I didn’t know I needed this

THE INTERNET GODS sent me this ad:


It’s not just an ironing board, it’s an ironing system. A whole *system*! For pressing clothes! And it’s on sale for just $1,999! And it ships free!

They’re practically paying you to take it.

The product description begins:

Whether you’re ironing table linens or removing wrinkles from a cocktail dress…

OK, hold up. If you are the owner of a $2,000 ironing system, you probably aren’t ironing your own table linens. You’re sending them out, or you’re having the housekeeper do it. I can see maybe touching up one’s own cocktail dress, say if you forgot to ask your housekeeper to do that for you before she left for the evening. Or maybe if you can’t decide what to wear to that charity gala tonight and have searched the dark recesses of your second walk-in closet (the one with all your fancy clothes in it) and dig out something you haven’t worn a couple of years. It might have wrinkles that need removing. And in that case, you would be really happy this system is still set up in the laundry room. From when the housekeeper was ironing the cloth napkins. That is, if you can figure out how to use it:

This easy-to-use ironing system features an LCD display with user-friendly navigation.

In my experience, “easy-to-use” and “user-friendly” are code words for “plan on 20 minutes to view YouTube tutorials.” I can barely program my coffee maker to brew at some future time. If my ironing system has “navigation” it’s probably too complicated for me.

I know what you’re thinking: Will the B3312 model will deliver everything I want and need in an ironing system? Fear not: The manufacturer also offers the B3847 system for just $500 more. Because spending $2,499 on a glorified ironing board seems normal.

If ironing is your jam – or you are, say, a professional seamstress – an investment in a device such as this might make sense for you. But for the rest of us – those of us who even still *do* iron – isn’t a regular old ironing board and mid-level iron enough to successfully do most household jobs? For money like that, you could buy a whole lot of professional dry cleaning. Or, a couple of really nice new cocktail dresses. Even ones that aren’t on sale. And have cash leftover to bid on the silent auction items at that charity gala.

For more things you never knew you needed, here’s a link to that time I went to Williams-Sonoma and analyzed their Thanksgiving table display.



Do you remember the lunchline in your school cafeteria? Or maybe your college dining hall? Were you a line-cutter? Did you save seats? Or hoard your lunch money for ice cream instead of the featured entree? Remember getting your ticket punched, or exchanging your prepaid milk ticket for an 8-ounce carton of whole milk?  Do you remember begging alerting your parents to add more money to your college food account?

I do, and I also remember how thrilled I was to enter the Real World and, among other things, be done with cafeteria lines.

And yet, some of my fellow card-carrying adults must miss waiting in line for their food.  I for one don’t ever feel as if I have lots of spare time to squander on procuring my mid-day meal. I gotta be quick, like a surgical strike. In, buy, out, eat. Done. Especially now that I am paid by the hour.

But check this out:


Today, at high noon in downtown DC, this was the line to get into a deli on 19th street. There is always a line at this place, despite it being in the same block as 4 or 5 other carryouts. I have never been there, but I know folks who have, and the place is legendary. People who worked downtown ten, fifteen years ago still remember it and speak of it in reverent, hushed voices.

For almost 20 years now, they’ve been queueing up outside The Greek Deli because the food is supposed to be fantastic.

I’m told it’s a little bit Soup Nazi-esque… you’d better know what you want to order when you get to the counter, otherwise you’ll be scorned. Hazed. Ignored. Reviled. BANNED.

(Kids, the “Soup Nazi” is a reference to “Seinfeld”, a legendary “sitcom” from NBC, which is a “television network.” Here – watch this, then ask your parents:)

But my thing is, what are they really dishing out in there? My friend Joel suggested they’re serving up “free money sandwiches with free liquid gold as the beverage . ” A plausible theory.  What else would explain that line? Seriously! Is there any food so good that you would sacrifice 20 minutes just to wait in line for it? There has to be something else going on in there. Like, I dunno, free shots of rum in your Diet Coke? Hash in the brownies? Maybe the potato chips are laced with crack?  Perhaps there’s a hypnotist running the checkout and he plants a subliminal suggestion that makes you go back the next day?

I have some other ideas; most of them are naughty and not suitable for a Family Blog.  (Yes, I am in fact a 7th grade boy, thanks for asking.)

I mean no disrespect to the Greek Deli – I applaud their ability to cause the hard workin’ folks of downtown DC to queue up out onto the sidewalk day after day, especially in these Hard Economic Times. It just must be some kinda good in there.

If you have a theory on what they’re handing out the Greek Deli, post it in the comments. But remember, I always post a link to Facebook, and I have more than a few minors in my friend list, so please – use EUPHEMISMS. Or Acronyms. Or something clever, ok? Otherwise –


Herb gardening in 16 easy steps

With apologies to Chesapeake Bay Woman for ripping off imitating her patented tutorial format, I’d like to present my readers with one of my own.  It’s possible highly likely that you already know way more than I do about growing an herb garden; nevertheless, you might glean a humorous superfluous helpful nugget in my take on

 Container Gardening: Culinary Herbs

 1. Think about how nice it would be to grow and harvest your own herbs. Consider doing it, then forget procrastinate for two  five  eight years.  

2. Make and drink a Mojito, made using mint from a $3 plastic clamshell package.  Fall in love with said Mojito. Think about how many more mojitos you could make if only you had lots of fresh mint in your very own garden. Obsess about Envision this:


3.  Have an epiphany: This year, you WILL grow your own herbs. Be sure to choose a convenient location for your revelation, such as the gardening aisle in The Hundred Dollar Store Target.

4. Impulsively purchase three good sized, terra cotta-look, plastic planters (the ones on sale), two smallish bags of potting soil (whatever fits in your basket), and seed packets for mint, plus two kinds of basil, chives, parsley, cilantro, and rosemary.  Decide against buying those super-cute red plastic garden clogs. Pat self on back for remembering you already own a pair of pristine garden gloves and a trowel, thus preventing the unnecessary outlay of additional cash.

5. Bring items home and deposit them on your carport. Allow them to sit, untouched, for eons until the very end of May. Rationalize your procrastination as an attempt to prevent frost damage to your future seedlings, even though the last frost in Plant Hardiness Zone 7 is almost never later than the end of April. Which was a month ago.

6. Realize you don’t have enough bagged soil or pots for all the seeds you bought. Scrounge up two additional pots from previous failed attempts at horticulture. Take shovel into the woods out back and dig up some dirt.

7. Remember that you have been diligently placing kitchen scraps into a compost bin for seven years but have never actually used the compost for gardening. Decide that there’s no time like the present to mix some compost into the dirt.

8. Approach the compost bin with a pitchfork. Realize that the idea of composting is much more attractive than the reality of it. Ew! Nevertheless, push aside crushed egg shells, rotting broccoli stems and decomposing lime rinds to get to the good stuff underneath.

9. Fill the pots two-thirds full of the dirt-compost mixture. Bring them back to the patio. Open and drink a Diet Pepsi. Chat with Former Neighbor Dave, who drops by for a quick visit.

10. Open the bags of potting soil and place some in each of the pots.

11. Finally! Time for the seeds. Open the packets and scatter the seeds on the dirt. Ignore the instructions on each packet advising you to start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before planting. Mentally calculate the possibility that you won’t have fresh herbs until the first frost in the fall, which, in Plant Hardiness Zone 7, could be as early as the end of September, well after the end of Mojito Season.

12. Top with more potting soil and water. Label the pots so you will be able to tell the cilantro from the Italian flat-leaf parsley when they begin to sprout at the end of the germination period, listed on the seed packages as 10-14 months weeks days.

13. While you’re busy ignoring key details, choose also to ignore the fact that you may as well live in a cave for all the direct sunlight your heavily-treed lot receives. Consider indoor grow-lights as an alternative, then quickly reject that as a sure invitation to unwelcome visits from The Authorities.

14. Consider, too, that you have no elevated surface on which to place the pots, thus leaving them at the exact height of most critters’ mouths. Daydream about buying a charming rustic potting bench from Smith & Hawken, then do more mental math to figure out how many packages of already grown and harvested store-bought herbs you could buy (approximately 80) for the price of a Smith & Hawken potting bench.


15. Resolve to stop by K-Mart’s Garden Shop on the way home to buy a few more herbs– already started — and another pot, so you don’t have to wait until Halloween for your first homegrown Mojito.

16. Further resolve to look into whether it’s possible to grow lime trees in Maryland, which is in Plant Hardiness Zone 7.