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So I have been in a studying cave for the last week, and I intend to continue to be in a studying cave for the next week and a half…so blogging is taking a backseat. 

However, despite the studying cave, DB and I have become mildly obsessed with the Somali pirate story…as DB said this morning, “If they had an entire TV station devoted to pirates, I would never leave our house…”

It’s been a while since we’ve *both* been obsessed with the *same* news story.

And…here is a question for you all…we got this new car in December/January, right?  Well, it has the gas mileage prominantly displayed on the dash – both overall, and at any given instant.  When we were test-driving the thing, the salesperson told me that I drove rather…aggressively.  I kind of brushed it off.

Well, the stupid gas mileage summarizer-thingy would apparently agree with him, and DB has pointed it out to me on multiple (MULTIPLE) occasions.  My gas mileage is, like, MANY miles/gallon worse than DB’s.

Apparently I am like the world’s most wasteful driver.

So recently I have decided to embark on a campaign to reform my driving habits.  I know, I know, I tried hypermiling over the summer, too, and I was a dismal failure (too lazy to find those posts now, but suffice it to say, it was a dismal failure for both MY mileage and the presumed safety of everyone else on the road) – but this isn’t hypermiling, this is simply not driving sub-20 mpg when the car is rated at 25 mpg in the city.  (Or something in that ballpark.) 

Any ideas?  I *think* it is tied to my gear-shifting habits (this is a stick-shift car).  Until, um, yesterday? – I started the car – ALWAYS – in second gear.  First was just such a PITA.  But then I started noticing that I burned a lot of gas starting in second, so back to first.

But…contrary to what you might think given the first/second observation, DRIVING in a lower gear seems to blow through gas.  So cruising through the city in 3rd is WAY more wasteful than shifting to 4th or 5th.  (Which makes no sense to me, because on that token, starting in 2nd should be awesome for mileage, no?)

So…any ideas?  And I do not want to google this, so really, these are ideas that can fit into a small comment box… 🙂

I am determined to beat DB somehow.  The gas mileage is going to magically become amazing.  Ha.

So we bit the bullet today and bought a meat grinder attachment for our KitchenAid.

For the iron-intensive-meat diet, I am p.i.c.k.y.  Because I really was a vegetarian for the last…16 years, and I still eat a vegetarian diet with the exception of 3 oz, 3x/week, of ground beef (for iron), I really only eat cows that had a SUPER healthy, happy life.  Like they ate grass, and didn’t get antibiotics, and…well, you get the picture.

Meat like this is not cheap.

So when DB was going to make chili (onion-free, of course) for us this week (note:  I also do not cook the meat.  I do not interact with it.  Really, I am pretty much a passive participant in all steps of the meat process, mostly because if I interact too much with it, I get really disgusted and cannot eat it for months, which is really costly), and he was heading to buy yet another $10 package of beef from the grocery store, I suggested that maybe we should *grind* our own meat.

Like, you know, we could buy *steak* and grind it up and, um, have really gourmet…chili.

DB reacted as though I had suggested that we…I am not in a position to think of a good analogy.  He was really excited.

So…we he is in the process of grinding our first meat here.  It was about 1/8th of the cost, and we can control a lot more of the fat, bacteria…etc about the meat.  I am actually kind of intrigued by the whole thing, although I looked over at what was coming out of the grinder into the bowl and I almost vomited.

And our kitchen kind of smells like a meat packing factory.

OK, so it’s not perfect.  But it should be interesting.  Has anyone reading this ever grinded their own meat?  Should we be doing something that wouldn’t be obvious? I did a quick Google search but then got yelled at by DB for not studying bio.

…which is, um, going.  Not well, but going.

Edit, again:  I have the best dad in the world.  He JUST left, after spending the entire day slaving away, ripping up our floors with DB (but D hurt his back, so my poor dad worked even HARDER).  Not many dads would do that, AND he’s coming back for more, tomorrow.

That is love.

Edit:  I just went outside to check out the progress in the kitchen (with the crappy newer – or not century-old – floors).  Way less mess.  I guess it’s only bad when you rip up excessively damaged 100-year old wood.  Did I mention that some of our floor boards have BARK in them?  Yes, bark.  Like no part of the tree went unused.)

There is dust everywhere.  The noise!  The mess!  The noise!  The pain!

I am trying to be grateful for the new floor, but right now I am just super anxious that it won’t get done in time for our friends to visit.  I love our friends, and the LAST time they came, we had the stomach flu and our place was a TOTAL DISASTER.  So I am hoping (??) that this time, we can look like sane, normal people who do not live in a hellhole.

However!  The mess!

I puked this afternoon, so I decided to abandon the coffee-shop trip I’d planned for the day (first time in many weeks I’d puked in the middle of the afternoon, I will say.  Third time this week I’ve puked, which is a good record.  I’m expecting only better this week – WOOT!).  So I have seen, firsthand, the mess.  And the progress.

It is soooooooo slow.

I feel very badly for DB and my dad, who are working their butts off.  It’s now almost 9:00 and they are still sawing/cutting/banging (I have no idea what they’re doing – the dust is really bothering me, actually, so I’m holed up with the cat in our bedroom).

So here, just as an FYI to any internet researchers out there:  replacing an old floor is NOT a piece of cake.  It is messy, gross, and although it is PROBABLY less dusty than refinishing, it is still pretty darn dusty.

Although I do think it was hampered by the 100-year old wood in the hallway (again, that was beyond repair…there was just no way to fix it) splintering into small pieces when it was removed.  Dry much?

Yes.

Also:  is it “nesting” if I force my husband and father to labor all day fixing the floors?

Thank you, everyone, for your helpful comments!  So Operation Bare Feet/Safe Crawl is underway.  We are ripping up the kitchen floor (not pine, just really crappy wood that has only been there for a few years and is disgusting) and the hallway (pine, but beyond repair – we’ve known we had to replace that for a while and there is no way around it) and replacing it, and then refinishing the pine in the living room and guest bedroom – IF we can manage it with the old, dry wood.  The new wood is, thankfully, a good approximation for the pine, so there SHOULD be a good overlay between the two (although one is hard, and difficult to scratch, and the pine is easy easy easy to scratch…oh well).

I’ll take some before and after pics so you can tell me if we made a good decision.  Right now the place is a disaster area with wood/our kitchen stuff/etc everywhere.  🙂

Our poor cat is locked up in the closet (the future baby’s room…yes, our closet – do you think we’ll scar the kid for life?) and Little is off at the kennel.  Apparently he was SUPER psyched to be spending the weekend there.  Sniff.  I guess we rank below the sketchy dude at the kennel.

And…last night we went to a church extravaganza to celebrate our church’s very old birthday (we go to a very historic church, and it’s been around through the Civil War and other such exciting times…)  I was debating between squeezing into a dress versus wearing jeans, a Bella band, and DB’s sweater.  To the cocktail-style dinner.

I managed to pull off something else.  I think it was okay…

With the help of Spanx.  Which, honestly, is a post in and of itself.  Suffice it to say:  even the tightest, most restrictive of Spanx cannot squish what nature is determined to display, even at a painfully early week of pregnancy.

How many people do you think will ask me if it’s twins before next week, when I can confirm (for the THIRD TIME) that it is really, seriously, truly, only ONE lime-sized baby?!?  So far, the count is three.  THREE ballsy people who have suggested that I am growing multiple humans*!  Without any evidence other than my expanding gut!

Hrmph.

*If this really WERE me, I would be STOKED.  But since it isn’t, I am mildly offended.

So I really try not to blog this much.  I need to cut back.  But we need help.

Our condo is about 100 years old, and has these old, wide-plank pine floors in it.  The pine floors are certainly the original floors.  They are OLD OLD OLD, and splintering, and gashed in certain places.  (How much am I talking them up?)

Here, there is an example of them here, under Little:

pets_080929_055No, of course this picture is not remotely edited.  But isn’t Little’s restraint remarkable?  That is a piece of beef jerky.  I believe I was trying to learn how to use my camera in this picture.

ANYway, these floors (as you can actually kind of see from the board in the far lower left corner) are splintering, and I am concerned about a baby trying to crawl on them.  (Yes, I know that we have a ton of time before that happens.)  My dad also happens to be in town this month, so he’s offered to help DB fix the floors.

So the question:  to replace or refinish?

We had decided to replace.  It was more expensive and a huge mess, but it would be chemical-free and faster.  We picked out this very nice wood (Brazilian Koa – look at Lumber Liquidators for a sample) and ordered it, for delivery tomorrow.

Then I started to research “pine wood floors”.

And DAMN if they aren’t, like, valuable.

!!!

And apparently, even though the wood is soft, we can sand it lightly and cover it with polyurethane.  Which, although it will take about 5x longer, is apparently (APPARENTLY) more desirable from a real estate perspective.

(I really love the floors.  Really, I do.  I also really hate getting the Swiffer stuck on them, and I hate wearing shoes everywhere.  There is an argument to be made that replacing them is a good idea.  There is also an argument to be made that it is really unenvironmental to replace perfectly okay wood, and it is a LOT cheaper, especially for people who are in debt AND who are underwater with this property anyway.  There, I said it.  We are a tiny bit screwed.  Welcome to bad real estate purchases of 2005.)

(The other thing is that we could SELL the pine floors – !! – and recoup some of the cost.  Apparently there is a market for old pine floors.  Who knew?)

(The other OTHER thing is that apparently this tree that our floors are made from is no longer available for flooring – ?? – which makes me feel, like, UBER guilty.)

So here are my questions to you:

a)  Which is more valuable, to YOU:  refinished, but totally imperfect (as in gaps between the boards, plus some potential splinters that will hopefully be removed with some light sanding and polyurethane, or newer, prefinished hardwood floors with no imperfections?

b)  Have you ever refinished pine floors?

Anyone?  Help?

And…back to physics.  It had to get a shout-out there, somewhere.

Happy new year!

So we bought a car.  A new, bigger, car.  It was quite the process, and although it seems that talking ABOUT the purchase of something is way less exciting than talking about the drama leading up to the purchase, I’ll try to make it somewhat interesting anyway.

So I may have mentioned (a lot) that we needed a new car.  We have one car, and for the last 7 years, it’s been the VW Golf that I bought on my way to graduate school (the first one).  It was the perfect car for a single person.  Then I got married, and we got a massive dog, and we just kept…on…driving it.  DB calls it a clown car.  There were trips where it really bulged at the seams.

It also had some issues.  The sunroof leaked when it was on an incline and it rained, and the content of the trunk was soaked on many occasions.  (When DB was in Iraq, I decided to take matters into my own hands, ran into Target, and decided to buy a motorcycle cover and throw it over the car like a diaper.  By the time I went to check out, it had stopped raining, so I gave up the idea.)  It needed random defillibration – we needed to jump it regularly, but at irregular intervals.  We carried a self-starter in the car. 

So finally, with the economy tanking and car deals apparently good, we decided to bite the bullet.

We spend ALL. FREAKING. WEEK. on this.

First, we test drove the Jeep Liberty (new).   DB really, really, really wanted to buy from the Big 3 somehow.   It was rough and I was nauseated, even sitting in the front seat.  Next up was the ’09 Honda CR-V, which,  compared to the Liberty, was phenomenal.  I left that night hopeful for some progress.

The next day, we had to some other things – so we only tested one car, the Toyota RAV-4 (2008).  This was my favorite car.  Oh, how I really loved that car.  Anyway, it was powerful, smooth, and a good size.  It was also a bajillion dollars…for us.  We actually did attempt to deal on one, but we left disgusted at the price.  (The guy called the next day to try to get us back and hacked off another 2500 bucks, but, um, no).

The next day, despairing a bit, we hit up a used car megastore and tested yet another Jeep Liberty (used – I think 2007?).  Holy moly.  Our car salesperson insisted on sitting in the passenger seat (why?) and I almost made him stop the car (he drove when we were in the parking lot) to let me out, I was so nauseated.  I dry-heaved in the bathroom. 

The Jeep is not for us.

We fell in love with a (used) Toyota Highlander, but apparently we have great taste.  It was already sold.  We also feel in love with a Honda CR-V there, but ditto on the already sold status. 

It was a little sad.

That night, we decided to hit up the VW dealership.  We weren’t finding great things listed that were used, and my brother and sister-in-law had just purchased a VW Jetta Sportwagen.  (No, not a misspell.)  So we ran over to the VW dealership and jumped into a station wagon.

Now I am going to say a few things here.

Our goals for this new car were the following:

1)  Not a minivan.

2)  Able to fit the dog in the trunk and an (eventual) child in the backseat.

3)  All-wheel drive or 4WD.

4)  Automatic transmission.  I’ve driven a stick my entire driving life.  I was ready to drive with my left leg tucked under my butt.

We got to the VW lot.

We looked at the two wagons sitting there.

One was a stick shift.

DB said, “Can we just TRY it?!?”

So yep, that’s what we did.  We tested the stick.

I mean, we test-drove the automatic after that.  It was a really nice automatic.  But once DB felt the stick shift (and I will admit that it was a great stick – the pedal was very light and the gears kind of fell into place), he. was. in. love.

That, plus the stick was much cheaper than the automatic.  And remember, we were a little frantic about the prices of these cars.

We did some internet research.  DB found a model at the dealership in stock that was the bigger, faster engine, in a loaded model (it has memory seats!!!  We are SO EXCITED about this!  I can be kind of a PITA about the seats moving on me…I’m a little anal about some things, and we are nothing close to the same size) in a good price. 

The next day, we returned to the dealership (after shopping at another dealership and looking at the Subaru Outback.  Lest you wonder whether I tested a Subaru, after all that debate.  Yes, we did, and I loved how it drove (DB liked it, not loved it).  HOWEVER, it is really long in the front vs. the Jetta and about 75% of my parking is parallel parking – I didn’t want to deal with the extra length).

We negotiated.

And now we are the happy new owners of a black (front wheel drive) (manual transmission) Jetta Sportwagen.  Although we apparently failed to meet our original goals, we are still very excited.  Yay, us! The thing is, we’ve driven a front-wheel drive vehicle in the snow for the last 7 years and we’ve been fine.  And the guy pointed out that driving a manual for me is like second nature (which is true…right?)  Currently, I can eat, drink, talk on the phone, and drive a stick…in the city.    I mean, I try to do only one of those things at a time, but when it must happen – it can. 

jsw_sel_bluegraphite

(Stolen from the VW website.)

I am a little disturbed about a) it being new, and us being all into the environment (and failing), and b)  it being from Mexico, and us clubbing baby seals to get it, but unfortunately – it is the way the chips fell.  I will probably have nightmares about it.  I really honestly feel significant guilt about it.

That’s my car story.  Hopefully it didn’t bore you to tears! 

We are truly, truly blessed.  Blessed to be able to afford a new car, and blessed to be able to make the choice.

We are just praising God daily these days.  As we should, but this week especially has us rejoicing even more.

Let’s talk about parking.  Let’s all take bets.

I don’t know what the winner will win…well, hopefully the winner will be me, and I won a new free parking spot.  I think the winner will just have the joy of knowing s/he is right.  (I know other blog owners – those who actually HAVE traffic – have giveaways and such.  I a) do not have the money, and b) do not have the post office skills.  Maybe someday when I’m a bigger, better, more focused blogger, right?)

So here’s the deal:  I parked in an ambiguous parking spot.  I hemmed and hawed and made some phone calls, and decided to chance it.  Do you a) think i will get a parking ticket, or b) think I’ve found the newest, greatest, free parking spot?

Here is the set-up, from one intersection to the next:

-Intersection
-First street sign:  “No parking <—” (pointing to curb), sign about not parking during street cleaning (not today)
-My car
-Room for 1.5 other cars if they are only ballsy enough to join me
-Next sign:  “No parking —>” (pointing to driveway)
(driveway)
-Next sign:  “No parking <—” (to driveway)
(another driveway, and another sign indicating that you can’t park in front of the driveway – like, duh)
-Car, car, car, car, car
-Next sign:  “PERMIT PARKING ONLY <—->” “No parking during street cleaning”, and “no parking —>” to intersection
-Intersection.

OK, what do we think?

Things you should know:

This city is absolutely obsessive about street signs – we do. not. leave. any. driveway. unmarked.

Every other driveway in the four-block radius (one block in each direction – and yes, I actually checked) has a “permit only” sign in some capacity next to the “don’t park in front of the driveway” sign.

On the intersecting street closest to my car, there is a similarly marked cluster of 2 cars, one of whom is lacking a resident parking sticker, has no parking tickets, and appears to be parked there for a while (with tree sap and stuff on the hood).

Vote:  ticket or new free happy coveted parking spot?  I’ll update the blog tonight when I find out (at 11ish).

P.S. You may actually be wondering WHY I drove.  See, here’s the thing.  I am taking this crazy class, and tonight is my late lab night (didn’t make it last night – long story), so I will not be done until 11.  DB usually comes to pick me up for this night.  HOWEVER, I very sagely realized at 7:00 am today that  it does not behoove the environment (or our gas bill) for me to take public transportation if he is just going to drive to pick me up – it is the same. distance. either way!

So…I drove.

I will also say – there is no perfect way to get where I am going in this place.  Driving and public transport take roughly the same amount of time, depending on the time of day.  Driving requires me to babysit the car if I don’t find an awesome permit-free, meter-free spot.  Public transit requires me to leave at a reasonable hour (otherwise it’s dangerous) and a few weeks ago made me LATE to one of the major exams (it just stopped!!  WTH?!?)  Both options pretty much suck.

PPS.  You will notice that this is filed under “environmentalist drama queen”.  That is because I am the laziest environmentalist under the sun.  I am all about cloth bags and recycling, but…yeah.  Have I mentioned how much I really want one of these?  Even a very cheap knock-off from 1965 would be fine…

So this is the continuation of the drama detailed here. I’m a little slow with updates and I’m procrastinating (quite effectively, I must say) now.

So after the drama with the mattress (did I say this part?) we went back, ordered a more reasonably priced queen-size mattress. We did not buy a frame for it, because I didn’t want to get a metal frame only to turn around and throw it away/let it sit in our basement for years. The end result: we had a mattress coming to us the day after we got back from our vacation in St. Kitts and we needed to either come to terms with sleeping on the floor, or purchase a bed frame.

I hit the streets running. Although I am a graduate student with a heck of a lot of work to do (and a knack for procrastinating, so my workload only gets more overwhelming with every moment that I find something to distract me), I became a Woman On A Mission: Operation Save The Baby Seals and Find Us A Bed (OSTBSFUAB, abbr. OSTBS). I searched tirelessly, going from store to store to store, looking for used furniture, local furniture, used and local furniture, fair-trade furniture. (The main impetus for OSTBS was this website, which I still highly recommend if you haven’t seen.) And yes, I did go to Pottery Barn to see the Holy Grail of beds, the cute white bed with baskets underneath:

(Sigh.)

Do you see any problems with this bed? Well, after a great deal of contemplation about this fine piece of furniture, including 3 full years of coveting it, I can give you a full explanation of all the reasons it is not the piece of furniture I sleep on at this point in time. The most salient are
1) It is made of particle board (!!!) (I did that last time, and I’m still gonna say it. $1000 for particle board?!?
2) It lacks an a) headboard and b) footboard. Which, I can tell you after sleeping with my new husband, this guy (and don’t tell me he’s not the most studly, sexy man you’ve ever laid eyes on):

…pretty much sucks. I *hate* scrambling after pillows that get pitched off the end of the bed.

3) I can’t figure out where it was made, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t here. It is definitely not OSABS-friendly.

4) I think that’s it. Honestly, I think this bed is so darn cute. It was quite tragic to come to the conclusion that it will induce guilt and trauma.

So after debating and debating and debating, we I bid farewell to the cute-PB-bed-with-basket dream.

Our next stop was a majorly gigantic local furniture chain that is so large, it has its own IMAX theater. No kidding. AND…they were giving away TVs if you bought XXX$ worth of furniture, which DB started to decide we needed (!!!). Of course, we do not need a TV, even one that is free, but for some reason we both become delirious with glee when someone offers us any sort of substantial-sounding discount or gimmick. I will be the first to say, with my head hanging low, that the stupid “free TV” offer cost us a precious few hours of debate while we considered all of the different versions of furniture we could purchase that would get us to the new goal of a new TV.

And then I’m also happy to announce that we realized that it was a gimmick, that we didn’t actually like the furniture, and we moved on.

But it turns out that in the massive mega-furniture store place, there is an actual whole series of rooms that the saleslady, DB, and I started calling – no kidding – the “Club a Baby Seal” rooms. These rooms had deals where you could get the entire bedroom set – like a headboard, footboard, 2 dressers, a mirror, 2 bedside tables – for $800. Which, if you do the math, is absolutely ridiculous. We decided that this furniture was the product of a raped world – an African forest that is now completely stripped naked, wood shipped on a huge tanker thing to somewhere in Asia where child labor crafts it into a fine-looking piece of furniture, where it is then shipped to entitled wealthy North Americans (sorry, Canadians, I’m including you on this one, too) on another tanker that might, actually, have killed some baby seals in its trek. The saleslady was totally flummoxed by us, but to her credit, she went with the theme, pretending we were only the 5,000th couple to say exactly. that. today! She did a good job, but we weren’t sold.

I’ll spare you the other dramatic details of our shopping. The end result was that we went to (cough – I know it’s expensive, and it took several days to get to this point) Ethan Allen, where the wood does not cross an ocean, is crafted on U.S. soil from U.S. trees, and the bed itself is a black painted wood, which means it matches most of our other furniture so we aren’t forced to buy all new furniture for the sole purpose of matching our new queen bed. Here is our new bed, avec extra inhabitant (Day 1):

It is, however, taking some time to get used to the extra real estate. DB was around when we first got the bed, and there were several nights when I’d wake up in a panic because I thought he was gone (and it was just because he was, like, more than 6 inches away from me!!) Little jumped on the bed in the middle of night and we didn’t even notice (!! Check out how much of the real estate he takes up!!) We have what seems to be an extra zip code on the bed.

For the time between our bed delivery and our mattress delivery, we borrowed a bed frame from some friends who’d gone through the same drama a few years ago. The bed frame ended up on Little’s bed (I posted about this before). I have been kind of pre-occupied lately, and so I haven’t had time to move/return the bed frame. Apparently it doesn’t matter much; sharing the bed with the human bed frame serves only to inspire extra traffic to the dog bed:

And now the animals are sleeping, quite happily, within a foot of each other while I write this and contemplate my approach to this stats paper.

All in all, I feel pretty comfortable with our bed decision. It was not what we wanted – we wanted to find a used bed – but there just weren’t any great used beds available on yahoo’s freecyle group or on craigs*list. I went to a furniture rental place where they sell people’s rented furniture that’s been returned, but that stuff wasn’t that great. It turned out that I was more excited about the *idea* of getting used furniture than *actually* buying what was available.

(For the record, if what we bought, or that cute PB bed, was available used, I would have jumped at it in a heartbeat, but that was not an option.)

For us, the next-best thing was to buy from local resources, made locally, and shipped a minimum distance, and we’re relieved that the product is something that will last us until we’re dead AND matches what we already have. Success!!

*For the record, DB and I have this continual debate with ourselves about supporting imported products, and our essential plan is this: if it’s not heavy furniture, or a heavy car, it’s okay if it’s from another country, because although we are not psyched about the working conditions, it is providing *some* income to families/kids that would otherwise be on the streets. We try to buy local in general, but we don’t get upset if we can’t do it for most things.

That being said, a few days ago I went to the grocery store with the intention of buying everything from within 500 miles from our house. I thought I could do it. It turns out…no, I couldn’t. My apples, tomatoes, pears, and grapes were from Chile, and the strawberries were from California, I think, and the milk was from somewhere far away, too. Buying local is not easy, especially if you’re a picky eater.

It occurred to me after writing this:

>>So…what to do? I can drive myself insane with the guilt of buying something made of wood and resources from Africa, manufactured in a place that cost mothers in developing countries their lungs, and starved fish in the ocean of clean water as it was shipped over to my entitled self here in the U.S. (Yeah, this is seriously what I’m thinking.) <<

It bears a striking resemblance to the scene in Good Will Hunting where Matt Damon discusses the merits of working for the NSA.

I’m working on my guilt with the bed. I think we’ve found a solution, which I will post in a bit.

First, I want to make it very clear (in the first sentence so whatever snippet some weird search engine pulls off of this will see it) that I *know* the most recent “refund” checks are not, in any way, going to prevent the demise of or ameliorate or stimulate the economy. Just wanted to put it out there. But for those people who believe that claim, well, we did it. Spent that money, I mean. Let the flurry of growth begin.

A few weeks ago a friend sent me the link to the Story of Stuff. I strongly suggest visiting the site if you haven’t, although the little label on the site says that 2 million people have visited the site, so maybe I was the last person in the country to watch it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth your time. There is a 20 minute video clip that’s pretty entertaining and, in my opinion, thought-provoking. This little 20-minute video had a profound effect on my…level of guilt.

I’m trying to determine how guilty I should really feel, so maybe all of you (and I know there are a lot of you clicking from Pho for Four…hi there) can help me out. Here’s the situation: our current bed is a full-size bed that roughly resembles a taco. The flattest part of the bed is in the middle, and DB and I sleep cuddled together (single people, don’t barf) both because we like to AND because we don’t really have a choice. If we WANT to sleep apart, we have to cling to the edge. Sometimes the cat or the dog join in. It’s a fairly well-populated full-size bed.

Numerous people warned us that we would run out to buy a queen-size bed within a month of being married (no, people, we didn’t live together before we got married. I know. It’s crazy in this day and age, but if you click on the “About Me” link, you will see that I am a POLITICALLY liberal *evangelical Christian*. The kind that believes in not living together before marriage! And I can go into great detail as to why I think this is a wonderful thing but that is really not the point here). Anyway, they warned us. We would be cramped. We’d go insane. They warned us not to register for full-size sheets because we’d regret it.

I’m here to tell you – we lasted THREE YEARS. And we’d keep lasting for many more had DB not laid on a queen-size bed in a mattress store and realized that his feet were fully on the mattress without doing some body contortions.

So anyway, Saturday morning, I was in agony. I have joint problems, and every morning my body recoils against the gymnastic moves required by the taco bed. Saturday was a particularly problematic day, but most mornings I do roll out of bed in some degree of agony and bee line for a hot shower, where the water helps a little bit. I attribute this pain fully to the bed. I don’t get this pain in a hotel room. However, DB bought this nice full-size bed from Ethan Allen 4 years before we got married, and it is supposed to last forever, so we were committed to the full-size mattress for a while, and I felt guilty buying a new full-size mattress because then we’d just have to replace the full-size mattress with a queen size mattress in a few years when we finally DO have a child (since we will probably adopt, and it seems that co-sleeping is strongly recommended for promoting attachment, and…I can’t imagine how we could put anything else in the full-size bed), and we’d be wasting valuable resources (financial, environmental, and everything else) if we got a new (full-size) mattress, if only to replace it shortly.

(Can you see the role guilt plays in this?)

So I had lots of temporary solutions: The Real Simple magazine informed me that to fix a taco bed, I just needed to put towels under it. That was heavenly – for about a month. I decided to buy a mattress topper. Three mattress toppers, to be exact. And Saturday I had my eyes on a new one (#4) that, I was convinced, would really make this bed work. I figured I’d rotate the bed again, pop another towel under there, and get a new mattress topper at Costco (total price: $150). I’m thinking I am being a good steward of the economy by using this temporary fix, and stalling the bed-purchase decision just…a…little…bit…longer.

DB, on the other hand, had other ideas. He said “no” to the mattress topper. And instead of rationally explaining my cost-savings plan (flipping, towel, and topper), I cried. (Remember, pain. Pain makes one slightly irrational.) Feeling very sad for me, DB suggested that we just take a little stroll through the mattress store. Just to see. Not to buy. We made a pact in the car: We.are.not.buying.a.bed.today.

Anyone who has ever been in a mattress store knows that this process is worse than buying a car. It really is. And I was like the poster-child for hard-hitting mattress-selling tactics: I was dressed in a huge hooded sweatshirt (that was just my Saturday errand-running grub), I had just been crying, and I truly hadn’t slept in a few days (see procrastination post, below). The woman told us to try out the tester bed thing, and I almost fell asleep. Repeatedly. It was really pathetic, actually.

Anyway, there was this bed that was the.most.comfortable.bed. I’ve ever, ever laid on. And I was laying there, swooning silently and wondering how (why?) we had decided to make a pact, and apparently DB was thinking the same thing (and probably eying the 0% down for 12 months or whatever, and knowing that we will be making more money in a few months b/c of DB’s overseas gig, and hopefully thinking about the sad state of my joints), and this guy comes over to us with the woman. The woman says, “this guy [a rep from one of the suppliers] heard about your joints and the state of your bed and wants to make you an offer – you can have 50% off of any bed in the store.”

50%?!? Seriously?

Keep in mind: we came in the store to shop for (not.buy.) a full-sized replacement for the taco. Mattress only. No waste. Medical necessity purchase *only*.

The 50% discount induced a drunken stupor. In a fit of ecstasy, we laid claim to a – cough – $4000 – yes, $4000 – QUEEN-SIZED mattress. At 50% off, that is *only* $2000. We were on cloud 9 until we…fell. Hard. And thought about who on Earth would buy a $2000 mattress!

Now here, single people, is where you might want to take note, as we are still learning this on a daily basis. Marriage is all about communication and expectations. DB’s thought: it is necessary to buy a $2000 mattress for Rachel’s joints to be better. My thought: “oh my gosh, what if we buy a $2000 mattress and I’m STILL IN PAIN? And how irresponsible is this?!? We could save a million orphans with this $2000.”

Long story (and a lot of perseveration) short, we went back on Sunday, canceled the order and purchased a queen size bed at a more reasonable price and it is a really comfortable bed. In fact, the mattress retailed at $1700 but we purchased a model that had been returned by someone so it was a LOT less expensive. So everyone’s happy.

Here’s where the guilt kicks into overdrive.

We now need a bed (frame), because otherwise we will be sleeping on the floor. Here’s where the conflicted part comes in. I want a cool bed. I have this irrational desire for a Pottery Barn storage bed with cute baskets or whatever. It is irrational because a) we have nothing that matches it, b) we can’t afford it, c) it’s expensive and it’s made out of particle board (!!). I have now been to 12 furniture stores but I just really don’t know what I want. If you watch the “story of stuff”, they suggest you a) buy used or b) buy local. So I’ve searched high and low for a used bed. I can’t find something I’m psyched about. I went to a furniture rental place where you can buy returned furniture, but I wasn’t stoked about that stuff, either, and I went to a local furniture maker place and they were okay…but a little pricey (which I’m okay with if I don’t feel like puking after I buy it…puking from the guilt, I mean). We thought about going to Ikea, buying a cheap bed of renewable resources, and then giving it to a college kid (or Goodwill) or someone who will need it when we can finally commit to a bedroom set.

So…what to do? I can drive myself insane with the guilt of buying something made of wood and resources from Africa, manufactured in a place that cost mothers in developing countries their lungs, and starved fish in the ocean of clean water as it was shipped over to my entitled self here in the U.S. (Yeah, this is seriously what I’m thinking.) DB’s opinion is that we should just buy something that we can use for the next 20 years and I should not feel so guilty about it, and we keep EVERYTHING. Even the guy in the local furniture store said (although he was, admittedly, a very odd guy), “where is this guilt coming from? Do you shop for everything at Wal-Mart?” (For the record, I refuse to shop in Wal-Mart or any of its subsidiaries.)

What do you think? Is it irresponsible perceived obsolescence, buy a bed AND matching other furniture (keeping in mind the children in Africa, Asia, and the wildlife that paid the price to get this to me…) DB really wants stuff to match but I feel eternally guilty about buying more furniture, too, that we don’t necessarily need, because we do have two furniture sets (one twin, one full) that are waiting to be used at my parents house…that we plan to use for our future children. So how terrible is it to buy new furniture?!?

P.S. Comment quickly because we are seriously going to be sleeping on the floor soon, and our dog tracks in a lot of gross stuff.

PPS Congratulations if you made it to the bottom of this post.

FYI

This blog represents my personal views of a wide variety of topics. Aside from my connection through marriage, I am absolutely in no way affiliated with, informed by, or directed by the FBI, and, as such, the FBI bears no responsibility or affiliation with this blog.

Because I am not affiliated with the FBI, all information in this blog is second-hand information, and is therefore subject to inaccuracies. (Of course, I would never publish something that I believed to be a lie; however, there is always a chance that I will inadvertently misrepresent something.)

Finally, despite what you might expect given my husband's occupation, I am what most people would call a "(flaming, or insert other word) liberal". I gleefully mock the policies and practices of the USG that I consider worthy of mocking. In doing so, I am exercising a fundamental Constitutional freedom. Of course, you are always welcome to disagree (and exercise your Constitutional rights).

I welcome comments and emails.

Thanks!

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