A Selection of Random Things I’ve Impulse-Bought To Distract Myself From the Fact That My House is Currently a Construction Zone

Sometimes I think I make all my best purchases while stress-shopping.
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Lesley Kinzel
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Sometimes I think I make all my best purchases while stress-shopping.
My husband took this picture of me in our under-construction condo back in 2006.

My husband took this picture of me in our under-construction condo back in 2006.

Earlier this winter we had a flood. While we didn’t lose much in the way of personal belongings, the flood did successfully take out many of the parts of our bedroom that made it a room you’d actually want to spend time in -- like, a ceiling without chunks missing, and walls with intact paint, and a carpet not horribly stained from the chemical fire-prevention sprinkler-system antifreeze that was supposed to stop the pipe from freezing and breaking and causing a flood in the first place.

Nearly three months later, the repairs are underway, and while I would not say they are necessarily worse than the immediate post-flood aftermath (the FANS, the FANS, the FAAAANNNNSSS), they are still pretty bad, insofar as all the contents of the bedroom had to be moved to the living room and currently I am sleeping (badly) on a (not-good-for-sleeping) couch with my entire wardrobe looming over me on a cheap portable clothing rack meant to hold probably a third of the weight currently upon it. The truly sad thing is that even as I lie sleepless and mull the odds of said rack collapsing on me and suffocating me in the unforgiving night I can’t even feel that worried about it, because at least then I might get some quality rest.

Dorks that we are, we recreated the 2006 pic in a 2015 version during the repairs.

Dorks that we are, we recreated the 2006 pic in a 2015 version during the repairs.

I shouldn’t complain; we are fortunate to have excellent insurance and once all the work is done we will have an almost brand new place and that will be lovely. I just need to survive the next couple weeks. And how am I doing that? By buying random stuff to forget the hellish maelstrom of stuff I’m currently drowning in at home, naturally.

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Rat Queens

I always feel very Fake Geek Girl in comics shops. Part of this is because I’ve still never read Watchmen. Part of it is because my comics interest has been somewhat limited, beginning as it did with Sandman way back When I Was Goth and then to Transmetropolitan and a few other comics series that even people who aren’t huge comics nerds seem to like.

This is only part of the reason why I feel like anytime I walk into a comic shop, I am committing to buying something. The larger part is that when I walk into a comic shop, I am overwhelmed with wanting to support a Local Business and make sure that business continues to exist, so usually I wind up picking up something with an interesting name or a pretty cover and buying it and thereby I’ve discovered some awesome books I never would have found if I hadn’t felt compelled to make a purchase that day.

Oddly, neither the name nor the cover of Rat Queens particularly attracted me; I picked up the trade off a shelf promoting comics with interesting female leads. And then I realized I was running late to meet someone, so I just bought it. This turned out to be serendipitous because Rat Queens is now one of my favorite comics in the WORLD.

Set in a charmingly familiar (to nerds) medieval fantasy world, Rat Queens is about the exploits of four irreverent lady adventurers. I adore that the setting is a cheeky send-up of the genre, but I also really enjoy all of the main characters because they seem like actual people, with unique strengths and weaknesses, good points and bad. I dig a set of complex personalities who aren’t always easy to like, and Rat Queens gets at that tricky balance admirably. It helps that they’re also all extreme sarcastic badasses.

The first collected edition came out last year, and the second is due in May, so it’d be real easy to get caught up, is all I’m saying. There’s also talk of an animated TV series based on the comic.

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Vintage Miss Piggy Mirror

This was actually the second of two related purchases. The first was an impulse buy at an antique/junk auction -- this adorable circa 1980 Miss Piggy trinket box, part of Sigma’s line of hand-painted ceramic Muppet collectibles of that era. It was $5. I mean.

Inside the box I found the original Sigma tag, which inspired me to check eBay for other examples, and it was there that I found this amazing, Art-Nouveau-inspired mirror. It is possibly one of the wisest purchases I have ever made.

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Floral Denim Jacket

I’m not entirely sure what possessed me on this one. Nevertheless, I’ve worn it every day since it arrived, so I guess it was a good idea. I swear my mom had a pair of jeans in a similar print in the late 1980s. My mom was all about the floral denim.

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Pink Bunny Print Dress

Bunnies. I don’t know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I’ll probably wear the floral denim jacket with it and give everyone who looks at me a headache.

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Anti-Static Slipshorts

Last spring I did a pretty comprehensive -- some would say overly so -- roundup of chub rub preventative solutions, and I don’t expect to revisit the subject again in the near future (I still haven’t fully mentally recovered from that experience). Still, I must note that Jockey, makers of the much-lauded Skimmies Slipshort, have since come out with an anti-static version of the undershorts so many know and love.

If you’ve ever taken the undershorts route to head off thighs of fire, you’ll know that one of the drawbacks is static -- depending on the skirt or dress you’re wearing, you may spend half your day anxiously yanking your hem down as the fabric bunches up around your belly/FUPA area in the most DELIGHTFUL way. Anti-static shorts would avert this pesky problem, wouldn’t they?

They do. They are also a little less lovely-feeling than the original Skimmies fabric, and they’re only available in sizes from small to 2XL, but if you’re sick of that one adorable cotton sundress getting all foofed up around your nethers with undershorts lacking static-battling skills, these can help.

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PurSteam Fabric Steamer

Now we’re moving into the housewares portion of events. I’m purposely not including all the lighting fixtures I have looked at, bought and returned when they failed to meet my apparently impossible-to-please standards for how light is cast into a hallway in my house. Honestly, I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly design-obsessed person, but it seems I have extraordinarily strong feelings about ceiling lamps.

This is not that, though. This is a handy fabric steamer, which I ordered late one night from Amazon because I realized that instead of letting perfectly good dresses languish in my closet (which is now in the living room, so it’s on my mind and in my face for a significant portion of my day) because they need ironing, and I hate ironing, I could just get a fabric steamer and never iron again! The downside is that now I can’t figure out why I didn’t do this years ago.

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Takeya Iced Tea Set

The two-pitcher Takeya Iced Tea Maker set is made of BPA-free AcraGlass (total misnomer, it’s plastic) and comes with a removeable mesh infuser. The smaller pitcher is the one you steep the tea in, and thusly infused, you then pour the hot tea into the larger ice-filled “chilling pitcher.”

Of course, when this arrived in the mail I was struck with the realization that it is basically no different at all than making tea in a freaking teapot (of which I have, like, six of comparable size) and then pouring it over ice in a regular non-matching fridge bottle or pitcher, in the way our ancestors have made iced tea for possibly millennia. I did not need this set at ALL, and yet, I am using it constantly -- the mesh infuser works great for making iced rooibos. It is a totally superfluous but extremely convenient thing and I’m kind of glad I bought it.

Also, buying this now was the ultimate in foolishness because my kitchen is about to be packed away as the repair work continues into that part of the house. I still have a week (or maybe two? WHO KNOWS) of construction to go. Assuming I don’t die under a collapsed pile of my own belongings. Fingers crossed.