THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #157

LOVE:

Squash Bug Disappearance:

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I am a truly terrible gardener. I try and I try, but my results are inevitably disappointing. It’s not that I don’t have a green thumb, I don’t think at least, it’s just that I have too much shit to do all the time. I’m exhausted. But, for several examples: my grapevines are lush and laden with fruit, but then the second I turn my back for a moment, the birds have gorged themselves stupid on my berries. I have the most gorgeous patches of salad greens, then all of a sudden the spot is filled with invasive weeds that I can’t get rid of. My tomatoes all split. My tulips giggle and die. One of my most frequent disappointments is pumpkins. I’m so bad at growing them that it has become a joke. Still, I try. How I try, reader. I have used fertilizers, compost, and pesticides. I have buried statuettes of saints in the soil. I googled spells to cast on my garden and tried them. I went to France to buy heirloom seeds from the Marché aux Fleurs. But, inevitably, my perfect vines and gorgeous squash are murdered overnight by bugs. People don’t seem to have this trouble like I do, so when I wallow in misery, they don’t often commiserate. Literally every year, though, since I was like two, squash bugs have feasted on my pumpkins. They burrow their way inside and feed on the innards. Then the plant dies and I shrug for the millionth time. It doesn’t even upset me anymore. Something bizarre happened this year that I can’t explain away. The bugs didn’t show up. I routinely walk around the pumpkin patch suspiciously. I slowly approach so I don’t scare them. I run there quickly to startle them, and yet they fail to appear. I have taken a magnifying glass out to search, but the bugs aren’t there. This is an actual image of me in the pumpkin patch:

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The pumpkins grew. They reached full size. I mean, there aren’t many of them for some reason, but they actually survived. I have harvested a few lovely little pumpkins. Are they genetically modified or something? Somebody needs to explain this witchcraft to me. Did those bugs finally go extinct. Did my voodoo hex finally work? I need answers. But I’m so happy.

Lowes:

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I am going to say something that you might not like: I don’t shop local. I don’t care to do it. I understand the benefits of keeping your money in the community where you live, but when I shop, it’s either on the Internet or on a blissful shopping trip to the big city of Des Moines. (It’s not as sarcastic a comment as I intended since Des Moines is becoming hella cool. Who would have ever thought?) I could buy my groceries and my appliances locally, but Perry doesn’t have an ALDI, so why should I bother? I say this all to say that my washer died when I was away this summer. The same thing happened before, so I knew the solution, but I don’t care for the local shop, so when I went about buying my new washer, I knew that I wasn’t going in there. (Forgive that ridiculous run-on sentence.) Instead, I did what I love to do. I went to the Internet! I logged onto Lowe’s and picked one out and ordered all the extended warranties and bonuses and whatnot. I want that washer working after I’m dead. I want people in the next century to use that washer. After an extraordinarily long time waiting for the delivery to be set up, which was the only downside of the whole affair, the Lowe’s truck finally backed into my yard and I fell in love with the company at once. The deliverymen were awesome. They didn’t make fun of my creepy cave basement. They called it, and I’m telling you the honest truth, they called it “cool.” I looked at them suspiciously as they admired a rusty old water heater. I think they might be those junk collectors in their free time, pickers, because their eyes were scanning everything. I would have sold them literally everything they wanted. Anyway, they hauled the broken machine out the creepy basement entrance, which is more like the steps leading into a tomb, and then they quickly hooked the new machine up. They were speedy, efficient, funny, and beyond professional. (UNLIKE THE LOCAL SHOP.) And then I had a new washer! Reader, if you have lived without a luxury that you are accustomed to, the world is a cruel place. I have hated using other people’s machines to wash my clothing. It’s just mortifying. But I have survived and I have made it to the other side. And now I can wash my own clothing again and I am so blessed! I did four loads of laundry yesterday just because I could. Everything is so clean and I love that machine more than a person should love a washing machine. It’s kind of how I feel about my dishwasher. If I could marry an appliance, that blessed creation would be my spouse. I’m just so happy. And Lowe’s is awesome. Do all of your business with them. (Now, you have to understand that as a Home Depot ho, this is a massive compliment and recommendation.) I am just too pleased.

Air Purifier:

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My upstairs has always had a strange odor. I think it’s something in the wood. I’ve never really figured it out. On rainy days there’s a different smell from sunny days and on winter days there is a different smell from summer. I don’t get it. Somedays it’s nice and on other days it is godawful. My cats live upstairs, too, so their smells — which aren’t bad, reader; I’m clean — mingle with that weird wood smell and it’s just kind of strange. So, I decided to buy an air purifier because I really don’t like fragrance. I like air to smell like nothing, like air. So I did tons of research on Amazon when I was staying up much too late and found a great number of options. There were giant ones for hundreds of dollars and tiny ones for your desk for like ten. There were some with filters and some with fragrance. There were some that had no filter at all. Others had diffusers built in and night lights and one even had a Bluetooth speaker. I finally decided on one that plugs directly into the outlet. It isn’t too big and you never have to replace the filter. The light is not obnoxiously bright and the fan isn’t too loud. Here’s a link. So, I plugged it in yesterday when my favorite UPS driver stopped by. And I must admit, I was somewhat suspicious of the thirty dollar machine. It had good reviews, so I don’t know why I didn’t believe in the power of the tiny machine, but I should not have doubted. It ran for several hours while I went to town to do some baking, and when I came home I noticed a real difference. Instead of that weird woody smell, I smelled not much of anything. There was a lingering of the old smell, but the machine hadn’t been running all that long yet. This morning, it was even better, and I think as the air continues to circulate through the device, it will get nicer and less obvious. I might even get a second one for the other side of that level so that it can circulate better. I love not smelling anything unless it’s Chanel. I totally recommend one of these genius machines, dear reader. It might just change my life. I think it did.

Cheap André Champagne:

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If I didn’t have to work and go to school and all that other crap, I would be a full time blogger who writes about luxurious living on a budget. It’s hardly impossible, and I’ve been able to build up the illusion that I’m wealthier, more extravagant, and better bred than I really am. It’s a gift. I spent last summer in Nice, and I’ll tell you all about it, but I won’t share the ridiculously small studio I lived in. I’ve sailed up and down the Nile, but I won’t tell you the pennies it cost me. I’ve wandered all over Paris, but I won’t tell you that I cooked many of my own meals. I’ve had fabulous seats at many New York theaters, but I won’t tell you that my tickets were rush tickets. These are the secrets that let me live my illusion, and you’d know them all better if I ran my luxury blog. But I don’t. So you’re learning here. I mean, I have also stayed at many five-star hotels and dined in the greatest restaurants, so I use those experiences to influence my budgeted recreations. I have made my home reminiscent of a vacation home so that I can actually enjoy being there. You can get a lot of lovely things on the cheap if you go to antique shops and selectively browse on Amazon, you know? Anyway, that was a long introduction to a six dollar bottle of sparkling wine. One of the most obvious symbols of luxury is champagne. Well, that and cash. But it’s easier to be cheap with champagne. I love the stuff and I order it in all the wonderful places I go. It cements happy memories into my brain. But there is absolutely no reason not to drink champagne at home; I have long insisted that a glass of champagne every night is the key to a happy life. Champagne is expensive, though! I have happily discovered that André sells a bottle of extra-dry sparkling wine that comes quite close to actual champagne. They are incomparable, clearly, but this works good enough for me when I’m sipping at home. I don’t need Veuve-Cliquot every night, even though I’d rather. I’m really quite happy with André, and the bottles can be resealed, which is genius! It’s nice to have a glass of bubbly with your ALDI cheese tray (another budget luxury tip you must know) and chortle over your blissful existence. Life is all an illusion anyway. Drink up, readers.

HATE:

Spiders:

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I’ve never been a fan of arachnids. I don’t hold it against them that they exist, I’d just prefer to have absolutely nothing to do with them. I’m well aware that some live in my basement, and that’s why I bathe with a glass of champagne instead of shower most days. I don’t have time to be shampooing my hair and be joined by a killer. I’d rather soak with my mind at ease. And miraculously, for the last few years, the spiders that I notice down there aren’t big or hairy or menacing. They’re small and easily vanquished, so I haven’t lived in terror. I installed a family of toads down there to eat them. They’ve done a great job. Now I should note, I’m not really scared of spiders. I just really don’t like them. My sister and father are petrified of them. I can muster enough courage to squash them to a pulp. Things have changed, reader. When I was getting my new washing machine delivered, I decided to tidy the area up so that it looks a bit less like a serial killer’s cave. Seriously, I hate my basement. So I picked up some bottles of detergent that had been collecting dust and then I started screeching. The walls were covered in wolf spiders the size of silver dollars. I could see their eyes glittering in the reflection of the dim, flickering lightbulb. They were everywhere. I smashed some with my shoe, I hurled chemicals at others. Smart ones hid. Others rushed at me. It was awful, reader. How dare they infiltrate my home like this?!? I was physically shaken when I went back upstairs. I had goosebumps. The hair had risen all over my body. I was truly traumatized and I don’t know if I’ll be able to go back to that horrifying place again. I do have to wash my clothes. But oh my god. It was bad.

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