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When a budget motel is just too damn expensive….

…try this one. Budget BUDGET!

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Be hard on yourself.

I do stupid things sometimes. And not just things like in the photo below, where I have to put a ladder on top of my BED (isn’t the first rule of ladders “a stable surface”?) to install and remove my vent deflectors each year.  No problem so far, but it does make for a dicey task.

We all do stupid things, I suppose, though as someone who has not always been aware of the effect of my words and actions in the past I really try to keep close watch on that particular part of me (and have for the last ten years).  Whether it is just cracking jokes without realizing I have hurt someone’s feelings or letting my anxiety get the best of me so I am no longer trying to resolve the issue but rather just trying to get the discussion over so I can stop feeling uncomfortable.  I really do make the effort.

And yet at times I fail.  And I hate when I do.

So many people would say “come on, don’t be so hard on yourself”. I disagree; I think the best way to learn from mistakes is to BE hard on yourself. Not for a long time, not in a way that makes you think you are a bad person in general, but certainly enough to learn the lesson thereby reducing the chances of it happening again. We do tend to remember unpleasantness, and if the realization and evaluation of some of your own behavior is unpleasant then perhaps it is less likely to happen again.

So be hard on yourself.  Learn a lesson.  And maybe it will be the last time it need be learned, which will be better for you and especially for those around you.

Lecture over.

Learning about relationships from a public coffeeshop journal.

So this was in one of the public journals that is left on the tables in my local coffee shop.  Generally the journals get filled with a mix of good and bad art, “<insert name> was here” type of things and occasionally some bad poetry.  Imagine my surprise when I came across this:

I love the part about “you will never try to catch me in a net or touch my mermaid fin”.

Maybe we all need to know such things about those we love.

The Wonderful World of Park-N-Swap

So one thing you know you’ll get at Park-N-Swap is a lot of variety, but this blew even MY mind:

So all in this one photo are an ice axe, an electric drill, a dual-tone horn kit for a car and an, uh, body fluid cleanup kit?? Please not I did not gather these things together; they were sitting right next to one another.

That’s a lot of variety in two square feet.

And here are some of those keyfobs for people who like everyone to know what kind of car they drive when they are not near their car but DO have their keys. I expect to see “Porsche”, “BMW” or even “Camaro” from the more blue collar types, but I did not expect to see these:

If I could find a Yugo one, my world would be complete.

The first step is to adMITT I have a problem…

Okay, so I guess I really don’t see it as a problem.  I happen to like mitts, especially when it comes to cleaning.  Maybe it is all those years of baseball and softball, maybe it is my OCD, maybe I don’t like to get my hands dirty (did you know they sell boxes of 500 rubber gloves at Costco?); for whatever reason, I like me a good mitt.

So imagine my joy when I stumbled across a collection of cleaning mitts by Simply Human when perusing the weird stuff at a Ross store the other day.  Score!

So it includes a mitt for cleaning stainless steel, a mitt for cleaning glass and mirrors, and two mitts for general cleaning (one of which I am using for wood cleaners and one for general kitchen stuff).  All for only $9.99!  They are $19.99 at Amazon, but this is ROSS, man!

So here they are:

Yeah, so the two things on the left are my lint mitt (a winner!) and my, er, SHOWER GLOVES.  But those are just for efficiency.  Why clean with one hand when you can use two?!?

I adMITT, I have a problem.

Doing the right thing.

I recently flew from Washington, DC to Orlando, FL; when I went to get my iPod Nano out of the seatback pocket after landing in Orlando, I found this:

Sweet!  An iPod Touch, loaded with music, games and all sorts of apps!  I’m a winner!

But then I noticed something else; it also had access to the Gmail account of the owner, so I had his email address.  And there were pictures of his recent vacation to Costa Rica.  And of his kids.  It was obvious that this is something he would like to have back.

So I emailed him twice with no response, which was interesting since I could SEE the emails getting to his Gmail account and see that they were unread.  I don’t think he uses Gmail for much so it was starting to look like “Hey, I did my part and now I have a new iPod Touch!”.

But no.  I didn’t feel good about that.  As someone who loves to research things and find answers, I KNEW I could track this guy down somehow and give him a nice Christmas gift.

So after some further legwork, I found a reference to where he seemed to work.  I looked up that place (in Washington DC), called the organization and asked for him and was informed that he had left for the day.  I mentioned to his secretary that I may have found his iPod and that he could call me so we could arrange it getting back to him.

He called in about two minutes, and in fact while I was on the phone with him another of his colleagues called me to tell me that he was going to call.

Obviously he was REALLY excited to get this back.

He asked what I wanted to get it back to him: a reward, at least paying for my time and shipping charges, whatever.  The shipping charges were only $5 with a USPS Flat Rate Box so I asked if he could do me a favor instead, as he did sound like a pretty decent guy:

“As corny as it sounds, just pay it forward.  The next time you have a chance to do something for someone, please do and we’ll call it even.”

It felt right.  I wish during these crazy holidays when everyone is so stressed about the economy, finding the perfect gifts, dealing with crazy family and all that we could remember that we are all just trying to get by in this world, and that doing the smallest thing for someone else can have an effect far beyond your own effort.  And the more goodwill circling in the world, the better chance there is that some will come back to you.

And even if it doesn’t, it still feels good to do the right thing.

The limited magazine choices in rural New England.

Lets just say I was unable to find The Atlantic or Scientific American, but if wrestling, guns or cars were my thing I would be set for life.

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