Inconveniencing Jeff Bezos

Y’all. I’ve spent a good portion of life thinking I could make a decent dent in not being an inconvenience to other people. Lessening my footprint, if you will. Being I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that mean, man. Yeah, yeah, if you’re a human you’re automatically an inconvenience to at least one other person, and yeah, yeah I’ve been to counseling more than once to deal with this and other things over the years, but this has been a theme that repeatedly rears its ugly head in the strangest of ways. I’m weaving this in with some thoughts on Amazon, so I ask for your patience.

Before I get into the trying-not-to-be-a-burden bit, let’s ask ourselves a question: are you truly living your best life if you do not have an Amazon Prime membership? It started innocent: free shipping all year if you pay the membership fee. I was a grad student so I got 50% off the fee the first year. And I ordered my required reading/books/textbooks.

Then they automatically renewed my membership. No longer able to prove I was a student, I was charged the full amount. But it was so worth it, because #freeshipping. Now I’m buying other things. Because there’s free shipping on gifts for out of town relatives and such.

Next thing you know I’m walking the aisles of Target with my Amazon app opened up, comparing prices on fun things like diapers and eye contact solution. Amazon is consistently just a liiiiiiitle cheaper, so I opt for the latter – look at me SAVING MONEY.

Then there are the movies and shows to watch for free. And my umpteen stations I’ve carefully curated (gosh I feel so artsy when I use that phrase) on Amazon Music.

Now I’m purchasing things through Amazon on ibotta (you can too! Click here!) to get some extra cash back (once I hit $20 then they’ll release the money to me, so please sign up so you and I both get referral rewards! Yay! What does this even mean!? What are you doing with my information??)

Most recently, I caved and bought the cheaper option of trash bags. Amazon brand trash bags. Two cents less per bag than Hefty (Hefty Hefty Cinch Sack! Does anyone else have this old commercial playing in their head when you opt for a Hefty brand pantry item?). Haven’t tried them yet…. will review the purchase later this year.

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And this is what Scott Galloway who wrote The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google (thanks, Amazon, for selling this) mentioned when he was interviewed on NPR earlier this year. Amazon, by offering their products at a just sliiiiightly lower cost than competitors, will eliminate the competition and be all that’s left. How droll. How Atlas Shrugged of you.

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(thanks for sharing this epic tweet with me, Tabatha. Had me rolling.)

And I thought about that NPR interview as I clicked “buy” on the slightly less expensive trash bags. And I think about that when given the choice between #supportingsmallbusinesses for a lot of money or #spendingless through Amazon. It’s like Amazon is the beans and rice that Dave Ramsey talks about! Following my logic? Alas, I should have divided this post into a few different ones, but we’re running with it.

Aaaannnnd scene.

Now here’s the part about the inconveniencing of Amazon.

There’s the decision to choose shipping speeds. Pay $5.99 or so for same day? Bought so much stuff you can get free next day shipping? Free two day shipping? Choose no rush and get a $5 credit toward your next Whole Foods purchase?

I chose the no rush option – not because I wanted the Whole Foods credit (because I’m more of an HEB/Central Market shopper), but because I didn’t want to be a bother.

To Amazon.

To the delivery folks who, though gainfully employed, seem to be frantically in a hurry every time they drop something off on our doorstep.

To Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world.

With my $40ish purchase of Amazon trash bags and diaper pail refills and dishwasher detergent.

Let that sink in, would you?

[Cue awkward, self-conscious laughter.]

Let’s spin it this way: I am disciplining myself to not go for the instant gratification of next day deliveries. That’s it! I am exercising delayed gratification and becoming a model citizen in the process. So non-millennial. YES. Reframing is a specialty of mine.

Now back to my Primehouse cleaning and Primemeal cooking…..

 

 

how is it already October?

….and how, after 33 years, I still marvel at how these months continue to follow one another in rapid succession!? It’s like Daylight Savings Time that has occurred twice a year FOR MY ENTIRE LIFE but disorients me every time that so help me I may even be motivated to join the tin foil hat lobby and advocate for Texas’ withdrawal from the antiquated practice next session.

And on that note,

daylight saving time

Mic drop. The meme is accurate. I’ve been saying it wrong forever!!! Great, another thing that will undoubtedly annoy me will now be all the people who say “savings” like I used to say up until 2 minutes ago – those uneducated jokers. So clueless.

Oh, and our next mind-boggling exercise shall commence on November 5th at 2:00am. Fall back, which is gaining an hour. Grateful that toddlers come pre-programmed to roll with the punches for DST and not at all get off-schedule

As I was saying, it’s October. And lately Annelise has been skipping her morning naps after our morning walks so I’m faced with the choice of blogging or taking a shower, and personal hygiene has taken the upper hand. You’re welcome, friends and neighbors.

So morning walks. I try to walk with A most mornings, whether in our neighborhood or around Zilker Park or Town Lake. I listen to podcasts (and recently learned to download them pre-walk using ye olde wifi instead of streaming them so I don’t go over my data plan AGAIN) and try to keep up a brisk pace so I can count it as a decent workout. These podcasts are filling up my plate these days:

  • The God Centered Mom – Heather MacFadyen is real and interviews really interesting people. No fluffy tee-hee-like-um-like-yay-mommy-you-know-like-Pollyanna-yay-motherhood dialogue (clearly the latter is on my LARGE AND LONG LIST OF THINGS THAT MAKE ME COME UNGLUED).
  • The Next Right Thing – I just started listening to this one. Emily P. Freeman’s voice is so soothing, and she’s incredibly thoughtful in these short, encouraging messages about making decisions, what’s next in life, etc.
  • The Road Back to You – you know when you hear about a book from multiple sources you really listen to? This is one of those. I’ve got this book on hold at the library, and am listening to the podcast in the meantime. The authors Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile break down the Enneagram in their book, and while the first two episodes are slow, they interview people who are all types – fascinating, this Enneagram stuff.
  • For the Love – well of course I’m listening to my imaginary pal Jen Hatmaker. She has wonderful guests like Brene Brown and Jessica Honegger and for a split second you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a convo between two friends, then before long you think you’re in the convo yourself.

By my humble estimation there are approximately eleventy billion podcasts out there on the interwebs. Are there any others that make you think, make you laugh, teach you interesting things? I’d love your recommendations!

nursery rhymes, or excuse me, what?

I talked a big game pre-birthing a child, as in “I’ll only eat organic, gluten free fare when I’m pregnant” and “I would never feed my baby HFCS or junk food” and “no TV ever” and “I’ll be sure my baby’s library is carefully curated”…..

And after 16+ months, I’m taking a moment to stop and realize how freaking weird so many nursery rhymes and children’s stories are that I’m reading to my child! Think about it!

jack and the beanstalk

I’m reading the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to A, and it’s all, “kid gets swindled by seedy (ha) character into selling a cow for 5 seeds at market. Mom throws a hissy fit and throws the beans out the window, prompting them to grow overnight into a beanstalk that hits the clouds. Kid climbs this miraculously fast-growing beanstalk (where was his mother?) and a creepy giant almost killed him while he stole the giant’s prized possessions. Then he kills the giant when he gets to the bottom first and chops down said beanstalk. So little ones, gather ’round and hear the moral of the story: take what isn’t yours and you’ll be fiiiiiine.

And where’s Jack and the Beanstalk 2? Where this dumb-dumb kid gets swindled out of the talking harp and before long he and his mother are again destitute?

I am having some trouble finding a concise (read: one paragraph) explanation of this and other nursery rhymes/stories we tell our children, but people are too wordy and share too many potential meanings. Nursery rhyme exegesis is a thing, y’all. A thing for people who clearly don’t have toddlers and thus have gobs of time on their hands to pontificate. GIVE ME NAMES, people. I need a short lesson on what the metaphors are.

As in, Humpty Dumpty is about King Richard II, yes? And Ring Around the Rosies is about the Bubonic Plague, yes? Maybe not. And why do we all sing the “ashes, ashes” verse of that strange song?! The other verses are way more chill, says Snopes.

Over to Jack and Jill. We sing about two little kids having to go uphill to get some water (let that sink in for a second. Makes no sense unless they’re scaling up the side of a MOUNTAIN to get to a spring), Jack’s HEAD BREAKS OPEN, and Jill follows suit. FOR WHAT PURPOSE? First off, water is usually gathered down low, not up a hill, amiright? The best interpretation I found is this: King Charles I wanted taxes increased on liquor and Parliament refused. Then he tried to get the volume of a Jack (1/2 pint) to be reduced, but to keep the tax the same. Ok fine. And there’s that crown emblem on the half pint glasses. Broke crown, got it, I guess. And as a result of the Jack volume “falling down,” the volume of a “gill” (1/4) pint or “Jill” decreased, too. So gather ’round again, children, and hear about some hard liquor volume woes. (Source: Wikipedia that references this book I am adding to my Library List!)

And Pop Goes the Weasel? What is that? It has absolutely nothing to do with the weasel animal! So strange.

And don’t get me started on people’s attempts to write “good” children’s books that are immensely lam. I think I’m going to start making up new stories that go with the pictures in A’s books… will this slow my daughter’s development?! Maybe. Keep me from losing it? Yes. Yes it will.

because reading 17 books at one time is normal.

Books are pretty rad, and libraries (and Amazon Prime) are immensely helpful in making my literary dreams come true. Growing up, I was quite the bookworm, preferring to read indoors (bless) rather than go on a family bike ride. And that was before the global warming days, back when it was PLEASANT OUTSIDE (typing this in mid-August from the comfort of my house while sipping iced coffee).

Back in the day, I’d ride my bicycle (minimum effort – we lived decently close) to the Gonzales Public Library* and would spend hours there reading, catching up on star stickers for whatever the summer reading program entailed, venturing into the reference section, and doing my best to avoid the grouchy librarian. (*woah – the library is now housed in the old bank building and looks niiiiice! Movin’ on up! I may have to go visit to witness their expanded collection firsthand.)

Side note: I never felt bad about incurring late fees, even as a child, despite the librarian’s best efforts to make me feel insignificant. Hello?!?! I’m helping support literacy! Not sure where I got this attitude, but it’s stuck with me into adulthood. Yeah, I’ve paid a lot of late fees. It sounds a lot better if you say I’m a very generous supporter of the literary arts….

The Shiner Public Library was somewhat of a step up from G-town’s, with friendlier staff (they actually smiled warmly at guests), a newer building, and my discovery of the Encyclopedia Britannica. This was in the pre-world wide web days, so flipping through those sets were kind of like how we google things nowadays. Let that sink in for a minute, oldtimers. Also, a lady who worked/volunteered there would cheerfully answer the phone, “Shiner Libary,” which I always found quite funny.

Fast forward a few years, past the discovery that you can check out 100 books if you wanted to at some of the larger libraries (instead of the 3 book limit I’d grown up with), past the advent of Amazon and their low prices and mega fast Prime deliveries, past speed reading books in grad school, crawling past the limited capacity of pregnancy brain then mommy brain then session, and now I don’t have a job and am finally able to focus enough to read at length again. And it is awesome, let me tell you.

Tim and I recently finished Ben Sasse’s The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis–and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance (READ IT. IT IS VERY MUCH WORTH YOUR TIME). I loved his idea of developing a canon (list of top books you’d recommend to others), but now I think I’ve gone off the deep end in preparation for this list.

I’m reading 17 books right now. And no, I’m not some genius, I’m just immensely scatterbrained. I’ve never been in the process of reading so many books at once.

my current booklistThis is my current booklist. I’m reading all these right now.

From top left:

  1. Simplicity Parenting – recommended by a friend. Guessing the author wouldn’t recommend reading 17 books at one time.
  2. Half Broke Horses – written by author of The Glass Castle – it’s her maternal grandmother’s story about growing up in rural Texas. Fascinating thus far.
  3. For the Love – I’m developing a borderline obsession with Jen Hatmaker. I’m on the waiting list for her new book Of Mess and Moxie and am reading this in the meantime.
  4. Nothing to Prove – re-reading it, because it has become newly relevant in my new adventure, having resigned from the political world for awhile.
  5. Long Days of Small Things – recommended by another friend. Really wish I’d had this book when A was first born. So good.
  6. Bible – slowly reading and re-reading through this fascinating, encouraging, admonishing, transforming book that’s kind of a big deal.
  7. Diplomacy – This book is on my nightstand and is a wonderful cure for insomnia – I’m still less than an inch into this one.
  8. Present Over Perfect – reading this one again, too, and I’m becoming more confident that Shauna Niequist and I would be BFFs if ever given the chance.
  9. The Magic of Motherhood – full of short stories and essays that warm my heart and remind me to soak up these precious moments. Kind of like a Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul of sorts.
  10. Daring Greatly – Brene Brown and I, too, would be great friends. I’ve begun reading this book 3-4 times since meeting her at the book signing I stumbled upon at Book People 5 years ago, but it finally seems relevant at this stage of life. Funny how that works.
  11. Idols of the Heart – borrowed this from a friend and it is immensely convicting. So many idols.
  12. Designing Your Life – awesome book that makes me want to take a multi-day retreat and plan the heck out of life. Might be a good thing, might be dangerous. but intentionality is a very important thing!
  13. Cuba! – this is part cookbook, part storybook that has me wanting to go to Cuba RIGHT NOW.
  14. The Toddler Care Book – with lots of pictures so I don’t lose interest as I search for the things I am concerned about googling.
  15. Parenting – a gift at A’s dedication from our pastors. Tim and I are reading through this together. What an enormous responsibility and incredible opportunity parenting is!
  16. King Leopold’s Ghost – so help me, I’ll finish this book someday. Dark look at the slave trade in the Congo.
  17. The Search for Significance – totally pretending these are therapy sessions when I read this. One of the book’s main premises is that the world’s (and coincedentally my) definition of self-worth = performance + other’s opinions. Ouch. Very hard to break these patterns.

So that’s my list. An embarrassing amount of ineffective multi-tasking going on over here. At this rate, I might be finished with 1/3 of them by the end of the year. BUT I LOVE IT! So many books and topics and choices!!!

Ahem. Now allow me to brag about how incredible the Austin Public Library website is. It’s PHENOMENAL. You get your account, you log in, and you can type any book title or author and voila! You get a list of eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, audio CDs, and actual books. You can create your own “shelves” – I have a “for later” shelf of all the books I want to check out.

I can place holds on books, and if they aren’t located at a branch convenient to you, THEY WILL DELIVER IT TO YOUR BRANCH, email you when the books are ready, you walk over to the “on hold” section, find your name, and go over to the self-serve kiosk, scan your card and your books, and GO BACK HOME TO READ THEM. It is truly magical. I took a screenshot of my initial “for later” list because I was so excited.

austin public library bookshelf.PNG

What about you? What are the books you always share with everyone who asks for a recommendation? What are the books you’ve been eager to read but haven’t found the time? I love making these lists and would love to add any books you recommend!

 

 

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