Why my internet searching is no good for conversations in polite company

I was having a little pillow talk with DH about how I suck these days at making polite small-talk (this may or may not have been related to spending time with his extended family).

He was all, you’d think with that blog and all that time you spend on the internets you’d have plenty of topics of conversation.

And I was all, we-lllll, not really.

I mean, what do we talk about on the blog?

Feminism.  Nope.  Not in polite company.

Racism.  Nope.  Ditto.

Bragging about kids.  Not with his family (who have their own kids), not at toddler birthday parties, no siree.  Not a chance.

Money.  I wish.  I do get to talk about this with DH’s father, but for the most part this is not a topic of conversation to bring up with DH’s family because we’re doing really well and they don’t want any suggestions.  They really don’t.  Similarly taboo at toddler parties.  Back when we did parties in cities people would ask me about personal finance, investing, and/or the economy once they found out I was an economist, but that hasn’t happened in years.  Maybe because they know they’ll see me again and don’t want to talk about their own finances?  Or maybe because nobody wants to go near talking about politics in polite company (for good reason) in a polarized red-purple state.

There’s still food.  I can totally talk about food.  That’s like the one conversation I was able to participate in over break at DH’s (though I had several opportunities to discuss toddler poop, but chose not to– that’s all on me).  Food is what I talk about when I have to make conversation with a job candidate whose area of research I have no knowledge of.  I like food.  Food is awesome.

Books… I don’t normally talk about books because I sort of only read Spec Fic (and recently I’ve added regency romance).  It’s always exciting when I find out someone else is a Spec Fic reader, but I’ve had work colleagues I’ve known for years and it’s only recently that one of us has come out as a science fiction/fantasy reader.  That’s always exciting, but it’s something one doesn’t talk about.  I recently found out that my RA also comfort reads Georgette Heyer.  But romance reading is something one talks about even less than fantasy!  Most people seem to discuss book club books in polite company and I really don’t read or enjoy them.

In truly nerdy company I used to be able to discuss anime, but nobody watches it and what with the kids and all I don’t really have time to either.  (Though DH and I have been slowly making our way through the third season of Natsume Yujincho.  Apparently if you stop watching anime for a while new seasons come out!)

Interestingly, with the exception of anime, these are all topics I can and do discuss with my family on a regular basis, with politics added as an additional topic when my extended family gets together.  Families are all so very different.

Once the topic of weather has been completely exhausted, I’m a pretty dull person in polite company.  That’s why we have the blog.

What do you talk about when you make small-talk?  Is it anything at all like what you talk about on the internets?  Where do you get topics of IRL conversation?

Mornings at Casa Grumpy with #1

6-something:  DH gets up and takes a shower along with other morning ablutions

6-something a little later:  DC1’s alarm goes off and ze gets up, does zir morning teeth brushing, potty, etc. and gets dressed

somewhere between 6:45 and 7am: DH returns from his shower which wakes me up

7:  I hop out of bed, do my morning ablutions, grab cereal and milk and check my email and my online comics and the blog while eating.  DC1 is generally dressed at this point but if ze has been distracted, I go, “hey!” on my way to morning ablutions and ze finishes getting dressed.

7:08:  I put my used mug back at the sink and while in the kitchen check that DC1 has gotten breakfast, usually a cereal bar, and has put hir lunch (that ze made the night before) in hir lunch bag (sometimes ze leaves it in front of the microwave, so it’s a spot check).  Take my lunch and DC2’s lunch out of the fridge (both made the night before) and put it on the island.

7:10:  If DC2 hasn’t gotten up, DH puts hir clothes on.  (If DC2 has gotten up, ze goes potty, eats breakfast, usually a banana but sometimes cereal (which either DH or I get for hir by request), and gets dressed).  I get dressed.

7:15: DH or I make sure DC2’s lunch has been taken out of the fridge and put next to the door.  I make sure I have my lunch and it’s in a bag in my bag.  I double check that I didn’t need to get my external harddrive.

7:18:  Everybody gets rounded up to go to the car.  Last minute checks that we have everything.  DH puts a sleepy DC2 in the carseat while I grab a banana or cereal bar and give it to hir (unless ze woke up on hir own, in which case we have a spirited discussion about shoes or jacket and are just a little bit silly before being strapped into the carseat and we end up leaving a little late).

7:20:  DH goes back in and locks the door to the house, we exit the garage.  I turn on NPR.

Somewhere between 7:30 and 7:40 depending on traffic:  Drop off DC1 at dropoff.

2 min later:  Take DC2 in to daycare.  Check in.  Put bag and lunchbag and water bottle away (if DC2 is not groggy, ze does half of this).  Take DC2’s coat off.  Take DC2 to the potty if that didn’t happen at home.  Throw away the banana peel and part of the banana if DC2 ate what ze wanted in the car, help DC2 to the table to finish if that’s what ze wants.  Give DC2 a big hug, tell hir that I’m going to work and daddy is going to work too and at the end of the day daddy will pick up DC1 and then DC2 and then we’ll all go home.  Kiss and bye!  (At this point ze is generally, “yeah mom, whatever, cya.”)

8:00:  Roll into work.

And a bonus:  Mornings at Casa Grumpy with #2:

Morning:  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What am I looking for in a rental

In order of importance (and assuming under $5K/mo):

1.  I will be able to get enough sleep at night– no thin walls, no cigarette smoke.  (Also non-crazy landlord, but how does one screen for that?)

2.  At least 2br.

3.  In unit laundry.  Dishwasher.  Reasonable appliances (though we can always buy cheap ones).

4. In a decent to good school district and DC1 can stay grade-skipped (or they want to test before keeping the skip– I’m fine with that too).

5.  We can keep at least our main kitty, little kitty.

6.  A reasonable commute to:  Sabbatical Uni, DC1’s school, DC2’s preschool, given that we will only have one car.

7.  Walkable neighborhood that includes a playground.

8.  Allows us to take Nice kitty

9.  3 br

10.  Walking distance to a library

11.  Walking distance to shops

12.  Excellent schools (as opposed to decent)

13.  Driveway or garage space, not just street parking.

14. Out door play area such as yard.

15. Furnished.

16.  More than 1000 sq ft.

17.  Nice appliances.

18.  Nice extras (countertops etc.)

19.  Fruit or nut trees.

20.  A price considerably lower than 5K/mo.

What are your priorities when it comes to a rental?  Do they differ for long-term vs. short-term?  What am I forgetting?

Link love for a long week

This week’s F the police… we’re number one! we’re number one!  Each paragraph worse than the one before.  Also this.

Little Rock Nine members oppose anti-LGBT legislation

Posted without comment

What about intersectionality and female friendships in YA?

Unwanted children

social media protecting men from periods and other womany stuff

With the caveat that if your husband cooks really delicious dinners, you’re still lucky

How delagar stopped being libertarian

Middle class by quintiles

Definitions for insurance


the secret history of cheese

fantastic photos Coauthors gone bad

Man documents vacation without wife and child

felines of New York


two medieval monks invent bestiaries

girl historian continues to do fascinating work

here’s a happy

on lying during job interviews

A broken German door


animals with books

It’s ask the grumpies time again: Put your ask the grumpies questions here!

Hard to believe, but we’ve finally run out of ask the grumpies questions.

When that happens, we solicit more!

Ask the grumpies is a feature we run every other Friday (unless we get an emergency question that displaces the alternating google questions feature).  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.

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.

Do you think there’s any point …

Occasionally we stumble upon mommy-blogs in which the author is extremely anxious about the cleanliness of her house or her lack of making beautiful baked goods or what she’s doing or not doing with her children or I don’t know, whatever it is that the NYTimes is telling women and mothers to be anxious about.  Sometimes her husband is a lazy asshole and she feels like she can never measure up to his wants and needs while still taking care of the children and house (and sometimes, though not always, her job).  And she’s worried about her (normal-range) weight to boot.

And sometimes I will “poo” in her comments section, questioning why she believes that magazine or blog article she read telling her that her life is worthless if her kitchen floor isn’t sparkly.  (I haven’t seen articles like that, but bloggers claim they exist.  Maybe they have subscriptions to Patriarchy Monthly:  Keeping women down since the beginning of time?)

This little scat packet of mine rarely goes over well.  I’m not the target demo.  The target demo is other women who also feel like their kitchen floor will never be clean enough who are supposed to commiserate.  *shudder.*

And I wonder… is there any point to saying, “Cleanliness is next to cleanser, not next to Godliness” and “Why are you making yourself miserable because you don’t measure up to some artificial standard created by the patriarchy?”  (Because the blogger is always miserable.  And she always blames herself and never the magazines.)  Not usually in those words, but it doesn’t actually matter how gently or politely the words are phrased.  Harsh comments and gentle comments get the same response.

If it weren’t for the patriarchy or those women’s magazines, would they find something else to be miserable about?  Is it really the patriarchy bringing them down, and would understanding it do any good?

Really what I ought to do is to completely leechblock such blogs so I don’t have to read them myself, because they depress me.  Reading about women who are upset when they don’t need to be depresses me.  I don’t like reading about people who stay with lazy husbands they don’t love and don’t communicate with who make them miserable (and say all relationships are like that, anyone who says differently is lying, so why change).  I don’t like reading about people feeling guilty and anxious and worthless because they’re buying the line that the patriarchy is selling them.  I don’t like reading about people being determined to stay miserable and anxious.

And no, I don’t blame these women, but it makes me feel sad and helpless to see the comments agreeing that that’s just the way life is and everybody feels like that and all women are worthless and not measuring up to arbitrary standards that they believe are important that don’t have to be important.  And voices of dissent get attacked– it’s self-policing.  Will it always stay that way?  And is one lone blogging voice saying no, don’t believe it, doing more harm than good?

What’s the point?

Cool books yo

In case you were wondering, and/or wanting something to read.

Good books:

First, three YA graphic novels: I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly — amazing!–   Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol; and El Deafo by Cece Bell.

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (published in UK as Rivers of London) — I also like the sequel.

Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn. You don’t need to have read any of her other books to enjoy this delight.

Lazarus Volume 1 by Greg Rucka

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon: The Diary of a Courtesan in Tenth Century Japan

The Element of Fire by Martha Wells

The Enola Holmes series (with the caveat that they’re kind of racist towards the Roma, particularly in the last book). (and with the caveat that #1 disputes the underlying premise.)



Books I was meh on:

Jasmine Nights by S.P. Somtow (couldn’t get into it; gave up halfway through)

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita (finished but couldn’t relate to author’s story at all)

Regeneration by Pat Barker (sausage fest; finished it; it was ok but didn’t stick with me)


Any recommendations for us or each other, Grumpeteers?


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