The 2nd Most Inefficient Blog Post About Efficiency

I was supposed to publish this post last week, because last week was my last week as a blog ambassador for simplehuman. (Hi FTC; that's a disclosure statement.) I wrote this post over and over and over, and finally had to stop and walk away, for no other reason than, ironically enough, it was grossly inefficient. I'm sure it was a good post, and will die an honorable death in my Draft Cemetery, but

                   you know how some people are really good at writing an exactly-three-hundred word post with a perfectly optimized-for-Pinterest photo and just enough but not too much SEO keyword inclusion that makes both their hoards of readers and their clients superbly happy? I am not those people.  

My posts all take these Robert Frost Road Less Traveledesque segues into existentialism, my daddy issues, poli-sci, words that aren't even really words, and gravy recipes before I even decide what the point is, let alone get to it. Case in point?  The 147 words I just typed that have nothing to do with the subject at hand AT ALL. 

Ahem. Over the post year, I've been learning and advocating a lot for efficiency. I've toured headquarters dedicated to looking at the things everyone else overlooks and making them the centerpieces of efficient living. My fellow ambassadors and I have tried, tested, and paid forward tools for efficient living, from Jedi Mind Trick trash cans to co-dependent enabler dish racks. And despite all of that, I have managed to make my personal life as completely in/un/not-efficient as humanly possible.

  • I moved to Northern California, so the mid-point Starbucks where I meet my kids' dad for his weekends with him went from being 19 miles away to being 360 miles away. 
  • My commute to work went from being over the dog toys and a left at the coffee pot to 2 1/2 hours. Each way. Uphill in the snow and barefoot.
  • My kids who used to go to schools cleverly-staggered at 45 minute start intervals now attend three different schools each about three miles apart, each which all start within seven minutes of one another. And there are no school buses in this town. And everyone here drives Suburbans to each school at the same time.
  • I replaced my neighbor who used to have an annoying husband and two kids with a neighbor with an annoying tribe of goats and one rooster.  
  • My tiny little entirely too small for us house has been replaced with one so big, I use a pedometer when I am making coffee in the morning.  
  • And I keep not going to the grocery store on the weekends like I used to before I had a commute into work and schools I had to drive kids to and roosters next door to yell at, so now I'm scrambling at 6:30 nightly to figure out something for dinner and going every.single.night which is a really great way to spend all your month's budget at Safeway. 

But of course, all of that is happening so that I can live with my very best friend in the whole wide world, whom I can, like, see any time I want now and stuff, so there is efficient balance in the force, I think. 

Still, with my simple, quiet existence gone and this constantly-running-and-juggling one with one commute and five kids and three dogs and a crazy wonderful boyfriend in its place, I am grateful for every small favor which comes my way, any shortcut my three hacker boys-man-children-things in my life read off the internet and try to pass of as their own to me, and any item around my house that makes the rest of life's details seamless and shiny.  

I am glad to know that I don't have to even think about the trash, like, EVER AGAIN, that the kids shower stuff isn't going to collect that inexplicable gunk in the corners of the tub, that I'm not going to have to reach my arm into the dogs' kibble to dig out my 1 cup measuring scoop that I decided I could live without and have regretted deciding that every batch of caramel I have made since, because my dog food container has a scoop that magically or by voodoo hangs from the lid. Seriously, WHY DID SOMEONE NOT MAKE THIS SOONER? I am glad to know someone is out there looking at every single bit of crucial daily minutia and making it work better, so that I can worry about everything else in my life I need too. I'm am excited to see what else they come up with, and really, it needs to be this

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You're welcome, simplehuman

Also, thank you for a really fun, really interesting, and really shiny year.  

42 Ways to Write a 309-Word Freudian Slip

Every day in my social media streams I see a handful of 15 reasons to ____ or 7 way to ____ and it is driving me crazy because I'm in marketing, I see what you're doing there, but also because I have been doing this for nine years which means I am an overbearing preachy know it all who had to code her own sidebar content boxes that weren't even called widgets yet uphill both ways in blogspot and do you even know what FTP is? Get off my CSS. 

But thankfully, my dear friend Denise Tanton reminded me - with her signature graceful eloquence - that there are multitudes of opinions about how we write blog posts, which work together to create a vast and diverse blogosphere, and each viewpoint is as valuable and important as the others.  

And she even went so far as to demonstrate her point for me. Read it here.  And that got me thinking about all the great (read: not pseudo-marketing formulaic SEO click bait pointlessly numbered) list-posts I've read over the years, and the few I'd even written myself (there are a few here, here, and here) before I decided no one should write them anymore, and that somehow turned into a group of us co-chairing The Sigmund and Freud Cross-Dressing Six Flags Sexy Sexy Safari Tours, or something like that. 

I'm not entirely sure.

The internet moves fast.

Keeping up is hard. 

Awesomely enough, this random post I was writing so I could keep avoiding the giant herd of elephants in this here room on the internet has somehow brought me around to that giant herd of elephants in this here room of the internet, comprised of everything I haven't found a way to publish yet, for one reason or another.

The human psyche is a dick.

Bygones. I needed a segue into the rest of my life, because really, two months of dodging elephants is exhausting. Also, not as good for the glutes as you'd guess. 

And so partly to let Denise know that I heard her, and hopefully avoid getting thrown into the lesbian tiger pit (though if it's the lesbian cougar pit, SIGN MY SHIT UP) and more-partly because I now have more posts in draft than I do published, I thought I would write a list post of my own, wherein I gloss over a whole lot of pretty important information* that really should go into a series of long, deep, meaningful posts, or, you know, MY BOOK, but you know. 

Things ain't nobody got time for:

  1. That.

HOLY DIGRESSION. I think it's time to just list out everything I'm not writing, and then maybe start publishing all the posts I have in draft line item number by line item number.

Color by numbers blogging. And I bitch about the list-makers. 

So. 

  1. I moved.
  2. To Northern California.
  3. And to Busy Dad.
  4. Over the first week of July, which was in-between BlogHer Food and BlogHer 13. Which is the perfect time to move. 
  5. If you hate yourself.  
  6. But I hate Arizona, and love Busy Dad, more.  So I moved.  
  7. And here is where I have to give my kids' father massive props for letting us go, because really, he totally could have said no and then we would have been stuck in that god-awful place for like ever and really, i would rather not-quite-die but you know what I mean than stay there one more day.  
  8. Of course, he has been nothing short of a  
  9. Chump ass
  10. Crying in his beer
  11. Breast-feeding
  12. Motherfucker
  13. To me ever since we moved, but he let me move. There am I happy. 
  14. And I know he's reading this, which is a lot of why I can't write anything anymore, because try having your ex of 20 years read your diary as you write it, but I found and read some of his journals, too, so quid pro quo, bitches. 
  15. And of course my daughter started having massive panic attacks the day before I left for BlogHer '13. 
  16. And her fish died the morning I left. 
  17. Because GAH. 
  18. But my teenage son stopped talking about killing himself. 
  19. No, I am not telling you which one. That's his business. 
  20. But you should watch this video from VOTY or read the post here on Adrienne Jones' blog No Points for Style, because we have to be talking more about our kids' mental health as a community and I for one have no idea how or where to start, so I am eternally grateful that she started for us.  
  21. Also, I got to spend, like, quality time with
  22. Queen
  23. Motherfucking
  24. Latifah
  25. at VOTY.
  26. There isn't one single picture of us together. 
  27. But man does she say Mistah Laydee just riiiiiight. 
  28. And now BlogHer is over and I am at the doctor kind of a lot with my daughter, who seemed to turn a really large corner a few weeks ago and is even putting herself to sleep at night again. 
  29. Baby steps on the bus.  
  30. And then I learned exactly how fun it feels to have your child tell you he hates you
  31. And mean it
  32. And have reasoning and facts backing up why
  33. And not being able to do a thing about it, because being the sober parent means you get to take the punches and keep wobbling back up and being the consistent, even, rational, not-emotionally-outbursty one and just hope he remembers it on the other side.  
  34. Which I think/hope he will, because holy SHIT do I love him
  35. Even if I never even wrote a post for him on his 15th birthday which was 4 1/2 months ago
  36. Best. Blogger. Ever.  
  37. But I'm getting much better at Facebook
  38. Which really isn't something I ever wanted to brag about, but here I am, checking Facebook alone in the dark and getting busted by my step-son who makes really funny faces at you when you get busted checking Facebook alone in the dark
  39. But not as funny as this face 
  40. Nothing is as funny as that face
  41. Except maybe watching BusyDad load up a grocery belt
  42. But that is a story for another day. 

And hopefully now I can start writing it. 

 

*For me. It's possible that maybe it isn't as important for you. 

Scarring Your Children - the Wax Edition

My mother is Irish and Ukrainian by decent, and has gorgeously deep olive skin, huge hazel eyes, and shockingly jet black hair that doesn't grow back after it falls out, which has most likely rendered her bald in the 21 years since I last saw her.  

My father is Scotch-Irish by decent, and has skin the color of fluorescent lighting, salt-water blue eyes, and red hair (now white with age) that covers his entire body, and I do mean entire, excepting three spots: One club-shaped spot on his lower back, one circular area in the middle of his right forearm, and the entirely of his head. Every other spot on his body is a plush matte of man-fur. I learned to french braid down my father's back, not kidding.  

Ask me how happy I am that I took after my father when it comes to my coloring and body-to-hair ratio. ASK ME.  I'm really not sure what's worse: having to tell me kids I'm going to get my beard waxed off, or having their reply be simply, "oh, okay."

My 13 year old used to be my Official Waxer because he's better at it than anyone I've ever met because (I'm guessing) I went and had that other kid and bumped him out of the baby-spot in the family and ripping hot wax and tiny hairs off my eyelids apparently gives him a nice, sanctioned opportunity to pay me back for ruining his life. 

But then I found a woman who was just as good at shaping my eyebrows but wasn't so hell-bent on making me paypaypay and I started sneaking out to her table in the middle of the afternoon when 2of3 was at a friend's house, or in school, or at his dad's for the weekend. When he found out what was going on, I watched the therapy bills piling up behind his big, doey, puppy dog eyes.

I'm not really sure what's worse: needing therapy because you used to wax your mother's jawline for her, or needing therapy because she found someone else to do it. 

Tools for Efficient Winning

My mother always joked that we had eight dishwashers in our house. In fact, we had four children and an in-sink-erator. We grew up in the hood, where no one I knew at all ever had a dishwasher. I once knew someone who had a kitchen sink hand held sprayer, and I remember standing at their sink for hours making lush, soft tufts of bubbles. I still do it today, actually. I am easily amused, shut up. 

I didn't have a dishwasher in my a home I lived in until my first son was six months old, in 1998. I regarded it with suspicious eyes, and used it as a really large built-in drying rack, and occasionally to sterilize bottles (but I always felt guilty about that.) In my mind, if you couldn't feel what you were scraping off, it wasn't getting scraped off properly, and until AI was perfected you weren't going to catch *me* using one of *those things*. 

And then I had another kid. It's scientifically proven fact that all sense of justness and moral integrity a person ever had is pushed out with placenta #2. 

But now my kids are older, and I live in a rental house with a really old dishwasher in the middle of a place where water doesn't naturally occur, and so I have a bit more time and a lot more motivation to hand wash my dishes again. Plus, I have a sink sprayer. 

So I've been hand-washing my dishes exclusively for the past year, and it's surprising how quickly you forget about a dishwasher once you stop using it. It's also astonishing how fewer glasses your kids will use in the course of a day if they know they have to hand-wash them at night.  

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The only problem with it is that this was my dish rack. I had paid exactly $2 for it at a yard sale or something. That's not actually  a photo of my dish rack; I was going to take one, but there's internet judgement and then there is asking for internet judgement. It was gross, that's all I'm saying. 

I have two teenage boys and a daughter. We fill that dishrack in 17 seconds. It wasn't fun.  

I kept using my dishwasher as a built-in dishrack, but then I'd forget the dishes were in there and then totally freak out of my kids for losing all of the [expletive expletive] side plates and spoons, and they'd get all afraid of the side-plates-and-spoons-gremlin who was clearly coming at night and framing them, so something had to be done. 

Something like this.  

I first saw it when I visiting simplehuman HQ a few months back. (Because I'm an ambassador. #disclosure I drooled for a while, then set out to get me wunnadoes. I mean, really, they have a separate wine rack *and* a separate knife block. They completely get me/my inability to unload a dishrack. 

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But I didn't have to get one because see mysterious floating finger in the picture? That is Mr SimpleHuman himself and he MAILED ME ONE. I swear, I love it more than I love hand sprayer bubbles - and I think we've established how much I love those.

Simplehuman dishrack large capacity.JPG

And we want to send you something, too. Because presents are nice, and life should be simple, and your trash can should totally match your dish rack. Or is that earrings and chonies? Either way, my fellow ambassadors and I want to give you whatever simplehuman product you you find the most innovative or efficient or just plain crazysexycool. Whether you are into apocalypse/puppy-proof bulk food containers, or soap pumps that squirt soap out faster than your dirty kids can dodge it, or paper towel dispensers that give great hugs, or a laundry basket that makes you like laundry again, we (and simplehuman) got yo back. 

Go poke around the simplehuman site and let me know in the comments which item would rock your world, and you'll be entered to win it. If you want extra entries, you can tweet about it to, just be sure to @simplehuman and me (@mrlady) so we see it! You can enter on each of our sites (click the links above to visit Clay, Kristen, Sarah, and Tim's posts.) We'll choose winners randomly, so you don't even have to be clever or anything. You can just say WANT and a link. 

Happy exploring, and good luck!

 Updated: Congrats to Casey who loves disgraces and wins a dishrack!