“This Will Fix Everything”: Things You Can Buy That Will Definitely Fix Everything Forever

This week I went to Target to grab garbage bags. As is Target’s habit, I left with more than garbage bags.

For one, I bought a 2017-2018 daily planner.


I thought to myself, “this will fix everything.” And I chucked it in my cart next to a new scented candle and a pack of pens. I’d later grab a pair of loafers too.

And just to clarify, all these things are not garbage bags.

As someone who is flirting with 30, I’ve realized that there’s no magic moment where “adult” happens. Where you remember to get your oil changed and you don’t forget to load the dishwasher and your desk is a clean desk and no coffee spills on your shirt because coffee is for drinking! Where you don’t worry about fruit flies because you took the garbage out and you like drinking water and you only say cool and normal things because you’re just someone who is both normal and also cool!

You don’t yell, “SAMPLES!” at the grocery store when you see there are cheese samples up for grabs. To my credit, it is cheese.

I know that there won’t be a magic moment where all those pieces suddenly click into place, but some days I have to wonder….can’t one of those things click? Preferably the coffee one? I’m ruining shirts.

I’m also old enough to know that these things don’t matter and everything is fine, but they sure could be finer. And sometimes you need tools that facilitate the fixing of everything. To not make you a type A personality per say, but someone who can fake type A. Someone who cheats on the personality test.

My new planner is going to do the job. It’s going to help me remember errands and bills and tire-rotating and writing and research and probably just general world-saving.

This isn’t like those other things I bought thinking they would fix everything, or at least some things. This planner is going to fix it all.

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Life’s Plan B

So Life’s Plan A is fine, right? Job and bills and hobbies and celebrity biographies on the weekends. But on days like today, one has to ask…what about Plan B?

“Floating Luncheon,” Hamilton Wright, 1939.

I have some ideas. Only one of which is eating pasta on a floaty.

Step 1: Pack up everything that will fit in my car.

Not everything will fit, so we have to prioritize. Bring the entire comfy pants collection and all the bottles of expired vitamin gummies, and then once that half of the car is full, fill the rest up with kitchen magnets and canvas tote bags.

Step 2: Set up mysterious circumstances under which to disappear.

Any self-respecting student-loan-haver needs to figure out how to escape her situation, especially these days when the Secretary of Education is taking away the onus of accountability from those poor persecuted debt collectors! Because she’s never had a student loans or also any idea what she’s doing! Great!

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Business Books: How I will Make my Millions


There’s this thing at my job where you can get reimbursed for books that contribute to your professional development. It’s a pretty wide genre. You can get books by Malcolm Gladwell or Atul Gawande, both widely recognized as great writers. The “professional development” genre also includes what I call “business books.” Books to teach you better habits. Book to teach you how to have more effective conversations. Books to teach you about saying yes to opportunities. And even books to teach you how to win friends and influence people. Because it’s not creepy to need a book for that!

And these books are popular! Crazy popular! And as someone who wants to write a book some day, I thought maybe I could try my hand at starting a business book. Some of my ideas:

  • The 14 Habits of Normally Effective People
  • The 15th Habit I Made Up to Sell This Book
  • The 16th through 27th Habits of the Most Normally Effective People
  • The 30 Other Habits that are Also Fine
  • Don’t Lean In (It’s Bad for Your Back): But You Should Still Do All That Leadership Stuff
  • Regular Conversations: Tools for Talking When You’re Ok With Regretting What Comes out of Your Mouth Sometimes, but Everything is Mostly Fine
  • Getting to Yes: Negotiations and Taking What You Want While Other People Are Distracted By Your Singing Voice
  • Getting to Yes II: Get Soft Serve Instead!
  • Loud: The Power of Yelling and Waving Your Arms Around in a World That Will Be a Little Bit Scared of You
  • How to Win Friends Based On Lessons From This  Book Because You’re Not Very Good At Listening and Thinking of Others And That’s Really All It Takes

Being very honest, I’ll tell you I’ve never read any of the actual business books. I’ve picked them up, but something about a book essentially teaching me “just do it better” or “consider being less bad”, has prevented me from ever putting the money down. I’m stubborn. What can I say, I could use a book about being a highly effective business book reader.

If you’ve read these books, and get something out of them, more power to you. You are probably more open minded than I, and chances are, you’re doing it better. But keep in mind, leaning in is fine, but it requires core exercises, a fact you’ll learn in my sequel to the aforementioned Don’t Lean In, titled the following: If You Have Time to Lean, You Have Time to Buy This Book.

Coming 2054.

National Day of….

Evidently, today is National Polka Dot Day. polka-dot-police-women

…Ok?

Does anyone else find this kind of superfluous? I like polka dots as much as the next person who really likes polka dots, but do they need a day? Last time I checked, you could wear polka dots whenever you wanted. They’re circles, guys. Just wear them.

Admittedly other motifs get their own day. Tartan Day is observed on April 6th, and it commemorates Scottish heritage. National Seersucker Day is celebrated June 11th in honor of seersucker manufacturers throughout the South.

But Polka Dot Day? They’ve been around for a while. They can be woven or printed. They aren’t manufactured by any one group of people. They’re polka dots. I don’t get it.

On an unrelated note, after a little research, I’ve discovered that my birthday is National Cellophane Tape Day. Awesome? The closest the internet can pinpoint to a date of invention is the 1930s, so why May 27th? I don’t get it, you guys! National Day of Confused, amiright?

Who designates these days as particularly polka-dotty? Does everything have a day? What do I have to do to make a “National Day of ________” day? Because I have ideas, you guys!

  • National Day of Buying Colorful Workout Clothes – January 2nd
  • National Day of Buying Regular Workout Clothes When You’re Too Embarrassed to Wear the Colorful Ones in your Apartment Gym Which Equates to Three Treadmills – January 7th
  • National Day of “bloggers wearing long johns because it’s snowing and the week has been hard, so be nice to her, ok?” – January 22nd
  • National Day of Prank-Plotting – March 29th
  • National Day of Remembering Those Pranks you were Plotting – April 1
  • National Day of Hoping Your Coworkers Remember You Don’t Actually Like Chocolate Cake for Your Birthday – May 26th
  • National Day of Flip-Flop Sounds – June 28nd
  • National Day of Being Startled by things in the sky- July 4th
  • National Day of Wishing You Were Buying School Supplies, but Why Do You Need Dividers? – August 5th
  • National Day of Sour Straw Binging – September 27th
  • National Day of Sore Gums from Sour Straw Binging – September 28th
  • National Day of Jaunty Scarves – October 11th
  • National Day of Not Jaunty Scarves, But That One Scarf You Wear Too Much – November 19th
  • National Day of Wishing You Bought More Cellophane Tape – December 22nd

They’re great, right? And just as meaningful as National Polka Dot Day! If not more so. Actually, definitely more so.

Monday: When you’re doing the best you can, and it’s not very good.

My afternoon meeting.

My afternoon meeting.

Friday: I tune out the world and eat my weight in steak quesadillas and guacamole and blue raspberry sour straws. If you interrupt me, I’ll throw my shoe at you.

Saturday: I run around and play! The world is my oyster! I love everyone! Let’s all high five and go to the movies!

Sunday: I get down to business. I read. I cook. I write. I do all the laundry! Don’t be intimidated. I’m just very good.

Sundays are when I am an adult.

Mondays are when I remember that I am not a real adult. Just a pretend one.

Things that have happened today:

  1. After hours of wondering why my skirt was sitting strangely and if “something was wrong with my stomach”, I realized my skirt was on backwards.
  2. I realized I was loudly singing Scottish folk songs as I walked around my building, waiting for my office to defrost after having left the window open on Friday.
  3. I made an openly confused face at a stranger who politely smiled at me. At the time, I was not singing Scottish folk songs.
  4. I got emotional watching reruns of the Great British Baking Show. (“They just love baking so much!”)
  5. Almost died after thinking “I’ll just wait to use the restroom after this meeting.” Mistake.
  6. I tucked my pajama shirt into my pajama pants to try and feel dignified. Surprisingly, it did not work.
  7. I struggled for a few minutes to eat my dinner salad before I realized I was eating with a spoon.

Monday is very good at reminding me that Sunday is a faker, but Monday is also really good at setting the bar really low for the rest of the week. Bring it on, Tuesday.*

*Tuesday, please do not bring it on. Tuesday is really good at making Monday look like a cakewalk. Your take away: Just close your eyes and wish for Wednesday! **

**Option B: fake your death. I’ll bring the ketchup.

I’ll be there for you when the rain starts to pour. I’ll be there for you when you catch yourself on fire.*

Thisweek

If you’re reading this, and you’re looking to steal my collection of old bobby pins, this is all you need to know: I HAVE SEVEN FOOTBALL PLAYER ROOMMATES AND THREE DOGS WHOSE FAVORITE GAME IS “WHO CAN BITE OFF THE MOST ARMS?!” If you are not a home-invader, carry on reading.

Last weekend I challenged myself and cooked coq au vin in honor of it being Julia Child’s birthday. A few conclusions I have drawn:

  • It is hard to say ‘coq au vin’ and not feel comically pretentious unless you are 1) Julia Child, 2) a French person, or 3) joking.
  • Raw chicken is a special kind of horrifying.
  • When a recipe calls for you to ignite cognac in a pan, it would be nice to have a roommate.

I was afraid of catching on fire. I tend to flail around when everything is fine, so I don’t suspect I would do well when faced with a coq-au-vin-fire, otherwise known as le fire. A roommate could help me put out the fire. A roommate could flying-leap me out of the way when the flames got too big. A roommate could throw blankets at me and yell, “STOP, DROP AND ROLL! STOP, DROP AND ROLL!” Or, a roommate could point and laugh while I really smoothly and cooly yell at the fire to “STOPIT.”

Contrary to my introvert leanings, as someone who frequently and audibly relishes having a space of my very own, I have recognized a lot recently that there are moments when a partner in crime would be nice:

  • A roommate calls you out and says, “NO! Don’t buy the skinny-jean-overalls online. They will be horrible, and you will hate yourself.”
  • A roommate won’t lose the key to the mailbox. Not that I did, but…I totally did.
  • A roommate will water the plants when you’re too tired and watching MASH and the plants are just too far away at their distance of 10 feet and “don’t all plants die anyway?”
  • A roommate will cut your taking-out-the-trash, cleaning-the-kitchen, talking-to-the-neighbors rate in half.
  • A roommate usually comes with at least one major kitchen appliance that you don’t have and now, don’t have to buy!
  • A roommate can investigate the weird creaking from the other room that you’re pretty sure is robbers but is in fact, your jenga tower made of yogurt containers in your refrigerator finally falling over. BUT IF IT WAS ROBBERS, THANK GOODNESS FOR MY THREE VICIOUS ROBO-DOGS! (that’s right, they’re also robots. They’re terminator-dogs.)

I’ve had great roommates in the past. I’ve also had major duds. There was the roommate who waited until the first moment I opened my door to tell me the internet wasn’t working, and I “need to call Time Warner.” She had a phone! There was the roommate who put old food in the recycle bin, and then lectured me when I threw things away that could have been recycled. Clearly I did not understand her system. There was the roommate who told me I’d be attractive “if I didn’t wear such granny clothes.” Just because you don’t appreciate a cardigan doesn’t mean I’m a “granny.” It just means I’m not chilly at that moment, and I bet you are, dummy! At the prospect of getting a roommate, their faces flash through my mind and I am reminded that my apartment is a mess, but it’s my mess, and leave me alone about it! But sometimes, sometimes, I see the point of having one around.

*Draft #1 of the Friends theme song.

Books to Inspire

We all know that table at the book store. It goes under many names. Books for college grads! Books to make you think! Books to inspire!

For a long time, I scoffed at such books. “For I, four-years-ago-Meredith, am a special snowflake! My inspiration is driven by the smiles of puppies and fairy wings!” Lately, now that I’ve got a couple years of reality proving to me that puppy smiles and fairy wings are not a renewable resource, I find myself standing over these tables looking for answers.

It’s funny the common themes you find in these books. People love doing things for a year, the most famous example is Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, where she spends a year, you guessed it, eating and praying and loving. And she does it in cool places too. Other examples include living for a year according to rules laid out in the Bible; each day for a year, doing something that scares you; a year of following in the culinary footsteps of Julia Child; a year of thinking magically. I wanna do something for a year! Not including all those other things I do for a year like eating and reading and finding alternative feul for my inspiration.

But there’s always something that rubs me a little bit wrong about these books. Yes, they’re well written. And yes, the stories are interesting, but you, the author, are telling me- probably– I should do more to live my life fully. But I didn’t get to do that thing for a year! Am I just supposed to take your word for it? Most people don’t have the luxury of having big life experiments where many priceless lessons are learned because they have jobs and loans and families. And that’s just the first world.

Not to belittle the books. It’s always obvious the author went through a transformation and wants to share. It’s just, those are your experiences. Not mine, so I have a hard time relating. Maybe special-snowflake-complex has not worn off.

So not wanting to be left out, I brainstormed what social experiments a grumpy-but-employed twenty-something could do for a year, while balancing all those elements of real life. Because I could tell my loan provider I’m not going to make payments because I’m going to go study tap dance in piazzas across Italy for a year, but I don’t think they’d love it.

  1. Option A: A year of not wearing stretch pants! Option B: A year of wearing stretch pants!
  2. A year of high-fiving every stranger!
  3. A year of not crying into a bag of a snacks more than once a week!
  4. A year of only eating breakfast (but you eat it for every meal) (you also eat six meals)
  5. A year of greeting everyone in song!
  6. A year of not brushing my hair, otherwise known as “the year I had bad dreads”
  7. A year of cleaning when my apartment needs to be cleaned and not when I get so tired of tripping over things
  8. A year of trying not to fall down…wait for it…at all

You guys! So many lessons to be learned! Where to begin?! Vacuuming. I bet I should begin at vacuuming.