On a lighter note

Dear marketing people everywhere responsible for emails that contain recommended products:
If I JUST BOUGHT a kitchen sink from you, it’s safe to assume that I do not care the teeniest tiniest bit about other kitchen sinks. Unless you’re trying to tell me that the one I just bought is terrible and so I should start thinking about a replacement.

Hugs & kisses and have a nice day.

Frozen: Devil’s Advocate

Leading with the necessary disclaimers: I love Frozen. No matter how many bazillion times I’ve heard Let It Go, it still makes me cry when I’m in the right mood. I cheer when Anna punches Hans off the boat. I am not criticizing a Disney movie for lacking reality.

The thing is, I appreciate a good Devil’s Advocate argument. They make me laugh because let’s face it, I’m a little warped. I can also blame my husband to some extent.

All that said, here are the reasons why Hans would have been a much, much better ruler for Arendelle than Elsa:

1. Coming out of that cute little ending scene with the outdoor skating rink, I figure Elsa’s top priorities are going to be making up for lost sister time, and enjoying actually letting herself feel emotions for the first time in, what, thirteen years? Hans’ #1 priority would have been the kingdom. He’s been dreaming of holding a position of authority his entire life, and he just spent the last three chilly days building himself up as a hero of the people. He’d want to spoil that why? He has twelve older brothers, likely with varying degrees of aspiration to leadership. If even one or two are currently unsatisfied, what’s to stop them from coming to challenge his position? Retaining the adoration of the people serves as an incredibly valuable buffer between him and outside threats to his rule.

2. A little thing called THE CHURCH. Y’know, the entity with authority over that nice Latin ceremony wherein Elsa was crowned queen. Neverminding the superstition and fear of the common man, the church wasn’t ever exactly known for kind-hearted tolerance towards sorcery (AKA devilry, witchcraft, heresy…) So what happens is, the church declares Elsa’s reign illegitimate and excommunicates her as a heretic. The peasants have to choose between loyalty to their country and loyalty their church, which pretty quickly leads to civil war. The Duke of Wesselton goes crying home and the first thing he does is tell the church about all the evils going on in Arendelle, which is apparently rich enough for him to want to exploit. The church blesses his attempt on the queen’s life, and encourages him to raise an army so he can go try again. It’s only a matter of time before somebody makes a play to convince soft-hearted Anna that she needs to depose her sister in order to save not only her sister’s life, but the kingdom as a whole. With Hans, on the other hand, you get a nation united by mourning the tragic loss of the royal family, and the church backs him 110% because his acts of charity look awesome. No civil war. No foreign religious war. Hmm…

3. Fear is a part of life – especially for leaders – and healthy emotional control takes years of practice. The threat of religious warfare is a situation wherein Elsa would face even greater consequences, with even less control. Taking all bets on how long till it’s Ice Age 2.

4. He may be a total dick about it, but Hans has solid political savvy. How much of Daddy’s instruction to his heir consisted of “Don’t get caught.”? And Elsa couldn’t even pull that off! Quite possibly in part because her father never let her practice on actual people other than a handful of servants that were probably very well paid for their silence. Elsa has no reason to even know how to make friends, much less allies. And she might need a few of those to survive a church war.

Give Elsa a year or two as queen, and Arendelle’s a nation of ice zombies. Which I guess could make for another interesting movie, just not one that’s okay for kids.

Broken Mugs

About six years ago, my husband and I moved halfway across the country, from New England to Bozeman, Montana. We had no connections there. We weren’t moving because work required it. We moved there because we visited and we fell in love with the place.

We got rid of a lot of stuff and put the rest in boxes, as you do. When we first arrived in our new apartment, we bought a couple of things so that we could perform Basic Life Functions while working to unpack. These things included a pair of mugs.

I loved those mugs. They were black, with a pretty gold-brown vine and leaf design on one side. Honestly, they were nothing particularly special in the grand scheme of things, but I loved them because the were big, so I could go a good while before refilling, and the bottoms were stable, so they never tipped over. They were my favorite mugs, and I always smiled at the recollection that they helped welcome us to Bozeman.

Fast forward six years. We got married in Bozeman. We found incredible health care support and did a lot of healing in Bozeman. We had our daughter in Bozeman. We, against all odds, shut-ins that we are, made some wonderful friends in Bozeman. We even had found a restaurant that serves the best sushi we’ve had everywhere, in freaking landlocked Bozeman. But it was time to pack it up and be close to family. We agonized. We cried. It was a hard decision, because it was a decision between two amazing things. I feel blessed and grateful to have been burdened with such a choice.

In the last two weeks before the move, I broke one of the mugs. In some impossible twist of how-on-earth-did-the-physics-work-there, it practically leaped out of my hand while I was washing it and hit the bottom of the sink just so. I decided it was a sign. I put the pieces of the handle inside the cup, stuck it on a windowsill, and asked my husband to make sure that it was the last thing we threw away, because I am a weirdo.

Fast forward again. We’ve been dealing with all the monumental emotional strain of uprooting life, finding new vendors and health care and restaurants and trying to remember where the hell we packed our socks. (Answer: with the toolbox and last remaining holdout VHS tapes, obviously.) And the adjustment of our baby girl going to daycare. Insanity. Stress like I don’t remember ever having dealt with before.

Yesterday, I heard a crash from the kitchen. “You okay?” I asked, as I do.

“Yeah… I broke a mug,” said husband.

“Oh,” I said. “That’s okay.”

He poked his head around the corner and held up the surviving black and gold-vine mug. “This one,” he said.

I blinked at it and decided I couldn’t possibly have an opinion about it right then. “Okay,” I said, and went back to surreptitiously feeding our child dinner while she was too distracted by More Important Things (read: Muppets) to object.

This morning I woke up and thought about it again. I realized that I had been treating those mugs as symbolic of a beautiful chapter of our lives, and wondered if I was about to start bawling because it was such a clear, stark reminder that it was over. But then it hit me that I wasn’t upset about it at all. I felt relieved, and free.

These physical tokens, these material reminders, are never up to the task of containing our experiences long term. The treasures of our lives are far too big and important for that. The experiences we had while living in Bozeman are a part of my heart and soul forever, and in that, I will never truly leave.

Best Trip to Home Depot Ever

I had to get four small things from Home Depot today. I was dreading the errand because I was sure it would take an hour. But then I had a moment of inspiration, and I’m still feeling very smart about it. If you like to wander around in there, that’s cool – this method is for the people like me, who eye the size of the building and whimper. I present to you, How to Shop at Home Depot:

  1. Write down a list of things you need.
  2. Upon arrival, go directly to the Service counter.
  3. Present your list to an employee and say, “Could you please write down an aisle number for each of these things?”
  4. Shop.
  5. Leave.
  6. Rejoice that it is possible to spend 20 minutes or less at Home Depot.

It’s these moments, and not any of the grades I got in school, that make me feel like a freaking genius.

The funny thoughts that get me through…

I’ve picked up a couple new vocabulary words.

  • Baby-Fu: The prehistoric parental art of getting the baby to sleep. At all. Ever.
  • Toddler-Fu: The prehistoric parental art of removing harm from the toddler’s path or, failing that, altering the toddler’s trajectory with a minimum of tears.

I expect my vocabulary to continue expanding as the years go by.