Tag Archives: Shopping

Stash Expedition

Van Gogh Almond blossomsThis picture is my rendition of Van Gogh’s The Almond Blossoms. It’s not quite finished; I still have to paint in some of the blossoms because the canvas is showing though.

Today I’m going to engage in what crafters refer to as S.E.X. Woo hoo! What it stands for is Stash EXpedition. I’ve finally narrowed down an art class that I’m going to enroll in. It feels like being back in the first grade. I have this list of paint brushes, paint colors, canvas, etc. so a shopping I will go. 🙂 One thing I learned while scrutinizing this supply list and my current collection of ratty paint brushes this morning is that the sizes are not standardized. One brand of size 8 brush is a different size than an 8 of another brand, for example.

Shame on them, I say. Why does it have to be so complicated? Now with knitting needles and crochet hooks the sizes are standard across brands, letters for hooks, and numbers for needles. What I will have to do is go in the art supply store, throw myself on their mercy and admit that I don’t know a thing about this stuff. All my previous attempts at art work I did on my own with whatever I could scrabble together.

So I’m really excited about this art class. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all my life, but just never got around to it. I know I have some talent at least because when I was in school, teachers and other students would approach me to make posters for them and I painted a few back drops for school plays.

But this skill has been lying dormant for 58 years. Hmm, I think it’s 58…I’ll have to ask the Hubman because I never can remember how old I am. I’ve always had a tendency to live life in the eternal now. Dates, ages, measurements and all kinds of numbery things just don’t compute. And to think my major in college was accounting. I understood the theory but the numbers gave me a headache. No wonder I dropped out. That’s what happens when you major in something that other people are telling you should do, instead of what speaks to your heart.

The Tide Turned – A Short Story

consumerism

illustration by Ethan Bloch

Nobody is really sure when it happened. People just stopped what they were doing, put down their arms, or their reports, schedules, phones, parked their car, or walked away. It started as a gentle stirring of the breeze, or the caress of the master’s hand on the piano keys, a soft slow peaceful melody coming to life.

The event wasn’t on the news, people didn’t panic. There was no run on the stock market or the bank. No looting or rioting. People still went about their business to some extent. Children played, school happened, dinner got cooked, the laundry got washed. The necessary things happened. It happened so gradually that it almost went on unnoticed for quite some time.

It may have gone unnoticed for a while longer if it hadn’t started in the late fall, before the Christmas rush. What did come to the attention of those who track such things was that there was no Christmas rush. There was a small uptick in sales, but what was missing was the frenzy. No one maxed out their credit cards, took out usurious payday loans or careened around town in a mad lemming’s rush to purchase, purchase, purchase.

At first, as usual, businesses stayed open late nights or even all night in anticipation of the shopping rush that didn’t come. What little shopping people did happened in the afternoon or evening and then people went home. After a week of this the employees gave up and for lack of customers went home also. Left with no customers or employees for these longer hours, stores closed earlier, no more late night, 24/7 frenzy.

The December holidays found people off the street, dining with family and friends. Restaurants and bars, usually jammed with lonely people escaping the holiday madness found themselves bereft of customers. By the last week before Christmas small shops and eateries threw in the towel, declared a holiday and sent employees home to their families.

December came and went. In January the talking heads started to panic. Since very little shopping went on in December there was no rush to return or exchange gifts. People weren’t in the store so the January “slashed prices everything must go” sales never quite got off the ground. The nation failed to meet its quota of consumerism.

By February, the talking heads came to a startling realization. No one was listening to them except other talking heads. You can’t con a con; the heads were starting to figure this out too. How you use shock and awe…and fear to sell the news when no one was buying, no one is watching their “news?”

No one heard or cared about their sage instructions saying “now is the time to buy” that new car, buy that spring wardrobe, and buy a better house, although the house lived in now is fine and dandy and holds many happy memories.

March came and a new trend developed. Driving around any neighborhood and it was obvious. Instead of buying things people where giving away. Something more profound than the usual spring cleaning was going on. Garages, storage sheds, and packed quest rooms emptied out. Piles of items, furniture, clothing, knick knacks and gadgets, grew on the curb and overflowed the charity bins at the local grocery store. Thrifts shops were inundated with donations.

By April, manufacturers were in a panic. How are we going to sell all this stuff if no one is buying, what will our stockholders say? Production, sales, prices must always go up, must always improve. That is the way of business. If sales and prices go down then we are in a recession and must buy our way out it at all costs. They calmed down somewhat when they realized that with all the improvements and “just in time” manufacturing and inventory policies, there really was not as much of the huge mounds of unsold inventory as they initially feared.

In May the trend watchers heaved a premature sigh of relief. Ah, it’s vacation time, people will buy clothes, and summer gadgets, and gas, and plane tickets, and on and on. People will begin to consume again in a “normal” manner. Everything will be fine; the stockholders will clap their hands and count their beans, except it didn’t happen. Families decided to have family time at home instead of hauling the family and half their possessions elsewhere, only to ignore each other at their destination.

June came and it was just the summer lull. The economist decided to stop freaking out about it for a month. July came and went without much fanfare.

By August it was becoming painfully obvious that something, only who knows what had happened. It all happened so gradually that the average Joe and Jane didn’t really notice it. They were too busy living their lives.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

How to Declutter Your Relationships

flame throwerA good sign of when a relationship needs a good decluttering is when there is a huge communication breakdown. Are you reduced to sending an e-mail to someone who is physically sitting in the next room? If the answer is, yes, then there is definitely a problem. Yesterday while in the depths of anguish and “what the hell happened to us, and why are we fighting” I e-mailed Hubman an article called “Cold shoulder, silent treatment do more harm than good.” Bazzinga! Take that, I may suck at communication at times but I can search better than you can.

We tend to have these showdowns at the Not So OK corral when fighting. It ends up being a game of who can suffer through the isolation the longest. I always end up thinking things like ‘Bubba, I am the master of handling lots of pain for extended periods of time. Forget getting shot at, try giving birth, Rambo!’ But does not help either of us individually or our relationship.

I assume he read the e-mail because he appeared at my office door with a death grip on his coffee cup, eyes wide and asked “So do you wanna talk, or what?” Not exactly a graceful entrance, but I have to give him extra points for his excellent dismount from the high horse upon which I remained firmly seated. At least he took action. I was still pouting away in my office wondering if it was possible to drive to Mongolia and if so, how long it would take.

We started with the basics, “you interrupt me all the time!” He was mad at me for getting mad in public. (this blog) Actually I was flattered for a moment. You mean that my blog is important enough to be considered ‘in public.’ Cool! Er uh, I mean… I’m really sorry, my intention was not to paint you as the bad guy so much as I was trying to make a point about interrupting people sucks on multiple levels.” But  I could see and understand his point of view and knew that I hurt him.  I countered with “well my blog is mainly about marriage, if marriages were perfect, there would be nothing to write about.” Furthermore, I’m not good at suffering in silence. As a matter of fact I think I’m the noisiest sufferer I know. When I had my son I didn’t emit a few dignified groans while a nurse dabbed at my forehead with a cool cloth. Oh hell no, I screamed bloody murder.

So, just for the record I want everyone to know that I do love the Hubman with all my heart and soul. He is my best friend, companion, and cohort in mischief. When we are not getting, along it’s a horrible alone type of feeling that is difficult to describe. What do you do when you need to cry on your best friend’s shoulder, but your best friend is in the other room temporarily hating you?

Maybe I need a contingency plan. I need a bevy of best-ish friends. Best implies better than all other options. But I need someone to go to for help and tea and sympathy when my best friend option is not available.

Anyway, we talked a lot yesterday. I think my tongue has blisters on it.  Or that may just be that I drank my coffee too hot this morning. We talking about doing things together, traveling together, setting aside time each day to talk. I aired my grievance that so far, he has refused to go with me to a town near here and eat the world’s largest donut together.

We squabbled about the cat and then the cat litter box and took it all the way back to the beginning. Since I didn’t want a damned cat in the first place, why was it MY job to clean the litter box. That box is the very reason I didn’t want a cat in the first place. Been there, done that, scooped enough poop to last a life time.

Then we moved on to “chores,” I don’t do many. There really isn’t much to do in this department because we have a housekeeper, but there is still plenty to scuffle about. He asked why I never do the grocery shopping. My response was “there are many mornings I’ve woken early and decided to do the shopping but…I can’t …read…your writing.” It’s tiny and illegible. I even tried one time to decipher it with a lighted magnifying glass, but that didn’t work either.

Wandering around trying to match up missing items in our larder to this list doesn’t help. This whole list thing is hard for me to begin with because I never really used lists for the grocery store before taking up residence with Hubman. For me, “we need to go shopping!” = we’re out of food. For Hubman, “we need to go shopping!” = uh oh, we down to our last 50 gallons of milk. For the first 50 years of my life grocery, shopping was reserved for when there was something that I wanted to eat bad enough that it was worth going to the store for. Otherwise it could wait. I can subsist on cheese, crackers and the occasional apple for long periods of time. There are no growing children in this house to nourish so what’s with all this rush?

So we ended up airing quite a few grievances yesterday and made a decision to make more time for each other. I’m hoping we made some progress. Ain’t love grand?

A Little Self Help is a Dangerous Thing

One of my many private addictions used to be reading self-help and self-improvement books.  I occasionally have a relapse but climb off of that saddle as quickly as possible. I quit reading them on a few general principles. One being that just buying them depressed me because I’ve found yet another outlet or excuse to point at myself and say “Ah, Hah!” How many times I have I told you in the dead of night that you were broken? Now here is the written proof.

Then there are the “how to deal with a person who has <insert problem here> and live to tell about it” type books. At first I’m all excited and insist that everyone I know read the book. They don’t of course, people rarely see themselves as the one who needs such advice.  It’s not my place to tell them either but that rarely stops me.

After the initial enthusiasm wears off, I go through a phase of thinking “oh my God…this is me!” I’m the one this book is talking about. Honestly, If you read the symptoms in most of these books and check them off it occurs to you that we’re all loony enough to get carted off in the padded wagon at some point in our lives. I end up feeling like I’ve been walking around with a Technicolor wart on the end my nose and nobody bothered to mention it.

Now a new crop of self-help books have popped up in the last 4 or 5 years.  Many of the books are a rehash of the self-help books in the 90’s. My main concern is that a huge portion of the books are now devoted to how to decide that’s it time to leave, and then how to actually perform the leaving.

That doesn’t help me at all. Unless someone has me handcuffed to a pipe in the basement, I can bloody well leave. I’ve left in a calm and peaceful manner with all my belongings, including my children, and I’ve left at 2:00am screaming into the darkness. Never the less I do know how to leave.

The staying is the hard part. And I’m not including those times when leaving is absolutely the only thing to do, such as implied or real threats of physical, financial harm. But for the rest of us who are in a viable relationship or want to be, it’s more helpful to figure out how to stay and live and grow in the process.

My therapy is writing about what bugs me. I can write a scathing retort to a real or imagined hurt so vicious the paper should burst into flames. Thank God, half the time it doesn’t occur to me until well after the fact. But the worst of my rants are for me alone.  It’s probably better that way. I’d really rather not find myself on a list of mandatory attendees of an anger management class.

%d bloggers like this: