My life is confusing. I mean, I’m sure it’s no more confusing than anyone else’s, but I am easily perplexed. Sometimes I just randomly wonder about stuff, and other times I am genuinely flummoxed. Because it’s Monday and I am me, I’m just going to share some of my recent questions with you in no particular order. Feel free to offer insight, or just to let me know you’re confused along with me.
What is a reasonable expectation for a cheap hotel? Some background: Over the summer during our Collegevisitpalooza, Chickadee and I stayed at a perfectly serviceable, if unremarkable, hotel near her chosen college. The cost for the night was… around $100, I think. (Bear in mind this is not in a major metropolitan area, or anything. Small town, maybe 8-10 hotels from which to choose.) Last week we went for another visit and this time I went poking around online and chose a slightly cheaper option—about $60 for the night—because I am cheap and it was just a place to crash for the night and no biggie. Yeah. Um. They did indeed LEAVE THE LIGHT ON FOR US, but it quickly became clear that that was perhaps because 1) they didn’t want us to wait in the dark for the 10 minutes it took the manager to appear at the check-in desk, and 2) the light scares the roaches a little. It was… so gross. Like, I-checked-for-bedbugs gross. We were there for about 9 hours and we lived, obviously, but when I submitted a complaint via the website, all I got back was a “we are taking measures to rectify this issue” email. Am I out of line here, or should $60 still get you a roach-free room?
How much do you care about recipes? I have mentioned Nerd Night before, yes? On Sunday nights my kids go to the house of some VERY tolerant friends who feed them dinner and run a gaming night—last year it was Dungeons & Dragons, but this year it’s Deadlands, which in my limited understanding is basically… Wild West D&D with some zombies—for a big group of teenaged nerdlings. I supply dessert. This has been going on for over a year and yesterday I made something I’d made before, but I’m pretty sure it was the first time I’d sent a repeat. My approach to baking is usually “Hmmm, this recipe sounds good, I’ll just make a few tweaks and it’ll be perfect!” Are you interested in a weekly post on a decadent dessert? (Otto has already suggested that I could call it Dungeons & Dragons & Diabetes. He’s so helpful.)
Why can’t I figure out how to cook for 4 people? I grew up in a family of 4. I now live in a family of 4. I regularly cook as if feeding an entire army, and I can’t figure out what the hell my problem is. This weekend we did a Thanksgiving dinner, finally, because everyone was gone for the ACTUAL Thanksgiving, and it’s a sub-clause in our marriage contract that Otto gets a full turkey dinner somewhere in the Thanksgiving timeframe. ANYWAY. We usually host a big crowd for Thanksgiving, but obviously didn’t this year, so instead of our usual trip to the hippie grocery store to get our ethically-raised and coddled organic mega-turkey, I picked up a SMALL Butterball at the supermarket. I then proceeded to spend a day making enough sides to feed 20 people. I’m a dumbass.
Lofted beds: great idea or terrifying? So one of the things we got to do last week while visiting Future College (ZOMG IT’S REAL IT’S REALLY HAPPENING) was tour what will be Chickadee’s actual dorm. (Last time we toured A Dorm. This time we toured the Honors Dorm, which is set up differently.) We knew that the beds were all lofted in this building, but I had assumed that meant they were, say, 4 feet up with the dressers and other storage beneath them. WELL. The room I got to see had one bed like that, and then the other bed was lofted, like, impossibly high in the air, high enough that the kids living there had a whole kitchen setup going on underneath that bed, because it was high enough for tall adults to walk under. Any human on that bed would not have been able to sit up without whacking their head on the ceiling. It was HIGH. And apparently in the room Chickie toured (parents and students were split up; I didn’t see her all day!), BOTH beds were that high. I feel about 100 years old saying this, but does that seem dangerous to anyone else?? Fall out of a bed that’s 4 feet up and you’ll be cranky, but you won’t really get hurt. Fall out of one of THOSE beds and you could end up traction. Also, how do you even change the sheets?? I could only reach the mattress by putting my hands all the way up in the air. (I’m 5’6″, so not super tall, but not exactly short, either.) You get some say about how to set the room up once you get there, obviously, but my kid thinks a bed 7 feet in the air is a GREAT idea and I need to know if I’m being ridiculous.
What’s your favorite holiday cookie? Speaking of recipes, I realized with a bit of panic this weekend that I haven’t started my annual Christmas cookie madness (we—by which I mean “I”—give all the kids’ teachers buckets of assorted homemade cookies before break, because we—“I”—think they deserve a little something nice for putting up with my spawn). I have a couple recipes I make every year, but I’m open to new ones that 1) seem to be crowd-pleasers, 2) aren’t terribly complicated, and 3) scale well to large batches and/or freeze well.
Are we the only middle-class parents in the world who did not buy our kid a car? I let Chickadee use my car pretty much whenever, primarily because she’s a responsible driver and also because I can task her with picking up her brother, running errands for me, etc. BUT. It’s still my car, and we appear to be the only parents around here in a comfortable income bracket who didn’t run out and buy our kid her own car the moment she got her license. I find this… weird. I mean, I don’t know, is this further evidence of how mean we are? We live in a very economically diverse area (this is the gentlest possible way I can say that) and I find it sort of gross that there are 16-year-olds pulling into the high school in their BMWs so that they can head to class with kids who rode the bus or walked and then went and got their free breakfast. If my kid wants her own car, she can work until she can buy herself one, and GUESS WHAT, it’s not gonna be a Beamer.
Is your house decked out for the holidays already? In the fine tradition of a somewhat-agnostic, culturally Jewish and Catholic and Methodist blended household, I like to decorate for Christmas with twinkly lights and then make latkes. I feel like God is probably okay with this. For years we got out the tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but as the kids have grown and life gets more hectic, we’ve been… slipping. So far this year I’ve put a wreath on the door and my candle lamps in the windows. I fear this makes me a slacker. Related: My original batch of sensor candle lamps from however long ago (lord, probably 20 years now, maybe) are starting to die, and I’ve discovered that candle lamps which plug in but automatically turn on in the dark and off in the light have become very hard to find. One year I accidentally bought candle lamps that CLAIMED to be sensor lamps but are in FACT actually timer lamps, meaning they stay on for 8 hours and go off for 16 hours, but that is ALL LIES because they never work right and this is the year I’m going to finally throw them away because they make me crazy. (The holidays bring out the best in me, if by “best” we mean “neurotic.”)
That’s everything I can think of right now, though to be fair, I’ve only had one cup of coffee so far. This is either a good or a bad thing, depending.