Wednesday, December 21, 2011

crowd control

One of the things that gets on my nerves after too much time in NYC is the crowds.  Specifically, however, the crowds of tourists.  Sorry, friends from out of state, but it's true.  New Yorkers have considered passing minimum walking speeds on the NYC sidewalks (3 mph, to be specific), and creating, in Midtown, a New Yorker-only designated passing lane.  I have a friend who puts her shoulders in what she calls "football position" to walk home through Rockefeller Center.  And for god's sake, if you want to stare at the top of a building with your mouth hanging open, do it from the edge of the sidewalk, not dead-center.

Yesterday, my mom wanted to go to that icon of consumerist NYC Christmas:  MACY'S.

Monday, December 19, 2011

tackle a nagging task

In some ways, the most interesting thing about the past year without working has been my ability to organize myself.  In The Happiness Project, Rubin learns that one way to free up energy is to tackle a nagging task.  You know the ones -- they are the tasks that you don't want to do, so you put off.  Or maybe you don't particularly mind the task, but preparing to do the them involves doing something you find annoying or boring.  For example, I don't mind going to the dentist, but I hate the phone, so I put off making the appointment.  It's not just chores that are like this, though, but also emotional tasks. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Sometimes, I feel like my life is one long game of whack-a-mole.  Like at the arcade.  We get one problem solved over here, and a new one crops up over there.

We were steadily trucking along toward getting the basement finished.  The carpeting was installed about eleven days ago, and the doors we ordered from Home Depot came in.  Kathy and I went out in the City on Saturday night for our Christmas Date (the night of Santa Con, which was amusing), and then we got up and threw a load of laundry in on Sunday morning, before heading out to breakfast at the local diner.

When we came home, we discovered that our washing machine had broken, and FLOODED OUR FREAKING BASEMENT.  I wish I were making this up, but I'm not.  Our brand new, 10 day old carpet was soaking wet.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Yesterday, we had a new after school babysitter start.  Our nanny of three years is moving on, so we had to find someone new, and took the opportunity to change the full-time nanny gig, which we no longer need, into an after school babysitting gig.  It doesn't sound like much, but having someone new in your house five hours a day, three days a week requires some major adjustment.

I am a very particular and quirky person.  One of my quirks is that, no matter what I'm doing, I like to do it without input or suggestions, unless I ask for them.  I want to figure it out myself.  I get a lot of pleasure out of messing with something for a while and then figuring it out.  But mostly, I just don't like being interrupted.

Even with the most mundane of chores, I can work for hours without getting bored or tired, as long as I don't get interrupted.  Sometimes I'll put music on, sometimes I'll work in silence, but I like to do what I'm doing.  I call this chore-flow.  Our nanny had figured this out, through my blatant displays of irritation.  If she asked me a question when I was mowing the lawn and I had to shut off the lawnmower to answer, I would do it, but it was pretty obvious I didn't like it.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve a bit.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

christmas eve

I'm not much of a Christian.  I think there are certain prerequisites to being a Christian, one of which is believing in God.  Nonetheless, I am a Christmas lover.  I love all of it.  The evergreens, the fact that pretty much every commercial on TV is about buying for someone else (even car ads, which, come on, do people really buy cars as gifts?), that people listen to music recorded in the 40s, etc. 

It has taken me a while to land where I have with Christmas.  I have always loved it, but I used to be a lot more militant about making sure my Christmas celebration was strictly secular.  I consciously wrote "xmas."  I worked the Christmas Eve shift at the mall so I couldn't get to my parents' house in time for church.  I ignored nativity scenes, and eschewed "Silent Night" in favor of "Deck the Halls" or "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

our gay apparel

This morning, I was driving home from dropping A off at school, and I heard on the radio that a schoolteacher in Michigan tried to change the words to "Deck the Halls."  She had her confused elementary-aged kids singing "Don we now our bright apparel."  Oh, Michigan.  You do a sister proud.  What was she afraid of?  Did she think her second graders were going to rush out and put on gold Speedos and hiking boots, because "Teacher said we should don gay apparel"?

(Gay Apparel.  As an aside, I had a roommate after college who would sometimes mow the lawn
in his gold speedo.  Our next door neighbors, Butch and Dan, asked if I could take over
the lawnmowing duties full time, because my hiking boots weren't as "distracting"
as his gold speedo when they were sitting on their front porch smoking cigarettes mid-afternoon. 
Personally, I think I looked dead sexy in those boots and my blue shorts.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

thongs: the great underwear debate

A few nights ago, there was a collection of our suburban friends drinking copious amounts of alcohol in our kitchen.  We call ourselves the Misfits, ostensibly because we're all divorced, but really for reasons we don't like to talk articulate (e.g., one friend has a rather crazy ex-husband who trash-talked her all over the place; Kathy and I are, well, two of four lesbians in our town -- which we know because we have been asked if we know the "other" lesbians.  Etc.).

Anyway, for a reason that I can't quite remember, it came to the attention of these friends that one of us was wearing... um, white cotton Hanes underwear (the kind which you can buy in a 3 pack at the drugstore).  Kathy and I both have them.  We refer to them as our "running underwear," since that is kind of why we bought them.  You want something comfortable and breathable when exercising, right?  This HORRIFIED our straight suburban friends.  Apparently, we are supposed to be wearing thongs.  At all times.

"But not when you run!" I protested.

"Especially when you run," the only other runner in the group informed us.  "Those tight running pants show your underwear lines!"

"But you're RUNNING.  Who sees your underwear lines?"  I wailed.  "If people can see your bum that closely, you should be less worried about your underwear and more worried about your running pace." 

According to her, that's not the point.

(acceptable underwear, from an acceptable store)

Monday, December 5, 2011

when less is more: decision-making for the lazy

I had to go to Radio Shack over the weekend, to buy parts to hook up our TV in our recently renovated basement.  We had miles of speaker wire, but for some reason, no sound was coming out of the speakers (and the TV is so old that it has no internal speakers, so no speakers = no sound).  I brought our receiver and a small sample of our speaker wire to Radio Shack, and asked the clerk what I needed to connect the two properly.  Within a few minutes, she produced some red and black ends to attach to the end of the speaker wire so we could plug them in, rather than delicately winding the bare wires around some screws in the back of the receiver.  She then returned to the rack of parts, without saying anything.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Finding you another option."

"Won't those red and black end things work?"

"Yes.  But I wanted to find you another option."

This was totally confusing to me.  The red and black ends cost only a few dollars, and they would work.  Why would I want another option? 

And that is when I remembered, from my Happiness Project reading, that I was a satisficer

Friday, December 2, 2011

the worst chore

I have never much minded cleaning toilets.  That is why I was shocked, when playing a game called "the worst chore" at my sister's wedding shower eighteen months ago, that cleaning the toilets topped everyone's list of horrible chores.  It doesn't take all day like doing laundry does.  It's not never-ending like doing dishes.  It doesn't require interacting with people who seem to hate their jobs, like grocery shopping, going to the drugstore, or stopping at City Hall.  It is kind of gross, but it takes all of two minutes and doesn't have to be done that often.