Tag Archives: nobody tells you this

threadbare 2: the threadbarest

the big, huge, official closet cleanout has begun. my spare bedroom holds boxes and bags of clothes ready to be donated to working wardrobe. i’m down 45 pounds as of today. all good things, right? so why does it feel so strange?

when i set out last year on this journey to lose weight, i definitely had goals. 10-ish pounds still to go, in fact. but what i hadn’t really accounted for, beyond the danced-around thought of how fun/cool it’d be to fit in smaller size clothes, was what that really meant. i’m not a packrat, and i’m certainly not overly sentimental (at least that i’ll admit to). so at least in theory, i shouldn’t have a problem with letting go of these clothes.

but some of them? some of them were really hard to put in that donate pile. the amazing tweed slacks that i had tailored just for me, and which i probably only fit in four times? gone. all of my cute little blazer-jacket-throw-it-on-over-a-cami-and-call-it-good(s)? gone. the camis themselves, for that matter – ciao! most of my cashmere, my beloved chartreuse things, the items from my love affair with j. crew, all gone.

i’m getting what i wanted – i’m downsizing, literally and figuratively. i get to start fresh, rebuild. but this has been a really interesting, unexpected, introspective experience.

what i hadn’t counted on was looking like a schlub for most of the past year. bumming around in ill-fitting clothes, because i couldn’t go down a size yet, but i didn’t quite fit in the previous one. trepidation over buying replacements, some financial and some knowing (hoping?) that they’d only last a few weeks. a sense of waste, getting rid of some unworn items, and some which were only worn a couple times. but then also a sense of happiness – donating some really nice, good-condition professional clothes to a great organization that helps women look and feel their professional best. and because of that schlubbing around in old or ill-fitting stuff? i better understand the importance of that.

i’m a very lucky, grateful girl. i’m getting what i wanted in more ways than one. and i’m appreciative of it – every pound, every size dropped. but this other, unforeseen side was a real surprise.

the dark side of the closet.



’tis the season for tipping, apparently. i was listening to talk radio the other morning on my drive to work, and they started discussing tipping practices during the holidays.

first off, i’m putting this concept in the category of “nobody tells you this.” i’m actually creating a new blog tag for that very concept, all the things you’re just supposed to know but that nobody ever tells you. you know, the proverbial nobody.


so the idea that during the holidays, you are meant to increase your tip amount for all types of services. now, this i get. i get that you would want to be more generous to others during the holidays. if you normally tip 15% to your waiter, you might find yourself upping that to 20 or even 25% for great service. i do this, and it makes sense to me.

what i don’t understand is the idea that during the holidays, you are now supposed to give tips to people you never tip normally. seemingly random positions that really have nothing else in common other than they do something for you. your mailman. your doorman. your newspaper deliverer. your personal trainer.

can postal workers even accept tips? as public employees, i’m pretty sure they aren’t allowed to take money. newspaper carriers and doormen? they’re doing the same thing they do every day that you already pay for.

but wait, now that i’m thinking about it, this sort of calls into question the whole tipping system. why do some positions get tips and others don’t? why do we tip waiters and cab drivers, but not newspaper carriers or doormen?

dwight schrute would tell us to only tip people who perform jobs that we ourselves are incabable of performing. dwight can deliver food, so waiters don’t get tips. he can cut his own hair, so no tip for the stylists. he does, however, tip his urologist, as he is unable to pulverize his own kidney stones.


i guess the part that irks me is the arbitrary nature of it, and how you’re supposed to know who to tip and who not to tip.

the other piece is that while some people get christmas bonuses, i don’t. as a public employee myself, my holiday pay looks exactly like any other time of year. we don’t even get cost of living adjustments these days. so the holidays find me spending lots of money on gifts for friends and family, but i’m not seeing any extra income during that time of year. the idea of adding on tips for everyone is overwhelming. i think i’ll stick to what i know and where i already tip. everyone else? that’s what christmas cookies are for.

dim bulb

on our way home from watching the badger game tonight, my brother informed me that i should replace my car’s headlights. i asked him why, and he asked me when was the last time i replaced them. i told him never, and he said “that’s why.” so then i argued that they’re not burned out, so obviously they still work, so why would i replace them?

am i the only person on earth who didn’t know that headlights dim over time, even if they haven’t burned out? i still think andy was pulling my leg.

i’m a little disappointed in my own self-sufficiency that this was such an ah-ha moment for me.