that you don’t use PAPER towels for. Well, maybe you try to use a paper towel. Like, one time I dropped an entire gallon of milk, it just fell right out of my hands, and I looked all around the kitchen, going, “shit! shit! shit!” I actually say that for real, a lot. It’s unfortunate, but true, but (another but), I’m a person who encounters a lot of shit-appropriate situations.

Anyway, I dropped the milk, and I had my hands THROWN UP IN THE AIR. Like, my body actually reacted in the second least helpful way possible, the first least helpful probably being collapsing into a heap in the spreading pile of milk, and you know what, actually reverse THAT to second least helpful, because at least my clothes would have soaked some up. And I had my hands THROWN in the air, and I’m going, “shit! shit! shit!,” and I grabbed the roll of paper towels! EXCEPT IT WAS JUST ONE PAPER TOWEL! So I FLUNG IT! I FLUNG IT DOWN! And it floated slowly and landed on the puddle of milk, and soaked up, like, one one thousandth of all the milk in the world that was spread thinly over all of the kitchen. That’s why you have DISH towels handy in your kitchen, you know? And that’s why maybe I shouldn’t have been such an ass candle about picking up paper towels once in a while, but I swear on my husband’s poor taste in snack food, have you seen what the hell those things COST?

You can tell me about different brands of paper towels that are cheaper, but I will tell you two things: they’re all too expensive, and I know this, because I have looked at them in the stores with my eyes, so I know that they are all two expensive. Second thing? SHMAZORS. I have made the mistake of trying out a less expensive product when I know that I prefer the more expensive brand, and it is a mistake. You’ve never had a shmazors experience? What about Hunt’s ketchup? NO ONE LIKES THAT. The whole reason that those cute yellow and red picnic style condiment bottles exist is so that unsuspecting people will have Hunt’s or some other LESSER BRAND OF KETCHUP foisted upon their unwilling and innocent food. Or toilet paper. We like the kind in the purple package with the puppy. We have tried other things, and sales may be alluring, but it’s purple puppy all the way, because you don’t want to compromise on price only to find yourself SHMAZORED in your time of GREAT NEED. No, I don’t like how expensive paper towels are, it makes me SHAKE WITH GREAT RAGE, or at least kind of roll my eyes at Phil every time he refreshes the supply I refuse to consider whenever I do the rest of the grocery shopping, but can you imagine just HOW MANY WORDS I would have to say if not only did he bring an objectionably expensive product into my house, but it was also terrible and couldn’t even do its ONE JOB PROPERLY?

Probably at least 2500. Maybe even 3500. It would be a lot.

So I don’t want paper towels in my house. Well, I’m fine with them being in my house, because that part about the environment up there – I’m aware of it, for sure, but… (Let’s just pretend I trailed off and then kind of did like a little thing with my mouth, then maybe looked over your shoulder a bit to see who else was here, maybe some other people had arrived by now, rocked on my heels a bit, noticed my drink was empty, and then kind of just ambled away.)

I don’t want to buy paper towels. I no longer want to participate in acquiring paper towels, because they get used one time and thrown away (“WHICH IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!,” you bellow from across the room, but I’m already involved in conversation with these other people and I wave you off with, frankly, a kind of rude hand flap sort of thing and when I reflect on it later, I probably would realize I can’t really hold it against you if you hold it against me) which only necessitates buying MORE, which is the part I just HATE. The buying. I just HATE it. I need to put a stop to the buying. I want to do no more buying. It is too much money on something I don’t get to use for my own personal happiness. Before you go thinking, “WELL, that’s exactly the kind of person I imagine you to be after the way you treated me at that thing that time,” I get some kind of peripheral happiness from the happiness of others, which counts, sort of, but no one gets happiness from the purchase of paper towels for my house, except for maybe Phillip, and that doesn’t count, because if you asked him if buying paper towels made him happy, he’d say yes, but only because the well has already been poisoned, and he knows that saying that would get under my skin, and we’re due a conversation about the fact that we’re on the SAME TEAM, PHILLIP.

Thus, a solution for paper towels is needed. I asked on Twitter who could link me to an Etsy store or the like for Unpaper Towels – it’s a thing – and a couple people mentioned that they just use dishcloths, or bar mops, or various other types of towels, and I get that those solutions work for a lot of people. And that towels for the kitchen already exist, thus me asking for something that sounds weird and invented for no reason might sound a little crazy. But I’ve tried dishtowels, and I’ve tried cloth napkins, and I’ve tried thick towels and thin towels and wash cloths and old prefold diapers, and while we do our best, they just don’t work for us as a replacement for paper towels. A dish cloth can be used a lot of times, but then it is manky and damp and no one wants to use it and it gets thrown in the wash and maybe it is replaced or maybe it isn’t. Or ALL the dishcloths get thrown into BEEF JUICE OCEAN one day. Also? If you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s post about ALL THE SOAP?

excitedswanson

We really like to wash our hands. A lot of times. Many times. Many, many, many times a day. My hands don’t feel especially clean after I wash them and then dry them on a damp dishcloth that’s been sitting by/in/around the sink in the kitchen all day. I can’t pat chicken dry with a dishcloth. Or dry potatoes I just scrubbed off. Well, I can. I can do all those things with a dishcloth. But in the course of cooking one meal, we’re talking about a mountain of dishcloths piling up. Not to mention the fact that we usually use paper towels as napkins with dinner.

Okay, I know in reading that it just sounds like a bunch of excuses a habits that need to be changed in order to do things your way (the general, dishcloth-using you), but we tried using dishcloths A LOT OF TIMES, and it just never took. For whatever reason, dishcloths did not fill the many roles that paper towels filled in our house. We made several attempts at it, and I’d know when it failed because Phil would buy some paper towels. So back to the fact that I decided to try something else, and asked for recommendations for unpaper towel vendors.

In general, unpaper towels are exactly what they sound like – cloth paper towels. Which… okay, I see now why they’re called unpaper towels. Because cloth paper sounds ridiculous. I looked at a lot of different vendors and saw several different options. Some offered flannel in colors or patterns. A popular option seems to be a kind that has a pattern on one side and the towels snap together on the ends so that they can actually be rolled around a holder, like standard paper towels. The most common option, though, seems to be birds eye cotton, somewhere between 10×10 inches and 11×12 inches (preshrunk or not depending on the store), serged around the edges in solid or varigated thread.

I looked at a lot of different shops and eventually went with the shop LoveForEarth, one of several recommended to me on Twitter. I liked the positive rec, plus the fact that it’s a popular shop with a lot of sales and a ton of good feedback. There are a lot of other eco friendly products offered in the shop. I ordered three separate dozens of the reusable napkins/unpaper towels (they seem to be called something different in every listing) in grape, papaya, and rainbow. The shipping took a while, but the lead time was listed in the shop note, so it wasn’t a big deal. Not really. Well. It was within the window, that’s what I’ll say. As far as quality, the serging is nice with no loopiness and all the towels were bright white (not that they stayed that way), and were really nicely packaged. Each dozen was actually thirteen, which was a pleasant surprise. There was some huge variations in sizing, which was strange, considering they’re described as washed and pre-shrunk before sewing even begins, but I got over it, mostly because I talked myself into feeling petty about it.

As for use! We haven’t bought any paper towels! By we I mean Phil. Because I wasn’t going to anyway. I can’t believe how successful they’ve been, but it turns out that the key is that they are actually as close to paper towels as possible. They do this because they are single use, just like a paper towel. We keep them in a basket near the sink, and once used, they go in a laundry bag on the other side of the sink. We need a better solution for that right now, but I’m afraid of the dogs running off with the bag. They don’t sit around all damp, waiting to be used again, though they CAN be rinsed out and laid over the faucet to dry – it doesn’t take long. We use them to dry hands, to wipe spills, to WIPE PENNY FACES!!, as dinner napkins, as cooking towels, as potato dryers, as everything. They are everything.

For washing, when the bag is full, they go in the wash with whatever’s being washed. They came with some washing instructions, but I can’t be bothered to be precious with them. I do remove the dryer bar from the dryer when I dry them, because fabric softener lessens absorbency like with any other towels, but other than that, they just get washed. Obviously they’re stained, we don’t care. And I know that by not following the washing instructions (which weren’t CRAZY or anything, I just knew from the start they were being laundered with clothes, end of), if they fall apart sooner than I feel they should, I’ll technically be to blame, but that won’t stop me from being annoyed. In seriousness, they’re pretty hardy little cloths. I don’t expect them to fall apart. I don’t expect them to do anything but keep wiping stuff.

In fact, we actually need more. I bought three dozen initially, but I don’t know if you heard, we really like to wash our hands. We often have an empty basket and a wet dishcloth on the counter, and now I hate dishcloths, too. I’m going to order a few dozen more – for the three of us, multiplied by freakish handwashing, I think I’d probably like to have six dozen or so. Maybe another set dedicated to cleaning, but I DO actually use old prefolds for that. When I order more, I’m considering Athena Creates, Gnome Clothes, and Man In the Moon Herbs for my next sets, so if anyone has any first hand experience there, I’d love to hear it.

ALSO, in case I described the snap together type poorly, here’s a store where that kind is offered.

ALSO, CHURCH WAS SO GREAT TODAY. I’ll save that for another day!

Three sentences too far. Wait, no – four. Four.

I was at the mall today because I go to a Benefit Brow Bar every three weeks to get my eyebrows done. I’m not going to talk about that today because it was pointed out to me that maybe I should PACE MYSELF and I don’t actually know how to do that, so what I guess I’ll do is mention a bunch of things, not actually talk about them, and then maybe get around to talking about them on another day in November when I feel like I don’t have anything else to talk about. So, future me – not too far future me, but still in November 2013 me, so maybe next week me, or week after next me – you can talk about eyebrows, if you want to, if you’re in the mood for that. You probably won’t be. I don’t know. I don’t know you. We haven’t met yet. Hope you’re doing well.

After my MYSTERY EYEBROW APPOINTMENT that MAYBE you’ll hear about or MAYBE YOU WON’T, I was wandering around the mall on a mission for some full coverage foundation, because my eyebrow girl, who is fantastic, said “You look… tired.” Which I know is generally seen as an insulting thing to say. So maybe you’re feeling a little het up on my behalf right now. Which is really kind of you. But I did look kind of tired, or kind of something, at least, because I’m taking this medication – hey, there’s some more stuff for another day – and anyway, it’s been doing some things, and apparently, some of the things that it’s been doing have been being… been bong… been banged onto my face. I hope I’m not saying it in a vain way – well, I know I’m not saying it in a vain way, but I hope you understand it’s not meant to come across in a vain way – when I say that I’ve had relatively decent skin in my adult years (this has certainly not been the lifelong case at ALL). A blemish or two at certain times, but nothing else. Generally even skin tone, not dry, not oily.

Well, I’ve described all of this to you just so I could tell you NOT ANYMORE. It is all weird colored and shrunken and unappealing to me. All my of light, sheer coverage solutions do nothing. I even mixed together two of my favorite BB creams so that they could, in concert, do nothing. Now, note that I said it’s become unappealing to me. Meaning that I needed to fix it to make it more appealing to me. Just like I don’t walk out of my house and eye up the faces of other people, deciding that they need to do to make their faces more appealing to my tastes, neither do I do up my own face with the intent and purpose of making it more appealing to others. I operate at my best, and most confident, and most comfortable in general when my outward appearance is something that I am personally comfortable with. It has nothing to do with your appearance, and may actually even have little to do with my own appearance. I can wake up looking exactly the same two days in a row and one day be fine with it and one day prefer wearing some makeup.

I’m just saying, right now – me expressing dissatisfaction with my uneven skin tone says NOTHING AT ALL about how I feel about your skin tone. I do not think about your skin tone. I don’t eye up the quality of your skin. I don’t think about your skin when I talk to you. When you sit next to me, I will tell you if you have lipstick on your teeth, or I will tell you if I like your eye makeup, but I legitimately give no bother beyond that. None. I talk a lot about my hunt for the perfect eyebrow product on Twitter (IT’S GIMME BROW), but I’m not considering your eyebrows unless you ask me to specifically consider your eyebrows. Honestly and truly. I don’t.

bothers

Hint: It’s none.

And this is where I would assure you that actually, everyone is like this. Everyone is like me, and totally self-centered and self-absorbed, and really only cares about her own eyebrows and own skin tone and own makeup and dwells upon the face situations of others only when asked. Like how when fat people (I did use the word fat) want to go to the gym, but bring up the fact that they feel self-conscious – that they feel like they need to get in shape first, in order to feel less conspicuous or silly or noticed or silently mocked or otherwise OUT THERE at the gym. And someone jumps in to say that that’s ridiculous, everyone at the gym is there to work out, no one is looking at anyone else, everyone is there for the same reason and it’s serious business.

EXCEPT NO. That is a big lie. That is a huge lie. Probably most of you reading are like me, or want to tell yourself you’re like me, so you’re thinking, “No! No! Not a lie! A true! Opposite of a lie! A not lie!” But it only takes one person to ruin that, and that one person is Twitter. Twitter, telling you what they saw someone wearing at the gym. Or how long they had to wait for someone going HOW slow on the treadmill? Or? OR? In one notable case that still frustrates me to no end, because I did not unfollow the second it happened, and I SHOULD HAVE, and now I don’t remember who it was and search is failing me, someone posted an ACTUAL PHOTO of the person on the next treadmill, along with a comment on the person’s body.

thatsmessedup

So no. No, I can’t assure you that what I say about me carries over to other people. Because other people have clearly demonstrated that to be a huge lie, in some of the worst ways. I can tell you that how I feel about the way my skin looks and how it makes me feel on a given day has nothing to do with how I feel about your skin, and how your skin should make you feel. I can also say I think I should be allowed to feel ways about my skin without feeling at the same time that it transfers to how I feel about your skin automatically. I have to wear my body, and I don’t have to wear yours. Your body has no power to make me unhappy or uncomfortable, unless you press it all up on me without my express personal permission and let’s all just assume you don’t have that.

LISTEN. Here’s the thing. I just know I talk a lot about makeup. I know I talk about how I’d like my eyebrows to look better. Or today, how my skin has taken a turn I don’t like, and how I’d like to change that to make it more pleasant to me. And I want you to know that I don’t ever think about you that way. I don’t think about the makeup anyone does or doesn’t wear unless it’s brought up to me by that person. And I guess it would be nice if everyone was like that, but we know that’s not true, because people are taking pictures of other people at the gym. It’s messed up, and we can wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Just don’t care what those people think, right? Ha.

What’s hilarious is the fact that I went to Sephora and bought some full coverage foundation actually has NOTHING to do with this post.

WHILE I WAS WALKING TO SEPHORA TO BUY SOME FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE – which I’ll tell you about another time, because at 1300 words in, I’m totally learning how to pace myself – I saw that Bath and Body Works was having a SALE! On SOAP! Hand soap! SHIT YES!

So after I bought the foundation I can’t tell you about because I’m clearly in danger of running out of words at some point soon, I went in to Bath and Body Works, and they had SO MANY SOAPS. All the new Christmas smells! Soaps littered all over the store! No sense of order! No organization! Soaps here! Soaps there! Soap! Soap!

Soap 5 for $15, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I started grabbing soap with no plan. I’m stacked boob to chin with soap. But then I started thinking. Phil bought me a bunch of soap for Mother’s Day, and we had just run out. Well, not actually run out. The problem is, we have just one left, and it’s a scent I really like, but I cannot ABIDE by it in the kitchen. I can’t have strong, floral-smelling hands when I’m trying to eat or cook. Just can’t deal with it. I needed a STRATEGY. Half florals, half kitchen appropriate smells, then, right? But if I do THAT, then I’m basically making myself STEWARD OF THE SOAP. And except for all of the things I hate more, there’s nothing I hate more than being the one solely in charge of any specific chore.

Start over. I put all my soaps back. KITCHEN ONLY SMELLS. BRILLIANT. All the smells will have to be tested for kitcheniness and then ANYONE can replace ANY soap without my intervention needed, which is great, considering my husband is totally smeaf.

Now I’m EXTRA happy, sniffing away, grabbing soaps and grabbing soaps and pinballing from display to display, but then I realized, I had SIX. And also that the space between my boobs and my chin was positively soap-jammed. So I went to get a bag, and an employee watched me try to wrestle a bag free, get half a bag free, attempt to dump my treasures into the bag, and then helpfully asked, “Do you need a bag?” I DO! I DO NEED A BAG! ALL THIS SOAP!

And I was off again! Sniffing up one wall and down the other. Did you know they have these metal decorative things that your soap bottles can SIT IN? Like a shirt. For your soap. Anyway, I got all the Christmas time smells, then I got all the fresh smells, you know, like “Air” and “Tree Fart” and “Nature Yawned” and I was over five, but it was fine, because also? SEVEN FOR $20. BIG SOAP DAY.

GUESS what other section they have? KITCHEN SOAP. Oh hell yes. Got a bunch of those, too. And by this time, I’d forgotten my bag, so I had a Macy’s bag*, and a Sephora bag, and a Bath and Body Works in store shopping bag packed with soap, and then I was once again boobs to well-groomed brows with soap. So much soap, you guys.

I got in line to pay, because I was out of arms, and because I had sniffed every single sniffable thing, examined every single foaming hand soap in the store – every single one – and I had not only picked out any that were kitchen suitable, but also duplicates of my favorites that I worried might be limited edition. While I was waiting in line, an employee asked if I’d be paying with a card, and said that she could take me over at a small side counter. I followed her over and dumped out all my soaps. They took up the whole counter. I tried to count them, but she kept grabbing them, so I said that I thought they were in multiples of the sale, anyway. She said it didn’t matter, because after seven, they were all $2 and some change, anyway.

WHAT. THAT’S AWESOME.

Her: It’s awesome that you’re getting so much shopping done so early!

WE REALLY LIKE TO WASH OUR HANDS!

Her: …

THEY’RE ALL FOR ME!

Her: …

THEY’RE JUST FOR MY HOUSE!

Her: …

WE REALLY LOVE SOAP!

Her: …

original

Her: Receipt with you or in the bag?

BAG’S FINE THANKS BYYYEEEEEE.

Then I immediately called Phil. DUDE I BOUGHT SO MUCH SOAP!

Phil is participating in the Extra Life Marathon for Children’s Miracle Network, specifically playing for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, RIGHT NOW! Here’s a link to his page, but unfortunately, the Extra Life servers suffered a DDoS attack today, which is just mindblowing and sad, so you can’t actually get there as of right now. Regardless, thank you to EVERYONE who has supported Phil via donation, words of encouragement, or sharing his page via Facebook or Twitter and also to everyone who has been supporting our family during our I hate the word journey journey with Phoenix Children’s and Penelope’s health over the last two years. We’ll continue to support CMN and Phoenix Children’s via this fundraiser in the future, so please let us know if you’d like to get involved next year!

* I’d LOVE to let you know what happened to Penelope’s pajamas, but I’ve got to pace myself. 2200 words a day. Max.

I thought it was going to be all complaining but it’s just mostly complaining.

I had to take a break for a while, due to some health concerns and the fact that my husband was away for six weeks and a Penelope stops Peneloping for no man or blog. Oh, and also, I watch Korean television, like, ALL THE TIME. But when I talk about it, it’s like I’m talking to Penelope, because no one gives a shit or listens or does what I say and then just draws on the wall even though I am RIGHT THERE and saying STOP IT.

Or, at least, I thought that’s why I took a break, but I just logged in here to make a post and it turns out THIS STUPID POST INTERFACE DIDN’T MAGICALLY FIX ITSELF and I guess I wasn’t posting for a while also because everything is stupid.

Anyway, Phil’s been back for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve gone as far as to open WordPress a couple of times to regale you will all of my thoughts, but I’ve stopped short when I’ve realized that most of my thoughts are more like complaints or complainy observations, and there’s bound to be someone who is all, “geeze, don’t you do ANYTHING but COMPLAIN?” and I will point out to you that I just did several months of nothing, so yes, I complain and I also do nothing. So, I’ve just unmade your point for you right there, hypothetical person I made up in my mind largely as a reason not to make the effort to post.

(At this point in writing this post, I updated WordPress, and some things fixed themselves, but I can’t go back in time to two months ago and do that. Sorry.)

FLYING BATHTUB

Here’s my kid in a flying bathtub.
I went to the Phoenix Children’s Museum while I wasn’t posting.
I also started using Instagram.
It was an eventful time.

So during this whole period, most of what was occurring to me to post was pretty complainy stuff (see: health issues, husband away for a month and a half, general predisposition to narrowed eyes and curmudgeonliness in the face of blank text editors), and it was stacking up. I had piles of small ideas for a blog post, but they nearly all fell in the “general grumbling” category, making me feel as though I couldn’t write a WHOLE POST of general grumbling – though I don’t know why I felt I couldn’t, when I’ve made a pretty solid five year blog career of doing just that.

I was thinking a bit about why it bothered me, and it mostly comes down to the trend of pegging anyone who has anything negative to say as someone who must actually be deeply sad or internally unhappy with herself somehow. Or how someone who finds fault with another person  is actually just jealous. I guess it’s pretty tempting to imagine deep faults in another person when they’re finding fault with you, but we all know that’s just something we say to make ourselves feel better, right? That those are completely empty and likely totally untrue words in most cases?

Desert Ridge Market Place

We also went to a splash pad.
She was reluctant to splash.

Listen, all of this is lead up to say this: you can’t send me an email that says: FREE SHIPPING!! as the subject, and then inside, it says, “with $50 purchase.” That’s not free shipping. I basically expect free shipping with a $50 purchase from most of the places I shop, because I do not buy expensive things. That email subject line is bullshit and I hate it, and fucking stop.

Here’s another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks.

Here is another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks, and then he had a week of leave, and for some reason, since he has to shave for work every day, he feels no obligation to shave when he’s on leave, even if his leave is long enough that the only face I can make at him by the end is a hate face.

The helpful hobo

After church one Sunday, this random helpful bearded hobo offered to buckle my kid into her carseat. Thanks, hobo! Go shave. Because you look like a hobo. Hobo.

Hey, I know I have not been totally on the ball with updates here on this site, but hopefully those who are interested in attending PJs at TJ’s in 2014 have already joined the Facebook group. If you haven’t, you can do that now or follow me on Twitter for updates, but regardless of either of those things, you should know that registration opens at 9am west coast time on October 10th, which is this Thursday. All of the details are in the Facebook group so… I still suggest you go ahead and join it for full information. I can’t tell you if it will sell out or not, because I don’t know, or how quickly it will sell out if it does, but the best way to make sure you get a spot if you want one is to sign up for the Facebook group and register when registration opens on Thursday morning. Like always (the whole entire two past years), PJs is not exclusive. Everyone is welcome. There’s no secret in club or list. You don’t have to know anyone to come. You do have to register and it is first come, first in, and that includes people who have attended in the past or who are my very best pals in the whole wide world, so don’t think you don’t have a shot because I’m going to try to pull some tricky shenanigans so only my friends can come. That would make me a big hypocritical asshole, and while I am several kinds of asshole, I am not that kind.

If you have any questions, leave a comment, email me, message me on Twitter or Facebook, whatever you want. I don’t extend personal invitations, nor do I extend personal exclusions. You, personally, are welcome. That’s it. That’s the best I can do to assure you. I’m assuring you.

Penny on Charlie

LOOK AT MY HORSE, MY HORSE IS AMAZING.

Penny also on Charlie

On further reflection, this horse is just okay.

Let this be a lesson to me, I should have just complained when my complaints were hot, imaginary complaint complainers be damned, because now I can’t remember any of my complaints, except for one, which was kind of specific, in that I can, if pressed, name several people that I have, over the course of ACTUAL YEARS, seen do this specific thing, even though I would not actually be thinking of THEM SPECIFICALLY if I was to complain about it, you know what I mean? Like, for example, if I say, “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right.”

A guy actually did this to us fairly recently, fairly recently meaning I remember it but don’t have any real concept of the time frame. Just walked up and said, “Can I just get my bananas” and set them on the belt and began to go through the whole checkout process as if it was just a given that it was fine, because we had several items in our cart and he had the MOST IMPORTANT BANANAS IN THE WORLD in his hand.

OUT OF THE WAY, LIFE-SAVING BANANAS COMING THROUGH.

And you know, when I have a full cart, I do often let someone with just a couple of items go in front of me. But that’s my call. On this occasion, we had several items in our cart, but by no means a full load. Maybe we were in a hurry, too. Maybe we had exactly enough time for X items, with X being the number of items in our cart. Not X plus NICHOLAS CAGE’S BANANAS (I assume). How arrogant do you have to be to assume that wherever WE have to be is unimportant enough that it can absolutely, definitely and certainly wait for one banana bunch checkout’s length of time in addition to the time we’ve already calculated for our own shopping? How do you assess the shopping lanes to choose? “Oh, those schmucks there can definitely wait a banana length. They’ve got nowhere banana-important to be. Not like me. OUT OF THE WAY, PEONS. INCOMING BANANAS DESTINED FOR THE BREAKFAST OATMEAL OF THE GRANDSON OF SPUDS MACKENZIE.”

Anyway, so sometimes when you pick a specific complaint to make, like the one I had in my head that, when pressed, I could remember some people I do actually like and consider friends and don’t in any way hate AT ALL maybe doing on one or two occasions, one like “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right,” you’ve got to be ready for those people to maybe defend it. And I get that, I guess, because I just said I don’t like something you do, and we’re friends, so obviously I actually hate you.

And someone will say, “Well, I’m actually responsible for buying Nicholas Cage’s bananas.” Or tries to explain how it’s actually a courtesy on their part to stop clogging up the lines with just their one bunch of teeny weeny bananas. Or explain how they only did it one time, but they actually did have a really extremely important place to be that time, more important than anyone else in the store could have possibly had to be. And then everyone feels awkward. Because, what? I’m supposed to start giving arrogant banana line rushers the benefit of the doubt? I’m supposed to issue individual pardons so that a line jumper can mentally reconcile the fact that they can both do something that I personally don’t like, yet still somehow remain my friend? I’m supposed to… continue this awkward stare down?

LOOK, YOU AND YOUR BANANAS NEED TO JUST WAIT FOR THE NOD, OKAY?

And that’s why I had to just scrub one whole complaint from the list, but I think the whole banana guy thing worked out pretty well, because THAT GUY, RIGHT? WHAT THE HELL? “Can I just get my bananas?” Can I just rip off your arm and beat you with the wet end?

Here’s something else. I haven’t talked a lot about makeup stuff recently because I haven’t talked a lot about anything recently, but you need to go out and get Gimmie Brow by Benefit right now, and I will demonstrate the reason with an actual picture of my actual face wearing the actual makeup product I am actually talking about, something I have never actually done on this blog, which is kind of amazing, considering how much I talk about makeup. I went and got my eyebrows done by the most amazing eyebrow lady in all the land, and after the waxed my wonky and odd shaped eyebrows, she used only ONE PRODUCT on them, Gimmie Brow, and this is what they looked like, holy shit, go buy it:

Don't care, eyebrow hair.

Far from the most flattering angle of my forehead wrinkles.
Don’t care, eyebrow hair.

Macy’s, Ulta, Sephora, Benefit site, wherever you’re racking up your bonus points for buying all the awesome holiday gift sets that are coming out. Buy Gimmie Brow. Do it.

Anyway. That’s it, I guess. We’ve still got a lot going on right now. Some stuff is up in the air. Still working on some somewhat difficult health issues.

Oh! But Penelope isn’t! In September, she was pronounced completely clear of all kidney and VUR issues by her pediatric urologist and she was completely released from care by her team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. All issues related to her failure to thrive and vesicoureteral reflux have been resolved. We passed my “one year catheter free” goal and hopefully she’ll stay catheter free until she epidurals up for her own kid some day.

Penelope's Last U/S

Pro.

And speaking of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phil is once again participating in the Extra Life marathon fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network, specifically playing for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Last year, he was playing when Penelope’s surgery was pretty recent. This year, he’s playing shortly after finding out that we’re completely done with seeing Penny’s team at Phoenix Children’s, but I don’t think we’ll be ending our relationship with them – in terms of support – for a long time.

Children’s Miracle Network raises money for hospitals across the United States and Canada, to fund research and buy equipment, but most importantly to us, to pay for uncompensated care. We are lucky enough to be in a situation that Penelope’s expensive care and surgery didn’t burden us financially. For others, Children’s Miracle Network provides the funds to allow families in less fortunate situations benefit from the same excellent standard of care Penelope has received for literally her entire life from Phoenix Children’s Hospital. PCH has benefited our family in more ways than just the top notch medical care they provided to Penelope, and that needs to be extended to as many children and their parents as possible.

ANYWAY, the Extra Life Marathon is coming up! Here’s Phil’s fundraising page. If you’d like to donate, we’d appreciate it very much. If you could share the page on your social networks, we’d appreciate that, too. If you’re feeling crazy and want to stay up for 24 hours straight playing video games and want to support Phoenix Children’s while you do it, let me know and I’ll get you in touch with Phil and he’ll get you started with joining his team. If you just want to think about joining next year, still let me know. We’ll still be here.

That’s it! Thank you!

HO SHIT GUYS PUMPKINS

These are some things: forcing this on that, ear potatoes, PJs/weeJs.

Here is a thing that I am really sick of: companies or things or industries or whatever, I don’t know, figure out what I mean here, trying to take their in store or physical or otherwise offline methods and adapt or force them into or onto the online or non-physical or otherwise e or i experience.

I don’t want that. I don’t want that at all. And you don’t want that. I assume you don’t want that. You must not want that. Because there’s a choice. There’s online and there’s offline. There’s in store and… on… store. And books and ebooks, and, you know, the like. And one existed first and the other came along, and since I was having Amazon deliver things to my college dorm room and now I’m a thousand, I assume we’re all relatively comfortable with our choice between the two, taking shopping for example, and we all have our preferences for when we choose one over the other, setting aside the times we’re forced to choose one over another.

There are REASONS a person chooses one over another, right? Sometimes I want to go to a store because I want to SEE something. I want to touch it or see how big it is or see what color it is, or, you know what? Sometimes I like to go to Target and I like to carry things around the store for a while and then put them back because it turns out all I really needed to do was carry them around, not actually own them. Carrying them around was enough of an experience, don’t need to actually buy. It’s a great savings, really. If I picked things up and went straight to the counter with them, we would be very broke.

Other times, I want to sit at home and add 85 items to my online cart. I want $55,000 worth of merchandise in my cart. I want to read reviews. I want to compare minute details. I want to zoom in VERY, VERY CLOSELY. And then I want to come back to the site and do it again tomorrow. And I want to do it all in my underpants and a Cookie Monster t-shirt.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING LATELY? So, I’m doing one of my favorite things, reading reviews of something I already bought while eating a giant bowl of rice – actually, that’s two of my favorite things – when up pops this little box with a FACE IN IT, with text asking, “HEY CAN I HELP YOU JUST LET ME KNOW OK I’M RIGHT HERE IF I CAN HELP YOU JUST TEXT SOME WORDS I’M RIGHT HERE WITH MY FACE LOOKING AT YOU AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING HOVERING AROUND AND WAITING FOR YOU TO NEED ME TO ASSIST YOU WITH THE VERY BASIC TASK OF LOOKING AT ITEMS AND CHOOSING ONE YOU MIGHT LIKE!”

In the words of that little cleaning robot guy in Wall-E, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA.”

Look, I’m not even going to finish making my point because you can make my point, right? Why is the hovering sales associate of the IN store shopping experience hovering all over my rice-and-underpants shopping experience? Just because it works IN store doesn’t mean – wait, DOES it work in store? Are there people who like that? Anyway, just because it MAY work in store doesn’t mean it needs to be applied online, where you in THEORY have a contact link or a help link somewhere on every page. I don’t need some dude’s FACE popping up hovery sales girl style. It puts me off my rice.

And what’s weird is that now that we’re all – I assume everyone is basically me – of an age of some sort where we have jobs and we are the people at companies, making choices – you, not me, I’m at home in underpants with rice – it’s hard to imagine that these calls are being made by old men in rooms order things by catalog or have personal shoppers or I don’t know, have never seen an Internet. I assume the people who make these choices are the same people who are either annoyed by hovery sales people when they shop in store, or who choose to UNDERPANTS-RICE at home to avoid such a thing. Yet the in store experience is being all crammed into my underpants and rice moments. Why? WHY?

Or, or WORSE, when an old model is trying to be crammed on to new technology, and it’s somehow my problem to either deal, or come up with something new. Like the whole ebook thing, that’s been hard to figure out. I’m not going to look up research or links or whatever, because I’m lazy and I’m not a responsible blogger and this isn’t news media and I don’t in any way feel obligated to do so, but I read this stuff at one point, so the information is out there. So libraries start lending ebooks, right, and there was this one publisher – and may be still, I’m not fact checking because I can only use the text editor in WordPress right now and it’s really giving me the red ass – who wanted the ebook licenses to expire after a certain number of lendings, because that’s when a regular book would “wear out,” requiring the library to buy a new copy, so it was only fair that they should have to buy a new ebook after the same amount of uses. Which is just… it’s mindblowing, really.

Because a digital book is not a paper book. It’s not. It’s not the same thing. It doesn’t work the same way. You need to work with it in a new way because it’s a new thing. It’s not okay to just apply the old process onto the new thing, because it’s a new thing. New. You come up with a new way, even if the new way means less money. Unless you come up with a new way that means the same amount of money in a sensical way. Or something.

Anyway, I was discussing this with someone, and they said to me, “Well, then, what do you suggest?,” kind of confrontationally, a little, but still conversationally, but who cares how, because I don’t fucking KNOW. It’s not my JOB to know. And I don’t have to just quietly not mention that your “expiring ebook” method is shitty and nonsensical because I don’t have a better idea. I am not a Professional Ebookist. It is not in any way my responsibility to come up with a solution for the whole ebook/paper book shenaniganfoolery. Not liking something or the way something is done doesn’t make coming up with a better way MY burden.

WHICH REMINDS ME OF ANOTHER THING!

So a couple of years ago, some website I’ve never read before published this big long super heartfelt post about how they had to have ads in order to pay the writers, but they especially had to have really annoying ads. See, don’t you understand – video ads and popups actually pay the most money. The more annoying the ad, the more money the site publisher makes. So when you complain about ads, or when you view through a feed reader, or when you stop visiting the site because of annoying ads, what you don’t understand is that THOSE VERY ADS!!! are the ones making the site owner the most money to pay the writers. And —

And nothing. That was the whole thing. Just this long, supposedly meant to be super revealing “behind the ads” piece on why you kind of actually owe it to the site owner to keep visiting despite these fucking annoying as hell ads, because that’s how they make MONEY.

Uh, no shit? Really? Ads on your site are how you make money?

Anyway, I came across this post because someone, I don’t remember who (I’m lying, I remember exactly who), linked on Twitter with some kind of (and I need Lara’s handjob gif here) bullshit like “slow clap” or something like that, how everyone needed to read it to UNDERSTAND or something. The whole point of the post – and I actually would find this one for you if I even could begin to remember how to, it was such a joke – was to make people UNDERSTAND. To understand that big, annoying, flashy ads are where the most money comes from for site owners, and complaining about it is kind of a douchey thing to do, and you really should visit the site and not use ad block and not read through a feed reader and not stop coming to the site just because you don’t like BIG FLASHY VIDEO ADS and POP UPS. Because site owners NEED TO DO THAT to MAKE MONEY.

And just… no. No. I get that a lot of people make their money online. A LOT of people do. But once your living in ANY WAY becomes MY obligation, you’ve absolutely crossed the line into insanity and entitlement. If you don’t like the ads on a site, you really, really don’t need to go there. Really. If that’s how the site owner makes money, and it stops working because the readers aren’t having it, that site owner needs to find a new way to make some money, not start bitching about how the READERS just DON’T UNDERSTAND how MAKING MONEY WORKS and how they just aren’t keeping up THEIR END OF THE DEAL.

That was years ago, and I’m still mad.

You can’t just… FORCE THINGS onto OTHER THINGS because you think the thing you have on one thing should just go onto the other thing.

Things I applied that to above: in store shopping and online shopping, ebook and paper books, site owners’ responsibility for their own income and readers. IT ALL CAME TOGETHER IN THE END.

*****

A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to get Penelope to let me look at her ears, because she never lets me get close to them in the tub, and they looked grungy. I finally got a hold of her, and I said, “Penelope, your ears are so dirty, you could grow potatoes in here.” I thought something caught her attention on television, she stood still, and she let me clean her ears.

The next day, she was taking a nap, and about halfway through her normal nap length, she stood up in the middle of her bed and started yelling for Phil.

“DADDY! DADDY! HELP! HELP! TATO IN EAR! TATO! TATO EAR!”

So he had to go in there and check and reassure her that there were no potatoes growing in her ears. So… that was a slight miscalculation on my part.

On the upside, her ears are now pretty consistently clean, though I do have to submit to regular examinations for rogue potatoes myself.

*****

If you look into the sidebar, you can see that the date for next year’s PJs at TJ’s has been set! That’s all the planning that has been done/information that has been released so far, but it’s something!

Here’s what I can tell you!

– Still in Phoenix.
– Ish.
– Still in February.
– Despite what appears to be increased interest, the attendee cap will not be raised. (See this post for info!)
– Registration will be opened probably around the same time as last year, late September/early October, if that changes I will let you know.
– There is a Facebook group that you can join for information as it’s available, by searching PJs at TJ’s 2014.

I said this in a comment last year, re: throwing a small event that is both very small but also open.

It is tough. But I have decided, I will just not go about anything sneakily, and it will be clear and obvious that there is nothing to gain in the sense that maybe some other types of Internet gatherings may have something to offer in the way of… gains. And that I will be very clear that I plan to turn THE VERY INCREDIBLY HUGELY VAST MAJORITY OF THE WORLD away, but I have no plans to turn anyone specific at all away.

And that in the end, I am not owing anything to anyone, and I am not turning myself inside out with the kind of generosity people will talk about for years, about how selfless I was, year after year, becoming ever more gracious and giving to the thankless and faceless crowds that grow greater and greater each year – no, that’s not it at all. In the end, it can only be what it is, what I will allow it to be, and that is my party, and every year for as long as I want to, I will hold my party, and when it becomes unfair, or when it fails to meet someone’s expectations, or when it becomes a subject of some kind of scrutiny, I will just have to shrug my shoulders and say, well, it’s just my party.

And that’s how I look at it, and that’s how I hope people will look at it, with that kind of understanding, both in terms of what I can accommodate and what they can expect from this kind of gathering. Because the answer to both is the same – not much.

And eventually I will probably just take my ball and go home, and that will be okay, because everyone is going to clue in eventually that just like I am struggling to figure out the rules in a landscape where there aren’t rules, this is a whole wide open THING and it’s not just for SPECIAL PEOPLE, because I am the most average of the average, and last year we had the most average of the average times, and it was SO GREAT, and all I did was decide to do it.

This really should have been a whole other thing because I don’t think I’m even remotely related to your comment.

BUT ISN’T IT INTERESTING? How it seems like there are things like… BlogHer and EVO and Bloggy Boot Camp and all kinds of things, and it’s like you have to wait for them to come along at a time that you have A) the time and B) the money and C) the nerve and D) the desire to go to one of them that even remotely begins to match up with something you even WANT to attend, and then suddenly it hits you that these are not MAGIC PEOPLE that came up with these gatherings, they are just PEOPLE.

And you (or me) are ALSO PEOPLE. And so you can pick a time and a place that is affordable and convenient and talk to the people that bolster your nerve and say, HEY, come over, let’s do this specific thing or things or NO THINGS that line up with our specific interests or NON-INTERESTS, in my particular case, and everyone jumps on it, because everyone kind of WANTS to go, but A, B, C, D, never quite line up and it never occurs to us that we just don’t have to WAIT for a magic person to set it up and for ABCD to land on us, we can BE the magic person and we can jigger things around so that ABCD are WORKABLE AND REASONABLE for everyone.

I’M NOT EVEN MAGIC! I DID IT! I’M DOING IT! I FEEL SO GOOD! AGAIN!

*****

Oh, yeah, we also had to go to the emergency room because I pulled a thumbtack out of Penelope’s mouth and she told me she ate one (liar) and then she did eat some Icy Hot, but we only had to call Poison Control for that, and you’d think I’d dedicate a lot more words to those incidents, but, alas.

Several Different Kinds of Worst Kinds. BONUS POEM.

Worst Kind of Friendly Cashier: The friendly craft store cashier. “You know what you can make with this?” Yep. I do. That’s why I’m buying it. I’ve got a plan. I’m buying it, and I’m going to take it home, and I’m going to execute my plan. When she says, “You know what you can make with this?,” she makes me pretend to consider her idea, like it’s good, and I might do it. But there’s no chance I’m going to do it, because I came in with a plan, which I am going home to execute. And then I am awkward, like, “oh, yeah, uh huh,” OR WORSE? I might feel like I have to tell her what I’m actually going to do, and then she’s judging my idea against hers, and maybe she’s not thinking my idea is very good, and I’m thinking about what she’s thinking, and I’m probably making serious bitch face, and then I am a bitch, and she’s thinking I’m a bitch, even though she is the one who made me be a bitch, by forcing me to pretend like I’m weighing her idea against mine. “CONSIDER MY IDEA. DID YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT IT? WHY NOT? MY IDEA IS GOOD, TOO. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO THAT’S SO GREAT? IS IT AS GOOD AS MY IDEA? JUSTIFY YOUR PLAN. TELL ME YOUR PLAN.”

Worst Kind of Person on Twitter: The person who puts all of their replies to other people in front of the original tweet. You know what I mean? You’re already limited to 140 characters, but this person crunches their responses even further. Instead of just replying directly to the person, like so,

@Person Thing I think is really brilliant and I am really impressed with myself!

they do something like this,

I’m rly self-impresssed, does every1 see this?!!? @Person Orignal tweet abbreviated down to nonsense.

He can just respond without putting the other person’s tweet in there. If I’m following the other person, too, I’ll see his response, and I’ll have already seen the original tweet. If I’m not following the other person, I won’t have seen the original tweet, and I won’t see theresponse. There’s a reason for that. Twitter is designed that way. It’s so that I don’t have to see the conversations of people I’m not following, or the half-conversations people I am following are having with people I’m not following. If I wanted to be following someone, I would be. By doing what the WORST KIND OF PERSON ON TWITTER is doing, he is deciding for me what I see. I’ve already decided, either by actively choosing not to follow who he is talking to, or by simply not getting to it yet, or not knowing who that person is, or WHATEVER. Whatever the reason, I have chosen either deliberately or by lack of action. I’ve chosen. And now he is overriding my choice, simply to make sure I see whatever he’s saying. He’s decided that whatever he has to say is more important than my choice, than the experience I’ve designed and decided on for myself. Similar to the douche period, it is equally douchey and equally employed by douches.

It’s the equivalent of autoplay music and videos and browser windows that resize themselves. IT IS. Don’t manipulate the Internet experience of other people. It’s RUDE. You don’t have a good reason for it. If you want to bring other people’s attention to a conversation that you’re involved in because you think it’s an important/funny/interesting conversation, find an important/interesting/funny point and retweet it like a normal person, and people can decide to join if they want. Damn. WORST KIND OF PERSON ON TWITTER.

The Worst Kind of Food Police: The “oh, that’s not a REAL ________!” people. Let’s take cheese steaks as an example. I love cheese steaks. And as we all know, Philadelphia has a reputation for cheese steaks. Sometimes, when a person eats a cheese steak, a person – henceforth known as a fartwaft – feels the need to inform the eater that what they are eating is not a REAL cheese steak. Because it’s not from Philadelphia. And also, it has the wrong kind of cheese. And also, did you put ketchup on it? Wait, is that mayonnaise? You don’t need all those vegetables on — look, just give it to me. That’s not even food. That’s not a REAL cheese steak. Let me just throw that in the garbage. IT’S NOT A REAL CHEESE STEAK. YOU’RE NOT EVEN FROM PENNSYLVANIA, ARE YOU? DO YOU HAVE A PERMIT FOR THAT SANDWICH? WHO EVEN SAID IT WAS OKAY FOR YOU TO ORDER A CHEESE STEAK? AM I GOING TO HAVE TO CALL SOMEONE DOWN HERE? DRAW THE LIBERTY BELL FROM MEMORY. I WANT TO SEE AN ACCURATE CRACK, TO SCALE.

Holy shit, shut the fuck up, fartwaft. Cheese + steak = cheese steak. End.

This also happens all the time with the “correct” preparation of ethnic foods, usually phrased as, “My grandmother would DIE TO DEATH if she saw you eating X food in Y way! SHE’D DIE FROM IT. Do you want my DEAD GRANDMOTHER to DIE SOME MORE?”

Yeah, you people – you guys – you’re the fucking worst. Just the worst. What the hell kind of response are you expecting when you do that? Someone’s going to spit the hunk of kielbasa right out of her mouth and back away with her hands in the air, sobbingly confessing to being Canadian all along? NO ONE IS TRYING TO REKILL ANYONE’S DEAD ANCESTORS. THERE’S NO LAW. There’s also no prize. Unless it’s for biggest fartwaft. Stinky.

*****

If I keep going, I am either going to get TOO MAD, or offend someone (OH: WORST KIND OF ENTITLED PERSON – “I’m offended by the fact that you don’t like something I do.” EXPECTANT LOOK. Where I am supposed to respond to the expectant look by assuring the person that they’re the special exception.), so I will just stop. But I suppose it would be okay if you maybe knew a worst kind of person or two. Like the kind of person who doesn’t update for weeks and then expects you to provide the content YOU CAN’T USE THAT ONE I JUST CALLED DIBS.

*****

This is Penelope.
She’s almost two.
I didn’t crop out the mess.
Try to make me give a poo.