Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Bought Napkins, But Not Really

Remember my finger, the one I injured by reliving my youth? It's doing fine, hardly any bruising, no obvious swelling, so I'm pretty sure I didn't break it, just jammed the knuckle. Luckily, the injury hasn't affected my doing yoga, or typing, or knitting. But it does hurt when I am scrubbing sinks or bathtubs, putting a fitted sheet on the bed, washing dishes...

I mention this for the purpose of pointing out that I may have inadvertently discovered the PERFECT injury.

Also, because my life wasn't complicated and expensive enough with all these renovations, etc., going on, we had to purchase new toilet plungers recently. Apparently the high-efficiency toilets we've installed have a differently shaped hole than the 45-year-old American Standard ones that we are used to.

I'm not sure how much more change I can handle here, actually.

Larry picked out the new toilet plungers, because I'm not THAT much of a control freak and also he hadn't even been to Home Depot that day. He bought the ones with MaxPerformance Technology. I'm so proud.

You know, it seems to me that "high-efficiency" toilets shouldn't ever need a plunger, actually. I feel ripped off.

Let's talk about World Market for a minute, okay? There's one a few towns away from me, but I've never managed to actually visit it. At least every other month, one of my friends will share/show off some interesting or tasty or unusual thing, and I'll say, "Where did you get that?" And they'll say, "World Market." And I'll say, "Gee, I really need to go there some time." And then I never do.

But last Friday, at a knitting get-together, I noticed a drawstring project bag one of my knitting friends was carrying. Constructed out of an attractive cotton fabric, with just a ribbon threaded through a top casing for a closure, it was the perfect size to carry an incipient pair of socks, say, or the beginnings of a crescent shawl. "Oh, where did you get that?" I asked. "It's pretty!"

"This thing? I just made it out of a napkin that was on sale at World Market," she said, way too modestly.

(Let's note here that I have really creative friends, okay?)

So that's how I finally found myself inside a World Market today, asking some helpful sales clerk where the napkins were. He helped me find them.

I restrained myself and only bought six. Project bags for everyone, coming right up! Or that's the plan, anyway...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Gimme Three Steps...

I was jogging this morning (well, walking with a few short intervals of jogging thrown in, if you need precision there) and thanking the powers that be that I spotted my neighbor's new sneakers the other day. You see, a few months ago, I bought a pair of sneakers at Costco, because I thought MAYBE I would try using them to, oh I don't know, EXERCISE in. Then I put them in my closet and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Because, hey - I do yoga. In bare feet. I do my core exercises. In bare feet. I've hiked mountains at Acadia in my Teva sandals (drives Larry crazy, but hey, it worked). I don't need sneakers to exercise.

And then I went into the city with my son the other day. We saw the Metro train pulling in to the station and decided to run for it. So there I was, feeling every one of my 53 years as I panted toward the escalator at a run (read, slow jog), while my 16-year-old son loped easily along beside me, not breaking a sweat.

It was demoralizing, to say the least.

So I decided that I would work up to running a mile. That's all. No desire here to do marathons (so much wasted knitting time!). I just wanted the ability to run for a train without causing passersby to wonder if they should call 911. Is that too much to ask?

Most mornings this month, after I get up IN THE DARK (I hate you, Daylight Saving Time) to let in the handyman (whose cat gets him up at 4 AM), I've smooshed myself into my power pants and my Wacoal sport bra, laced up my Costco sneakers, and headed out to jog (a little), walk (a lot), and generally just get my heart rate up for a couple of minutes at a time.

It's been hard, I won't lie. I hate it. But I do feel better afterwards, and I am already able to jog a teeny bit further. And no one has called the EMTs on me yet, so that's a plus.

OMG, I'm long-winded today. All this to explain why, when I saw my friend's running sneakers, I realized that I needed their obviously superior support. I mean, I LOVE Costco, but the sneakers I had were not doing it. So I splurged and spent $80 (and that was on SALE) for these special Brooks running sneakers at Amazon. I hated to do it. I had to keep reminding myself that $80 was less than the (at least) 3 doctor appointment co-pays that would be in my future, should I ruin my knees and feet in cheap shoes.

Do you see the mental machinations I have to go through every time I spend money? We HAVE the money now, but years of needed frugality and penny-pinching die hard.

I can't stop talking today. Oh, well...

So, yeah, these sneakers were worth every penny. I can run further. My knees don't hurt. The support is great. Which got me to thinking that it would be a useful PSA to tell women under 45 or 50 that they need to save extra money for when they are older. I mean, maybe you think, "Yeah, I know - retirement, medical bills, trips to see the grandkids..."

Note drywall dust caked onto the floor, upper right 
But that's not what the money is for. The money is for shoes, so you can walk. Seriously. We're talking support. We're talking wide toe boxes. We're talking expensive. I have spent more money on shoes since I turned 47 or so than I had spent in my entire life up to that point. I have to assume I'll be spending $80 to $100 a pair (unless I chance on some FitFlops in my size at Nordstrom Rack, priced at $45 - helloooo, bargain!)

This is a lifestyle change that has been hard for my frugal soul to accept. But without my FitFlops and my Dansko/Sanita clogs and (now) my spiffy Brooks sneakers, I can't get around. My legs get tired, my knees hurt, my right foot goes numb.

Good Lord, I am not even 60 yet. Listen to me, I sound 85. Or, at least, without my price-y shoes, I sound 85. So don't think of them as shoes - think of them as a budget version of the Fountain of Youth. Looking at it that way, the expensive footwear is a downright bargain.

Or that's what I tell myself, anyway...

And today's title is courtesy of this earworm emanating from our handyman's radio at 7:30 this morning:

Friday, March 17, 2017

When East Meets West

My finger still hurts. It's not broken if I can bend it normally, right? Because, really, why go to the doctor when I can just ask a bunch of perfect strangers for medical advice?

I hate going to the doctor. I am convinced I'll pick up some deadly disease (or at least a highly inconvenient one) while I am there.

Also, that picture in the previous post was of an ice pack covering my afflicted appendage. I only mention this because a friend messaged me and asked what it was. She said, and I quote, that it looked like it "...was encased in some sort of metal bullet-type case and you were ready to stab people with it."

This sort of comment makes me wonder what my friends really think of me.

Rarely seen snowman skeleton
In other news, our two days of winter are over. The snow is melting, which is a good thing, because then I can't foolishly injure myself by reliving my youth. So now I have to start thinking about that train trip and planning exact dates and all. There will be a couple of AirBnB stays involved, because Amtrak is not obliging me by having the trains arrive in major cities early in the morning and then leaving again at night. That was the original plan, see - arrive in a city, look around, hop back onto the train and ride overnight, thus saving money on lodgings.

That's not going to happen. East Coaster that I am, I had no idea that there could be major cities where the train stops only once or twice a day. This blows my mind. I mean, have you seen the Amtrak schedule for trains running between DC and New York? There are at least a dozen each day.

I don't understand how the West Coast works, actually. Do you all drive everywhere? Fly? Or maybe you're all so healthy, you just bike? I feel as though I am an anthropologist, heading off to do field work. How do the natives live?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Cautionary Tale

It might seem like a good idea to recapture your youth by joining your kids on the sledding hill and flying down an ice-covered slope as though you are only half your age. But you're NOT half your age, and you'll prove it by injuring yourself in stupid ways. Jamming your finger, for instance, by placing it down in a frozen footprint as your sled is going approximately 30 mph, in an ineffective (and injurious) attempt to slow down.


It's HARD to take a picture with my left hand.
So I trudged back up the hill and took my tired, broken old body back to the house. The kids, however, stayed out a few more hours and came home with nary a scratch. Because they're young, unlike me.

Ice and ibuprofen are my friends right now. I don't think my finger's broken, and I am even still able to knit (oddly enough); but almost everything else I do hurts. Hurts my finger AND my pride, actually.

So, what else? We (well, our handyman, actually) applied the first coat of paint in the basement, and OMG it's bright. It looks downright radioactive. I'm waiting for Larry to come home before we even attempt a second coat. We might have to cover the whole thing with a different color. I don't know. I don't care. I'm done with paint.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Paint Colors? What Paint Colors?

In a highly unnatural state of organizing fervor a few weeks ago, I deleted a slew of emails from my inbox in one fell swoop. There, I thought, I didn't need any of those. I'm a normal person now, a person without 10,000 emails sitting in her inbox.

Only I did need at least one of those messages. Remember upnitestx, the lucky reader who won a copy of the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules? Remember how I pestered her for a week or two to please email me her address so I could send her prize to her? And, being an obliging sort of soul who wanted to read the book she had won, she did as I asked.

Wouldn't it have been nice if I had sent that book right away? Because then I wouldn't be in the embarrassing position I am in right now, which is that of begging her once again to email me her address.

So upnitestx, if you're even still reading this blog, please resend me that address so I can mail you the book. And I promise I won't delete it again.

Clock at the DMV - abandon all hope, ye who enter here
David is visiting this week. I took him to the DMV this morning so he could take his driver's test. He needed to get his license so he could buy our old minivan from us and drive it back down to school. We decided to charge him the trade-in value for the van, which was $1250 (we like the kids to have some skin in the game when it comes to cars - they pay their own insurance, too). "But first," said Larry, "I'm going to have its yearly inspection done and have the garage look it over."

Yeah, he might as well have said to the guys at the garage, "Hey, would you please take my money?" By the time I got the van back, we were $1242 poorer, what with cracked rear bushings and worn-out sway bar links and all.

$8 - we made $8 on that van. I'm thinking we should host a TV show - something like those popular real estate shows, right? But instead of flipping houses, we flip cars. And instead of making any money, we end up in the poorhouse. Think of it - viewers could take bets on how much money we will lose on each deal.

I think I've found our niche.

And, no, I still do not want to talk about paint.


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