Can toilet paper spark joy?

Pretty much everyone has heard of the Konmari book about minimalism and cleaning and only keeping things that “spark joy.”

Detractors often say that some utilitarian things are just not going to ever spark joy.  Now, we believe in small well-made tools to the extent that we’ve recommended people give tweezers and pencil sharpeners for Christmas.  These little luxuries really do spark joy for me whenever I have to sharpen a pencil or tweeze an errant hair or open a jar or what have you.

What, of course, makes them spark joy, is the memories of using pencil sharpeners that don’t sharpen right, or tweezers that take a lot of effort.  Or jar openers that take too much hand strength.  And on and on and on.

Often people will say, “Toilet paper will never spark joy.”  And I submit that those people did not grow up with crappy toilet paper.  One of my guilty pleasures in life is buying really nice quality toilet paper.  Toilet paper that doesn’t melt upon contact with water.  That doesn’t scratch.  That doesn’t take handfuls and handfuls per use.  (It’s a guilty pleasure because I know it’s not the best choice for the environment, but I buy it still!)

So… how to make sure even your mundane objects spark joy?

  1. Use crappy cheap versions of the object
  2. Find the best version of the object
  3. Use that instead
  4. (dispense with the crappy versions if you’re Konmari-ing)

Joy sparked!

Of course, if you haven’t suffered, you’ll never know the joy.  I suppose that if you do get rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy then you’ll have a lot of unsharpened pencils until you get a new sharpener, at which point, its eliminated absence will cause new joy to be sparked.  So…

Ah, the cirrrrrcle of hedonic adaptation.

Do mundane objects spark joy for you?  Which ones?

Link love and a challenge update

For those following me at home.  This week’s goal was 2,500 steps/day.  How did I do?:
Feb 1: 7,194 (DH had a dentist appointment so I had to get DC1 which I did on foot)
Feb 2: 2,951 (Pacing while waiting for DH put me over the edge on this one)
Feb 3: 6,946 (I had the car so I had to walk from the parking lot, went for coffee at work, walked to the village store during DC1’s piano lesson to pick up a loaf of bread)
Feb 4: 9,769 (DH had the car so I walked to pick up both kids.  We got smoothies on the way home from DC2.)
Feb 5: 4,420 (Decided to pick up DC1 by foot for funsies because I was home because my laptop broke at work and I’ve been seriously procrastinating)

Go me.  One thing I notice is that I would rather exercise than work which means my work has been suffering a bit.  :/  DC1 chatters a lot more while walking home than zie does in the car (where zie generally reads a book).

And now for some links!

UN experts horrified by how American schools treat black children.

Marlon Brando on Hollywood’s diversity problem.

America Ferrera answers a stupid question.

What happened when Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, the answer may not surprise you.

The comments on every article about sexism illustrate the exact problem

For a laugh.

Read the comments and ponder how privilege is a many splendored thing

Michael Moore on the Flint tragedy

Dr. Cleveland was wrong about Hillary Clinton.

The only reason to attack Clinton on lack of progressivity is political.

Wandering scientist has a one hour productivity seminar

Budgetpalooza

Hypnotic

newborn horse sneezes

Soliciting more ask the grumpies

Turns out when you run ask the grumpies almost every week instead of every other week, you run out of them a lot faster!

Ask the grumpies is a feature we run every Friday or every other Friday depending (sometimes it alternates with the less-popular but still fascinating google questions).  You ask, we answer, or we punt and ask the grumpy nation to answer.  In any case, you get the benefit of not only our wisdom but the collective wisdom of the far wiser grumpy nation.

Any lurkers have questions they’ve been wanting to get answered?  How about our regulars?

What questions do you have for us?  What can we bring clarity or further confusion to?  What can the grumpy nation ponder and discuss on your behalf?  Ask in the comments below or email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com.

How many steps: February challenge update

I spent the week trying to do better about carrying my phone so I’d have a baseline step information.  This was complicated by two factors:

  1. Not all of my pants pockets are cell-phone compatible.
  2. At the end of the day I need to plug my phone in so it can eat yummy electricity (I usually do this as soon as I get home so I don’t forget).

Add to that that my DH and I did the exact same hike on Saturday but somehow he ended up walking considerably “longer” in miles according to his phone than I did in addition to taking “more” steps even though I’m much shorter (probably because his was in his pants pocket and mine varied between my jacket and a bag used to carry jackets), and I’m fairly sure that the actual number of steps is incorrect.

However, incorrect they may be, so long as they’re consistently incorrect that’s a reasonable baseline.

Here’s what we’ve got:

Jan 25: 1761
Jan 26: 2127
Jan 27: 1519 (incompatible pants day)
Jan 28: 2134
Jan 29: 2362
Jan 30: 10862
Jan 31: 6430

So that tells me that I can get 2000 steps per day pretty easily.  Here’s my plan for the month (minimums):

Week 1: 2500 steps/day
Week 2: 3000 steps/day
Week 3: 3500 steps/day
Week 4: 4000 steps/day

I know it seems pretty modest, but it did take a 2 hour hike plus grocery shopping and walking to the library to get that 10,862 step number and I have some deadlines this month so two hours+ of exercise each day just isn’t feasible.  Plus I don’t wear the phone all day, though I bet by week 4 I’ll be better about remembering it during the day even if I still plug it in when getting home at night.

I will allow myself to take a break if I am genuinely sick (not the irritating cold I’m nursing). If I break my leg or something I’ll find an alternative exercise.

Wish me luck and a lack of broken limbs!

Who to vote for in the primary: In which the grumpies disagree even though they agree

#1:  All three candidates are perfectly acceptable.

#2:  Given the choice I’ll vote Sanders; if it’s only Clinton on the ticket I will happily vote for her and think it’s a good choice!

#1: I’m voting for Clinton, but I’m totally fine with Sanders. In a different world, I’d be more for Sanders, but in this world, I’m for Clinton.  I tend to vote for the pragmatic candidate–I knew underneath Obama’s idealism beat a heart of pure pragmatism (he won me over with his specific wooing of the economist vote). I think Clinton has a better shot of getting ‘er done.  Everyone I’ve met who has worked with/for her says she’s a great boss and extremely competent and has a big public service motivation (not ambition like SNL wants you to think) and thinks she’s the best person for the job *and she’s right to think that.*  (They also say she’s unexciting and kind of a bureaucrat, but I’m totally fine with that.)  She was wonderful at that Benghazi hearing.

#2: I have differences of opinion with Clinton. However, if it’s Clinton vs. Republicans, I am Clinton all the way! My differences with her are much less than my differences with anyone else (except Sanders). My issues with Clinton are small in the grand scheme of things.

#1: What are your differences of opinion? I am curious if I also have them or if I agree with her.

#2: I think she wants to be more involved in the middle east and more explodey than I want.

#1: oh, I have no idea about foreign policy

#2: also more drones spying on other leaders

#1: yeah, all of that is out of my wheelhouse

#2: in the grand scheme of things, foreign policy isn’t the most important to me.

#1: I know enough about that stuff to not have an opinion! it’s like, who the hell knows what is the right thing to do

#2: i would rather cut military spending and fund education and healthcare. But I’m some sort of commie or something.

#1: in the perfect world, I would agree with that

#2: there is too darn much military spending, but it’s our own fault

#1: I do think we need to do a better job getting other countries to pay for foreign interventions.

#2: I see how we can’t vanish it all overnight, that would be ridiculous

#1: it still sits with me wrong

#2: YES

#1: they’re really hard questions and I’m glad I don’t study them

#2: I think she may be also more drill-for-oil than I agree with, but I’d have to check

#1: mainly I want people to stop dying and for women and minorities to have human rights and so on

#2: YES

#1: anybody who wants to drill baby drill right now is STUPID– the low cost of oil is destabilizing

#2: reproductive rights! healthcare! social justice!

#1: I wish the democratic debates were better publicized.  They actually talk about issues and sound professional and stuff.  Debbie Wassaman is doing a terrible terrible job.

#2: https://www.isidewith.com/ is a good way to figure out who you side with. They don’t have complete info for anyone on every single question, but you can break it down by the areas that are most important to you. I agree with Bernie on almost all things, but lots and lots of them are less-important things. I agree with Clinton on a few large, important things but disagree with her on some less-important things. SO…. enh?  “Less-important” meaning TO ME of course.

#1: wow, these questions have gotten crazier since I last took the test– some of the republican candidates really are batexcrement evil crazy–it says I’m 95% bernie, 92% hillary, 78% O’Malley… then Chris Christie and John Kasiach and Jeb Bush. Apparently I’m “Left-Wing Authoritarian”

“Your political beliefs would be considered strongly Left-Wing and moderately Authoritarian on an ideological scale, meaning you tend to stand up and protect those who are oppressed or taken advantage of and believe the government should do the same.” Down with oppression!

I’m still voting for Hillary. Assuming I can get my voter registration reinstated (the post office sent my registration check card back to the voter office, even though they delivered DH’s). (Why yes, the Voter Rights Act did affect my state and its absence is being noticed.)

So yeah– the primary season has started!  Vote for your favorite democrat.  Even if you live in a red state.  Especially if you live in a red state!  There’s something wonderful about discovering you’re not the only democrat in your town.  If you’re not a democrat then, um, vote for Kasich?

February Mortgage Update: Mortgage misconceptions or why you should not get your financial advice from the MMM forum

Last month (January):
Balance:$15,645.52
Years left: 1.166667
P =$1,147.93, I =$66.47, Escrow =$809.48

This month (February):
Balance:$14,493.05
Years left: 1.083333333
P =$1,152.47, I =$61.93, Escrow =$809.48

Amount saved from prepayment:  $0

Because of my addictive personality, I’m not allowed to join any forums.  That doesn’t mean though that I don’t occasionally read fora even though I can’t participate.  Occasionally I have to say something, and since I’m not allowed to join, the something gets to spill over onto the blog.

In this case the forum in question is Mr. Money Moustache’s, and the “someone is wrong” thing is a few misconceptions about mortgages.  I know we’ve written about them before, but they obviously bear repeating!

  1. Mortgages work differently than student loans or credit card debt because they keep the payment the same each month and just remove months off the end with pre-payments.  That means that payments early in your mortgage are worth more than payments later in your mortgage because the mortgage, unlike other investments, doesn’t reamortize each month.  That means the amount you’re saving from pre-paying is different depending at what point you’re at in the mortgage.  You can see this by looking at an amortization spreadsheet, like this one from GRS.
  2. A common misconception is that you are increasing your risk pre-paying the mortgage because you can’t get the money back in an emergency unless and until you pay the entire thing off (and thus finish your mortgage payments).  That’s not actually true.  If you prepay your mortgage, you can, in an emergency, re-cast/re-amortize for a small fee (usually ~$250) and get lower monthly payments by lengthening the amount of time that you continue paying on the mortgage.  For example, right now my mortgage payment is a little over $2000/mo with 1.08333 years left.  If I re-amortized, my payment would be just a little bit more than what I’m paying for escrow, but I would be paying that sum over 13.4 years instead.  (And I have to pay for escrow even if the mortgage is gone!)  All that pre-payment means that in an emergency I can cut my monthly required payment, even though there’s still time left on the mortgage.  You don’t end up with quite as much ready cash so if you’re expecting an emergency you should keep it, but if the emergency is a low-probability event that may happen after years of pre-payment, you can likely recoup enough in lowered payments to get you through for quite a while.  [note that if you have a nonstandard mortgage, the rules may be different — you may not be able to as easily reamortize an adjustable rate mortgage.  Check with your lender if this is a concern. ]

Are there any money misconceptions that bother you?  What do you do when someone is wrong on the internet?  Do you belong to any fora?

Link Love

#realacademicbios   Also :(

I thought the comments on this one were especially clever (disclaimer:  half of them are mine…)

Birth of a Nation

Disney princesses and talking (I also wonder what it would look like if they took out the villains!)

glad to see I’m not the only one who thought Love Actually was really creepy

Also creepy

What has Obama ever done for us (with apologies to John Cleese)

This comment from quixote

Also this comment from Delia Harrington

Moosesplainer

Sheldon gets into the konmari thing

A good explanation of how the lead in pipes thing works with ph and stuff.  Water filters (note:  we do not get $ from this– I’m not exactly sure why #2 sent it?) (Because we should think about water sometimes, is why.)

A windy city gal needs your help for a reading thing

Stacking pennies discusses her minimum spend to be comfortable and breaks it out.

dear debt: what you don’t understand is that my husband and I are a TEAM. We tackle things together, both of us against you. You’re outnumbered. You can’t win. Scram.

When keeping chickens was patriotic

self driving cars and the future

Reading the people’s stories here is heartbreaking.

#defeathepantsiarchy

EPIC

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