What lots of us knew already

Home Births are as Safe as Hospital Births*

* for those with low risk pregnancies.

Monday Miscellany

This Monday Miscellany is brought to you by things that have changed my life. . .

1. The Furminator. This is, I admit it, a stupid sort of thing, but it removes whack loads (that's a technical term) of dog and cat fur, which reduces the amount of fur to remove via the vacuum. To give you an idea of how much fur there was before the advent of the furminator, the old housekeeper fired us, because she couldn't stand the fur.

2. Moroccan Hair Oil - which smells like a dream and works well against the frizz.

3. Expensive Salon Shampoo and Conditioner - Which doesn't strip as much as colour as drug store shampoo, and means that I can just get my roots touched up. Which hides the grey. Which is great and also a lot cheaper!

4. Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. Seriously, go read the book. But not when your partner isn't home. You will lie awake all night, waiting for them to come and get you. . .

And one last thing. London Drugs has a Roomba on sale, and I'm interested. Do you have one? Do you like it? Is it going to be like another pet? Are my pets going to attack it? Or just step on it? Does it work well with lots of fur?

And finally:
Today's Word of the Day
Fallopian Tube!

Let's Call That Done

Let's see what's behind door number one, shall we?

Ahh, that's much better. Next step, the desk.

(and for those of you who are wondering, it took an hour)

Weekends are for Quotes

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.
~D.H. Lawrence


The animals are playing poker now?

The cat toy mouse represents Toby going all in?

Delta had a Royal Flush, so she got to keep her toy?

Let's hope it wasn't strip poker. . .

Public Humiliation

Because I thought you should see this. This is my bathroom cupboard. It's not that I'm a rotten housekeeper, it's that I've been procrastinating a bit. It's been a while since it was cleaned out. This became obvious when Mr. Spit was gushing blood on my kitchen floor, and I couldn't find him a band-aid. Not a single one. Not at all, at all.

I know, it's shocking. How bad does it have to be when you can't find the band-aids? Umm, about this bad.

So here's my request - someone, every day until I post a picture of a closet that doesn't look like Jimmy Hoffa might be buried in it, could you ask how I am doing at cleaning my closet?

Because things clearly have gotten out of control. Waaaay out of control.

Bad Words

It started a few weeks ago, when I asked co-worker A if her cervix was at all dilated and effaced. (Actually, to be technical, I asked what her Bishop's Score was, and when she didn't know what that was; I asked if she was dilated.)

Co-worker B was horrified. Horrified that I would say the word cervix. Horrified that I was so blase. Horrified about an unspeakably personal question. And (horrified!) a male co-worker heard me say the word cervix. (Because men have never heard of a cervix. Ever.) She lectured me on how inappropriate this discussion was. She tried to tell me the word was 'bad'. Says I: "It's called a cervix. When it dilates, you are closer to having a baby. It's not a dirty word, it's not a bad word, it's an anatomical term."


I was sitting at my desk on Monday, and people in the next pod over were talking about Jasmine Fiore. And I hear this:

They identified her by her, you know. Implants.


She had implants in her . . . you know.


She had implants in her boobies.


Let's all say it together. The word is breasts. They are called breasts. Women have breasts.

Breasts are not dirty. Neither are cervixes.


If we won't own the words that describe our bodies, how do we ever expect our self-respect, our identity as women, our health to be taken seriously?

Say it with me.


You have them. So do I. Let's use the right words. Let's teach the right words to our sons and daughters.

I mean it.

Spruced the Place Up a Bit

If you have any experience customizing templates, I:
  • Can't get the contact or about me pages to work. Also, I hate their colour.
  • I can't figure out how to get my little dashboard menu in the corner.
  • I wouldn't mind changing the background colour to something a little bit less beige!


(also, sorry for all the pop ups in Google Reader, I was mucking with labels)

The Power of the Keyboard

I wrote a blog entry a few days ago, about rotten customer service experiences, and a few days after I published it, a lovely representative from Home Depot Customer Service emailed me, asking for more information about the store I was at, and what happened. She apologized profusely, and we emailed back and forth a few times, so I could provide her details.

Finally, a store manager called me, from the store. Actually, she called me yesterday, and I didn't have a chance to call her back, so she called again today.

And the store manager and I spoke. And I'm go to call the store before I go next time (when I go and buy the tile and the vanity for the bathroom reno) so that she can arrange to be there, she'd like to apologize in person.

And I have to say, after I complained about their service, this knocked my socks off. More than knocking my socks off, this earned more of my business. (And it's not like we don't do any reno's here at Chez Spit.)

And the entire point of this post is to say say Home Depot may have sucked, but they have done a really great job redeeming themselves! In fact, this rocked.

The tag below says evil corporations, but I'm pretty impressed with this one!

FWIW, I have not heard a word from Michaels, who apparently doesn't care that they lost out on $150 worth of my custom. I think we should start an anti-Michaels revolution!


The Christmas after Gabe died, my best friend bought me the Willow Tree Angel of Courage.I suspect that she intended to buy me one of the pregnant ones, and I think she settled on Courage, mostly because there is no angel of dead baby (But Susan Lordi, if you are listening).

Courage was more apropos than I expected.

If I had to tell you what you need to cope with the death of a child, courage would top the list. Actually, I think it's the only thing on the list. All the other things, love, hope, laughter, a sense of humour, they are predicated on courage. It takes courage to have hope, it takes courage to laugh in the face of tragedy, it takes courage to get out of bed in the morning. It takes courage to live when part of you is dead.

One of my co-workers is pregnant. I knew her due date before she did. When she was trying to figure out when she would be due, I knew when she got pregnant. She's a bit earlier, by perhaps 2 weeks, which is really nothing in the world of pregnancy. But I could tell her when she was due, when her trimesters ended, about when she would feel movement. I could promise with some authority that she would feel better in September. And it is hard to believe that it is 2 years and not me.

My manager asked me, after her announcement, if I was ok. "That must have been hard for you."

And I suppose she's right. And not. Almost 8 years ago, they told us that if we could have a baby, if, the process would be long and costly, and difficult. And Mr. Spit and I were ok with not having kids. No, ok isn't right. We mostly accepted it. Decisions like that aren't accepted clearly or easily. Sometimes we would stand and face not having kids, and sometimes we would talk about when we have children.

And then there was a new protocol, and we decided to try. And Gabe was conceived. And it was all so easy. And then it wasn't any more.

And we are kind of in that place now, not sure what to do. Not sure if we want back on the horse, and how much time we want to spend. We debate. A year of trying. Not pregnant. But, 3 miscarriages, so something's working well. High risk pregnancy. We go back and forth.

And all of this went through my mind, as I balance career choices and wants and where I am and where I so desperately want to be, and where I thought I would be. And I think about hard.

And then I can see her, with her arms outstretched.


Be Careful What You Say

Years ago, in the midst of an ugly teenage break up (you know the type) I was saying nasty things about my ex (in the time honoured tradition of I never liked him anyway) and my mother stopped me.

"You dated him", she said. "In fact, you spent two years of your life with him. And what you say about him reflects on you. When you say that he was a jerk, or horrible or dumb, you say that you were in love with a jerkish, thugish idiot, for 2 years. Is that what you intend to believe about yourself? Is that what you want others to think about you?"

Ugh, mothers, huh?

Go, watch a few commercials. Read a book or 2. Men are dumb. Male stupidity is the new black. They can't dress themselves, they can't organize things, left to their own devices, they would burn the house down, subsisting on a diet of lard and beer. Men need women because they are too stupid to live on their own.


Don't believe me? Think I'm exaggerating? I was listening to the radio last week, and the woman announcer commented that her husband was "dead lazy". No really, those were her words. 200,000 thousand people listened to this woman insult her husband. I wonder how he felt. . .

Now, imagine if the male DJ had told the city of Edmonton that his wife was "dead lazy"? I don't think the guy would have a job by the end of his shift. Dare I say it, but women are terrible for saying things like this, and some how it's ok. It's ok to insult your husband, tell your girlfriends that he's stupid, can't manage the kids, can't manage money, can't dress himself. It's good sport to insult men.

It's not ok for a man to hit a woman, but it's ok for women to rain down insults that wound in ways not leaving a bruise. And that's wrong. Abuse with words is just as surely abuse. Public humiliation, whether you intend it to be funny or not, is wrong. And I'm sorry, I don't care whether you hit with your fists or your words, abuse is abuse.

I have to confess, this is one of the reasons I stay far, far away from Women's ministries. Women there are either complaining about their husbands or their kids, or both. And maybe it's just me, but I don't have a husband to complain about. Oh, Mr. Spit isn't perfect. He's not. (Maybe you've noticed, neither am I)

So, could I just say this today. . .

Words hurt. They cut both ways. And at least some of us will look at what you say about your partner and wonder about you.

Monday Miscellany

On the Good Side
  • We rented a truck and hauled all the debris from the porch reno away. Since the city is on a clean up binge, we didn't have to pay for it. We even took away the ratty couch and chair that have been sitting at the end of the neighbours' garage and making me cross for about 3 months. (and I liked the idea of hauling it away much better than the idea of calling bylaw and ratting them out.)
  • While we were throwing our garbage out, some guy pulled up next to us, and he was getting rid of landscape ties. So, Mr. Spit stopped him, and we got an extra 7 brand new, never used landscape ties. Which is great!
  • We got the last of the concrete pulled out of our front. The previous idiots owners had helpfully poured concrete over concrete.
  • It rained last night. Actually there was a lovely booming thunderstorm. And I have to say, there is nothing better than being snuggled under your summer weight feather duvet, listening to the storm rage around you.
On the Bad Side
  • We rented a truck and then got a yard of 3/4 road crush, to start the sidewalk. We shovelled the crush out of the truck. When I remarked that I wasn't sure why I was so sore, Mr. Spit reminded me that this was a ton of gravel. The even better news is that next week we get to wheelbarrow it to the path. We are so not organized with the path project.
  • I didn't get the job I applied for. I do not have enough experience. Sigh.
  • I left my fish and chips from Saturday night out. Delta particularly enjoyed the tartar sauce.
And on the Huh Side:

Mr. Spit is making helpful knitting suggestions, what with the failure of the project that must not be named. . .

Weekends are for Quotes

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Martin Niemoller


I've opened a new blog entry window 5 times this morning, and I've closed it 4 times. I want to write about something, and yet. . .

Sometimes I write about things because I want to share them with you. Sometimes I write to make a point, because I think that something should be talked about, and because I want to talk about it in a particular way, and sometimes I write to explore what it is to be me. Very occasionally, I write to get something off my chest. To, in one way or another, hold something up to the light.

About a year ago, someone approached me and asked for help finding a new place to live. It was a complicated situation, but on the face of it, someone and their daughter needed help, and it was within my power to help.

And if there is an absolute commandment that I live by, it is this: It is a sin, a grave sin, to refuse help when it is within your power to give it. And it’s not just me, it’s Mr. Spit too. This matters to us. Not that we give help, but that we give help even when it is hard.

So anyway, help was needed and we gave it. And then more help was needed and we gave that. And we gave it willingly. Invariably, when I talk about the help I give to others, someone asks me if I’ve ever been taken advantage of. And the answer is “of course”. Mr. Spit and I have been, well, screwed, a few times. I’ve been screwed a few times more on my own. It happens.

And you can call me a fool. I don’t mind. It’s the kind of fool I’d like to be.

But, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting when I get snowed. And I got snowed again.

And originally I had written a long post about how we got snowed and you would have gotten all the sordid details, but here’s the thing: if you asked me what I would do differently next time, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently. And even more truthfully, I’m not sure I want to subject my charitable leanings to the process of continuous improvement.

So, we got snowed. It sucks. I promised a former neighbour, who is now a landlord that someone was a good honest person and would pay the rent. And, I was wrong. And I feel badly, because he trusted someone on my word, and my word was bad. To top it off, I suspect I’m out about 3k, which hurts. And I’ve been lied to, and that really hurts. And the whole situation is an utter mess, and I can’t help anymore, which just bites. And, like I said, we’ve been snowed, and you know what? My pride is stinging.

But we obeyed our most important rule. I gave help when it was asked for. And maybe when the pride is finished stinging, that single fact will be enough. The older I get, the more I realize, it’s no good if I only hold on to my values when it’s easy, when things are fair, when I don’t have to sacrifice. Anyone can give help when you don’t have to go out of the way to do it. We went out of the way. And my maxim is still right.

It’s still a sin to not render aid, when you can.

I’ll do it again next time. I’ll probably get snowed again.

My kind of fool.

Googling a Better Life

A few weeks ago, Mr. Spit and I had a BBQ in our back yard. And a group of us were sitting around, and the children were playing, and we were talking about information. We were talking about living in the information age. We were talking about all of the things we know now. I made reference to googling how to put some stuff up on vinyl siding. And I posed the question to the group - what would we have done before google?

Google seems like it has been with us forever, but truly, I've only been using it for a little bit less than 10 years. And it's the nature of electronic change to assume that Internet institutions have been with us forever. I started my undergraduate degree in 1997. I hadn't used the Internet much before I started. And there was cool stuff online, but it was in the vein of hamster dance.

In 2005 I finally went back to the U of A, to pick up my last 3 credits - History 105 - a History of the Middle Ages. And I arrived to my first class from work, in my suit, and there was this, well girl-child next to me. And when the prof was talking about the essay we had to write, she was incensed we couldn't use wikipedia.

In 7 years, the library became obsolete. The periodical reading room in Rutherford South had people typing on their laptops the last time I was there. There were fewer periodicals, because periodicals publish online.

And now, google is a verb. We speak of googling things. For heaven's sake, my mother talks about googling. I was wondering what Safeway put in their 7 grain salad, and my mother said "google it".

Odd, when you really think about it. Rather than go back and ask the deli clerk, and compliment them on a great salad, I google it. Rather than go to the hardware store, or my neighbours, and ask them how to hang something on vinyl siding. Rather than even asking Mr. Spit, who is handy, I walk over to my lap top, and I google "hanging stuff on vinyl siding".

Then I spend 20 minutes refining my search, to get to where I want to be. Think on this for a second. It's lunacy. 30 minutes to find a bit of information: yes, there's a product to hang stuff. Several in fact. But in the end, I can't tell you if it's what I want, based on size and looks. I can't tell you how much it will be. I can't even tell you if my local hardware store has it. And I can't tell you if it would be better than my original solution, which was a penny nail. 30 minutes spent, and I have no real answers. But, I've clicked on a link that sells hanging baskets for vinyl siding, I've seen pictures of different siding types, and I know how to install vinyl siding (if such a thing can be learned in 5 minutes).

And I suppose, what this rambling rant is saying is simple. We have information. And if you believe information is knowledge you get to a bit of math.
information = knowledge
knowledge = power
power = control
control = a better life

And yet. I don't know what Safeway puts in their 7 grain salad, in spite of about 65,000 results. I can tell you about 3 products to hang stuff off your siding, and my stars are still on the table, and while I've been typing this, I've been reading up on the life cycle of a slug.

And this is a better life. . . .

Dear Samus

I've been patient.

I really have. I picked your pattern up off Knitty, and then it sat in my pattern archives. I wanted the time to be right for you and I. I wanted us to have time for ourselves, to really get to know one another. You were the first. I've knit shawls, and socks and hats and mittens and all manner of things for wee small babes and children. But never, never have I knit a cardigan for me. And I picked wool (not orange), and I loved you.

And oh Samus, it was special. I started your lovely cable, and it was so wonderful. I knit and knit on this cable, and then I realized 2 repeats in that I had mis-crossed a cable, and well, there's no going back from that, and I wanted this relationship to stay pure, so I ripped back and started over. And then we watched the second James Bond, and I got a bit distracted, so I started the cable over a second time. And I will admit, I was perhaps a bit tetchy.

And there were some challenges in the cable, including a bit where I randomly repeated rows 13-26 at row 34. No idea what happened there, but I decided that you were like me, slightly flawed. And then the first stirring of dissent in Cardigan land, when I realized that if I completed the number of pattern repeats specified on the cable pattern, you would go around an elephant. We did really stinking hard knitting math. Indeed the math was so hard we did it 3 times, scratching our head (skein) and thinking that couldn’t be right.

Then when we started picking up the stitches, and lo, the math was wrong. Very wrong. But, we ignored the wrongness of it all, and we held on for another 4 inches. Alas, 4 inches and 15,000 stitches did not fix the inherent wrongness of the math, and together, you and I unraveled, slowly, spinning around on my ball winder, weeping silently. And then we re-did the math, and wound up with another number. With the promises of a new beginning in our ears, we started again. And this time, we decided, you and I, that you would be happy and fulfilled with waist shaping. And lo, we researched and we did the waist shaping. And lo, the math was wrong a second time.

And so we re-did it a 3 time. Perhaps at the 3rd time there were harsh words. Perhaps I suggested you weren’t pulling your weight in this relationship, and maybe I did call you stupider than a barn yard full of turkeys, and yes I’ll confess, I even threw you on to the couch and stomped off. And when I came back and the cat was sleeping on you, I threw a look and possibly I said “serves you right”.

But, dear Samus, all relationships take patience. And I picked you up and lint rollered you off, and ripped back for the 3rd time. And lo, this time the math was right. And I started knitting. And truly, around about 10 inches, I started getting nervous, looking at the wool hanging off my needles, and the skeins left in the cupboard, and lo, I ordered more.

And the wool, it arrived with my knitpicks order, and oh, all right, it looked a bit funny. When I held it up to you, the wool on the new skein didn’t feel as soft and it had more twist, and maybe the colour was a bit off, but really, who can tell that, it’s a heathered wool. I decided that you were a resilient sweater Samus, and you could take this change.

And last night, I finished your left front. What, with the random math to make the decreases work at my gauge. And you looked good. I put you down last night, and I caressed you, and I pictured you and I watching the Sea Lions and eating crab in SFO. I pictured you meeting Martha in Vegas. I was excited. Things were on a new track for you and I. This was the start of a beautiful thing, Samus.

And then today, still in this wonderful feeling of euphoria, I pulled you out. And that extra wool, that extra wool that was Telemark and not Wool of the Andes? It’s nowhere near the same colour. Not at all.

And in the harsh light of this morning, this doesn’t work. In the harsh light of this morning, I am going to rip out 15 inches of work, and I’m going to have buy new wool, and dear Samus,

I have to tell you,

You’re moving into the closet for a bit.

Hey Teach is calling my name.

It's not me, it's you.

It's Not That I'm No Fun

It's just that I'm no fun.

Look, I'm a serious person. I think, a lot. An awful lot. I read philosophy for fun, and I think fruity alcohol cocktails are dumb. (Except pomtini's, which are the nectar of the gods). I tend to obey the rules, and I always wear clean underwear. Hell, I wear slips under unlined skirts. I'm a homebody. I'd rather be on my couch, in my backyard, at my dinning room table. A loud and trendy restaurant? I'd rather have you come over for dinner. It's quiet and I can hear myself think, and you talk. I read a lot and I wear glasses. I'm serious. Possibly also dull.

And yes, I do bring my knitting everywhere.

And all of this is a round about way to announce what this year's life lesson will be.

(Oh, every year around my birthday, I decide to work on another life skill. When I turned 20, it was balance. Last year, it was the concept of enough. Yes, I still haven't mastered the concept of enough, or for that matter, balance. But, I spend a year focusing on it, and I think, I hope, I pray I get a bit better at it over the year.)


This year?

This year is about having fun.

No really. Fun. I can be fun. As Aunt Becky would say, Shut up, I can be fun. Really.
  • This year, I am going to do fun things.
  • This year, I am going to say no to not fun things.
  • This year I am not going to pass up fun things so that I can do un-fun things that I think I should do.
  • This year I'm going to define fun things as things I like to do.
And umm, I could probably use some help at this fun things business.

Any suggestions?


Some people are clothes horses because they are beautiful, some because they are trying to buy their way out pain and chaos, and some are like me. Clothes tell you something about me. Hopefully that I am neat, fashionable and well dressed. That I am a professional. That I care about myself, and that I have achieved a certain standard of life. And I don't think the people who look at me, other than Mr. Spit, know the most important truth about my clothes. Clothes are armour to me. I buy a lot of clothes because I don't ever feel like I fit in.

I'm sitting on a charity committee at work. And the rest of the women on the committee are tall and skinny and are seen as "achievers" within the organization. They are movers and shakers, and can wear whatever they want. A skirt that lands mid calf has never daunted them, and they've never tried on something and looked like a teal patterned stuffed potato.

And you know what? I'm just me. And I'm awkward and self-conscious, and I wind up feeling stupid and inarticulate, like the "untouchable" in 3rd grade, who never can get the rules of social interaction right. I watch What Not to Wear, and I'm never sure if I'm getting all the rules right. I try to be well dressed, but I think I look frumpy. I wear make-up, but I can't get rid of the acne. So, I sit silently next to these women, utterly unlike who I normally am. Not confident enough to speak up, not thinking I have anything worth saying.

I started thinking about feeling self-conscious in July, when I was getting ready to go to a new knitting night, and I was agonizing about what knitting to take. This wasn't the normal agonizing of a knitter trying to figure out what project to bring on a trip, that would hold her attention, and not finish before the trip did.

No, this was the "what will they think of me?" agonizing. Do I bring really hard lace knitting, even though I know full well I cannot knit full on lace while talking to people and I will end up ripping it out at home? Do I bring the cardigan, that is the same cardigan that everyone and their dog knit, 2 years ago, showing that I am behind and out of touch? Do I bring my vanilla socks, that I am knitting for TGND, for Christmas? They aren't exciting, they are basic socks. No patterning. Or do I bring the baby sweater, which needs to get finished up, but is a really plain pattern? I'm not going to look like a hip, cool, with it knitter knitting this baby sweater pattern. I'm going to look like a rank amateur.

And here I am. It doesn't matter that I have chaired boards with a quarter of a million dollar budget. It doesn't matter that I'm active in my community, that I'm very happily married to an incredible man. It doesn't matter that my mother likes me, that I'm well read or politically involved. All of that goes flying out the window when faced with new people, or even just particularly skinny, attractive ones I already know.

Here I am, 30 years old, and I'm worried what other people will think of me. No, I'm still worried. I worried that I am a terrible geek, a social outcast, the fat girl in the corner, who sniffles and wears bad clothing. I am worried that my horrible childhood nickname will resurface, that I am ugly and that I am stupid. I'm worried I don't quite measure up.

Does this feeling of never fitting in, of not being popular or liked ever go away?

I tell kids in high school that these are nowhere near the best years of your life. In fact, University isn't the best years of your life. According to that logic, I should be in the best years of my life.


(and I know that all of you will tell me that I'm great, and I appreciate that. I know that women I respect and admire and want to be like will tell me that I have worth and merit and good ideas. The point is the why, oh why do we feel like this?)


I'm going to spend 5 minutes whinging about things. Oh, nothing serious. Just stuff that has made me grumpy this weekend.

On Thursday night, we went to Home Depot (which I hate). They had low flow toilets on sale. (As an aside, you know that you are really, truly an adult when you get excited because a low flow, dual flush toilet is on sale). Anyway. We get to Home Depot, we find the toilet, we go to buy the toilet, and there are no cash registers open. Only those stupid self serve checkouts. (And I'd like to point out, the American chains have the stupid self serve checkouts. The Canadian ones don't, just sayin') Now, maybe you've noticed, but to use the ever loving self checkouts, you actually have to be able to lift and scan the item.

I had a toilet. In 2 pieces. (And why do you buy toilets in 2 pieces. It's not like there's an option of having the bowl or not). And these 2 pieces are heavy. Finally get everything checked out, and realize they've billed me the wrong price. So I go and see the girl who is supposed to be the self service checkout help, and she can't do anything to help me.

So I go to the returns desk. Who inform me that the sale starts on Saturday, and can't I read their advertisements.

Dear Home Depot:

Why yes. I can read. Also, I can type. I can type an email to your store manager, pointing out how incredibly rude your staff are, and reminding said store manager that there are 5 Home Depot's in town, and I will be shopping at any of the other 4 from now on.

I go to Michaels on Saturday, because they have a 25% off sale, and I would like some nice fall decorations. I get garland and some pumpkins and a sign and some silk flowers and a basket, and some leaves, and some scrap booking stuff, oh, probably a hundred dollars worth, and I get to the till and I can't find my 25% off coupon. I'm holding up the line, digging it out, and I can't find it. I had a 50% off one item coupon, but I gave it to a little boy, who wanted the skull, so he could play Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but he only had $10, and the skull was $15, and so I decided to help him out. Anyway, I couldn't find my stupid 25% off coupon. And your store policy says that you don't keep them at the till.

Dear Michaels:

It would cost you $1 to print out the 25% off coupons to keep one at each till, for when customers realize they forgot them. Your policy of not keeping them cost you $100, plus the time for your staff to return the items in my cart.

Penny wise and pound foolish, not just an aphorism for your grandmother any more!

You listened to me, so I'll happily listen to you in the comments.

In Which Mrs. Spit Takes a Deep Breath

And reminds herself that young people learn responsibility by being given it.

I was about to go to bed tonight, when I looked out the window and saw TGND and her friends sitting on the back porch, in the blazing light from motion lights, chattering away, at quarter to midnight.

Everyone is over for TGND's birthday. Her 16th.

And her mum has been a bit baggish about the whole thing, and I saw these girls, and I took a deep gulp and I walked out on to my back deck, and I offered them my fire pit, if they promised not to burn the house down.

And they agreed that would be wonderful, and informed the neighbour mother, and headed over. I handed out blankets, and chairs, and got the fire started. (Not a single young woman present knew how to start a fire. Not one. What is this generation coming to, I ask you?)

I asked for one person to be appointed to be in charge of the fire, told them all where the water was, defined what a too large a fire meant, and the consequences of not putting the fire completely out, and then dear readers, I walked back up the stairs to my deck, across the deck, through the back door, and I shut the door behind me.

(and that took courage)

I didn't use the lack of ability to start a fire as a teachable moment, not did I lecture on the need to be independent. I didn't lecture on not leaving the back yard, or not getting into the flower beds, or not shrieking or running around, or calling down aliens. And I'm telling you, not using the teachable moment darn near killed me.

And as I type this, there is a medium sized fire burning in the fire pit, and 5 young women chattering around the fire pit. No one would appear to be on fire, no one is drinking, and nothing untoward is happening.

And I will hope they remember a summer night, curled up in blankets, around a fire. I hope it's just a tiny bit more magical.

I'm going to go to bed in just a few minutes, and before I do I will once again ponder how remarkable TGND is, on the eve of being a woman. And I will smile at her friends, who tease her, and clearly love her, and I will be thankful that I get to be her neighbour.

Help Me Out Here

So, as stated, Mr. Spit and I are going to Vegas. Joining us for the weekend is the lovely Martha, her outstanding husband, and her charming sons.

We need a hotel.

I'm indecisive. Really indecisive.

So, let me tell you what I am looking for:
  1. It must be reasonably priced. By reasonably priced, I mean that I will not pay more than $600, plus tax for 5 nights. I won't. You can't make me. Unfortunately that seems to rule out The Wynn, the Venetian, the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay (with 4 pools, sniff)
  2. It must be "theme-ish". I don't know how to describe it. I want the Vegas experience. I don't want the Hilton or the Marriott. I want fountains and marble and neon and scantily clad women and overpriced drinks. Bells and whistles and flashing lights. An alien space ship, a recreation of the amazon jungle. You get the point.
  3. It must be on the strip. Central would be great, but I hear there's a trolley thingy, so central is not essential.
  4. It must have a pool. This Canadian girl is going swimming outside on the 14th of December.
  5. It must be clean. It must have a bed and a bathroom. Bonus points will be awarded if the bed is a strange shape.
  6. I would prefer small child unfriendly. It must be teenager friendly. Martha's boys are lovely people, and I won't have them insulted because they are teenagers.

Any suggestions?

Object Lesson

Mr. Spit and I were driving home from work last night, and on the radio news, we heard a pastor, commenting about a member of his flock killed tragically in North Dakota yesterday. The week before, the congregation had prayed over the family asking for safe travel. The pastor took a deep breath, and remarked that he would have to preach this Sunday about when God doesn't answer our prayers.

And Mr. Spit and I looked at each other. That's a hard question. That's a hard sermon. That's a hard sell.
I was reading a story in Christianity Today, about a man that lost his job. As the sole breadwinner in the family, this was bit of a crisis. And the wife talked about running out of church when the pastor prayed for those looking for work. Suddenly she was the victim. She wasn't the strong, capable one, she needed prayer. And she wasn't ok with this. She wasn't ok with being broken.

Tragedy is the great equalizer. Oh, you can say it's getting sick or losing your job, or death, but no. Actually, it's tragedy. What makes those other events awful is their tragic nature. A lack of independence, a life cut short, financial worries and woes. A loss of identity.

And tragedy is a funny thing. Because, really, sooner or later, it comes to all of us. It's part of the human experience. My tragedy is visible, and visibly not with me. Don't think that Mr. Spit and I don't see the pitying looks, almost 2 years after Gabe's death, when I have no swelling stomach. Don't think we don't see how people hide from us on Mother's Day and Father's day, and don't think we haven't had a conversation with someone who was patently pregnant and refused to mention it. Gabriel is my tragedy, and an inability to have another child, the reality that a dead child looks to be our only child, well, that's obvious. You can point to it, and pity us, if you are so inclined. We are, visibly, broken.

But tragedy that open and acknowledged, tragedy, when we stare it in the face, and proclaim that it is undeserved, the effects of evil, that is tragedy that loses its power. Bringing things into light removes some of their pain, removes the isolation and in removing the isolation, removes some of the sorrow. And as a church, we seem to be spectacularly poor at making tragedy visible. I've had many a conversation with Julia, and I think she's hit at least part of the issue on the head. We Christians have the Resurrection. And the Resurrection is the most profound part of us. In my darkest hours, I have recited the words of Job.
And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God. I will
see him for myself, yes I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed with
the thought. (Job 19:25,26)
I don't think there is a more commanding description of the power of the resurrection in the Bible. Without reducing that power, I assure you when you are crushed by pain, the Resurrection isn't the answer. We Christians rush in to pet hands and tell people of the Resurrection, the cornerstone of our faith. And we assume, because the dead aren't truly dead, because death has been defeated, that there is no more tragedy. We insist there is no problem that Christ has not already overcome. Even unto death, and we pound our pulpits. And yet. Merely because something is true does not mean it is the answer. The Resurrection isn't the answer to the pain of tragedy. In fact, it's not even the question. The Resurrection is the future, and as David so eloquently points out, the pain is now. David frames the question the right way:
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart
every day? Turn and answer me, Oh Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will surely die. (Psalm 13: 1-3)
And we wonder why the broken are silent and hidden in our churches. Because we are giving the wrong answer to the wrong question. We wonder why our churches are declining. No one attends. Churches aren't relevant, the world around us proclaims. And when we give the wrong answer to the wrong question, they are right, we aren't relevant.

Remember what I said at the start. Tragedy is the great equalizer. Because it comes to all of us. We all experience it. My tragedy, our tragedy is Gabriel, and infertility. My neighbour's husband died suddenly - a widow at 37. My other neighbour has been away from his home country and family, for 40 years. He cannot go back to North Korea.

The church is made for the broken. The scriptures don't just tell us to be mindful of the broken, they tell us, over and over we are broken. We are broken before we are born, and it is only through God that we will ever know any healing. But, and this is a big but, knowing God doesn't guarantee a tragedy free life. Instead, he exhorts us to be a community that lives amidst tragedy. The Ressurection isn't the answer, the love of God that caused the Resurrection is.

So, on Sunday a pastor will talk about when God doesn't answer our prayers. Really, what he will talk about is tragedy. The great equalizer.


A Vulture Ate My Blog Post

No, really.

Sigh. I really, really like Hallowe'en.

I think Fall is my favourite time of year.


Going to spend Gabe's second birthday in Vegas.

It's exciting to go to Vegas. It's strange to know that were he here, we wouldn't be going to Vegas.


We'll go and buy toys for charity before we leave. And figure out how to do a birthday cake there.

So, I'm excited about Vegas. I really am. I've never been, and wanted to go for years.

But, strange.

If You're Going to San Francisco . . .

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair!

I'm going.

Sept 24th to Sept 29th.

Incredible seat sale.

The knitting philosophers on tour!

Literary Friend and Foe

I'm sure it was November, on the prairies, in my first year of University. It didn't snow until Christmas that year, I'm sure, and if my memory serves, Bryan and I had broken up, and I don't think we had gotten back together yet, and Mikhela, his daughter was living with me, off and on, but I remember it being more on, and often her infant sister was with her. And if it was November, I had almost certainly spectacularly failed the Calculus 115 midterm, with a 20%.

My mother was determined, in June of the spring before, and then, as she had been for my entire life, that no daughter of hers was going to a community college, to learn basket weaving. And so I found myself, from a graduating class of 5, in a lecture theater of 400. I had not learned the secrets of making a large place seem small. I didn't know about making a friend in each class, starting small. I knew no one at university, save the man I was dating, and at 19 I still seemed to lack social skills and graces. I had turned down the orientation, assured by the boyfriend I would not be dating much longer, that he would show me around. I didn't join a club, find a service group, I wasn't the sorority type, and I think I found the Anglican Chaplain, but I seem to recall he quit shortly after I arrived, and I never did go back. I was ill prepared for the life I was leading, lost, broken and tired.

In HUB mall, there was, and probably still is, a discount seller of books. I went looking and amidst the odd sociology texts that may have been a text last year, over sized coffee table books of artists I had never heard of, there was a Patricia Cornwell book.

In the midst of drowning, being lost in that unhappy and lonely place, I took my Patrica Cornwell novel to the pedway between HUB and the Arts building, where it overlooked Rutherford house, and I sat and read. I hadn't learned about the other, secret and quiet places at the University: the Periodical Reading Room in the Rutherford South, the Green house in the Ag and Forestry building, the museum in the faculty of Home Ec, the sunny spots in SUB, and the peaceful chapel at the Catholic residence.

I spent an afternoon devouring the book, a forensic pathologist, gruesome and sadistic murders, dysfunctional relationships, an adulterous affair. Utterly different than the life I was not leading well. Pure, escapist fantasy. I actually kept up with Patricia Cornwell through the years it took me to finally finish my degree (I started in 97, and my degree says 2005). From her I moved into Kathy Reichs, then on to JD Robb. I finally stopped reading Cornwell about 4 years ago, when things got utterly crazy, but I would stop people who were reading the new books, asking them what was happening to the story.

And all of this is a droll and somewhat literary way of getting to the point. I was reading one of Ian Rankin's books last night. I'm new to him, he arrived in the house shortly after Gabe's death, when someone brought books. And this particular book is about a serial killer. After the insanity and depravity that is Robb and Cornwell, quite tame.

And yet.

I cannot read it. I came home from the hospital after Gabe's birth, and I picked up the JD Robb book I was reading, and I could not read it. The violence, the hatred, the pain, the atrocity of all of it was too raw. Salt in a wound.

And I found myself putting the book down last night. Not putting it on the shelf, but bundling it in the bag for the book sale, half read. And actually contemplating if I wanted to foist it off on someone at all. Wondering if I should throw it out completely.

(I assure you, Mr. Spit and I, of the 2000 book library, do not throw out books. In fact, we don't seem to give them away much.)

It astonishes me. I cannot read these books. I put down Rankin, and picked up the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

And the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society is a heartbreaking book. But it is real. Pain and tragedy is measured out by love and joy.

And if I had to guess why I can't read the likes of JD Robb and Ian Rankin, it is this. I have known pain and sorrow and terror.

I chose joy.

This Post Will Not Have Home Renovation Pictures

The deck is painted and the furniture is back, and Mr. Spit helpfully pressure washed the front porch. The concrete is removed, and we have a rubble strewn path to dig up, lay down gravel and sand, and then pavers, also a raised flower bed to dismantle. Eventually, I think this summer, we will be replacing our fence in the front.

You can see those photo's when the work is done, in early September. (I know, we are mean that way)

I have a bigger problem today.

I have been looking at fridges, enviously, for a while. I stop in stores, and I open the doors, and I pull out the freezer on the bottom, and I debate drawer-style or door-style freezers. I look at the adjustable shelving, and when I see a fruit and vegetable crisper, I cannot tell a lie, I swoon a bit. I debate 2 door and 1 door fridges, and I absolutely do not want a water dispenser or an ice maker. I don't want stainless steel, which would look like lipstick on a pig in my old house, and I can't decide between white or black. I know that I want the space to put eggs in, you know with the cups, but very few fridges have them any more. I look at the adjustable shelving, and a little shiver runs down my spine, and I giggle a bit, to myself. I know what space I have to work in, and what size I can be. I tell no lie, every time I try to cram my groceries into the inferior fridge I own, the resentment wells up in me.

I have looked at websites, determining what I want, and energy costs, and I have been surprised to discover that your fridge is probably your biggest energy guzzler. My fridge, that is at least 20 years old, and has a "problem" with smells, while it freezes vegetables randomly; this fridge is guzzling energy from my budget. It will not only make me happier, it will help save the planet to replace it. After all Mrs. Spit, think of the cute penguins in Antarctica, right?

I have been on, not so much a campaign as a barnstorm, to get a new fridge, looking at prices and budgets, and I have established that fridges go on sale in August and January. (We can't afford a fridge in August, just in case you were wondering). But, we are putting money away. Maybe January, probably January. And in the interim, I look at them. I can see myself getting guests cream from my new fridge, in my blue dress, with an apron, and black high heels, with a lovely string of pearls around my neck. (and the lack of blue dress, an apron, or a string of pearls, does not send me into worry, I merely brush this aside, a new fridge will solve a multitude of sins)

The oven died today.

Oh, we have tried to pretend it wasn't a problem, I have ignored erratic temperatures, and the entire Spaghetti Sauce repair bill, but no. 90 minutes after I had turned it on, it managed to achieve the princely temperature of 215 degrees F. Since I didn't 3 hours to cook dinner, we came up with plan B. And no, I'm not going to call the repair man again, because it's just not worth the minimum $200 cost, plus what ever he needs to fix it.

The oven heard we were looking at fridges, and it died today.

(Good-bye fair fridge. How I would have loved thee.)

Hello new oven, including the cost of a gas fitter, because I will not have another blinking electric stove in my life time.

I shall set my face as iron when I go to Sears tomorrow, looking at the . . .


Weekends are for Quotes

A common misconception among homeowners when it comes to home remodeling and renovation is that cost equals value. However, not every renovation or remodeling effort will pay off at closing.

Richard Powers

I assure you, Mr. Powers, that there is no payoff that is great enough to make up for the pain in my arms and shoulders for removing an entire sidewalk's worth of concrete, so that I can put in paving stones.

Some things we do for ourselves.

i do not know

I went to bed last night thinking about one blog entry, and I came awake, abruptly this morning thinking about another.

Mostly, I'm thinking of what I know (very little) and what I haven't figured out, since Gabriel's death. I know to live in found time. I don't know what to do with time while I wait.

I know I can survive the death of my son. I do not know how I will cope if we can never have another child. I know that it hurts to be doing home renovations, because we wouldn't be doing them 16 month old Gabriel were here. I know to not spend my time thinking about it, because it doesn't change anything, and I might as well be thankful that we have the time, the financial resources, and strong backs that allow us to do them, because we are fortunate, more fortunate than many.

And sometimes, sometimes I get this picture of Mr. Spit and I, 10 years from now, with no children, organizing a kitchen renovation, picking out the counter tops, the cupboards, the back splash of our dreams. Not worrying much about money, inconvenience, because we have no daycare bills to pay, no school fees, no children to feed supper. And it takes my breath away. I stop, and stand, small and naked and vulnerable, in the face of such pain and fear and sorrow.

I can remember our dreams when we were first married, to have 6 children, and I can taste ash and gall in my mouth. And I do not know what to do with that.

I haven't, almost 18 months later, quite figured out how to answer people when they ask if I have children. I just don't know. Yes, but no. Not a miscarriage. I held a living, breathing son in my arms. I counted his fingers and toes, he had his father's hands, and my head of hair. We baptized him, and now he's on a shelf, in an urn. I know that my son lives, in heaven, but I don't know what to say on earth.

I don't know what to say when people tell me that I can have another baby. I'm not talking about those who blithely assume you can replace one child with another, there's nothing to say to those people, but those who don't understand, if I manage to get pregnant again, (remembering I`m one dead child and 3 miscarriages, to 0 living children) that I have a 1 in 3 chance of losing another baby. Severe pre-eclampsia isn't a statistical anomaly, it's a fact. It will happen again. The question is not if, but when. There will never be a safe point in my pregnancy, a test that tells us we have won the genetic lottery, we can't console ourselves. I don't know what to do with that uncertainty. And if one more person says that they will say a little prayer, I think I will scream.

And this morning, I woke up thinking about someone who told me I was a mother, and I think, 20 months later, I do not know how to be a mother to a dead child.

So very much I do not know.

Oh Look, A Cat.

For Mr. Spit, and the rest of you, who found liquidity a challenge:

For the others: liquidity is a measure of the ability to generate cash to meet operating expenses, be they expected or brought on by crisis. It means that an organization has sufficient cash, or assets they can turn into cash, quickly, without losing any of the value of the asset (i.e. they don't have to sell at a discount to get the cash quickly). You measure liquidity by totaling your assets, and subtracting your liabilities. By conservative estimates, the ratio you get should be at least 1. In some industries, you do this measurement both daily, and on a forecast basis, and in some industries, it's done as part of the annual audit, effectively as an accounting test, and no one looks at the results. (I work in an industry that gets very excited about liquidity).

Also, Maker's Mark has excellent liquidity, Bud Light Lime, not so much!
The policy, especially after Brown Owl went through it, looked ok. Possibly even not bad. And, as a bonus, she put up with Mrs. Spit the Pouty Pants, who just wanted to hear it was brilliant, even if it did break Mrs. Spit's primary rule of writing. (Good writing is achieved by judicious application of butt to seat and fingers to keyboard. There's no substitute for time spent working on a piece.)

I'm not joking about the pouty bit. I was a git. I'll send a card, even though Brown Owl actually reads this.

In Which I Mention Liquidity Hardly at All.

I am tearing myself away from my draft policy on liquidity, to write this blog. The draft policy is a test assignment from the job interview I had last week, and is due tomorrow, and possibly I should have started it before now. If you would like to scold, go ahead, but frankly, I`m way ahead of you, and I wish I started earlier too.

If there is any saving grace in this, it is that I write policy for a living, and I understand liquidity and the compliance requirements, so I should be able to explain them in 3 pages. Having said that, I`m still freaked.

I am extremely focused on being very clear about liquidity. I contemplated writing about it here, just so you could all understand it, thinking you might be laying awake at night, wishing you only knew what liquidity was, but I decided it really wasn`t that interesting, and you didn`t want to hear about it. I`m not going to talk about it at all.

Back to the reno`s.

This is a mail box, on a post. Except for the really big problem with the letters, I believe we can call the mailbox issue solved. Also, I can`t show you the rest of the porch, because I have only painted the one railing, so you could see the effect. Yes, that`s right, I was painting a railing, in weather that was threatening rain, while not writing about liquidity, so I could show you the entire effect. Also, because like all painting situations, I knew I would start putting the paint on, and I would panic and hate it, and think I had the biggest mistake of the entire universe, bigger even than a bank who screws up their liquidity ratio`s, and suffers a company specific event, and thus suffers a liquidity failure, also known as a funding deficit.

Tell me you like the paint.

Anyway. Micheal`s is apparently doing inventory for the month of August, which means that they aren`t re-stocking anything.

So, Micheal`s doesn`t have any letter ``L` or any number 1`s left, which is going to make it really hard to paint them white and put them on my mail box (spelling `MAIL`), or on the plaque which will have my house number on it. It`s rather like it would be if senior management had not established a market access strategy and did not delineate between first and second priority assets to release in the case of a company-specific liquidity crises, as part of their OFSI mandated contingency plan.

(and because I will almost certainly forget to ask, yes Martha, I do need you to check your Michaels, please!)

Ah, freshly painted blue door, with charming letter slot (not functional) picked out in silver paint. Also, nice, drooly mastiff, looking about as fierce as OFSI would were they to discover that you did not have templates of your liquidity reports for them to view, as part of your liquidity and funding plan.

And finally, jack hammered concrete, which Mr. Spit is calling `the cobblestone effect`, that is treacherous to walk on, only an initial step in bigger project to get pavers put in and reflects a need for significantly more work, much like an organization that has only completed one liquidity stress test, and not used the most conservative of assumptions.

Also, dear J. came by tonight, looked at our back door, refrained from laughing at the Joe Job of the previous owner and told us that not only did everything have to come out, we needed to buy a new door, and we also needed to come up with a way of shoring up the sagging flooring. All of this in a bid to finish mudding and taping some dry wall, and fixing up the flooring in the back entrance to our house. It is perhaps worth noting that we started the entire front porch project because the floor was sagging, and we didn`t like the outdoor carpet.

(and you were asking how these things got started).

Well, that`s it for me tonight, and look, I didn`t talk about liquidity at all!

Also, I don`t know why my apostrophe`s are all wrong. I can`t figure it out, and since it relates to neither home reno`s or liquidity, I`m not going to worry about it.

A Step into the Future

Red Green says if they don`t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Actually, he`s both.

All done (Except for the staining.) We would stain now, but it`s going to rain, all week. On the bright side, we did buy the stain, and the paint to do the door, and the mailbox. I might paint the door tomorrow.

Also, Tomorrow, tomorrow we rip this out:

We have 75lb jack hammer on standby. Can`t wait!
Paving stones, here we come. . . (And the bed on the left is going too.)
We are going to be so shwanky, we won`t know what to do with ourselves.

You Know What Would Be Handy?

Ok, so the first thing to note, we solved the mail box impasse opportunity. We both like these, they are wood, which means we can stain them a slightly darker blue than the deck, and I went to Michael's to get wooden letters, which spell out "Mail". The bottom plate will have our house numbers on it.

We are both pleased, and we got both pieces for less than half of the mail box from yesterday. We are happy. (And, I can keep buying wool. The way I figure it, I saved us $100 on the mailbox from yesterday, so I can spend the $100 saved, plus my commission as a frugalista, so another $50, right?)

And you know what would be handy? Really handy? Astonishingly handy? A home renovation store right next to our house. By my calculations we lost somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2 hours at the Rona. . .

First we forgot the angle brackets, and then we had to re-visit the mail box hostility issue, and then we needed another 10 feet of flashing (which was the first place we looked at each other, and had problems doing very basic math).

So, we got home, and we started the stairs. And then we realized that we couldn't finish the stairs, because while we had purchased angle brackets (2 of them, sitting all shiny and new, on the floor boards), we needed 7 angle brackets. And no matter how bad you are at math, 2 doesn't make 7. So, back to the hardware store.

But, this person turned up, and she was the best thing we had seen all day (including the mail box we selected). She turned up at 9:00 tonight, with coffee in her hands. She also said very nice things about our work. Thanks Mum!

So, where else did we lose time? Oh yeah. The stairs. In our time estimate, we said, "Stairs. Stairs will take about an hour." Did you know time telling is part of math? Must be. We got that wrong too. We were only 25% right. It didn't take one hour to do the stairs, it took 4. Also, a few tense moments, especially because the measuring tape continually disappeared. Measuring tape gremlins, Mr. Spit is convinced. (Probably, also, they were buggering up our math).

So, here's the finished product, with railings and all. Which, when you think about it, is exactly what we started with. Flooring and railings.

These look better, right?

Look, a Mail Box is a Very Demanding Thing

You go to your hardware store, and you pick one. You find something that half-way matches your house and then you carry on. Screw the thing up, and get your mail out of it.

To refresh you, this is what our present mail box looks like.

Which Simply Will Not Do.


A wooden one that we could stain the same colour as the deck and the railing (Gettysburg Blue from Behr).Which would be ok, but I'm not convinced that we wouldn't have the same problem, because it would blend in to the house, and we would still get our mail in a wide variety of places, because no one can find the mail box. Not a charming or delightful, or even pleasing mail box. Sufficient, I suppose.

Mr. Spit, being fiscally prudent, looks at the metal ones. Which are adequate. I mean: they do the job. You put mail in them, they have those curved thingies to put the paper in. (Which is totally retarded, as we don't get the paper, and when we did, they kid just threw it on the deck) Any way, they would work, I guess, if they had to. But I'm telling you, very pedestrian. Ho Hum. Positively ubiquitous. A metal mail box says something about you. That your last name is Smith, you dress in beige and you drive a brown car, which you bought used, because it was reliable, and cheap and easy to keep clean. Also last night, you had boiled potatoes for dinner, and have never bought an avocado in your life.

Such a mail box is Clearly Not Suitable for Chez Spit, so I keep looking. (Mr. Spit, dear man, keeps talking about the metal boxes, mostly repeating $18 dollars in an increasingly excited voice).

That's it. Black, top loading with a splendid brass maple leaf on it, says mail in a charming script. It's not adequate, banal, or ubiquitous. No, not at all, this mail box, it is a symphony, it is a large canvas, an opus work. This mail box is enthralling and bewitching, and possibly it would be using too many adjectives (but hey, they're cheap): this mail box is delectable and irresistible, electrifying and seductive. This is a mail box I tell you, all others are aluminum wanna-be's. All others are merely things that hold your mail. This mail box has possibility.

What do you suppose a lovely black mail box, looking like wrought iron, not forgetting the brass maple leaf, and the words "mail" in lovely, soft, inviting font, would cost a home owner?

Did you guess $187 dollars?

Yeah. Me neither.

But I like it. Mr. Spit did too, until he saw the price. Which doesn't mean much, as I have been pointing out all day; because he does like it, he just doesn't like the price, and if you amortize the cost of the mailbox over the life of the house, well that's actually less than $2 per year, which is a pittance, peanuts, I tell you. Besides, everybody knows that it's those little finishing touches that really make or break a first impression. Curb appeal makes such a big difference, and I know we aren't planning on selling this house, you know, ever; but it still matters, and we want the neighbours to like us and think well of us, and we have new sidewalks, and new street lights, and new curbs, and a whole new paved street, and the city is shelling out 20 million on the revitalization, and the very least we can do is shell out a mere $187 on a mail box that fits into the neighbourhood. It's our duty. It's practically patriotic.

(at which point the Lancaster Bomber flew overhead, and I think maybe Mr. Spit was thinking that Churchill was, by far, the better orator)

Anyway, back to the mail box. So, we are still arguing discussing about what we are going to do, and in the mean time the current one will stay where it is.

But, oh wise internets, you think I'm right, don't you? The choice of mail box is a very demanding one, and you just can't cheap out on these sorts of things. After all, the neighbourhood is depending on us!

Oh, and while we were feuding calmly debating the merits of the best mail box in the store, we got some more stuff done.