The Dice Store: Things I’ve Learned from Online Retail

I shambled down to work in our online dice store this morning. There they sat: shelf after shelf of opaque, transparent, swirled, pearlized, and speckled.

Pearlized Gold and Black 4 Sided Dice

Above the desk hung the Reaper miniatures.

Kieron, Ranger

Upon the far wall and beneath the regular d4 through d60 dice nestled our specialty sets, like stone or crystal-shaped.

16mm Solid Metal Dice

And I knew where they all were.

Mostly.

I recalled those days when we first purchased the website, and did not have such order. Instead, we pawed through plastic bags we’d heaped on a spare bookcase and shelf in the barely-lit basement. We often purchased a grab bag of dice from our main supplier, then spent ‘family time’ sorting through a giant pile.

Those dice would then need to have their picture taken and be entered into the computer. This proved a wasteful process overall, since the dice were often leftovers from product runs that the manufacturer would not continue to make.

It’s only taken me a decade, but I feel I’m starting to get the hang of the dice store. In fact, today I thought to create a Top Ten List of Things I’ve Learned:

  1. I have no idea what our customers do with their dice, but almost all of them have awesome e-mail addresses.
    “What do people use the dice for?” is a common question I’m asked. The honest truth is that I don’t know. I assume sets are for gaming, odd dice are for gaming, and …well, the expensive sorts are for gaming. See? No idea.
    Clear Red Double 12 Sided Dice
    No matter what they use their dice for, though, our clientele are clearly awesome people. Even back when most people had e-mail addresses for business purposes only, I noticed our customers favored epic varieties.
  2. Shipping costs money.
    From the boxes to the filler to the cost of shipment itself, we usually break about even or at a loss. Most people assume we’re gouging them (thanks, Amazon) by charging a flat rate of $4.95, but the smallest-sized package pays the United States Postal Service around $3.
    A word of advice if you suspect gouging: buy more if you can or need to. You’ll get the most value for the shipment cost.
  3. Companies (like ours) do get discounts on supplies, shipments, and products.
    When regular humans buy anything at a store, they pay retail cost. Places like Wal-mart don’t pay the same as their customers; the most common markup is double the wholesale price. Therein the profit lies, yes?
    Whenever I think of all the hands a product travels through from factory to retailer, I mentally tack on what each ‘hand’ charges. It’s sickening sometimes.
  4. China is cheating.
    This could be a post in itself. With the success of Kickstarter, many amateur businesses post ideas for dice designs and then arrange for companies in China to make them. China, in turn, spams out e-mails to businesses like ours, offering those products to us at a discount rate. Basically, they take the designs and run.
    Not only that, but they downright lie on customs forms in order to save money. We’ve had it happen with everything we’ve purchased for some trial runs of new products this year.
  5. Despite almost everything being online, a lot of business relationships are built by talking or meeting.
    You know: old school. My husband and I are still surprised when we have to call a company and/or their website is terrible.
  6. There’s a die for that.
    Size Comparison Dice
    Visitors to our store express surprise at all the different dice we carry. I mention that we might sell around 10% of those in one retailer’s catalog; about half of another who only makes two varieties. When people see everything from real Tiger’s Eye sets to large cubes with hearts, I can see why some assume we’ve got everything.
    We don’t. There are many, many more options out there.
  7. Stickers are real time-savers.
    Our latest printer types up everything we need (postage, addresses, and tracking information) on one label. I love it!!
  8. People like free stuff.
    Back when we had more random dice to dispose of, we offered one free die with a $20 purchase. One time a customer complained because her free die had a defect. I’m not sure if anyone purchased dice specifically to get a free one, but I was surprised about the one complaint.
    Of course, I like free stuff, too.
  9. Businesses often fill specific requests.
    We will. Want a note to your recipient? A blue d12 instead of green one? A discount coupon? How about getting your gaming candle cushioned in bubble wrap? We’ll probably do it.
    Granted, we’d have to stop doing freebies if everyone asked, but we’re cool to fulfill the odd one now and again.
  10. The customer is always right.
    This was a hard lesson for me the first few times someone demanded something, like that woman and her replacement free die. Still, makes sense. The customers are the ones keeping the business in business so, as long as they don’t ask for the moon, we’ll keep ’em happy.
    12-Sided Signs of the Planets Astrology Dice

Do you have any questions about dice? Running an online business? Painting a minifig? How about whether it’s a good idea to leap over a burning troll during a dungeon raid?

I may have a die to help answer that.

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Check out what I wrote this week:
Wednesday, November 20: “Utah Mormons: What Do You Want to Know?” I’m still open to questions.

Thursday, November 21: Threwback to that time I wrote an epic poem, “The Ballad of the Garbage Truck.”

Friday, November 22: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. One year!! Congratulations to Giselle, Bruce, and Michael!

Saturday, November 23: Slipped in one, last complaint about pregnancy in “What Pregnancy is Really Like.”

Sunday, November 24: Nothing

Monday, November 25: “That Awkward First Date,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Tuesday, November 26: “Since the Bombs Fell: Six.” Although I’d love to stay and write in the post-apocalyptic world, I ended this series before it mutated out of control.

Wednesday, November 27: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Thanksgiving Dinner, a poem.”

 

All photos ©2019 Kevin Owens and Game Master Dice

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Utah Mormons: What Do You Want to Know?

I am a Utah Mormon.*

If that shocked you, you may need to spend more time plowing thru -okay, you’re right: I don’t mention it much. I mostly don’t bring up my location or religious affiliation because of The Box Phenomenon. People are so keen to categorize that they will automatically assume things about my character, things that are probably not true.

There are, however, many characteristics or behaviors or habits or lack of cuss words that are true because of my Utah LDSness.

Like

  1. I don’t drink alcohol. Never have, and I mean never.
  2. I have not done recreational drugs.
  3. I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
  4. I have no tattoos. Never have.
  5. I wear one set of earrings, in my ear lobes.
  6. I lived a very clean dating life and my husband is the only man I’ve known.**
  7. I don’t swear, unless it’s the morning after the children have not slept and they will damn well hear about how frustrating they’ve been after the umpteenth time -in which case, it’s still only “damn” and “hell.”
  8. I attend church every week and (before I was pregnant) voluntarily worked a ‘job’ in our ward.

The list could go on, I suppose, but that’s why I’m writing this post. I am naturally curious about how other people live their lives, and assume others might be curious about mine. I specifically wonder if everyone else starts the day with a cup of coffee. Does everyone else flip off bad drivers on the freeway? Does everyone slip on a tank top and short shorts and call themselves dressed?

I don’t.

And so, what do you wonder about MY day-to-day life or views based on my location and religious leanings? Within reason, what questions do you have? Do you have any?

I’m no official representative of my faith and will not purport to be so, but am willing to answer what I can.

Try me. I’m curious.

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*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has officially stated that its members are not ‘Mormons,’ but are ‘members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.’

**You know, in the biblical sense.

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Besides a question, you may also be interested in my writings of last week:
Wednesday, November 13: Made some important announcements about the blog’s schedule in “I’m Having a Baby (I Think).”

Thursday, November 14: Attempted an homage to Geoff’s style with “A Tribute to Geoff LePard of TanGental.”

Friday, November 15: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Matt Snyder!

Saturday, November 16: Announced the 52nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! Happy birthday to bad poetry!! The theme is BIRTH, and is the last contest of the year. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, November 17: “A Confusing Session,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, November 18: Shared LA’s astute assessment of life and its responsibilities.

Tuesday, November 19: “Since the Bombs Fell: Five.”

Wednesday, November 20: Today.

I also posted a poem on my motherhood site, “Is There an Echo?

 

Photo Credit: Michael Hart

©2019 Chelsea Owens

I’m Having a Baby (I Think)

This last year has been the longest decade of my life. From injury to surgery to SURPRISE pregnancy to associated complications, I’ve wrestled with keeping some part of me afloat. The problem is, that part has not always been a useful one -like my face.

Yet as I draw ever nearer my scheduled surgery date, I must finally face the facts: I’m probably having a baby.

I know, I know; that sounds funny. Of course I’m having a baby. I’ve had appointments. I’m eating peppermint ice cream. There’s something moving down there that had better not be the oft-parodied Alien‘s clip. Professional people with professional equipment have seen a humanoid in my uterus.

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And, though you’ll NEVER see a picture of this, I’m about the size and weight of a hippopotamus. Still, I’ve been in a bit of denial. I’ve been ignoring the elephant in the womb in an effort to not accept the inevitable. But, facts are facts and this alien’s gonna be coming on December 2nd at 5:00 p.m.

Which leads to some other things I need to announce about life, the blog-o-verse, and my writing:

  1. Time
    Frankly, I won’t have any.
  2. Time
    Because of this, the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest will be on hold for the entire month of December. The last one of the year will run from November 16-22, 2019. The next will resume on January 4, 2020.
  3. Time
    I will not be writing on the blog, beginning on December 2nd. Oh -maybe I’ll drop a Wednesday Gripe or a Sunday Prompt, but I think taking a sabbatical would be healthiest for me and my spawn.
  4. Time
    I will also not be consistent in reading people’s blogs, though that’s been the case since about May. I love you all and will do my best.

My hope is you’ll stick around and deal with the adorable baby picture or two I’m liable to post. Thank you for your friendship, patience, and support.

—————-

And, here’s what I wrote this week:
Wednesday, November 6: Addressed my unhealthy lack of anticipation in “What do you hope for?

Thursday, November 7: Shared Heather Dawn‘s post, “I Met Depression… and I Won.”

Friday, November 8: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to The Abject Muse!

Saturday, November 9: Announced the 51st Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Christmas commercialism. PLEASE ENTER!

And, encouraged everyone to go vote for a finalist in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest.

Sunday, November 10: “Capture a Critter #1: Monkey Buffet Festival,” in response to Deb Whittam‘s prompt.

Monday, November 11: An ‘inspirational’ quote by Steve Martin.

Tuesday, November 12: “Since the Bombs Fell: Four,” the fourth in a series I intend to end at #6.

Wednesday, November 13: Today.

 

I also posted a poem at my motherhood site: “Towels, a poem.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

What do you hope for?

I’ve always wanted to fly.

I’m not talking airplanes, either. I’m talking: self-automated, magic flight. In my childhood nighttime dreams I’d run -fast, faster, faster!- till the momentum or movement or fairy dust accelerated my hopeful person into the sky.

I have other dreams, of course, but I fear to share them. I fear that voicing my wants, desires, and wishes will result in disaster. If, for example, I’d always wanted perfect vision, I wouldn’t tell anyone. Telling another would surely result in Fate crashing a car into mine and causing blindness, afflicting me with a genetic condition that affects sight, or causing one eye to randomly fall out.

Hey; it could happen!

As you can see, I’ve a real problem looking forward to things. From a psychological mush of my parents using upcoming events as rewards I might lose; my always putting others before me in true, selfless motherhood; and a desire to avoid the pain of disappointment, I do not anticipate positive events.

Instead, I numb. Instead, I cry. Instead, I sadly shelve my glowing orbs of potential dreams and tell myself to look elsewhere.

Elsewhere is safer.

And yet, I do have dreams. I think. Waaaaaay back in high school, our teacher had us make a bucket list of things we wanted to do in life. Mine included traveling to Europe, learning another language, and …I don’t remember.

Wishing and anticipating and doing were so much easier then -you know, before I had to wait for the ol’ money tree to produce something besides sour grapes.

How about you? Have you ever had a dream? Do you still? Do you share your dreams, or hold them like secret treasures?

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Here be what I wrote in the past week:
Wednesday, October 30: Opened up about the elephant in the room in “Depression and Donuts (and an Elephant).”

Thursday, October 31: Shared my first entry in the Halloweensie contest, “Midnight.”

Also, wrote an entry for this year’s contest, “Scampy Mouse.”

Friday, November 1: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Ruth Scribbles!

Saturday, November 2: Announced the 50th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is FIFTY (go figure). PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, November 3: “The Healthy Benefits of Popcornopolis,” in response to reading the front of my favorite, very unhealthy snack.

Monday, November 4: An inspirational quote by Charles Bukowski, in the form of his poem.

Tuesday, November 5: “Since the Bombs Fell: Three.”

Wednesday, November 6: Today.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Parenting: The Fine Line

I’m no expert at parenting. My life plan was not to be a mother; I use this as an excuse whenever raising offspring is difficult.

Still, I care about my kids. I care that they aren’t psychopaths or sociopaths. I care that they know how to cook, clean, and respect authority. They’ll definitely put the seat down.

Training my spawn involves a lot of strain, some of which comes from doubt:

Am I doing the right thing by making his friend send him home to finish a job?

Should I have yelled when my sweet, little pre-teen gave me attitude?

Was that too harsh to make him walk to school because he slept in and refused to get ready on time?

(In case you wonder at the masculine pronouns, I have all boys.)

I thought about the fine line of parenting today. I believe I thought about it the third time I prepared for vocal conflict with my most difficult son.

Me in the driver’s seat, patiently, “So, you threw the carseat into the back, yet say it’s #4’s fault because it hit his head before hitting #3?”

Him, mimicking my patient manner, “Yes. #4 made a dumb decision to climb over the seat. If he hadn’t done that, #3 wouldn’t have been hit.”

Believe it or not, this exchange went on for a good ten minutes. He refused responsibility for the thrown-carseat injuries; I refused to let him dodge said responsibility.

The Line here is Respect vs. “pick your battles.” Almost all of my lines are Something vs. “pick your battles.” My choice to engage (or not) goes back to that no-sociopath thing.

*Sigh*

I know not all of you have children -at least, not currently. Whether you have or not, have you felt the strain of walking a line? What did you choose? Was it worth it?

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Here’s what went down this past week:
Wednesday, October 16: Wrote “Where, Oh Where Should My Blogging Go?

Thursday, October 17: Throwback to my first post, “Hello, My Name Is.”

Friday, October 18: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to MagicQuill17!

Saturday, October 19: Announced the 48th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is the Old West. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 20: Shared Carrot Ranch‘s 3rd rodeo. Another one’s coming tomorrow!

Also wrote “The Wife Stands Alone” for Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge.

Monday, October 21: An inspirational quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

Tuesday, October 22: “Since the Bombs Fell: One,” the first in a dystopian series.

Wednesday, October 23: Today.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Where, Oh Where Should My Blogging Go?

I feel lost.

Where once I had goals, dreams, aspirations, directions, and a body weight I could control; I now have exhaustion and confusion. The problem is with writing, with blogging.

Why did you start a blog? I began mine because a very good (talented, beautiful, intelligent) friend recommended I start one. I’d been trying to make TwofaceBook into a salon of sorts. I failed. People on social media want it to be a trash heap -but I digress.

I started writing a blog because I wanted to share my writing with others. I also wanted to complete a book, become world famous, and retire from housework forever.

After 2.5 years and little progress in the book-writing direction, I wonder if my followers have lost interest. I know I have. I imagine everyone’s thoughts:

What is she doing with this blog, anyway?

Why does she keep posting terrible poetry?

Is this a short story or a -oh. It’s yet another piece of that serial story thing. Just END it already!

Since no one’s been blunt enough to tell me these things, I’m taking the liberty of assuming their reactions.

In all seriousness, though, what should I do? I’ve finally finished Wilhelmina Winters. I prematurely ended the life of one my favorite serials because it was going the same, lengthy direction. I’m not certain anyone ever reads my mom blog. I think the bad poetry is hilarious.

I need a re-vamp, or I’m bound to drop the thing entirely. We’re talking a new writing schedule and different posts than what I’ve been doing.

If you have a minute, could you leave a comment about what you actually enjoy reading or would like me to write? I’m open to suggestions.

Thank you.

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Here’s a brief run-down of what I wrote:
Wednesday, October 9: Asked about faves in “What’s Your Favorite Holiday? Why?

Thursday, October 10: Whipped up a (highly condensed) version of Stephen’s writing in “A Tribute to Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog.”

Friday, October 11: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!

Saturday, October 12: Announced the 47th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is to parody a nursery rhyme. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 13: Shared Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Contest, Susanna Leonard Hill’s Children’s Halloweensie Story Contest, and Aurora Jean Alexander’s Halloween Poetry Contest.

Monday, October 14: An inspirational quote by Someone who may have been Winston Churchill.

Tuesday, October 15: “Wilhelmina Winters, Number One Hundred Eight.” The End!!!

Wednesday, October 16: Today.

I also posted a little bit at my motherhood site. I wrote “The Merits of Yelling in the House,” “Top Ten Things to Never Tell a Pregnant Woman,” and “A Parents’ Bedtime Poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

What’s Your Favorite Holiday? Why?

Since I was a younger, smaller, Chelsea, I’ve loved autumn and winter. Perhaps this is why my favorite holidays have always been the autumn and winter varieties: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

In truth, my affinity for the first and last were likely tied to what I received at each.

Still, that love has persisted into adulthood. When the air outside turns cold enough to nip, a piece inside me stirs awake. I’m a reverse-hibernation animal, stretching and standing -even jumping!- when the first snowflakes fall. I associate the drop in temperature with coloring leaves, jack o’lanterns, and the excitement of trick-or-treating.

Once October passes, my memories turn to the distinct taste of a turkey meal and a thousand side dishes. I remember pies as well: pumpkin, pecan, apple, cherry, banana cream. I love them all! As we gather up the Halloween decorations and prepare to host family, I also look forward to all the loved ones I will talk to and spend time with.

Then, of course, comes Christmas. I hate the commercialism of Christmas, beginning with the first trees the stores put up in July and ending with the children’s over-hypered aftermath late Christmas morning. The spirit and feeling of the holiday, however, are what I love the most. Every year, I try to do something to bring happiness in service -the true meaning of Christmas.

Besides its spirit, I also love seeing everyone think of everyone else. My neighbors give each other presents. Most businesses decorate their fronts. We have tradition, and love, and even more time with family.

Today, Mother Nature finally accepted that it’s October. Wind and chill forewarned of her incoming wrath, followed by a severe temperature drop and even a little snow. I stood in the flurry, barefoot and smiling, as the tiny white particles swirled around me in our porch lights.

Autumn is here. Winter is coming. I’m so excited for what they will bring!

Are you? Is your favorite holiday one of mine, or do you prefer another? What do you love best about your favorite holiday?

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Here’s what I wrote this last while:
Wednesday, October 2: Wrote “Have We a Core Personality?

Thursday, October 3: Nothing.

Friday, October 4: Distracted everyone with some funny onesies for babies.

Also, announced the winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to The Abject Muse! Again!

Saturday, October 5: Introduced the 46th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a spell, a witch’s brew, an incantation, etc. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, October 6: Shared Carrot Ranch‘s Rodeo contest. Charli will be posting a new contest each week, so enter one of them!

Monday, October 7: An inspirational quote by C.S. Lewis.

Tuesday, October 8: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Seven.” Next week will be the final, final, final, final post for Wil.

Wednesday, October 9: Today.

I also posted all last week at my motherhood site. I wrote “How Do You Dinner?,” “No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family,” and “The Toilet Seat, a poem.”

 

Photo Credit: Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Have We a Core Personality?

My German grandmother wouldn’t allow a speck of dust to be out of place, let alone her own bedspread. “She puts a pin in the middle,” my father explained, “So the sheets and blankets are even.”

We sat for our Sunday visits in her tiny, tidy front room. I’d look over at my hunchbacked progenitor and wondered how she managed to keep so neat at her age, and in her condition.

“Don’t touch those!” she warned whenever we neared her knickknack shelf.

“Maybe you could play outside,” my mother sighed.

Outside didn’t promise much. The yard held long, thick grass but no swings or slides. The garden was dead; sprayed that way since Great-Grandmother couldn’t pull weeds. The dilapidated, warped-window garage was padlocked; forbidden. At the rear of the property ran a communal watering canal, also forbidden.

My pioneer stock great-aunt, on the other hand, kept a dog. She kept a candy jar. She kept roses.

“Thank you; thank you,” she told us as we pruned her roses. We tried to visit often enough to keep up on the flowers. She couldn’t bend or stoop anymore on account of bad knees, and I could see how it pained her not to kneel beside us in the lush, fragrant garden of bushes.

“Look, Shadow,” she would address her pet, “Some friends to play with you.” As the black poodle wagged his stump of a tail and slid after the old tennis ball we threw, Great-Aunt said, “He just loves it when you come.”

Both ladies aged and moved into care facilities. Both retained their manners and demeanor. “They always serve the same food,” Great-Grandma criticized the staff’s meals. “What a lovely card,” Great-Aunt praised our handmade creations.

I wondered, in my childlike mind, what made for the difference in my elderly relatives. Did my German one behave as she did because of her osteoporosis hunch? Did my rose-loving aunt feel happier because she took a strong dose of medicine for her joints? Or, was there a core personality in each?

What, then, was my core person like?

From what I could see, not good. I related to Mary Lennox of The Secret Garden, described as an odd little thing who did not get along well with people. I had a temper. No one seemed to like me -and that was fine with me! I cried easily, was stubborn about everything, and felt others ought to be forced to do what was ‘right.’

I saw myself in my great-grandmother’s eyes, yet recognized that hers was a repugnant personality.

Still, I seemed unable to change. I still seem unable to change. A counselor told me I could; that mine was a personality of years of learned behavior. My husband thinks I can; that my gloomy outlook is a matter of controllable perspective. I berate myself; saying I ought to be less sarcastic.

Yet, out it comes. Couldn’t dry wit and depressed sarcasm be my core after all?

I’m curious if this is the case with you, my readers. Do you think we have a core personality? What is yours? Have we the ability to change? Have you done so? How?

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I’m not sure my relations would approve of what I wrote last week:
Wednesday, September 25: Helped out the rising, driving generation with “11 Adulting Tips About Cars.”

Thursday, September 26: “The Darn Sock Connection, a parody,” a parody on “The Rainbow Connection.”

Friday, September 27: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to The Abject Muse!

Saturday, September 28: Announced the 45th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a tanka about pumpkin spice. Sniff some cloves and ENTER today!

Sunday, September 29: “Never Forget the Soap,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, September 30: An inspirational quote by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Tuesday, October 1: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Six.”

Wednesday, October 2: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Make Time for Yourself (A Parenting Myth),” “9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!),” and “The Morning Menagerie.”

Photo Credit: Alex Harvey 🤙🏻

©2019 Chelsea Owens

11 Adulting Tips About Cars

Adulting is hard. Not only do we get kicked out of the nest and sent hurtling toward the ground in nothing but an entry-level job, we’re also expected to do our own laundry and dishes. In fact; we need to responsibly handle many adult tasks like money management, simple repairs, basic plumbing, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and a ton of car-related stuff.

We are even expected to change our own light bulbs!

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In light of that, I’ve devised a list of car tips to pass on:

  1. Research how to buy a car, be smart when working with dealers, and always get a good mechanic to look at your ‘new’ car.
    Salesmen are shifty in any form. I hope many are honest, but all humans who work at selling for a living are going to want to sell you something.
    I know people who were taken advantage of. Even with our last (dealer) purchase; we were told a guaranteed price over the phone, then told (after signing initial paperwork) that price was only if we went with their finance plan.
    I’d also recommend against falling for The Talking-Up. We very nearly agreed to a sports version of the sedan we wanted. Later we found out they require more expensive fuel, more expensive parts, and are often not covered by insurance companies.
    A final note: you can always, always walk away. For all two of our dealer purchases, we’ve stayed past closing time to complete the sale. They want you to stay because you’ll likely change your mind if they let you leave.
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  2. Get a good mechanic.
    Ask around. Encourage that car junkie nephew. Slip a buck to the guy you’re buying your car from and throw in a wink. A good, homegrown, honest car mechanic is worth his weight in gold, and will often charge half what the dealers and car repair chains will.
  3. Don’t fall for shady repair shops or their gimmicks.
    Even with knowing a great guy, I get our oil changed at a Jiffy Lube sort. Every time, they have the same schtick: pull out my filters or wipers, put on a sad face, and tell me they can replace them for X amount.
    Bro, I can replace them for half of X. Honestly, I can do the oil myself (see tip #6).
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  4. Research and sign up for a good, honest automobile insurance company that is a fair cost.
    Our first company (*cough* Allstate *cough*) charged twice as much as our current one. We had to use them till we could qualify for the other, otherwise we would not have dumped the extra money where it didn’t need to be dumped.
    Don’t run after the first cheap insurance salesmen standing under a lamp in the bad part of town, but do shop around. Do your research; ask friends.
  5. Learn a few, basic maintenance skills.
    From fluids to windshield wipers to batteries, a lot of basic car repairs are simple. Most vehicle manufacturers know we rarely pop the hood ourselves anymore, but you can still get to the parts that need frequent attention.
    Once, I got a *titch* close to another minivan’s side view mirror. Instead of banking on seven years’ bad luck, I called my mechanic. He recommended ordering a replacement from the dealer. Ignoring the dealer’s dire warnings, I watched a YouTube video and did the repair myself.
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  6. Change the oil when the car says to, and do so correctly.
    If you have the time and body for it, learning to change your own oil can be a money-saver. It is, however, often an inexpensive enough repair to Jiffy Lube it.
    Once upon a time, I convinced my husband to change the oil ourselves. Purely coincidentally, both cars dried out and required new transmissions within a month.
    We don’t talk about it, but now I always take our cars to the shop.
  7. Do not speed over speed bumps.
    Our minivan required new shocks and struts about two years ago. My mechanic scratched his head, telling me they usually didn’t need them so soon.
    “So,” I said in a joking manner, “You mean I shouldn’t speed over speed bumps?”
    He and his assistant laughed, then saw my face. “Wait; you’re serious….”
    Embarrassing Car Lesson #1 for me: hitting bumps and dips is bad for the car. Always take them like a grandma holding a full glass of iced tea.
  8. Use the correct fuel in the gas tank.
    I’ve done this one once, too, but not to my own car. We’ll call it Embarrassing Car Lesson #2. I borrowed a relative’s pickup truck, certain they’d said to use diesel. Yeah; nope. We caught it pretty quick and had to have all the gas pumped out. Now I triple-check.
  9. Don’t drive behind large trucks.
    Seriously. Those things are rock-hurtling, blind-spot-wielding barges. I love truckers and what they bring to America. Still, I’m not going to hug them. They need space.
  10. Get a good windshield repair person.
    Even with learning to back off and away, I went through a rash of rock chips that culminated in replacement. My mechanic gave me a name (without any bribes, even!) and the poor windshield guy probably got sick of seeing my number pop up so often.
  11. Tires!!
    Find a place that sells good quality tires. Rotate your tires. Replace your tires when they need it. For me, I recommend Costco. They even rotate and refill the air for free.
    jairph-G0fQQ2RlvkI-unsplash.jpg

That’s about it for me. What other car advice would you add? Do you have any interesting experiences?

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Check out your car, and what I wrote this past week:
Wednesday, September 18: Observed that people crop up again in life in “Don’t Burn Bridges in Life (Seriously).”

Thursday, September 19: “The Little Things,” a poem about bereavement.

Friday, September 20: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Trent!

Saturday, September 21: Announced the 44th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is an acrostic to a celebrity. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, September 22: “The Sweetest Interlude,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, September 23: An inspirational quote by Len.

Tuesday, September 24: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Five.”

Wednesday, September 25: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “I Have No Advice,” “I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother,” and “You Just Can’t Win” (a poem).

 

Photo Credits:
Hosea Georgeson
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
NeONBRAND
Chad Kirchoff
Jairph

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Don’t Burn Bridges in Life (Seriously)

I consider myself a nice person. You know, publicly.

I feel that every human deserves to be treated like a human. I talk to every human like a human. I see no point in drawing class distinctions, boundaries of pride, nor ‘necessary’ ostracizations of certain peoples.

Besides this natural bent toward non-jerkiness, I’ve found polite treatment imperative to future conversations and relationships.

What do I mean?

I refer to the old adage to “not burn your bridges.” In my younger and more foolish days I thought I would never see most of the humans around me again. Others’ comments about “high school doesn’t matter,” “everyone makes mistakes,” and my young tendency to not consider the future all contributed to that mindset. Don’t get me wrong -I was and have always been a precocious thing. Even given that, I assumed I wouldn’t have to face the people I met at a future date.

That perspective also had help from there being no Facebook at the time…

Fortunately, I only used my ignorance a handful of times. I slipped up at work, wrote a scathing note to some girls in junior high school, typed up a fiery e-mail to someone I barely knew once, and had an embarrassing exchange with a friend in my twenties.

I do not write about keeping one’s bridges intact because of a big mistake. I write, instead, from times in which I’ve realized the error of my perspective from positive situations.

Two years ago, for example, a teacher at my children’s school asked me if I’d want to do content writing for a relative of hers. I took the job and worked at it for 9 months. That position gave me necessary professional experience for a writer’s resume, plus a relationship with someone still working in writing fields.

Through a love of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I started a blog named A Wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing. I saw others who referenced this trilogy, formed friendships, and was even invited to help judge a contest over at The Carrot Ranch.

A girl I babysat grew up and was babysitter to my own children. The daughter of my husband’s former CEO tended our two-year-old for a few weeks when I had my last C-Section. A good friend, looking for part-time work, ran our dice store for nearly a year. Just last week, I joked about my children with another random mother at Costco; and she called me by name and remembered we’d been college roommates.

No, we don’t “never see” people again. People live a long time. (You know, usually.) People know other people. People are related to someone you might work with, dated a guy you got angry with online, or taught preschool to the person bagging your groceries.

We are all connected, in The Circle of Life. It’s beautiful.

On that note, how have you seen this phenomenon in your life? Did you run into an old flame? Get hired by a former acquaintance’s relative? Accidentally cut off your elementary teacher? What happened?

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Check out what I wrote this week:
Wednesday, September 11: Wrote about what I like about where I live in “Welcome to Utah; Wanna Stay?.”

Thursday, September 12: Posted “A Tribute to Frank Prem.” Check out his site and his poetry!

Friday, September 13: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Joem18b and Tiredhamster!

Saturday, September 14: Announced the 43rd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a free-verse poem about secondhand sales. PLEASE ENTER!

Also, “The Problem with Being Karen;” a three paragraph story about Karen, a victim of her name.

Sunday, September 15: “The Stupidity of the Sexes,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, September 16: “Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred Four.”

Tuesday, September 17: An inspirational quote by Hugh Laurie.

Also, “Celebrities with Mental Health Issues: Dwayne Johnson” over at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health blog.

Wednesday, September 18: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money),” “We Don’t Point Guns at People,” and “Happy Hour for Parenting.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens