Interesting Care Instructions

King Richard’s Faire is in about a month and lately I’ve been thinking about including information and care instruction cards with my purchases. I wanted to see what other people did, so I looked around on the internet. This opened a huge can of worms as I’ve been reading all kinds of crazy things.

I know. Crazy things written by people on the internet!? Get out. That never happens.

I was hoping that I’d get some easy direction on what to include based on what others do, but instead, I still haven’t decided on whether or not to actually include care instructions. I am leaning towards yes, but I actually noticed that these are completely missing from the online stores and websites of some of my favorite potters. My guess is that they’re relying on common sense and answering questions on a ‘one on one’ basis when they’re asked.

Then there is are a lot of claims that I’ve never heard before, even in the most misinformed and superstitious circles. I plan to blog about it at some point… but I’m not sure I can handle that kind of angry and ranty post right now.

Instead, I want to share some of the other mind boggling things I found: the obvious.

Here are some examples of care instructions that I think would make even the most ignorant of layman face palm. I’ve started off with the worst and tapered off to some that you might see as being necessary when thinking of some people you know.

Maybe you have an Uncle Fred that put laundry detergent in the dishwasher or a friend named Sam who sets the stove on fire a couple times a month.

Avoid Dropping

Let that one sink in.

Hey there! I know you were planning on dropping your pottery ON PURPOSE, because why try to avoid it, right? You bought this specifically for dropping, and you expect it to hold up when you use it for this purpose. So, I’m here to make sure you realize that you’re actually NOT supposed to be trying to drop your pottery. I won’t tell you what happens if you do drop it, but I will tell you: Avoid Dropping.

Furthermore, if I include that, does that mean I need to also say things like, “Not recommended for juggling”? Wow. I’m going to need more space for all of these care instructions!

After I told someone about this, they also helpfully recommended the following: “Avoid throwing, hitting, punching, chewing, attempting to eat, dropping into vats of acid or lava, throwing at people, throwing at pets, throwing at dragons, using to stop cars, using to stop rampaging wild life. Not a substitute for modern medicine, clothing, transportation or travel. Please consult your local pottery expert before use.”

Wash before first use.

…because I would directly eat out of something people at a fair have been picking up all day.

Actually, this is really pushy. Technically you don’t NEED to wash it before your first use.

Maybe you’re one of those people who like to live on the edge. You are the type of person who won’t wash your hands before leaving the restroom. It only says ’employees must wash hands’, and you’re a customer, so that obviously doesn’t apply to you.

So are you going to waste perfectly good room in your sink or dishwasher!? Heck no. It’s a bowl whether or not you wash it before using it. It will hold your cereal just as well either way.

Ew.

Dry thoroughly before storing.

Wait. There are people who put away their dishes when they are wet!? Dishwashers have ‘dry’ settings. People who wash by hand use ‘drying racks’ or ‘drying towels’ (aka dish towels, as in, for using to dry your dishes).

Who are these people who need to be told both to wash their dishes AND make sure they’re dry before putting them away?

One friend of mine put it to me this way, “Babe. Common sense isn’t common.”

May become hot when used in microwave

Did you know that things become hot when you put them in the microwave?

But wait, ceramic bowls get hotter than a plastic bowl! Maybe we need to let people know that heating up soup in the microwave with their new handmade pottery bowl may result in a really hot bowl.

It is true that some ceramic dishes get hotter than others… but this is not a factor of handmade pottery by any means. For instance, a friend of mine mentioned some dishes she got at Ikea that get hotter than her other dishes. She was okay without the warning. Her first instinct wasn’t to cuddle her dishes full of hot food that just came out of the microwave and is careful when she takes them out.

Sad part is, this is one I’m actually giving some consideration and thought to. Thanks, internet. I think you broke me.

Do not use directly on stovetop.

Apparently some people are confusing pottery with pots. I can see that. These two words use a lot of the same letters.

Yes, I know there are special pots out there that claim they can be safely used directly on the stove top, but this is a special feature. There are also glass pots and pans that can go on the stove, but we know not to put any other glass on the stovetop. In general, if it’s not metal, why would you assume it goes on your stove top?

How are there not more fires and dead people in general?

Dishwasher safe, hand wash recommended…

…and it goes on to say how it’s safer to hand wash things.

Look, I don’t know how things work in your house, but I break more things hand washing. I honestly don’t feel comfortable judging if you’re someone like me, or someone like the people writing this care instruction. That’s right. I found this in multiple places.

Dishwasher means I pick it up and put it in the dishwasher. It stays in there safely washing and drying until I open the dishwasher, lift it, and put it away. I guess I could drop it putting it in the dishwasher or taking it out, but I don’t usually prewash stuff, so it’s not very slippery when I put it in. It’s dry when I take it out.

Hand wash means it soaks and clinks around with whatever else is in my sink being washed (don’t clink too much!). It gets picked up, soapy, and handled while slippery until it’s clean (don’t drop it). Then I rinse it (don’t drop it), inspect it to make sure it’s clean (don’t drop it), and put it on a towel or in a dish rack (don’t knock it off the counter).

It’s not just me either. I’ve had roommates break their share of pottery (and other stuff) handwashing. I haven’t had a single dishwasher casualty yet, and all of the pottery goes in there.

Someone even talked about things ‘clinking around’ in their dishwasher while it was running. Maybe it’s time you got a new dishwasher, or maybe you don’t load things right? If I put a cup in X spot in my dishwasher, it is in X spot when I open it. It’s not a clothes washer… If your dishwasher has a spin cycle, yes, I recommend hand washing.

Now, I do know some pottery is not suitable for the dishwasher and needs to be carefully hand washed, but then your care instructions should say “hand wash only”, and that’s it. If you think your pottery is going to ‘loose life and luster’ over time being washed in the dishwasher (whatever that means), maybe you should say ‘hand wash only’. More importantly though, let’s talk about how your pottery is alive. Personally, if I had sentient pottery, it’d be allowed in the bathtub and shower.

Note to self… Only use literal language when writing care instructions in case someone like me is reading them.

Top 10 Issues With Public Transit in Boston

I’ve been commuting by public transportation in and around Boston for about a year now. While I still prefer it any day to driving through or around Boston during commuter hours, it’s a much less than perfect system. Here’s a list of some of my ‘favorite’ issues in the form of a top 10 list.

Enjoy.

10. The bus didn’t see you. The tried to drive right past you. Maybe they did drive right past you. You’re wearing a long bright red coat, but somehow you’ve turned invisible momentarily. These things happen.

9. There is a delay due to slippery rail, mechanical failure, residual mechanical failure, disabled train, disabled bus, signal problem, medical emergency, weather related problem, residual delay, switch problem, heavy ridership, police investigation, traffic, weather related slip, heavy ridership, etc. My favorite of these delay reasons is “late train”. How can you describe the reason as the problem? Why is the train late? The train is late due to a late train. Okay, that clears things up. Here’s a good question: what’s the difference between a “slippery rail” and a “weather related slip”? Easy, one is caused by the weather and the other is caused by…

…you don’t want to know.

8. Someone has BO, too much perfume, permanent cigarette scent, and any other funk that you must now deal with. Pretty much any noise related issue can be solved with headphones, but even if you carry around a close pin or fruit-scented spray, there’s no really no way to effectively deal with this one.

7. You can’t get in the train. You’ve been waiting what feels like forever and need to get to your destination soon (or just would really like to). Oh, good. Here’s the next train. It opens. It’s full. A few people get off. A few people get on. Sometimes one of those people is you, but that can be almost as bad as being left on the platform waiting for the next one. If you are waiting for the next one, hope that this doesn’t repeat…

6. People won’t wait for you to leave to train before they try to get on. They somehow are always surprised to see you there trying to exit. It’s not the second coming of Jesus, folks. You should expect every time a train comes that at least one person is going to be walking through the opening and off the train. After a year, I don’t stop in the doorway and say ‘excuse me’ anymore and wait for people to register what’s happening. I just walk forward and hope that I can part the red sea of morons well enough to get through. I may not be Moses, but I have pointy elbows. Every now and then, someone decides to play chicken and keep walking towards me as if I’m going to get out of their way so they can board. Sure. I’ll just stay on the train for another stop so that you may board sooner. That makes sense.

5. Doors sometimes open in the front only, sometimes they don’t. While this happens ALL THE TIME on the Green line, I also see this on busses, and there are a host of similar issues. You know on this stop that doors are supposed to open on both sides. Then they just don’t for some reason. Or maybe they do, but have a weird delay to add to your confusion. Hm, these doors won’t open. I’ll just turn around and use the other- oh, hey, now they’re opening. Do I turn back and use those or just keep going? Some of this might be policies for certain stops at certain times of day, but it’s random enough that I think it’s a whim, or a cruel experiment. If it’s an experiment, why don’t I get a bit of cheese after when I choose correctly?

A kind of conditioning that starts to happen. I know I need to rush to the front doors in this long train. I’m dozing off a little or reading- THERE’S MY STOP! I get up and rush towards the front-

Only to realize I’m now in the far back of the train.

I turn around and run to the other side feeling like an idiot.

On the commuter rail, or any really big train, who knows where the doors are going to open. After a year I finally feel like I know which way to walk to and what to stand in front of to get off before we pull up. It’s always the same, except when it’s not.

4. There’s nowhere to go if you catch a crazy persons eye. If you’re in a station or at a stop, you need to keep waiting there. If you’re on a train, the car isn’t that big. If you’re on the bus, it also is not that big. The other people around you aren’t going to help you. They don’t want to catch the crazy’s eye. Employees don’t want to deal with it if they even are around and see it. What can you do? I usually ignore people and become super engrossed in my phone, book, or anything other than them. If you ignore them, they will usually move on. The biggest mistake I see is people trying to be nice. You might as well jump into a shark tank and slice open your leg. I’ve seen more than one conversation quickly go from crazy to worse:

A guy is signing very badly, “Hey, miss, do you remember that song? Hey. Hey miss.”
She makes eye contact, “No. I don’t.”
He sings a bit more, “It’s a great song. I haven’t heard it in forever,” sings a bit more, “Where are you from?”
She answers where she’s originally from.
“Oh cool. Do you think I could sleep on your floor tonight? I won’t take up much space.”
“Um. No, sorry.”
“It’s cold out! Please!”

And now we all feel awkward, and terrible, and aren’t sure what to do.

Some of these people are high, drunk, crazy, and/or homeless.

A tactic I’ve been seeing a lot lately is a homeless guy getting on, and then once he’s on asking people for change for a commuter rail ticket to a specific place where there is a shelter (or something else). The close quarters and no where to go are in favor of this guy. I feel bad for him, but I also feel bad for all of the riders aggressively being approached. That’s just awkward for everyone.

Some of these people are just jerks with no real excuse.

On that note, as a woman, you can imagine that a lot of awkward flirting and pickup attempts are to be had when you’re just trying to get from point A to point B. Normally I’m good at ignoring sexual harassment, but I’ve fallen for awkward flirting that starts off as innocent, casual conversation. To any guy out there reading that has done this, I’m only riding this bus, train, etc. because I don’t have a personal teleportation device and my mutant flying powers have not yet manifested. If you’re looking to find someone, might I suggest joining some kind of group activity to meet people?

3. There isn’t one pass to rule them all, but they make it sound like there is. Let’s take a place like Back Bay station where you have the orange line MBTA train, and commuter rail AMTRAK trains in the same building. You see signs for Charlie Cards (the passes for MBTA trains and busses) everywhere along with an explanation for the fees. Isn’t it great that you can use the same thing for both the train AND the bus? Well, it doesn’t quite work like that. Commuter rail passes are different. You can’t use your Charlie card on the commuter rail. You need to know to buy your pass at the machine in the station, unless you have cash, but they’ll charge you more on the train if you do it that way.

Well. Wait. They’re different passes unless you have one that covers both.

Some monthly passes can cover both, but if you have one, it’s not a Charlie Card. This means you can’t just tap it on a card reader when trying to get on a bus or train, you need to take it out and feed it into a ticket taker. That’s only if you’re on a bus or the T. If you’re on the commuter rail train, you follow the amazing scientific system of waiting for a person to come around and look at it. They have no card reader. They just visually check it. I’ll also add that that commuter rail is way more expensive, so I’m sure a lot of people scam this system. It gets worse. Unlike your Charlie Card that you can register online and get replaced if lost, obviously the one that is easier to lose and super expensive is not. So getting a combination bus, T, and commuter rail monthly pass, even if it’s economical for how often you use them, you’re eventually going to screw yourself by losing it.

Lets not forget that if you’re in an area right outside Boston taking a bus, you can now often use a Charlie Card! Wait! If you have a monthly pass it won’t work.

I found out some of this the hard way, and I see people mess this up all the time. This is terrible when combined with our next item…

2. People making the rules and working there assume everyone knows what’s going on. What, you didn’t know that at certain hours during the day on this specific commuter rail line that the inbound and outbound tracks switch? Lol. You should have read the printer paper sized sign by the stairs you ran down to get to the platform. It’s really clear, if you actually saw it and already knew what was going on. There is also a notice buried somewhere on our website I think.

Also, we switched the track number of your train that you take every day. We didn’t announce it, or maybe we did, in a cut-off garbled message over the speaker. Whatever. It’s not that hard to figure out that you need to board on a different track all the sudden. And really, get with the program when we switch back. We didn’t let anyone know we were, but you should be happy that it’s going back the way you wanted it.

Bus service replaces T service on this part of this line on these specific dates and during these specific hours that aren’t really specific. We’re going to start out early every time so you can’t plan around it even if you know.

I know no one told you, but you need to buy your commuter rail passes at a station of get charged a trolling fee. I know not all places have a machine where you can do that, so we only charge for those that don’t unless we feel like being jerks.

We’re on holiday schedule today. What holiday is it? It’s famous dead white guy Monday or day before an actual holiday day. Who cares. You should know that and know that this only effects the T and busses, but not the MWRTA bus or the commuter rail you’re trying to take today. Have a nice day!

You should know. Everyone who has been taking public transit has for their whole lives and had these secrets passed down from their ancestors. If you’re dumb and brave enough to think that joining this elite group would be easy, well then think again! You may think we’re trying to make money just like any other business, but really we’re government funded. Okay, well, we’re not really exactly fully government funded- look, it’s complicated. The point is that we don’t care if we discourage people from riding by making it hard.

1. We changed the schedule and raised the fares, and we even let you know about it! We don’t really care if you can’t deal with that. You just call up your boss and say, “Hey boss, I know I need to be in at this time, but this stop was cut, so now I can’t get there until that time. You understand, right?”. Is the new price too much? Well just tell your boss, “Hey, I need a raise.” Actually, just suck it up, because it’s still cheaper than gas these days unless you aren’t driving very far. Just be thankful and eat less.

Honey, I’m Going To Kill You

The number one question I’ve been asked lately is, “How are you liking your new place?” or some variant of it. Really, what I am being asked is, “Are you ready to kill your boyfriend yet?” since I just moved in with him at the beginning of last month.

That question is understandable, since if you’ve spent any length of time with us, we might have slipped up and said to one another, “I am going to kill you,” while in your presence. If that is the case, let me explain.

I don’t know who started it, but it’s really an endearing expression of affection between us. If we start to drive each other nuts we say, “I’m going to kill you. No really. I. Am. Going to kill you.” Sometimes we accompany that with graphic details about how, when, and with what. Other times this will be punctuated with noises like “AAHHHRRGG!!”.

I’m sure that’s this is inappropriate. A couples counselor, if we saw one, would shake their head and put little notes in their pad. They may tisk and ask us, “How do you feel when she says she’s going to kill you?”

“With a super sheep,” I add helpfully.

“With a super sheep-”

“-from the game Worms,” I add to make sure she has the proper context.

“From the game Worms-”

“You know, that will probably just end up killing both of us, and maybe even the cat,” I muse out loud.

“…”

“I feel… frustrated,” admits the boyfriend, “It’s so easy to blow up yourself in Worms. The more fun the weapons, the easier it is to destroy yourself. It’s confusing. I don’t know if the point of the game is to actually win or just blow everything up. You know, either way I also feel like it’s kind of fun. So to answer your question, it feels frustrating, and confusing, but also fun.”

I squeeze his hand because I know exactly what he means, “We can play a different game if that makes you feel better, sweetie. We don’t have to play Worms.”

Our couples counselor, who we don’t actually have, scribbles down some more notes. I imagine it would have in all capital letters, with a lot of punctuation, a circle, and a underline. It is probably the word worms. I’m going to assume that is because she hasn’t played the game and is going to download it when she gets home, but I might be wrong.

On the bright side, neither of us ever make good on our threat. I feel like it makes me feel better to say it, and it makes me feel better to laugh in his face when he says it.

“I’m going to kill you.”

“Hee hee hee.”

“No really.”

“Aw, you’re so cute when you’re homicidal. Let me pinch your cheek!”

But really though, if he doesn’t clean whatever crap he spilled all over our stove I’m going to kill him. I don’t even know what it is. It’s yellow. What could he possibly been cooking that is yellow. It’s kind of gelatinous in some spots and crispy in others. So I asked him what in the name of names he spilled all over our stove that was freaking me out so much,

“Yeah. I don’t know what that is.”

“There’s a lot of it.”

“Yeah, hun. I don’t know.”

“You must have done it last night. But what is it?”

“I don’t know. It doesn’t look like anything I cooked. I don’t remember spilling anything.”

When I lived by myself I was annoyed enough about cleaning up after a cat. Now I have a big hamster with opposable thumbs to look after too. No, he doesn’t chew the sides of his house or anything like that. I don’t know why I’m calling him a hamster exactly. I just wanted to call him a pet of some kind. Otherwise I’d have to call him a child, and I don’t need a child that’s almost thirty. Then again, I don’t need a really tall hamster either.

He’d say something like, well at least this hamster can cook (if he’d ever play along and call himself a hamster).

And well, I like his cooking. However, cooking is fun. Scraping a yellow entity off of our stove isn’t. If I cooked, this inter dimensional being now attached to our stove would never have been called into existence. I am very good at both cooking and not summoning disgusting other-worldly beings that adhere to kitchen appliances. I’m convinced that when the boyfriend cooks, he opens a series of portals, and instead of being useful portals that allow him to reach across the kitchen while still standing at the stove, they are portals to other planes of existence which allow things like whirlwinds from the Elemental Planes of Air to come swirling into the kitchen and take everything out of all the cabinets and scatter them all over the counters. Air Elementals are notoriously messy eaters and will also taste everything and leave tiny bits of it all over the floor, counters, and stove.

I don’t think the yellow thing on our stove was from the Elemental Planes. I think we need to look in H. P. Lovecraft books for this one folks. This worries me because I have enough to deal with without Cthulhu running around our apartment fighting with the already present Air Elementals.

Did I just hear the yellow thing on the stove mutter Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn? I swear I did.

I mean, if someone said, “Hey, I’ll do all the cleaning if you do the cooking,” I’d say yes too. That sounds amazing. I’d be the next Master Chef. I’d cook even when I didn’t want anything.

On a serious note, I’m not saying that the boyfriend is a slob who sits around who does nothing. He does a lot. I know not everything is going to be a 50/50 split. It’s impossible, and we shouldn’t be keeping score anyways. But if I clean everything else, I do want to be able to say, “Hey, I did everything else in the apartment- can you clean the kitchen floor please?” and have him say, “Of course! After you slayed that ochre jelly monster (turns out it was a Dungeons and Dragons monster, not Lovecraft) and saved me, I am eternally in your debt. It is the least I can do. Let me also make you a mojito.”

He does make me mojitos, but so far the asking for help has been met with mixed results. I understand that Skyrim has been enslaving a lot of the geek race recently. However, what about my video game needs? If I’m spending all this time slaying real life ochre jellies who want to be the next Master Chef, when do I get time to decompress and play the new officially released Minecraft?

I’m also not asking for the privilege of redoing tasks later. “You want your floor clean? Here. I dumped some water on it. The cat even helped me. You know how he loves to knock over his water bowl. Problem solved!”

Maybe my cat isn’t being a jerk. Maybe he is trying to help me clean the floor. He has no thumbs. That’s so sad. I just realized this whole time I’ve been yelling at my poor cat who has a no thumb disability but still insists on trying to help me with chores. I’m a terrible person. My cat is the Tiny Tim of cats.

I also don’t want to hear, “I got the worst of it” meaning that all the dirt was swept under the rugs. We don’t have rugs, but I’m just thinking of those cartoons where people sweep all the dirt under the rug. Don’t they realize that they’re putting as much effort into carefully sweeping under a rug as they would to sweep it into a dustpan and empty it into the trash? This is doubly bad since we don’t own rugs. Imaginary rugs don’t conceal dirt at all.

I’m not asking for perfection. Depending on who you ask, I am either a neat freak or a slob, so taking an average, I think I’m moderately reasonable about how I want the living space. The boyfriend, however, has a sight disorder when it comes to whether something is clean or not. He doesn’t notice. He cares and knows how to clean. He just doesn’t know how to tell when it’s time to clean. I can help here. Honey, it’s dirty. YOUR WELCOME. And if you don’t help me, I’m going to kill you.

A Dark Blue One

“I only own one gi, and it’s getting pretty old, dirty, starting to fall apart. I want to get one of the dark blue ones, but I don’t see many. Do you think you have any in my size?”

“Why blue?”

“White looks dirty very easily. My pants are pretty much permanently gray. I have a black cat to boot.”

“I like them. Forces people to wash them.”

“They look dirty even when do wash them, though.”

“Ever seen the pink gis?”

“YES! Yuck. I don’t think I’ve never seen anyone in one though except for the internet. Do women actually wear those?”

“Yeah, when I was in California there was a all women’s class of like 30, all happily rolling in their pink gis.”

“Well, no pink and co-ed classes here, and I prefer it that way.”

“We can order you a gi and you won’t have to pay shipping. Just look on the Gracie website. Did you want to get that in a women’s size?”

“Women’s size? Do they have a different sizing system? I think this one is like an A2 or A3. I’m having a hard time finding a tag where it isn’t completely worn off.”

“Yes, they do have women’s sizes and the gis fit different.”

“Cool. What colors do they have? Do they have the dark blue.”

“No. They only have them in pink.”

“…so that class of women? How do you know they were happy to wear pink if they only had the option was pink or a gi that doesn’t fit right? Maybe they’re actually all angry and feel ridiculous in their pink gis?”

“So… you don’t want a pink gi?”

“…nah, I want a dark blue one. A pink one probably still won’t fit right anyways. It’s not like most womens’ pants do.”