Friday, January 10, 2014

You Say You Want a Resolution...

January is that traditional time to take stock and make resolutions about the upcoming year, and who am I turn my back on 1600 years of moral piety? I asked the Girl and the Boy if they had any resolutions for 2014 and the Boy had an immediate answer. "I want to fit a week's worth of my garbage into a jar." Hmmmm. Okay. I'm totally with him on wanting to produce less garbage, but I'm not sure he realized that this will probably require him to cut back on his box-a-day YoKid squeezers habit, unless the empty tubes turn out to be recyclable. The Girl also had a lofty goal, "I'm going to become a pescetarian." Again, hmmmmm.
"Are you going to learn how to cook, too?" I asked.
"No," she said, "why?"
"It just seems like either all of us will have to become pescetarians, or I'll be cooking you a lot of separate meals."
"Oh, yeah. Well, I have another idea. I want to plant a vegetable garden. You can help."
I can tell you now, that none of my New Year's Resolutions involve eating more fish, becoming an organic farmer, or researching the recyclability of YoKids Squeezer wrappers. Somehow, my children were making me complicit in their resolutions, as if I need more work! I've got my hands full with my own goals:

1. Be Nicer to Future Me - I think "treat myself" or "be kinder to myself" are fairly common resolutions, and this one is in that same vein, but with a twist. I am usually pretty nice to my present self, which means I don't force the present me to do things that I don't want to do, like fold the laundry or package up boxes to return to Amazon. I leave all these unpleasant tasks to the sucker of the century: Future Me. Future Me is the one who suffers when I schedule back to back to back dentist appointments for the last week of school. The last week of school? That's six months from now! The world will probably be end and then it won't matter! I suppose a better way of saying this is that I won't procrastinate, but then I couldn't use this cartoon:


Right now I am writing a blog post and Future Me will be going to Publix in a few hours. Clearly, I am doing a great job on resolution number one.

2. Stop Being Afraid - Well, so here's where I confess that I am afraid of some very random things that are preventing me from being my best self. First, I am afraid of Ikea. The parking lot scares me, the thought of wandering around the store trying to figure out what I need fills me with anxiety, and the idea of getting a box of particleboard pieces that will become a dresser makes me break out in a rash. I'm afraid I'm going to get lost in the crazy maze of a store, or that I'll get the wrong thing and have to go back, or that someone will think I'm Swedish and talk to me. I think my phobia can be traced to getting lost in a T-Bana station Stockholm suburb on a cold winter night in 1993. I'm also still mad about the time I bought measuring cups in the Elizabeth, New Jersey Ikea, only to get home and realize the measurements were metric. But, I vow to overcome this fear in 2014 so that I can buy stylish and reasonably priced home decor like the rest of the civilized world.

Yes! So my experience at Ikea! via

Another thing I'm afraid of is cosmetic dermatology. The thought of someone lasering things off my face and body freaks me out, hypodermic needles aimed in the vicinity of my eyes makes me think of A Clockwork Orange, and even facials are kind of scary. But, the truth of the matter is that I'm of an age where I need to really go and get myself de-freckled and generally freshened up a bit. Also, I have friends who rave about these procedures, so they must be less torturous than I imagine. My secret fear is that I'll go in with a mantra of no fillers, lip injections, or check implants, but that the professional face-fixer people will be so persuasive that I'll end up looking like a mashup of Carrot Top, Donatella Versace, and Axl Rose.   

3. React Better to Criticism - The K will vouch for me on this, I am miserable at taking criticism. This is something I have struggled with for my entire life, other than the brief time that I was on anti-depressants because I hated my job. During that time very little fazed me, but I also gained 10 pounds and watched a lot of reality television. But, it is important that I get better at receiving criticism ASAP, since I will be (hopefully) trying to get my novel published, and from what I've heard, that involves a lot of rejection. And, I'm fairly sure that rejection letters don't say: "We don't want to publish your novel, but (((((hugs)))))." Before I even get to the point of being officially rejected, I have to gracefully receive and process whatever criticism my readers might have on my first draft. Fingers crossed that all their written critiques end with (((((hugs!)))))

Oh, Girl, I so get you.

4. Pay More Attention to my Children - My fourth resolution is to pay more attention to what the children are doing, especially when they're on the computer. Right around when school break started, I introduced the kids to my Amazon Prime account. I figured that this would be a fabulous way to keep them occupied while I tried to get ready for Christmas. I told them that they had to stick to age-appropriate shows and only ones that they could stream for free. They watched a lot of Mythbusters, Chopped, and Wipeout! and regaled me with all sorts of information that they gleaned from their programs. They learned about tripe from Chopped, they learned about roshambo (the rock-paper-scissors version, not this one) from Mythbusters, and from Wipeout! they learned about Vanessa Manillo. So, educational all around. I was blissfully happy until I opened my January Am Ex bill and discovered that they had not followed all of my rules, to the tune of $300+ worth of rentals. More mortifying than the dollar amount was the shear volume of programs they bought - about 95 in less than two weeks. So much for my 2013 resolution of limiting screen time.

So, if you look at the screenshot above, what I think happened was that the kids were watching the same episode - say episode 8 of season 2 of Mythbusters - and instead of just buying the damn thing for $10, they were renting it five times for $15. Because, why pay less when you can pay more? They are my children, after all. So, I called up Amazon and got very huffy with the customer service rep and said that it was impossible that they could have racked up so many charges. She was very nice not to tell me to pay more attention to my children and actually refunded everything. I immediately set up a password to prevent them from making any purchases. I have promptly forgotten the password, so now we all have to stick to free programs, which should probably be another New Year's Resolution because it's already been forced upon us.

So, those are my resolutions and I really feel like I can accomplish them. Or rather, I feel like Future Me is totally capable of handling all of these changes. Stupid schmuck.

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