Losing it.

The boat launch went fine, thanks for asking. It was freezing — mid-40s — but ah well. The marina is under new ownership, and have deprived the main guy who handles this, Pete, of his assistant, so I had to be there. But no major mishaps.

While Pete and I were pulling the mast this way and that so Alan could attach the shrouds, we talked a little bit about this phase of life. (We’re all the same age, give or take.) He said he and his wife had unloaded a big house on a very nice street, and were now living aboard their boat at the same marina, and liking it more than they ever thought they would.

A big part of it, he emphasized, was “getting rid of all our shit.”

I thought of this while some of you were talking in comments about your own shit, or your parental shit, or all the other shit that gets dumped on you as you age. Pete said nothing felt as good as personal shit-liquidation, selling all the furniture and gewgaws and collectibles and other stuff that once seemed so important. Watching it go out of the house during the estate sale, he said, was liberating. “You don’t know how tied down you are until you get rid of it,” he said.

Caitlin Flanagan, a writer I often find myself at odds with, watched “Nomadland” recently and came up with this observation:

The make-or-break moment for the viewer is right at the top; if you’re the kind of brute who doesn’t enjoy watching a woman in late middle age poke around her storage unit, you should take your leave. Personally, I could have watched an entire movie on that subject alone. You spend your whole life accumulating things, and then they end up in a storage unit, slowly losing their charge of sentiment and memory and transforming into a bunch of junk. Fern is there to pick out what she will bring with her on the journey. In the end, she chooses the least practical thing of all: a box of china, white with a pattern of red leaves on the rim. That’s not the last of that china I’ll be seeing, I thought to myself, and I was spot-on.

Since Alan stopped working, I’ve been on my own smaller-scale shit-liquidation purge, and I’m making progress. Last week I dragged pretty much all my Fort Wayne ephemera to the curb, including all my newspaper clips and, comically, my journalism awards. I saved some photographs, but will probably go through those and pitch a lot of them, too.

But some things cry not yet. The doll bed I played with as a child and Kate, not so much — I can’t get rid of it yet. Some of her crib bedding, ditto. A couple of her favorite stuffed animals.

And god, so many books. Books are one of those things you’re supposed to be happy to purge, but after I cleaned up the basement enough to make it my pandemic gym, I shelved and dusted all the books down there and thought: Can’t get rid of these. I love many of them too much. But on the same shelf are many 78 RPM records from Alan’s dad’s collection, and god knows why we still have those.

For the next move, I guess we’ll grapple with all of this. For now, I’ll settle for slimming down.

Speaking of female writers I often find myself at odds with, do you know how much it pains me to say, “Mona Charen is right?” A lot. And yet:

Today, we stand on the precipice of the House Republican conference ratifying this attempt to subvert American democracy. They are poised to punish Liz Cheney for saying this simple truth: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.” In her place, they will elevate Iago in heels, Elise Stefanik, whose claim to leadership consists entirely of her operatic Trump followership.

Let’s be clear: The substitution of Stefanik for Cheney is a tocsin, signaling that the Republican party will no longer be bound by law or custom. In 2020, many Republican office holders, including the otherwise invertebrate Pence, held the line. They did not submit false slates of electors. They did not decertify votes. They did not “find” phantom fraud. But the party has been schooled since then. It has learned that the base—which is deluded by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin—believes the lies and demands that Republicans fight. As my colleague Amanda Carpenter put it, the 2024 mantra is going to be “Steal It Back.”

If Cheney must be axed because she will not lie, then what will happen if Republicans take control of Congress in 2022 and are called upon to certify the Electoral College in 2024? How many Raffenspergers will there be? How many will insist, as Pence did, that they must do what the Constitution demands? How many will preserve any semblance of the rule of law and the primacy of truth?

Well, if we have to flee, I hope Canada will take us. If not, Mexico is warmer and has livelier food. And there’s always Europe, although I don’t think they can accommodate that many refugees. Maybe we’ll stay here and be the resistance. Works for me.

Happy Wednesday. A pic in parting, as another boating season begins:

Posted at 4:02 pm in Current events, Movies, Same ol' same ol', Stuff reduction |

77 responses to “Losing it.”

  1. AnnH said on May 11, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Don’t ask me what it is with men and their music collections. We got rid of all of Bill’s LPs when we sold the house in 2006, many of them going to a young Loyola student who was thrilled to have them. But from time to time Bill will hear something–usually on SiriusXM–and say “I had that record. I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of all those records.” So when this last move came I wasn’t a bit surprised that he had no interest at all in ditching the hundreds of CDs he’s since accumulated–and never plays. For Christmas he asked for, and got (not from me), more CDs, mostly soundtracks he’d once had on LP. He’s opened one of them and played it once. The rest are still sitting on the table where he put them down after he opened them. The ones we moved, needless to say, remain in boxes in the garage. Ah well. We have a big garage.

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  2. alex said on May 11, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    Fuck Mona Charen and fuck Liz Cheney too. Neither of them has any standing to preach about lying.

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  3. Julie Robinson said on May 11, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Today I threw out my high school graduation watch. It was a Seiko, modern for its time with its chunky gold band and navy face, when most women’s watches were dainty tiny things. But it hasn’t worked for 25 years, and the online repair estimate was $290, so out it went.

    D has all kinds of those awards tchotchkes, including a huge heavy crystal swoopy thing he was given at retirement. Probably cost hundreds; can’t even be recycled.

    And my mother is weeping over old buttons, and yes, her beautiful china with silver rims that has to be handwashed. Not to mention the tuba and the piano. And the 15 I kid you not sets of bedding.

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  4. David C said on May 11, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    We did “Let’s look around and see what we can get rid of” with my parents. We found my grandfather’s old drum kit that dad glommed when we cleaned out our grandparents house 40 years ago. I asked if we could get rid of that and he said playing drums would be cool. He can barely bloody walk and hasn’t touched them in all these years. Then he tried “Are they worth anything?”. No it’s a cheap, probably Sears, kit. I smacked the cymbal and I’ve heard better sounds dropping the lid to a pan on the floor. I almost thought I had him and he says “I think I’ll hold on to it for now”. I looked at my brother, we rolled our eyes, and we pretty much gave up. That’s just how it’s going to be, I’m afraid. We’ll just get a bigger dumpster when we clean out the house some day.

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  5. Mark P said on May 11, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    I see both sides of the saved crap issue. I fully realize that some items left from my parents’ house have no inherent value. But some have an emotional significance to me. My father’s Army uniform, for example. A semi-old desk. A bookcase my father made. They are all basically worthless, but I can’t quite let them go yet. I probably will, eventually, if we ever move. I’ll probably have to find a quiet, secluded corner for a while, but they’ll go.

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  6. Deborah said on May 11, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Books are our downfall. We purged big time when we moved to our tiny place in Chicago, and our microscopic place in Abiquiu allows for only a small amount of possessions, not even books there. The place in Santa Fe is only slightly larger than the Chicago place but it has a garage which has become the catch-all unfortunately. It’s great to have a place to stash stuff for a time and it is amazing how full it gets so quickly. We’re pretty good about periodical purges though, I have no mercy, I throw things away or give them away if they have some life in them, with no compunctions. LB has reservations and tends to have to be convinced about how little room we have and how we’re all getting older. It was my intention to go down to the storage unit in Chicago and purge mercilessly during April but I couldn’t bring myself to spend time in the catacombs when the weather was finally nice. I should have done it in February, but my head wasn’t there then either.

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  7. Deggjr said on May 11, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    We downsized 7 years ago or so. I might have had 1,500 books. I used to buy 100+ books at a church rummage sales and read most of them. Many years later I could pick up many of the books and remember the passages I liked in those books.

    It was tough but I realized; I would never ever read those books again. Most went to Goodwill. I hope someone else is enjoying them now.

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  8. Sherri said on May 11, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    I have way too much shit, just because I have the space and it’s so much work to get rid of it. When we remodeled the kitchen, I got rid of the wedding china. I decided a while back that the statute of limitations for hanging on to wedding gifts expired at 20 years, and I wasn’t compelled to keep anything I didn’t want beyond then.

    I’m not particularly sentimental, though there are a few things I don’t think I could part with. I have a quilt from my grandmother, and a quilt from someone who was a surrogate grandmother, plus there’s a quilt that will come to me when my folks die that was made by yet another surrogate grandmother, and while none of them are pieces of art, all of them mean something to me. Of course, none of them mean anything to my daughter, who never knew any of those women, and doesn’t remember the clothes that those scraps of material were also used to make. My daughter grew up in a very different world.

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  9. Deborah said on May 11, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    This is hilarious: some anti-vaxxers have become concerned that vaccinated people shed harmful proteins so they’re wearing masks around them and social distancing. I think that’s called incursion.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on May 11, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    MarkP, I think the problem is when every single item is thought of as a priceless possession. It’s particularly common with our parents’ generation since they lived through all the shortages of the Depression and WWII.

    Books were easy for me to let go of because I need large print or audio these days. Plus I have the mindset of a librarian’s kid and I never bought a book I thought I’d only read once.

    I am saving my grandfather’s farm desk and a bookshelf my dad made and a couple of quilts made by my grandma and great great aunt. Those are all very meaningful for me. If my kids don’t want them, they’ll go, and that’s okay with me.

    My husband organized a memory quilt for his folks’ 50th wedding anniversary, one where you send out blocks and have people embroider or whatever on them. It’s beautiful, but not the kind of thing you’d put on your bed, and now no one in the family wants it. They are actually considering cutting it up and sending the squares back to the people who made them. I tell you, possessions are of the devil.

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  11. Deborah said on May 11, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    are you guys having gas shortages where you are? We saw none of that on our drive down here and nothing like that in NM where we are. Where is this happening? If it really is?

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  12. Sherri said on May 11, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Deborah, a pipeline on the east coast is the victim of a ransom ware attack, but my understanding is that shortages at this point are mostly due to panic buying and hoarding.

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  13. LAMary said on May 11, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    A friend in Florida is saying there’s a shortage there. The pipeline doesn’t have anything to do with Florida but there is panic buying. The pipeline serves the NYC metro area, NJ, other states in that part of the coast.
    Correction. It does cover Florida but there is crazy panic buying going on. It’s 17 states in the east.

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  14. Dexter Friend said on May 12, 2021 at 2:25 am

    My younger brother, lifelong bachelor, inherited our parents’ modest very old home and slowly purged 90% of everything. He has no clothes inventory, he keeps a few rotations of clothes and throws everything else out. The old stuff like lp records, vcr tapes, old TVs, vcr machines, books, the parents’ clothing, excess dishes and kitchen ware, the entire contents of Dad’s garage, trashed. I took months just to take Carla Lee’s medications to the drugstore drop-box and dispose of her drawer of underclothes. The kids still won’t come for the claiming of any of her keepsakes like her Bible and jewelry and trinkets.
    I remember the joy I heard on AM station WJR 760 in the 80s mostly when J.P. McCarthy’s boating friends would call and relate their excitement for “put-in” day on Lake St. Clair. I had it in my head that back then the earliest day allowed was May 15. Apparently not anymore, if ever. May 15 also used to be opening day at Cedar Point Amusement Park. In 1987 I rented a huge stretch van and Carla Lee and I took middle daughter and a busload of her school friends there. They had a great time. I was only 37 then but really feeling older…all that walking and spinning around on the rides exhausted me. I don’t attend things like that anymore and have only been to about 3 baseball games in 20 years, and not any since 2012. A friend who is even older than I am wants to go to one game this summer; he’s a rabid White Sox fan. I am noncommittal so far. Since 1963 I have attended about 800 games. Maybe that’s my ration. I never attended any M football games until 1977, then ended up being there for 101 games all told, and 12 road games. I could never negotiate stadium steps again, nor sit on hard benches for hours, no way.

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  15. David C said on May 12, 2021 at 6:04 am

    I’m not completely immune from keeping things I no longer use. I still have my first baseman’s mitt and a couple baseballs. I did give away my infield and outfield mitts. I have a couple hundred CDs and maybe 50 albums. I listen to digital music now so they’re not touched. At least I’m not accumulating more. They’ll likely be pitched next time we move. The only thing I’m getting more of is guitars. I have four and I need (want) two more but that will be it. We’ve moved five times in the 33 years we’ve been married so having to make pack or pitch decisions makes culling easier.

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  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 12, 2021 at 6:47 am

    I’m going to be hearing Roy Scheider all day saying “We’re gonna need a bigger dumpster.”

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  17. alex said on May 12, 2021 at 7:23 am

    I’m supposed to inherit my parents’ house, even though it’s a deteriorating money pit and contains an enormous amount of stuff. My current home doesn’t have room to take in any amount of art, furnishings or heirlooms, so I feel as if I don’t have much of a choice except to move there if I want to keep any of it. But I doubt I’ll have the resources to fix what needs fixing.

    And I tried to have the talk with my dad about driving and he’s in denial. My only hope is that his insurance company will deny coverage after a recent accident that he claims he didn’t cause because he didn’t receive a citation. Neither did the other drivers he turned in front of.

    At least my mom has the good sense to know she can’t drive anymore and is at peace with it. I also hope she has the good sense not to get into a car with my dad.

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  18. Suzanne said on May 12, 2021 at 9:05 am

    We will be moving in a few years, after retirement, and I am already panicking. There is so much stuff in the basement, much of it either stuff the kids had that I saved for when we had grandchildren, which doesn’t appear to be happening for a very long time, if ever. We also have furniture we inherited from my husband’s grandmother because we had the biggest house and had room for it. But when we downsize, I don’t know that we will have room. Our kids both want the bedroom sets that they inherited from great grandma, but neither one has room and little hope of buying a house any time soon.
    Our parents are elderly and Lord only knows what will happen to all their stuff when they go.
    I truly lie awake in bed some nights in a panic about how and where to get rid of all this stuff.

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  19. basset said on May 12, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Just curious, David C, what are the two guitars you still want to get? I still have a Yamaha acoustic that I got at Tom Pickett’s Guitar Gallery in Bloomington in the summer of 73, surprisingly good instrument now that it’s aged some and had the neck thinned down. That and a fairly recent D-18 and a couple of mandolins will be all I need forever.

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  20. JodiP said on May 12, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Thank you everyone for helping me remember to take out our dead TV for recycling!

    We have a moderate amount of stuff we could purge. We plan to move to Portugal in about 9 years, so all of our furnitur–if it’s in good shape–will be donated to a non-profit that provides gently used households goods to unhoused people moving into apartments. Same with a lot of our other stuff. Sure, we could try to sell it, but why?

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  21. David C said on May 12, 2021 at 9:19 am

    I have a Seagull 6-string acoustic, a Fender Stratocaster, a twelve-string electric partscaster, and an Ibanez short-scale bass. I still want a twelve-string acoustic and either an octave mandolin or a bouzouki. I’m leaning toward the mandolin because I prefer the shorter scale.

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  22. Suzanne said on May 12, 2021 at 9:38 am

    House Nazis, uh, I mean Republicans have stripped Liz Cheney of her chair position. They have officially backed der Fuhrer.


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  23. Deborah said on May 12, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I read the TIFG’s statement about Liz and it almost made me puke. I’m no fan of Liz but at least on this issue she is on the right side of history. I hope she keeps fighting and convinces more people to join her. Lots more.

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  24. LAMary said on May 12, 2021 at 11:05 am

    The GOP convention produced no platform other than trump and now it has no principles or foundation other than trump. Gaetz is ok because he kisses trump’s ass. Cheney isn’t because she speaks the truth. Makes perfect sense.

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  25. alex said on May 12, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Better to get booted off the Crazy Train when it’s a fool’s errand trying to steer it.

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  26. Julie Robinson said on May 12, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Alex is right, but it’s a strange day indeed when Liz Cheney is the voice of truth.

    We aren’t selling anything either. So many people helped us when we were young and struggling and it feels good to be able to pay it forward, even though it’s an overused phrase.

    I spent the entire morning at the cardiologist’s with my mom. Her bloodwork has gone into bad numbers so they are starting her on a new medication that has to be injected every two weeks. They are very, very thorough there. An hour was spent reviewing her current meds and teaching me how to give the shot, another hour on nutrition, and another on qualifying for financial assistance for the medicine.

    So of course we went to Arby’s on the way home! Not too much of that in the future. Did you know that one slice of cheese has half the saturated fat you should have for the whole day? Oof.

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  27. LAMary said on May 12, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    The type of cheese would have something to do with that, Julie. If it’s Kraft Singles, yes. If it’s a harder cheese, probably not. To be really careful get the low fat Jarlsberg slices. I like Jarlsberg and low fat is the only sliced option Costco offers. Out of laziness I don’t search other places. Just toss that stuff in the cart with the kibble and paper towels. I also like part skim mozzarella for grilled cheese. We do mozz and kimchi sandwiches. Kimchi and Jarlsberg is good too, but lacks the gooiness you get from mozz.

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  28. Deborah said on May 12, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    S went back to Abiquiu and LB and I went to a new restaurant in Santa Fe for lunch, the food is very good. I had a Cubano sandwich and black beans, LB had a burger with green chiles. We sat inside because it’s a little cool and windy, but it’s quite sunny. On the walk home it smelled divine, someone was burning piñon somewhere. My husband is still getting the cabin shaped up, he did clean out all the critter crap and swears there are no critters hiding anywhere inside. Friday one of my husband’s cousins is coming to visit with his husband out to the cabin, we’re just picnicking and then returning to Santa Fe. I’m going to be spending the rest of the afternoon, hacking away on the vine integrated into the fence. We’ve come up with plan B so there won’t be much more hacking, clawing, chiseling, sawing, clipping and rasping. It makes the yard look horrible right now.

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  29. Julie Robinson said on May 12, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Kraft singles, ptui. But the reduced fat cheese at our Costco is still 3 grams of saturated fat, and she’s supposed to limit herself to 10 for the day. I mean, I figure anything they’re telling Mom is going to apply to me someday too. Might as well start now.

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  30. Deborah said on May 12, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    I sent my right wing sister an email that basically just said, “I’m for Liz Cheney.You?”. I expected her to agree because she says she didn’t vote for Trump. But this is what she responded with, “I’ll let Wyoming decide”. So I then sent this “but Cheney as a leader in the Republican party? That’s not just up to Wyoming to decide. You can have an opinion about that” and she finally said this, “The Republicans in Wyoming have already decided to primary Cheney and communicated to the Republicans in Congress that she doesn’t represent them. Republicans in Congress have no reason to keep her as one of their leaders. However, the voters in Wyoming have to decide for themselves whether they want Cheney to represent them further.”. So I give up.

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  31. beb said on May 12, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    Is this happening to anyone else? We used to get two or three pieces of mail everyday. Mostly junk but there was always something in the mailbox. Lately, though we go three, four days without any mail and then a thick wad then back to no mail for days. Is this some kind of money-saving scheme? Is the the regular letter carrier sick? I can’t image mail has started coming in waves.

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  32. Dorothy said on May 12, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    Julie are your mom’s buttons gone now? If not, if you mail them to me, I could make a crocheted button necklace for her – or for you – just to save some of them in some fashion for her. I haven’t made one in a few years but I have the instructions and have made around a dozen of them ever since I took a class at the quilt store where I worked from 1992-1997. They use about 70-100 buttons – they have to have at least two holes in them, or a shank button works, too. If you want to see pictures of some of the ones I’ve made, I’ll send them to you on Facebook. The first one I made was neutral colors – beige, white, tan, light orange, etc. Then I made one in blue and white buttons because we wore a lot of denim jumpers to work in those days. I have one that is rainbow colors, started with yellow, going all the way around to purple. And I have a fun Christmas one, too.

    We started purging in mid March after our new house design appointment. I know I already mentioned this. I think we’ve donated at least 700 books. I’m going to cut down our Christmas ornaments by at least half. I’m dreading going down there to start it, though. The big problem spot in this house is going to be the garage. My husband is terrible about pitching stuff. I can’t even be devious and sneak some tools out of there, to put aside and donate to Habitat for Humanity. He has an inventory in his brain, I’m sure. He has some tools his grandfather and dad made themselves. I know he won’t toss those out, even though he hasn’t used them in 41 years of marriage. Purging is a mindset. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. Your friend is right – it’s very freeing and feels amazing to see stuff go to help someone else (Habitat) or make the closet thinner because you’re never again going to wear 40-50% of what is in there today.

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  33. Deborah said on May 12, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    We have kind of a built in purge re-uptake in our building, if you put something you want to get rid of in the stairwell where the trash bins are either a maintence person will find it or another person living in another unit. Some fellow residents prowl the trash areas just for finds. Then in the spring the building brings a big dumpster in the alley to get rid of stuff nobody wants. Plus there’s goodwill etc who pick up so it’s fairly easy to get rid of stuff once you decide you don’t want it. We put books we don’t want anymore in the laundry room and they get scooped up in no time.

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  34. Dexter Friend said on May 13, 2021 at 2:13 am

    Kimchi? I like Asian spicy food products but kimchi takes an iron gut. Here’s is how it was made 50 years ago, as told me by an ROK soldier. Cabbage and radish is rolled, along with onions, garlic, and 4 popular Korean spices into special cloth and buried in dirt outside and forgotten about for a long time, then dug up and eaten however you like. I have tried it a few times but my gawd, it’s so pungent and “hot” and the stench…it’s some really nasty shit.

    And so, Liz Cheney is off on a quest to reform the conservatives’ brains as to get them off the trump train. As we know, there is talk of the repugg party being dead, and another party to spring up. I can’t believe it; it seems impossible. And even the Dems are saying the House will flip next year, and I don’t understand how Americans would want thugs and criminals and liars and insurrection deniers running the government, but tricky gerrymandering has enabled repuggs to be able to win districts they normally lose.

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  35. Icarus said on May 13, 2021 at 10:14 am

    For a while, I was doing well selling things on FB marketplace and LetGo/OfferUp. But that seems to have dried up, possibly because of all the Free/Buy Nothing groups. Which is fine for things we just want to get rid of but sometimes you just want or need to recoup some costs.

    And then there are people who will try to talk you down on your already priced to move price…and then they cannot pick it up for a couple of days!

    My new plan for my mom’s crapshack is to grab things and say “oh I can use this” or sneak it into the trash. She has so much junk.

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  36. LAMary said on May 13, 2021 at 10:39 am

    Dexter, There are lots of varieties of kimchi and not all of them are extremely hot. There are lots of Korean grocery stores in LA and they have whole sections of kimchi, all the different vegetable combinations, all the levels of heat. No burying going on. Just fermentation similar to the process used to make sauerkraut. Trust me. I would not eat that stuff you described. And Julie, Kraft singles are what I use to give my dog his meds. Other members of the household like them for cheesburgers. I prefer gruyere myself, but Smokey the 17 year old lab loves Kraft singles and their softness makes it easy to mold a slice or two around a pill.

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  37. Julie Robinson said on May 13, 2021 at 11:27 am


    Meanwhile, at our lad’s birthday celebration, one of the six Japanese Fringe Fest actors currently staying at our Orlando house broke into a little K-Pop.

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  38. Suzanne said on May 13, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve sold a few things on Facebook Marketplace, but more often than not, I get all kinds of inquiries about an item, but then when I respond, I never hear from anyone again. I have sold a few things on Craigslist, too, but have had the same problem of getting responses to the ad and then nothing comes of it. I also think there is a huge glut of stuff out there because the Boomers are dying off or downsizing and the younger set doesn’t want their old stuff. For example, I can’t see either of my children wanting my china when I no longer need it.

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  39. Deborah said on May 13, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    I never got china, never wanted it. We always used everyday stuff even for company. Never got silverware either, just use the same everyday flatware. We have nice glassware from Finland, but we use it everyday too. We have some nice coffeeware, cups and French Press stuff, but again we use it everyday, it’s Italian, Alessi is the brand. LB will probably want the glassware and coffeeware when we’re gone, if it’s not all broken by then.

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  40. LAMary said on May 13, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    My ex got five sets of china, being the only child of two only children. Good on him. I don’t want all that stuff and I doubt very much my sons do.

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  41. David C said on May 13, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    We got wedding china and put it up “for company”. Then most of our everyday stuff broke and we started using the china for every day. The china seems a whole lot tougher than what we used to have for every day. We rarely break any of our china.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on May 13, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    After watching how my parents never used their china, and recognizing I was a casual person, we got Otagiri stoneware. It didn’t come with us because it’s too darn heavy to ship, and anyway the kids have dishes already.

    Does anyone here get their health insurance through the ACA? My insurance company called me to say there are new subsidies available through the American Rescue Plan Act. I hadn’t heard of it, but an hour on the phone with them, and I’m paying $174/month less in premiums. Thank you President Biden and Democrats! I think you go back into your healthcare.gov account, but I’m not actually sure since she did it all over the phone. Go check it out.

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  43. alex said on May 13, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    I have my mom’s old bone china, and an almost endless supply of it. It’s outlasted Corel shit I bought in college that was actually pretty damned tough, which has outlasted anything I bought recently from Target, which gets all chipped up in no time flat.

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  44. David C said on May 13, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Corelle ware is awful stuff. We never had anything else break in the dishwasher from heat stress. The edges chip and it looks terrible.

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  45. Dorothy said on May 13, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    I love CorelleWare. In 1979 I chose the Meadow pattern and got sets as shower gifts. Maybe since I didn’t have a dishwasher until 2002, ours lasted longer. When some broke (i.e. dropped) over the ensuing years, I replaced it with another pattern since Meadow was discontinued. Then about 3 years ago I got a brand new set of 12 dinner plates, etc. in a white and blue pattern. I had tried some ceramic stuff from Kohl’s for awhile, but they were so heavy I decided to give them to my daughter.

    We inherited some Lenox china from a great aunt on my husband’s side and I kept it in boxes for years because we had a small house and no china cabinet to display it. When my sister-in-law died at the age of 40 from colon cancer, my brother decided to reduce his possessions and moved into a smaller house. We bought the dining room set from him, which coincided with our move to Cincinnati in 2002 (DISHWASHER AT LAST!) for next to nothing. And I could finally use the china. I love it. It makes me feel rich when I use it, which is only once or twice a year. When we move it’ll go to our son since he has the room for it (daughter is in an apartment).

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  46. Colleen said on May 13, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    We got Noritake for our wedding. In almost 20 years, we’ve only broken one dish and chipped another. It’s going to last forever. I also have a set of Noritake from the 1950s that belonged to my grandmother. The dinner plates are much smaller than today’s dinner plates.

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  47. Indiana Jack said on May 13, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    Never thought I’d be commenting on china. (China, maybe, but not china.) Then again, I never thought we’d own so much of it. We have a Crate and Barrel set we use day in and day out, a Lenox set that was a wedding present nearly 50 years ago (anniversary June 19), a Royal Doulton set that we inherited from my wife’s aunt, some Wedgwood dessert sets inherited from my family, various specialty sets my wife has picked up from Target for various occasions, and probably a couple of other things I’ve forgotten.
    Our daughters, of course, have no use for any of it.
    On the other hand, we’re still using stainless steel knives, forks, and spoons every day that we acquired with S&H Green Stamps back when I was doing my alternative service in 1970-72.

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  48. basset said on May 13, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Our wedding present china was Otagiri, still using some of it and some is up in the attic brand new, better keep it, we may need it someday.

    Something else table-related: Mrs. B and I had our first slugburger in Corinth, Mississippi today. No china, though, it came wrapped in wax paper.

    (Slugburgers, according to the story we got, started out as a way of stretching meat in hard times – ours was a burger of finely ground pork cut with soy flour. Better than we expected, actually.)

    We went around most of the town looking for Civil War sites and/or being lost, and only saw one rebel flag. A couple more up in southwestern Tennessee on the way home, and that was it for the trip.

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  49. Julie Robinson said on May 13, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    basset, high five for Otagiri! Our pattern was Mariner, how about yours?

    Indiana Jack, I got my stainless silverware by saving Betty Crocker points, starting way back in junior high. I had everyone in the family collecting them for me, and it looks as good as new.

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  50. Suzanne said on May 14, 2021 at 8:05 am

    We have Noritake wedding china, white with a small silver rim. It’s held up well over 40 years. We got Pfaltzgraff everyday dishes, cream color with a brown pattern called Village, I think. They didn’t hold up well at all. Chipped, glaze got funny over time, more chipping. I got rid of them about 20 years ago and replaced with Fiestaware. I love it! It’s very durable and we have all different colors so it something get broken (rare) I don’t have to worry about an exact replacement.

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  51. Suzanne said on May 14, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Sad but not surprising.

    “Only 39% of those who identify as Republicans said it was very important for government to “not interfere with journalists or professional news organizations.”

    “ In the most recent survey, 73% of Democrats favored compromise but only 48% of Republicans.”

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  52. LAMary said on May 14, 2021 at 9:53 am

    I’ve got Williams Sonoma Brasserie for everyday. It’s plain white and very sturdy. One of the the dinner plates has a small chip on the rim. I make sure the perpetrator of that chip gets that plate at dinner time. He does not care. I’ve got interesting bowls of various of different origins. Chinese blue and white soup bowls, blue, orange and white pasta bowls from Australia, some random serving pieces from Sur La Table and Target. And after one of my cats developed what they call Cat Acne I had to find a replacement for the plastic pet food dishes. The vet said no more plastic for the cats and no metal. So my cats eat from Corelle. White with a red rim. So far no broken dishes, one with a tiny chip. The dogs have metal dishes because they are not as sensitive to dish issues as cats, of course.

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  53. Jeff Borden said on May 14, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    The end of American democracy is probably in sight. It was a nice run, but the machinery erected by the Founders has proven it is not up to the task when an entire political party and an entire media infrastructure proclaims up is down, black is white, etc. in its pursuit of absolute power. The party of “small government” has become very fond of fascism and seems to be populated entirely by eunuchs unable to stand for anything other than reelection. We’re watching “The Man in the High Castle” at the moment, Philip K. Dick’s reimagining of America if the Axis had won the war. There’s an underground movement in the series. I wonder if I’d have the cojones to fight or would I knuckle under?

    Honestly, I don’t think a lot of Americans would be welcome in large parts of Europe, much less our Canadian cousins. I’ve witnessed enough cringe-worthy “ugly American” behavior on our trips to believe we are widely seen as loud, pushy, arrogant and ignorant. In fairness, I believe Australian tourists are also labeled in that way.

    As a childless couple in our 70s, we should be taking much more aggressive action in ridding ourselves of things, but instead, the piles of books keep growing and the closets are still full, even after numerous trips to Salvation Army. I don’t know how Marie Kondo ever did it.

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  54. Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    We got about three episodes into High Castle; so much darkness, so much violence. Couldn’t finish.

    Kondo is krazy. She’s OCD in the worst way, and someday she’s going to want to have a few things from her childhood or parents, but she got rid of them. Her book worked every last one of my nerves.

    Also working my nerves: packing to move, a surprise two-day visit from the hateful uncle from Iowa, and the construction project.

    The hot water heater had to be removed for a day while they worked, and when they reinstalled it, no hot water. They claim it wasn’t their fault, it was just too old. It was old, and we already had bought the new one, but it’s going in a different place and is a different type (heat pump). So we had to buy a temporary cheapie unit until the new one can go in. Too small, eight people currently at house, no one gets a true hot shower, but it’s something.

    Plumber, who seemingly drops in once a month, comes back to the house and instead of installing the new, new unit, installs the old, old one. Disappears again. Of course, the general contractor is never around and seems to have zero communication with his subs. They come, do things wrong, leave again; or if we’re really lucky our daughter is home and catches that they’re doing something wrong and contractor has to be called.

    This morning, as she’s on her way out the door for an appointment, the plumber shows up with the wrong shower head. We chose an adjustable one like you see in accessible showers, because Mom sits to shower now and may be in a wheelchair someday. The shower was built so you can roll in. Instead he has a fixed head and knows nothing about the other one. Contractor is finally located and doesn’t remember anything either. We have to look online to find one that is available for pickup right now, because God only knows when the plumber will return.

    But supposedly he is installing the correct water heater today.

    Today required four large pieces of chocolate. So far.

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  55. Little Bird said on May 14, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    My dinner plates are honestly from the Dollar Tree, and they’re orange. But my bowls are talavera as are many of my serving dishes and my coffee mugs. My silverware is antique, picked up at a secondhand shop. It’s actually silver plated! We do have William and Sonoma pasta bowls, for some reason there are nine of them. I like to have friends for dinner, so I’ve got enough of pretty much everything to serve at least six people. The only things I want from Deborah are the French press and her cookware, save for a few small specific pieces. I’m absolutely set as things are now.

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  56. David C said on May 14, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    When they rate stressful life events, building or remodeling a house should be right up there with a major illness or a job loss. It’s terrible and I never want to do it again.

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  57. Heather said on May 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Julie @42, I got that extra subsidy too–I think it saved me another $75. However depending on my income this year I may end up having to pay the subsidy back–we’ll see.

    I think I’ve posted about my awesome Pagnossin Audrey dinnerware before–I love it so much, it brings me joy every day. I also have my mom’s china (Noritake in the “Jacqueline” pattern–my mom took her style cues from Jackie O), which yeah, I rarely use. But it’s a nice reminder of holidays growing up and family members who have long since passed. My aunt had a set of Wedgwood china in a beautiful dragon pattern that I desperately coveted–my cousin got it of course.

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  58. Sherri said on May 14, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    Our wedding china was not microwave friendly, so it was not for everyday use. Of course, we got married before microwaves were ubiquitous.

    Several years back, we purged all our old dishes and bought Fiestaware, and I love it. It’s incredibly durable and I love having different colors, and if you don’t mind slight imperfections, it’s easy to pick up pieces on eBay from people who go to the outlets and buy stuff and resell. I’ve been able to get particular dishes I wanted or colors I wanted that way, and the imperfections are usually hard to see.

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  59. Mark P said on May 14, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Julie — You have a terrible general contractor. They are supposed to take care of all of those things

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  60. Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Mark. We know. If I had an hour I’d tell you how hard it was to find one at all.

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  61. LAMary said on May 14, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    My favorite coffee mug holds 20 ounces and has meh written in all lower case on the side.

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  62. Mark P said on May 14, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Julie — I contracted our house about five years ago. It was really (really) hard to find decent trades people. In fact, I ended up with a terrible plumber (cut structure, took months and an engineering report to fix), a sorry hardwood installer, and a mediocre electrician. The framing crew was OK on routine stuff, but simply didn’t frame around an arched window because they didn’t know how. I wonder if there are any good craftsmen around any more.

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  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 14, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    There’s a reason people are obsessed with people like Mike, the hardwood floor guy on “Home Town,” or legendarily Norm the plumber on “This Old House,” who delightfully matured into a host himself. More precious than rubies they are.

    (Mike is okay, by the way, but people worried because he was barely in any shows this past season — Erin explained on Instagram that it was because, sadly, they had very little hardwood flooring to deal with that year.)

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  64. basset said on May 14, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Horizon, Julie. Has held up a lot better than the Noritake Colorwave we replaced some of it with.

    Meanwhile… three separate contractors have promised to come by and look at some woodwork that needs doing on the front porch, not a one has shown up.

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  65. Julie Robinson said on May 14, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    My sister had Horizon. We both liked Otagiri and my dad could get it wholesale.

    Our hot water heater is finally installed, haven’t heard about the rest and don’t care to today. Also heard from hateful uncle who is only coming for one day instead of two. Relief all around.

    Hateful uncle, btw, is married to Mom’s surviving sister and there’s a good chance it’ll be the last time they see each other. I’m being churlish.

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  66. basset said on May 14, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    On a happier note, this:


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  67. Sherri said on May 15, 2021 at 1:00 am

    I have a feeling it’s going to be a nasty wildfire season again.


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  68. alex said on May 15, 2021 at 8:28 am

    The contractor horror stories are scaring me.

    I’m finally 59 and a half years old, ready to roll over some retirement savings penalty-free so’s I can remodel my bathrooms, and now I’m afraid to make the next move because I don’t want to get ripped off by shitty contractors or the suddenly inflated prices of materials that I keep hearing about.

    Seriously considering hiring a designer friend, whom I haven’t even consulted yet, and who’d probably take a big cut, to hire and coordinate the workers.

    I have a large quantity of Italian tile that I purchased years ago for this project back when we thought we’d attempt it ourselves, and I’d still like to use it. On the other hand, it would probably be much less costly and messy to just slap in some vinyl shower surrounds.

    My house was built in the ’50s before it became standard practice to use cement board in bathrooms, and so like many houses of that era, the drywall is deteriorating badly. I’d also like to replace the vanities with units that have pull-out drawers instead of just shelves. What an impractical design. You have to kneel and dig around in the dark for items. Why didn’t they have this figured out 70 years ago? And the vanities with drawers even have a smaller footprint and would free up some space.

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  69. Julie Robinson said on May 15, 2021 at 9:17 am

    So, like the ones from IKEA? Prepare yourself for the contractor and plumber to be totally baffled by them.

    We installed one all by our little old selves in our main bathroom and it’s fantastic. No wasted space and two huge drawers.

    I don’t know yet if they figured it out.

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  70. David C said on May 15, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Hiring your designer friend will likely save you money and frustration in the long run, Alex. The contractors they hire for you will want to earn their continuing business. When the contractors are working for an individual they’re less likely to believe it’s going to lead to anything more. The contractors will also know they can’t bamboozle a professional. They may still try but it’s not going to work. For material prices, I’d wait if possible. 2x4s aren’t going to be $8 each forever. They may not be $2 again but $8 is ridiculous and not sustainable.

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  71. Deborah said on May 15, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Yesterday we had the most delightful visit with S’s cousin and his husband, at the cabin. LB made the food, southwest style chicken salad and a guacamole that had strawberries instead of tomatoes, with tortilla chips for dipping. We made cocktails and had wine too. Oh and cream cheese brownies with a sprinkling of cayenne on top for dessert. We had good conversations. The cousin was ostracized from his immediate family for being gay and his husband is black so he got it double. His parents are gone now but his sister is an evangelical and she barely tolerates him. The extended family have always supported them.

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  72. beb said on May 15, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Corelle is nice. It’s lighter than other china, is microwave-safe and is darn sturdy. Since we don’t entertain it doesn’t matter that we have two different patterns.

    It’s nice that the CDC says that vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks anymore. But I’m not ready to do in-door dining at a restaurant unless everybody in the restaurant are vaccinated. So I’m all in favor of a “vaccination passport.”

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  73. David C said on May 15, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    I was pleasantly surprised. We went to the grocery store and I though most wouldn’t be wearing their masks. Probably 95% were. Good thing. Mary doesn’t get her second shot for a couple of weeks.

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  74. Deborah said on May 15, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    LB and I went to the farmers market this morning, there were lots and lots of people there, most of it outside. Only saw one guy without a mask but quite a few of the masked people had their noses sticking out, we call that dick nose, mostly old white guys so I figure they were probably already vaccinated, but what do I know.

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  75. alex said on May 16, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Julie, the IKEA vanities are exactly what I’m thinking of. I notice the big box stores are carrying similar designs and all the new homes now have big horizontal drawers instead of vertical doors on bathroom vanities.

    I’ll likely postpone any remodeling until the price of lumber comes down, although this summer we’re probably going to forge ahead with a new outdoor shed. Fortunately hubby is in the sheet metal fabrication business and can probably get us aluminum or steel for roofing and siding and we’ll just need to use wood for framing. Our collection of equipment and tools has outgrown our previous shed and we have a nice level spot out of view where we could tuck a building the size of a small garage.

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  76. Sherri said on May 16, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    I’ve been telling y’all that Gates was an asshole, despite his reputation-laundering philanthropy. I didn’t know about his pursuit of women at Microsoft even after his marriage, but that’s probably just because I know so few women at Microsoft. I just know about infamous “billg reviews” and the culture that Gates and Ballmer created at Microsoft where you got ahead less by creating value for the company than by beating others in the company. It was important that other people lose.

    I think everybody looking for some new revelation about to drop that triggered the divorce is missing the simplest explanation, though: the youngest kid just turned 18. Melinda’s done.


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  77. Deborah said on May 16, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    I have a good friend, younger than me, her daughter is 16 and her son is about 19. Her husband is a jerk and she’s not been happy in her marriage before her kids were even born. I’m not sure why she’s stayed married to the guy, they were high school sweethearts, his dad owned a company that he and his brother were supposed to inherit but the dad sold the company from under them. He hasn’t really worked since then, she has a design business and brings home the bacon. At this point I think she’s keeping it together for the kids. She is super talented and can run circles around her husband. It will be interesting to see what she does in the next couple of years.

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