I have just returned from the grocery store, and I need to get something off my chest. When did “Got any big plans for the rest of the day?” become the default small talk prompt from checkout cashiers?

I’m just saying, of all the bored commentary issued in a robotic tone by clock-watching millennials when you’re waiting for the chip card thing to make that obnoxious error-sounding beep, this is the worst. First of all, the entire tone of the question is more than a little condescending. Like, “Did you use the potty like a big girl?”

Secondly, no, I do not in fact have big plans for the rest of the day. Jesus. Do I look like I have big plans? I’m wearing ratty workout pants and I’m buying fruit snacks, toilet paper, frozen pizza bagels, Diet Coke, and cat food. This is it, Junior. You’re looking at my entire life here.

Finally, can we not create a situation in which I instantly become an awkward conversational dead end when I didn’t even want to have a conversation in the first place? If I answer truthfully, it goes like this:

Cashier: Got any big plans for the rest of the day?
Me: *flatly* No.

Or if I try and muster up the energy to engage in light banter:

Cashier: Got any big plans for the rest of the day?
Me: I guess that depends on how exciting four loads of laundry sounds to you! Ha ha!

The thing is, if by some weird happenstance I did actually have big plans and I was really super excited to be asked and began describing my agenda in great detail while the line piled up behind me, you know the cashier would be like:

There’s no way out of this that doesn’t suck, and as a “make a human connection that is pleasant for both participants but extremely brief” strategy it fails on all fronts. In conclusion: STAAHHHHHHHHP.


Years ago when I watched The Killing (season one only, because fool me twice, shame on me) I found the rainy scenes, i.e. ALL the scenes, highly irritating. Like, yes the Pacific Northwest can for sure be overcast and broody but the constant torrential downpour on that show is a straight-up alternative weather fact, aggressively depicted via Hollywood rain machine. It’s not nearly that flood-alertingly wet and depressing, living here! — except for the last couple weeks or so, which, my GOD.



Let me tell you something about a carpet that has been peed on by a cat, like say for instance by a pansy-assed cat who didn’t want to go outside and get her fur wet: it will never be the same. No, that fancy enzyme spray cleaner doesn’t work. Not that one either. Ditto baking soda, vinegar, a professional cleaning, and fervent prayer.


Podcasts! I am a fan of My Favorite Murder, Pod Save America, StartUp, The Dirtbag Diaries, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, This American Life, and the just-launched Missing Richard Simmons. What else should I be listening to?


I did not realize there would come a time when I would actively miss having LEGOs littering every surface of my house, but here we are, firmly entrenched in a new stage that’s even more annoying: Nerf. It’s not the darts I dislike, although I do get tired of finding little tampon-looking foam cylinders all over the place, it’s the weaponry. Nerf guns, at least the guns my kids are obsessed with, are enormous hunks of brightly-colored plastic, so it’s basically like reverting to the tasteful minimalist decor of the toddler days only instead of a Fisher-Price Lights N’ Blat taking up half the living room it’s the Doominatrix Modington Killinator FastGrunt Kerblooey.


We live close to two different middle schools. One is our neighborhood school, the one the boys are zoned to attend, the other is slightly further away but still nearby. Eugene has a school choice policy which allows any district child to request to transfer to any school, so we’ve been dithering over whether Riley (and eventually Dylan) should attend school A or school B. Factors I have been considering: where Riley’s friends seem to be going, school scuttlebutt from other parents, test scores, ratings on school-grading websites. Nothing has led me to feel overwhelmingly in favor of either option. School tours are this week, and applications need to happen by the end of the month.

One is newer and much fancier-looking. The other has a few more electives. One has a strong technology focus. The other is all about high school readiness and reading. One would be easier for a kid to walk to. The other is on the way to our elementary school, so drop offs could at least be streamlined.

All in all: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Hopefully this is one of those decisions that doesn’t really matter because it will be fine either way, but, you know, what if it’s actually a SUPER HUGE LIFE-IMPACTING DEAL? What if this is one of those Choose Your Own Adventure pages where one choice is happiness and scholastic success and the other is MISERY and WOE?


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