Tonight I found myself leaving Kroger with $10 worth of ice cream. When we lived in Copenhagen, $10 would almost have been enough for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I was carrying out three half gallons of Blue Bell.
It is a lot hotter here than in Denmark.
(Stop judging me!)
I caught some kind of Mean Viral Funk this week that left me horizontal and sleeping most of the week. I finally dragged myself to the doctor yesterday wearing mismatched pajamas and an oversized sweatshirt. And of course looking like this I ran into an acquaintance. I walked over and from a careful non-germ-communicable distance said hello to this acquaintance who didn’t recognize me. Probably because I looked like a down-on-my-luck carney who was in that waiting room just to spread whatever highly contagious disease I surely had.
After going though my symptoms, my doctor told me he was 80 percent sure I had the swine flu. I was almost relieved that I had a Real Reason for feeling so miserable. But then my flu test came back negative. Which, you know, yay… the Pig didn’t get me. But sometimes it’s nice to put a name on what is making your sinuses bleed. And “flu” is so much neater than “Mean Viral Funk.”
So no Photo Friday this week. Not unless you want to see a picture of a huge pile of Kleenex I used yesterday alone.
I’ve had a lot of freelance work on my plate this week, which is why I’ve been so quiet on the blog-front. Michael graciously gave me one whole day of his two day fall break this week to sit in his office and type furiously. It’s amazing how productive you can be when you know you have exactly eight hours to write what ended up being a 3,200 words-after-editing cover article for a local college’s alumni magazine.
The rest of the week we similarly fast-paced. So when one of my sisters called me to see if there was any way I could come with them to Chicago this weekend while she and another of my sisters (I have four sisters) run the CHICAGO MARATHON to give them moral support and “hold their stuff,” it somehow seemed like the perfect Anything Can Happen Thursday decision. (That one’s for you Big Bang Theory viewers).
I did an interview Friday afternoon for another freelance article, then a few hours later hopped in the car with my sisters and transcribed most of that interview on the drive to my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Illinois (have I mentioned I have a lot of siblings?). Then this morning I spent another two hours writing furiously in the car and another hour editing in my sister’s childhood friend’s Chicago basement appartment JUST SO I COULD GET TO THIS MOMENT:
I have finished my work. I am holding a big hot cup of Irish Cream with a little coffee. I am on the verge of finishing a whole book in just under a 24 hour period. I am in Chicago with my fabulous sisters who are getting ready to RUN THE CHICAGO MARATHON tomorrow. And there is an awesome Thai place at the end of the street.
I’m sort of lukewarm environmentally. The kind of person that irritates both committed environmentalists and global warming deniers. I use cloth diapers because it saves money. I recycle items (like washing machines!) if it’s convenient. I buy less processed food because it’s cheaper. I walk because I need the exercise. I’m sort of green.
Also in the crunchy camp is sustainable, fair trade food practices. I like to support our local farmers by buying their goods because the produce tastes better, but because also in my heart-of-hearts they remind me of my farmer grandpa. I also was feeling pretty good about myself for buying Starbucks coffee because they claim to fairly pay the coffee growers from whom they buy their beans.
Then this past spring I interviewed an anthropologist for a freelance story on her research on coffee farmers, and discovered I’d been “green washed.” Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee were really just patrolling their own Nike sweatshops. This knowledge obligated me to change coffee providers, and led me on a long, painful search for Fair Trade Certified coffee that doesn’t taste like old shoe. I finally found a Trader Joe’s brand fair trade coffee that was pretty ok. And I’ve drunk it for about four months now.
Yesterday I ran out of my righteous fair trade coffee and I’m not planning a trip to our closest Trader Joe’s, which is 90+ miles away, any time soon. And the Dark Mother started calling me. I may have driven to Starbucks and bought half a pound of fresh bold roasted Pike Place. It could be sitting in my cabinet this very moment. And I may be feeling profoundly guilty right now. But it was exquisite.
Someone please recommend a brand of good, dark fresh roasted, fair trade coffee that I can buy via the Internet?
I knew I was a grown up when my reaction to getting a new washing machine was eerily similar to my reaction to getting an American Girl doll for my 11th birthday. You may remember buying a washing machine was on my summer “to-do” list. Really it was a leftover from my winter to-do list that dribbled over into my spring to-do list, then bled over into my summer to-do list. You might have thought that six months of hauling my laundry 20 miles down the road once a week to my mother’s house would be enough of an incentive to find a new washing machine, but after a week or two it didn’t seem all that bad.
It wasn’t until Michael threatened to go out and find a washing machine himself that I got my act together and started diligently searching Craigslist once a day. There are many things I’m happy to delegate to Michael – bathroom cleaning, trash duty, poop duty (hehe) – but I’m a lot more invested in finding just the right washing machine than Michael who, when he was just my boyfriend, called me after I gave him a beautiful J.Crew wool sweater for Christmas to ask me if, once you shrink something, can you stretch it out again?
So on a Friday about two weeks before we left for Texas and England, I found a posting for a barely used Bosch washing machine, purchased in January at Lowe’s with a five-year extended warranty, that the owner didn’t want anymore because she decided she didn’t like front loaders. I spent the next 24 hours negotiating price, calling Lowe’s to find out if the warranty transferred, having some detailed email exchanges, followed by a visit to the washing machine. By Sunday night, I had a new washing machine and saved about $250.
It is a beautiful, beautiful machine. Sleek, energy efficient, quiet and really listens to you. I hugged it at least once a day for a week and fed it every scrap of dirty laundry I could find in the house just to listen to it purr. I hope we can grow old together. I’d keep going, but I can feel you getting sick.
I questioned for a while if I should devote blog space to the washing machine. It reveals a lot about my slow march toward becoming a 1950s housewife. But then last week Dooce posted about washing machines – and my beloved Bosch made a heroic appearance toward the end – and now here we are. Excuse me while I put on my girdle and find the keys to my station wagon.
Woke up after about 3 to 4 hours of sleep on the plane. Downed a breakfast of a croissant, three grapes, a bite of melon, a glass of water and a cup of coffee. Almost immediately feel very nauseated and spend the next four hours willing myself not to puke. As I clutched my barf bag during that time, I settled the troubling personal question, “Would it be better to gain 60 pounds every time I’m pregnant and never be sick, or throw up every day and gain the recommended 25 to 35 pounds?”
Picked up by our lovely former resident of Copenhagen friend Debby who settled us into her guest cottage (that’s right, GUEST COTTAGE. Completely equipped with drinks, fruit, coffee, tea, cereal, fresh flower, 400+ count sheets and Yankee candles!) and my stomach is calm enough for me to introduce it to clotted cream, which you eat with jam and scones.
Washed the jet plane off ourselves and took off for Windsor Castle. Seeing it felt really surreal and amazing, like seeing Washington D.C. for the first time. It’s about $20 to get in but there is a free audio tour that is really nice. Had lots of “[insert name of British monarch] walked here! YIEEeeee!” tourist moments. Saw a special exhibit of original drawings of all of Henry VIII’s wives including one of Anne Boleyn that I’d never seen in any book before. Possibly one of my favorite things there. Had a moment for Shanna Twigg.
About midway through the Windsor State Rooms, fatigue and hunger hit like a billy club. We finished up with St. George’s Chapel and headed over to the Crooked House of Windsor, which is actually crooked and too cute for words. Revived ourselves with tea and a cheese plate. Am renewing my old love of tea. Can almost understand how just having tea could renew a nation’s resolve to get through the Blitz.
Did a little window-shopping before giving up for the day, going back to the main house and having dinner. Managed to stay awake until 8:30pm by watching Friends on British cable. Now up at 2:30am waiting for the Tylenol PM to kick in.
A few years back it used to really bother me when the local rednecks would honk their truck horns and hang their heads out their windows to gawk as I was out jogging. It never failed to startle the crap out of me. And since, back then, exercising made me cranky I would usually flip them off to better demonstrate how unappreciative I was.
Two days ago it happened again. Except this time I was secretly relieved to have some evidence that, after two babies, I still got it.