Tag Archives: unasked for advice

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!

What’s up, Wrong-o?

I think it’s fine to use the popcorn button on your microwave. It’s arrogant Big Popcorn that wants you to think you can’t use it. Calm down popcorn, you’re just popcorn.

I think if you’re a grown adult and still doing any version of “I liked that before everyone else knew about it” out loud, you’re probably doing something wrong. There aren’t any points for that. You didn’t win. If you liked it a long time ago, you made a lucky discovery before other people got to it. That doesn’t make other people less, or make you more. It doesn’t make their enjoyment of Thing less true or sincere or valid, or your enjoyment of Thing a superior, more deep enjoyment or fanhood. No, rather, now you are two people who like Thing. Two people who can now like Thing together. And that’s good. Liking a thing together is one of the best things about liking a thing. Gleeful and sincere shared enjoyment of a thing is fantastic and there should always be room for more, really. Enjoyment of a thing can’t be used up. Also, stop it. Grow up. Move over, make space.

I bet you’re thinking, we all know this is going to lead into you talking about how much you like Korean television and wish people would watch along with you, but no one is going to watch with you, so you should just stop talking about it. WELL, I WON’T STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. I WON’T. SO GIVE UP, YOU.

PtheLorax

Penelope was the Lorax for Halloween.

I spend most of my time these days in a recliner under a blanket like a hundred year old person in a recliner under a blanket, for reasons I’ll probably eventually get into if I decide to post for all of November because I don’t have thirty days of ideas but it’s actually more likely that I’ll just abandon the project by Sunday. And my recliner is under a ceiling fan that doesn’t turn off, which is just straight bullshit if you ask me. Which, if you ask me, you did, kind of, by reading this blog. Which you did. It’s still pretty warm here in the afternoons and the evenings, when the sun has been warming the house all day, and we actually still run the air conditioning in the evenings and through the night, because Phil likes to sleep at 74 degrees. Which, fine. 74 is a reasonable indoor temperature, right? And in the mornings, I turn the air conditioning off, because I’m cold. Lately, I’ve been returning to the thermostat several times a day, trying to figure out why I’m still cold when I know I turned it up. It turns out, it’s because it’s kind of not hot outside anymore. So while the air conditioning isn’t running, it’s staying around 74 in the house for most of the day, until the late afternoon, when it warms back up a bit.

Now, EXPERIENCE TELLS ME that this cooling trend is going to continue. Soon, it will stay around 74 for more of the day. And then around 73. Or lower. And no air conditioning at all will be necessary to keep it cool in the house. And as the winter season goes on, even in Arizona, the nights will be cooler. Cooler, even, than 74 degrees. We won’t need to use the air conditioning to get the house to Phil’s preferred 74 degrees, which is actually quite chilly with the blowers going at night, especially because we use a fan to keep the air moving and the dog stink from settling on us. Our room in particular can get quite still and heavy with the two of us and the two of them.

So I asked Phil this. I says to him, you like it 74 at night, right? And he confirmed. And I said, soon it will even be cooler than that at night. And he said, that will be nice. And I said, but 74 is a reasonable temperature for the house to be. Well, yes, he said. So, I said to him, we could, in theory, on those cooler nights, employ the HEAT to bring the temperature UP to that reasonable temperature of 74. Maybe 73. 70, even, could be fine. But we could use the HEAT to bring the temperature UP to the place where we are currently using air conditioning to bring it DOWN. Right? Because we agree, it’s a reasonable temperature. And he said to me, no. No, it’s different. Because it’s HEATING versus COOLING.

BUT SEVENTY INDOOR DEGREES IS REASONABLE REGARDLESS, RIGHT? How is it DIFFERENT?

(I know, in some people’s houses you prefer to never run the heat. Or you actually prefer to sleep in the very, very cold. Or you prefer another specific temperature calculated exactly for maximum efficiency and money savings. I know. Everyone is different.)

If 74 degrees is a reasonable house temperature now, achieved with air conditioning, how is it NOT a reasonable temperature (even when I give a few degrees, down to 70) when achieved with heat? HM, PHILLIP? PHILLIP THE UNREASONABLE? PHILLIP THE UNREASONABLE OF UNSOUND ARGUMENTLANDIA?

Speaking of the King of LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOUR LOGICSHIRE, our three year anniversary was last week.

thankspal

Despite all capslocks to the contrary, we’re quite well matched.

“Oh,” you’re thinking. “Purple flowers and a card of a suitable nature! An anniversary well done!” WELL, GUESS WHAT, WRONG-O. Your new name is WRONG-O.

Do you see there, over to the left side of the picture? It’s Phil, leaning into the fridge, doing the traditional and ceremonial burial at trashcan of all of the leftovers we didn’t get around to eating before I went grocery shopping again. Except the day ended up all crunched and weird, and I actually ended up taking Phil shopping with me. I had a LIST that followed a carefully laid out MEAL PLAN which adhered to our budget, so this on its own was a dangerous endeavor. A Phil in a grocery store is a magnet for cheese products and crackers and cheese product crackers that I never seem to notice until I’m unpacking the groceries. They go into some hidden nook in the cart that only he knows about and I swear he slips the cashier a ten to slide them through while my back is turned and I’m left wondering how I spend six thousand dollars on two packs of chicken breasts and some applesauce pouches. OH, WE BOUGHT EIGHTEEN FLAVORS OF CAPTAIN CRUNCH AND ONE OF EVERY CHEESE THANKS PHIL.

So I lectured him before we went in. I told him, if I come pick you up from work and take you with us (otherwise he’d sit at work an extra hour or so while we shopped, that’s life with one car), you will stay near the cart! Hands where I can see them! AT ALL TIMES! He agreed. And he really behaved himself through several aisles, so I gave him some leeway. I normally don’t buy snack food by a list, but kind of just pick whatever based on what’s on sale, what looks good, and what Phil and Penny like. In the interest of speeding things along, I sent him into the cookie/cracker aisle to “grab JUST A COUPLE THINGS and bring them back.” And to his credit, he did come back with just a couple things and dumped them in the cart. We got everything we needed, we stayed within the budget, it was a successful trip.

SO WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, right? Is that what you’re thinking right now, Wrong-o? (That’s you. You’re Wrong-o.)

A few days later, I was looking for a snack to give Penelope. Well, it turns out, on our ANNIVERSARY, of all days, the snack foods I had TRUSTED him to acquire? He bought WHOLE GRAIN Fig Newtons. But it was fine, because he’d gotten two packages. BUT NO. The second package was ALSO WHOLE GRAIN.

As soon as he got home from work, I confronted him with my disbelief, my deep sense of betrayal, and absolute bewilderment that he’d buy TWO packages of whole grain Newtons. And do you know what he says to me, Wrong-o? He says, “THEY TASTE EXACTLY THE SAME.”

Are you feeling it now, Wrong-o? Are you feeling your deep, essential wrongness?

“THEY TASTE EXACTLY THE SAME.”

And then he took it further.

“I bet you $20 that in a blind taste test, you could not tell the difference between regular and whole grain Fig Newtons.”

Well. There’s only one response to that.

I DEMAND HIGHER STAKES.

Life intervened for a little while. A short while.

NEWTON DAY

YESTERDAY WAS THE DAY.
NEWTON DAY.

Phillip, Grand Poobah of Inappropriate Snackfood Choices and Head of the Parliamentary Board of Indiscriminate Tastebuds, administered the test. It was to be a FOUR NEWTON CHALLENGE – if it was just two Newtons, according to him, I’d have a 50/50 chance and there was no possible way success on my part could be credited to an ACTUAL difference between delicious Newtons and sand-wrapped crap Newton-impostors.

I turned my back to the table, and he handed me a Newton. I bit it. “GROSS NEWTON.” I set it down. He claimed I had to eat the whole thing. “I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT HAVE TO EAT THAT. IT IS GROSS.” He didn’t tell me if I was right or wrong. He handed me another Newton to my other hand – apparently The High Muckety Muck of Newton Testing Standards and Enforcement has his ways – and I took a bite. “REAL NEWTON.” Still, he didn’t tell me. This went on for two more Newtons, for a FOUR NEWTON CHALLENGE.

At the end, I turned around. He looks at me, and he says, “You got them all wrong.”

I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT.

“Okay,” he says, “You got them all right.”

KNEW IT.

NEWTONCHALLENGE

Ass of Newton Challenge: Kicked

“BUT,” he says. “It doesn’t count.”

HOW CAN IT NOT COUNT. FOUR NEWTONS. FOUR CORRECT IDENTIFICATIONS. CRAP, GOOD, GOOD, CRAP.

“I can’t tell the difference. They taste exactly the same. So it doesn’t count.”

Okay. Okay. So, bringing it all back around. There’s a DIFFERENCE between 70 degrees achieved with air conditioning and 70 degrees achieved with the heating, even though they’re both 70 degrees, and there’s a difference because he can tell there’s a difference. He can tell, therefore, a difference exists.

I successfully complete a FOUR NEWTON CHALLENGE, executed under his own standards and procedures, because I can ABSOLUTELY TELL THE DIFFERENCE between an excellent Newton and a crappy grainy Newton of sadness and woe, but my accomplishments in the field of snacks count for nothing, because he can’t tell, thus no difference actually exists.

Put that in your shopping cart and sneak it past the flowers, WRONG-O.

Nag Lorax

EXCUSE ME, you’re going to recycle that bottle, correct? And compost that apple core?

Super Great

I just don’t know if I’ve ever met someone so great.

 

 

Victory shoes and Makeup Monday 2: The Balm Apricot Skin Renewal Lotion. And Stuff.

Note: Please save part of this post for tomorrow. Which part you save is up to you. I’m not controlling or anything.

Toward the end of last week, I started to feel crappy, details don’t matter, but I had a rough couple of days, and Phil really stepped up in taking care of things around here and letting me get some extra rest in order to make sure that sort of crappy didn’t take a turn for extra crappy, so on Friday, I was kind of rushing around in the afternoon to pick the place up before he got home, plus do the couple of things around the house that he usually feels like he has to do the second he comes in the door. He’s one of those types, you know, can’t relax until his things are done. So I figured I’d do all the things, and he could just kick back after really stretching for most of the week.

Except things kept happening. You know, after last Monday’s entry, I guess typical Penelope stuff. Stuff I’ve come to expect from a Penelope. I forgot to lock the dishwasher (we have to lock the dishwasher to keep her from getting in it, but that doesn’t stop her from randomly starting it up whenever she wants) and she got out some serving forks. I could hear her with them, so I approached slowly. You have to approach slowly when the Penelope has contraband, because if she knows you’re coming to take it, she’ll run. With FORKS. Or whatever she might have. And if she’s running, and you’re closing in, she’ll throw whatever she’s got, like some teenager with pot running through the woods behind the house party that just got busted, flinging the baggie off into the brush in desperate hope of not being caught but also maybe being able to find it again later. Except it’s not pot, it’s my cell phone and it’s not the brush, it’s probably the kitchen floor. Anyway, this time she didn’t run, but she did throw the forks at my face.

She threw ham at the wall.

When discussing Penelope’s behavior on Twitter the other day – which I don’t do too often, because of reasons, but I wasn’t feeling very well so was just generally totally beaten – someone suggested that I possibly might need to reevaluate what behavior I consider acceptable, because it is hard to believe that a two year old could be that bad all the time. That is, could it be that my standards of behavior for Penelope are much too high, making it seem as though she is constantly misbehaving, when in reality, it is just me, expecting too much from a toddler? Is this just a case of me not knowing that I need to pick my battles? Am I exhausting myself – and probably Penelope – with my impossibly high standards?

No. No, that’s not the case. I let the ham go, y’all. I do choose my battles. I do. If she’s not throwing something at my face, I mostly let it go, with a reminder that in this house, we pass things to each other. We don’t throw.

(Oh yeah, we’re those schmucks now. Come into our house, and you’ll get pulled aside for the little speech, like those, “Oh, we try not to say ‘No,’ we feel like it crushes her spirit,” except it’s more like, “Oh, please don’t throw anything in front of her, not even your car keys to your spouse to move the car, we feel like that’s why she keeps throwing shoes at my face, so if you could just pass things to each other and then make a huge fucking deal about what a great pass that was, that would be GREAT, thanks.” We know we sound like a couple of pass holes. We know.)

This is what’s not okay: hitting, harassing the dogs, eating out of the trash/throwing things in the trash, taking things from the fridge, throwing things at people, failing to obey reasonable requests when it’s very clear you understood and are deliberately disobeying for funsies.

Okay, I admit it, I didn’t totally let the ham thing go.

I... I can't explain this.

In my defense, I just asked her to get it.

So I don’t think I’m unreasonable in my expectations, and as you can see above, she might just be a BIT UNREASONABLE IN HER INTERPRETATIONS OF MY REQUESTS. I’m not saying she’s in any way an abnormal child, I’m just saying that normal is a range and to compose a range, you need to have children at each end. What you’re looking at here is an end child.

After the potato incident I mentioned last week, and the peanut butter incident – did I tell you about the peanut butter incident here? Brinkley ate half a jar of peanut butter, and then Penelope got the jar of peanut butter from the trash, and she had some. That happened. So after the peanut butter incident and the potato incident, we had some deliveries last week. We got some more child locks, and some more Door Monkeys, and a ridiculously priced Simple Human trash can with a pedal and a lock. Of course, after her nap, I turned my back for what I swear was the space of a super human speed bathroom visit and came back to this:

This is just a normal day, though, so no big. I mean, she gets into things, I pick them up. It’s just particularly ridiculous because that day was one thing after another, and, well, okay, she’s sitting in a pile of child locks. The point is, though, that I keep Phil updated on her doings throughout the day, and while he doesn’t ever come out and say it, I do kind of get a “… really?” vibe from him pretty frequently. It can kind of seem like, if he were home, this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening. Aren’t I even watching? How can stuff like this happen so frequently? He’s here every night and all weekend, and he doesn’t see this much stuff happen…

It doesn’t help that, a short time later – and, okay, I admit it, this is all on me – I had put her in her room for sneaking into the locked side of the linen closet (DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HER HIDING IN THERE AND NOT MAKING A SOUND WHILE I RAN THROUGH THE HOUSE YELLING HER NAME OH MY GOD) and retrieving soda cans in order to fling them onto the kitchen floor, and I forgot that when I had to chase her out of her room earlier, I had left a tub of body butter on the floor. Okay. That was no good. That was no good at all. Especially because the body butter I have been using on her lately is one of mine (it works), so it is especially stinky and greasy. And it was so quiet in her room, and I went in there, and she was rubbing greasy, stinky body butter all over herself. And her hair. And the carpet. And everything ever.

BUT LET ME GET TO MY POINT, HERE IT IS, PENELOPE SCRIBBLED ALL OVER MY NEW SHOES!!

I slept in a little bit on Saturday, and when I woke up, Phil and Penny weren’t in the living room, or the kitchen, and I wandered into the playroom and didn’t find them. But I smelled some really strong cleaning smell, and I found them both in the guest bathroom. Phil was standing at the sink, with the water running, and my new sneakers that I had just gotten, just the day before, scrubbing at the toes with a magic eraser. Penny had colored all over the toes with a ball point pen.

“I JUST LOOKED AWAY FOR A SECOND,” he said.

ENTIRE LIFE? MADE.

Okay, I will keep you, WITH YOUR PERFECTLY-TIMED SHOE RUINING!

*****

It is Monday again, which means it is time for Makeup Monday, which is the second part of my post, because maybe you are not into makeup, which means you can abandon ship here, but I may not always be so solicitous as to write a whole other thousand words not about makeup, so don’t go getting used to it or anything. Thought I guess you’re totally SOL if you don’t like makeup OR my kid. Are you just hanging around waiting for me to start writing about World of Warcraft again? I mean, it could happen. My account is open. If you are, I mean… I probably should. Just to reward you. Because that is some dedication.

In the spirit of the No Buy, No No Blog, I have actually gone and USED SOMETHING UP from the pile in the picture in the original post detailing all of my restrictions and rules and plans for the whole project. Here is that picture.

So, while this isn’t my entire makeup collection, for my No Buy, No No Blog, this is what I’m working with. I’ll deal with everything in the picture in one of the ways described in the original post before the no buy ends. Well, everything in the picture, plus some things that hadn’t arrived yet at the time the picture was taken.

Today, I’m talking about the product indicated with the arrow – Apricot Skin Renewal Cream by The Balm – as well as some eye makeup remover wipes that came in the Allure Summer Beauty box, and the two facial moisturizers I currently use, and why they can go right to hell.

I am currently using the two facial moisturizers pictured. I’ve got pretty normal skin, I think. It’s not particularly prone to oiliness or greasiness, and I have what I think are pretty standard hormonal breakouts – probably one or two actual pimples once a month, maybe a threatened pimple here and there the rest of the month. Pretty lucky, I think, but I suffered for it mightily when I was younger. I’ve got really irritating patches of dryness, though, on my forehead between my eyes, next to my nose, and sometimes on my chin and next to my mouth depending on how hot my shower was, so I have to moisturize every day and heavily before makeup or my makeup will look flaky and horrible.

The two moisturizers pictured – Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 and Up & Up Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15, oil free – can go right the hell to hell, each for separate reasons. I use them in a pretty standard fashion – after the shower and/or before makeup, I put on a pretty thick layer and let it soak in. I put it on my face. My face, where the FACIAL MOISTURIZER is intended to go. My FACE, where I keep both my EYES and my MOUTH, most days.

If I use the Cetaphil, I get a taste in my mouth that I am pretty sure is poison. And it just hovers in the back of my throat for most of the day, ruining things and making life miserable. And look, smartbutticus, I know I’m not supposed to eat it. I don’t eat it. It’s on my face, all smeared around on there, and some of its fuminess kind of gets into the general mouthy area. I’m not rubbing it directly into my tongue. I guess it performs its general moistness duties okay, but the fact remains that when I use it, the back of my throat feels like a little man is standing back there with a fireplace bellows, releasing puffs of TERRIBLE all day long. It’s no good. It’s just no good.

And then there’s the Up & Up. I’m a pretty big fan of Target’s store brand of products, I haven’t had too many stinkers. Well, unless you count shmazors. And for a moisturizer, this does okay. Just okay. It’s not really anything super special as far as under makeup goes, considering my especially flaky spots, but for every day (I don’t wear makeup every single day) and before bed, I don’t mind it. Except for one thing. One teeeeeny, tiny thing. It’s trying to blind me. It gets into my eyes somehow – AND NO, I AM NOT APPLYING IT DIRECTLY TO MY EYES – even hours after application, even if I don’t feel like I am sweating any especial amount. It runs into my eyes when I’m just sitting on the couch, and holy shit, does it burn. It burns to the point that shortly thereafter, I’m barely able to keep my eyes open, what with the tearing up and the flames of hell and the rubbing and the splashing of water. BUT DON’T SPLASH THE WATER. Because that just seems to reactivate all the REST of the moisturizer on the face, which then rushes to my eyes. I’ve actually texted Phil at work near the end of his day to ask how close he was to coming home, because hey, I’m blind, and I can’t afford to show any weakness to Penelope, she kind of has the upper hand as it is. But it doesn’t happen every TIME. Only sometimes. At random. Maybe when Pen-o is about to stage some kind of coup. Maybe there’s a connection. I don’t know. I’m not a Makeup Scientist.

SO AS YOU CAN SEE. My current moisturizer selections are NOT EXACTLY EXCELLENT, so the samples I received in my recent order from The Balm were pretty well timed. I got two, and decided to start with the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream for no particular reason. I actually had a reason at the time, but I don’t remember it.

The Balm website says that this lotion smooths the skin and also slows down the aging process, but a small foil packet is hardly enough product to really evaluate those claims, so what I was really looking for was how it dealt with my problem areas, did it try to poison me, and did it try to kill me and/or enter into cahoots with my daughter?

Texture: I probably should have taken a picture, but I DIDN’T. This is a pretty thick lotion. It’s less liquidy than it is creamy, and has a greasier feeling than the two lotions I’m used to using. It’s not a slap on the face kind of lotion, but more of a rub it in type. It has a higher quality feeling to it than the two I normally use, which makes sense, considering it costs several times more than they do.

It actually made my face feel kind of greasy when it was on, too. I don’t know if greasy is the word. I think makeup people prefer the word dewy. Yeah. I was dewy as shit when I put this on. I used it at night only for the first two applications, which was about all that was in the packet. I wasn’t sure if I’d actually wear it under makeup, because it felt… tacky. Not tacky like the way I usually dress, but tacky to the touch. I kept thinking about that one scene with Jordan and Ted from Scrubs, before she was in that other show that makes up for the fact that she’s not a great actress by just writing for the fact that that’s her face. You know what I mean? I WANT TO TOUCH IT BUT I DON’T.

I didn’t really time it, or do anything really professional in nature like any kind of actual reviewer of products, but normally I put on my moisturizer and let it dry down for a bit, then put some more on my trouble spots before applying my primer and foundation, or BB cream, or whatever the hell I’m going to wear that day. I didn’t really notice this stuff drying down completely for a while. I don’t know how long a while is. You’re going to have to ask someone with a clock. I probably could have gone ahead and applied primer over this, but… I don’t know. Not my style, really.

Poison-ness: I don’t know what something called Apricot Skin Renewal Cream is supposed to smell like, but I’m guessing apricots. It doesn’t. But, good news! It doesn’t smell like poison, either! You know what it smells like? The Dollar Store at Christmas. Or that one store in your hometown that you go in and quickly realize it is really not for you because it’s all dolls or sun catchers or wall plaques with country ducks on them, but you’re the only person in the store in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and the lady who is clearly the owner came out from behind the counter when you came in, so you feel obligated to give a kind of courtesy wander of the store, but the longer you stay, the more it seems like she thinks you might actually be the type of person who is really into country ducks or whatever, so she starts kind of following you and maybe pointing out different things in the store that she thinks you might like, or that are on sale, and, really, if you were into that kind of thing, you’d have to admit, you’d be a FOOL to pass up the deal, but you’re NOT into that kind of thing, and now it’s awkward, and you have to walk out the door without buying anything. So that’s kind of a weird smell for a lotion, and it’s even weirder if you think that it was maybe intended to smell like apricots, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t think country duck when I think apricot. I like apricots.

Kill/Cahoots: No attempts were made on my life during the use of this lotion. This probably could have gone under texture, but it didn’t run at all, and I don’t feel like if it did run, it would have caused any pain to my eyeballs.

Effectiveness: Like I said, the foil packet really isn’t enough to judge if the Apricot Skin Renewal Cream can, you know, renew skin. I got two full applications out of it, and in the interest of the No Buy, No No Blog project and using things up, I squeezed out the last bits and applied them to my most troubley areas, and you know, I was pretty pleased. I ended up just applying makeup in the middle of the night to send ridiculous pictures to Diane and Jonna, but hell of my skin didn’t look kind of fantastic under the clown face. I could actually see using this at night, something a little lighter out of the shower, and then this again on my flakiest areas.

Rebuy: So, would I buy this again? Well, it smells funny, but that kind of wears off eventually. It’s expensive, to me, at $29 for 2.36oz, compared to, say, $7 for 4oz of my usual murder lotion. But can you really talk about price when you’re talking about murder lotion? I have three more lotions to consider in my No Buy, No No Blog project: a Nutrogena from the Allure Summer Beauty Box, a sample from VMV Hypoallergenics that’s been kicking around my tippy piles for a while, and another foil packet from TheBalm – Grapefruit Antioxidant Day Face Cream (spoiler: it smells like the locker room at the YMCA.) I know that the poison/murder lotions are out the door for sure, but I don’t know for certain what will replace them.

****

SPEAKING OF APPLYING THINGS DIRECTLY TO EYES: Simple brand Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes! Yes! Ish! I have definitely applied these directly to my eyeballs in my attempts to learn how to tightline my eyes (which I can now successfully do THANK YOU), and I was not killed, nor was my daughter allowed to launch any of the multiple plots that are surely in any of several different stages of hatchery at any given time. Excellent. EXCELLENT.

EXCEPT.

Any makeup remover pad, when confronted with waterproof makeup, or lots of makeup, or lots of waterproof makeup many times over, like when someone with ham hands is learning a new skill very close to the eyeball, is going to be rubbed over the delicate eye area lots of times. Waterproof eye makeup is tough stuff, and eye makeup remover, especially that designed for sensitive eyes, cannot just go at it with fire and chemicals and burn that shit all to the ground. So it takes some swiping. And swiping. And swiping. So any makeup pad, no matter how intended to be gentle, is going to start to feel like you’re taunting your eyelids with a fiberglass mitten. These are no real exception.

So. If you’re sensitive to actual makeup remover, as in, the formulation of the stuff hurts your actual eyeballs and skin, Simple Eye Makeup Remover Pads for sensitive eyes are an excellent choice. If you’re sensitive to having the eye area rubbed repeatedly with cotton-like pad thingers, well, maybe just rub it once or twice and call it good enough. You know what they say. Tonight’s mascara & eyeliner are tomorrow’s smoky eye.

A lot of thoughts about a lot of things that are mostly my kid and makeup and the HOA. You’ll need a juice break.

Hi. Before you commit to this post, I should warn you, it’s a double. Not a double blog post, but a double me blog post. So maybe scan for some words you like, or skim, or whatever. Or get some snacks, maybe a stool or ottoman for your feet. Stretch out. Settle in. I’ve been lonely. Let’s not be apart again.

We’ve been in our new place for about two weeks now. Or a year. It feels like forever, because a forever amount of things have gone on. On maybe our first or second night staying here, our neighbors started pounding on the door. It seems that in our attempt to figure out why we had next to NO water pressure in the house (delightful), we had turned a valve on OUR house that THEY had previously turned off, reactivating OUR sprinkler system that apparently had a GIGANTIC leak, flooding out their yard where they had just laid down a whole bunch of weed killer. They let us know that they had let several people who had been in and out of the house know (maintenance, property management employees, former resident) about the problem, and obviously, no one had passed the message to us. After heavily hinting they’d like us to pay for their expensive weed killer that had been washed away while at the same time assuring us that they understood it couldn’t possibly be our fault, we went inside, where I did not sleep AT ALL all night, knowing I had to call the property management company in the morning, totally prepared to have to argue about who was going to pay for it, and when we could get someone out there, and fretting about the water bill and tons of water leaking into the ground, and just prepared to do BATTLE, after what hell our LAST property management company was.

Yeah. 45 second phone call, someone was at our house within hours. He fixed the sprinkler system, then ALSO fixed a shower inside the house that – okay, you don’t need the details, but it was stupid. And broken. And THEN he relit the pilot light of the water heater which had – okay, you don’t need the details, but again. Stupid. And all of this was exciting because the water pressure appeared! And we had hot water! Because until THAT point, we’d been going back to our old place to shower, because we had the electric and water switched to our name, but since the place didn’t have a gas stove, we neglected to get gas turned on… not realizing there was a gas water heater. Oh, and gas heat. We were cold. And dirty. But just for a couple of days. And it’s warm in Arizona now. So now we’re just warm and dirty. And it’s just Pen and I who are dirty. And it’s by choice.

EXCEPT NO, IT’S NOT TOTALLY BY CHOICE. BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THE NEXT WEEKEND? Both the toilets got blocked. One even in that way where it’s all clear water and you give it a cautious flush and then the water comes up and you have to RESCUE YOUR CHILD DRAMATICALLY from the oncoming flood [of a quarter inch of water] rushing toward her. I shut the bathroom door and left the house, because it seemed like a problem for future Phil. When he came home from work, both toilets were working fine, except making bubbly sounds? And then we noticed some… sediment. In the shower and tubs. And then by morning, both toilets were overflowing, and all the showers and tubs had water backing up into them. And this was a Saturday. Phil put in a call to the landlord, who put in a call to the property management handyman, who works a regular M-F schedule, so rightfully told us he could come on Monday. Because he doesn’t get paid to come from an hour away on the weekends. Phil called the property management woman back, and she was QUITE reluctant to send anyone else. Because it would cost money. It took more persuasion that was understandable to get across that no showers and no toilets from Saturday until Monday was not okay. Not. Okay. But, uh, anticlimactic ending, he did. At around 8 or 9am, she promised us a plumber between 3 and 4pm. At about 6:30pm, one arrived. Auuuggghhh.

So in the midst of all this, we’re unpacking at this house, and overlapping at the other place – finishing packing there and cleaning it, etc. Before we moved in, as part of the lease/promises of the property management company, they were to send gardeners over to restore the backyard and overall landscaping to a manageable point, and from there, it would be our responsibility. It wasn’t maintained before we moved in, and while maintaining it is part of the lease, and also part of the HOA covenant we signed, it was at a point that professionals are kind of needed – we can’t really handle the dead tree in the back or the palm tree maintenance on our own at this point. Well, though our landlord keeps checking in, the gardeners haven’t shown up, and we got a letter in our mailbox from the HOA saying it was the second notice and we need to weed/edge the front yard.

Since we just moved in, it was the first notice we received, but still. We signed the HOA covenant. We’re fine with the HOA. We know we need to take care of the yard. We feel like dicks that it isn’t done. I hate special snowflake situations. I know that I’m kind of claiming one for myself here. I’m asking you, Internet, to look at the totality of the circumstances here. We’ve been here for two weeks, we’ve had disaster after disaster, and our promised gardeners haven’t shown up. We are very aware we are not keeping up with the HOA rules that we agreed to when we moved into the community, and we know that we need to at least weed the front yard if the gardeners are not going to show up as promised, especially considering we got yet another notice from the HOA. Which is weird. Because… you’ll see.

Yesterday, Phil was outside trying to take down some of the weeds the best he could, just trying to be a good neighbor, because WE KNOW IT’S THE RULES. We’ve just had some PRESSING SITUATIONS. I know how I sound. You don’t have to tell me. I’m aware. I’m trying to get that across. Is it coming across? That I fully understand that we’re in breach of the HOA rules, and that I don’t really excuse us, but that it got away from us, and reasons, okay? There. Phil is outside taking down some of the weeds, and the “I kind of expect you to pay for this” neighbor wife sidles up to him and starts hinting around about how SHE would have expected the gardener would have come by now and how it’s just INSANE that the property management has let it go on SO LONG and SHE would be withholding rent by now.

We know now who finds the weeds to be such a pressing issue.

Here’s what’s strange. There’s not a whole ton of bylaws in the HOA covenant. Keep the lawns nice. Don’t leave the trash cans out. Don’t be loud and disturbing. No visible basketball hoops – yet, they’re all over the place. Okay. And no vehicle mechanics to be performed in driveways at all, absolutely none – but there are plenty of weekend mechanics doing their thing outside. And on street parking is prohibited. Well, people park all up and down the streets – including said neighbor, who use the cul de sac as their personal parking spot for their second pick up truck.

I’m fine with it if we live in a community where the HOA is lax. I’m totally fine with it. I’m even fine with it if we live in a community where the only bylaw they care about is the lawn. I just want to know, you know? I don’t want to be the only schmuck making my guests carpool because my driveway only fits one car, even though the people next door aren’t even using their driveway. So. Which plan do you like better?

  1. An apology to the HOA people, explaining that we just moved in, but also asking for clarification – you know, “we’ll get right on the lawn maintenance, but just for future reference, which of these rules we agreed to actually matter? Just so I’m clear.”
  2. Waiting until the next time neighbor lady strikes up a conversation, mentioning – a little embarrassed, of course – how we got tagged by the HOA for our lawn and how it got away from us with all of the plumbing emergencies we kept having during our move in, but how weird it is. “It’s so strange, though – they’re right on top of us about our lawn, but we read the rules really carefully when we moved in, and they don’t seem to care about the basketball hoops all over the place – which is great, obviously, because where else can you put them that isn’t visible? – and of course they don’t seem to mind the all the on street parking. MEANINGFUL GLANCE AT THEIR TRUCK.”

Seriously. I will follow HOA rules. I will. They’re there for a reason. And the neighbor lady can report me up one side of her frustrated life and down the other when I’m out of line. BUT TO DO IT WHEN SHE HERSELF is breaking the same bylaws just REALLY GIVES ME THE RED ASS. I just need to know. Which laws can I ignore?

Pep puts her butt on the dogs.
I don’t know.

Pep is having some kind of sleep regression. I don’t know why. I’m not going to give you the details because even with the details, you can’t fix it. No one can fix it, not at this age. It’s not a matter of teaching her how to sleep. She knows how to sleep. In fact, she’s an excellent sleeper. Except for the fact that she’s never been one of those twelve hour a night sleepers I was promised in the brochure, she’s the kind of sleeper one might envy. She puts herself to sleep for naps at the same time every day in seconds. She goes to bed at bedtime, again in moments, without complaint. Usually. Sometimes, lately. She generally sleeps right through the night, occasionally requiring a parental visit to retuck a blanket or locate a pacifier, something I’ve suspected for a while we should just stop doing, because she’s perfectly capable of doing both of those things herself. But we’ve done them, because it’s hardly anything, especially in the previous house, where our bedroom doors were so close, they were practically touching. I almost didn’t have to open my eyes to dip into her room for a second, I was practically still asleep when I got back into my own bed.

But now, the house has a split floor plan, and the trek over to her room is not as easy. And now, starting a couple of days ago with a cold that disrupted her sleep with sad cries of “Nosey! Nooosey!,” we’re ending up over there a lot. A lot. For long periods of time. In the hours that should REMAIN UNSEEN BY DECENT LADIES SUCH AS MYSELF. Is she scared? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think she doesn’t actually know how to put herself to sleep, because she usually just falls asleep. I think that side of the house is too quiet. I think she’s aware of how far away we are in this house. I think she might be scared of the sound monitor we added to her room. She calls it the “hello,” because we can talk to her through it, and we say, “Hello, Penelope, it’s Mama/Daddy.” I don’t think she knows it’s us on the other side. I think she’s a manipulator and knows if she just cries LONG ENOUGH, we’ll show up. She sleeps straight through the night some nights. She falls asleep despite her distress if she’s exhausted other nights. She won’t calm down without parental presence and repeatedly walks to her bedroom door to beg for Phil to come over no matter how many times she’s replaced in her bed on the bad nights.

It’s a phase, obviously, and it’s either attached to the cold we’re still just coming out of, or attached to moving to the new house, or it’s attached to some magic combination of circumstances that we haven’t quite put together yet, because some nights are absolutely perfect, not a peep heard the whole night through. It’s a stupid phase, and I hate it, because I already don’t get as much sleep as I require (one million hours) during the week. It’s frustrating because of course it tries our patience and we’re not our best selves with her when she’s dragging us from bed at two in the morning, but she’s crying, “Please, Daddy! Please, Daddy! Please, Daddy!” And who doesn’t feel like a buns hole stomping angrily away from that? Answer? Me. I don’t. I don’t, until the next morning. Because I’m tired.

I guess I did give you the details. But seriously, don’t try to fix it. Come on. It’s a phase. I know the whole “lead her back to bed without saying a word” thing. There’s not anything else. You can’t force someone to sleep. I can’t teach her to sleep, she knows how to sleep. We’ve introduced her to all the stuff in her new room, and the thing is, she needs to suck it up and deal, because we live here. So. Life’s tough. Get a helmet. AND GO TO SLEEP. AH’M TAHRED.

ANOTHER thing about my kid and my house? We have those handle door… handles. Like not knobs, but handles? Yeah, Pen can open those. It’s not good. She’s always bringing me shit from the pantry, which is kind of her, but my need for a box of lasagna noodles in the middle of the afternoon is low, and my need to have my window washed with a combination of her hands and the innards of a can of Coke Zero that she somehow busted open by slamming it repeatedly against the glass is slightly slimmer. Enter this thing Phil found – the Door Monkey. THE EMMER EFFING DOOR MONKEY. All hail that ridiculous piece of plastic. I love you, Door Monkey.

When Phil ordered it from Amazon and handed it to me, I did not understand what I was looking at. It makes no sense in the package, unless you’re the type who can, uh… look at things. And make sense of them. But he put it on the door in about a second and a half and my life was instantly unruined (it was ruined when I moved into a house with stupid handles for door workies, keep up).  It’s out of Pen’s reach, she can’t open the door, neither can the dogs. It can stay on the doors all the time, and you can work it from either side, so it’s not like adults are locked in if it’s on. So I can go lay in our bedroom to read with it on the door, and Phil can come in or I can go out, without removing it or having to ask to be let it/out.

It does leave the door open a crack, and the site says it’s a benefit “to allow for air circulation,” but whatever. It leaves the door open a crack. That’s either something you like, because fingers can’t get pinched, or something you deal with, like if you’re using it on bathroom doors. It comes off the door and goes back on in a hot second, so it’s not a huge deal to take it off if you are using it on a bathroom door and then put it back on when you’re done, if you don’t want someone peeping at you through the crack, but aren’t YOU fancy, using the toilet without an audience standing two inches from your knees.

DOOR MONKEY. SERIOUSLY. DOOR. MONKEY.

MONKEY ALL THE DOORS.

Benefit Cosmetics recently came out with a new concealer called Fake Up. I checked it out at Ulta, but was waiting for a couple of real reviews to come out on sites like Makeup Alley or Makeup Addiction on Reddit, or reliable beauty blogs, because all I had seen up to that point were glowing write ups from people who had attended a release party and gotten some swag bags, so not especially helpful in my eyes. Finally, though, a review came out from a blog I really like (it’s linked up in the blog crouton as well, I suggest you read the whole thing, I did), and I was especially impressed by the before and after pictures. I have an appointment this week for a free brow wax with a $50 purchase from Benefit, so I added this product to my list to buy. Maybe. But, then, I thought, I don’t really have a problem with under eye circles, so maybe not. I mean, it seemed to work well, but if I don’t have the problem it’s designed to fix, why spend the money, right?

But that thought coincided with one of the very rare days I was on the non-clicking side of the camera.

And Fake Up slinks quietly back on to the list.

Oh, are we talking about makeup? Neat! If you’re following me on Twitter, I almost always am these days, and I want to clear something up. I’ve heard quite a few people say, in response to a picture of something I bought, or me talking about some kind of makeup or tool I use or want, that due to not having/using/understanding what I’m talking about, they’re not “good at being a girl” or they “fail at girl” or something like that. I get that the sentiment is a joke, but I want to be clear that one, I don’t hold those kinds of feelings at all – I don’t think of makeup as essential to girliness/womanhood in general, or even essential to my girliness/womanhood. At all. Period. And two, I don’t know what to say when people say that to me. It makes me uncomfortable. I feel like I’m either on the defensive, or that I need to comfort. Either I’m too girly and that’s “uncool,” or I need to say, “Oh, you’re plenty good at having a vagina! Let me see it! I’m sure it’s there!”

I like having makeup. I like owning it, and collecting it, and doing things with it. I spend my extra money on it, and I disappear into the bathroom to play with it when I have free time. I’m not going to get into the whole “why women wear makeup” thing, because OH MY LANDS, not today, but for me, it’s a hobby. Lots of people have hobbies. Lots of people have things they spend their money on, and things they spend their free time doing. This is mine. Sometimes I wear lots, sometimes I wear none. Sometimes I look really nice, sometimes I look really terrible. I just… this is what I like to do with my time. I also like to play video games and watch television, I like to read books, and I hate to cook and I’m bad at art, and I cannot decorate a house to save my life, and I have zero hostessing skills. So. Let’s not get into a who has the tiniest most shriveled up vagina battle over it, okay?

In the new house, I have gotten all of my makeup into one smallish drawer, so it’s really not that bad. Well, one smallish drawer, plus a couple of things in purses here and there. One smallish drawer, the purses here and there, and then the tall bottles on the counter. The drawer, the purses, the bottles on the counter, and then like some samples and stuff I don’t use very much in an overflow drawer. Well, the drawer, the purses, the counter, the other drawer, and then the stuff that isn’t unpacked but that’s not a lot. And that doesn’t include hair stuff, lotions, or perfumes, but that stuff isn’t make up. And of course, brushes are separate in a different bag. So, really, it’s not a lot at all when you think about how I’ve been able to consolidate it together.

I’ve claimed the second bathroom as my own.

I wasn’t planning on this post taking two hours to write or being 4000 words long, so let me just tell you some quick opinions about some of the stuff I’ve picked up recently.

  • Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Palette – this isn’t pictured because it had to go back. Only a couple of the shades were really workable for me. There was a ton of fallout from a couple of them, a couple of the others were really muddy when they blended, and at first I thought that with patience, I could make it work, but… see above about this being a hobby I like to do. I realized that this palette would just NOT be any fun to play around with. Chalky shadows, muddy colors, fallout all over my face – nope. First time I EVER took advantage of the Ulta return policy allowing me to take back something that just didn’t work for me. Nope. Nope.
  • Sugarbomb – This is one of the Benefit powder boxes. As you can see, I have a bunch there lined up on the left. LOVE IT. Coralista was my first, Hervana is my every day, Bella Bamba is one I’ve stayed away from and am just inching in to using, but I loved Sugarbomb from the second I used it. It’s perfect for the summer. It’s a little bronze-y-er than Hervana, and not as soft. You can see swatches here. (That’s a good beauty blog, too.)
  • Mascaras – Clump Crusher by Cover Girl and Big Fatty by Urban Decay. I love them both. A lot. One is significantly less expensive than the other, neither makes my eyes water when I inevitably forget I’m wearing mascara and rub them. Huge bonus.
  • Naked Skin Liquid Makeup by Urban Decay – I bought this after trying the Benefit Oxygen Wow stuff that turned out to be a bad color match. I recognize that I am pale, but I always turn out to be more pale than I think I am when I’m shopping for makeup, and I turned out to be the 0.5 shade in this stuff. I liked how it went on in the store, but I’m still struggling with it at home. It’s buildable, and I like to wear it a bit more sheer, but at home, I haven’t been able to find the balance between my skin being so dry that it goes on and I get flakes between my eyes/next to my nose, and so moisturized that the makeup slides right off my nose. So I end up with a heavier layer than I’d like (it still looks fine, I’d just like to wear a more sheer layer), set with Hello, Flawless from Benefit, which defeats the whole purpose, for me, of wearing the liquid stuff, if I’m just layering on the powder stuff ANYWAY. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just only going to get the results I like from powder/kabuki instead of liquid/sponge or brush. It could be. BUT. The formulation is great – it’s super light, it feels like nothing. The range of colors is awesome, with warm and cool versions for every shade. The price is okay.
  • Brushes – My two favorites at the moment are the eyeshadow “C” brush from ELF and the Expert Face Brush from Real Techniques. If you need brushes, and you don’t want to spend a zillion dollars, these are two good places to go. On eyeslipsface.com, stick to the Studio line of brushes. They’re about $3 each, and they’re not the best thing in the world, but I like the ones I have – especially that “C” brush, the powder brush, and the small stippling brush. They won’t last you forever, but they’re better than expected for their price. The essentials line, the white handled ones, they’re not so good. The brushes are super scratchy. The foundation and concealer ones are okay because you don’t rub/blend with them as much, but that’s about it. The Real Techniques brushes are just great. If you have an Ulta near you, they often go on sale for buy one, get one 50% off, but even not on sale, they’re a great price for the quality that they are. There’s two sets that are a good deal, but I think my next purchase is going to be the travel essentials.
  • I… could say a lot more things here. I should not. You didn’t ask for this. Nobody asked for this.

I really need to stop saying things.

Muppet-head, what I’m going to write about tomorrow, and an asshole translator.

– I’ve realized that having a kid hasn’t really left me with no time to blog, but has dramatically increased my reliance on “here’s  whole bunch of unrelated points” kinds of posts. I like to write posts of 1000, 2000 words – you know that by now, Internet, and I appreciate your tenacity as you cling and determinedly troop through the most meandering and excessively EMPHASIZED paths I take to make what ends up being a very simple point.

But to write those posts, I start out with said very simple point, intending to make it very simply, but as it goes along I get more and more EXCITED about what I am saying and so DETERMINED to make myself clear that I just keep going and going and the tips of my fingers start to hurt because slamming the keys will obviously be translated and I imagine myself with my hair getting all stand uppy and maybe a little drool coming out one corner of my mouth. Blogging is not glamorous, people, except for those who make a lot of money from it and then I am pretty sure it is kind of glamorous.

So I get on these key-thumping, flailing-for-emphasis-even-though-you-can’t-READ-a-flail rolls, and it’s hard to generate such fervor and sustain it when you have to get up every 5 minutes to sing songs about butts and return pacifiers to mouths and say, “What-what-WHAAAAAAAT do you WAAAAAANT?”

– I lost my train of thought right here for a second because I had to go sing a song about butts. Also, I’ve been working on another song to the tune of “Mandy” by Barry Manilow. I sing it to Penny while I work on it. It’s about her being an only child and how I’m going to live out my dreams through her and expectations are going to be really high and good luck.

– Speaking of incredibly long blog posts? I have the August issue of Cosmopolitan sitting in front of me, you guys, and I have high hopes for tomorrow. (TJ’s Cosmo Cliff’s Notes: November 2009, December 2009, January 2010, February 2010, March 2010, April 2010, May 2010)

– You see the ad in the sidebar there for Perching at Home? I think you should check it out, and I am in no way obligated by the ad being there to tell you that. I could just take the money and say nothing, you know. But I’m not. Because I REALLY think you should check it out. Especially if you’re planning some adorable newborn pictures for your present or impending baby.

I also think you should check out the crib rail covers, because I think they’re brilliant and perfect for the type of people who have actually made a nursery for the baby, with a theme and a talent for decorating and all.

BUT NONE OF THIS IS MY POINT. And I have two points. They’re not actually points. They’re just some things I want to say.

I was talking on Twitter about the lamentability of adorable footie pajamas having such a limited lifetime, and several people suggested just cutting the feet off, except I didn’t WANT to cut the feet off. I don’t know how to brush Penny’s hair. Having the jorts of the pajama world on her is just too far into unloved ragamuffin territory for me, what with her hair frizz-waving on one side of her head and sticking straight off the other. So, Beth offered to de-feet them for me.

I KNOW I could have just cut the feet off. Just so we’re clear. I just didn’t WANT TO.

You guys – they came out SO STINKING ADORABLE.

She’s only crying because she loves them SO! MUCH!

I love these pajamas. Having them de-footed definitely extends how long she’ll be able to wear them, and stops me from going to Carter’s and buying them in the next couple of sizes, like I did with a certain dress. Also, it is kind of hard to make excuses to go to Carter’s for new clothes when it has been made very clear that the baby hasn’t grown at all.

Also, shorty pajamas are perfect for Arizona. I don’t know what you non-Arizona people would do. Socks, maybe? I am the terror of old ladies everywhere – I basically never put socks on the baby.

Look, I KNOW that YOU just cut the feet off. And that’s FINE. But should you ever NOT want to cut the feet off, but still WANT THE FEET OFF, can I suggest having this done? I told Beth when she offered to do it for me – this should totally be a service. There are neurotic people everywhere who would rather have their pajamas de-feeted than cut them or buy bigger ones. If I am that neurotic, SOME OF YOU ARE, TOO. Thus, valuable service.

BUT THIS IS NOT ALL. Beth sent along a gift for Penny as well.

I’m not saying anything else about it because I already made a REALLY good yet somehow totally underappreciated joke about it here and I don’t feel as though I can top myself right now.

I was not in any way obligated or paid to say any of this. But look. The crib rail teething covers are just beautiful. She made my baby’s head resemble a Fraggle, which makes me feel pleasantly nostalgic in the way people who grew up in the 80s and 90s like to do (and someone inevitably, ALWAYS ALWAYS, chimes in with “hey, remember slap bracelets??” Yes. We all remember those. And yes, they were banned at my school, too. And then it ALWAYS devolves into people just making lists of random shit they recall “Popples! That waffle cereal! Hypercolor!”). AND she catered to my neurosis by de-feeting pajamas. I’m not OBLIGATED to say crap. But I wanted to. Seriously. Go look at her shop, and come back and tell me what the most awesome thing you found there was.

– Last night, when I was indulging my “stories about in laws” habits (you can indulge yours here and here), I came across yet ANOTHER incident of someone telling a pregnant woman, “Oh, you won’t care once you’re in labor” with regard to having people in the delivery room.

Internet, I heard that a lot. And you know what? I CARED. My mom sat in the waiting room almost ALL DAY for TWO DAYS. She came in when I was on Stadol for an hour or so, and she came in for a good bit of Friday when I had the epidural. The idea is that the pain will make you not care about anything else,  I guess, but I was NOT comfortable being observed while I was in pain. The pain absolutely did NOT make me forget – in fact, it just made me want to be left alone all the more intensely.

Even once I had the epidural and was feeling much better, I STILL didn’t forget. I had my mom leave the room for EVERY check. I woke up from a brief drifting in and out kind of nap to find her talking to the nurse and even snapped at her for talking about my medical information. Being in labor did not make me suddenly forget what a private person I am and how much I wanted privacy during labor. It only made me MORE privatey.

So if you’re pregnant and you’re telling someone how you don’t want anyone in the room, and they laugh blithely and say, “Oh, I’m going to be in there. You won’t even care once you’re in labor!” or some woman who has been through it tells you, “Honestly, you won’t care once the time comes,” you should know that those people are CONFUSED. What they’re SAYING is, “I didn’t care once I was in labor.”

And they seem to have gotten a little mixed up and ended up thinking that what happened to THEM is what will happen to YOU.

One of the most frustrating things of first time pregnancy, I think, is the number of people telling you how you WILL feel and what you WILL do and how things WILL go, based on their personal experiences alone. And it can be so aggravating to try to make your case in the face of that – to say, for example, that you KNOW that you don’t want anyone in the room – because they’ve been through it and you haven’t and they take on an annoying, smug air of “Oh, you’ll see.” And it SUCKS having to defend your points from that position. It does.

Just use this translation code from now on: When someone says “You WILL/WON’T __________,” where __________ is whatever, it’s actually just an asshole way of saying, “I DID/DIDN’T __________.” Then you can take it for what it’s worth, depending on who it is coming from.

– Also assholey? On baby forums, the response, “This must be your first baby, right?” in reply to anything deemed even slightly overprotective, from the super experienced, way laid back, “look how little I care about everything and how cool I assume that makes me in your eyes” second-, third-, etc.-, time parents. I’m not even going to go into why that’s so assholey. You should just know that it is.

– Penny had her 3 month portraits done this weekend. It was mostly a shrieking disaster just like what’s going on behind me right now. Here’s one of the pictures.

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.”

It’s been almost 6 weeks so I’m basically an expert. King Expert, if you will.

And you WILL.

So, before Penny got here, when I was really dragging my feet about shopping, I made a post asking what you, the Internet, thought I would need for a new baby.

Now, everyone is different and someone’s need will absolutely been someone else’s “TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY OMG DON’T BOTHER,” especially because there is a small cadre of women swooping around the Internet who are VERY HARDCORE about “all baby needs is boobs and diapers!” and want you to know that if you buy ANYTHING ELSE AT ALL, you are a silly first time parent who doesn’t know anything about anything.

I’m not going to tell you what you don’t need, because honestly, you just can’t know what you don’t need until it’s sitting in your house and you’re sitting there as well, not needing it. And I don’t think that anything I’m listing is an absolute necessity, because it’s true, I guess – all your baby needs is a boob and diapers, assuming your baby breastfeeds and has a butt. Which are both big assumptions, you know. But look, it’s 2011, we have Amazon.com, and the ability to resell unneeded things on Craigslist, so seriously, “BOOB AND DIAPER!!!” shriekers? Shush.

Anyway, after almost SIX ENTIRE WEEKS as a parent, four and half of which the baby has actually lived in this house, I feel I am now in a position of great experience, and I shall speak to you from on [this] high [stack of pillows] about what stuff we have absolutely used the shit out of.

Also, I will be linking to Amazon for these items, but not a single one of the links is an affiliate link – not because I’m opposed to earning fractions of cents off of your backs, Internet, but because I am too lazy to sort it all out – so if you’re the type who is opposed to me having any amount of money as a result of your clicking actions, you can let down your guard for this blog entry. This is a safe zone for you.

(Oh my god, I just realized I’m about to write a list post of BABY ITEM SUGGESTIONS. I don’t even know me anymore, you guys. But I’m pretty sure only the part about the pack and play is SUPER boring. Skip that part. The rest is okay.)

Here’s the stuff:

The Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper: Those first couple of nights with Penny at home, when we truly believed that her survival was conditional upon our eyeballs being on her at ALL TIMES, this thing saved my butt. It keeps her RIGHT THERE, right near my face, but still in her own containment bin. As someone who was interested in co-sleeping but had NO PLANS to EVER bring her into the actual bed (aaahhh HAHAHAHAHA), it was perfect. And now it is basically the most deluxe nightstand I have ever had. You can fit a ton of shit in there! Also, it’s extremely well made, the sheets are soft and fit very snugly, and the resale value on Craigslist is really quite high, even after a full child’s-worth of use. For what it’s used for, I’m glad we went with the Mini. It’s not too small, if you’re concerned about the Mini vs. the standard Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper. I think I’d only consider a full size, now that I’ve used the Mini, if I was expecting twins or a warthog, maybe.

Also, if you don’t care about color, these things usually go on sale or clearance at BRU or Wal Mart if you keep an eye out.

My Brest Friend nursing pillow: I know there’s a few different nursing pillow options out there, and I went over them all so indecisively that I didn’t actually end up having a nursing pillow at all until Phil went out and bought one for me while I was in the hospital. I had planned to try nursing her for a while and then figure out which pillow worked best for me, but I had trouble holding her up because get this – babies are wiggly and breastfeeding is hard. I know the Boppy is popular and can be used as a baby prop and what not, but I love the Brest Friend because it straps around me and I can get all set up and THEN go grab the baby, with a little baby table right at my waist. She doesn’t roll around on it because it’s flat, and Phil uses it to play video games and give bottles.

It’s kind of a bitch to have to strap it on in the middle of the night so sometimes I don’t, but I always regret it. Probably because I have enormous boobs. Highly recommended if you have enormous boobs. THE LADIES KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

The NoseFrida: Look, I know some of you swear by the blue bulb and that’s fine. I just want to point out that the NoseFrida does not go INSIDE the nostril like the blue bulb does, making me much more confident as a new parent when it comes to the risk of brain stabbing. And I know some of you are like, “Ok, I’ll click on this and reading… reading… WAIT, you want me to do WHAT? With my MOUTH?” and to you I say, well, get over it. Yes, the concept is gross, but it’s not gross in practice.

Except, it is gross in practice, not because of the mouth-snot thing, but because an ENTIRE BABY NOGGIN’S-WORTH OF BOOGERS is going to spring out of your kid’s face the first time you try it, and you will be like, “Oh, shit, I had no idea that was even THERE, I am the WORST PARENT EVER, and what if I hadn’t gotten the NoseFrida and my kid went to preschool with a head COMPLETELY FILLED WITH SNOT and couldn’t learn shapes or colors because there was no space in the head?”

Seriously. It sounds gross, but it’s not, and there’s way more snot in your kid’s head than you know. Help a baby out.

A bouncy seat: A bouncy seat was one of those things I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy, because like swings, everyone says their kid either LOVED it or HATED it. But we realized that we needed a place to set the baby down on the regular, so we picked one up. We got ours at a consignment store (Once Upon a Child) and if you’re comfortable with used baby gear (we are, to some extent – bouncy seat yes, car seat no), I suggest doing that. I’m glad we went ahead and got it because we use it ALL the TIME. On the floor in the kitchen when we’re eating dinner, on the couch when we’re watching TV or playing games, on the floor near the computer so we can rock it with our foot, on the bed when I’m awake but not ready to get out of bed yet. Also, it solves a major dilemma – what the hell am I supposed to DO with a newborn when she’s awake? I felt guilty putting her back in her bed to just lay there. BAM. SEAT. Excellent parenting, self.

Basically, it lets me feel like I’m doing things and engaging the baby, but when it comes down to it, these first few weeks are basically moving her from one containment unit to another.

Also, you can put it on the floor while you’re in the shower, something I should have figured out way sooner, having taken several 3 minute showers fraught with paranoia about the dogs learning how to work a doorknob and finding a way to LICK the BABY.

(She’s since been licked.)

Waterproof pad thingies: We have a couple of different kinds, and I bought them with the intention of putting them under the sheets in the co-sleeper and pack and play, like a responsible parent, but you know what, the truth is, they mainly come into play in the middle of the night. We spread one out on the bed because even in our extremely tiny house that is the same size as a decent two bedroom apartment, with two established changing stations within 15 feet or less, we change her in the bed at night.

Ask me how many times she has to pee off the pad and onto the sheets before we wise up and start making the very short journey to an actual changing station to do diapers in the night.

Answer: I don’t know. It’s happened a lot and it’s going to need to happen a LOT MORE TIMES before getting out of bed to change her is an attractive option.

Pack and Play: Honestly? Another place to put the baby. I’ve come to the conclusion that you really need a lot of places to put the baby. There needs to always be a baby containment unit nearby, no matter how small your place is. I’m sure eventually you get comfortable with putting the baby in another room and shutting the door, but for now, while she’s sleeping and waking up all at random and sometimes will allow herself to be put down and sometimes won’t, a place to set the baby as soon as an opportunity presents itself is vital.

Plus? Changing station. I don’t know how, in such a small house, we have three places to change the baby (two official, one my side of the bed), but we do and we use them all. You need lots of places to put the baby and lots of places to change the baby. I’m not sure exactly what would happen if we had less places for putting and changing, but I can tell you I’m positive that I don’t want to know.

A swing: We also have one of these. I don’t know if we need it, but my mom bought it for us when we were still up in the air on whether or not we’d get one. Penny isn’t totally sure how she feels about it yet, but in general, she does like motion (the stroller, the car, etc) and seems to be warming up to it. Also, it’s pretty damn swanky and I like to look at it. Sue me. She also looks adorable and tiny in it. Also ALSO, it’s a place to put the baby when you feel like you’ve been putting her in the bouncy seat too much, and I know you’re wondering why the hell where you put the baby even MATTERS, but you just wait until that point where even though your kid is still sleeping a lot, they’re spending a larger portion of time with their eyeballs looking all around and you feel like you need to put on some kind of small, homegrown three ring circus affair for her entertainment.

OR? You can put her in the swanky swing with the dangly spinny doo dads and pat yourself on the back.

Seriously. You wait until the baby is awake with the looking around eyeballs and see how long you try to make awkward conversation before you’re looking around for a variety of stimulating places to PUT her.

Dear self, try an ACTUAL CAMERA once in a while lest Penny grow up believing that 2011 was just a very grainy, cellphoney-esque year.

*****

I’ve looked over this list again and will say, IN SUMMATION: We have found that a variety of places and things to put the baby IN or ON is extremely helpful. The wider the variety, the less time you will spend trying to figure out how to entertain a newborn, even though you logically know that all she wants to do is LOOK at stuff. Logic has no place here, people.

There are also a whole rack (HA!) of feeding and nursing items, but those are for another day because as you know, that’s been a whole ISSUE in this house.

OH and ALSO? A frivolous thing that I kind of laughed at when I saw it and did not buy, but we totally could have used: The Itzbeen timer. Even now, it seems kind of over the top to me, but for those first couple of days at home – even before Penny came home – I was fucking LOST. We had to get a white board so that I could write down when I had taken my medications and when I would need to take more. Once she came home, I wrote down feeding times and amounts and when the next feeding was due.

Even WITH the white board, I forgot to take pills and one time, woke in a panic, convinced that I had slept through the entire night and had not fed Penny at all between 8pm and 9am. (I had.)

Even NOW, almost 6 weeks out, King Expert and all, my short term memory seems to be on vacation. I can’t count the times I’ve asked Phil, “Where did I put that down? What’s going on? Am I having a stroke? Seriously, is this a stroke? Look at my face. Is it even? Am I having a stroke? I’m having a stroke, aren’t I?”

(Have also accused both Penny and the dogs of “activating my brain tumor,” but that’s a different thing.)

The timer may seem kind of ridiculous and I don’t think I’d buy it myself, but that and the NoseFrida may be my go to baby shower gifts in the future, for efficient snot sucking and non-stroke reassurance – both extremely important in these early days.

As for having stuff and not using it? Honestly, we aren’t totally prone to over-buying and did try to keep our purchases reasonable and limit them to only what Penny would need in the first couple of months, but I can’t really say we own anything that has proven to be absolutely useless. There’s stuff that I’m sure we could go without, but really, we’ve used just about everything.

I think the only surprising thing that went completely unused are some onesies – see, some onesies are long and skinny and some are short and wide. Have you met me? Well, if you have, you’ll be as surprised as I am to know I have a long skinny instead of a short widey. (You should know that as of right now, I’ve decided to refer to babies as “long skinnies” or “short wideys,” as if those two phrases were nouns and also acceptable ways to refer to infants.) I mean, not that everyone’s kid looks just like them, but looking at Phil (almost 5’10”, averagey) and me (5’2″, widey), if there was ever a case for the production of a short widey, we’d be it.

If you happen to have a short widey, let me know right away, because I’ve got some adorable short pink widey onesies for your widey’s early days.