Questions You Asked

Last week I looked at my husband and declared in a flat voice that was barely my own, “I’m not okay.” He nodded and didn’t try to comfort me, never asked for an explaination, and simply said, “I see.”

He is perfect. Those moments were perfect.

Nothing was wrong with me, I’m not sad or depressed. I was neither happy nor excitable. I’m bored, disinterested, and very generally not okay some days. I suspect this malaise has hit all of us during these months at home.

I very well may be the luckiest woman I know, because those four seconds of speaking, followed by five or more minutes of silent compassion were healing. Things are not okay in our city, in our country, and in our world. But for a few moments things were okay here in our home.

I’m missing busyness and routine. We moved a few months before Covid hit, and we are three picture frames and one paint touch up away from making this house our own. Now what?

In March we all had lofty goals. Stuck at home? Great! I’ll write that novel, take that math class, clean the garage…. By April we all knew it wouldn’t happen, we were on twitter scrolling and hoping this nightmare would end. By May we we knew it wouldn’t. June came and went, July, August, is it really September? I’ve read so many books, but do I remember the words?

The hardest part of an exercise regimen is getting started. I’ve diligently exercised my body, but not so with my brain. I have no content, no meaningful interactions with the world outside these walls, so I’ll share with you the questions that have been asked of me this week.

I need a luxury gift for a writer. Something over the top.

Everyone knows you need a solid pair of bougie mules to write in so Hermès or Gucci should do. Hermès is better, only people who shop Hermès will know the brand, if you’re writing a good book this is your brand, if you’re writing schlock go Gucci. I will joyfully read both books, I will giddily wear both shoes. An Hermès shawl is always a great gift, please send me this one.

Everyone should have a pen they love. If you’re me there’s a collection of Ultra Fine Point Sharpies on your desk. I love using pastel colors. I don’t love to see pastels when I’m reading but each morning I print out the New York Times Crossword Puzzle and Monday through Wednesday I attack the puzzle with a black pen. Thursday through Sunday I start with a light-colored pastel and as my mistakes are corrected I change to increasingly dark colors.

I can do the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink every day of the week. It’s a point of pride for me, and it’s an absolute cheat and a completely misleading statement, thank you for taking that journey with me.

Do not buy your friend Sharpies if you’re looking for a luxury gift. Buy them a Montblanc pen. There are other luxury options, but this is safe, this is classically elegant, this is what your hand wants to hold.

Which car should my 25 year old child lease?

Your child, and every person on earth, should start their car shopping journey at IIHS.org. Yes, there are other organizations that rate automobiles for safety, but IIHS is the only one with skin in the game. IIHS is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the ratings they do are used to determine the cost to insure a vehicle. Please tell me any other group that cares as much how injured a person or product will be?

I’ve had fantastic experiences with BMW and Lexus leases over the years, but fiscally they are terrible decisions. The BMW 3 and 5 series are two of the most perfect vehicles ever made and leasing them was not a good fiscal decision, although at the time it was a good lifestyle decision. I did remedy this and buy a used 328 a few years ago. It now has 70,000 miles on it, and although the Bluetooth is imperfect, everything else is fantastic. Although the maintenance is not as inexpensive as a Korean or Japanese import, it is modest. The cost to insure might be high in your 20’s.

If your 20 something is on a budget (they should be) I love the look of the 2020 Kia Forte and the Mazda 3 is always a good decision. Both should be very reasonable leases, but make sure your kids are educated about what a lease is, and what their obligations are.

The real answer is that no one should lease a car, but we all do, because we’re lazy and gluttonous. I’m not throwing stones, I’m just showing you that stones exist.

Who do you go to for laundry advice?

Not me!

I shrunk my husband's sweater in the laundry now it looks like it's for a small child

But Traci is pretty great at it.

traci manettas cleans her tennis shoes

Here’s a screengrab of my HELP ME texts with Traci. Luckily for Broccoli Traci’s tips worked with WD40 and Dawn, and I didn’t have to ask for a cat taco recipe. There is one tiny black spot left on the fabric, more than I’d like, but less than I expected.



Hi! You gave me great advice on shoes, how are you on duvet covers? This one is three days old and we have two neighbors building new homes and it appears that broccoli brought tar into the house. And yes. I splurged. It wasn’t the $750 one I really wanted but it was out of budget.


And if you don’t know how to get roofing materials off of luxury linens, maybe you have a good recipe for fried cat. I can even do kitty tacos if necessary with some Tex Mex spices. 

Oh holy shit!! Broccoli!!

I’d put an absorbent fabric under the stain and try to blot out with dawn dish soap first. Then escalate to wd40 or the like lubricant. I’ve got one I love….I’ll go look up the brand.  

Perhaps tomorrow we will discuss gender reveal parties, and how perfectly dreadful they are in every possible way.

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