Fun Size

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What’s fun about a tiny Snickers bar? I’ll tell you what would be fun: a giant Snickers bar. Maybe “fun size” refers to the whole bag of small bars? That could be fun.

This should be the order of Snickers sizes:
miniature
small
regular
king
FUN!

The FUN! size would be one huge bar, but would somehow be designed break apart into smaller pieces, sort of like the large Hershey bar does.

Who’s with me here??

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How is that possible?

There’s a Nationwide commercial in which a butterfly causes a hole in the roof of a house. Similarly, sometimes an injury is caused by an event that seems disproportionately small compared to the severity of the injury itself. For example, the following have happened to me or someone I know:

1. I was sitting on the floor wrapping a pile of presents. I reached for some wrapping paper, and popped my ankle out of joint. (???!?) Thankfully, I was able to freeze, realize what was happening, and move a fraction of an inch in a certain direction, returning my ankle joint to the proper alignment.

2. I developed a bad cold. I coughed a lot. I cracked a rib from all of the coughing. Do you know what’s worse than having a really bad cold while you’re pregnant (and therefore unable to take any medicine that’s going to have much effect)? Having a really bad cold and a cracked rib while you’re pregnant. (I know at least two other people who have had a similar occurrence resulting in a cracked rib or pleurisy.)

Things like this happen more often than I would have expected. Add your own stories in the comments!

Minivans vs. 3rd Row SUVs

Note: I am going to make a lot of generalizations in this post. For example, if you’re in the market for a minivan, you probably have kids. Obviously, this is not always the case, but I’m speaking in terms of the majority here.

Spoiler Alert: If you’ve read the title of this blog, you may have guessed (correctly) that the minivan wins this battle. You should keep reading anyway.

So, we decided we should look for a new (new or used) car. With child numero tres on the way, the Sedona wasn’t going to cut it much longer. It’s a great car, but you can’t fit three car seats across the back seat. We quickly arrived at The Choice: minivan, or SUV with a third row. Sadly, long gone are the days when you could just toss 10 or 12 kids behind the driver, wherever they may or may not fit. There are laws to be followed.

Let’s break it down into pros and cons, beginning with the SUV.

SUV Pros: It is cool. I love SUVs. My dream car if I could have any car in the world, is a certain specific SUV (to be discussed in a later post).
It will (technically) hold more passengers and “stuff” than a Kia Sedona.
SUV Cons: It doesn’t have a lot of cargo space if the third row is being used.
In some cases, it is not as safe as a minivan (although this varies a lot by make/model).
The space and configuration is not all that flexible: the third row is either up or down (with the occasional option of a 60/40 split).

Minivan Pros: It can hold 7 or 8 people comfortably.
It has a decent amount of cargo space, even when the third row is being used.
It is safe.
The configuration of seats and space is very flexible.
Minivan Cons: They don’t look cool on the outside. It’s a minivan, right?

The Part Where We’re Honest with Ourselves:
If we got an SUV with a third row, it wouldn’t be because it’s the best solution for the problem. It would be because we’d rather have an SUV. The analysis would be a little different if our kids were older and weren’t all in car seats. But since we’ll have three car seats to work with, it would be much more difficult to get everyone in, safely secured in their seats, quickly and efficiently, in the SUV. Minivan was the answer.

Fast Forward to Today:We LOVE the minivan. Once you get past the exterior physical look of it, and slide open those power doors, it is magnificent. It’s like riding around in a nice living room. (Note: We got a relatively simple version. There are no TV screens or anything. The only two things we really wanted that might not be standard were power sliding doors and a roof rack.) It is so spacious. The seats transform about 80 different ways, and even if all of the seats are up there is a lot of leg room. More importantly for us, that leg room translates into space to get kids into the car conveniently without having them standing in parking lots while cars zoom around, or waiting in the rain for their turn. It holds so, so much stuff. I had a friend in college whose parents told him they’d buy him basically any car he wanted. He picked a minivan. It was a fun thing to joke about, but he was totally onto something. You can flatten or remove ALL of the seats behind the driver. That’s a lot of space.

That’s all. Now you know. If you’re still reading, you’re either in the market for one of these cars, or you’re probably fairly bored, eh?

Oh! One last fun fact: Minivans that accommodate 8 passengers cost LESS than those that hold 7 passengers (in the models we researched, and purchased). Weird!

Tall in a Grande

I love coffee year-round. I love the taste of coffee, and I’ve gotten a little picky about it (ack – am I a coffee snob?!). If it tastes good, I’ll drink decaf. I like a little caffeine in the mornings, but I mostly just like the taste of it. Coffee = good.

The exception to this is during the first trimester of pregnancy. For me, this has been a recurring aversion for all three pregnancies. Once I pass the first few months, I start wanting coffee again. This aversion has made me realize something else about my coffee consumption: I like the experience of it. There are other foods that I wouldn’t go near (peanut butter – gag), and I didn’t miss them. But for some reason, I missed coffee. I kept trying to get back into it. I’d go to pour a cup. “Maybe it’s passed! Maybe this will be wonderful!” A few feet from the coffee maker the smell would stop me in my tracks. No dice. Starbucks has spent its money well. They’ve created an experience. Granted, I don’t miss being in the physical location of a Starbucks. But I do miss having that warm cup in my hands and sitting on my desk beside my water bottle. I’m such a consumer.

Another thing Starbucks does well, in my opinion, is brew a cup of strong, dark/bold coffee. I want my coffee to taste almost ashy – super dark and bold – punch me in the face. A few months ago they came out with a light (Blonde) roast. I tasted the free sample and thought, “There’s something wrong with this water. And why is it light brown and hot?” Please. That’s not coffee. Even my two-year-old would scoff at Blonde roast.

Beyond it being very dark, (and from certain parts of the world – but that’s another rabbit hole) I like to prepare it a certain way. My husband always wants to go through the drive-through when we’re just grabbing coffee to go on a trip or something. That’s fine if you’re getting a venti, non-fat, with whip mocha. They make it identically every time (in theory – but don’t get him started on that). I, on the other hand, always want to go in so that I can be sure that the correct amount of half ‘n half and sugar are added. (And mixed well! Otherwise, kind Barista, the first half is bitter and the second half tastes like syrup, FYI.) Sometimes I’ll say, “Why don’t you drive through, and I’ll run in and fix my coffee. I’ll meet you on the other side of the building!” He, understandably, give me a look that says, “I think she’s serious. But that’s kind of crazy… so maybe she’s kidding?”

I’ve learned to let go a little. I’ve been driving through and ordering my coffee. It usually tastes great and everything is fine. There’s just one final detail that complicates this: I like to get a tall coffee, in a grande-sized cup. There are several benefits. First, you have room for cream without having to pouring some of it into the trash can first. (I’m very sorry, Starbucks trashcan-emptying-employee. This must be awful. But there’s NOT ENOUGH ROOM!) Second, after the cream, there’s still extra space at the top. That way, I don’t have to worry about it spilling. Third (and this is NOT the reason I do it, but it’s a factual observation that I’ve made), you get more coffee for the same price about 70% of the time. They’re eye-balling it. You get more coffee in the bigger cup, even though they leave lots of space at the top. (Again, this is a benefit, but not the reason I order this way.) Now, who cares about the size thing. Why am I writing about this? Here’s why: When you order a “tall half-calf dark roast in a grande cup with cream and two sugars,” in the drive through, one of two things will happen.

1. You get the cup of coffee you’ve been thinking about all morning. It’s $1.68 well spent. There’s a little room at the top so it doesn’t spill in the new Swagger Wagon.

2. You get a cup of coffee that is off-white, because the size thing makes them think you want extra space for tons of cream. It tastes like warm-ish milk.

It’s good to let go sometimes. I will continue to push myself to purchase my fancy ridiculous coffee via the drive-through. It’s a process.

Check the Calendar

A few weeks ago (late July, to be precise), I was strolling through my local mall to get from the new Belk to the old Belk. (That’s a long story. I just wanted to find the dang toddler clothes.) I passed by a Hallmark and was startled to see a large sign in the window that said something to the effect of:

Come check out a preview of our 2013 Keepsake Ornament Collection next week!!

Next week. Let’s just absorb that for a minute. Several thoughts came to my mind. First, there’s the obvious. It is summer. Christmas is in the winter. Christmas is almost next year. It’s at the very end of this year. Second, why can’t you just release the ornaments? Why do you need to “preview” them? Is it because it’s too early to reasonably sell Christmas ornaments, but it’s never too early to get people pumped up about the abstract idea of Christmas stuff? Finally, WHO is the target audience here? I don’t mean the audience for the ornaments; I mean the audience for the early August preview. Who needs to plan their ornament buying that far in advance? You’ll be able to actually purchase the ornaments well before December. You won’t have to wait until the last minute. What’s the rush?

I don’t think this post successfully captures the wonder and confusion I felt when I saw that sign. Maybe I should have used more exclamation-point-question-mark combos and all caps.

 

Bull Sharks are no big deal, right?

Wrong.

Fact: Bull sharks can survive in salty or fresh water. Stop and think about that for a minute. Boring old fish at the pet store can’t even do that. You want to keep a bull shark in the bath tub? It won’t even blink.

Fact: They thrive in warm, shallow, coastal, murky waters, also known as the coasts of North and South Carolina.

Fact: They have been known to travel up the Mississippi River as far as Illinois. Do you know where Illinois is?! It is really far from the mouth of the river.

Fact: Adult bull sharks average over seven feet long, and have a bite force of up to 1300 pounds. Pound for pound, that’s more bite force than a Great White shark. (And it lives in your summer vacation spot. Cool.)

Fact: It is speculated widely that bull sharks were responsible for the Jersey Shore attacks in 1916 which inspired the novel Jaws. I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat, y’all.

Need I continue? Now, you’re probably not going to be attacked by a bull shark on your next family trip to the beach. Probably. But I can’t make any promises.