Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chock Full O' Rants

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I haven't been writing. No - not just not writing, I've felt like I can't write - like it's physically impossible for me to sit down and bang out anything - even what I ate for lunch - on the keyboard.

First I decided that it's because (sadly) my writing is rage-driven. Take me out of the classroom and you take away my rage and then: I got nothin' to say. But then I realized: I'm a very anxious, easily agitated person and I always have rage. Since I stopped teaching, the rage has become more widely dispersed. Instead of rage with all the focus of a laser beam, which is what I had when I was teaching, I have rage that is more like a goopy fog - sort of settling on everything in a thin layer. I can write about that. Who doesn't like to hear a crazy lady rant about every little thing that bugs her? (Wait, don't answer that.) Lately so much has been irritating me (big and small) that I think I've gotten to the point where I can't not write. It's a matter of preserving what little sanity I have left. Hence, I give you what I hope is the first small rant of many: The absolutely ridiculous fuckwits who came up with this list:

A preface: Mr. J. and I have both been on edge a bit lately about money – who knew insulation was so expensive? (Listen folks - if you live in a seventy-plus year old house, you think insulation in the attic is a luxury. And then you have your first night that's below 25 degrees and you realize it's about as much of a luxury as air. At least if you intend to climb out of bed from under two down comforters. And if you don't enjoy sleeping in a long sleeve shirt, a sweater and a hoodie with the hood pulled up. Not that I don't enjoy it, but the first time you wake up because you're suffocating it's kind of a buzz kill.) Plus, with the holidays, blah, blah, blah. Nothing that anybody else isn’t going through right now who isn’t named Rockefeller or Kennedy. That’s not what irritated me. Yesterday I was on the Internet looking for “cost-saving tips” and things like that. The first one I found was from Yahoo! Finance (I think. Or some financial magazine that links to Yahoo!). Who in GOB’s name is writing these and who is their audience? On the one hand, I never pay any attention to those “Make your own clothes”-type lists, because that ain’t gonna happen. It’s just not. This one was obnoxious and annoying in the opposite extreme:

Just a few little lifestyle changes and you’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save!!! Here are our fabulous tips:

  1. Instead of getting your massage every week, get it every other week. Who is reading this? If you’re getting massages every week, do you really NEED cost-cutting tips? Me thinks not.
  2. Buy a used car instead of a new one! Done. Done, done, done. Is seven years old “used” enough for you people? Perhaps I should just build my own car out of old orange juice cans and sticks.
  3. Do your own landscaping or mow your own lawn instead of paying someone. Yeah, okay. I guess I’ll have to fire the lawn boy. Too bad because he was hot - just like that kid from Desperate Housewives.
  4. Go to matinees instead of evening movies. Let’s see . . . the last time I actually went to the movie theatre would have to be . . . I think I saw a movie in the theatre this summer, largely because I wanted to get out of the un-air conditioned house. Before that, I think I saw The Devil Wears Prada in the theatre. We rent DVDs and half the time I borrow them from the library.
  5. Keep your thermostat just a few degrees cooler in the winter and just a few degrees warmer in the summer. Well, we keep ours at 67 degrees. Is that “cool enough” for you, asshats? Did I mention that when we did have A/C we kept it at 80 degrees? That’s right, eighty degrees. As in, “What’s the point of having A/C” eighty degrees.
  6. Oh – and one that is not going to happen anytime soon: Stop coloring your hair! Gray is in. Yeah. I want to see the massage-getting, movie-theater-attending, new car driving woman who is also going to let herself go gray to save a few bucks. I’m guessing this list was written by a man.
  7. Don’t go to Starbucks every morning: Bring your own coffee. Who in the hell goes to Starbucks every morning?? If you go to Starbucks every morning, I am happy for you. As much as I love, love, LOVE my Pumpkin Spice latte, can't do it every day of the week.
  8. And one of my personal favorites: When you go out to dinner, eat dessert at home. Also, when going out to dinner have your first glass of wine at home. Well, considering Mr. J. and I usually go to places called “Bruce's Roadside Grill” or “The Corner Diner”, there’s not a whole lot of dessert-eating going on, period. Besides, other than never leaving our house, can we really save on a $20 dinner for two? (Mr. J. doesn’t drink.) Do we want to?
  9. Trade in your gas-guzzling SUV for a smaller more fuel-efficient car. Listen, peeps: I could not drive a smaller car unless I bought the McJunior Volkswagon Beetle/clown car you see at the circus. I am currently blessed enough to have a 12 mile commute to work and allowed to work from home 1-2 days a week. Although it might make sense for me to trade in my clown car for a bicycle and pedal to work in the freezing rain/ice/sleet/wintry mix, I do have to draw frugal the line somewhere. When I start using leaves I find in the backyard as a reasonable and free substitute for toilet paper maybe I'll think about it.

Who are these people? Is this how most Americans live? I’m mystified. Do you have any cost-saving tips I could actually, I don't know, use!??!?!!?

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Blogger Beej said...

I love it when the weight loss tips are equally silly. Like when they suggest you not drink whole milk anymore. Who the hell is drinking whole milk???

December 11, 2007 2:46 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

OMG - Beej! I posted about that exact same thing way back when. And boy was my face red! Apparently a LOT of people drink whole milk! Zoinks - who knew?

December 11, 2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

A massage every week? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Ohhh, I wish.

I found that I do a little bit of impulse buying every time I go to the drug store, so instead of going every time I forget something I try to keep a running list and go once a week. I know, it's dumb, but unless it's really urgent it can usually wait. Also, return my library books in a timely manner because the fines add up.

That's the best I got. Don't have a lawn, a car or a thermostat...

December 11, 2007 5:47 PM  
Blogger J.E.M.S. said...

Some of my cost-saving tips would be too sad (grad school life, you know). The only respectable ones I have are to order your coffee in bulk from Grounds For Change (this assumes you aren't already saving by drinking Folger's or something), shop at crappy grocery stores so that the food doesn't look so nice, grow your own herbs (they're one of the most expensive parts of any food budget), and try to befriend the humble lentil.

December 11, 2007 8:38 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Other ideas? Hmmm...

- Raise the deductibles on your insurance if you haven't already
- Cook in bulk and freeze meals for later

But frankly, there are two ways to fix money problems - spend less and earn more. Sometimes the latter is the better approach. Can you pick up an online adjunct slot somewhere? w

December 11, 2007 10:44 PM  
Blogger mex (aka Syb) said...

ooo.. i jnow where yr comin from too... try retiring.. but i would rather eat bologna than go back to the pokey.. it gets better .. as in you get more adept .. at saving pennies.. resusing sandwich bags.. spicing up leftovers (3rd) day.. so they look like a new meal.. turning water spigots off ASAP.. instead of letting them run... Stuff I used to think was miserly, but now is life

December 12, 2007 8:40 AM  
Blogger flossie said...

On your next pleasure trip on Singapore Air Lines, instead of choosing the first-class luxury suite, fly just regular first class instead.


December 12, 2007 9:04 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I agree, those are ridiculous. I've never in my life had a massage, other than the two minute one the chiro does before snapping my spine back into place and insurance pays for that one. I drive a 14 year old vehicle. And while it is an SUV, my 12 block commute doesn't really make it a money saving venture to buy something smaller and newer. Like you we do our own landscaping and haven't been to a movie since Shallow Hal was released. Our thermostat is set at 67 during our waking hours and 62 when away or asleep. My one luxury is coloring my hair and I only do that three times a year or so (it really should be done more often), but at $60 for a cut, color (highlights and lowlights) and style, I'm not saving much by discontinuing that nasty little extravagance.

December 12, 2007 10:55 AM  
Blogger Saradevil said...


I actually do make my own clothes. And let me tell you something. It is not that much cheaper than buying stuff off the rack. Plus nothing pisses you off more than spending thirty dollars on fabric for a sweater and having the sweater turn out to look like absolute crap. Talk about a waste of cash.

My money saving tip:

Shower together; saves water.

December 12, 2007 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

teacher-lady, are you kidding?? i totally want to hear about all your rants!! and i also need to give much love to flossie for that amazing tip. i now realize the error of my ways.

December 13, 2007 12:51 AM  
Blogger SaraJ said...

Here are a few cost saving tips from another person irritated with the whole "cost savings tips for the extra stupid" thing:
1) grocery shop with coupons (seriously)
2) when hiring contractors, ask if they will allow you to serve them lunch instead of taking lunch completely off (this worked when getting kitchen repairs and it took 2 days instead of 3)
3) Ace hardware, not Home Depot or Lowes (seriously lower prices on just about everything)

that's about it.

December 16, 2007 5:25 AM  
Blogger Aunt Jo said...

You are hilarious!

December 17, 2007 12:02 AM  
Blogger DrSpouse said...

Glad you found those ridiculous because I would have said "oh, it's just an American thing".

We have a Victorian house but, being in the UK, it's stone built not (as I assume yours is) wood built. It is still very very draughty and we are working hard on the insulation. We have sheepswool insulation in the roof (it was more expensive than fibreglass but as we were putting it in ourselves, we wanted something that wouldn't kill our lungs and skin).

We have put a plastic product called Stop G-p in between the floorboards, and spray foam in bigger gaps in the walls etc. We are getting double glazing (replacement windows but wooden not plastic frames) though that is not really going to be a saving!

As far as money saving goes, I buy most of my clothes on sale, but I try to stick within my "pocket money" for my clothes, and I'm a regular at the charity shops. I do make my own clothes for style/fit rather than cost, but this means I can alter things I buy, get the long trousers that are on sale even though I'm short, put a flower over a stain on a t-shirt etc.

We get a lot of stuff from our equivalent to freecycle, we cook almost everything from scratch (currently having a pizza argument!) and eat what's in season here (lots of carrots, parsnips and turnips at the moment...).

We do buy a lot of organic but organic carrots from the local delivery scheme are cheaper than non-organic air-freighted broccoli in winter!

January 24, 2008 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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April 08, 2009 1:27 AM  

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