Friday, October 20, 2017

Even a cat lover might give pause (paws?)

Let’s make one thing clear: dog person here, not cat person.

Sure, cats are beautiful, and they’re interesting to watch. But I hate when they jump up on the bed in the middle of the night and purr in your ear. Then there’s the whole Kitty Litter thing. Yep, it’s easier than getting up and taking the pup for a “walk” in a sleet storm. But who wants to be sifting littered turds out morning, noon, and night?

And, as I’ve read, cats spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to kill their owners, which they would apparently do if only they were bigger, like the size of a Bengal tiger.

Bottom line on the old pet front: I much prefer the affection and sweetness of dogs. If you’re going to go through the trouble of having a pet, you might as well have one who actually likes and appreciates you.

But if I did have a cat, I can guarantee that I wouldn’t be buying a Licki Brush. licki brush

Licki Brush, you may well be asking.

The Licki Brush is a tongue-shaped, silicone device with really pronounced taste buds. The user slips it over their tongue, and licks their cat. Sort of like a cat licks itself. Or a mother cat licks her kittens. Only this time, it’s a human licking a cat.

Because, apparently, there are plenty of cat lovers out there who have actually licked their cat and ended up with a hairball. Okay.

Jason and Tara O’Mara (a couple, no surprise here, from Portland, Oregon) pitched the idea on Shark Tank last winter, but they got no takers. But there’s always Kickstarter, and they managed to raise $52K so that folks could start getting their licks in.

Cats groom each other as a form of social bonding. There's also evidence to suggest that cats view and treat their human captors as large cats. As a human, you're left out of the intimate licking ritual. At best, you have a one-sided licking relationship with your cat.

My goodness. Concerned about being “left out of the intimate licking ritual”? Yowza. I’m going to state here and now that I can’t imagine wanting to be part of any intimate animal ritual.

Decades ago, a dog – a dog who was a stranger – tried to hump my leg. Buzz off, Fido. Find one of your own or a telephone pole. Another time – and this was one of the weirder experiences of my life – I was scratching the belly of a young male bonobo (pygmy chimpanzee). He was enjoying himself immensely. So immensely that he grabbed one of my hands with one of this feet and quickly dragged it down so it was touching his boy toy. No thanks.

I guess I’m just not into animal intimacy. My bright line is this: human intimacy only.

But for those who crave pet intimacy:

…you'll develop a more intimate and bonded relationship…

Of feline bondage!

I believe that the Kickstarter campaign may be over, but if you’d thrown in $35, you got 2 Licki Brushes. One for you and one “for a friend or significant other. Give your cat the joy of a 2-tongue massage.”

Okay. Now we’re in complete OMG territory.

Bad enough to be doing the cat licking all by your lonesome (save for the cat). But with your significant other? Maybe I’m just a prude-y old prude. One of one is close enough to bestiality. This is approaching bestiality groupie-ness.


If you want to learn more, here’s the O’Maras website.

By the way, it’s not just for cat lovers. The O’Maras suggest that you could use it on a dog or a bunny rabbit, too.

Never in a million years.

But, gee, the world sure is an endlessly interesting place.

This is an old story, more than a year old now. Maybe I should watch Shark Tank. But I would have missed it entirely were in not for my friend Valerie who commented on it when she saw it on Facebook. Thanks, V.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mulan Sezchuan Sauce and the Madness of Crowds

Starting from the top:

Yes, I do know who/what Mulan is. I have two Millennial nieces, so of course I do.

No, I had never heard of Mulan Szechuan Sauce from McDonald’s. When I pay my annual call on McDonald’s, I go for a Quarter Pounder, not Chicken McNuggets with dipping sauce. Plus, it was only offered briefly, nearly 20 years back, as a Disney tie in with McD’s. So, had I ever heard of Mulan Szechuan Sauce? Of course not.

No, I had no idea who/what “Rick and Morty” is/are. Something that I now know has to do with Adult Swim, a cartoon Network show for grownups.  Which I had heard of, because a decade ago, some Adult Swim-mers placed something that looked like a bomb under an elevated Boston highway. Those is the know thought it was just HI-larious. Foolish old fogeys thought it was a bomb. Silly us! Anyway, “Rick and Morty” is a cartoon on Adumulan saucelt Swim.

The story is that last spring, “Rick and Morty” started agitating for the return of the Mulan Szechuan Sauce. petition and all. ( is generally used by social justice warriors on behalf of noble causes like getting Harvey Weinstein booted from the vaunted Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, not for frivolous initiatives like bringing back Mulan teriyaki dipping sauce.)

McDonald’s did just that, and apparently a goodly proportion of the nearly 45,000 signatories of the “Rick and Morty” petition showed up at their local McD’s to get them theirs, only to find that the allocation per store had been a meager 20 packets. And not all locations got them. There were near riots, fights broke out, counters were jumped, and windows banged on. The cops were called in to at least one McDonald’s outlet. It almost goes without saying that people took their rage to Twitter. Here’s one:

Fuck off @McDonalds - less than 20 packets of Szechuan sauce per store, sold out before the onsale time? Way to be a Jerry #boycottmcdonalds. (Source: Huffington Post)

Mulan Szechuan sauce. “Rick and Morty.” And, now, yet another cultural reference I’m missing. Way to be a Jerry? Even Google was no help to me here. The closest I came was the Urban Dictionary: “Jerry: A sexy beast, good with the ladies and with a 8-inch wang.” And a guy, tweet that like it’s supposed to be a bad thing? I’m definitely missing something here. Maybe he meant “way to be a Jerry Lewis,” which was never a good thing, and is even worse now that M. Lewis is dead.

McDonald’s, of course, tweeted out their response:

“The best fans in the multiverse showed us what they got today,” McDonald’s tweeted in apology. “We hear you & we’re sorry not everyone could get some super-limited Szechuan.”

And now they are promising to bring back Szechuan sauce, in ample supply, this winter.

Meanwhile, the new packets, given the madness of crowds, turn out to be worth something. One woman scarfed down her packet before realizing they were fetching $300. And Rachel Marie of Rick and Morty sauce packMichigan, who was lucky enough to get a hold of this precious item, “managed to parlay it into a car.”

That’s right, a car. She posted a picture proving that she’d gotten her hand on a packet, and found a guy willing to trade for it with a 2000 VW Golf.

“He was a dedicated fan of the show and already had a second car.”

Business Insider interviewed the man, who did not give permission for his name to be used. He justified the seemingly imbalanced trade by telling the outlet he “just needed me some friggin sauce!!” (Source: HuffPo again)

Maybe Rachel should have held on to it for a while longer. I mean, a 2000 VW Golf is nice and everything. And definitely worth more than a tiny little old sauce packet. But someone supposedly paid $14K for a nearly 20 year old original sold on eBay.

Ah, the madness of crowds!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Who doesn’t want to be Bertha when they grow up?

My cousin Mary Beth lives on the Cape, and has these wonderful next door neighbors. Lew and Paul spend part of the year in Massachusetts, and part of the year in Florida, where they have their businesses. And where they have Lew’s mother.

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Bertha Gordon, but Mary Beth knows her well from Bertha’s frequent visits up north. My sister Kathleen and her husband Rick got to meet her recently, and reported that Bertha is, as advertised, amazing – from her delightful personality and sense of humor, right down to the coral suede flats that matched her sweater. I’m hoping to meet Bertha on her holiday swing this way. Can’t wait.

But what’s amazing about Bertha Gordon is not that, at 92, she remains with it, engaging, perky, and nattily dressed. It’s what she’s still managing to do at 92 that has me in awe. What Bertha does is volunteer. Make that VOLUNTEER with a capital V-O-L-U-N-T-E-E-R.

Bertha’s volunteering attracted some recent attention when, while Irma was battering Florida, she managed to get into the Delray Medical Center in Delray Beach and get to work. Here’s some of what Tenet Health wrote about Bertha:

Even in the midst of Hurricane Irma, Delray Medical Center’s 92-year-old volunteer, Bertha Gordon, continued to volunteer her time at the hospital’s ER making beds, visiting with patients and helping to provide the best patient experience possible.  Gordon wears many hats at Delray Medical –delrayvolunteer3 she is President of the Auxiliary, Star Walker, Golf Tournament organizer, Santa’s elf, and emergency department volunteer. For a little lady, she packs a lot of energy. Her 26 years and almost 7,000 hours of volunteer experience at Delray Medical Center has taught her that you always get back more than you give. (Source: Tenet Health)

Little lady – they ain’t kidding. Bertha is under 5 feet tall and weighs about 80 lbs. And 7,000 hours, even spread over 26 years, is pretty darned impressive. That’s an average of five hours a week. Which is a lot. And the ER isn’t exactly the least stressful place in the hospital to hang out. My husband and I logged a few sessions in the MGH ER during the years of his illness, and, if Delray Medical Center is anything like MGH, we’re talking lots of people buzzing around, bad lighting, and lots of noise.

Hospital volunteering isn’t it for Bertha. In addition to the two days she’s working at the hospital, she logs another two days in the nurse’s office of a local elementary school. And, just so the fifth potential workday in the workweek doesn’t go to waste, she spends another day making dolls for kids with cancer.

What a lazy bones! What a slouch!

When you’re working full time, you’re always sort of thinking about packing it in. But maybe no so much time thinking about what you’re going to pack into all those hours that were once consumed by working, getting ready for work, commuting to work, commuting back home from work, thinking about work, worrying about work, bitching about work, etc.

Having gone freelance in my fifties, I got a head start on what to do when you’re not being consumed by all of the above.

Right now, I have managed to come up with a pretty good mix. Enough freelance work to keep my hand in (and some coin in the piggy bank), and enough volunteer work to get me out of the house and with other people – which, given that I work from home and can go weeks without having any contact with clients that’s not via email,is important.

Don’t know if I’ll make it to 92. But if I do, I definitely know I won’t be adorbs – that ain’t never going to happen. And these size 11-double A flat feet will definitely not be in cute coral flats. They’ll be in ugly, sensible shoes. Kind of like they are now. But how great would it be, getting out there five days a week, doing things with it for other people, staying active, staying engaged, staying in the game. Maybe it’s not what everyone wants, but I sure wouldn’t mind being Bertha Gordon when I grow up.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Forget Friday party, how about onsite gift-wrapping

My career was in technology, but that was before companies went benefits- and perk-crazy.

Oh, we had out bennies.

I worked for two companies founded by the same guy, and which employed a lot of the same people, but at both places we had Friday Party, starting around 4 p.m. and featuring beer, wine, junk food, and – in the early days – a few joints. In one – or it may have been both – we had video games in the kitchen.

The execs at these outfits got a few more perks. I remember that there was some controversy about the president’s taxidermy bill being paid. (I never learned what was being taxidermed.)

Other places I worked were a bit stodgier, and the benefits packages tended to be the standard: health insurance, vacation days, etc.

But today’s young whippersnappers, those startup upstart Millennials want more.

With an unemployment rate of just 3.4 percent in Boston, companies are vying to stand out to prospective hires, and hold on to the people they’ve already got. But the candy buffets, beer taps, and work-from-home policies that helped companies differentiate themselves a decade ago are today unremarkable. Some employers are now dangling free Hubway bike-rental memberships, pet insurance, birthdays off, a stocked seltzer fridge, paid college coaching for your kids, free onsite gift-wrapping around the holidays, and “dream vacation” bonuses — like $7,000 on your seventh anniversary with Cogo Labs, a startup creation firm in Cambridge. (Source: Boston Globe)

Onsite gift-wrapping? Last week I wrote about consumer goods companies offering training and services to Millennials who don’t know how to mop floors. So I guess it’s no surprise that they wouldn’t know how to wrap gifts, either. Or maybe they just don’t want to. I actually enjoy the start of gift-wrapping, but, as with apple picking, it gets old fast. For apple picking, which my family only tried a couple of times (if that: it may have been once), we were all gung-ho for the first couple of apples. But by the time you picked your third Mac, it was pretty darned boring. And that bushel basket that my parents wanted filled was starting to look like a bottomless pit. And so it goes with gift-wrapping. I enjoy the first couple of gifts, but by the time I’m wrapping gift number four, I’ve about had it. And I don’t even give that many Christmas gifts. But, of course, the tedium of gift-wrapping is why God gave us gift bags. So tell me why anyone needs gift-wrapping when there are perfectly good gift bags, and perfectly good tissue paper, out there.

Other perky benefits being offered around her:

Employees at Piaggio Fast Forward, a Boston innovation center run by the maker of Vespa scooters and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, can borrow a set of wheels for a road trip. Hudl, a sports analytics startup with a Boston office, covers the cost of employee tickets to sports events. Several local companies offer in-office haircuts, manicures, and pedicures, and a few give employees free use of one of the boss’s vacation homes after a certain number of years of service.

Well, the mani-pedis sound fine, but that latter one I could live without. Maybe I’ve just got Harvey Weinstein on my brain, but I’m struggling to think of something creepier than sleeping in a senior executive’s bed, even in their absence. From  the exec’s side, would they really want employees snooping around their home-aways? Sure there are locked closets, but look what I found.

For corporate benefits, however, the big wins aren’t from offering gift-wrapping and pet insurance. It’s all about the flexibility.

“Flexibility has become the most important benefit,” says Audrey Lampert, a human resources consultant who has worked with startups and larger employers like Biogen.

That may mean time off to volunteer with a nonprofit (employees of the Needham software maker PTC get two days a year, on the company’s dime), a concierge service that can find a last-minute baby sitter, or a company-paid ride to work in a bus equipped with Wi-Fi.

One company in the article offers a four-day workweek. I had that as an off-the-books, between-me-and-my-boss benefit that last time I had a full-time corporate job. I had to call into an occasional Friday morning meeting, but other than checking email a few times, that was it. And not having to sit in traffic on 93 on Friday evening. Priceless.

Remote working is another benefit. It’s been around for a while, but it’s become more generally accepted. (Even though some companies – was it Yahoo!? – have put the kibosh on it.)

Me? I’m self-employed, so whatever perks and benefits I have are self-granted and self-funded. But I do have to say that nothing beats the flexibility. I may be sitting there on a Saturday night working on a datasheet for a client, but if I want to loll in bed on Tuesday and then go for a leisurely, 10,000 Fitbit step walk, it’s just there for the asking.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The little-to-no sympathy list addition: Jeremiah Cottle

I’m generally a pretty sympathetic person, but I do have a list of those for whom I feel no sympathy. Donald, Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric are on the list. Tiffany and Barron are not. Melania hovers between the no sympathy and the sympathy lists. I get all sympathetic for her – can you imagine being married to him? – and then I remember that she defended birtherism. So, mostly, no.

It’s good to take a fresh look at the list every once in a while, to make a few deletes and adds. So today I’m adding Jeremiah Cottle.

Unlike the above crew, with whom we’re all on a first name basis, Jeremiah Cottle requires some explanation.

Cottle is the inventor of the bump stock, the wonderful little device that was used by Las Vegas massacre psychopath Stephen Paddock to convert his semiautomatic rifle into a full-on machine gun.

“I built something,” Cotter gripes, “And a madman [that would be Paddock] is taking it all away.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Oh, boo hoo.

The something that Cotter built is a company called Slide Fire®. It’s motto – FREEDOM UNLEASHED – might just was well be LIFE TAKEN AWAY, but at Slide Fire®: 

We are proud to offer products that are made here in the United States and assembled by hard working Americans…Jeremiah Cottle, inventor and President of Slide Fire®, honorably served our country via the United States Air Force for 9 years…The honor, commitment, and perseverance that is practiced in our US Military, is carried over to the core beliefs and practices of our company.

Well, guess he won’t be taking a knee anytime soon.

But that’s fine. Who’s going to argue with honor, commitment, and perseverance as core values, even though it’s all in the definition. (I won’t go into what I think “hard working Americans” stands for.)

Cottle thought up the bump slide in 2005 – “a device that uses a rifle’s recoil, or bump, against a stiffened trigger finger to approximate automatic fire.”

By mid-2010, Cottle was ready to start selling his device, but he first needed clearance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. To comply with federal law, he simply needed to demonstrate that the bump stock was itself not a machine gun. In a letter to the ATF, Slide Fire argued that its product was an accessory to help people with disabilities who had difficulty firing the AR-15, a semiautomatic civilian version of the M-16 military assault rifle.

Who knows if the ATF bought that bit about the bump stock being an accessory for those with disabilities. Seriously, folks. If someone’s too disabled to fire an AR-15, maybe they shouldn’t be given access to something the equivalent of a fully automatic? Anyway, the ATF ruled that the bump stock is an accessory, not a firearm. Thus, they’re unregulated, unregistered, and maybe unprotected from immunity when sued.

Once it hit the market, the Slide Fire bump stock took fire. First year sales were $10-plus million. That’s the last year that sales figures were released for, but life has been good. And at first, the Las Vegas Massacre looked like it was going to turn things from good to great. Lots of gun people wanted what Stephen Paddock had and, naturally, they feared that the nanny-staters would probably start to try to restrict purchase. So, gimme bump stocks. On the secondary market, prices nearly doubled, then more than tripled, the typical retail price of $179.95.

But things go overwhelming, and Slide Fire had to put a halt to sales, not just for bump stocks, but for gear like pureamerican teethis Pure American tee shirt. In case you can’t see, hot dogs and Chevrolets have been dropped from the equation of what goes together, in the good ol’ USA, and the high-powered rifle added.

Meanwhile, there are concerns that the bump stock might become at least quasi-regulated. Even the NRA was making mild little moo-moo noises about it. Regulation won’t be good for Stock Fire. In fact, it might be too little, too late to save them. That’s because Stock Fire got itself into something of a Catch-22.

Because bump stocks are an accessory without functioning mechanical parts, the company may fall outside the protections of a 2005 federal law shielding gun and ammunition makers from being held liable for gun violence. On Oct. 6 three victims of the shooting filed a class-action suit against Slide Fire and unnamed manufacturers, accusing the industry of negligence. “Paddock could not have injured so many people without a bump stock,” the complaint states.

Cottle says that he’s received death threats, and that “people are coming after my kids.” No, he doesn’t deserve death threats, and leave those poor kids alone.

But surely someone who used the con of helping disabled gun enthusiasts to shoot faster to get the ATF to okay his invention is deserving of a place on my no sympathy list.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is behind this suit, and they’re arguing that the bump stock shouldn’t get the immunity the guns and ammo do. See you in court, Jeremiah Cottle. Because if there’s one thing that’s as Pure American as baseball, apple pie, and turning semi-automatics into automatics, it’s the law suit.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Today’s a lot more than Friday the 13th

I love that, pretty much any day of the year, there’s something to celebrate. And today is especially rich in those sorts of somethings worth celebrating.

Who knew that October 13th is National No Bra Day? Who even knew this day existed?

Based on its name, you might think that this was a day that would hearken back to the 1960’s and 1970’s when, for some reason to do with women’s liberation that I can’t seem to recall (and probably couldn’t fathom even if were able to recall it), feminists often went without bras. I know that I did. Of course, it’s one thing to go bra-less when you’re in your twenties. quite another thing as life goes on. But even when I was in perky breast territory, I quickly found out that it wasn’t especially comfortable to go without a bra. I won’t get into the full deets, but I’ll throw one thing out there: you couldn’t wear anything the least bit scratchy. ‘Nuf said

For reasons of scratch, age, and propriety, I will not be going braless.

And while National No Bra Day is, in fact, a “day to leave your bra at home,” it’s mostly about reminding you to get a mammogram.

It’s also National Train Your Brain Day. Not a bad thing to observe, and I usually do something brain-train-ish every day.

There are many different ways to train your mind and improve your cognitive skills such as reading, word puzzles, number games, brain teasers, trivia games, riddles and word games.  Learning something new is another practice that is a benefit to everyone’s brain on National Train Your Brain Day (as well as any other day). (Source: National Day Calendar)

I will be doing a crossword puzzle and Sudoku. And finishing up Katy Tur’s Unbelievable, which recounts her time as the NBC reporter charged with following Donald Trump during the 2016 primaries and presidential campaign. (Katy Tur is a journalist that Trump bullied off and on, calling her a liar and encouraging his minions to turn on her. In one instance, she had to be escorted from a rally by the Secret Service.) The book is quite good, but also very painful. It should be something that you can breeze through in an evening, but I can only read a chapter or two at a time. I sure would be enjoying this a lot more if Trump had lost the election. Then again, if that had happened, I probably wouldn’t have bought it.

And it’s Navy Day, the day that the US Navy observes its birthday. I can thank the US Navy for my very existence, as my father met my mother when he was stationed in downtown Chicago (hey, there’s a lake out there, so of course the Navy was at Navy Pier) while in the Navy during WWII. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, my father volunteered to join the Army. (He was 29: it would have taken a while to get around to drafting him, but he wanted in.) Because Al had flat feet (thanks, Dad!),the Army wouldn’t take him. So he went over to the Navy recruiter and they signed him right up. Thus began 4 years, during which my father was stationed in Norfolk, Trinidad, and Chicago. As he used to say, you went where Uncle Sam sent you.

My father wasn’t any sort of gung ho’ Navy guy, but he was proud of his service, and there were remnants of the Navy all around. We had bookends, brass anchors, that my father had gotten during the war. (One of them is on my mantel.) Our picnic blanket/beach blanket was the cream colored (with navy stripe, stamped U.S. Navy) wool blanket that my father had been issued when he joined. I think we had two.

Other Navy stuff: My mother cut down my fathers old whites and blues to make clothing (white shorts, navy spring coats) for me and my sister Kath. And we wore his old white gob caps as suGog capmmer headgear. These Navy caps were quite popular among kids in the fifties. After all, pretty much every kid’s father had been in The War in some capacity. Those of us whose fathers had been in the Navy had the real deal, but they sold cheap knock offs that kids whose fathers had been in the boring old Army had to settle for.

Sometimes we wore them turned up, as pictured here. Somewhere around, I’ve got a really cute picture of my sister Kath sporting one. But mostly we wore them turned down, bucket style. High Baby Boomer fashion!

Another Navy artifact in our house was my father’s Bluejacket’s Manual, the handbook for U.S. Navy personnel that everyone in the Navy is issued. I have no idea what was in it, as you couldn’t actually take a look. What this thick, hardcover book was used for was to prop up the broken leg of a twin bed in the girls’ room that had been broken when we were jumping back and forth between beds.

Finally, for some odd reason, it’s also National Yorkshire Pudding Day.

Not to be confused with a dessert, Yorkshire Pudding is a traditional English dish similar to a popover made from a batter and usually served with roast meat and gravy.

Sounds like something that could be really scrumptious or god-awful. But I won’t be confusing it with a dessert. And speaking of desserts, tomorrow is National Dessert Day. Now you’re talkin’…

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Adulting is so hard…

I, for one, am delighted that the Millennials have replaced the Baby Boomers as the largest generational cohort. I realize that’s because we’re not just graying and fraying, we’re starting to die off. (Even if we weren’t dying off, even at our peak, there were never as many millions of us a there are Millennials.) Anyway, in terms of every other age cohort heaping on, despising us, making fun of us, etc., I’m guessing that there’s safety in declining numbers. Any day now, we’ll be cute. Lovable, even. People will forget to curse us for environmental depredation, the decline of the defined benefit pension plan, and Donald Trump. They’ll even start thanking us for liking the Beatles, turning Levis into an everyday garb, and organic oranges. And, of course, they’ll start dumping on the Millennials with greater vigor and relish than they now display when that generation’s name is mentioned.

Thus, I quite enjoyed a recent WSJ article on the “remedial education” that the Millennials require in order to attend to what used to be pretty ho-hum, everyday tasks.

Scotts Miracle-Gro offers gardening lessons that include tips “like making sure sunlight can reach plants.” (That or accept the fact that their garden will only be able to grow impatiens.) Scotts and other companies have had to act because:

This generation, with its over-scheduled childhoods, tech-dependent lifestyles and delayed adulthood, is radically different from previous ones. They’re so different, in fact, that companies are developing new products, overhauling marketing and launching educational programs—all with the goal of luring the archetypal 26-year-old…

Companies such as Scotts, Home Depot Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s West Elm and the Sherwin-Williams Co. are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color. (Source: Wall Street Journal, which requires a subscription – that or having your sister ask your brother-in-law to cut and paste the article and scoot it over to you.)

I’ll be the first to admit that when I was in my twenties, I could have used some advice from Sherwin-Williams when I went to pick the paint for my apartment’s bathroom. What I thought was going to be a soft coral turned out to be the same nasty pinky-orange that cheap plastic baby dolls used to come in. Painting over with a nice neutral beige worked just fine. But where would I have learned to pick a paint color? Not the place where I learned to “mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, [and] hammer a nail”. My parents did wallpaper, so what I learned is how to look through a wallpaper book, okay? Other than that, like most Boomers (especially the older sibs of the female variety), I was more of less live-in help.

I learned how to to clean (dust and dust mop; vacuum; toilets, sinks, tubs, mirrors; scrub a floor; swab out a fridge; etc.). I learned how to do laundry (sort first), and, of course, how to iron. How to sew on buttons, hem a skirt, and make minor repairs. How to hang a picture and wire a lamp. What a tape measure is used for – and how to use one. How to polish shoes.

Unlike my sisters, I’m not much of a cook. I gravitated towards baking, which I’m pretty good at. But I know the cooking basics, and am plenty handy with a paring knife. I even know how to do things that no one needs to know in this day and age, like crack walnuts without damaging the pieces.

Unlike the folks that Scotts is coaching, I know how to weed and how to water plants.

I will admit that, when it comes to cleaning, I’m with the Millennials, who, according to P&G:

clean their homes differently from older generations. “We find that the younger generation is a bit more crunched for time and less likely to do a big, deep clean,” says Kevin Wenzel, an associate brand director for P&G’s North America surface care business.

Instead, millennials are more likely to clean as needed, which P&G calls “maintenance” cleaning. Swiffer advertisements this year highlight how its mops and dusters help “in the moment.”

In truth, some of the Millennials I know have pretty decent practical skillsets. They wouldn’t have picked that sad-ass bad baby doll color for the bathroom wall.

Still, interesting to read that, while “the kids” were growing up, a lot of them never learned how to mop a floor. (Ah, when I was a girl…)


And a big Pink Slip thanks to my sister – and fellow child indentured servant – Kath for this one.