January 25, 2011

More Crappy Day Presents

This tip has saved me so many times: When you take something off a hot burner, immediately cover the burner with a teakettle. Not only does this make it less likely that something else (dish towel, child's hand) will carelessly touch the burner, but if you accidentally left the burner ON, the whistle of the kettle will alert you. Once I even took the whistling kettle off the burner, shaking my head at my dimminess, refilled the kettle, put it back on the hot burner, and it boiled and whistled AGAIN. ...No, I didn't. That was a lie to make the story better. But still, it is a GREAT TIP. I don't know where I first heard it---it's one of those tips that seems to go around and around.

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Mouse (the cat) has peed on our bed three mornings in a row now. I am not kidding when I say it takes me ALL DAY to process the bedding, from the first rinse-and-then-vinegar-soak-and-then-vigorous-wash-cycle load in the morning until I take the last blanket out of the dryer as we're getting ready for bed. So to wake up and find that it needs to be started all over again is...uh.

This experience has re-emphasized to me the awesomeness of Doing My Best's Crappy Day Presents idea. This morning, waking up to the cat making skritchy "covering" noises, I could barely make myself get up (line of thought: "Well, she peed on PAUL'S side, so it's safe to sink into a debilitating depression on MY side")---but as I was heading for the shower I thought, "I will open a present!" Well, I didn't have the exclamation point on there yet: it was more like "I will open a present." I thought of it the whole time I showered, and as I made coffee, and as I stuffed the comforter into the washing machine for its third trip in three days.

Normally when the ingredients of a crappy day have assembled themselves, the odds of a friend HAPPENING to send me a package on THAT VERY DAY are so slim (though it HAS happened to me before, and did I ever tell you about the time Black Sheeped and I coincidentally sent each other care packages which ARRIVED ON THE SAME DAY?)---but having a present ALREADY ON HAND means the coincidence can be forced!

This morning I opened a present marked "moderate," but I feel confident you will agree with me that FOUR HANDMADE HATS is in no way "moderate." (Which was a happy coincidence, because I think I was under-choosing by choosing moderate anyway.) She made matching hats for me, Elizabeth, Niestle, and my sister-in-law! My picture doesn't do a good job of showing the pretty wavy trim.

(Note the shorter haircut Elizabeth requested.
I'd never cut it so short before and was very nervous.)
(Luckily I didn't end up needing to shave it and start over.)


I'll show you too the gift I opened several days ago. This one was marked "minor," but I think maybe Rachel is better at choosing presents than she thinks:


A reusable See's Candies bag!! I will use this CONSTANTLY.

26 comments:

Stephanie said...

Blergh, cat pee. Dealing with that has started off many a bad day in my house. But on the bed...oh dear, that would break my spirit.

Nowheymama said...

Hmm. Maybe I should make *myself* some crappy day presents. Then I would have had one to open yesterday.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I am so inspired by this crappy day presents thing. I heard of a blog friend having a rough time lately and went out and bought ingredients for three presents... And now all I have to do is mail them! It's so much fun shopping for someone! Especially when your sole purpose is to make their day a little brighter!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

ALSO I am sorry about the repeated cat pee incidents. That sounds awful. I hope some sort of resolution can be come by, or at least some sort of pee truce.

Also ALSO the hat is very pretty!

Erin said...

Sorry to hear that you're also dealing with the cat pee issue. Just sank $1300 into tests that originally misdiagnosed kidney failure in my kitty, only to find out that she's perfectly healthy but has developed a peeing on beds and couches habit for no apparent reason. Sigh. And yes, it does take ALL DAY to wash bedding, and I too have had to do it 3 days in a row. Wish I had some crappy day presents right about now...

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

On the off chance that someone else doesn't suggest this- have you taken Mouse to a vet to see if a baldder infection or UTI is the problem? I know our cats can be jerks, but three days in a row peeing on the bed might be Mouse trying to tell you something. Good luck!

Nik-Nak said...

I commend you for dealing with the kitty issue. I had a house cat when I was but a wee lass. Only the kitty didn't live in our home long because he liked to pee on the same spot and totally ruined the carpet. Mama didn't tale to kindly to that but I believe he loved the outdoors more anyway. Oh and all this talk of chocolates you are doing is ruining my no sweets rule! Lol

Leeann said...

Love that picture of Elizabeth. She is such a little doll baby. Cute hat, too!

You are a clearly better person than I regarding the peeing on the bed. I do believe after day two (worst case, day 3) Mouse would then be sleeping in a pet carrier at night. I'd put lots of comfy towels in but those are much easier to wash than ALL the bedding, day after day!

Doing my best said...

Well, I marked the hats "moderate" because I wasn't sure if you particularly like hats or if the color/style would be something you'd like (although I knew you liked pink and I thought the matching part would be fun!), and I wasn't sure if the bag would end up being "Oh, I love reusable bags + I love See's Candies = Great idea!" or "Thank you very much for reminding me VERY CLEARLY that there is NO SEE'S CANDIES where I live!!" I'm glad it ended up on the "great idea" side; I'd hate to make anyone's day WORSE with a Crappy Day Present =)!

There can be a little stress with giving people Crappy Day Presents if you are a worrier/over-analyzer like I am =), but, so far, in every case, the person's joy at being thought of/receiving an unexpected, fun gift has outweighed any nervousness on my part!

So sorry about Mouse =(!

(Hee, hee, my daughter, who tried the hats on MULTIPLE TIMES while I was making them so I could get the right size, did not notice the HAT in the picture but she did notice your cute daughter and the magnets on your fridge that are the same as ours =)!)

d e v a n said...

Cute model!

I can imagine that having to wash the bed 3x in a row is daunting. geez

AnneMeg said...

I had not heard that about the tea pot. We almost never put anything to sit on our stove because in our first apartment when we got married the pilot burners were right under there and always on and anything you put down might slowly smolder. Our cat even singed her tail a few times on that stove...HOWEVER. My children are getting taller and THEY never lived in that old apartment, so it is worth doing I think!

Marie Green said...

I love the hats! What a great solution for a crappy day, indeed!

Christine said...

Ugh to the cat pee. It's just so overwhelmingly disgusting. Enzyme cleaner is the only way to get the cat pee out (or at least my cat's pee out.) Yuck.

Elizabeth looks like she's 18. Where did the little girl go? I do happen to like her sassy new do though:)

Christina said...

The way you describe stuff makes me think I'M there. Like, I was totally under the covers hearing the scratch scratch covering noise, heart sinking feelings when you realize groggily what it was.

And that pic of Elizabeth is adorable! I love the new haircut!

Anonymous said...

Here is a special crappy day present just for you: I took a pregnancy test this morning. Two lines!

Saly said...

I **LOVE** Elizabeth's hair.

I need to build up a crappy day reseve over here, man. Indeed.

Swistle said...

Anonymous!! I got neck chills, and happy tears SPRANG to my eyes!

cindy kay said...

That is a cute hat, and also a cute haircut!

Nellyru said...

Holy Crow but that is a freakin' adorable picture of Elizabeth!!

SIL Anna said...

Cats.
Enough said.

Superjules said...

OMG that pic of Elizabeth is too cute! Crappy day presents rule!

Sam said...

I would like to lick the bag. Right now.

Cherie Beyond said...

Here's question, Ms. Swistle. I love the Crappy Day present idea and, on my way to work this morning, it occurred to me that this was the perfect solution to the question: what should I do for a coworker who is currently in treatment for breast cancer. I can't think of a better thing than a small grouping of present to open on days that seem insurmountable.

But. BUT. This is my first experience dealing with cancer in someone relatively close to me. And I didn't know if you, or your readers, who have all shown through experience to be way more thoughtful than me, have any specific ideas for what might be particularly soothing, comforting, or cheering for someone in this situation. I'm thinking nice lip balms and lotions and...uh. Yeah. That's all I got. I don't know if food is appealing at this time of life, so I certainly don't want to torment her if it's not.

She is now post-surgery and that's about all I know. She's a coworker, is on leave, and is fairly private, so my insight into exactly what she's undergoing is pretty limited.

Thoughts? Anyone? Anyone?

Doing my best said...

Cherie,
Well, the only cancer-specific present I can remember hearing about is soft, thick (as opposed to lacey) hats for those who have lost their hair during chemo. I would be happy to make one for you/her if you could tell me a color! Maybe you could google "presents/gifts for cancer patients" and see if there are any good ideas you could work with. I haven't ever gone through cancer treatment, but I have suffered from severe nausea for an extended period of time; I was always looking for something that sounded appetizing so I could try to eat at least a little of something, so *I* would have enjoyed a little food something that didn't need to be eaten right away and came with a little note saying something like: "I hope this looks yummy to you, but, if not you can save it for later/feed it to your kids/throw it away! Let me know if it does work for you and I'd be happy to bring more!"
These are the suggestions I would have for a person wanting to do crappy day presents for someone: Think of what you are good at--shopping, painting, card making, crocheting, knitting, organizing, sewing, baking, playing with children--ANYTHING you are good at, and keep that in mind during the rest of the process in case you can use something you are good at to help with your crappy day presents. Then, think of any helpful piece of information you might have about your person: do you know her favorite color, or have you noticed she brings/orders a certain thing for lunch quite often, or has she ever mentioned that she has a cow/sunflower/apple/rooster/americana/bird theme in her kitchen/living room/bathroom, or has she ever mentioned that she likes to bake/read/do crossword puzzles/take bubble baths, does she live by herself (and maybe could use some help with someone bringing her basic groceries so she doesn't have to go out) or does she have a family (and might appreciate something to keep her kids occupied while she isn't feeling good)....think of ANYTHING you know about your person that might help you pick something out. Is it cold where you live? Would she like a soft, cozy blanket/throw/shawl? Then, think back to the things you are good at, and see if you can think of a way to use what you are good at to find gifts for her; if you thought she would use them, you could make little "coupons" that can be redeemed for something you can do: babysitting her kids, running to the store for milk/eggs/bread, a loaf of fresh bread, a batch of cookies, a batch of soup, dinner for her family some night so she doesn't have to cook, cleaning a bathroom, ect...be creative! Even if you don't feel like you can think of anything amazing, I can't imagine that she wouldn't be cheered up that someone cared enough to bring her a bag/basket/box of brightly wrapped, mysterious little packages!
If you email Swistle, she can give you my email address if you think I can help you with anything...and, you know, my book-length comment wasn't enough =).

velocibadgergirl said...

Boo hiss to cat pee, times a thousand! But I love the idea of Crappy Day Presents.

Cherie Beyond said...

Thanks, DMB. These are really great ideas.