My coauthor’s all, “Last minute deadlines are the only way I ever get anything done.”
My coauthor’s all, “Last minute deadlines are the only way I ever get anything done.”
After putting our house on the market, we hired professional cleaners because we couldn’t keep up with keeping the house spotless on top of everything else. Normally we live in squalor and we’re fine with that (so long as there’s no mold or anything growing). But when you’re regularly showing a house and the people you have a verbal agreement about the lease with drag their heels for a month, it’s best not to have deep cleaning on the list of things to constantly worry about.
The first person we tried charged $120/session (so ~$60/hr), which we would have been fine with if she’d done a good job cleaning. But she didn’t. There were crumbs on the dining room table, dust on the bookcases, toddler hand prints on the windows, cat hair on the carpet and in tumbleweed form and on and on and on. I came home and couldn’t tell anybody had been there to clean, except she’d apparently spent a large amount of time scraping soap out of a soap holder (but not cleaning any of the rest of the shower). Even more than I hate spending money on things I don’t value, I hate spending money and not actually getting what I don’t value. I hate paying someone a lot of money for something I could do myself and then I have to do it anyway. If I’m paying a lot of money, they should do as good as or better than I do.
So then we tried a local agency (that everyone who doesn’t use the lady we tried first uses), bonded, insured, etc. $175 for the first clean, $100 for a weekly clean. They left the place mostly clean and I could tell things had been cleaned when I walked in the door.
$100-120/week is $400-500/mo is $5000-$6000/year. We could give someone at DC1’s school an 80% scholarship for $6000/year. It’s such a waste for something we don’t even need and I don’t even get to feel noblesse oblige about paying for it because most of that money is probably going to the owner of the company– the women who actually do the cleaning are not getting $100/clean.
Also I don’t like the smell of cleaning products. And it lasts for two days after they’ve come. And a few times they’ve come after 5:30 on Friday, which means I’m home while they’re cleaning which hurts my midwestern sensibilities– I feel like I can’t just kick back and relax (or make dinner because they clean the kitchen last) and I should be cleaning too, which is ridiculous.
So that’s me being grumpy. DH, of course, likes having the cleaners, probably because he’s the one who usually does the bulk of the cleaning given my dust allergies.
Do you have someone clean the house? Do you love it?
Just got a $1000 repair estimate for my $3000 blue-book value car. ($500 in absolutely necessary to turn the check engine light off repairs, $500 to replace a couple of axles that cause vibration.) The car is 10 years old with 36,000 miles on it. (It’s also all shiny and clean because DH had it detailed for me as a Christmas present.) To get a newer model of our current car would be about $15,000.
Since we’re only taking one car with us to paradise next year (this is one of those sacrifices people make in paradise if they want to continue saving for their kids’ college, but there’s public transportation so it’s not so bad), if we do decide to get rid of the car, this summer would be a good time to do that so we don’t have to find a place to store it.
In the past, my rule had been to replace a car when the cost of repairs was greater than the value of the car, but that was easy when we had a single major repair cost. When they start coming in in drips and drabs like this it’s harder to make that comparison. At the same time, the drips and drabs are annoying when each one means we’re down to one car for a week (I end up having to do all pick-ups and drop-offs and don’t have as much work flexibility, unless DH plays chauffer which means extra driving). Time is money!
It’s still a good little fuel efficient car. And it looks all shiny and new on the inside right now. I’m a bit attached to it.
So we’re paying the $1000 now, and we’ll rethink this after the next repair bill or it’s time to go to paradise, whichever comes first.
How do you decide when it’s time to replace a car?
… Not actually that sad.
Last night we laid out the space and we estimate that between the two of us we can fit in about 11 bookcases in the new apartment.
Currently we have 16 bookcases and 2 built-ins.
We’re still working on deaccessioning the relatively easy stuff. I’m down under 1300 books, from a high well over 1500. My partner has at least that many, too!
We’re going through by areas of the house. Some bookshelves are just full of stuff that can’t go. Others are full of chaff. So we start with the chaff.
Gonna be a lean mean LIVING IN PARADISE machine.
I discovered there are some books I was keeping out of guilt, and now I feel great about letting go of them. I have some “I’m never going to read this” and “I read this but don’t ever ever want to read again” and “why do I have this?” (note that it took YEARS into our relationship before I EVER felt ok about getting rid of a book he’d given me as a gift. But now I know we just have love and a stable relationship, and there will be more gifts.) There are also books that I realized I can get rid of because I’ve internalized the knowledge that I need from them after many years.
At some point we’re going to end up having to make hard choices. Probably what will happen is we’ll bring way too many books anyway and have to deal with it there in some way. I’m totes gonna overfill the bookcases we have with double-stacking and all. It gonna be all jenga up inside. And then who knows?
We could add something moralistic about minimalism or money spent or what have you, but that would just be patronizing, so we won’t bore you with that. I HAVE NO REGRETS. Except the regret that downsizing comes with deaccessioning, but sacrifices must be made, and there’s a good library in walking distance to our new apartment. In the meantime, onto the next quadrant!
#2 notes that they have 13 bookcases, including built-ins, but that’s only because her partner tends to get rid of books after reading them rather than holding on to them. (Sometimes he’ll be halfway through a new book he just bought and realize he bought it, read it, and got rid of it years ago.) Also most of her newly purchased romance novels are on kindle.
Bibliophiles, how do you deal with not having enough space for books?
Before: big, cheap, stupid, and located in hell
After: small, expensive, smart, nice and in walking distance to everything– restaurants, parks, shopping, grocery stores, public transportation, THE LIBRARY
I think Imma need these. You put them under your bed frame legs to get your bed up higher so you can store more stuff under there. I have some plastic drawers that I can stick under there. I might get some cardboard ones for sweaters (so they can breathe). or I might put books under there. Or general stuffas! I feel like “random crap” should maybe go in there rather than valuable shelving. Good times, good times
Downsizing sucks. It’s work. Boring and tedious.
I refuse to talk anymore about apartments. You don’t even know how burned out I am. It’s MY apartment and even I’m tired of it.
I have one. It’s nice. Though I won’t really know how nice it is until we’ve lived there for a while.
Next up: I refuse to talk about moving.
Occasionally I have to take a break from mommy-blogs.
Why? Because they make me anxious.
I know, you’re thinking, how could *I* be anxious about parenting? I’m the laziest (non-negligent) parent on the planet and my kids are disgustingly perfect (though of course you note that I would never use the adverb, “disgustingly,” I would say they’re “awesomely” perfect or something [actually I would say “amazingly,” but I grant you our frequent use of “awesome”]). Both of these are true.
But mommy-blog anxiety gets even to me. Culture is *that* strong. There’s only so many blogs on having to lose the baby-weight, worrying about what/how much baby is eating or how much screen time toddler is getting or worrying about whether something is too early or too late or too long or whateverthe[expletive deleted] before even I start questioning if these are things I should be worrying about and are my kids really as wonderful as they seem [spoiler alert: they are!] and if so, what’s wrong with them [rational answer: nothing!].
Now, I’m not talking about blogs where the kids or parents have actual real problems+. [Also, I’m not singling out any one blog right now. This unnecessary anxiety seems to be a contagion that is going through a huge number of mommy blogs right now.] I’m talking about blogs where the kids are seemingly perfect, and the mom is seemingly perfect, but instead of acknowledging that fact, it’s anxiety this and worry that. If their seeming perfection is wrong, then maybe I’m wrong about mine.
Of course, I’m not. Even when the skinny girl complains about how fat she is, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with my normal weight. But (just like in college with the weight thing) I can only stand so many repeated hits before it starts to get to me. The patriarchy is expert at using the virtual paper cut as a primary weapon. It perfected the ton-of-feathers attack. Any one blog or post or NYTimes article can be brushed off, or given a supportive comment in response. At some point part of me wants to say, “CALM the [expletive] down! You’re working for the patriarchy!” But that’s not supportive so I try not to, especially since it’s not any one post’s fault or even any one blogger’s fault– it’s the culmination of many posts and blogs with the same message to be more anxious. I get grumpy because the patriarchy does that to me.
And you may be thinking, “You’re grumpy because deep down you know things aren’t really that perfect.” But that’s not true. Deep down I know they really are, because I have huge trust in my family. I have trust that even if there’s bumps and growing pains, that they’ll figure things out for themselves even if I’m not doing whatever is “optimal” for them. I trust that there is no “optimal,” that there’s just “different” and “sub-optimal” is another word for “learning experience” (or, as my mom would say, “character building”). I trust that my husband and I love our kids and will always be there for them and that they know that. I don’t have to trust me to know deep down that my kids are doing great, I have to trust them and my husband and that we’ll tackle the challenges as they come.
And I’m sure there will be challenges and we’ll work through them. But if there aren’t any right now, I don’t need to @#$#@ing create any.
I could do one of three things. 1. I could comment super-supportive calming words on these blogs in an attempt to spread confidence (though of course this sometimes backfires because tone is difficult in writing among other reasons), 2. I could do lots of introspection and re-affirm my core confidence and awesomeness, or 3. I could avoid the anxiety paper-cuts by not going to those blogs. Guess which option is the least work and most conducive to getting two more papers and a grant proposal out before summer ends?++
So… currently taking a break from mommy blogs, at least until swim-suit season is over.
+And we are *certainly* not talking about things like post-partum depression.
++Also note that we are not blaming people for working through their anxieties via the media of blogging. It’s the patriarchy that is the ultimate root cause of that kind of unnecessary anxiety. But that doesn’t mean we have to read about it if it has negative effects on our own well-being.