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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Must Be Genetic

I have observed in my own little significant others that some behaviors seem to be just... well, genetic. We know that boys are different from girls, of course, in the obvious physical ways. They have an entirely different way of concentrating and thinking and working things out as we know from our own relationships. But I have noticed a disturbing trend...

S.O.v.1 was heard the other day in his room with his sister to say "You go ask Mama for moie wader". That being bad enough, she did it! She is a love and a sweet little girl, but she is no pushover, ooooohoohoo no! She has her own mind and she will exercise it by whatever means possible. But when it comes to doing things for her brother she just... does it! What gets me, more than her compliance, is his lack of chagrin in asking.

Many a time when I have been picking up toys I have tried to bribe, cajoll, entice, force him to pick up toys. Most of the time he won't do much, if anything at all. But when he says, "No tanks, Mama. You do it" my blood nearly boils! Those are the moments when you want to run out of the house screaming "There's no hope!"

We women have been accused for years of remaining willfully ignorant to tasks we wished to avoid; lawn mowing, tire changing, checkbook balancing. But I propose men do this too. My S.O. is befuddled by toilet cleaning, cooking and organizing and putting away child clothing. And why is that, when he is a champion diaper changer, dishwasher and laundry doer (without the actual putting away of the clean clothes), because he does not want to do these things. He perceives these things as tasks he would not like to accomplish, that he would find no scrap of pleasure in, that he would not be allowed to become so absorbed in (like dishwashing) that we would all leave him alone for a time.

So, is S.O.v.1 just following Daddy's example? Not that S.O. actually has ever said to me "No thanks, hon. You can do it" for obvious reasons. And is S.O.v.2 just following Mama's lead in picking up because if she doesn't it will be there tomorrow, and next week, and next month? Except she doesn't roll her eyes and sigh in exasperation.

The other day - we've been on the go for the past several weeks with a visit from S.O.'s mom, a vacation to Big Bear, a conference weekend for me and a camping weekend - first for the kids actually - and so, routines being disrupted many tasks fall by the wayside. I was scrubbing the tub needless to say why, the other day, and I found it strangely satisfying. It was a relief to be back in our routine but it was not just that. Dare I say, lest this come back to haunt me someday which is probably will, it was enjoyable a task in and of itself. I understand why some women find pleasure in housekeeping, over and above the pleasure one finds in a task accomplished. There was something simple and fundamental, maybe even nurturing, in making it nice for myself and my family. That was Thursday. By Sunday I was ready to get back to work and out of the house. I am a liberal and a feminist you know, just 'cause I like a clean bathroom doesn't make me Phyllis Schlafly! (Why didn't anyone every make fun of her name anyway?)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

American Marketing: Finding Exciting New Ways to Give You Less For More!

Now I know you have all heard about and probably so far experienced Starbucks price hike. The company said it would be no big deal "just a nickle" what harm could that do, right? And Stephen Colbert belittled the discontented murmur on The Colbert Report, teasing that the increase will cost him all of a nominal $8.00 over the course of the year.

Price increase, smice increase I say. Why? My standard order, Mocha Frappacino Tall no whip, went up to $3.15. OK, fine, I say. I want it anyway. But when I got the cup holding that delicious cooling wakeup juice what did I behold but the cup is smaller! Ever so slightly so you might not notice. Which is most likely the objective. And if you were a w/ whip person rather than a sans whip like myself you really would not notice.

But I did! I have slugged a good many into my car's cup holder and continued on my driving around town errands for work. Normally the cup, condensation and all, fit nice and snug. Now I know my car is deteriorating, ever so slowly, and who isn't frankly. But not so that a cup would now have room to spare! I picked up the cup to take that first sip at the next stoplight and it felt different even. I took a good long look at the cup, looked back to my sense memory of the last Mocha Frappacino no whip I'd had and the cup is shorter and slightly skinnier.

Not that anyone in America really needs the few extra calories you'll now miss in your smaller more expensive Starbucks. I certainly don't. It's just a little underhanded and unseemly. Remember the Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes where he complains that the volumn in a can of coffee is ever shrinking? Well, they do it to us at every turn and at the same time announce "New and Improved!".

Despite the enthusiastic protestations of the Founder and CEO of Starbucks claiming love of the product and committment to quality, and health insurance to his employees, it seems he also has a healthy dose of committment his bottom line as well. More fleecing... oi.