Category Archives: Uncategorized

Summer Activity with Kids Redux: Academic/Creative/Organizing

We are doing our academic/creative summer activity for the third summer in a row, and we have added two new features.

First new feature: a new activity option to choose from. We still do just two 30-minute segments (or just one, if it’s a busy day, or none if it doesn’t fit at all), but now we can choose academic, creative, or organizing. I added this for a couple of reasons. One: some of us (Rob, Elizabeth, me) want to organize stuff, and feel happy when it’s done, but we have trouble making ourselves do it; this made me think of it as a candidate for our summer project, because the whole thing started on a concept of “these are things we want to do, but we can’t make ourselves do them.” Two: after two summers of this, I am having a hard time finding creative things I want to try, and would REALLY rather spend that time working on the bathroom closet or undoing what Paul did to the pantry.

Second new feature: Life Training. Rob’s upcoming departure is making me panic about all the things I maybe forgot to tell him. Also, this means I get a head start on the other kids. I have been adding almost daily to a list of things I want to cover:

********

short showers
take hair off the drain after a shower
rinse toothpaste-spit down the sink
check toilet rim/seat after using, and remove anything left behind
boys: periodically use toilet paper to wipe dust/moisture off lidless ring
clothes out of bathroom
hang up towels
put out a new roll of toilet paper when the old one is getting low
use your own towel or the handtowel for hand-drying
if the bathroom smells bad, put on the fan and/or use air freshener
turn off the lights when you leave the bathroom

pick up things that fall on the floor
throw away wrappers
if you miss the trash, try again

if a piece of laundry is wet, hang it on the edge of the laundry basket to dry

hang up coat/backpack

plug phones in after use

check pockets before putting things into laundry
turn clothes rightside-out before putting into laundry
put socks into their natural state before putting into laundry
stain-treat if necessary

clear dishes
remove liquid from cups
remove food from dishes
soak if necessary
follow-up on dishes left soaking
wash outsides/backs of dishes/pans as well as insides/fronts
put dishes into dishwasher
wipe up spills you make

bring things up from the pantry when supply is getting low
put things on the list when pantry is getting low

if you use up something refillable (some hand soaps, for example), refill it
if you use up something non-refillable (other hand soaps, for example), get out a new one
if you don’t know which one something is, ask someone who does know (Mum, for example)
some things can have a little water added to them to stretch them

if you take something away from where it belongs, put it back afterward
if you use something out in the yard, put it away afterward

fold bags multiple times before clipping

chew with your mouth closed
please / thank you
sneeze into elbow
use a handkerchief or tissue / don’t pick your nose publicly
close doors quietly

honorifics
handshakes
introductions

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This is not in any way a COMPLETE list: it’s just the things I want to emphasize this particular summer. And for almost all of this list, this is not the first time we’ve been over it: I have been instructing/nagging about these things for YEARS. But some stuff is new, like refilling hand soaps and adding water to stretch things: I always handle that, and it occurred to me that they might not even know it’s being done, let alone how to do it. And with the stuff I’ve been instructing/nagging about for years, I’m not sure I’ve told EVERY child the why and how of it, or carefully/patiently showed them what I mean, or PUT IT IN WRITING SO THEY CAN’T SAY I DIDN’T TELL THEM. I can feel as if I’ve said something A MILLION TIMES when actually it turns out I explained it to three of the five. Also, some of the items have a new why/how element now that Rob is going to be living with people he isn’t related to.

Some things, like loading the dishwasher, are going to be ongoing throughout the summer: I will keep calling the children in to show them how to do it, and then I will keep having them try it themselves. For the smaller/shorter items on this list, we are adding them to the academic/creative/organizing schedule. Here is how we do it:

30 minutes academic/creative/organizing
brief gathering to discuss what we did
30 minutes academic/creative/organizing
brief gathering to discuss what we did
one life training lesson

Yesterday, for example, we reviewed handshakes and making eye contact and saying “Hi, I’m _____” and then saying “Nice to meet you!”; we practiced it for when you’re the one starting it and for when someone else starts it.

The whole batch of activities takes approximately an hour and twenty minutes, and I’m finding it very satisfying. We don’t have a very busy summer this year, so this gives me the feeling of Doing Things, and also helps with general summer restlessness: the kids might be bickering and I might be irritable, but then we do this and everyone feels better afterward. And the bathroom closet is looking great.

Hair and Nails

I had my hair highlighted/streaked, and it came out more dramatic than I’d anticipated: my hair is light brown, and I got the bleachy highlights instead of the recommended caramel/honey type; on one hand I knew exactly what I was doing and on the other hand there was some resulting self-consciousness and uncertainty, especially when I pulled it back:

Here’s a more flattering picture of it down:

I thought Paul might tease. We have a long-running difference of opinion on the color of my hair, and this could be seen as a fresh start to that discussion. Long, long ago when we met (I was YOUNGER THAN ROB IS NOW), I called my hair dark blonde, and it WAS IN FACT dark blonde. It has continued to darken over the years, and I have gone through several stages of acceptance to call it light brown. Paul, though, has called it “brown” all along. And it is NOT brown! HIS hair is the kind of dark brown that children use a black crayon to represent, and he calls THAT brown TOO. There is a huge difference between BROWN-brown hair and the used-to-be-blonde shade of light-to-medium brown so many of us ended up with.

THIS is brown:

(image from Amazon.com)

THIS is brown:

(image from Amazon.com)

THIS is brown:

(image from Amazon.com)

And I didn’t even choose the DARK browns for those pictures, I chose the MEDIUM browns! Paul’s hair is MUCH darker than those, and he just calls it “brown”! Mine is lighter than those, and he just calls it “brown”! Brown is a very pretty color, but it is not the color of my hair! I’m not being unreasonable here!

Anyway. When he came home he didn’t say anything about the highlights/streaks. We’d been talking for maybe ten minutes when I said, “It’s a good sign that you didn’t come in and say ‘Yo, stripes!’ about my hair; I was a little worried that…” and he looked at my hair and said “Whoa!” So apparently his eyes had just not yet rested upon it.

In other cosmetic news, Elizabeth did my nails. One hand is assorted daisies; the other is galaxy nails:

Bath & Body Works NEW Lavender Vanilla Scent

Here is another story of something hard to get rid of:

I mentioned recently how much I like the Bath & Body Works lavender-vanilla scent, and that I had placed a largish order. It arrived—and the scent is different. It’s hard to describe a scent to say what’s different/wrong, but it IS different/wrong. The sweet part of the smell is now more like honey than vanilla, and the lavender isn’t as sharp or as noticeable. I tried to talk myself into thinking it WASN’T different, just FRESHER, but no: it’s different. I used it anyway for awhile, thinking it would grow on me, but no: I don’t like it.

Here are the things that make it hard to get rid of:

1. I JUST bought it a few months ago!

2. And I was so happy about it when I ordered it, and happy again when I stashed my treasures away, and happy again every time I saw them waiting there!

3. And I bought so much: four body washes and two lotions, plus two each of travel-size body wash and lotion!

4. And it’s EXPENSIVE. I bought it as a SPECIAL THING to USE SLOWLY.

5. It can’t be all THAT different.

But…I didn’t want it. I am halfway through the first body wash, and each time I use it the smell makes me feel a little sick. This is silly. What, I’m going to use it all, feeling sick the whole time, because it was expensive and I’m sad it didn’t work out? No. And I’m not going to return it, not after several months, and I don’t want to try to sell it on eBay.

The key was finding the right place to donate it. Goodwill didn’t seem right. Freecycle would have been okay, but not quite right. The local food/necessities pantry seemed right: they give out free food and toiletries to families who need them, and my daydream is that some of those families include members who LOVE Bath and Body Works stuff and will like this scent and will get that TREAT feeling out of it. It was hard to bag it up, but there was relief in putting it into the collection bin.

Bus

I have fretted here a number of times about having to take Edward into a big city for his various Crohn’s-related medical treatments and tests. I am scared of driving in cities, and I’m not accustomed to dealing with one-way streets or parking garages or people treating two lanes as three lanes, and people honk at me and I can’t tell what the honks mean because they all just sound like honks and I don’t speak honk, and anyway each time I have to drive into the city I make sure ahead of time that my affairs are in order.

Paul discovered there is a comfy bus (the kind with overhead compartments and a bathroom) that leaves from a small, easy little station 20 minutes from our house, and drives to a stop that is only half a mile’s walk from the children’s hospital. Edward and I tried it, and it has CHANGED THE QUALITY OF MY LIFE. I sit there, and someone else drives alllllll the scary parts. Furthermore, there is Wifi on the bus, so I can play on my phone instead of having to concentrate on the road and whatever I can find on the radio. Periodically I look up from my phone and shudder, the way you do when it’s storming outside but you’re safely tucked inside: here’s that difficult exit, here’s that difficult merge, here’s the bridge that means things are about to get a whole lot more complicated. Then, on the half-mile walk from the bus station to the hospital, there were about a dozen Pokéstops.

Our round-trip tickets cost just over $20 total, and parking in the commuter lot was free. When we drive, we pay $7 for the parking garage, plus $11 for the subway, plus of course there’s gas. The total travel time is almost the same; the bus will be a shorter trip on the days when our return trip happens to line up nicely with the next scheduled departure, and a longer trip on the days when it doesn’t.

As you know, I am not fond of Figuring Out New Things, so there was a hurdle to get over: figuring out how to buy the tickets, figuring out which bus we needed, figuring out what time the bus leaves and how much earlier we should get there. But I am much more willing to try something new if there is a possibility of huge future pay-off, as there was here. I am also much more willing to try something new if someone else discovers it (Paul), and tells me about it (Paul), and sends me a link to the website (Paul), and reminds me of it in a gentle, low-pressure, I-mean-just-in-case-you-WANTED-to-try-it kind of way (Paul), and doesn’t argue when I say I am absolutely not going to do it because it is impossible to figure out (Paul), and then praises me afterward and calls me a brave traveling warrior princess (Paul).

Furthermore, I now know how to use this bus to get to the airport, which is on the same route. AND I know how to use it to get to OTHER buses, like the ones that go to other states! It is possible that I will be able to figure out how Rob can take a bus home from college, so that we can pick him up 20 minutes away instead of 7 hours away.

Noritake Arroyo China

I am getting rid of some things that are hard to get rid of, and I think it would help to tell you the stories of those things. Today I am getting rid of a large incomplete set of Noritake Arroyo china. It looks like this:

(image from Replacements.com)

What I find charming about it is that from a distance it’s a fairly subdued pattern of light grey and darker grey squares on white, with a silver rim; but as you get closer, you can see there are little pictures in the squares. I saw this at Goodwill about twenty years ago, when Paul and I were living very close to the edge, money-wise.  I immediately had Feelings about the dishes and wanted them badly, but they were $100—absolutely out of the question. For months, MONTHS, every time I went to Goodwill (usually two or three times a week), I looked at them. They went down to $75. Then they went down to $50. And then they were $25 and I had $20 of birthday money to spend, and I bought them, and I was so happy.

And we have moved these dishes three times, and I have gradually added more pieces from eBay and other Goodwills—and we don’t use them. They have a silver rim so they can’t go through the dishwasher. We have my grandmother’s dishes for special occasions. We just don’t use them. It is time to let them go to someone else.

But this is a perfect example of wishing there was a way to find the person who wants them. There is definitely someone out there who collects Noritake Arroyo, which is hard to find, and would TREASURE my hodgepodge set as an addition to their own set. There IS! But where? And how to get these to them? Selling is a great way to unite searchers with treasures, but it’s a huge pain: describing items accurately, taking pictures, posting auctions—UG. And shipping would be a disaster: tremendously expensive, a tremendous hassle, and very likely to end in breakage; I’m not willing to do it. Money from the sale is of near-zero interest to me, but I don’t want a lot of work and hassle and shipping expenses, either. I tried a local antiques consignment shop, figuring that was a nice compromise of low-hassle/low-money, but they were not interested.

So I’ve been holding on to them as if I think I will one day run into someone within 20 miles who loves these same dishes, and that’s just not going to happen, so I’m going to bring the box to Goodwill.

Magazines

Before getting into the intended topic of this post, I would like to begin with two neutral descriptions of my recent reality:

1. Rob, my firstborn child, who was supposed to work until midnight on his first day of work and be home at about 12:10 a.m., didn’t come home until 1:20 a.m., and did not respond to texts because his phone was dead. He was late because closing took more than an hour longer than anticipated by his experienced adult manager, or because he misunderstood the scheduled shift; I can’t really pick which I’d prefer.

2. Paul, who is rearranging our basement, thought that the reason many of our stored/shelved items were in plastic Target bags was because I never even bothered to take them out of the store bags and just put them directly into storage. The actual, significantly better and less insulting reason: I wrap items deliberately to protect them from damp and dust. He took everything out of the bags and threw all the bags away before telling me his clever theory. When incredulously confronted, he said we could “just” put everything BACK into bags—but that it should be NEW bags, because these ones were dusty.

 

For the first time since subscribing many years ago, I have given up on a stack of People magazines. I remember when I used to try to wait to read each issue: the best was if I could wait to read it until the NEXT issue had arrived, so I’d be reading one AND still have one. Before a trip, I would save up several so I could have them as a treat on the plane.

This stopped about a month before the election, and didn’t pick up again afterward. Recently, with my magazine rack crammed not only with People but also with Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Teen Vogue, I made a concentrated effort to catch up.

As you might imagine, it was worse than before. There were articles from BEFORE the election—ack. There were articles from AFTER the election—ack. There were lots of reminders of things that I’d mercifully forgotten. And my overall interest in the celebrity stories didn’t revive. Reading them was a chore, even if I skipped the ones about celebrities I hadn’t heard of (a gradually-increasing percentage, with age). One of Paul’s favorite games is Guess Why Swistle Is Cranky, and several nights in a row I gestured wordlessly to the magazine I was reading.

It didn’t take more than a dozen such evenings before I floated the idea to myself that I didn’t have to read the magazines at all. Not even a little! I’d suggested this to myself before, but it’s hard to take something that used to be a costly hoarded treasure and just toss it out without consuming it. Like, if you generally love eating Cadbury Fruit & Nut bars, and the only thing happier than knowing there is one waiting for you is knowing there are TWO waiting for you, it’s going to be a little difficult to throw out a whole case of Cadbury Fruit & Nut bars—even if you’ve since gotten tired of them.

But our library has a subscription to People, and they archive it, so if I ever regretted the decision I could go back and read the ones I’d skipped. And our library also has a well-visited Free Magazine Swap area, where people can leave magazines for other people to take, and I KNOW People magazines get SWAPPED UP: when I drop some off on my way in, they’re often gone by the time I check out. So they would be appreciated and not wasted, and that is typically the hardest aspect of getting rid of something: finding someone who wants it.

No, I couldn’t do it. I needed to read them. My subscription runs out in the fall; I just won’t renew it, and I’ll keep going until then. I will read them all, even if the progress is slow.

Followed by: THAT IS THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING I HAVE EVER HEARD. I spent a little time snipping my name/address off a few dozen magazines (snipping that rectangle is the international symbol for “This magazine is donated and not lost/stolen,” as well as the international symbol for “I don’t want you to know I read People magazine unless I choose to share that extremely intimate information with you”), and I have put them in the library book bag. I left behind the few most recent months’ worth, in case I decide I do want some for a trip or whatever; I can donate them later if I decide no.

Then I turned to the New Yorkers. I recently renewed my subscription, so those are going to keep coming. I would very much like to be someone who reads every well-thought-out article, but instead I am someone who appreciates the cover and then flips through and reads all the cartoons. I will be at peace with that. I went through all the issues I had, and I read all the cartoons, and they were really good and I enjoyed them. And won’t it be nice for a library patron to come upon this pile of barely-flipped-through magazines? Yes. After those challenges, Teen Vogue and Vanity Fair were a piece of cake: address removed, and into the library bag.

Empathetic Stress; Burt’s Bees Lip Oil

Two nights ago I dreamed I was loading the dishwasher. Last night it was stress dreams: we were late to something! I was trying to pack but couldn’t figure out what to include! there was a truck half full of our possessions and half full of stuff for Goodwill, and I needed to separate them before it left for Goodwill!

Add to the list of things I didn’t realize before having children: I didn’t realize I’d be tapping into so much empathetic stress. Edward is a counselor-in-training at a camp this week, and today is his first day, and I was in full fret mode about it even though it is really no big deal: he will basically be assisting high school students as they assist elementary school students. Rob and William both got summer jobs at a fast food place, and I am barely stopping myself from trying to marionette them through it, telling them everything I can think of about what might go wrong and how they should deal with it.

They’ll be fine! It’ll be fine! This is GOOD for them! The worst that can happen is nothing too bad! But I feel as if I’M the one starting a new job, but so much worse: if it were me, I would have control over the situation and know what was happening. It’s much more like the feeling of sending them off to school for the first time and then sitting at home wondering if they’re scared or confused or upset. I’m picturing William in particular, learning to mop up the full soda he just dropped behind the cash register—and I’m picturing him at about age 6, fuzzy headed and trying not to be scared of the school bus, instead of as a perfectly normal 16-year-old with a perfectly normal first job making perfectly normal new-employee mistakes. The manager will be FULLY FAMILIAR with high school kids, and FULLY FAMILIAR with this being their first job. I WANTED THEM TO GET THESE JOBS, AND EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Oh! I have a lip oil report. Remember I found that Burt’s Bees color chart and it created in me the need to find out what lip oil WAS, preferably via acquiring some. And I did acquire some, and I have used it, and I am ready to say: meh, I wouldn’t, if I were you.

(image from Amazon.com)

To begin with, it was NINE dollars. NINE. The only reason I spent that much was that I misunderstood and thought it was $4.99 like the lip balm. But no. Nine dollars. I justified it by figuring that that’s part of what the blog ad income is for: trying things and reporting on them.

Then, I got it home and couldn’t figure out how to use it. I took the cap off and there was a little dry white brush at the end of a tube. There was a twisty thing on the bottom of the tube, so I twisted it and nothing happened. I dug the wrapper out of the trash, but there were no instructions on it. I had to search online, where I found instructions that didn’t work: the Burt’s Bees site said to twist the thing on the bottom of the tube 10-15 times, then apply; but I twisted dozens of times and there was still nothing to apply. I began to conclude it was empty or defective.

I searched the review section on Burt’s Bees and on Amazon, and found tons of people saying they couldn’t figure out how to use it and maybe it was empty or defective, and tons of other people saying that the first time you use it you have to hold it upside down and twist it for a LONNNNNNG TIME. So I did that, for longer than even what I would consider a long time, and then suddenly a bright colored drop appeared in the brush. It seemed precarious, like it would fall off.

I painted the drop onto my lips. I could see shine, but very very little color—less than the tinted lip balm. It’s basically lip gloss; some lip glosses feel kind of icky to me, but this feels nice. It feels, as you’d expect, like oil—a nice thin layer of moisturizing oil. But not enough color to be worth it, and way too much fuss. I can use a tinted lip balm anywhere, but I’d feel ridiculous painting on the lip oil in front of anyone else. I’ll use it in the morning when I’m getting ready, and I won’t replace the tube when it runs out.

Tinted Lip Balm: A Surprisingly Long Post for Such a Small Item

I would like to report satisfaction with a retail product:

(image from Amazon.com)

ChapStick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint, in Merlot.

It was $4.99 at Target, and that’s five times what I pay for ChapStick when I buy them in untinted 3-packs for $2.99. Despite what you have heard from vicious gossips about what I’ll pay for air-conditioning, I hesitated about this purchase, worried that I would hate it and throw it out after one single $5 use. But now I am thinking I will go back and buy half a dozen more in case they stop making them.

It reminds me very much of the Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm (don’t pay $10 for one—I think Target has them for about $5). I like both the ChapStick one and the Burt’s Bees one because they have a little color, but not so much color that you have to look in a mirror to put it on: you just put it on like regular lip balm. I keep one in my pocket.

The tinted ChapStick also comes in Rose Petal and Coral Blush, but I have learned that the words I need to look for in lipstick are words such as “wine,” “plum,” and “violet,” and I am still remembering to avoid anything with words indicating light-pinkness or orangeness.

…Oh my gosh, look what I found:

(image from Burt’s Bees)

Yes. YES. Plums/berries is mine, with occasional dips into the darker/purpler reds and pinks—some of which look in fact miscategorized, perhaps because the box for plums/berries was already full. I wear the lip shimmer in plum (plums/berries); I tried the cherry (reds) and it was way too red for me, which should have been obvious but it was on such a good clearance, and one of my best lipsticks ever is one I never would have tried if it hadn’t been on such a good clearance, so that keeps me taking chances. In tinted lip balm, I wear sweet violet (plums/berries) and also red dahlia (reds). I am going to have to try the tinted lip oil in misted plum; I don’t know what lip oil is, but this chart has created a need.

I highly recommend the plum lip shimmer, by the way, if you’re a plums/berries person too. It’s not particularly shimmery in plum. It’s lipsticky enough that I have to look in a mirror to put it on. And I like the peppermint flavor.

(I am imagining Paul reading this post and starting to rub the bridge of his nose.)

[Follow-up: I tried the lip oil.]

Dream Kiss; Hair Clips

I dreamed last night that I took a chance and kissed somebody, and it turned out to be a welcomed chance, and he was a very good kisser. And then my brain, which also doesn’t let me eat dream cupcakes when I am on a diet, stopped this excellent storyline with the panicked information that I was MARRIED, and that this kiss COULD NOT BE TAKEN BACK, and that EVERYTHING WAS NOW TERRIBLE AND PROBABLY UNFIXABLE.

This morning I am crabby and resentful. But as long as I was in a bad mood anyway, I went ahead and made some phone calls I’d been putting off. One call was for an overdue haircut: my hair is too heavy for its clip now, so it keeps gradually falling out and then I have to keep putting it back up. That drives me crazy and also makes me feel like an ostentatious hair-player. (Hair-play-with-er. Hair-flipper. What do we call this?) So I am looking forward to that and I only wish I’d called three weeks ago so the haircut could be TODAY instead of in three weeks. And I have some good leftovers waiting for lunch, plus more of The West Wing to watch (I’m on the second episode of the third season), so THAT’S good.

Speaking of hair clips, I think I have said this before but I will say it again: I need a local hair-clip swap buddy. The two types of clips I use are little claw clips (for buns) and bear claw clips (for messy French twists). They are sold like this:

(image from Amazon.com)

(image from Amazon.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only like the tortoiseshell (brown) ones. And I am too nervous to swap them around at the store to make a pack of only the ones I like. Actually, I’d do it with the bear claw ones if I could still find them locally, but the little ones would take too much time to do and I wouldn’t be sure how to arrange the two rejected packs. All one color? Half black, half clear? And I’m less sure another customer would want one of those packs, whereas I’m fairly certain another customer would want the two black bear-claw clips.

The upshot is that I end up donating half of my bear-claw clips ($4-8 for a 2-pack online) and two-thirds of my little claw clips ($2-3 for a 12-pack at Target), and that seems really dumb. The only solution I can think of is to find people in my town who use these kinds of clips too but like the black plastic and/or clear plastic ones and don’t want the tortoiseshell ones. Then we can trade. Maybe we can have annual clip/barrette-trading meetings. There can be cupcakes.

Air-Conditioning

Last time we talked, I had just found a leak in the bathroom and cat barf on the couch. That afternoon, the air conditioning stopped working.

I called a place and left a message, and after 24 hours of misery I still hadn’t heard back from them, so then I called a second place. They said oooh, unfortunately they didn’t have any regular appointments until next week: I could either wait 8 days and pay the regular appointment price, or I could pay over twice as much and get an overtime appointment for that afternoon/evening. Reader, I paused for about 4 seconds and then I booked it for that afternoon/evening. Then I felt like a dumb spoiled princess all day because, what, I can’t go a single week without AIR CONDITIONING? It’s worth THAT MUCH extra money not to have to be a little too WARM for a few days? Was I not remembering we have FIVE CHILDREN to help through college?? But then it got to 93 muggy degrees in the house and I was holding a dishtowel-wrapped ice pack to my neck and feeling so glad I’d booked the expensive appointment. It reminded me of the time I didn’t buy a seat on the plane for my baby because it seemed so spoiled to get him a seat when he could ride on my lap for free, but afterwards I was thinking it would have been worth TWICE the price to get him his own seat.

The a/c guy arrived around 4:30 and Paul went outside with him to stand near him in a manly way and speak of tools and motors, and about ten minutes later Paul came inside and said, “Go ahead and turn the a/c on,” and I did, and cold air started coming into the house. And then Paul said, “Oh, and he said it was a quick fix and not very long after 4:00, so he just charged us for a regular appointment.”

SO HAPPY. SO, SO HAPPY. The a/c was back on, AND we got it that day instead of 8 days later, AND we paid the same price as if I’d martyred it for 8 days?? Right away I wanted to tell you about it: I do so much complaining, and so when a good thing happens I want to make sure that gets into the playlist. But I couldn’t think of a way to tell the story without also telling you I was someone who would pay more than double to get the air-conditioning fixed sooner.

It is one of those very unpleasant tangles where if I act as if it’s no big deal and you are in the financial situation where you would not be ABLE to make the decision to pay double, or able to have a/c at all, then it’s like I’m saying “Oh, I’m so BAD but I just HAD to have that diamond! I mean, I feel guilty about it when other people don’t have enough food or whatever, but you’ve got to TREAT yourself sometimes!” We were in a pretty grim financial place when I read a blog post saying how gross it was that so many people didn’t bother to get pedicures in the summer, and I remember the nauseating, incredulous indignation I felt on encountering that level of careless, scornful obliviousness. But if on the other hand I make a big deal about spending the money and feeling bad about it, and if you would absolutely have spent the money too, then it’s like I’m criticizing your spending and saying you should feel bad about it too.

Money and the spending of it can be tricky to talk about. But here it is two days later and I still wanted to tell you the happy thing about getting a same-day overtime appointment for regular price, so I am telling you and trusting that we all know about how money/spending can be tricky to talk about.