Saturday, November 29, 2008

Charcoal Gray Saturday

Yesterday I did what I haven't dared do in a long, long time: I braved the Black Friday crowds and went shopping at 5 a.m. in pursuit of a really good deal on... dishes.

We have a still-useful set of Corelle dishes that we've enjoyed for years, but we had to give it up because it was service for eight, and with six people in the family (one of which doesn't believe in small plates, coughBagelcough, and several of which have found ways of breaking unbreakable Corelle dishes) there just weren't enough dishes. But we didn't have enough money to purchase Corelle service for 12 or to update our set (which had been discontinued years ago), so we went to IKEA in search of a temporary solution.

IKEA, as it turned out, had some insanely cheap sets with service for six that included a large dinner plate and two sizes of bowl, so I bought two of them figuring they'd tide us over till we had enough spare money to buy Corelle service for 12. Well, I was soooo wrong. Within days the kids had started breaking the dishes, and soon we were back to service for eight. I went back to IKEA figuring I'd just pick up another of these cheap sets, but they didn't have any more. They had the bowls, but not the plates. I picked up some more bowls.

So it was that we decided that with our Christmas money we would get some new dishes. We priced around and figured that if we got a good price, we could get service for 12 with the money we had allotted. Then we saw the Shopko ad: a deal so great on Corelle that we could get service for 16 with the same budget. It was too good to pass up, especially considering that it was only a matter of time before the kids broke the unbreakable.

Black Friday was almost everything I'd hoped to avoid: a line to get into the store that went around the corner, crowds of people, gridlock in the aisles. (The one nice thing about doing Black Friday in Logan is that when people bump into each other they apologize, and no one shoves.) There was virtually no one in Housewares; FH went to Electronics and had a very different experience. I found the dish sets without any trouble, and it just so happened there were exactly two of the service-for-eight sets that were on sale, so I got them both. Getting back was another story altogether. The store had been partitioned off with displays and stacks of soda 12-packs so that it became a maze; the girls' clothing section had only one tiny entrance. FH finished in Electronics before I got back over to him, so he was already in line to check out. We were in and out in about an hour.

Later I went to the best toy store in the universe, Magical Moon Toys. I won't say what I bought there because Princess reads my blog. But I will say that I spent plenty of money there. ;)

Now it is the Saturday after Black Friday, which I suppose should be called Charcoal Gray Saturday since it is almost as busy a shopping day as Black Friday. And if I can get a free minute when the kids aren't peeking over my shoulder going "Whatcha lookin' at on the computer, Mommy?" I'll finish the shopping on Amazon.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Things I Never Thought I'd Have To Say, Part 28,302

"Princess, are you throwing cabbage out the window?"

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Federalist Paper Of The Day

I'm reading the Federalist Papers. Today I recommend Federalist 10. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can still believe that human nature "progresses" over time. I wonder how many people who believe this have ever read the Federalist Papers or De Toqueville.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The 2009 Pony Omnibus Bill

Princess has been extremely curious about how government works, so I sat down a few weeks ago to explain to her how a bill gets passed through Congress. I made up a bill to have President Obama propose, and the first thing that popped into my head was the Pony Omnibus Bill of 2009, which would provide each child with a pony.

"Who's going to pay for all the ponies?" objected Princess immediately upon hearing the nature of the bill. "And where are they going to stay?"

"That's a very good question," I replied, "one that the Congress would do well to think about." I could see that this example was going to have to get much more detailed than I had intended if it were to satisfy Princess' intellectual curiosity.

Then we talked about amending, and how the bill would be passed from one chamber to the other. The Pony Omnibus Bill was amended in the House to give kids a choice of a pony or a fluffy bunny or kitty. A bipartisan group of Western representatives supported the bill because it would benefit their pony-producing states. A senator added a provision for stabling the ponies of kids who lived in certain cities, especially cities in his state. Some brave Republican senators attempted a filibuster, but failed. Eventually the bill was brought back to President Obama to sign.

Once the Pony Omnibus Act of 2009 became law, there was a sudden shortage of ponies, because there never were as many ponies as children to begin with. Many of the ponies that were given to children became ill or died of starvation; children could not afford their maintenance costs. The bill had failed to provide for saddles, so even those who kept their ponies could not ride them, unless they already had a saddle (which meant they already had a pony too). Taxpayer money was not available for roads because it had been diverted to ponies.

Princess giggles whenever she mentions the Pony Omnibus Bill of 2009, but I can see that she also shudders when she thinks of what laws might be passed if our leaders do not exercise due caution and look out for the welfare of our nation.

Today is Election Day. May we make good choices and elect wise leaders who consider the unintended consequences of their actions.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Princess Exploits The Proletariat Like A Good Little Capitalist

Princess, fat with some income that she earned by lending her savings money to my business at interest, has decided to outsource her chores.

I've been constantly on Princess' case to get her to change the papers in her rabbit cage regularly. Nag, nag, nag; didn't work. Paying her to do it didn't work. So today I remind her that it's bunny cage day... and she says "OK, I'll call K------."

K------ is Princess' friend from the neighborhood who doesn't get much in the way of allowance and wants to earn some holiday money. K------ has evidently agreed to do the chore and split the money with Princess.

My daughter has subcontracted out her chores.

Honestly, I don't know what to do. The whole point of getting Princess a cage full of bunnies was to teach her responsibility for a living creature, and outsourcing the responsibility kind of negates that. On the other hand, we have been trying to teach Princess about the economy, and this is the sort of thing that will make for a great autobiographical vignette when she's 28 and head of her own capitalist empire: "When I was a kid I didn't do my chores, I just hired the neighborhood kids to do them for me for less." And K------ could certainly use the money.

I guess what feels most disconcerting about this is that I have the feeling, for the first time with one of my kids, that I've created something bigger than myself. I know that's weird because I obviously did not create my daughter except in the most literal sense of having birthed her body.


I just got through going over the alphabet with Knuckles. He knows every capital letter except for W and X (he thinks X is K and he keeps turning W upside down and calling it an M).

I can't believe this kid. He just adores letters. You can't stop him from finding them everywhere. He opens up random books and points out the letters he recognizes. He even knows the first few letters in his name, so he can spot when his name is on something.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Quote of the Week

Your bit of Hermit wisdom for the week:

"Get the facts from the horse's mouth before you end up looking like a horse's @$$."