Faking it

by S&M

“Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved” — M. Kondo on using bins and baskets to corral things

De-cluttering is the new morality. Some of us would be happy to fool ourselves and keep on sinning. (In other words, I want my stuff, but not the disaster when my sleeve catches on a stack and sends it careening.) Anyone who’s going to embrace Konmari as their lifestyle probably has by now. Personally, I still have enough stuff that beating it back is a regular activity. This little list is about ways to hang onto “clutter” without feeling cramped by it, as well as other clean-house cheats. Some of the tips (we seem to be past “hacks”, hooray!), like “make your bed”, are old hat, but some might feel new, if not novel. I am into trays right now, Easter-baskets-as-organizers are surprisingly good, and we have plants, a wooden bathmat and a diffuser.

How about your household? Does any of this sound familiar? What other strategies do you use for a cleaner feeling home?

7 Ways to Make Your Home Feel Cleaner Than It Is
Fake a clean home in less than 15 minutes.


Uncertainties are a sure thing

by S&M

I thought this was fascinating. It’s only about one set of words, but it’s a set I was fairly certain I could use precisely. I believe you also are likely to feel you know just what’s being communicated with them.

Measuring Perceptions of Uncertainty

What is the difference between an event that is probable and one that is highly likely?

The two terms seem mostly interchangeable, but each individual’s interpretation is actually highly subjective. That means that when stakes are high, such as for the intelligence community or for high-ranking government officials, a slight misinterpretation in the meaning of these phrases could be a matter of life and death.

Another area where such differences in definitions crops up is in colors; one person’s tomato red is another person’s orange, and is that indigo or deep blue? Is “berry” one color or a range?

One more that I’ve run into recently is “usually”. When someone tells me this is the way things “usually” go, my expectation is that they are about to introduce an exception. That turns out not to be true. Any time I’ve been confused by this has not ended well for me. Those people who use “usually” to mean “always, it is a hard and fast rule that cannot be abrogated for any reason” are offended when I take their “usually” to mean “not always” and find questions about the exceptions offensive. I believe this tendency is stronger in Southerners, with that genteel fear of saying exactly what one means, and expectation that others will infer meaning.

Where have you run into differing understandings of words in languages you speak well, how did you learn the other person did not mean what you thought they meant, and how was it resolved?


by S&M

Now that we’ve all presumably adjusted to Daylight Savings Time, I thought this might be interesting.

I’ve always said that I’m a morning person, when I’m awake for it. Forcing myself to get up early generally backfires just as described here, but when I get enough rest and get up with my natural rhythm, morning is my best work time. Early evening is a distant second. That’s always been true. Equally true is that naps for me are 15-30 minutes long. Even if we both stay up late and both are really tired, my son knows that the next day, I’m likely to stick to that length of time for a nap, while his stretch to 3 hours, easily. Skipping my nap often makes it hard for me to sleep at night—I wake up after half an hour, and can’t really fall back asleep for 1 or 2 more hours.

One thing this skips over that I think is important is the assumption about how much sleep we need. I recall a prof from grad school who routinely was awake well after midnight and awake before 6. Any more sleep than that made him groggy, he said. Between that and being single and childless, he had many more productive hours than most people do.

Have you ever tried to reset your sleep schedule? Why, and how did it go?

Is the 5 a.m. Club the Worst Idea Ever? Read This to Find Out

Are they done yet?

by S&M

Three recent things bring me to this question:

A mother’s Facebook response to her son’s post looking for tips on getting to sleep better. Had I not known she was his mother (and a mother I have always admired), I would not have recognized it from this, or any of her comments on his page. She seems to fully accept that he is now a (young!) adult, making his own decisions and his way in the world.

A conversation with my son, in which he asked if I think he’s “turned out well”. I don’t think he’s “turned out” yet at all, think we have a couple more very important years to go. At his age, no one would have predicted what I’d be like by the time I was 25+.

This news article, in which a father says he ignored his son’s warning that something was illegal, basically because he’s a bratty kid who shouldn’t be taken as seriously as he wants to be.

GOP candidate slams his ‘arrogant’ and ‘judgmental’ son who warned him about breaking election laws in North Carolina

So my questions are: when do you think a kid is grown up? How did your relationship with yours change, or how do you expect it to change? What do you see as an ideal relationship between parent and adult child?

I have been enjoying my son’s recent personality developments, his interests and his sense of humor. I will always be there if he wants advice or shelter, but at his request. Mostly I hope that we will be able to interact much as I would with any bright young person making their way in the world. I see it as my job now to prepare him to be an active agent in the world, making his own choices and able to accept the results, good or bad. I hope we will stay close, and that I’ll be close to any grandbabies. I think accepting him as an adult a few years from now will be key in developing that closeness. How about you?