How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Step 328: Do not eat super-smelly food items at work/on the bus/in enclosed spaces where others are not also eating smelly food

Just because you love the pungent, long-lasting scent of pickled herring doesn’t mean everyone else will. 

Confidential to my coworkers: I’m really sorry. I had no idea that microwavable pork rinds would make that smell. 

16th Sep 2014 335 notes , Comments

Step 327: Sometimes, text before you call


This is a thoughtful thing to do for people who might be expecting bad or serious news. My family got in the habit when Grannybarb was really sick, and every time my phone rang I was terrified that it was a Serious Call.

So when we just wanted to chat, my mom and sisters and would text the other person ahead of time, so we knew that it wasn’t serious and we didn’t have to drop everything to take it/steel ourselves emotionally/get to a place where we could flip out if need be.

9th Sep 2014 6,815 notes , Comments

An actual thought I had while moving.

But there is hope! Many, many tips here

9th Sep 2014 392 notes , Comments

Does anyone want to dress up in pioneer garb and be nerdy with me?

Non-thematic annual post: this event I help run is coming up!


Per usual, people will be carrying 200 pounds of meat, fording the river, and establishing tiny homesteads, among other silly, ostensibly educational challenges.



We still need a few volunteers — if you’re interested and can be in Salem, Ore. on September, 20, email BECAUSE WE HAVE RAD PIONEER OUTFITS FOR EVERYONE. Oh, and if you want to form a four-person team, there are still a few tickets left!

8th Sep 2014 217 notes , Comments

Don’t one-up someone else’s story.

If your buddy has just told you about something really embarrassing that he did, or complained about her stupid boss, or told you about how his last apartment was a nightmare, do not say any of the following:

"I’ve got an even better one."

"Something even worse happened to me!"

"That’s nothing."

Story-sharing is not a competition. Let your friends tell their stories, and then you can tell yours. But do not try to tell anyone that your experiences are more hilarious or awkward or painful. If they are, people will figure it out on their own. And if they’re not, who cares? Just tell your stories and have a good time.

8th Sep 2014 1,047 notes , Comments

When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.”

14th Aug 2014 991 notes , Comments

Adulting email cheat


For when you don’t really need to write a long email, but don’t want to sound curt. Just go ahead and type it in. NO ONE WILL KNOW!

15th Jul 2014 901 notes , Comments

Step 326: Pick up the bill when you go out to eat with your parents

This is a small gesture that works like a champ. You don’t have to do it every time, obviously, but it implies many things, all good:

a) You have enough money that a dinner is not a big deal;
b) You don’t treat your relationship with your parents as one in which resources flow in one direction, and one direction only and;
c) You are capable of pulling off sneaky but benevolent power plays. For that last one, go up to the host halfway through the meal and slip them your card, saying, “my parents will try to pay, so please just put the meal on this.”

26th Jun 2014 452 notes , Comments

PSA: Lock your stupid windows.

Seriously, go check your windows right now. Because if I had, I’d still have my laptop and all my pictures from the past three years.

Also, if you are the person who broke into my house, rifled through things, stole my laptop, perfume, rad vintage purse and general sense of safety in my home, I am putting the following low-stakes curses upon you:

  • I hope you stub your toe every single hour on the hour until you die.
  • You will have the highest expectations for every one of your birthdays and they will never pan out, but not for obvious reasons — it’s just that no one is really feeling it. 
  • May all your poops be disappointing and/or unsettling.
  • You will meet a woman (or man) who is so utterly perfect for you, and s/he will be your everything, and for a week or so they’ll feel the same but deep down something is nagging at them. And you can sense this, but you just push ahead because God, you’ve never felt like this before. But then, out of the blue, s/he will look at you, say simply, “I’m sorry,” and walk out of your life. And what you will never, ever know is that s/he finally realized what the problem was. It will never work out because you resemble her uncle. 
25th Jun 2014 942 notes , Comments

Step 325: Know how to find the right apartment

From the ole inbox: A friend (or two) of mine and I wanna get our own place. Aside from cost (rent is TOO DAMN HIGH), what do we need to look out for or know?

An excellent question! Here we go:

Before you are ready to move: Make sure to keep an updated document of your current and past addresses, landlord phone numbers and other info you’ll be asked on a lease application, including first and last names of other residents, current employment information and so on. Bonus: lots of these things are also useful on job applications! Also, start saving for deposits. Beyond the one on the apartment, you may have to put down deposits on your utilities. 

When you are ready to move: Figure out your price range — a good rule of thumb is no more than one-third of your income. Also, clean out your car — lots of landlords notice the small details, and how you take care of your other expensive habitat.

If you’re in a tight market, don’t send a flurry of questions to the landlord ahead of time; briefly introduce yourself, dropping in a detail or two that makes you sound put-together and responsible. Ask for the first viewing possible.

When looking at an apartment: Be sure to be on-time, looking tidy and presentable, then check the following:

1. Hot Water: Go turn on the shower and make sure there is sufficient water pressure and it’s nice and strong and not, as my mom once memorably said of my shower, like having an 83-year-old man pee on you. Also, does the water get hot? Is it the either scalding or frigid kind of shower? That’s nice to know.

2. Safety: Come back by the area at night, during the day, on the weekend and so on. Make sure you feel reasonably safe at all these times.

3. Volume: Consider whether there is something very loud nearby, like a fire station or train tracks or a high school with a sub-standard but enthusiastic marching band. Will this make you crazy?

4. Management: Does the landlord seem at least semi-reasonable? Landlords are tightly-wound people, generally speaking, so you have to give them a little leniency. But, real talk: chances are, if you are in a conflict with them, they will win. They have money and lawyers. They’re business people. Make sure they’re the kind you want to be in business with.

5. Electricity: Be sure to check all the light switches and, if you can, the electrical outlets, perhaps by taking along your cell phone charger. Otherwise, you could end up like my friend who had 14 decorative outlets and two that actually powered things. It’s also useful to check on how many and how well-placed they are. If you like to blow-dry your hair, look for an outlet in the bathroom. It’s nice to have several in your bedroom so you’re not constantly tripping over your bedside lamp’s cord that must stretch taut through the air. And so on.

6. Closets and Storage: Do they exist? Some old houses had bedrooms without closets. Having at least one big non-bedroom closet is a lifesaver, so long as you do not follow my example and allow it to become a dangerous and unstable mess, like a tiny DMZ right there in your apartment.

7. Appliances: Is there a dishwasher, or a washer-dryer? These things are luxurious, but if there is nothing you hate in the world more than hand-washing dishes, then you might make that a condition of your search. 

8. Accessibility: Can your furniture logically get up the stairs and into the apartment? It’s a good plan, if you have really large and/or awkwardly shaped things, to measure them in advance, then take a tape measure along with you.

9. Pets: If you have a pet, can they live here with you? The lure of a nice apartment is not justification for dropping your pet off at the shelter. Also, some apartments that say “no pets” can be coaxed into a quiet, well-behaved, neutered cat, particularly if you can provide a reference from a landlord as to your cat’s goodness.

10. Paint: Can you paint the walls? What if you agree to paint them back to the original, sanitarium white when you leave?

11. Parking: Is it extra? Lot v. garage? Remote for the garage? Assigned spots? Street parking at reasonable times? Where can guests park? (thanks, lexingtoncherry!)

12: Additional costs: Which utilities do you pay? Power, water/sewer, garbage, cable, internet …? Be sure to factor these into your cost calculation. (thanks, anserini!)

After seeing an apartment: If you know it’s the right place for you, express that when you see it and then send an email as soon as possible. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you, say that you are very interested, have the deposit money ready and would like to sign a lease ASAP.

Good luck! Anything I’m missing?

24th Jun 2014 5,824 notes , Comments