Category Archives: random

The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Or does it?


We’ve all long heard the saying that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, meaning that the loudest (or most annoying) problems are the most likely to get attention and be handled. I’m sure we can all think of hundreds of examples where this is true. Just think about the last time you waiting in line at the customer service line at a retailer and (inadvertently) overheard the people ahead of you. Or remember that time you were having a lovely meal and the man at the next table demanded to see the chef? Yup. Squeaky wheel.

I am here today with another theory. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting the Squeaky Wheel Theory (SWT) is not proven time and time again. It is. It is reality. My theory is ancillary and co-exists just fine.

The Squeaky Wheel Becomes Part of the Background Noise (SWBPBN).

So you know how you go to visit someone who lives right by the train tracks? The train goes by and you think, “who could live here?” and come to realize your friend truly does not hear the train. Or, you’re on the phone with your sister-in-law and her children are making a racket to beat all rackets in the background and she keeps talking as if nothing is going on and she’s totally not distracted. But you can’t hear anything except, “I had it first!”

We all have our own realities and everything cannot be a priority. We have to push some of it down. Ignore it. Learn to live with it. Just deal.

And so it goes.

We don’t know we’re suffering, but we are. It’s still there, but we don’t notice really. Until we do.

And then, it’s unbearable.

Our hall closet shelving and rod collapsed a month or so ago. It had that wire rack kind of set-up. No one should have been surprised about the crash, as we had about 5 times more weight hanging than any reasonable person would suggest. There ARE five of us and Andrew does have motorcycle riding gear (heavy!) and I have all sorts of other excuses why this was not a priority. But it wasn’t. And it collapsed.

I sprang into action. Everyone had to get their own coats and put them in their own closets. Then, we’d fix the hall closet.

And then, Reed’s closet shelving/rod collapsed due to the extra weight from his coats. (Can you say, “What were you thinking, Wendy?”)

While trying to help Reed solve this newly created problem, it became apparent that his closet was just not working. It’s small and a weird shape with lots of wasted space. So we decided to make some changes and get some shelving and make it better. We got a recommendation from Angie’s List for ClosetAmerica and they came out to see it. The designer had a great concept, the price was fair (nice Angie’s List coupon!!) and service was perfect. All set now. Except…

The closet doors are so difficult to slide. They’re HEAVY and make noise. They’ve been like that since the day we moved in. We’d have to shave off a little from the bottom or get new doors. Right?

Or I could try a little WD-40.

Which I did. And which solved the problem completely. The doors glide effortlessly.

And then, I took my trusty WD-40 to the hall closet (which is now fixed) but that also has heavy, impossible sliding doors. Except all it needed was some spray. Repeat for the closet in the mud room where we keep school backpacks, wrapping paper, and cat supplies. Opens and closes like the breeze. And no more squeaking.

We put up with those squeaky doors that were impossible to open without a heave-ho for 3 years.

3 years.

It took less than 5 minutes total to solve the problem. And with a product I already had sitting in the garage.

Not to get all deep on you this Saturday morning, but I’m thinking that there are a lot of little things that could make our lives better if we’d just take a minute and pay them some mind. All that background noise – whether we can tolerate it or not – adds up and takes away from the good stuff.

I look in the mirror.


Sometimes, I walk past a mirror and am surprised at how tired I look.

Not that I think I’m different from most of you, but my days are long, long, long. Up at 5:45 most days. Gym by 6:30 on some, feeding the cats and seeing the boys off on others. Their bus comes at 6:55. Crazy, right?

More days than not, I’m working by 7:00. I barely look up until lunchtime. And it might be exaggerating to say that I “take a lunch break.” What I do is grab some lunch. And then I work (read: sit at the computer) until 6:00 or later with a brief break to say hi to the boys when they come home before they start their homework.

I’m not complaining. I love my work. I’m grateful to have challenging and interesting things to do – and to make a living doing them. But squinting at the computer can take its toll. It’s tiring. Fine. Not the kind of tiring as, let’s say, doing construction or moving appliances, but tiring.

And so, for today, I’m more of a slippers girl than a boots girl.

But don’t think that’s how it’s going to stay. Because nothing stays the same.


photo credit Onatos

photo credit Onatos

You might think I haven’t posted much because I haven’t had many ideas. You would be quite wrong. I’ve had lots of ideas. Lots. Allow me to demonstrate. The following list is an actual – I mean no changes, actual, actually copied from my computer ‘sticky notes’ directly:

  • hairy legs
  • autograph book
  • china
  • elbow wrinkles
  • letter train
  • biting nails
  • reply all – appropriate for just a kind word?

So, yes. I have ideas. And from the list above you can see that they’re pretty darn great ideas.  (And don’t get the idea here that I’m not going to use those ideas again. I am. Trust me on this.)

I haven’t had a lot of free time. Ha. There’s an understatement! And the little time I’ve had, I’ve chosen to spend it with my guys. (Or to go to Stoop Storytelling.)

Always the optimist, I think I’ll be catching up soon. Maybe I’ll write a ton of posts and schedule them out.

Or maybe I’ll keep doing the best I can and write when I can and hope that anyone still reads. Doing my best over here.


True Confessions.


photo credit Ayla87

I have quite a few pairs of jeans. Joe’s, Lucky, Seven for all Mankind, a great pair of skinnies from Urban Outfitters.

And I have a pair of stretchy mom jeans. Yes, they are highrise. Well, not highrise like I wore in junior high, but the waistband hits about an inch below my navel. They are comfortable. Very, very comfortable. They don’t ride up. I don’t worry about muffin top issues. My shirts always hit safely below the line with no stomach showing.

I wear them often. Now, mind you, I rarely wear them out of the house. But.

Today, I did.

And that’s not the worst of it. The legs were rolled up even though the width of the pants legs aren’t ideal for rolling, if you know what I mean. And I was wearing ‘crunchy’ sandals. And a faded, long, pink V-neck t-shirt. And no make-up. And way less than ideal hair.

It wasn’t a good look. And you know what? I didn’t care.

So that’s why I’m writing this.

For years and years and years, I’d see women at the store or at the veterinarian (like I was today) or wherever and I’d think to myself, “Can you imagine going out looking like that?”

And today? I can.

Call me nostalgic. I don’t mind.


I don’t know why this makes me sad, but it does. The Forest Diner closed this summer after more than 6 decades. Check out the linked blog post and you’ll see that it was a diner encased in a building. I love that. This diner was hiding for years in side the Forest Diner. When you were inside, you could see the transition. I always thought it was pretty neat.

What’s sad to me is that this landmark is leaving. And a shopping center is taking its place. The old motel behind it has already been taken down leaving only a small part of it as evidence that it was there.

It’s not that I don’t like change. (Well, I don’t actually, but that’s not the point.) It’s that I love old things that last. I love seeing things and going places that have history. I love to imagine what it would have been like back in the day.

Maybe that’s why I like national parks and taking the back road so much. (In that song, my favorite line? Put a little gravel in my travel.)

Looking back at the pix from our last trip, I’m starting to see a pattern.

Call me nostalgic. I don’t mind.

Storage Wars


You may know that I’m a little obsessed with American Pickers. But you may not know that Storage Wars is a close second. You don’t know that show? It’s a modern-day treasure hunt where people bid on storage lockers and they only get a look. No digging through. A junk shoppers dream.

So, while not so closely related, when I saw the Extra Space “What’s in Store” game where you pick a storage locker for the chance to win great prizes (and discover useful organization tips from their professional organizers), I was intrigued.

You might remember the nice folks from Extra Space. I wrote about them after Blissdom because they were nice enough to ship all my stuff home from the conference. I know, right? And they were super nice.

So go play their game if you have a minute or two.


Small town doc.


My friend Lisa has been talking about how she wanted to be like a small town doctor since I’ve known her. I am so excited for her and for our community as she launches her new business:

I wanted to let everyone know that at the end of this month I will be happily going back to my career as a pediatrician. I have been searching and waiting for the opportunity that felt right for me. I am excited to have found that now. I am joining a friend of mine from high school named Zee Beams who is also a Pediatrician in Columbia and together we are hoping to create a unique practice with a small “hometown” feel. We plan on restoring the personal touch, which is too often lost, back into medicine. I will be doing my own scheduling and taking phone calls from patients directly, with no nurse triage system or answering service. I will be available by phone, text or email 24 hours a day for all of my patients, including evenings and weekends. I plan on doing home visits for newborns and others as needed. My office will be nearby on Cedar Lane, and I plan on doing all of my urgent care visits myself when at all possible. My hope is that with easy access to my office on weekends and in the evenings, I will be able to avoid visits by my families to urgent care clinics, emergency rooms, etc. I am excited to have a chance to practice medicine the way I have always wanted; please feel free to pass along my name and contact information to anyone you know who might be looking for a pediatrician.

Lisa Laborwit, M.D. can be reached at 410-905-1941 or via email.

If you’re in Howard County and looking for a pediatrician, you’ll love Lisa. She’s amazing.

Spread the word. I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful trend.

No one has softer hair than I do.


I know that headline might make me sound conceited. Okay, fine. It does make me sound conceited.

But I’m not. Conceited, that is.

Read on.

My hair is the longest it has been since about 1967.

I have to add that I’ve had shorter hair than I bet 99% of you have ever had.

But for most of my life, it’s been up and down – short, shoulder length, short. And somehow, I never really learned how to ‘do’ my hair. Well, not really, anyway. In fact, it was only last year that I learned how to blow out my hair and make it smooth.

And still, I have a pretty simple routine. I don’t buy extravagant product (though I did buy Moroccan Oil on the advice of Rebecca and loved it – though it’s pricey.)

Fast forward to 2011 – I became a BirchBox subscriber. I love getting the samples.

A few months back, they sent some hair care samples and I loved them. My favorite was an oil, kind of like the Moroccan Oil, that gets applied after washing. It made my hair so shiny! But, alas, I ran out.

So when I saw Moroccan Argan Oil Treatment in the store (reasonably priced, I might add), I bought it. Great substitute, I imagined.

Last night, I washed my hair as usual. But before blowdrying, I applied a quarter-sized (or more?) dollop of this great new product on my hair. It smelled divine!

As I dried my hair, I was horrified at the texture. It wasn’t exactly frizzy. More like straw. Yikes. Horrible.

So I used my trusty olive oil sheen spray to calm it down. (Did I mention that before? It is great for a quick smooth-down or shine-up. And before you tell me that I’m not the intended customer for the product, I do know that. But it’s 5 bucks a can that lasts a year or more and, anyway, who cares?)

But back to the point. (There was a point.)

I can’t read jack without my glasses. Seriously, nothing.

But after this unfortunate incident, I got my extra pair of readers out of the bathroom vanity drawer and read the container of Moroccan Argan Oil Treatment. Because, you know what? This product sucks and I might just call the toll-free number.

The directions read:

Scoop a small amount of Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Renewing Treatment into palm and evenly distribute with a wide tooth comb from your hair’s roots down to the ends. Leave Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Renewing Treatment in hair for 3-5 minutes. Product performance is enhanced by placing a shower cap over hair and wrapping cap with a hot, wet towel. Rinse with mild to cool water. For best results, use with other Organix Moroccan Argan Oil products.

So, I didn’t call customer service.

Instead, I vowed to try the product again. And to rinse it out this time.