Next Level Lazy

I follow some Pinterest boards dedicated to cool gadgets and interesting technology. Lately, a few of them have become overrun with devices marketed as time-savers, but actually, they’re just, “Things you’d buy if you were too lazy to deserve life.” I ask myself time and time again, “Are we that lazy?!” And when I say we, I mean you.

Let’s jump off with some food prep. I don’t go a week without seeing one of these gems pop up somewhere. Never once have I thought, “Now there’s a utensil I can get behind.” First of all—and this is a hard truth we’ll circle back to—you don’t have room for another outlandish gadget. You don’t. I know you don’t.

Why, world, why?

Why, world, why?

When did slicing a banana become so cumbersome that you tried to think of a workaround? Bananas are soft; you could cut them with the wrong side of a butter knife. You don’t need this task to be easier.

Knives make these same suer-unique cuts.

Knives make these same super-unique cuts.

Interestingly enough, an avocado’s consistency is similar to a banana. Who dices a soft avocado and thinks, “My life is hard enough without having to carve all these lines. Why does guacamole require so much elbow grease?”

Side Note: Introduce me to something that preps a pineapple or spaghetti squash in one motion, and I’m in.

The most unnecessary kitchen item ever.

The most unnecessary kitchen item ever.

Anyone who buys—or even wants—a gadget to crack eggs, needs to consider which life decisions led to this downward spiral. The only thing hard about cracking an egg is nothing. Save your money and enroll in a camp to toughen up.

Lazy x10.

Lazy x10.

When is the last time you thought, “The world would be pretty drama-free if we just didn’t have to slice butter”? Does anyone watch an injustice and nod to themselves thinking, “Oh, karma’s gonna get you, kiddo, and I hope you rot in sewer while slicing sticks of butter ALLLLL day.” The answer is no—no one has these thoughts.

Please don't let me see you doing this.

Please don’t let me see you doing this.

Do you honestly need to sit down to peel potatoes? The only possible time I could imagine this need is if you were peeling potatoes for the city of Los Angeles. And remember, you don’t have room for another gadget—especially this one.

My eyes can't unsee this.

My eyes can’t un-see this.

Don’t ever let me walk in and catch you doing this. I’d rather walk in on anything—yes anything—else. You could dedicate your life to training service dogs and teaching sign language to toddlers, and if I walk in on you using one of these, you are dead to me.

I'll not stand for this.

I’ll not stand for this.

Look at me. LOOK at me. We do not give forethought to how we want to sit at the beach, and make purchases based on its inherent discomforts. If you need help sitting this way—because it’s simply too demanding—then don’t sit this way. We’re not debating this.

Ages 5 and under. YOU HEARD ME.

Ages 5 and under. YOU HEARD ME.

If you’re not wearing Underoos or getting tucked in at night, you can’t use this fork (even if it’s available in solid colors). You’re going to have to actually move your wrist and manually twist the spaghetti on a big girl fork. Please don’t succumb to this level of laziness or tell yourself it’s neat-o.

Capital L Lazy.

Capital L Lazy.

I don’t care if you grill out seven nights a week—this grate-scrubbing gadget is unacceptable. You also have no room for it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it makes you an even cooler grill master; it actually negates your BBQing coolness. The only people who will tell you otherwise probably use the banana slicer. Be wary.

It's a kitchen, not a wood-working shop.

It’s a kitchen, not a wood-working shop.

No, Ma’am. If you’re prone to tears when chopping onions, a tool already exists for that—it’s called coping. We do not wear goggles to prep onions.

Nothing could possibly go wrong here.

Nothing could possibly go wrong here.

You will never convince me this is a good idea. The first reason has been established—you don’t have room for it. Beyond that, the list of issues inherent to this gadget is lengthy. Please just go with tradition and lift the milk out like a normal, non-lazy, not-crazy human. Oh good grief, I just saw what it’s called. Help.

I guess showers are just too taxing.

I guess showers are just too taxing.

A human washing machine, huh? There is a time and place for getting bathed by someone else—it’s called infancy. Obviously no one could afford this monstrosity (and you don’t have room for it, anyway.) But even if you could swing it financially, if I ever find out you looked at it longingly and did mental budgeting, we’ll be parting ways. Some call it tough love, I call it tough shit. I don’t roll with people who want to lay in a washing machine because they think showers take a toll on their energy level.

Technology gone wrong.

Created by a wayward engineer.

I can’t imagine any issues with this at all. Chicago O’Hare, no problem. DFW, what could go wrong? For goodness sake, bags already roll—is that not enough for you slackers?

Where do I start?

Where do I start?

A portable, inflatable bench? How often are you really in need of a place to sit, and it’s so dire that you can’t just sit on the surface that covers the planet—OR STAND? Is it enough to warrant shopping for, purchasing, owning and traveling with an “emergency inflator bench?” Agree that the answer is NO and we’ll all get out of here in one piece.

I'm furious.

I’m furious.

This is what it says: With the easy pull-on sock aid, you no longer have to bend down and struggle to put your socks on. All you need to do is to stretch the sock over the support, slowly slide your foot in and pull handles.

Raise your hand if this sounds 3x harder than PULLING ON YOUR SOCKS. Can you imagine how much our forefathers hate us? Well, I can.

#parentingfail

#parentingfail

Let me get this straight. You slather your child in anti-bacterial hand sanitizer—between organic snacks and range-free eggs—but you let him do your floors? You might as well slap a mop on his face, too, because he’s probably going to try to lick the tiles while he’s at it. Welcome to a world of crime—where your baby is now an accomplice to your laziness.

Side Note: Don’t let that sweet baby’s willing expression fool you. He doesn’t even know his name … you think he has a clue about the pound of dust mites he’s housing?

I’ll close with this ill-conceived idea, and hope I’ve caught you before you click “purchase scooter bag.”

You won't be smiling like this in the face of dirty looks.

You won’t be smiling like this in the face of dirty looks.

This idea is deceptive. You might think it’s slightly genius; however, trust me when I say you won’t feel good about yourself dork-gliding to the tarmac this way.

If you’re not scared of (and scarred by) the lengths people go to, to demonstrate their laziness, you should be. I am. We’re just not going to conquer life this way. When butter and bananas are causing us grief, we’re in capital T trouble.

Good news! I just got an email that my Pizza Slicer Fork shipped! I’m sure I’ve got room for it somewhere.

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When I Grow Up

I have a good job at a place I rarely, if ever, dread going. Every weekday morning, before 7am, I make my trek in from our building’s covered parking—happy, upbeat and feeling blessed. I work with some wonderful people, perform my job on a beloved iMac and feel fortunate to have health benefits, a pension and relative stability. We’re allowed to wear jeans any day we like, and our ice machines have pellet ice. I repeat … our ice machines have awesome, Sonic-like, pellet ice. I’ve got it pretty good.

So why, for the love of all that is Holy, can’t I shake the fact that I’d like to be a short-order cook?

The idea makes me swoon—the big, industrial-sized cooktop and griddle that’s become perfectly seasoned through the years; the even heat and its eagerness to cook things at my pace; its willingness to accommodate slower-cooking things off to the side, without being demanding.

Combining this type of cooking with the sheer joy of preparing amazing food for appreciative people is a one-two punch I can get down with.

pmanningthumbsup

I imagine myself at a place similar to this small, greasy spoon we used to frequent up in the Pacific Northwest, where the only seating was around the half-moon bar. The cook was right out in the open, sort of like a bartender, but with his back to us. It was fascinating to watch him cook and coordinate the meals of a couple dozen people.

My establishment would be similar, and I’d have lots of regulars. They’d be flattered at how quickly I’d remember their preferences, and their undying loyalty would soon follow. Henry likes his potatoes well-done. Jane doesn’t like her food touching. Paul prefers me to break his over-easy eggs. And Kenny? Well, Kenny’s a writer and likes his 3-egg omelet folded like an envelope. He’s a little finicky, but he means well and tips well, so—no harm, no foul.

At Westside (the name of my diner), we’d be known for our breakfasts, but people would also come in weekly for burgers and my famous fries and homemade dipping sauces.

I’m an early bird, so I’d open for breakfast at 6am and stay open through lunch—that’s it. Westside would be such a popular place that I’d always have inquisitive, well-intentioned people wondering why on Earth I wasn’t open for dinner … didn’t I know how much more money I could make? But I’d prefer it exactly how it was—busy, people eagerly waiting for an open spot, everyone happy, regulars coming back again and again. And I’d still have a life outside of the diner.

But I think I can do better than this dream, because I have another secret desire.

Farming.

No, not just living on a farm, but actually farming. It appeals to me in nearly every way (I say this while acknowledging I know very little about farming life, but of course, I used to say the same thing about thug life and we all know how that turned out). Here are the few things I know—besides just loving farms and farm houses—that lead me to harbor this now not-so-secret desire. (Oh, and please note, while the diner would be called Westside, the farm would be called Westward. Sshh, just let me dream.)

Drool.  photo credit: shutterstock

Drool.
photo credit: shutterstock

In every sense of the word, I’m a morning person. I’m happy to wake up to a new day; I’m at my best in the morning; I thoroughly relish using early morning hours to accomplish things and I simply find mornings beautiful, while noticing and feeling blessings twice as much in these early hours, before the day gets busy.

I also love the idea of being on a tractor all day. When I’m driving and I see a tractor out in the fields, I get all dreamy and wishy and jealous. I thoroughly enjoy activities and chores where I can just think or pray or make myself laugh with a hilarious stand-up routine in my head (you wouldn’t believe how entertaining I think I am.) I also love listening to music and audiobooks—two things I could do all day while tilling the fields. I was made to drive a tractor—it’s now so clear to me.

Side Note: I really hope “tilling the fields” is legit farm talk, but I have this nagging feeling it’s not.

Let it be me

Let it be me

Also, my favorite chores are the ones where you can see actual progress and change—mowing, edging, dusting, trimming trees. My entire being gets genuine pleasure from cleaning and clearing away. Sometimes when we walk in the early evening, we’ll pass trees that have branches in need of a trim and I can barely keep myself from scheming ways to come back and do a little snip-snip after dark. I know in my heart it would make everyone happier, but I’ve been told that it’s called trespassing.

As I’ve touched on before, I’m not a tried and true dog person (just in that my love for them isn’t so unconditional that I’ll ever want to snuggle after they’ve lapped up toilet water and I’ll never feel as if my life isn’t complete without a dog), BUT, I am an animal person, so tending to chickens and cows (and maybe a donkey and some goats) appeals to me.

Actually, as I sit here and think about it, I bet living on a farm would bring my dog side out; because, while a domesticated, shedding, house dog—who likes licking himself—doesn’t move me, a work dog does. If he’s my work buddy—sign me up and I’ll name him Barley or maybe Dutch. I love the idea of throwing open the truck gate and whistling for him to jump in. He’s not my kitchen buddy, but he’s my field buddy and I love him already.

And I know I usually say my favorite kind of cat is the kind that’s actually an owl, but I think on the farm, I could probably enjoy a couple of outdoor cats. I sure don’t want one slinking around under my bed or sitting in the window judging me, but I wouldn’t mind one that nabs mice and snakes for us.

Some people watch an executive give a presentation—and dream of being her … dream of the corner office, the attention and pressure being on them, the accolades, being the keynote speaker; but, I see a farmer on a tractor and dream of getting up at dawn, wearing flannel, naming my animals, driving a John Deere and eating three squares a day.

I also dream of canning.

photo credit: wikipedia

photo credit: wikipedia

Side Note: My affinity for farm clothes is two-fold. The obvious appeal is that they’re practical and comfortable. But there is also something quite thrilling about hearing, “Well you sure clean up nice!” when I change to go out.

Ideally, life on the farm would include a huge vegetable and herb garden … and living off the land as much as possible. Being able to combine growing our own veggies with comprehensive, monthly Costco trips is the best of both worlds. Sure, we’d never get to pop in Costco for a block of Gouda—because we don’t get into town that often—but when we did go, we could use the flatbed cart to haul our bounty of bulk.

So this brings me to why I can do better than being a short-order cook at Westside … and why it’s a beautiful thing when dreams collide.

In our amazing farm house (it might even be magazine worthy), I’d have a huge, restaurant-quality, gas cooktop and griddle. I’d get to cook for us and for any workers or visitors we had. Cooking AND farming. So. Much. Yes.

If my days could play out something like this:
-Wake up early to start the coffee and feed Nelly, Delilah, Bishop and the gang
-Wield spatulas as I make a big breakfast on the griddle—eggs, potatoes, pancakes, bacon
-Do chores, tend to the garden, fix things
-Make a good lunch
-Do more farm things
-Make an awesome dinner
-Enjoy a beer on the beautiful, expansive porch while visiting and watching the sunset
-Write another chapter of my manuscript
-Go to bed at a decent hour

… then I can’t imagine not getting a “Life Is Good” tattoo on my back, or an “Oh Happy Day” one on the inside of my wrist—or both.

I know, I know—stop wishing and go for it, right? Not now. For the time being, I’ll keep being happy with my pellet ice and steady paycheck. Also, I now have an outdoor Blackstone Griddle I can get my cooking fix on—and we have a new, huge garden bed we’ll get into in the spring.

Look at this crazy goodness. My heart is all aflutter!

Look at this crazy goodness. My heart is all aflutter!

Baby steps. Besides, wielding those spatulas takes a lot of practice. I was making chicken fajitas on the Blackstone this summer and I went to scoop up and turn over a big pile of sliced Serrano peppers and accidentally tossed the whole pile right over my shoulder. Every one of them landed on the patio in one smooth, synchronized move. I think we all know that the diner and the farm deserve better than that.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook and Twitter … it’s good for your health.

I Talk To Fruit

I give them one last heartfelt look before delivering the news.

“Ok guys, it’s time to say good-bye. You’ve been wonderful beyond belief. You’ve allowed me to see things I wouldn’t have otherwise seen—you’ve shown me the world. This good-bye isn’t because you’ve fallen short—on the contrary—you’ve been a vision of beauty. I’m saying good-bye because my eye doctor reminded me that you’re 2-week disposables and you’ve worn out your welcome.”

I give my Acuvue’s one last squeeze and say a little prayer of thanks for their service. I send them on their way with a measure of sadness. I don’t toss my contacts in the trash—I flush them. It seems cruel, after all they’ve done, to let them dry to a crisp in the garbage with half-eaten lasagna and slimy banana peels.

Yes, I admit it, I sometimes consider the feelings of inanimate objects.

taylor

Cue the image of my mom scrambling to get to her phone, “Anna? Sweetie, talk to me. I know I’m just a HUMAN, but talk to me and tell me where I went wrong and how I can help you.”

It’s ok. These feelings don’t rule my day; they aren’t cause for alarm. I don’t believe things are reincarnated ancestors or anything. Feeling bad about throwing away the contacts that helped me watch my 100th episode of Love It Or List It is one thing, but thinking the dryer sheets are Great Grandma Cluck is quite another.

Maybe it gets worse. I’ll let you be the judge.

I don’t like to let my car get too dirty because I know she likes to be pretty—and when she’s low on gas, I feel like she’s hungry.

Sometimes at the grocery store, when I’m picking out tomatoes or limes, I’ll grab one and then decide I like a different one better. When I place the original one back, I’m wrought with guilt. He went from landing the lead role, to getting sent back to the citrus pyramid without explanation. (Put yourself in his position and think back to picking teams in junior high. Yes it IS the same!)

I wonder if he sees me pick his friend (now enemy) and loses his will to live? I bet he feels rotten. I can only hope he doesn’t give up. If he can hold his head up another day or so, he’ll get picked—he just needs a little more time to ripen and mature.

Please stop worrying about my sanity. I do feel bad about lime-gate but I’m not tilted enough to take the insufficient one anyway. It would only be a problem if my days were dictated by this oddity. Right?

I mostly feel this way about inanimate objects when it comes to them feeling unwanted, discarded or over-looked.

When I’m editing my writing and find two words accidentally repeated, and I delete one, I always delete the second one because the first one was there first. It would be heartless to handle it any other way.

crazytown

I’m also mindful that, unless we have company, we tend to use the top 2-4 plates and bowls in our cabinet—relegating the very capable bottom half of the stack to the bench—game after game. That disservice weighs on me.

I don’t feel bad enough to secretly switch the order—but I do admit I’m happy when we have people over and the bottom plates get some playing time. In my head I’m cheering, “Go get’em Little Buddy—this is your time to shine!” I also secretly hope they get re-stacked in a fair way once they’re out of the shower dishwasher.

On another note, I’m not ashamed to confess that on occasion, I’ll quickly and mindlessly apologize to something I run into or accidentally hit. It’s not like I think I hurt it, I just know what a shock it is to get sucker punched and the “Sorry!” is out before I’ve thought it through.

Side Note: I always felt bad for Ken and Barbie dolls when “someone” would put them in compromising positions. For one, they were naked. But also, their movements were stiff, painting an unflattering picture of their lovemaking ability.

As crazy as it all sounds to people who are cold and unfeeling, it’s not that uncommon to feel the way I do. Amber, from the blog The Usual Bliss said, in response to my about me page (where I first admitted sometimes thinking things have feelings), “I am currently talking to all of the pumpkins in my house very sweetly, easing them into the moment when they get replaced by Christmas stuff.”

I laughed until my side hurt.

Another blogger, J-Bo supported me in my comments section by offering, “I feel bad for money that gets lost in my apartment because I have delayed it from going out and having more adventures.”

Now that’s a woman living right.

And yet another comment, this time from the blogger Nadine Millar, “My hubby admitted that for years as a child he would hug the hot water bottle in bed long after it had gone cold, since he felt bad that after giving him all its heat he would simply discard it.”

Nadine’s husband’s hot water bottle is my pair of Oasys contacts—it just feels wrong to toss what once was a lifeline, just because it’s no longer of use.

Side note: I do not feel this way about gum. It comes into this world knowing it’s got the lifespan of a tweet. #onehotminuteyall

I’ve been known to talk to my plants, flowers and garden vegetables. No, I don’t carry on long conversations—actually, I don’t ask them any tough questions (I learned that the hard way.) I simply let them know I’m glad they’re here and I encourage them to keep up the good work. I walk around like the host of a dinner party, greeting them all individually.

“Hey Buddy! You’re sure lookin’ good! Keep it up! Oh hey Little Guy! When did you get so fantastic?”

Crazy, maybe, but it feels right to me. I also believe it works. Our sago palms didn’t do well during the winter and when we uncovered them this spring, they were brown and looking quite dead. One of them clocked in and got to work right away—came back healthy and strong—all on her own.

The other one had the little soft shoots in the middle wanting to flourish, but not getting over the hump. The baby shoots just seemed paralyzed. I went over one day and touched them lightly and gave them a few encouraging, welcoming words (I won’t go into exactly what I said here because it’s between the palm and me), but the NEXT DAY they’d sprouted up a wee bit higher.

I touched them again and bragged on their growth and the next day—they’d made even more progress. This routine went on for a week and below is the Little Chica today, not two weeks later.

I am woman, hear me roar

I am woman, hear me roar

I was telling my friend how I feel terrible when it’s time to throw flowers away. I said I always hold them for a few last minutes and give them one final big sniff—and even if the smell is super rank—I pretend it’s nothing but an utter delight.

She said, “I know. I’m the same way with food. When I’m chopping up veggies or fruit and one piece falls on the floor, I feel bad that he can’t stay and be cooked with his friends—that he’s abruptly separated from them without ever knowing the joy of being a recipe.”

“I know,” I replied, “I always say, ‘Sorry Buddy’ and wash him off before tossing him in the disposal. Sending him away clean is the least I can do.”

I’m not always that kind though. Like the other day, I looked down at my Fitbit pedometer and it was dead. I was super disappointed because I’d been really active that day—work, golf, etc. I said, “No! Grr. Piece of crap.”

Then immediately I thought, “You’re the one that forgot to charge it—you’re the piece of crap. Jerk.” So I nuzzled my Fitbit in the crook of my neck, said I was sorry and we hugged it out.

I admit there are levels of coo-coo; and what you may see as crazy, others may wave off as perfectly normal.

So … I’ll leave you with this gem. I know a lady who said when there is a pan of rice crispy treats, she feels like she needs to eat them all so they can be back together in her belly. She said she couldn’t have their sudden separation on her conscience.

Her logic is solid—I can’t deny that. But if I ever get in that deep, Moma, please scramble for your phone and call me.

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.