Friday, September 3, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Ice Cream from a Past Life, Waiting Until the Last Possible Second, and a Graphing Calculator Hack

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


When I was decluttering the house this spring, I came across a tin box shoved in the back of a drawer filled with plastic cards of all kinds: membership cards, discount cards, a few old credit cards, and gift cards that may or may not have expired years ago.

I have no idea what thought process led to all these things being together in this box, but apparently if it was card-shaped, this was where it went to die. (I would never do something so disorganized. I know it was a person I'm married to but I won't say his name because I don't want to out anyone.)

Anyway, there was a gift card in there for an ice cream place that I remember being given in college (it was a nearby place that we really loved going to at the time) and surprise! There was still $15 left on it.

So Phillip and I went out on a date this weekend, paid for with my decluttering efforts and a 15-year-old gift card.

(When I took this picture, Phillip was looking around furtively for anyone watching and protesting, "We look like influencers. I do not approve of what we're doing.")


It wasn't technically a totally free date, because after ice cream we went shopping for new kitchen counters and they aren't exactly cheap.

Our current ones are a lovely forest green laminate circa 1995. They've served us well for the last ten years, but it's time to upgrade.

We haven't bought anything yet, but hopefully will this weekend! Pictures forthcoming.


Last week we wrapped up our 10th year of The Educational Summer Vacation, where I make the kids learn about a different country every week. 

When we did Cambodia for our final country we didn't get around making fish amok for dinner, but since we had all the ingredients we made it this week. 

It's traditionally served in these little baskets made out of banana leaves (there's a picture of what I mean in this recipe,) and we don't exactly have banana leaves but we do have aluminum foil and 6 kids who like to make stuff, so we improvised.


The end of the summer really did sneak up on me. One minute we're finishing up the last activity of The Educational Summer Vacation, and the next we're in a fistfight over the last backpack in the school supply aisle of Target.

My 9-year-old's backpack broke at the end of last year and I forgot about it until the day before school started, so we headed out naively to buy one, thinking it would be no big deal.

In reality, if aliens beamed down to the school supply section of Target, they would assume that the apocalypse had happened on Earth. Tumbleweeds rolled through aisles that were completely empty except for some stray trash and fallen sale stickers. The wind whistled through the rows of hooks meant to hold lunch boxes and packs of colored pencils. Occasionally, a haggard-looking survivor would appear and comb through the debris, looking for anything salvageable before walking away disappointed.

Luckily for us, a nearby Kohl's had plenty of backpacks so if you ever wait until the last possible second like I did, keep that in mind.


A new family moved in to the house next door to us. We usually give new neighbors a little time to settle in and then go over to introduce ourselves, but we actually ran into them this weekend and met them already... at church.

There isn't a huge population of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here in New England, so it was a little funny that another family from our church moved in next door. (I did text my old neighbor to tell her how considerate it was of them to sell their house to someone who can drive carpool to our kids' church youth activities!)

Our new neighbors' two oldest kids are the same ages and genders as our youngest two. Actually, our 7-year-olds are in the same 2nd grade classroom... where they're also neighbors, since their desks are next to each other.


How did the first day of school go for you all? My youngest started kindergarten and my oldest is in 12th grade (she was homeschooled last year but went back to public school for her senior year.)

Here's the older kids about to leave:

Ignore the ragged basketball hoop in need of replacement and the drain in our driveway that obviously doesn't work. We're on it, I promise.

And here go the younger kids:

I've been wondering when the day came to send everyone (including my baby) off to school was going to be bizarre, sad, or depressing. And it really... wasn't. 

I mean, it's only been one day so I could totally have an existential crisis next week, but so far, so good.


Lastly, I'd just like to tell you that if you're shocked at the outrageous price of graphing calculators in this day and age, you're not alone. And here's what you do if you see one listed on your kid's school supply list:

Step 1: Buy a cheap, crappy cell phone. Or use the 10-year-old one you have sitting at the back of a drawer somewhere. It doesn't even matter.

Step 2: Install a graphing calculator app on it. There are even free ones.

Step 3Email the teacher to let them know what the deal is and that it isn't even operational as a phone, it's just a phone-shaped graphing calculator.

Step 4: There is no Step 4. You've just saved yourself $100.

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PurpleSlob said...

#5 is so cool! How neat that the kids are even neighbors at school!! I see lots of neighborly get togethers in the future!! And #1 Can NOT believe the 15 yo card still worked!! How cool was that! A little chilly humor there.

Unknown said...

I'd say it is good luck week for old gift card that still works, a great new neighbor, and no existential "my kids are all gone" crisis. Mom