Monday, March 30, 2015

Marriage 701, Lecture 345: The couple that shops together makes bad decisions

We got a coupon from the grocery store: "Free bunch of tulips ($7.99 value) with any $10 purchase."

SH and I stopped at the store on the way home from the theatre, where I have been much happier since I started wearing jeans.

I know. I look like a slob. I mean, not slobby for jeans, but slobby for little black dresses.

But guess what?

Almost nobody is in LBDs at the theatre in Milwaukee Wisconsin because it is too darn cold to wear cute clothes that show skin and it's too darn dangerous (and bad for your shoes) to walk on icy sidewalks in high heels.

Now I am in jeans. And man is it more comfortable now. I used to wear cute dresses but would have to keep my coat on the whole time because I was so cold. Nobody even saw the cute dresses.

We stopped at the store.

I very carefully selected a combination of herbal tea, something I drink at work, partially because there is no longer diet Dr Pepper in our machines but even when it was, I needed to wean myself from it, and partially because the closest place I can buy a latte is a five-minute drive and I am not going to drive somewhere by myself to spend $4.50 on coffee. The whole point of spending five or ten minutes getting coffee is to do it with work friends as a ritual and now that I work with almost all men - I have one woman friend at work and she does not drink coffee, I have nobody to ritual with.

Oh sure. My boss and co-workers have Code C every morning and I walk with them to the cafeteria. They get coffee and I go for the company or to get hot water for my tea. The coffee at work is awful. That is how much of a coffee snob I have become since my days of drinking instant. It really didn't take long to go from no palate at all to finding some coffee absolutely putrid.

I picked three packages of herbal tea at different price points:

$2.99
$3.79
$3.99

That's just a bit over $10, right? I have this new computer where I can't find any of the functions and it is maddening.

But my goal was to get as close to ten dollars as possible without buying Jordan almonds by the pound. Oh sure I would love to gorge myself on Jordan almonds, but it does not seem prudent.

I wanted just ten dollars worth of stuff I would use anyhow so I could get some free tulips.

And here comes SH with a shopping basket that contains

CheezIts, which must contain crack cocaine, because I cannot eat just one
Two boxes of store brand Grape Nuts
Something else that I cannot remember and SH is not home so I can't ask him

I look at him with the face of Are You Kidding Me I Thought We Were Trying To Be Thrifty.

"I can put back the CheezIts," he offered.

What I heard was, "I can take your heroin away from you hahahahahahha."

"No that's OK."

"Really. The CheezIts - we can get tea instead of CheezIts."

I heard, "We can get a really boring drink that doesn't even have caffeine instead of heroin."

"No. CheezIts. They stay."

"OK. So you can't blame me for going over the ten dollars. And the Grape Nuts are on sale."

I gave him the look again.

I put one of the teas back on the shelf.

I shook my head.

We will be in the poorhouse soon but at least we will have CheezIts, fake Grape Nuts, and flowers.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The working life with engineers: The clothes wouldn't have fit but at least the engineers wouldn't have noticed


I have a warning for you. When a dress says, "Dry clean only," sometimes, it's true.

Oh sure. For many items, it's perfectly ok to wash them by hand in the sink.

But rayon shrinks.

So if your dress has rayon in it, I would suggest trusting the dry clean only recommendation and paying to have the dress dry cleaned.

"Oh yeah Miss Smarty Pants?" you are asking. "Who are you to tell me how to wash my clothes? I have been on the rodeo before, you know. I have washed clothes."

I am the person who has washed the rayon dress (oh! rayon will shrink even when dry cleaned! but not so much as to be unwearable) by hand and Paid The Price.

I want to save you from the same fate.

(I also want to know when manufacturers stopped pre-shrinking fabric, those cheap so and sos. When I used to sew my own clothes, the first thing I had to do was buy more fabric than the pattern said and then run it through the washer and dryer before cutting the pattern out. You want any shrinking to happen before you cut and sew, not after.)

Here's how it goes.

1. You find a great Ann Taylor pink dress that is suitable for work on eBay. You buy it. You wear it all the time because it is so comfy and so cute and you get compliments when you wear it. It never wrinkles because it has some lycra in it, but it is not tight and form fitting, so it is suitable for you body that has never really been the right body for tight and form fitting.

2. You wear the dress all the time.

3. You decide, Hmmmm. This dress needs washing. You wash it in the washer in the delicate cycle because when have you ever had to take clothes to the dry cleaner? Never. That's when. You do not buy clothes that need 1. ironing or 2. dry cleaning because you are 1. lazy and 2. cheap.

4. You hang the dress to dry in the basement. You get a new job and switch your wardrobe a little bit. It becomes winter and you wear winter clothes, which the pink dress is not.

5. It is approaching spring or at least the cats are shedding and that gives you hope that some day the bleak midwinter, aka death, will end and there will be signs of life outdoors and there will be light before you go to work and after you come home from work. You cannot wait for those days. Maybe  - just maybe - the snow will leave.

6. You wear the pink dress to work. At home, when you put it on, you think, "This dress feels shorter than it did last year. That is odd." But there is no way for you to tell because you do not have a full-length mirror in your house.

7. You wear the dress to work and walk into the ladies' room, which does have a full-length mirror, and look at yourself. Full length.

The dress.

It is short.

It is a lot shorter than it was.

It is 1. too short for work and 2. too short for a woman of a certain age.

Lamb, meet mutton.

Does anyone know that saying any more? Are there ewes that try to pass themselves off as lambs in the sheep world? I know there are in the human world. I don't want to be one of those. Stacy and Clinton always say to wear clothes that fit and to be age appropriate. Can you even buy mutton? I don't know - I would avoid it because I don't like gamy flavors and mutton, unless it is part of a gyro, is not to my taste. But then I suppose anything would taste good drenched in yogurt-dill sauce.

You look at yourself in the mirror and mourn your lost youth and mourn all the time wasted in those stupid little navy suits with the bowties and cotton blouses that had to be ironed, but that was the zeitgeist.

The first day I wore a dress to work instead of a suit, one of my female co-workers came into my office (also the zeitgeist - if you were some kind of professional, you had a door. I now, years into my career, have the worst working space I have ever had and that includes my time as a Peace Corps volunteer) and asked if I was sure that I didn't want to go home and change  into a suit. I was really rocking the boat by wearing a dress.

You also mourn the skin on your legs - not that you can see it because it is encased in fleece-lined tights - and the days when you could wear a skirt that short and not hope that nobody would see you.

I am the same weight I was in high school. I am probably more fit or at least as fit now as I was then. Then, I went to swim practice every day after school. Now, I work out almost every day. I either run or do the stairstepper or work with weights and I make myself sweat - but everything is looser than it was.

I wasted my chance to wear cute dresses with hems four inches above the knee. Those days are gone forever.

You take the dress to the consignment store. Goodbye lamb.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The working life with engineers: The clothes wouldn't have fit

Me: What's that on your finger?

Engineer 1: What?

Me: It looks like a tattoo, but I don't have my glasses on - I can't really tell.

E1 [holds left ring finger toward me]: It says, "Cindy."

Me: I see.

E1: It no longer applies.

E2: Why don't you get it removed?

E1: Because it would hurt and it would be expensive and I would still have a scar.

E2: I guess you'd better just find another Cindy, then.

E1: Yep.

E2: But not a "Cindi" with an "i."

E1: Nope.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Marriage 701, Leture 874: They missed some categories, or, I would not have had enough money to build SH



Items that should be on this list but are not:

11. Orphan, $4
12. Non farter,$1
13. Can do simple household and auto repairs, $1
14. Can do complex household and auto repairs, $2
15. Can and will cook, $1
16.  Will clean the hair from the shower drain, even though it's not his hair, $1
17. Will collect little Nutellas from the Delta lounge and bring them home, $1

What else should be on this list?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Travel tales: Valentines from little girls




Leigh and I went to the internet cat videos festival at the art museum, where we met my cousin, her husband, and their very cute little girl, who just turned four, who ran to Leigh and threw her arms around Leigh's legs, only to hear my cousin say, "Honey, that's not your cousin. That's Miss Leigh."

Olivia didn't care. She decided Leigh was her new favorite person and insisted on sitting in Leigh's lap, which Leigh did not mind at all, as Leigh is a big fan of little girls, as she has one of her own. I am also a fan of little girls, at least of the little girls I know.

I am especially a fan of Olivia, who has lots to say, and of Sophia, Leigh's daughter, who happily surrendered her pink princess bedroom so I would have a place to sleep. (There is a guest room, but it is the coldest room in the house.)

I am especially a fan of Sophia after I got this lovely Valentine from her. Sweet sentiments plus chocolate. Is there anything better?

Monday, March 16, 2015