Entries Tagged 'World Domination in Everyday Life' ↓
April 21st, 2011 — World Domination in Everyday Life
I took a walk outside today, and I don’t think I’ve done that alone since Maddox was born, because if I have free time it’s more fun to do things as a family. But, I had some time today in between projects and I needed to pick up some cat food at the local veterinary clinic (our cats demand special food, lots of petting and the occasional haiku extolling their furry little charms).
So, after I made the uncharacteristic decision to walk to the clinic, I looked at flowers, enjoyed hearing my neighbor’s wind chimes and basically reveled in the fact that I was not in a meeting. I truly have four hours of meetings a day, so this was particularly nice. I think my work has me confused with a conference room table or some other essential bit of meeting equipment. One time, I sat at my desk and concentrated very hard on blending in with my cubical wall, but sneezed and was, alas, discovered and invited (read: compelled) to attend.
Anyway, halfway through my walk (which I have just learned was two whole miles) I realized a few things:
- I am out of shape. Two miles is a lot! Marathon runners are admirable, but completely crazy.
- I had to keep stopping to remind myself that I should slow down. I am so used to having a packed schedule where every moment that passes has been triple-booked with assigned tasks, and not having an immediate deadline to meet was very strange (read: impending heart attack).
- I need to hang up my wind chimes. They’ve been in the garage for the winter, but there’s not a lot of wind in there. Which is just as well, because if I heard clanging from the garage, I would, of course, assume we were being attacked by ghosts and hide in the pantry.
Everybody needs to go outside sometime, even if they’re like me and have sad, dark thoughts when forced to carry less then two apple products at any given time. On that note, my last observation that I’ll share from my walk is that far too many of my neighbors need to learn to password-protect their wifi – every time I stopped to take a picture, a wifi invite would popup on my iPhone with an open connection. Possibly, they were celebrating the fact that I made it out for a walk today, and were trying to be considerate of the fact that I would be away from my home wifi for 30 minutes, and were trying to ease the pangs of separation. That, my friend, is being a good neighbor.
March 3rd, 2010 — World Domination in Everyday Life
I feel bad for our cats.
Sam and Horace used to be moderately pampered. They ruled the roost, were no strangers to tuna, and they went to bed in our room ever night after much petting and purring.
These days, our cats seem to be less companions and more obstacles to climb over when rushing to get the baby his bottle. They are forced to jump over a baby gate every time they wish to access their food. Arguably, this is good exercise, but I mean, what would you do if you had to scale a wall 3 times your height whenever you were hungry? You’d probably track down the wall-builder, cut him into lots of little cubes and then eat him instead.
But, the cat’s downgrade in social status truly became clear to me this morning when I was cleaning their litter box.
Not only do they have yucky Costco litter (we’re replacing that, it’s like peeing on giant blue fish tank rocks), but I noticed that the bag of food we have for them is called “Maintenance Cat.” Oh, we don’t feed our cats. We MAINTAIN them.
How did our poor treasured pets become just another thing on our to do list? Change the oil in the car, vacuum the rug, maintain the cat. And while I readily admit that purchasing this brand of cat food is not the most compassionate consumer behavior, who names their brand that? Just think. Instead of “Hungry Man” dinners or “Lean Cuisine” it would be “People Sustenance” and “Repair Your Fatties.”
It would be very interesting if suddenly, in the age of blogs, review sites and honest communication about products in public forums, marketing lost its spin. I challenge you to review the products in your home and label them exactly what they do for you and why you bought them. If you’re feeling particularly witty, post your marketing campaign here, and entertain us all.
January 4th, 2010 — World Domination in Everyday Life
2009 has been an eventful year.
In May, Maddox Jaesun Heller was born, and he is amazing.
The other significant (but not quite as) event occurred in November, when Jon and I finally bought a house after over a year of searching.
Both events have taught me a lot. Here are 5 lessons I learned in 2009:
- Having a kid makes you react to things differently. Movies become traumatic as you imagine your child in a similar situation to the kid on the screen. Screaming children in restaurants are less annoying. You are never bored, because you do not have the time to be bored.
- Redfin is a great way to find a house. Buyers agents are terrifying when let loose, and should only be hired when they work per hour instead of per commission. You’ll consider houses with the worst possible features before coming to your senses.
- Sleep, although coveted, is optional. You can function on interrupted sleep for 7 1/2 months. I’ll let you know if I pass out before I get to 8.
- Hiring movers is so worth it. Having people lift my furniture and endless boxes, carry them down 3 flights of stairs out to a truck, and then carry them back into my new living space was worth every cent. These people are professionals – they actually take doors off to get your furniture inside, instead of attacking said furniture with a sawzall until it can be thrown out the window in pieces (my preferred MO).
- You can never have too many boxes. Children and movers like them. Children like to sit inside them (top open – important detail there) and bang things on the sides. Movers like it when boxes are stuffed full (but not of children – also an important note) so long as the weight isn’t ridiculous. My buddy Sean at work scored me a server box to pack in – it held a baby bathtub, a jumping bouncer, 2 game console guitars, a pile of winter accessories, and I think a big tupperware cake keeper and a decent-sized fan.
So those are my pearls of wisdom from 2009. I’m not going to put baz luhrmann out of business anytime soon, not because the advice isn’t as good, but because I don’t have backup singers or a soundtrack. Maybe next year.
Happy New Year, guys, and here’s to a great 2010.
October 2nd, 2009 — World Domination in Everyday Life
Jon and I were driving to pick up Maddox from daycare when I thought I heard Jon say “eight” and then a moment later, “seven.”
Thinking, gee, this is a weird game, but okay, I’ll play too, I started counting down from six.
From Jon’s confused reaction, I gathered that I had misheard him, and we were not in fact flexing our awesome countdown skills.
Because I figured I might as well finish what I’d started, I kept counting aloud anyway. This had an interesting effect: Jon grew progressively more alarmed with each number. I began to realize that 1) this was fun and 2) he was anticipating horrible acts when I ran out of numbers and 3) that was why it was fun.
Although I don’t want to psychoanalyze what this probably indicates about our marital relationship (if you have a hot line Jon could call, you can tweet him), I am kind of excited about the ramifications of this discovery.
I mean, who ELSE might be susceptible to this? What will happen if I start from a higher number than six? Will the increased anxiety cause people to explode? Most importantly, could you use the Countdown of Doom to take over a small country simply by implying that ominous things will occur if the clock counts down to zero?
If you think about it, LOST used a countdown to add suspense without ever explaining what would happen if the computer stopped counting down. And we all have heard a Mom disciplining her child by saying “don’t make me count to three?” God forbid she reach it, I still don’t know dire things my mother had planned.
So here’s the takeaway. I suggest that today you try counting down in front of someone, calmly but without explanation or pause. Then, let me know what happened. Please do not try this on pregnant women or people with heart conditions.
July 26th, 2009 — World Domination in Everyday Life
The fun part:
I like to pretend I can garden. I have a lot of green leafy things in pots, and I occasionally water and feed them. I don’t grow complicated things like flowers, because they require too much maintenance and also because I can’t eat them.
Yesterday, I finally had time to do my spring gardening (having a baby puts you behind a season or two) and I had a great time pruning and potting and basically playing with a bunch of dirt. It’s like mud pies for grown-ups.
And, the not-so-fun part:
Unfortunately, I have this evil bag of peat moss that frequently causes my skin to flare up with disgusting itchy red marks. I have yet to actually throw the bag out, because I live on the third floor and the dumpster is far, far away. Also, my plants seem to like peat moss included in their soil mix.
It’s been awhile since I last gardened, so I forgot to wear gloves and long-sleeves. I even wore shorts, which was a stellar idea. As a result, today I have the most disgusting rash on my arms and legs, with all these teeny little white specks and huge poofy venom-filled patches skin. When you touch it (if you dare), it feels like a bee sting, or like you have wet baking soda packed under your skin. Mmm.
- The bag is infested with very small, stinging bugs. Since the rashes have gotten progressively worse, it stands to reason that they are lying in wait in the bag, breeding more and more monsters.
- This batch of peat moss is very dusty. My skin, which already hates dust mites, had an allergic reaction and is waging war on itself.
- My garden, spurred on by the fact that I regularly deny it food and water and sometimes even sunshine, has decided to kill me.
It’s a tough call. At least I know it’s happened before, and will go away. The first time I had just talked to a friend about their case of scabies, so I was certain that’s what I had. I woke up in the middle of the night itching like mad. Imagining tiny organisms crawling around inside your body is not a great way to relax.
Disgusting photos for the morbidly curious
July 8th, 2009 — World Domination in Everyday Life
Why I Went There
I feel kind of arbitrary about birthday gifts. Some years I get people things, other years they’re lucky if they get a voice mail of me (and whoever I can coerce into joining me) singing happy birthday.
This year, I breezed over my sister’s birthday (sorry Kristy) in May but covered Father’s Day and 2 birthdays in June. I did get Kristy’s daughter Aoife a cool gift with the help of Cass, who used to work in a toy store and consequently knows what’s good.
Anyway, the gift I want to talk about was my brother’s. He is crazy about his puppy dogs and is rather fond of beer, so I thought a customized beer stein would be a good bet. After comparing a few sites, I found zazzle.com. (Top Google result for “customized beer stein.”
How it Works
After following the Google search link, I clicked on the image which took me to a “Customize Your Product” wizard. I clicked on “Add Image” and played around with “Adding Text” as well. After spending some time in Photoshop, I uploaded an image of the puppies and completed the online order process, which is pretty standard. (Think amazon.com.)
If you’re creating your product and the image shows the words “Add image or text” or similar, make sure you delete that text before submitting your order. If you don’t, those words will appear as part of the design. Classy, yes? They may have removed this, since I don’t see it on the site now, but watch out for it.
If you don’t delete the dummy text, you may receive an email from the Zazzle.com Quality Assurance team. I found my contact to be helpful and able to communicate well. Additionally, they spotted the issue and initiated contact via email, rather than waiting for me to get the product and feel like an idiot. I was given the option to cancel the order, and reorder it correctly, with a full refund on the botched order.
Retailmenot has coupon info (go to retailmenot.com and search for “zazzle.com”) and a hack involving making your product public so you qualify as a contributor and save an additional percent.
Here are two images of the finished product:
The photo quality was really amazing. The original image was pretty large, but even so, I was impressed how well it was translated to the stein.
Overall, this is a great site and a great service. The cost is reasonable (about $25 for this order including shipping), the final product is excellent, it’s easy to use and the customer service is above and beyond the usual online store service. Finally, the gift itself is both functional and personal, which is always appreciated. I recommend zazzle.com and I would use it again.
June 16th, 2009 — World Domination in Everyday Life
Jon and I have been looking for houses lately, since our rent is going up 25% in August and we figure we might as well take advantage of the $8K tax credit courtesy of the President.
It’s exciting to be thinking about moving into a house, especially now that we officially need that second bedroom for Maddox. But I have to confess: for me, one of the major perks of getting a house is having the opportunity to sort through all of my stuff and get rid of everything that I don’t use.
Jon (and most everybody else) finds this attitude crazy. I don’t blame him, but I still can’t stop myself from twitching with glee when I picture rooting through all my belongings and lightening my load.
I can trace this behavior back to my childhood. My father used to encourage us to get rid of our excess “stuff” and would cheer every full trash bag that went out. (Full of possessions, not just trash. He was not that excited about plain trash, although it would have been great if he had been.)
So now, I derive intense satisfaction from hauling out trash bags (and they have to be hefty black ones) full of things I’m ready to part with. My siblings probably have this same complex, but it’s okay, because someone has to support the garbage bag industry.
The bags can be headed for the Salvation Army or to those big yellow clothes collecting bins, or just out to our dumpster. It doesn’t matter. It’s psychologically liberating. Except of course when I realize I’ve tossed out something important in my zeal, and have to go buy a replacement.
Don’t get me wrong – I dig my stuff. I have no sentimentality about belongings, but I have a lot of items that I appreciate, and other items that would be extremely unpleasant to live without.
And, before anyone gets excited about what will be on the curb outside Leanne’s house the day of the move, let me clarify and tell you that the ginormous tv, our laptops and my ceramic rooster cookie jar are coming with me.
But all that other stuff? (Insert delighted teehee here). Hand me that trash bag, we’re just getting started.
Image credit: trash bag, house and rooster.