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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!