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376th Friday Blog Roundup

This is how we ended up with the Lego Robotics set within 12 hours of swearing that we would not purchase a Lego Robotics set.

  1. The twins fell in love with the Lego WeDo Education set at their after school robotics class.
  2. I told them I’d look up the cost of the product online.
  3. I nearly fell off the bed when I saw the cost and explained that we would not be purchasing the parts and software for use at home.
  4. Talked on the phone with my brother-in-law about how it would be insane to lay out the money for a robotics set.  Unless… of course… my niece might use it down the road… but no… it really is insane.
  5. Told Josh that we should think about getting them the product a few weeks from now if they’re still this geeked out about it.  Maybe we could find a used set.
  6. Lie in bed and think about how my daughter couldn’t really assert herself and get enough hands-on time in the class because there are only 3 girls and she is two years younger than the other girls and it’s hard to interact with older girls when you’re that young.
  7. Start imagining two roads, one in which my daughter is the world’s saviour in the Robot Apocalypse all because she got a head start on making robots back when she was in first grade, and another where she is at the mercy of the robots all because we didn’t give her the tools back when she was excited to learn.
  8. Dream about the damn robot set.
  9. Wake up and spend the entire time in the shower going through various reasons for why the robotic set will help the twins.  Some schools use this set in their gifted and talented math or science classes.  The twins really love doing computer programming, and this is a natural extension of that.  The ChickieNob was so geeked out excited by the Lego program, and she really excelled at understanding how the robot worked even though she was having trouble getting actual hands-on time with the project.  They both fell in love with gears and spent breakfast talking about various things one can do with gears.  If their teacher is game, I can bring it to their school and work with small groups to teach the kids in their grade robotics during recess so every kid gets a fair shot.  I can have their friends come over and geek out together over this — especially the ones who didn’t get in the robotics class.  I can pass along this set to another child when we move onto the next level so it will continue to be loved.
  10. Go downstairs and sit Josh down on the sofa.  Outline all the reasons why I think we should get this now.
  11. Josh understands that I have now spent 12 hours obsessing over this and agrees that the price is worth it both to educate the children and to stop me from worrying about this.
  12. Order Lego robotics set and then obsessively write about it in the Roundup.

Josh says that the tone I use when discussing the wasting of time, money, or resources is akin to the way people discuss murder.  I really don’t like squandering things: tangible or intangible.

This purchase came at the crossroads of wasting opportunity (not educating our kids when they are obviously so geeked out about this — it almost feels like we’re driving out their potential by not embracing it) and wasting money (holy crap, those Lego robot kits are expensive and we only have the elementary school set.  One day, we’ll need to get the middle school set and then the high school set and by the time we’re done, we’ll have spent thousands of dollars.  And at the same time, they’re still taking these robotics classes and we’re paying for the classes, so at some point, it becomes redundant).  Which created a perfect storm of anxiety: is it more wasteful to make the purchase or not make the purchase?

And to make it more insane, while it’s an extraordinary amount of money for a toy, it isn’t an extraordinary amount of money in the grand sense of the word.  It’s the equivalent to one month of guitar lessons.

But the mantra in my brain was: what if we didn’t use this tool enough?  I truly hate to waste anything.

So you should also expect a post or two about Lego robots; a tutorial or something like that.  Because apparently, when you write a blog post about something, it becomes less wasteful.

Am I the only one with waste anxiety?  Please tell me that other people spend this much time worrying about spending money or not spending money.

P.S. I plan to play with it after they go to sleep and make my own robots.  It really is that cool.


I make horrible food choices.  I feel like I need to see that in print so I remember it.  Melissa, you make horrible food choices.  I was thinking about tattooing it on my hand, but then I realized that I hope one day to make good food choices.  And tattoos are permanent.

This is but one example.  On Monday, we went to a Tex-Mex restaurant.  I told myself before we walked in the door not to eat the chips.  I ate the chips.  And then wasn’t really hungry for my meal.  But ate my meal too since I ordered it.  So it was food I didn’t need, but it all goes back to that waste thing: the food wasn’t going to still be good if I took it home (it wasn’t something that traveled well) but I had put myself in a position where I wasn’t really hungry anymore.  Horrible food choices.  I wish they made a tattoo that lasted for a year or so, that you could renew like a library book.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week as well as the week before.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Cablearms has an aching post about ifs.  The refrain at the end gutted me, and this is but a small part of it: “If I cry enough today, tomorrow and the day after, would my tears dry up and make me numb from all the pain? If I open myself up to the pressing reality that I can never bear a child, will it make it easier for me to move on?”  They’re questions without answers, but so much is said in the asking of them.

Hapa Hopes has a post about her “person” — the one you go to when “things are shitty, it’s the person you call to vent to and cry to.  He/she is your emotional stronghold.  Your person gets you.”  Her post is about her person, but she also invites you to write a small ode to your own person.  The post just made me smile, and it was a good reminder to let someone know how much they mean to you.

Feigning Fertility has a letter to a woman she encountered at the gas station; the hidden story behind the exterior the outsider can see.  It is just an amazing, amazing post; filled with humility and empathy and incredibly reserves of strength.

Lori Does Maryland has a post about how bravery comes in all forms.  She doesn’t consider herself brave for living every day without her son, Matthew, because she doesn’t see his loss as a choice.  But choosing to cycle again, choosing to do it while her husband is on a fleet, where if the IVF cycle works she will be parenting two children on her own close in age.  It’s an eye-opening post into the life of a military family.

Lastly, The Hardest Quest gives a gorgeous bit of advice about living without regret.  I don’t just love it because the American in me sighs over the beauty of the French in the post, but because by the end of the post, she had me considering places in my life where I may end up with regrets rather than the more livable remorse.  Just a fantastic post.

The roundup to the Roundup: How I ended up with a Lego robotics set.  I hate to waste things.  I make poor food choices.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between January 13th and January 20th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Stephanie { 01.20.12 at 7:36 am }

Ha! I laughed out loud at number 7. Really, you should think bigger…without the kit, not only might ChickieNob be at the mercy of the robots…the whole of HUMANKIND might just roll over and surrender without her to lead us.

2 BigP's Heather { 01.20.12 at 8:49 am }

I have big food waste issues (and anything waste issues, really – which is why I purge often because I don’t want to be a hoarder) and I have to remind myself that regardless if it goes into the trash or I eat it when my body doesn’t need it – either way, it is wasting it. But one way it ends up on my hips and the other does not. Sometimes, it is better to throw away the food.

I do stress about money since I don’t generate any income…

3 loribeth { 01.20.12 at 9:01 am }

LOL… too funny. Although I was looking at plain old Lego sets as a potential Christmas present for someone a few weeks ago, & holy cow, even the non-robotic stuff is incredibly expensive. I couldn’t believe what a simple box of plain ol’ Lego bricks costs these days.

I have a split personality when it comes to spending money. I will happily drop $60 on a jar of face cream. I will buy half a dozen T-shirts in multiple colours at Old Navy at $6 a pop ( as I did recently). I buy stacks of books (that I haven’t read yet) without a thought.

But I can be notoriously cheap in other ways. For example, we have a nine-year-old, humungous old-style 32″ Sony TV set in the living room (& we still have the 25-year-old 19″ Sony that it replaced in the basement, which takes a little longer to warm up these days but otherwise still has a perfectly good picture). Dh is dying for a new flat screen HD, & I suppose I will cave eventually (they have come down so much in price lately) — but I really struggle with getting rid of a perfectly good TV set, just because it isn’t the latest & greatest (particularly when I know I probably couldn’t even give it away). I hung onto my original cellphone until I couldn’t get a battery for it — it wasn’t THAT old (at least in my mind), maybe four years or so, but you should have seen the expression on the store clerk’s face when I pulled it out of my purse.

And it’s not just the big stuff. I hate it when dh pours the last little bit of milk down the drain because it’s recycling day & he wants to take the carton out to the curb. Right now, I ‘ve got a pile of stuff in the basement, waiting for some boxes so that I can pack it all up & take it to Goodwill. Dh wants to know why we can’t just throw it out (“nobody wants our junk”), but I just can’t do that. I wear socks until they get holes in them, & although I’m not cheap enough to darn them (lol), if I wear a hole in one sock of the pair, I’ll save the good sock until another sock in another pair wears out (I usually buy the same brand, same colours) & then I have a new pair. ; ) Stuff like that drives dh nuts. ; )

I’m guilty of stockpiling stuff when it’s on sale or there’s some kind of promotion going on (I’m a sucker for those gifts with purchase at the cosmetics counter.) And then the food goes bad or the skin care products go past their expiry date because I’ve got such a stockpile I haven’t used it all yet, & then I feel guilty because THAT’s wastage. :p You get the idea. ; )

4 loribeth { 01.20.12 at 9:28 am }

As for links to share:

Mrs. Spit had a great post that I kept returning to this week, about a recent evening when she wound up feeling like an outsider in her own home:


Bon at Crib Chronicles writes beautifully and had a couple of great posts recently. The first one is a little outside your time frame, but I’m sharing it anyway because I only just read it and it’s a topic that I know is near & dear to your heart, Mel. ; ) It’s an exploration of the divide between personal & monetized blogs, & there’s a great conversation going on in the comment section . Bon was recently interviewed for CBC Radio on the subject & there is a link to a podcast on her post:


More recently, she wrote about her upcoming move (she’s looking for tips!):


5 a { 01.20.12 at 11:20 am }

Loribeth, through the miracle of Craigslist (I know, you’re Canadian, but I’m sure you have the equivalent, right?), you could probably sell both your 32″ and your 19″ TVs. We sold a 27″ tube TV last year because some guy needed something while his new flat screen was being repaired. And people like that sort of thing for their kids to play video games.

I’m not a fan of wasting, but we waste a lot of food. OK, not a lot, but enough to irritate me. At restaurants, though, I assume that some portion of what I order is going home with me, so it’s not a big deal if I don’t finish stuff. I also have a problem not filling up on the chips…because they’re usually freshly made and delicious!

Think of the Lego set not as a toy, or a teaching tool, but as an investment in their future. You would be AMAZED at the stuff they have at the national competitions. My nephew is on a team at his high school and they were one of the teams that won the competition last year. They have virtual reality helmets to go with your Lego robots. And between the section of Lego robots, and the giant kits sponsored by tech companies, there was a whole section of college booths with scholarship opportunities.

6 Gil { 01.20.12 at 11:25 am }

I ponder new purchases much like you do Mel. Especially pricey items. I immediately say no. Then continue to wonder about the benefits. Is it really worth it? Can I convince myself (in whatever fashion!) that it’s actually an investment?! Talk it over with Hubby to see if he is on board. It’s a long process. Days can come and go between the “I’d like to buy that” statement and the actual purchase. For our house, we visited it SIX times before finally making an offer. Oh yeah. I take my time.

Thanks for the shout out in the Roundup. Peut-être je devrais écrire plus souvent en français pour toi? (Maybe I should write more often in French for you?) Hee hee!

Je t’embrasse! (aka Hugs!) – Gil

7 Jules { 01.20.12 at 11:39 am }

YES! I too have waste anxiety! Especially if it’s an item that I’m not sure if I’m going to LOVE it or just really LIKE it. But I find that if I keep thinking about the item over and over again for days that I just need to get it because I will never be able to stop thinking about it! I also hate those baskets of tortilla chips they put out. I feel compelled to eat them and I’m not sure why — maybe it’s just force of habit? Sometimes I have to literally push the basket out of my reach at the table so I won’t eat them anymore!

8 It Is What It Is { 01.20.12 at 1:01 pm }

I hope you used the 10% off coupon from the recent Lego catalog (or found the equivalent sale price). That would make me feel good for you.

9 geochick { 01.20.12 at 2:05 pm }

I personally am totally excited that the Chickienob is geeked out over the robotics set!

10 Bionic Baby Mama { 01.20.12 at 2:11 pm }

i have anxiety about all forms of waste, yep. this is also why i can’t throw anything out — i might need it, and rebuying it is horribly wasteful. to tell you the truth, i don’t even feel that bad about it; it’s that engrained.

about those food choices, do you ever read the fat nutritionist? i really like the way she begins by praising your instincts and choices about food, rather than by reinforcing all these bad beliefs we have (or i do, anyway) about ourselves and food. i find letting go of some of the shame and anxiety really helps me, paradoxically, actually do the things i thought i was going to use shame and anxiety to accomplish.

11 Queenie { 01.20.12 at 2:33 pm }

I swear you are psychic. I TOTALLY obsess over wasting money. I’ve been obsessing all week over whether we buy a Volvo or not. We have a chance to buy one for an insanely good price, but I have been obsessing over whether it’s worth it and why a less expensive car isn’t just fine. But then I look at all of the safety features, and all of the reasons it makes sense. And then I look at the price, even with the ginormous discount. And then I circle back to all of the reasons to buy it. Sigh. I’m driving myself crazy. But I desperately need to spend my money wisely, and to get good value for money.

When I walk in the door of a Tex-Mex place, I just assume that I’ll eat at least two baskets of chips and salsa, and order accordingly. It’s unhealthy, but I’m an addict.

12 Kimberly { 01.20.12 at 3:40 pm }

I think the lego robotics set is pretty awesome. I’ve considered getting them for my hubby cause hes just that sort of geek who would drool over it. He still proudly geeks out over regular legos. Also (maybe to ease your mind), my husbands best friend and his girlfriend are in college and are taking a trade in electrical engineering. They are currently spending part of their semester using these for projects. They are paying lots of money to work with these towards a project they will get credit for and need to pass, in order to graduate. And it relates entirely to their trade. We actually talked about them at length the other night while having a board game night.

Does this help ease your internal arguments? 🙂

13 KH99 { 01.20.12 at 4:16 pm }

I loved the glimpse into your mind and thought process! I could feel the anxiety on the screen. It sounds like a very useful, non-wasteful purchase (also sounds very cool!). We are very wasteful in our house, and I want us to be more mindful, so maybe the great carpet beetle incident of 2012 will help us live better.

14 HereWeGoAJen { 01.20.12 at 4:54 pm }

I would have bought the robot thing too. Matt and I sometimes debate about things like this and we always decide that we are going to buy it anyway, so we might as well buy it now.

15 Mo { 01.20.12 at 6:22 pm }

I want that lego set!!
I’m just as bad with waste. That’s why I have a hard time buying pretty shoes. I know I’ll barely wear them and I can’t grasp why you need to spend MORE money on something you generally will wear less often.
Oh – and chon has a great post about surviving IVF:

16 Emily { 01.20.12 at 11:05 pm }

I totally worry about spending money. I hate it especially when it is on something for myself. It takes me a long time to think it over and usually ends with my Hubby pushing me or just buying it.

17 JustHeather { 01.21.12 at 9:20 am }

I can’t wait to see some pictures of these Lego robots! I’ve loved the regular Legos for as long as I can remember and I’ve warned hubby that we will have to buy some someday. Legos are just so cool and give so much to everyone who plays with them! Good luck with the robots, I’m sure ChickieNob will be the bestest.

18 Her Royal Fabulousness { 01.21.12 at 11:00 am }

The kids in my school do a whole project with the Lego Robotics stuff. It’s amazing what they can do and they love it. They work in pairs to design, program, and build. You really see the parts of the project that challenge kids and theY BUILD SUCH COOL STUFF.

I can justify spending any amount of money on someone else, but not on us. I am super freaked about money and spending because we are trying so hard to pay off debt and save for a house. But I am married to a total gadget freak and this becomes a regular argument. Ugh.

19 Lori { 01.21.12 at 10:49 pm }

Hey, thanks so much for listing my post! I was tickled! And…since I’m pretty hormonal these days (hello, 225 units of Bravelle and 150 of menopur, day 7!), that really touched my heart!

I laughed about your obsession list because I so can relate, and have the pressure of being (as many friends call me) “someone who could talk you into or out of just about anything,” …which means that every time I decide it MUST be bought (with extensive evidence to follow), I then decide, 36 seconds later, that it must not (again, with the proper back-up for why not!). In the end, my husband does much like yours…but yours is a lot more benevolently motivated.

Mine just wants to shut me up. Ha ha!

Again, thanks!

20 Magpie { 01.22.12 at 8:33 pm }

We tried to sign our kid up for a Lego/robot class -after school – and not enough people signed up. I was kind of bummed.

21 Persnickety { 01.25.12 at 2:17 am }

OH yes- I worry about wasting money, and put the brakes on major purchases. Unlike my spendathon husband.

He does listen to me- He has been ot-quite-nagging for a new tv for close to two years, so about 8 months ago I brought home a water cooler bottle (empty) and told him that the new tv would be funded from change in the bottle. It was amazing how much accumulated, and when the tv went “pop” and died, the new tv was mostly paid for (we spend about $100 more than was saved to get a low energy usage one rather than a plasma of the same size).
I think the obsess about whether to get it phase is needed though- if you had just bought lego set when you first thought about it, you would now be wondering if it was the right thing, and did you waste money.

22 Her Royal Fabulousness { 01.26.12 at 7:35 am }

This is a GREAT post with an analogy with donor eggs 🙂

23 coffeegrljp { 02.12.12 at 6:09 am }

I loved points 6, 7 and 8 on your list leading up to the Lego set purchase. Sounds like something that would go on in my brain. And yes, I obsess about small-ish purchases like this and the potential for waste/excess. I’m usually pretty good about making the right decision to purchase or not, but I still regret leaving behind that gorgeous coat in Florence almost 10 years ago. It really wasn’t that expensive and I so rarely splurge on myself; that “splurge” would have been a once in a lifetime purchase that was worth it. Should have done it.

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