Tag Archives: this thing fell apart

New crouton, floor beds, potential hippiery, and gift obligational awkwardness.

1. I am extremely slow with changing the link over in my sidebar blog roll – well, it’s only one link, so it’s more of a blog crouton than a blog roll – so I figured that the people who don’t read this site through a feed reader have probably stopped checking. But I just changed it! Which doesn’t mean you should stop visiting Not Bagels. It means I got off my lazy butt. Well, no. I stayed on my lazy butt while I changed the link.

2. There are still spots open for The Blathering! (This is my roommate. We’re both sadly excited to spend depressing awesome nights away from our babies. We’re looking forward to sleeping. It’s going to rule. In a bummer kind of way.) Why don’t you come to The Blathering? If you don’t want to go because you don’t do bars and karaoke and nightlife and cocktail dresses, that’s not a good reason. I’m shooting down your reason. I don’t do those things. I’ll bring Settlers of Catan for us. Looks like I’ve poked some holes in your defense. See you there.

Unless you do like to go out for drinks and dancing and ride mechanical bulls. Then guess what? That stuff will be happening, too. Looks like you’re SOL on reasons for not going to The Blathering.

3. People ask me a lot where I find all of my in law stories to read and be outraged about, and I will tell you my trick. Find a really active set of forums somewhere – any kind, but ideally some that cater to ladies, for the most part. Wedding forums, or pregnancy forums, or really, anything. Then just do a search on one of the included message boards for “MIL.”

Baby name forum?

Wedding forum?

Pregnancy forum?

Anything. Anything at all. Any kind of topic. Whatever you can think of, there’s a forum for it. And if there’s a forum for it, there’s someone talking about how their in laws RUINED IT.

A current favorite, though? Grandparents.com. It’s got parents-in-law AND children-in-law on the SAME MESSAGE BOARDS. It’s GLORIOUS.

4. Here’s my baby:

She’ll be moving in to her own room sometime in the next few… a while. My mom is coming to visit and we’re going to work on putting together her room, both because I need something to do other than pretend to be totally into it when my mom wants to stand around and gush about Penny (not a gusher, myself) and also because Phil is not especially interested in baby bedroom creation.

We’re doing a floor bed. I think we have pretty good reasons for choosing the do a floor bed, the main one being that we won’t have to buy a crib. Second main, I guess, is all the benefits of and reasoning behind doing a floor bed make logical sense to us.  I haven’t yet decided if we’ll do a crib mattress or toddler bed mattress for the floor bed, or just go ahead with an adult twin. If you’ve done a floor bed, what did you go with? Any tips? I’m kind of nervous about where to put it in the room. I don’t want her to roll between it and the wall, but will she be heavy enough to really wedge it away from the wall with her body? I’ve never seen a picture of a room with a floor bed in any place but a corner, so I assume it works out.

Any first hand floor bed experience is greatly appreciated.

5. With all the cloth diapering and the floor bedding and the intent to skip rice cereal and purees and instead follow a baby-led weaning style of introducing solid foods, sometimes I feel like I might be turning into a hippy. I mean, if someone had told me they were doing all of those things, before I had my own kid, I’d definitely think they were kind of a hippy, in a harmless way.

But all of these things, when I’ve looked into them, have just really made logical sense for us. Note how I’ve italicized selectively so that the wild Internet understands that our choices have absolutely nothing to do with their choices in any way. Anyway, is this how people become hippies? I thought you started out hippy and made your choices based on levels of crunchiness (which, by the way, I HATE – I mean, the word crunchy used as a descriptor for these types of things, mainly because I think it’s stupid). But maybe the road to being a hippy is paved with adorable cloth diapers and floor beds.

For me, though, I think what it actually comes down to is that I hate spending money on things I don’t like or personally need. I don’t need a crib, thus, floor bed. I don’t eat baby food, therefore, Penny can eat what we eat and like it. I don’t wear diapers, so… okay, I like the diapers. So I spend money on them. THEORY HOLDS UP. Not hippy, just cheap.

6. Also my baby:

7. Your opinion requested, but not a reality, rational, or fact-based opinion. A FEEEEELING opinion.

We got two cast iron enameled casseroles as generous and lovely wedding gifts. I loved them. Okay, actually? I loved that I owned them, because they made me feel like a lady who might some day make something that would require that very specific type of cooking vessel, instead of just dragging out the biggest pan I can find and using it for everything. And one time? I used them both to make soup, because I am a lifelong container misjudger and started with the small one and moved to the big one.

But Arizona isn’t really a place where you make a lot of soup, or make anything that needs to sit in a very heavy pot in a very hot oven for a very long time. I guess other people probably do, but I don’t. So, in the time I have owned them, I really haven’t used them too much.

Reading Princess Nebraska the other day, I found out that they have been recalled, because the enamel can crack and send BURNING HOT SHARDS flying at you. So, I can take them into Macy’s for a full refund, in the form of store credit, I believe.

Since they were gifts for the wedding, I feel obligated to replace them with something similar, since the givers intended for me to have cast iron enameled pot thingies, and had chosen them off my registry, in fact, where I had CHOSEN THEM FIRST, myself. So I should take them back and replace them with other heavy pots, even though I didn’t use them too much. Because maybe someday we’ll move somewhere cold (PROBABLY NOT, WE’LL BE IN ARIZONA FOREEEEVVVEEERRRRR) and I will need them. Maybe I will grow into a lady who uses those kind of pots, just like I grew into a lady who only has 1 out of every 5 or 6 dinners turn out inedible, instead of 1 of every 4 being good, 2 being edible, and 1 going straight into the trash.

Or maybe, I could cut myself a break, and just stick to the spirit of the gift and get something kitchen-related. Sheldon did just eat our good slotted spoon.

But, like I said above, I am going to start working on Penny’s room, and I bet that Macy’s has one or two cute things that we could use. Or I could put it toward her floor bed. But the gift givers did not BUY Penny a present, they bought presents for Phil and I. They didn’t know about Penny (or that Penny was 10 weeks underway at the wedding). But Penny-room-items are what we need, though at the time of the wedding, we DID specifically request, via registry, these pots that I actually never use.

So. Internet. If you end up having to return a gift, do you feel (note – FEEL – because I KNOW I can do whatever the hell I want) obligated to replace it with something similar? Would the fact that it was a gift from a registry that YOU CREATED, thus something you SPECIFCALLY ASKED FOR, have any effect on your response?

Understand that I will absolutely do whatever the hell I want when the time comes. I just want to know if anyone else has ridiculous feelings of obligation tied into the whole gift return/exhange business, and since I am the most average girl in the world, I AM SURE YOU DO.

Should I live in fear of someone coming over and saying, “Hey, where’s that 2.5 quart casserole in cobalt blue that I got for your wedding? I’d love to SEE IT!”

Even better, do you have any stories about awkward gift returns? Have you ever gotten something so awful/tacky (my pots were neither, I’m just EXPANDING) that you had to immediately return, donate or throw it away? Has anyone ever come over and asked to SEE the gift that you returned/donated/threw away? OH GOD, WHAT DID YOU EVEN SAY?

A jingle, an irrational fear overcome, a confession and I’m unaware of when my boobs are out.

There are no pictures of Penny in this post, so if you are here solely for the Penny, you should just move on before you’re suckered into reading actual WORDS. From ME.


This may just be a north east thing, but I am reasonably certain that my life – and the lives of most people who grew up in the same general area of the country as I did – can be divided into two equal parts. Times when the Van Scoy Diamond Mine jingle was stuck in my head, and times it wasn’t.


AN UPDATE! On my thing that broke? Well, it was my My Brest Friend pillow, which I have heartily recommended to many people.

Since I could not imagine being without it, I got over my irrational fear of being told to fuck off by a company in email form and I sent a letter. I said how much I like the product, how I tell everyone about it, how surprised I was by the issue (holes had developed where the clip attaches to the cover), since it is otherwise such a quality product, and that I assumed I must have had the bad luck to get a faulty cover – something I truly believe. I attached pictures and explained how I’d only been using the pillow as intended for a couple of weeks, since Penny was totally anti-boob for so long. I asked if it was possible to get a replacement.

In less than 30 minutes, Jenny from the My Brest Friend… people… had responded and said they would certainly send another cover and had never seen an issue like I was having, confirming my suspicion that I just had the rotten luck to get a random bad seed. I was totally blown away by the awesome response. There was not even a hint of “screw you!” in the email and my new cover is on the way.

Now, you’d think that this experience would turn me from someone who silently stews over broken products to a letter writer, but you’d be wrong. I just REALLY LOVE THIS PILLOW SO HARD that I overcame my pathological and unreasonable fear of corporate customer service people telling me where I can shove my faulty item and laughing all the way to the bank with my reasonable amount of money for this ONE SPECIFIC INSTANCE ONLY.

Seriously. It’s a really good pillow, you guys.


I give Penny a pacifier every once in a while. Now and then. When she really seems like she needs it. A couple of times a week. I mean, maybe more like a couple of times a day. An hour. Okay, look, that baby needs a damn cork. If her mouth is open, I stuff it in there before any sounds can come out. I just felt like I needed to clear the air between us, Internet, and get that skeleton out of my closet.


I have been thinking, and I am pretty sure that the Internet – as a whole – is a dude. I don’t mean that everyone on the Internet is a guy, I just mean that the collective Internet as a whole is most definitely male. Here is my irrefutable evidence: sometimes, a person just wants to bitch about a problem or issue or something insignificant and easily solvable but still annoying, and the Internet never lets that happen. The Internet must suggest a solution, or the Internet will die from the effects of not suggesting a solution.

You know who else dies from having to just listen without trying to jump in and SOLVE when there’s been absolutely no indication that the speaker is looking for a solution?

Men. Men die from that.


The Internet also has an incredible capacity to make me feel like an asshole for WAY longer stretches of time than seems reasonable, given the size of the issues. I am pretty sure that no one who uses the Internet/social media on the regular can address every bid for their attention. Everyone – no matter how big or small the blog or how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends – can always answer every single thing. Obviously, this becomes harder as your numbers are bigger, but I am telling you from way down here on the tiny numbers end of thing – decimal point numbers, even – that it’s just not possible to read and respond to everything out there.  So you – everyone – miss things, and then you feel like an asshole.

And you (I) come up with elaborate plans to not feel like such an asshole – like trying to keep track of each person who comments and how many times you have recently responded to them, specifically, so that no one person is ignored all the time and — okay, you know what, I had a lot more to say about this, but I walked away to feed the baby and now I’m over it.

Basically, I’m an asshole is what the whole thing boiled down to.

You’d think that since I decided not to finish this part of the post, I’d delete it. You’d think that, but I’m not going to. It’s because I’m an asshole.


SPEAKING of feeding Penny! I dry her diapers on the line – sometimes it’s actually faster than the dryer, what with the negative humidity and all. The outdoors is actually SO DRY that it’s thirsty enough to drink diaper water. Clean diaper water, but diaper water nonetheless.

Anyway. I obviously have to go outside to hang up the diapers, and while our clothesline is kind of secluded, our back door faces the neighbors behind us, and we think that maybe she runs some kind of in home daycare.

It used to be that before going outside to the line, I just had to look to make sure the next door neighbor wasn’t outside smoking (because God forbid I have to politely nod to someone. I’m at the point of social hermitude that not only do I not want to have a conversation, I do not even WANT TO NOD at someone). Now, since Penny and also because of the herd of children across the way, I have to stop and check myself at the door, because apparently, I just walk around with my shirt all hiked up now, completely unaware of the fact that my shirt is all hiked up. I’ll be in the middle of something and discover my shirt all hiked up and have to stop and think back to how long it’s been since the last time I fed Penny and you know what? Sometimes it was a long time ago!

Also, kind of related, one time, just a little bit after we brought Penny home, I took out some trash and I came right back in and I said to Phil, “Hey, you know what would be good? Next time you see me heading to the front door, say this to me:

‘Self-check – are you wearing pants?’

That would be helpful. Because this time I wasn’t.”


Two things I DO NOT DO: “Deep Ocean, Vast Sea” and “Samophlange.” If you know what I’m talking about, you KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.


So I’ve had this question I’ve wanted to ask for a week or so, but I’ve avoided it because I kept getting pre-mad at the comments. I do that sometimes. I’m asking anyway, though.

When am I going to be able to do stuff, and how does it happen?

I mean, Penny will be two months old in just a couple of days. If I get anything done during the day, it’s maybe a load or two of laundry, which is basically getting negative things done, because all I wash is load after load of Penny’s clothes. She has more clothes than anyone and certainly doesn’t need her clothes laundered every day in order to avoid going naked like Phil and I do, but her clothes get dirty in a way that will fester. So I wash Penny’s clothes, over and over. When Phil gets home, I run around like a mad woman, taking a shower and making the gross tea I drink a skrillion times a day and sometimes cooking dinner and anything else I can cram in before it’s time to start my 30 minute long preparations for bed.

Anyway, a lot of things in the house are just going undone, or left for Phil to do when he is home, which isn’t terrible because the house is a shared responsibility, but it’s generally understood that the person who is home all day should at least be tackling most of it. And of course I have a pass because I have a new baby, but this kid isn’t exactly showroom fresh anymore, you know?

I just do not seem to be able to make good use of the time between naps and feedings, or at the moment, finding any way to predict when naps and feedings might occur or how long they might last, or what to do on the days that she JUST WILL NOT ALLOW HERSELF TO BE PUT DOWN for NO GOOD REASON that I can see.

I figure there’s got to be some combination of the baby settling into a predictable pattern and me getting the hang of navigating around her that will eventually come together, but should it have happened by now? I mean, when did it happen for you? When did you start feeling like some kind of competent adult again?

Don’t give me any of that “ho ho ho, aren’t you cute, you silly first time parent! Kids take all your time FOREVER!” I get it. I have a kid. She will continually require a large share of my attention. GOD I want to poke you in the eye so hard when you act like that, you know?

I figure the dishes eventually started getting done in your house without a background soundtrack of screaming and despair and a background smelltrack of stale milk and poop. I feel like that should have happened by now, though, you know? At least a little? Or is it still months away?

You can tell me if it’s still months away, as long as you’re not all CONDESCENDING about it, because let me tell you, my fuse is about THIS LONG (I’m making a tiny span with my fingers) and my well of creative insults is QUITE DEEP. By that I mean that I will probably call you sack of cat assholes if you so much as hint that my ignorance of the fact that my life will NEVER BE GOOD AGAIN is in any way adorable.

Seriously, though. When was it that you realized that, holy shit, I’ve actually been handling life and my adult responsibilities towards my household and personal hygiene quite well for a while now?


Also, all those people who left when they heard there wouldn’t be any Penny pictures are huge suckers.

“Get out of my shot, asshole.”

What do you do when your crap starts being crappy?

You guys, Penny has nothing to do with this entry, but I feel as though my readership has split down the middle into “Shut up, show us the baby” and “Put your damn baby away and talk about something that doesn’t poop.” So. I compromise.

Ok, Internet. We all buy things. We buy all kinds of things. Sometimes, those things stop working. I mean, eventually. I guess everything stops working at some point. My mom’s got HER mom’s Kitchen Aid mixer and IT hasn’t stopped working, but I assume that the day will eventually come.

But normally, stuff stops working, and you hope it’s at some reasonable point. What I am wondering is this (are these?): what factors determine when it is acceptable for something to have stopped working, and what factors determine what you do about something that has stopped working?

I was thinking, when I was… thinking… before… that it’s obviously some combination of price and time. That is, how much it cost you to buy the whatever, and how long before it went all to hell.

Then I realized, though, that what the whatever is would probably have to factor in as well. Like, extreme examples:

Say you paid $1 for a can opener (one of those hand ones, not those fancy electric ones with the knife sharpener in the back that no one actually uses). If the can opener opened a single can and then fell apart in your hands, you’d be like, “Damn can opener! I’m glad I had but one can to open for my dinner this evening!” And then you’d move on. You wouldn’t sit there, stewing over your single sad can of tuna.

I don’t know why I’ve made you into some kind of weird loner who eats a tuna directly from a single can for dinner each night, while plotting your revenge against can opener manufacturers. I’m sorry.

If your can opener cost $10 and it broke on the first tuna can, you’d probably be pretty mad. You might even throw it on the floor in a rage, depending on how open you got the can and how badly you wanted that tuna.

“And TIIIIIIIIME… goes BY!… so sloooooowly…”

I should note here that not only do I not ever eat canned tuna, but when Phil dared eat some last week, I wouldn’t do the dishes for days until he handled the TUNA SINK. If you eat tuna in my house and then you rinse off your plate in the sink, any dishes already in the sink and any dishes added to whatever is already in the sink is NOT MY PROBLEM until YOU handle the TUNA SINK. Your best bet is to handle it post haste, or you will be washing every dish in the house, because I take tuna contamination seriously.

Anyway, if your $10 can opener last 4 or 6 or 8 months and broke, you probably wouldn’t think anything of chucking it and getting a new one, because by that time, you’d probably have forgotten how much you paid for your can opener, and you’d probably never really given any thought to how long you expected a can opener to last.

But say your can opener – a hand crank dealie – cost $30. What would you do then if it broke on the first can? Or what would you do if it broke 6 months down the road? Because I imagine that if you spend $30 on a hand crank can opener, every time you have some tuna, you think to yourself, “I’m opening my tuna with my $30 can opener.” Because how could you NOT?

BUT. What if you bought a car that cost $30? And it broke on the first time out? You’d be like, “Ah, well. Who expects much from a $30 car? I mean, Laura Ingalls Wilder would probably expect a lot from a $30 car but she could buy plow parts for a nickle, so. You know. It’s all relative.”

And if your $30 car last SIX MONTHS? You’d probably high five yourself all the way home, even if it was kind of raining and you had to wait a while for a ride. It would be hard to be too mad about that.

So, I figure it’s obviously not just a matter of what an item cost and how long it lasts, but obviously also of what the item is.

So, say the item is… a something you use regularly. Let’s say a fancy TV clicker. Something you’re using multiple times a day, and you didn’t really need the fancy one, but you figured, “Hey, I use this a lot, I’m going to spring for the nice one,” even though it was kind of slightly out of your comfortable price range. You’ve treated yourself to a small bit of luxury, is what I’m saying. It doesn’t have to be a clicker. Maybe it’s… one of those beady seat covers, like in taxis. Whatever. Just go with me.

So, think of your item and assign it a price that is slightly more than you’d normally consider paying for such a thing, and remind yourself that you’ve decided that something you use so constantly is worth a little extra cash sometimes. And you know what? You’re worth it, too. Anyway, you need to think up your own item for this scenario. Think it up now. This is an exercise. I’m not going to tell you an item, you need to THINK OF ONE.

So you’ve paid for your item, whatever it is, and it falls just over the line into “luxury” due to its price, and that line is different for everyone and every item, which is why you needed to come up with your own.

Now, how long do you expect this item to last? More importantly, where’s the line between breaking due to normal wear and tear, and breaking due to oh HELL no? You know what I mean? Like, if your item wears out at the very earliest that “wearing out” could be even slightly reasonable, that would be really annoying, but what are you going to do? It wore out. But anything BEFORE what is even remotely reasonable for wearing out, based on item and money spent, would fall into the “oh HELL no” category, where you’d be totally outraged about the money spent for item enjoyment duration.

And still thinking of your item, now combined with your general personality traits, what do you DO when something falls into the “oh HELL no” category of breaking? I think this is not so much a function of price and time, but more of each individual person.

Do you get mad and go out and replace it?

Do you get REALLY mad and swear you’ll never buy that brand again and go out and replace it with a different variety?

Do you write to the company and tell them, hey, your thing broke, WELL before the “oh HELL no” time period of thing ownership was up, what do you intend to do about it?

As you may have guessed by now, this is about me, because, come on.

Come on.

I’ve never been a “write to the company-er.” I don’t know why. I mean, I’ve had plenty of things break in the “oh HELL no” phase, just like anyone else. I guess I kind of feel like writing a letter to the company or whatever would make me look… greedy? Grabby? I don’t know. But it WOULDN’T, not if I was writing within the “oh HELL no” time period, because things breaking that quickly is unreasonable.

Basically, I am concerned about what strangers at a company that manufactures the occasional faulty product might think of me. But maybe THEY should be afraid of what I think about THEM! And their faulty product!

(They probably don’t care.)

“Are you… still MIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiii-IIIIIIeeeeeIIINE?”

I have an item that, for my entire pregnancy, I intended to buy but did not. The price, for me, put it just over the line I talked about above, and since there were several varieties available, I felt like I needed to really think it out and make sure I NEEDED this product before purchasing. I’m not going to tell you what it IS, because what I consider over that line and what other people consider over that line are two different things, and I don’t need anyone being all, “Come on! It’s only $XX!”

You know how when you read a magazine and they do a whole page of “MUST HAVES FOR SUMMER! If you don’t have these MUST HAVES, you might as well go live in a hole! Don’t worry, though, we’ve divided them into splurge and save!”

Bathing suit: $1 jillion!
Save on this clearly crappier version: $1 half jillion!

And you go through the whole list, looking for SOME MUST HAVE that you can actually HAVE and you finally get to something that seems like it should be reasonable.

Nail polish in the color you HAVE TO HAVE OR YOU’LL DIE FRIENDLESS AND ALONE: $80
Save on this version that might get you a pity friend, if you always volunteer to DD: $65

Anyway, you see what I mean? I’m not telling the item because I don’t need you to tell me that it’s actually a SAVE, because NO. I DECIDE WHAT IS A SAVE.

This item is showing signs of wear – signs of wear that, over time, I’d consider pretty reasonable. However. Penny is still a week short of 2 months old, AND I’ve only been using this item with as it is INTENDED to be used for a couple of weeks. For me, for what this item cost and the fact that I have used it in a perfectly reasonable, perfectly textbook manner, I am still WELL within the “oh HELL no” phase.

Now, knowing me, I’ll continue using it until it is unusable, which isn’t that far off, judging by the signs now, then try to use it in some modified fashion, and then feel like I should replace it out of my own pocket because I used it for so long, EVEN THOUGH it was in CRAP ASS condition for most of that time. I am TRYING to convince myself to write a letter, because, what can they do to me?

(It seems I kind of half-assume they might write back some strongly worded “fuck you, sucker!” letter, which is a little out there in terms of assumptions about what a reasonable company might do, but I can’t help it – the mind leaps to irrational conclusions as it wants to.)

Anyway, forget my thing. My thing is stupid. Go back to your hypothetical thing. How do you determine how long your “oh HELL no” phase is? Are you a letter writer or an angry replacer? Have you ever gotten decent results from writing a letter, or did you get the dreaded “fuck you, sucker!” email?

Do you believe this shit? My mom’s such a wiener!