Friday, April 17, 2009

Stuff and Nonsense. But mostly Stuff.

You want hear something creepy? Shellie can totally read minds. Weird, right?

I was just thinking I hadn't done one of my true Friday Favorites in a while and that I was in the mood for one. I decided on my favorite things that make my life easier. And yesterday on her blog, she had the best suggestions!

So one of mine is an overlap, but if it's good, it's good, right?

I'm all about easy right now.

No, Wendy and DeNae, I did not say I'M easy. Now I stole your jokes.

Anyway, PTA is trying to swallow me whole and spit me out with my hair all gone, but we are four weeks away from this all being over FOREVER, and (shush, don't tell...) it's starting to get the teensiest bit easier. More people are pitching into help. I've delegated. I can breathe again.

Still not sleeping great, but I enjoy the breathing part.

We've had lots of ado already, and while it hasn't been much ado about nothing, without further ado here is my list of favorite things for making my life easier.

And I'm not in the mood for hunting down pictures. Sorry, visual learners.

1. Chlorox Bleach wipes. Emily feels my love. Since used wash rags gross me out and baby plays hide the kitchen towels where no one will ever find them again, these handy disinfecting wipes are the only reason my house is clean. Kind of clean, anyway. I buy them for cheap at Costco.

2. Windows Live Mesh. It's my handy little writing back up insurance policy. Whatever I do in my Live Mesh folders is automatically updated between my laptop and my desktop and it doesn't involve jump drives or email attachments or anything. I'm not sure how it works. My husband could draw you an equation and use the word "algorithm" as many times as possible to explain it all, but I have my own theory. I think fairies live in cyberspace. A special brand of worker fairies. And one lives in my laptop named Serafina. When I type something and hit Save, she flies it over to her counterpart, Grimaldi, in the desktop. And vice versa, of course. It works out nice except for the occasional battle they have to do with the gremlins who try to inhabit my computers, too.

Anyway, not that I lost my train of thought or anything (because that NEVER happens), but the other cool feature Live Mesh has is that even if both of my computer fairies lost their gremlin battles and melted down completely, the information in Live Mesh can still be retrieved from the Web with a password and so at least my manuscripts are safe from computer crashes.

Oh, and um, Universe? That was NOT an invitation.

3. Rice cookers. I'm a really good cook but consistently getting rice right on the stove top eludes me. I love my rice cooker. (P.S. I was just proofreading this and noticed that wasn't at all humble, but whatever. It's true and I'm too tired to change it. Although typing about my tiredness took more time than changing it would have. Whatever.)

4. My Kitchen Aid handichopper. I can't remember the last time I diced something the old-fashioned way.

5. Tide to Go pen. Because I spill stuff constantly when I eat. This pen has saved a couple of my favorite shirts.

6. Bare Minerals foundation. Great coverage, no break outs and it's the only one that's ever matched my skin tone well because I'm super fair.

7. Beauty school blow outs. I need great hair next week but I don't even own a round brush because I am THAT bad at styling my hair. My talents and abilities peaked with oversize hot rollers and I only use eight. And that's only to keep my hair from being too frizzy. Anyway, as much as I hate blowdrying my hair and round brushing it and all that, I'd still rather have it look bad than pay $4o bucks for someone else to do it, which is the going rate for a shampoo and blow out. However, the Paul Mitchell hair school down the road? Only charges $11. And then I don't have to mess with my hair for three days. Maybe longer. Depends on how dry the air is on how well it behaves.

8. Vonage. It's our phone service and you can probably do this with any phone service (although ours is Internet based, and no, it doesn't sound any different than a regular land line and it's $25 bucks a month for everything INCLUDING long distance all voice mail, call waiting, etc.), I have it set up so that if people call my home phone it simultaneously rings my cell phone. Since there are a few reasons it makes sense for us to keep a land line (like spotty cell reception in our house, DEBBIE), this is a lovely feature. And I can change the feature any time I want online. Switch it to my husband's phone, make it stop...whatever. Maybe I should switch all my home calls to my brother's cell phone one day for kicks and giggles. Anyway, I only have to give out one phone number and people can find me wherever. Many people would hate that feature; I really like it.

9. My Sony Reader. It's just the Sony version of a Kindle. It makes packing books for vacation a much less stressful ordeal (it can fit a bajillion books), it looks just like reading a regular page, and it holds a charge FOREVER.

That's it.

Next year at this time, my Friday Favorite tip for things that make my life easier will be:

Don't sign up to organize PTA fundraisers.


Shellie said...

I should get those tide pens. I have several shirts that are stained and I would love it even more for Kate's clothes.

I need a rice cooker. I haven't made a decent dish of rice since I've been married.

and I have the fairest skin too. I get the light set and use the lightest one. I love bare minerals!

LisAway said...

I'm not a great cook but I can get rice right on the stovetop almost every time. :)

And please count yourself extremely lucky that your hair can hold a style for three days (even if it's one you had to pay for). Mine insists on being washed every 24 hours or less.

Kristina P. said...

We used to have a rice cooker when I was in high school, and we loved it. I need to get one. I can only eat sticky rice.

And I have a Tide to Go pen in every purse. I am a walking stain magnet.

Mina said...

I spent 7 years being a PTA super hero. And I would kinda look down on moms who did not care enough to get involved. But then we moved up here. And no one knows that I cannot say no. And I've not told them. So now I just help when I can in the classrooms. I'm much happier.

DeNae said...

This was the dirtiest blog post I ever read. You said you were easy. Yes. You did. And you said beauty school blow outs, which I can't put my finger on why it is dirty but I'm going to go with dirty anyway. And you said algorithm, which just sounds so completely naughty I think I need a cold shower and a lie-down.

Oh, and Tide pens. Because, as has already been observed, you tend to be dirty.

Honestly, Melanie, what has gotten into you?? It's that evil empire, the PTA, huh? I tried to warn you.

Becky said...

I need one of those Tide pens. I'm a bigger slob than my kids.

Three days for a hairstyle? Awesome! I've gotta keep mine under control or I'd end up with a 'fro.

CaJoh said...

I'll have to look into one of those electronic books someday. I tend to read most of my stuff from a screen anyway.

Kimberly said...

I cut all my hair off so I wouldn't have to style it anymore. And my rice cooker broke six months ago. Guess how long it's been since we've had rice? Go on, guess.

charrette said...

Um, yeah. No PTA for me. Ever. Except Judging Reflections. I can do that. The rest? Is better left to someone more capable/interested. I have a black heart.

Hooray for Tide pens, rice cookers (you MUST try cooking spanish rice in the bottom and steaming fresh tamales in the steamer on top--my favorite easy meal of late), and clorox wipes (i use the Method ones in every bathroom so the boys can clean up their dribbles.)

Salon blowouts...a revelation! I have been tempted to pay more, just to avoid dealing with my hair. But $11? is awesome. I'm so there.

charrette said...

Um, yeah. No PTA for me. Ever. Except Judging Reflections. I can do that. The rest? Is better left to someone more capable/interested. I have a black heart.

Hooray for Tide pens, rice cookers (you MUST try cooking spanish rice in the bottom and steaming fresh tamales in the steamer on top--my favorite easy meal of late), and clorox wipes (i use the Method ones in every bathroom so the boys can clean up their dribbles.)

Salon blowouts...a revelation! I have been tempted to pay more, just to avoid dealing with my hair. But $11? is awesome. I'm so there.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh my goodness! I hear you on the PTA fundraisers. I have been so over that for 5 years now! You only have to learn that lesson the hard way once.

I love #2. So funny. I totally need to find out all about Windows Mesh.

Great post, as usual.

Thanks for stopping by to say "Hi"

charrette said...

Oh, and I forgot to say that my favorite line was this:

Oh, and um, Universe? That was NOT an invitation.

Emily said...

I love Vonage! It was my lifeline to reality when I was stranded on that deserted island out in the middle of the Caribbean for two years. No one had an excuse to not call.

It's nice to live with a computer nerd. Or a "computer whisperer" however you want to look at it. When David starts spouting stuff off like how the network talks to my computer and why we need four terabytes to stripe, I look at him with a blank stare, like he's speaking Greek, and then say, "Will it do what I want it to?"

Because that's all I care about. I don't care HOW it works, I just care that it DOES work.

Great post. :)

Erin said...

I've never even heard of Windows Live Mesh. I agree with you - I think it is fairies (fairys?) who do all of the work. Tinkerbell, is that you?

Kazzy said...

Nobody should ever underestimate the power of a good hair day. It is like magic. And,yes, that sounds totally shallow, but it is true.

Those Tide pens are cool.

LexiconLuvr said...

I love rice cookers too. I haven't done stove top rice in ten years now.

AzĂșcar said...

I can't believe you'd steal the idea of Vonage from me! AS IF!

Good call on the Paul Mitchell school. I am so using them one day.

wonder woman said...

Ooh.....I like it here. Love your notepad background.

When you were talking about not wanting to style your hair or pay $40 bucks for it, I was going to suggest the Paul Mitchell school. And then YOU did that. I've only been there once because I knew a stylist, and now I'm kicking myself for the YEARS of bad hair I had.

I also thought beauty school blowouts was a little dirty, for some reason. ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I have always known I do everything the hard way, and your post confirms it. Although acquiring all these gadgets also sounds hard, in a way. (Except for the rice cooker. I can cook rice on the stove (or at least I think I can but then again I'm not picky about my rice) but a rice cooker's even easier and we use ours often.

I think DeNae's mind must be in the gutter, but what *I* noticed was your vanity, not just about the cooking, but you also said you're "super fair." Maybe even the fairest of them all? Tsk, tsk.

(I'm not sure if I can pull off that kind of sarcasm. For the record, I don't actually think you're vain.)

I'm 100% untempted by PTA and don't even feel guilty about it, although I do feel socially awkward sometimes about not feeling guilty. But the honest truth is that I've looked into it and discovered that there's *nothing* the PTA does, at our school, that I would miss if they didn't do it. In fact, one year they sent a survey asking whether we'd rather keep the annual fundraiser (a VERY time-intensive, busy-worky carnival) or would be willing to donate the same amount of cash and do away with the event. I voted (vehemently) with the latter option, and I would have put my money where my mouth was, but I must have been in the minority, because the carnival continues.

(Yikes, this is turning into one of my post-length comments.)

I do wish I could volunteer in my kids' classrooms more, but my little-kids-in-tow and lack of easy daytime babysitting prevent that. I do look forward to that with my younger kids.

Debbie said...

I am self-centered enough to totally get a thrill when someone mentions my name in a post! Thanks. And yes, last night my poor husband was trying to call his family and was hunting a phone that would work in our house.

Eowyn said...

I'm going to have to take all your advice, except maybe on the kindle thing. I like me a real book. I'm weird that way.

And I second your suggestion on next years faves!

I adore my rice cooker.