Tag Archives: Williams Sonoma

What I’m Glad I Bought

Old news: I left my corporate job at Williams-Sonoma, Inc.. New news: what did I buy on my way out that I do not regret and will not be returning? I know you’re so excited to find out that it’s getting hard to breathe. I know – it’s super exciting isn’t it?

Before we get to that though, let me set things up for you. Due to my (former) employment by a leading purveyor of overpriced, high-end cookware and related tools, our kitchen is stocked with food preparation equipment that no couple with our skills has any business having. R mentions this often.

I do not enjoy cooking. You spend an hour or more in the kitchen producing something that will then be consumed. How is that relaxing, to see your creation getting all chewed up? I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy munching up food other people have created. I’m just saying I don’t get anything out of prepping it myself.

This state of affairs has made for some interesting conflicts with R, as he’s the one who cooks and I’m the one who buys the cooking stuff. It seems like a charming, if illogical division of labor, no? (Just to be clear, I do the cleaning. It’s all fair and square, so just calm down.)

I purchased a ton of stuff on the way out the WSI door. Here’s what’s staying:

  • Calphalon One frying pans. Ooo, baby, are these nice. I love them. I, who would willingly use a whisk as a pastry blender, notice the difference. These are some kick-ass frying pans and you should register for them if you’re getting married or buy them the next time you’re in need of a new set (or just one). Screw Circulon and all the rest of the them. These are totally non-stick and hard as nails. (If you go into one of the Wm-Sonoma stores, they might still have one of the sets of an 8″ pan + a 10″ pan for $70. N/A on the site.)
  • Primo Milk Frother. $20 well-spent, my friend. I am not a coffee snob, but years of shelling out $2.15 to Starbucks for my cafe au lait (which they insist on calling a “misto” for reasons not understood by me) has spoiled me for drinking coffeemaker coffee with cold milk in it. I am not going to invest in an espresso machine just to get steamed milk. Primo is my answer. Milk in mug, froth, microwave, add coffee, done. Just make sure you submerge the frother ring before turning it on. Trust me.
  • Microplane Graters. Grating cheese with these (we have the medium one for hard cheese and the rasp for citrus) is like swimming with floaties. You never knew you could have it so good. Kick your collegiate box grater to the curb with that hippie wall hanging you scored that weekend in Michigan at the truck stop and move on already.

I have left the building (almost)

The countdown to departure from my job has begun in earnest. On Thursday evening the light at the end of the tunnel flared enough so I could see it. I think it was because my computer’s hard drive was thrown on the burning pyre.

The drive crashed Thursday morning and I spent two of my remaining six days at Williams Sonoma, Inc., recovering files and rebuilding a machine I will use for four days before returning it to the company stockpile from whence it so recently came. That crash was the last of the last straws, and it pushed me beyond the village of strain where I’d set up camp, shrugging into the land of What Are You Gonna Do?

Now all that’s left is buying the rest of the goods we so urgently need for our kitchen at 40% off. This is driving R bananas. He contends that not only do we need nothing else but we should consider returning some of the things we already have. He is clearly wrong.

What home does not need a Pineapple Easy Slicer? R maintains that the ratio of “pineapples consumed in our apartment” to “space consumed in our apartment by said Easy Slicer” is out of whack. I maintain that the Easy Slicer made its value apparent on the very first demo pineapple and it should not be required to reestablish that value on a regular basis. How would you like it if you were reevaluated every couple of weeks on your utility-to-space ratio when your ability to do your job had not apparently diminished? So what if you were not actually required to do your job in that time frame? You still could do your job if asked. That’s all I’m saying.

The item I will be most certain but sad to leave behind unpurchased is the Electric Vacuum Marinator. That’s right. You heard me. The Electric Vacuum Marinator. It does exactly what its name suggests: “Just press a button, and the marinator creates a powerful vacuum seal (no pumping required) that stretches and opens fibers. This draws the marinade juices deep inside the food for maximum flavor and tenderness.”

The “no pumping required” note still baffles me after 2+ years with the company. Was this product preceded by the Hand Pump Vacuum Marinator? Or is it a reference to other vacuum products requiring pumping? My vacuum cleaner is not hand crank, is yours? I guess the Swedish penis enlargement pump works on the same principle, but that can’t be what they’re referencing, can it?

At first, I thought, “If you have time to discover the EVM, earn the $200 to buy it, learn how to use it, use it and then clean it, you probably have time to marinate meat in a Ziploc as God intended.” But then I thought, “Who am I to stand in the way of progress? This is a wondrous application of modern vacuuming / pumping technology to a problem no one knew they had! What’s not to love?”

Even if R would let me buy it for our home – which he won’t – I almost certainly would not use it for its intended purpose. I would put cheese and olives and hard drives and other things that don’t need marinating in it, just to see what would happen and no doubt it would be broken in a weekend, so he’s probably right to veto it, but it’s still a sad loss for our crowded cupboards.

So I will live on without my beloved, intriguingly useless and surprisingly compelling Electric Vacuum Marinator. Farewell! Adieu! I’ll be over here with my unmarinated but smoothly cored pineapple.

It’s a new day

freedom.jpgI resigned from my job yesterday. Yes, in this economy. Call me crazy. Actually, if I’d stayed you would have had to because that road was beckoning.

I don’t say this very often, but I’m proud of myself. I don’t do leaving well. I mean, I’m not in the habit of setting fire to things and sledgehammering the copier. But my usual plan, aka “what happens”, is this:

1. I realize the gig is not for me.
2. I blame myself.
3. The gig gets worse.
4. I get sick.
5. I tell myself it’s my problem to fix it.
6. I try to fix it. (The whole gig that is, not just my part of it – you know me: keep the goals reasonable and achievable.)
7. I yell a lot when I’m not at the gig.
8. I fail to fix it. (Note to self: yelling does not have a direct fixative affect.)
9. Someone sane reminds me that my preferences (not to go nutty, not to work for that particular Man) matter and that the whole gig is not my problem.
10. I try anyway.
11. I get sick again. More sick.
12. The gig is now completely unsustainable.
13. I stay a little longer anyway, just for kicks.
14. I quit.

It’s quite a plan: it’s got a little bit of everything and you can use it in any situation. I myself have used it on boyfriends as well and it’s just as effective. And by “effective”, of course, I mean “personally ruinous.”

It has one advantage: you never, ever leave thinking you could have done more to save the situation. Of course, you also leave feeling like you didn’t stand up for yourself or trust your instincts. And, naturally, the situation fell apart in the end anyway, so you could have saved yourself the trouble of banging your head against the wall for several months. But you did make damn sure you eliminated any risk that you’d blame yourself for not trying everything to save it (even if it wasn’t save-able or worth saving).

You’d think that trying every possible tactic to make it work would be a positive thing, even heroic, but it’s not. “Extremely painful” is not the same thing as “courageous”. Courage is trusting your instinct that something’s wrong for you and stepping away. If the boat is sinking fast, it’s not heroic to stick around saving hand luggage when there are lifeboats and people ready to help you onto them. Courage is prioritizing your well-being and instincts over making sure you have no regrets whatsoever.

Regrets are inevitable anyway. For me, it came down to risking a different set of regrets (“What if I’d stayed?”), rather than taking on the same set of regrets I’ve had every other time (“What if I’d stood up and moved on and looked after myself? What could I have done with the time I spent pounding my head on the wall? Could I have used those Band-Aids on my head for something else?”)

Having spent the last couple of months repeating Step 1 (and yeah, I’ll face facts: some combination of everything up to Step 7), yesterday I set about cutting out the remaining steps.

So there it is. Done deal. Free at last, free at last. It feels very appropriate to have done this the week after the inauguration. It’s a new time. Let’s be honest with ourselves, do the right thing, focus on what’s important. The rest will fall into place.