You may or may not remember that I let the housekeepers go in January, and since then the children and I have been cleaning the house. You may or may not be wondering how that’s working out. Well, I don’t imagine that you had remembered or wondered until I mentioned it just now, but in case you are wondering right now, I’m about to tell you: It’s working out pretty well, actually. It is much less stressful not having to get the house ready to accept professional cleaners on a fortnightly basis. Who knows, I may have saved myself from an eventual heart attack or an aneurysm or something just by vacuuming my own floors.

Talking of which–the vacuuming, not the heart attack–I will now take your vacuum recommendations. I have a perfectly serviceable vacuum that we’ve owned maybe 12-15 years. It’s a Kenmore. It’s got kind of a Frankenstein thing going on with the power cord and it no longer has any of its attachments, but it still works. I’m not desperate for a new vacuum, but every time I vacuum the house I am reminded that I could very well do with a different kind of vacuum–say, one that is lighter, more maneuverable, and yet still works. I already have one that is heavy, awkward, and works, so I don’t need recommendations for any like that. I’m just looking to make the vacuum experience a little less labor intensive. You know, since I’m being such a martyr, vacuuming my own floors and all.

Feature that would be a bonus but isn’t entirely necessary: I don’t have to drive to freaking Sears every time I need a replacement bag. (Freaking Sears is at the mall in freaking Tigard. You may recall that I don’t like driving there–not because there’s anything wrong with freaking Tigard except for its geographical position relative to mine. I’ve got a Target and a Macy’s and many fine restaurants within three miles of my house. I feel like I shouldn’t have to drive to freaking Tigard for anything. I’m just that entitled.)

On a completely different note, I just got off the phone with the Red Cross, and it’s a good thing I did because I thought I had already signed up to give blood in March and apparently I had not, or if I did, it didn’t take. So now I am signed up to give blood for real, and at a more convenient location at that. What serendipity! That reminds me, I should take my iron supplement. Anyway, they asked me if I could bring a friend. I said that unfortunately I couldn’t think of any acquaintances off the top of my head who weren’t afraid of needles. Well, at least I didn’t tell them I didn’t have any friends!

So in case you aren’t afraid of needles and aren’t pregnant or otherwise deferred, consider giving blood because the Red Cross lost a lot of donations during the recent snowstorms. Of course, the Red Cross seems to experience perpetual shortage. That’s what they’re always telling me, anyway.

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Let’s take a time out so I can talk about Downton Abbey. ATTENTION! SPOILER ALERT! I AM ABOUT TO SPOIL ALL OF DOWNTON ABBEY FOR YOU IF YOU DON’T SCROLL DOWN TO THE NEXT SECTION IMMEDIATELY! UNLESS YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN DOWNTON ABBEY IN WHICH CASE YOU SHOULD PROBABLY SCROLL DOWN IMMEDIATELY ANYWAY! I DON’T WANT TO WASTE YOUR TIME! I didn’t think I would continue watching Downton Abbey after Dan Stevens left the show (and in such a horrific fashion), but for some reason I have continued, although now I am doing so without my husband impeding my enjoyment of it. He gave up on it partway through Series 4, and I probably should have also, but for some reason I can’t help myself. The best I can say for watching the show now is that it enhances the enjoyment of reading the recaps on Go Fug Yourself. That may be all I can say for it. But here’s the thing I really want to talk about:

Seriously, what the crap is Julian Fellowes doing with the Bateses? Isn’t one wrongful murder conviction enough for one family? It seems to me that one wrongful murder conviction is unfortunate, but two wrongful murder convictions could be described as carelessness. (If one were Oscar Wilde, anyway.) And don’t get me started on that first murder conviction, that only came about because the prosecution somehow knew the content of private conversations held between Lord Grantham and his valet. Did Scotland Yard have some weird surveillance program going on in the wake of World War I? How exactly did that work? I can’t tell you how many times I yelled at the screen during Series 2, “HOW DO THEY KNOW THAT? HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY KNOW THAT??” At least this time there’s an eye witness, even if he’s unreliable. Frankly, at this point I was kind of hoping that Bates really did kill Mr. Green, and not only him but the former Mrs. Bates as well. THAT IS HOW SICK I AM OF BATESES IN PRISON.

ALSO: They dragged out the Mary-Gillingham-Charles Blake potential-love-triangle all through Series 3 without a single freaking thing happening, until the Christmas special, when one of them says the game is afoot or something, giving the impression that the potential-love-triangle might become actual-love-triangle in Series 4, but we get to Series 4 and find out that Mary’s already decided she’s choosing Gillingham and it’s like Charles Blake was never actually interested anyway–seriously, Mary, this is why you ruined your evening gown hydrating pigs with this guy in the mud all night and made scrambled eggs for him in the morning? You, Lady Mary, actually knew how to scramble eggs and actually scrambled them after a night of muddy pig-saving and it was all just for isolated giggles in Series 3? And then she decides she doesn’t want Gillingham after all and Charles Blake helps her break up with them and then moves to Poland so Matthew Goode can come on the show and be Mary’s new love interest? Is this not exactly the same as putting a gun in Act I and not having it go off in Act III? WHY ARE YOU WASTING MY TIME THIS WAY, JULIAN FELLOWES? I WAS JUST STARTING TO LIKE CHARLES BLAKE ESPECIALLY SINCE HE CUT HIS HAIR.

ALSO: I am bored of Daisy bettering herself. Just better yourself and move on, Daisy.

ALSO: Not nearly enough Evil Butler.

ALSO: If this is really the end of Isobel’s relationship with Lord Merton, I’m just going to have to punch Julian Fellowes in the face for making me almost care what happened.

ALSO: I’m bored of Mary taking cheap shots at Edith all the time. Once in a while, sure. Edith is a sad sack and a Debbie Downer, but at this point in time, it’s like continually reminding us that Dan Quayle can’t spell potato. I get that Mary is supposed to be a total bitch, pardon my French, but shouldn’t bitches also have more interesting things to say than “I hate my younger sister whose life is so much worse than mine is”? You’re a grown woman! WHAT WOULD MATTHEW THINK?

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OKAY, NO MORE DOWNTON ABBEY, IT’S SAFE TO READ AGAIN.

But here’s a harmless segue–Hugh Bonneville, aka Lord Grantham, is nothing but delightful in the Paddington movie. I had no interest whatsoever seeing Paddington until it started getting rave reviews and Mister Bubby started wanting to see Paddington, in no small part, I’m sure, because he has fond memories of his Paddington baby blanket that he slept with until maybe six months ago. (I’m kidding. Maybe it was a year ago.) So I ended up taking him and Elvis to see it, since no one else would–not even my mother-in-law, who sees every movie out there that isn’t rated R and buys the Blu-Ray as soon as it goes on sale. Well! We all loved it. Believe me, this was unexpected. I am not usually a fan of this sort of movie. But it was very funny, and did you notice that I took my teenage boys to see it? That is not a thing I would have predicted in a million years, but there you go.

Here’s something completely unrelated that I also feel like ranting about: Politics aside, I can think of few things I find more obnoxious than National Review Online’s new site design. Yes, I know–now it has a design to match its content. R D 2R, Obama eats dogs and Dick Cheney shoots his friends for sport, blah blah–can we get back to what I was talking about? Almost all conservative commentary magazines have dreadful web sites–there are actually very few good web sites, but many manage to be inoffensive. Unfortunately, NRO is no longer one of those.

You know, when I worked at the newspaper, one of my less desirable responsibilities was to field complaints, and I can’t tell you how many phone calls I got from old people complaining about the crossword puzzle. First it was too hard, then it was too easy, then it was too hard again, and why did you change it in the first place, blah blah, and I was like, dude, it’s just a crossword puzzle, and I swore right then and there that I would never, ever be that old person who complains about things changing. Every time Facebook changes something, everyone turns into old people complaining about the crossword, and it’s way more annoying than whatever annoying thing Facebook has forced upon us. So a few weeks ago I’m reading Jonah Goldberg’s newsletter and he warns everyone that a new site design is coming and certainly some are going to be displeased blah blah but change is inevitable so don’t-be-old-people-complaining-about-the-crossword, essentially, was what he was saying, and I thought, “Sure, Jonah, I can do that. (Not be an old crossword-complaining biddy, that is.) No problem.”

But then the new design appeared and holy crap, I have never wanted to get on a phone and complain about something ever before in my life, but if I did, this would be the thing I’d complain about. It’s not just that it’s moved to a whole-bunch-of-boxes-in-no-particular-order-one-can-discern format, which is not a format I care for but which I can tolerate since so many people seem to like how it looks. No, it’s the fact that you scroll over a box and it MOVES AND CHANGES COLOR AND I DON’T WANT A LIGHT SHOW, I JUST WANT TO FIND WHERE YOU’RE HIDING JAY NORDLINGER, FOR THE LOVE! I’ll give them this: So far nothing is sparkling or flashing. One can only pray it stays that way.

And yes, I’ll be sure to switch over to ThinkProgress and the Daily Kos right away. Thanks for the suggestions.

Well, now I have to make myself some lunch. This was a really pointless point, but that’s pretty much how they all are these days. DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT THE CROSSWORD, JETHRO.

 

 

 

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