Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Buyer's Remorse

Here's what you need to know about me and flash sales aka timed online designer clearance aka One King's Lane, Joss & Main, Gilt, Rue La La, Zulily or any of the ilk of websites that deal in discount premium sample sales:

I think that the spirit of nearly all my blog posts can be captured in
someecards format. 
All that pressure of knowing that there are only "3 left!" or that it's the "last one!" and that it will be removed from my basket in 15 minutes if I don't buy it has forced me to into the worst impulse purchases. I only have myself to blame by getting distracted by the timer in the corner of my computer screen and failing to note details like size and materials of products. I am incapable of selecting items properly and, as a result, I have all these random things that I don't like and I can't return. Here are some examples of my worst mistakes.

Example 1: "Rustic Fish Sculpture" -

This was a recent Joss & Main purchase. I ordered it late at night and I blame grogginess on my failure to read any of the specifications on this bad-boy, including size and material. In the above picture you can see that I used a Monopoly house to show scale. It's easily over a foot tall and made out of a resin product that has been unconvincingly textured to look like old wood. Any sighted person would not be fooled into thinking that an old fisherman in a New England fishing village whittled this out of a piece of driftwood. After it has served out its purpose by being publicly called out in this blog, I literally have no idea what to do with it. Like everything from these companies, there are no returns and it just sits around giving me the fishy eyeball:

It's totally mocking my stupidity. I can tell.
For some reason, I thought that the fish would be the size of a stick of butter or a newborn panda (does anyone else think it's funny that baby pandas are always described as being the size of a stick of butter?) Instead it's the size of a regulation football, if a football also had a tail. Clearly, I would have been a terrible engineer or architect for many reasons, but one is that when I see a measurement, I have a very poor sense of how much space that measurement occupies in real life. And yes, I know that there is an off-color joke at my expense in here somewhere, but I am too much of a lady to make it. Ahem.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Deferred Maintenance

I've been busy the last two weeks taking care of all those things I failed to do for the last ten years during which time I was only alone for three consecutive hours at a stretch. I suppose I could have been cleaning out closets, organizing papers, and scrubbing mildew off our screened porch all along, but when you only have a short amount of truly free time, you tend to not want to spend it doing something that is deadly boring or unpleasant, even if it is necessary. I think this applies to people with very time-consuming jobs, as well. When I was working 12-hour days as a lawyer, I really didn't want to spend my non-working hours doing housework or creating a filing system for my important papers. I wanted to watch The Bachelor and eat carbs.

The deferred maintenance doesn't just apply to our house. I, myself, had some deferred maintenance, as well. The first full week that the kids were at school, I managed to schedule a haircut and a pedicure. What I really need is a facial and some laser treatments on my freckles, but that seemed like a lot in one week, so instead I bought this thing:

It's called the Clarisonic Mia 2 and Sister recommended it when we were in Maine this summer. Apparently, all her fancy, beautiful friends use it, too. No one told me that this is what people who take care in their appearance use to wash their faces! (Aside: After my second year in law school our whole class had to take a class in trial techniques. We pretended to be real lawyer and delivered opening statements, questioned witnesses, and all that jazz. Our performances were video taped and we got to take our tapes to various actors employed to critique our performance. My tape was critiqued by Jo Ann Pflug who gave me some pointers on making eye-contact and then said, "you would be an attractive girl if you just took some care in your appearance." In retrospect she was 100% correct, but I was quite offended. Additionally, it's good that Wikipedia wasn't around back then because, at the time, all I knew was that Jo Ann Pflug was in M*A*S*H and Laugh In. Now I see that I was insulted by Chuck Woolery's ex-wife!)

I really like the Clarisonic. I'm not sure it makes a huge difference in the way my skin looks, but my skin definitely feels cleaner, which is probably more important. I bought mine at Nordstrom, because it was on sale and came in fun colors. Washing your face isn't that exciting, so you should probably enjoy some aspect of the process. It's also available on Amazon for about $20 less, but the Nordstrom one came with a bag, replacement brush head, and two kinds of cleanser. If you bought those extras separately, I think you'd end up spending about $20 and the Amazon one was in light pink instead of persimmon, which is obviously a superior color.

The best thing about the purchase was that when the Baby saw it, she whispered to me, "you can get one of those to remove the hair from your body." In case you are wondering how she became familiar with hair removal systems, I can only assume that it's because the children discovered Full House this summer. I knew that the advertising on that program skewed towards depressed drug-addicts (see below), but I guess that perhaps these people are depressed drug addicts because they are very hairy, because No! No! Hair also advertises:

 This does contradict my working theory which was that the people watching Full House are depressed and taking drugs because they are watching Full House.

Monday, August 12, 2013

At Least it Didn't Rain

The Boy's birthday was last week and he wanted to celebrate in typical fashion: a dinner of veggie burgers, broccoli, and playing lots of Scrabble. Isn't that what all 8-year-olds want to do on their birthdays? Oh wait, no that's what most 80-year-olds want to do on their birthday. What can I say? The kid has the interests and tastes of a senior citizen. In fact, when he was six his Christmas list included slippers, a subscription "to that newspaper that Granddad gets" (The New York Times), and a deck of playing cards. One of my friends "adopted" an elderly man at a local retirement home and his Christmas wish list was nearly identical to the Boy's.

Thank goodness he spared me for his friend birthday party this year and I didn't have to come up with ideas for a "Canadian" party (read all about it here). He wanted a baseball party where he and his friends actually played baseball. Considering that last year's party involved renting a snow-making machine, baseball was a pretty easy assignment.

I have to admit, snow in August was pretty cool. 
I reserved a field at a local park and prayed that it wouldn't rain because my plan B was...well, to be honest, there never really was a plan B. I obsessively checked the forecast starting ten days out and was relieved that despite having a ton of rain this summer, Sunday which was party day, was supposed to be hot and sunny with only a slight chance of rain.

Meanwhile, (because God forbid I just work on one thing at a time), I was making arrangements to return our Gerbil Exchange Student, Ella Cookie, to the Baby's former preschool teacher. Ella Cookie has been living with us since the end of May and it was time to say farewell.

The Baby's teacher and I exchanged several emails regarding arrangements for Ella Cookie and it was decided that another teacher at the school who lives on our street would pick up Ella Cookie today (Monday) and take him to school. Yeah! Not that Ella Cookie hasn't been a good guest, but I'm ready to have the enormous glass fish tank full of rodent accouterments out of our study.

So, early Sunday morning I went into the study and saw that Ella Cookie was lying very still on the side of the tank. Having watched the BrainPOP video discussed here, I was pretty sure that Ella Cookie was not sleeping. Although there were no flies, she looked pretty, well, dead.

I was conflicted. In fact, I had three thoughts running through my head simultaneously: 1. I'm sad that Ella Cookie is dead, 2. What am I going to say to the kids? 3. Why the fuck couldn't it have lived one more fucking day so I didn't have to deal with this.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Genetic Crapshoot

When I was a kid I overheard my parents talking about friends of theirs who were an objectively good-looking couple, but whose toddler daughter was decidedly homely. "What can you do?" Dad said, shrugging, "genetics are a crapshoot." Dad repeated this phrase throughout my childhood whenever we were faced with some aberration. For instance, Dad was big on telling bedtime stories about the presidents (I know, I know), and he told me that President John Adams's son, John Quincey Adams was also president. "Did he have any other children?" I asked. "Oh yes, but they didn't really accomplish anything. In fact, one of them died of alcoholism. Genetics are a crapshoot, honey." I was maybe six, but well on my way to being indoctrinated. Another time we were behind a car emblazoned withe with college stickers proclaiming: Harvard! Columbia! Princeton! University of West Virginia! Dad shook his head, "that, m' dear is clear evidence that genetics are a crapshoot."

As an aside, what do we think about the RIP stickers on back windshields? Is this just a southern thing? Here's an example:

As an aside to the aside, isn't it sad that kids today don't know Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes as a smart, funny cartoon character, but rather as a sadistic-looking kid who pisses on various things, i.e.:

And there are hundreds more. To paraphrase and misquote Field of Dreams, if you build it, cartoon Calvin will piss on it, no questions asked.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

First Day!

Unbelievably, the first day of school in our district is August 1st, which makes us the only people in the country who don't feel like the back-to-school advertisements are obnoxiously early. This year we have new schools for the Girl and the Baby and same-old, same-old for the Boy, who is just happy to finally put first grade behind him. If you think that I took the fact that my children have to go to three different schools in stride, you'd be one of the people I've conned into thinking I'm laid back and relaxed. In fact, I have been in a dead panic for several weeks and have succeeded in alienating the K and a number of friends and acquaintances with my complaints and concerns. Basically, I have felt much like this poor bird who got trapped in our screened porch:

This happened yesterday, and if such a thing happened in a novel, I would think it was heavy-handed symbolism. The good news is that he either found his way out or died and his body is in an inconspicuous location.