My ideal house and a weird/fun website

I have complained before about the difficulty of having a house in a 4-season climate (even worse when you rent, not own, and/or when all the available properties in an area are shoddily built!).  I have moved since I wrote that, and the new place is definitely better.  However, the HVAC system is in no way balanced between the upstairs and downstairs.  In my dream world, I live in a house with correctly-balanced temperature control zones and better insulation and larger eaves, especially on the side of the house where it always rains into the windows.

I found this interesting (?) website called truehome.net.  I have many opinions about interior designs, but a lot of them are surface-level that wouldn’t play into buying a home.  For example, if the flooring’s not ideal, that can be changed pretty easily.  Anyway, truehome asked me to describe my ideal home in detail, and here’s what I wrote:

Built-in bookshelves EVERYWHERE!  Comfortable, supportive seating.  Lots of places to sleep and be cozy.  Bathrooms with separate tub & shower (deep soaker tub, no jets).  Shower does not require curtain or door (nautilus).  Toilet next to sink.  Gas stove.  Areas to be together but also lots of privacy and sound isolation.  Garage.  No-maintenance yard.  Well-insulated with a well-balanced HVAC system and zones of climate control.  Fireplace.  At least 2 bathrooms.  No HOA.  Hardwood floors.  Maybe 4BR.  No dogs nearby!  Near or in the city.  Not modern, not minimalist: comfortable.  Not country.  Colors on walls.  Efficiency, low-maintenance, green.  Comfortable, safe, easy, lovely.  High ceilings in main living areas.  Cabinets I can actually reach.  Big closets.  Maybe a courtyard.  Privacy is a high priority for me.

(#2 likes modern and minimalist and dislikes fireplaces, also prefers neutral walls.  The rest sounds great.)

Then it also had fun questions where you could pick out which castle you wanted, and the reasons you need it.  My answers to “Why do I need a castle?” included the multiple-choice options:  My servants are bored.  I identify with eccentric Bavarian kings.  Everyone needs a moat.  I like how this house is protected from pirates.

Readers, why do you need a castle?

Google may not have all the answers, but we do

Q:  how do you pay for a phd when you have a family

A:  You don’t.  The PhD needs to pay you or you shouldn’t get it.  (Assuming you’re asking this question because you don’t have enough money, not that you’re asking which trust fund you should sell in order to keep up with your lifestyle while you’re away from being a middle-manager at daddy and mummy’s company.)

Q:  list 10 interview questions to ask her mother like about school life, etc

A:  Seriously, kid, if you’re trying to cheat on your homework now for these low-ball, no-wrong-answer sort of things, you’re going to be a huge PITA when you hit college.  Instead of asking the internet, sit down with a pencil and paper and just think about this a little bit. What kinds of questions would be interesting to you?

Q:  can la people tell youre from the midwest?

A:  People in LA will ask you where you’re from and all sorts of invasive questions before they have a chance to figure out you’re from the midwest based on your tells.

Q:  why does my husband feel bad for living a better life than his parents

A:  Was he raised Catholic?

Q:  how to teach someone not to take things that are not theirs

A:  If this someone is over the age of say, 4, you should probably seek professional help on this question.  For ages 4 and under, gently say, “No, this is X’s [thing].  We don’t take other people’s stuff.”

Q:  the inlaws got new carpet so no one got thr usual chridtmad money?

A:  Good for them!  You know, that money is a gift, not an entitlement.  You should not be expecting it.

Q:  how to make my face look friendly

A:  Probably not permanent makeup

Q:  how to transform the mean priming to percentual

A:  Um.  Math?

Q:  if you have a masters in accounting does that make you a phd

A:  No.

Q:  how do gifted students cope with stupid kids

A:  They grow up and write snarky blogs.

Do the holidays stress you out?

I have a confession to make.  They totally don’t stress me out.  I find them to be totally relaxing.  Holidays are awesome.

And yes, I’m the one with kids.  And yes, we celebrate Christmas.

Now, the end of the semester is a bit stressful.  Finishing up classes, then the final exam, then grading.  Also the OMG everybody is about to disappear we must have these last 50 faculty meetings to discuss urgent business.  Oh, and the 20 referee reports that are due right in the beginning of December.  And the 30 letters of recommendation.  That part is kind of stressful.  When all of that is over and the students are gone, it’s hugely peaceful.  So our Christmas season doesn’t really start until classes end (sometime in the late teens or early 20s of December, depending on the year).  The kids don’t seem to mind an abbreviated season at home even if school and stores start at Thanksgiving.

Do we make Christmas cookies?  Sometimes.  If we feel like it.  Ditto Christmas breads.  I like buying a little live rosemary tree a week or so before Christmas and we decorate that.  Christmas shopping mostly happens online.  Stocking stuffers (the only thing “Santa” brings) get bought at Target when we pick up gift cards for the teachers.  We’ve taken the oldest to see the Nutcracker.

Having the kids home 24/7 can be a little stressful, whether it’s Christmas or not.  (At least until DC2 learns to read like DC1.)  We try to arrange family visits so they overlap at least a little with kids’ vacation so that they can burn some of their energy off on the relatives.  Spread it out, so to speak.  We definitely use daycare as much as it’s open, and DC1 goes to daycamp for one of the weeks that ze is off (same place ze goes in the summer).

This time of year articles start popping up about the Elf on the Shelf and all sorts of crafty etc. time-consuming holiday traditions that moms can do to make things magical.  And that’s great for the parents who get utility out of doing stuff like that.  We love that DC1′s best friend’s mom is doing another gingerbread house party this year.

But what about people who feel compelled to do all the Christmas stuff even though they hate it?  The folks who are totally stressed out because they have to remember to move the elf every night, or they would rather watch a movie than make cookies, or they have a racist uncle Mike that they hate seeing every year at Christmas dinner?

Think about your sources of holiday stress (if any).

What happens if you:

1.  Don’t do them?  Would the world end if you just didn’t visit your racist relatives and stayed at home with the family you chose and you love instead?  If you don’t do outdoor lights?  Will the children be scarred for life if the elf moves to another house and never returns?

2.  Pay someone else to do them instead?  I learned this year that I will never adopt a family and go shopping for them again– instead I’ll just give money for someone else to shop with.

3.  Get someone else in the family to do them?  Why is it always mom’s job to bring holiday cheer?  Maybe another family member can step in and take the kids to see the lights or bake cookies and clean up the kitchen etc.

4.  Change them so they’re less stressful?  Maybe instead of getting a big cut tree you can get something that’s more manageable.  Maybe you can change a tradition so it’s more chill.  Instead of 12 different batches of cookies, maybe one or two.  Maybe it’s time for Santa to drop off the packages early and to leave them with some assembly required after they’re unwrapped.

5.  Reframe them so they’re not as stressful?  Sometimes you can just will yourself to enjoy a long drive (in the snow) to see the grandparents.  It’s an adventure instead of a chore.  Sometimes that’s not possible, but if you can’t get out of doing something, might as well make the best of it.

Do you have holiday stress?  What tips do you have for avoiding holiday stress?  What have you tried that’s worked for you?

Out of curiosity…

So my kids were not blessed with fast-growing hair.  For each of them sometime before age 1.5 they ended up with awful mullets.  Their heads grow faster than the hair, so it gets short on the sides with the proverbial party in back.  Awful.

For boys, that’s an easy fix.  First haircut and you’re back to presentable.

For girls… there’s either the pixie cut, or there’s the putting up teeny tiny rubber-banded spikes on the side of the head (“Pebbles-style”)… and I think that’s it.  Maybe a person can try to even it out, but it’s still going to be longer in the back than on the sides.

So what do people do with the toddler mullet?  Just leave it?

I’ll just put these right here

I have all these cool pics that I was going to add to posts but they don’t seem to fit in places, so… here you go!  Amusing things to look at.

64500_4720549303975_240072075_n

This is so gorgeous and also BOSS

librarian humor

nice sloth

The top part may or may not be true

why is this trueDon’t we all?

Ok, grumpeteers, amuse us!

Do you ever comment on blog posts without reading the whole thing through?

Just curious…

What do you call your pets (or children)?

Obviously your pets have names, but chances are that’s not what you always call them.

We have Big Cat and Little Cat.  Sometimes we call big cat, “butterball.”  Little cat can be, “baby kitty.”  We may occasionally say “snuggly wuzzikin,” or “kittikens.”  We have some nicknames based on their real names as well.

#2 :  Mine is baby.  fuzz-face.  goober.  fuzzball.  gooberkitty.  sweetie.  [name]-baby. kit-kit.

Children are “snuggle-bun” and “snuggers” and “baby” and  “precious” and “honey.”  Also “little/big guy/girl” as appropriate for age and expressed gender.  Occasionally a “cutie-patootie” will sneak in.

What do you call your pets (or children)?  If you have/had neither pets nor children, what were you called growing up?

How to cause drama on the internet

Step 1: Say something judgmental that gets people riled up.  Bonus points if it’s about motherhood.
Step 2:  Say you don’t want any more drama in a dramatic separate post.
Step 3: Point vague fingers at anonymous people who are accused of causing drama!  Leave just enough clues that some people will know what you’re talking about and others will be tantalized, but not enough that everyone knows what you’re talking about.
Step 4:  Profit

This works very well on forums.  If you’re really good the admin won’t wait a full day to shut you down.  However, it may take a little while for folks to do the appropriate detective work to make it really juicy.  Be patient.  Give more hints in the comments section if necessary.

It also works on blogs, of course.  Though it’s probably a little harder given the control that folks have over where the arguments are going.  On the plus side, blogs with advertising do get some of the profit rather than just the forum owners.

How do you cause drama on the internet?  Er, we mean, how do you see other people causing drama on the internet because we know, dear readers, that you would never do such a thing.

Recent trends we’ve been noticing

  • gelato!
  • bicycling
  • going to Italy
  • old-school mustaches
  • hybrid big cars and trucks
  • chia seeds for eating instead of pets
  • American pop that sounds like K-pop
  • rash guards instead of regular swim suits

What trends have you been noticing lately?

What do you call your own partner?

Previously we talked about what to call other people’s significant others.  But that was cold and impersonal.  What about the special someone (if any) in your own life?

#1:  He’s “my hero” and “snuggle bun” and “beautiful,” occasionally, “beautiful, wonderful.”  In the winter, I sometimes just call him, “warm.” He used to call me “sweet stuff,” but I think it’s been several years since he used that as a nickname.  Now I’m generally “precious.”  Also “wife” and “sexy wife.”

#2: Um.  We have nicknames for each other, but they are personal.

I call both him AND the cat sweetie.  I also call my partner love, baby, honey.  He calls me “love” sometimes.  Sometimes I call him ridiculous things like snooky-ookums, but not seriously.  And I call him “sweet one”.    Oh yeah, and cute-patootie.  But mostly we use the personal nicknames when we’re expressing affection.

If you’re partnered up, what do you call your own significant other, like to hir face?  What does ze call you?  How do you refer to hir to other people?

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