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Best Thing Ever. No, Really.

microwave_toasterOK, we have to talk about this. Yesterday I went to check out a rental apartment in my neighborhood so that when you come to visit, you will have somewhere nice to stay, and what do you think was in the teeny tiny kitchen? You will never, ever guess. Not ever.

Let’s start with what it wasn’t:

a.) a possum

b.) your aunt

c.) anything not mini

What it was was a microwave oven with a vertical built-in toaster in the hidden side panel. Yes! Can you believe it?

Me neither.

This is brilliant in every way and I am going to need two of these.

Not only does this genius invention combine two kitchen appliances into one – hello, space saver! – but it also streamlines the cumbersome process of me electrocuting myself using a butter knife to get the toast out of the toaster, treating my third degree burns and brushing down my crispy hair, then buttering the toast and dropping it on the floor. In one simple step, the vertical toaster ejects the toast directly onto the floor. Such a time saver. This is the definition of efficiency kitchen.

I am golf clapping myself silly and you should join me.

Tomten Inflation

The tomten market is making a comeback. I was looking at my Christmas Things wish list on Amazon last week, and lo and behold one of the tomtens I bookmarked last year for possible purchase this winter is listing at $100,030.00. Another is now going for $290,024.00.

(If you aren’t clear what a tomten is, they are, in a nutshell, short Scandinavian awesomeness in hats who take care of livestock and security on farms.)

Now, tomten prices took a dive when everything collapsed a few years ago, but, like many luxuries of high living, they’re back on the rise. How can I tell? Well, there’s no exchange category for tomtens, since barn gnomes are not a commodity tracked by the US Department of Agriculture or anyone else except children (whose calculations can be, admittedly, inconsistent).

(It would be an insult if there were a market for them, really, being practically human as they are. And God knows you don’t want to insult a tomten: although, like the Mormons, their reputation has recovered from sometimes questionable practices of the past (in their case, violence to local maidens, not marrying them), they are still testy when not provided with buttered porridge, so let’s just everyone keep things civil and accord them the respect they deserve.)

In the absence of official market tracking, my tomten rebound data is somewhat anecdotal but so striking I think it stands. A jump from $29 to $100K+ is noticeable.

At first I was shocked at the inflation, but after a moment I realized that this is an appropriate market correction. Tomtens are, when you get right down to it, live-in farm hands. While paying a nearly $300,000 salary for a day laborer may sound steep, keep in mind that tomten work at night as well. Also, they’re magic, and you can’t put a price on that, am I right?

Of course it’s possible that these prices aren’t reflective of the larger market as a whole but a glitch in a server in Amazon’s subbasement,  but I prefer to think that tomtens are finally getting their due: civil rights – and possibly unionization – have brought equal pay for equal work.

Unfortunately, this uptick in wages puts them squarely in the 1%, so they’ll see a lot of the tax breaks they recently started enjoying disappear in the coming fiscal year, but we all have to pay a little to get a little, and tomtens’ socialist Scandinavian roots will have toughened them to a 40% tax bracket.

For my part, I’ve been priced out of the tomten market for the time being. I could get some livestock for our yard so I can write off my tomten as a business expense, but I’ll need to run that by my accountant to confirm. And R. He’ll probably want to have a say in introducing a cow to our twelve square feet of grass. I’m sure he’ll be fine with it though. Who wouldn’t want a cow if you already have a gnome to take care of it? No one, that’s who. This is going to be an awesome Christmas.

We need a plan…

I love that this is from “Dad.” Way to pass on your values!

Thanks, Found!

Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

In case you’re one of the six people who hasn’t seen this yet:

Gotye Cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know”

“This used to be just my guitar, now Dave is banging on it like he’s #$*# Tito Puente.” Love.

The Criminal Element

“If you are a registered sex offender and are out of compliance with state law, do not throw a cardboard box of books at a San Francisco Police Department Patrol Car as you will be arrested.” – Bayview Police Precinct Crime Bulletin Tip, May 2012

San Francisco, I think we have hit a new low, you and I. That is some terrible, boring criminaling right there. Really low-grade effort. Right up there with grabbing stuff out of unlocked garages. God. It’s so – what’s the word?

Oh, right: lame.

It’s no surprise to me that Law & Order never franchised you.

I don’t mean to be critical or hurt your feelings, criminals by the bay, but let’s face it: this low-effort garbage just isn’t good enough. The shta-tong can’t help you build up some real drama when all that follows is a police car driving by really slowly a couple hours too late and, maybe – if it’s a super fast-track week and the perp is really, really high – the victim going to pick up a box of the thrilling stuff that was in her trunk (I’m talking about you, red plastic emergency gas can) from a not-at-all-sinister basement evidence locker, like, a month later. That’s just not good TV.

Here’s my point: we’ve hit bottom with this book-throwing thing. San Francisco criminals, it’s time you kicked it up a notch in the originality and innovation departments.

I’m not talking to the violent criminals (of which there are far too many to feel safe anywhere in this city and shame on you and, SF why can’t you get it together to be more like New York in this department?) I’m talking to the idiots who throw boxes of books at cop cars. The ones who break into cars to steal a bag of Doritos or drive half a block after jamming a screwdriver in the ignition. I mean, really. If you’re going to go to the trouble of committing a crime, you should at least make it worth everyone’s while.

Why not reupholster the back seat of your new ride in a snappy, bright fabric from Marimekko? That would get my attention when they pick you up AND showcase some seriously Etsy-ready skills. What about stealing my car and then reconstructing it in my living room while I’m out? That’s a classic. I would be so impressed with you, I wouldn’t even be mad.

And for you iPhone snatchers, let’s all be honest with one another: holding up a terrified nanny – with a baby, no less – isn’t really a notch in anyone’s belt. Add a little class to your act. Why not Italian-Job it up and swing by a crowded bust stop  in the Financial District in a set of souped up Minis and scoop up, like, twelve at at shot? The visual impact alone would be sure to draw applause. What about a Thriller flash mob in the Mission instead of just walking away with my wallet? It’s a double win: you could pickpocket admiring onlookers while prepping for a well-coordinated life in prison.

Call me romantic, but what happened to cat burglars and getaway drivers with hearts of gold? Where are the solid, well-planned, character-driven crimes these days? If you’re going to go into the felony life, for crying out loud have a some fun with it. Spend a little less time focusing on the making money part of it and a little more time really enjoying it, you know? Life is a journey, not a destination, if you see what I mean.

And, for God’s sake, let’s all show a little self-respect and cut out this box-throwing nonsense.

Retail Turnaround

Last week, I talked to a staff member of my former employer‘s and discovered that yes, they are still mired in the past. This was a tiny relief. It was like a gratifying/slightly depressing run-in with an ex-boyfriend – he’s super-pumped to go to Burning Man! he’s still got four roommates! – that validated my decision to leave those particular frustrations behind.

Short story short, in order to return an item I bought last month, I had to ring them up and “schedule” a UPS pick-up for the box. I use quotation marks because the schedule in question was “tomorrow.” Any time tomorrow. All times tomorrow. Between the hours of 7AM and 8PM. This was in lieu of my dropping off the package at my extremely local UPS depot. No, that would not do. No drop-off. Only pick-up.

How does this company survive out here?

Fortunately, we now live above street level with an outdoor landing below our front door. I took A. to the park, left the package out of view on the landing and a Post-It on our front door. I left another Post-It on the box itself (“UPS!!”), so our guy would know it wasn’t just recycling I’d thrown out there as if I have no standards.

When I came home, our driver had left me a note too:

I am loving our UPS guy. That is some sarcastic professional enthusiasm I can get next to. I think they charge too much, it’s unreasonably hard for them to locate my packages when I stop by, and I’m not 100% certain what brown can do for me, but their drivers are awesome.

Elevator Prank


News to Me

I just got an email from our financial planner with the heading, “Support for the Difficulty of Divorce.”

It’s not only the capital “D”s that have me worried, although they do. I think if someone is going to use capital letters, we should all sit up straight and listen. Ditto lots of exclamation points. No one would use those without cause, don’t you agree? Especially not in today’s online world, where one’s reach is so wide. Misusing a loud voice to so many would be downright IRRESPONSIBLE!!!

Sarcasm aside, what I’m really worried about here is that R., my heretofore beloved, attended our last scheduled meeting with our advisor alone. I thought they were discussing one thing. Perhaps they were discussing another. Perhaps this is their way of letting me know what our next meeting will be about. At our last collective session, I did suggest that we start sending out agenda notes beforehand so we could be more focused during our time together. I was thinking more along the lines of, “Retirement savings: how to move Emma’s investments from her previous employer’s accounts,” but perhaps they were thinking more along the lines of, “1.) Do you know where your suitcase is, and b.) do you have a good lawyer?”

Or perhaps my very suggestion that we stay a bit more tightly on-subject precipitated this. Perhaps it rubbed the other two the wrong way. Really the wrong way. Like I was just trying to stop brushing our hair against the cowlick and they got tired of the whole cowlick thing as a whole and tracked down the flamethrower to keep it down once and for all.

Like that.


This is really making me think twice about asking for agendas.

Also about our financial planner’s abilities in the tact department.

Oh – and about my relationship. That too.

But mostly about the agenda thing. I’m a really organized person. If I have to let that go, I’m not going to lie: it’s gonna sting, and not just a little bit either.


I’ve been on a quest of late to find A. the best fire engine, short of getting her a real one, which, let’s face it, we just don’t have the parking space for at our current place. It’s making me really re-think the decision not to buy that firehouse last year. That would’ve been the perfect 4.5-million-dollar solution to our 25-dollar problem.

I found what seemed like a decent FDNY truck at a toy store last week but decided to check it out on Amazon to see what reviewers said before anteing up.

Good thing. The description sounded dangerous.

Irrelevant, but dangerous:

“This 3 piece skewer set is ideal for creating delicious kabobs, roasting marshmallows for smores and cooking hot dogs right on the grill. Each skewer has a wood handle with metal finish. Comes packaged on a blister card with hanging hole. Measures 15″ from end to end. Handle is 3 1/2″ and skewer is 11 1/2″.”

I’m not an expert in either automotives or machinery, but I’m pretty sure a fire truck equipped with skewers isn’t all that safe. Or realistic. Athough I admit I might’ve missed the skewers the last time I saw one go by. Skewers can be pretty thin.

That aside, it strikes me as tactless to mention cooking smores and kabobs when people’s lives are at risk. That doesn’t send the right message to the youngsters, does it?

I checked back today to see if matters with our fire truck had improved.

They have.

“Add some color to the table with this bright and colorful placemat. Featuring a bright print of butterflies and flowers, this placemat is a nice compliment to the table that’s also easy to clean.”

Now the truck sounds pretty flat. But very cheerful. And not sharp. So that’s two steps forward to one step back.

I’m not sold yet, but I do like the product’s flexibility. Multi-purpose is the wave of the future right? It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!