Random Monday

In CategoryRandom Monday


• Here’s an interesting story about dropping mice on Guam in an effort to kill snakes.


• New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems determined to RUIN PIZZA now. That guy is out of control.

• I find myself extremely unmotivated to unpack. Extremely. Also, I feel slightly sickened at how much crap we have. Boxes and boxes of stuff. Who needs this much stuff? We’ve gotten along with one skillet and one pot and one knife for a year and a half. Having more than that is weird.

Being unsettled by the amount of stuff in boxes does not stop me from spending every waking moment thinking about getting even more stuff, however. It’s like, I have a lot of stuff, but it’s not the right stuff. For example, we have no lamps. None. Well, two. But mostly none. Also, we have no chairs. Literally none. We have one sofa. No side chairs. No kitchen chairs. No office chairs. Zeros chairs of any kind. How am I 41 years old with no chairs? Also, no tables. Which I suppose works out fine, because with no kitchen chairs, a table by itself would be pointless. No end tables. No nightstands. Nothing. You know what I DID find, though? Rocks. A box of rocks. very nice, polished, vase filler-type rocks, neatly packed into zippy baggies and cushioned by tissue paper. But still. Rocks.

• Happy Monday, y’all! Sorry this is late, but please link up with your own Randomness below!

Grown-Ups Ruin Everything

In CategoryNavel Gazing

I’ve been thinking more about this after I vented a little the other day about how wary I am of getting my kids into group sports because of all the pressure to…to what, exactly? To get ahead? To win the next competition? To go pro? Always the pressure for more, better, bigger, faster. Something about it doesn’t seem healthy to me.

And then I had lunch with a friend last week, and of course we were talking about our kids. R has 3 terrific kids, and has homeschooled them from the beginning. She is a source of great encouragement to me, because her kids are almost grown and they’re  all fantastic. They are friendly, kind, not socially backward, and best of all, they are confidently the age that they are without any manufactured world-weary teenage ennui.

ANYway. She was telling me about her youngest, E, who is 17. E is the delightful teenager who used to come clean my bathrooms for me once a week (I highly recommend this if at all possible). She is also a really good amateur photographer, and she posts some pretty amazing pictures on Facebook.

We talked about one picture in particular, and then I asked if E wanted to be a photographer when she grows up.


The minute I said it, I realized that I was doing the very thing that some of the moms and dads and coaches whose kids play competitive sports do: trying to turn an interest into a vocation.

Why? Why do we do this? There is no reason to take something that a kid (or regular person, for that matter) is interested in and push them into making it something more.  More. Why do we want everything to be MORE? And don’t you think doing that can ruin the very thing that was previously loved?

If someone tried to tell me to try to make money knitting, it would ruin the whole thing. I don’t WANT knitting to be a job. I want it to be something I do for pleasure.

I do want my children to love what they choose to do for a living, of course I do. But I also need to be mindful that I don’t associate the worth of everything with money or a certain level of success. The older I get, the more I realize how much better it is to be motivated by what’s internal, by a passion. It makes me more satisfied and more confident; just plain happier in general.

And I’d like to communicate this realization to my kids so they aren’t 40 by the time they figure it out. The question is, how do I go about it?

To the Mattresses!

In CategoryNavel Gazing

When we moved out of our house 16 months ago, we got rid of all our mattresses. Jim and I bought ours around 15 years ago, and it lasted through 5 moves and one Super Puker baby. There was really no question we weren’t going to store it. The kids had super cheap twin mattresses because….well, because I am a cheapskate; and also because people who are practically brand new and weigh 60 pounds and aren’t, say 41 with back problems, don’t need high dollar beds.

Which I suppose is the long way around to saying that we went mattress shopping on Friday night.

We hit the local Big Chain Cheap Furniture Store, and tried a few out. Then we decided to shop around a little and see if there were any President’s Day deals to be had at the Super! Cheap! Mattress! Warehouse! (cheesy commercial font).

It was 7:30 and they were about to close when we walked in and told the guy we needed three mattresses – two full-sized and one king. We tried a bunch out, and of course the kids acted like freaking Goldilocks – “this one’s too soft! this one’s too hard! this one’s okay, I guess.”

Then we tried out the kings, which of course get more and more expensive the further up the row you get. We agreed on one finally, the poor sales guy following us around the whole time, tap-tap-tapping on his calculator and giving us the best price. We asked for a quote (so we could continue shopping on Saturday), and got ready to head home.

He goes and starts messing around with his computer, and then comes back to us and says, “you know, what if I called my boss and asked if he would give you a better deal?” and I said, “what kind of deal are we talking about?” He taps on the computer, sighing and lip-biting and dragging the whole thing out, eventually saying he would call and ask if the boss would be willing to cover the tax for us, which was a savings of about $160.

And I said, “sure, you can call, but that would still be over our budget…” and he’s all like, “well, what’s your budget?” and I said a number about $300 less than our actual budget. And he sucked the air through his teeth and acted like he never even HEARD a number that low before and said his boss would never go for it. Then he threw out another number that was not even in my ballpark, and Jim and I looked at each other and said, “Okay, well, just print the quote and we’ll talk about it and maybe come back.”

People never come back. Everyone knows that.

So he starts hemming and hawing and finally I said, “Look. Here’s the thing. We’ve already been to Bigname Cheap Store and we know we can get 3 mattresses there for about $700 less than you are quoting us. I know these are better quality, but frankly we just moved here and with all the expenses involved, we really have to stick to our budget. We really can’t go any higher than One Hundred Dollars Above What I Said Before.”

And he said, “if I call my boss and he goes for that number, and I don’t think he will, are you really going to do it?” and I said, “I’ll write you a check right now if you can get us out of here with those three mattresses, tax included, and free delivery for Number Still $200 Under My Budget.”

And he called.

And the boss went for it.

And that’s the story of how I talked the mattress salesman down $552.58. Only $200 more than Bigname Cheap Store for WAY better mattresses (Sterns & Foster), but still also $200 less than my planned budget.

Jim thought I was the bomb, which was the best part of the whole thing. He even fist-bumped me, because we are so cool like that.


Now. Lest you start getting all carried away thinking how awesome I am, and wishing you were married to me and so on, I have another story.

The new house has a big pillar thing in between the dining room and the living room. Little likes to lean on it and jump on it and dance around it. It drives me kind of nuts.

Yesterday, I got fed up and snapped, “Little! Get off that pole!”

So. Yeah. I said that to my daughter. Awesome Mommy Moment #8973.


Random Monday

In CategoryRandom Monday


• Articles like this – How Food Companies Exploit Americans with Ingredients Banned in Other Countries are what continue to motivate me to feed my family the highest quality food I possible can. Knowing the food industry and the FDA act in ways that are diametrically opposed to that goal makes it a struggle.

• Eric Holder is a terrible Attorney General. There. I said it. This in particular is frightening.

• The always thought-provoking Peter Gray at the Freedom to Learn blog at Psychology Today with a brutally honest post on the damage that playing football does to young men’s bodies.

I have a lot of mixed feeling about sports. Obviously, being active and athletic is a good thing. But the hysteria that surrounds sports? No thanks. Kids don’t seem to play for fun anymore. And I’m not interested in promoting the idea that every single interest has to “go” somewhere and be practiced with rabid devotion. I often think that Little would be great at gymnastics. She’s always flopping all over the damn place. But if we do enroll her, I know I will have to keep a sharp eye out for negative body talk and dieting nonsense. It makes me wary.

Cake-Batter-Flavored Chapstick? GROSS.


• It’s moving day! Hopefully it all goes smoothly. Maybe the boxes will turn out to be so organized that they practically unpack themselves. Maybe Past Deb had mercy on Future Deb. Maybe I will find a big bag of money in one of them. Fingers crossed, people.

• Happy Monday, y’all! Link up with your Randomness below!