I am going with none of yesterday’s choices. I started writing up Good Buy, and there is certainly material there…but the media files are too much for me this morning. I only have charcoal grey and white to offer so that is what you are going to get.

I was up until 2 am zillowing like a mad woman, researching every house over 850k in Vermont, tracking their days on market and their price drops coming to the conclusion that if the past is a predictor of the future in real estate we may actually be fucked. There are some real steals out there for 1.2, 1.3 though if you are in a position to sit on a property for 5 years while Vermont catches up with the rest of the country.

I’m not really sure about the high end market in the rest of the country though, so perhaps our bubble is a bubble and it all just shows that you don’t know. If someone could guarantee me a sale this summer or next summer I would just sit tight and maybe even put the dock in, but there is no one who can really do that so I have to start running numbers on furnished weekly rentals and then I am just guessing about other things. So I was “busy” with this until 2 am when I knew I really needed to sleep. This is not my usual insomnia pattern, generally I fall asleep before my boys only to wake up at 2 or 3 to worry whatever worries can only be attended to in the single digit am hours. Those elusive problems that seem to dissipate with daybreak. You might think that if they can’t survive the light of high noon inspection perhaps I should not allow them space in my brain at two or three, but I think I am just an early adopter of everything, including incubating worries. They are obviously going to get much worse so I’ll just get a jump on them now, while everyone else is sleeping.

I try my usual tricks. I start up the Patriots Football weekly podcast and it obliges me with an infinite loop and at every commercial break it seems they play the same bit about Fred checking out Brett Farvres junk (this is way before the senators got into the act, when dick shots were left to the pro-bowlers) and Andy screeches out that he would never google a man’s junk that he LOVES breasts. And I think, for like, the 300th time that I have breasts and I use some eighth grade math to decide that Andy must LOVE me. And that makes me just a bit happy until I realize it is like 2:12 and tomorrow is walking wednesday and the boys really need to be OUT THE DOOR at 7. So Steve is just going to have to get up early.

So he does and they make it out and I am still asleep when Steve steps into the room dressed and showered and coffeed. And in my mind I am in my running clothes, but really I am squinting from weird mistimed sleep. So I ask him to carry the suitcase up from downstairs and I step on the scale and it is worse than I even thought, but I am too tired to feel bad. So I text my running partner to tell her how much I don’t want to run but that I will. And she texts back that her foot is broken and she can’t run. This is the kind of broken foot that is a lot like my brain tumor, or clogged arteries. There is something wrong in there, but it is likely not acute. So I set aside the potential sadness for my broken friend (can’t be more than a stress fracture I figure, knowing not a thing about this) and realize that the only polite thing to do is to wait for tomorrow when her stress fracture has healed and we can run together. I mean, thats what friends are for. So we both decide to go back to bed and its not even like skipping, more like postponing and since I am only in my running shoes in my mind it is super easy to just push one cat aside and snuggle next to the other one and answer the call from my mother that comes the exact moment 8:02 that I am back in bed. So I lie there for a while and talk to her about tumors (real actual ones) and cars (she has decided to put money into her 10 year old paint peely volvo, she is such a BAD nouveau rich person, she totally acts like old money) but then we discuss the kid’s college accounts and how Leo, at age 7 has ferreted out their existence and asked if the money NEEDS to be used for college, and it seems like at least one generation has an uncomplicated relationship with money.

I’m awake now, and figure I should write that Good Buy blog post, because the entire time I was zillowing I was coming up with funny phrases about it. And since my laptop isn’t in bed (big mistake) I get up and use the desktop but for the 5th time in the 2 weeks I have had it it has a connection time out. Does it have a little stool in the corner? Is it allowed to reconnect once it feel ready to join the others?

So I come downstairs and get the laptop and am going to write that post but the drop box isn’t syncing and I’ve just about had it so I go to the bakery. I am hosting a new friend for tea, and I want her to be a real friend so I don’t clean for her. Like the first time the new dad goes out for milk and comes home 8 minutes later and then the 3rd and fourth time it takes him 11 minutes because he checked his email in the car or just sat still in silence and the new mom is like YOU TOOK 3 MINUTES LONGER THAN LAST TIME ARE YOU HAVING AN AFFAIR? Except its her hormones talking and she didn’t even ask about the affair, she just begrudged him the 3 extra minutes because if she had 3 minutes she would sleep or wash herself. But she doesn’t so she can’t so THREE MINUTES. In any case my house is actually MESSIER than normal so the new friend will think we are minorly messy and then next time she will see that we are on the neat side of the spectrum if not holding the immaculate post at the end like she is.

But mess aside there needs to be food and Steve hasn’t been home to bake so I head to the bakery. On the way there I have time to see a snowflake. I knew you were around here somewhere I tell it, you can’t surprise me sneaky little snowflake. I head forth for pastries trying to determine if I will buy a tea there or not. Benefit. I will have tea. Cost. It has a cost. I am preparing for a happy reunion with the counter staff, who despite never learning each others names with dozens and dozens of requests on both sides, is one of those people that just makes me break into a huge grin and its seems the feeling is mutual since she always recounts how recently (usually very) I have been there and really really how glad she is to see me again. It is not her though. It is someone new.

There is a stylish younger than middle aged couple at the counter and there is obviously a low level problem because both sides are apologizing, and it seems they are not helping each other feel better. The dude and I stand back and watch, and in the end the customer seems satisfied and the staff seems a bit on tilt. Not, like angry on tilt, but like she should be treated with caution, because the next problem might make her really sad. I stay uncharacteristically in character of ‘person ordering food at a bakery counter’ and I order the food and she rings me up, and I ask (hope) she has forgotten the tea, but no, she has remembered it. Right on counter lady. So my order is 8 items, 4 savory 4 sweet, new friend. I study her as she studies the items. She is of mixed race, some sort of Asian, I’m thinking Chinese and probably white. She is larger than your average Asian, and I catch myself thinking of all of my trim petite Asian friends one of whom gets stuffed when she has a pomegranate. Every time I see a pomegranate I say out loud “I’d really like to have a pomegranate, but I am just too full.” Which is super funny to me, and not usually to my co-shoppers. So then I think about buddha, and he was pretty large, and Japanese I think. Wow, I’ve been studying Zen buddhism for a year and not only do I not really know his nationality, but I am up at night perseverating on house prices. I may need to ask for a refund. So then I am laughing out loud at the idea of demanding a refund from the Zen Center, and probably not Japanese or buddhist counter person looks at me thinking I am laughing at her and I realize I have slipped out of my role of ‘polite bakery orderer’.

So she is holding up a box muttering to herself “I think they will all fit” and it is so clear that they will not all fit but I know that people learn better through experience so I am quiet and think instead about her musing aloud. I muse aloud a lot. But its not really for me, and it is not really musing, it is maybe more like quipping, I try to draw the people around me in. When she does it, I feel it is really for her, not for me so I leave it be and wonder if she has a blog. I would like to read her blog. And then I think of blogging as navel gazing (what better post than this for that…the super super long version of ‘I’m sipping a cup of tea’) and realize that is isn’t really like gazing, blogging is more like masturbating in that you expect the exercise to give you some release, and take you to a different place. So I tap a quick note on my phone just about the time that she has figured out that 4 of the 8 items will fit in her box. And Siri delivers me a little gift, Madturbating, the note reads.

The act of improving ones mood through self pleasure. Or maybe the opposite…you are feeling fine but then things are coming together as quickly as you would like so you are getting a little mad. Or the individual sex act of a crazy person. Whichever it is I like it. Madturbating. Any of which is a good proxy for blogging. The act of improving a bad mood through writing about ones self. Or You think you are spinning a great tale, but things just don’t come together the way you expect and the post makes you mad. Or, obviously, the individual writings of a mad person.

She has both boxes packed and I grab them, balancing the hot tea on top and head to the car. Standing at the car door I cant’ figure out how to open it without setting the tea on the curb and since I am a bad parker that is too far away. (Do I not want to leave the tea unattended because of the rash of rohypnols in Shurlburbia?) So I tilt just slightly and avoid scalding my hand, and move boots and vests, and parking tickets, and books, and boxes from the front seat to the back. We are on our way home the tea and me and I swing elegantly out of the three quarters of the parking space that I had taken up and the entire tea dumps backward onto my pile of stuff. I watch the vest absorb it. No tea for me.

So I sit down to write this post and get exactly to the point where Siri tells me to go madturbate. Or at least tells me to use the word in a sentence and there is a knock on my door and she arrives (not Siri, the new friend) with a bakery bag in hand. It is not a box so I know we won’t have any duplicates other than the duplicates I bought and she unpacks her bag and she has brought 4 savory and 4 sweet items. So the two of us have 16 baked goods to choose from. Or, 6, because she bought hers ark style and I just got 4 apple crisps and 4 savory bacon croissant bread puddings with melted cheddar. And yes they are as good as they sound.

Finally I can have tea and we have fun, and I think we really may be friends, with the patriots sweatshirt and the bountiful baked goods, and the convenience of living so close by.

So I skipped the run, and the post (s) remain unfinished and my fifth round of IRS documents are not due until tomorrow at noon, plus I haven’t showered (remember the not run) and I haven’t unpacked so I am a bit frozen with possible activities. I decide the only answer is to head to Party City to compound my Halloween woe.

In Florida we went to Target. Here I will use the Target picture that I was planning to integrate into the Good Buy post .

Leo on pillows in a color that  only looks good against just the right shade of blue. Please do not attempt to use this color without proper adult supervision.

Leo on pillows in a color that only looks good against just the right shade of blue. Please do not attempt to use this color without proper adult supervision.


So Leo wanted to be a penguin and Oliver wanted to be Chewbacca and it has taken me 4 years to admit that I am the only one who cares about costumes and I care about them in the way a rabid sports fan cares about her team…they can bring me so much pain when they arent right and only just a tiny bit of pleasure.

So time is tight and ideas of crafters felt and glue guns and gasp, hand sewing are out. Why don’t they just sell a brown fur suit that can be a monkey, or a dog, or a wearwolf, or a chewbacca, but Target was never going to deliver this and I thought I had lucked out with the screen printed minecraft block head cardboard box masks so we could at least use the kids real clothes and it could represent something they really truly cared about and we were close enough to having that happen that we had them in our cart. The kids found the skylanders giants costumes though and so I was twice screwed. No penguin. And no block head.

If you don’t know skylanders giants a. consider yourself lucky and b. it is perhaps from a cartoon but defintely from a wii game. My Shelburbia warning system is at full red alert.

Is the costume mass produced: YES
Is it made of flammable material: YES
Probably by child labor: YES
Does it represent a cultural symbol: YES
Of a video game: YES
Do these characters have weapons: YES
Is the costume itself so crappily made as to be falling apart before we leave the store and create a full on crying fit in 2/3 family members: YES
Will it twist and mistfit to continue the crying fit through each time the costume is donned: YES
Is it so thin that without underlayerment the Vermont kids will turn into frozen skylanders: YES

Ladies and Gentlemen….a perfect score.

So the only fix for spending too much money on crappy storebought costumes? Borrow from friends? Get crafting? Amateurs. Head to an even more expensive store to buy costumes you like better but the kids will never put on because did you see the perfect score on the other costumes? Bonus points for neither set of costumes being returnable.

So I leave Party City (was iParty too virtual? Was Party Town too close to a really really funny Starz show?) $200 poorer with 3 store bought costumes…all of which require modification.

The only smart thing I did all day was finish this post before I began the frustrating act of modifying costumes that my kids don’t even want in the first place. I’m not a total sucker. Except that I am.

Pretty sure this was definition 2 of Madturbation.

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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