It's In The Bag

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

Unpacking my primary business bag/laptop carrier/backup diaper bag after a recent overnight business trip was a veritable archaeological dig into the past year of my life. ... Amid the papers, file folders and power cords were a diaper -- two sizes too small -- smushed at the bottom, a small tube of pre-packaged powdered infant formula, a couple of plastic stars, some doctors bills, corrected homework and a maraca.

It's clichéd to talk about how silly the "at-home" prefix is nowadays. No parent, regardless of whether they're in the work force, is centered at home. The big bag is the new office, a place to stuff all the fragments of life we need to get through the day.

There seem to be so many tiny spaces of time in the course of a day (waiting for school to let out, waiting for potty breaks, unexpected stroller naps), that I have come to believe that a well-packed bag is the key to stealing those moments for some sort of productive endeavor. But as an on-again, off-again slob, I'm having a hard time following through.

At a minimum, I usually stuff a pen and some note cards to capture all of those things that I really need to do once I get back to the home/office/kid-free zone. Stationary is nice -- I chronically run months behind on my thank-you notes. I've been painstaking sticking phone numbers into my cell phone so I can make the hair/car/dog appointments on the run.

There are the kid-related accoutrements: the diapers, the extra sweatshirts and the burp cloths (which never seem to use their utility, no matter how old the kids get.) And then there's the phone and wallet and keys. Oh -- I can't forget the bags upon Ziploc bags filled with Cheerios, the ultimate travel food.

Finally -- of course -- there's the Aleve, for the mysterious shoulder pain, which is due either to hockey or the fact that I'm lugging around an 85-pound bag. I'd like to blame the ice time, but it's probably the bag.

(I can't be the only one searching for the perfect bag. With apologies to Lifehacker: What's in your everyday bag?)

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  September 27, 2007; 7:27 AM ET  | Category:  Tips
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Comments

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My problem is not my bag but people want to make a bag out of me. And a briefcase, boots and .....

Posted by: nonamehere | September 27, 2007 7:48 AM

Mako - it isn't a bag people want to make out of you - it's a suit.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 7:50 AM

"a small tube of pre-packaged powdered infant formula"

You used formula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: r6345 | September 27, 2007 8:00 AM

This is so not me -- I'm the bad mom who never has the requisite kleenex or bandaid. I was out of law school before I even owned a purse -- would just stick my wallet in my back pocket or backpack. Now I use a small purse for wallet, keys, sunglasses, blistex, cellphone, bb, pen, and gum. If baby boy is along, I upgrade to the diaper bag with -- ta-dah -- diapers and wipes (or shove a couple into my daughter's backpack), along with one of those 4-packs of crayons they give you at restaurants. Oh, and I keep a pack of flavored rice cakes in the car -- so help me God, my mother has convinced my kids that they are "cookies." And since they never go bad, I just buy a bag and toss it in the passenger seat.

BTW, Brian, this is one of the reasons a blackberry works so well for me -- if I want to be productive, I can do it from my BB without having to take piles of work or notepads around with me.

Posted by: laura33 | September 27, 2007 8:06 AM

God, don't make me start off the day looking in my bag!! I can venture a guess but I refuse to confirm: wallet, pda, ipod, sunglasses, pain meds, an epi pen (for my son, just in case), gum, way more pens than a person needs, a moleskine notebook, keys to three different offices, spare car key, some jewelry, random receipts that didn't make it into my wallet, some change, maybe a few bills, some 1-serving packets of seriously yummy organic honey peanut butter for when blood sugar goes low, bandaids, lipbalm. Okay, I did just look and also found a sand dollar (what the?), some Shout wipes, my bluetooth headset and a flash drive, as well as two old shopping lists. Guess it's time to clean the bag . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 27, 2007 8:18 AM

My bag always seems like a bottomless pit of no-longer-useful stuff -- crumpled shopping lists, index cards with directions to various locations, coupons that I meant to use but didn't, half-empty baggies of a variety of (now-stale) snacks, at least a few empty snack-sized raisin boxes, and almost always a sippy cup. Plus, of course,the wallet, keys, sunglasses, cell phone, diapers, wipes, a few books, an assortment of small toys, the emergency tube of sunscreen, and the diaper cream. I finally ditched my small spiral notebook on which I used to make lists, because it was just one too many things to lug around.

The scary thing is that, over the course of a day, I will use almost everything in the bag at least once.

Posted by: newsahm | September 27, 2007 8:27 AM

Parent or not - ask any woman to look in her purse or man to look in his briefcase and you will find items similiar to what WorkingMomX found. Have you ever checked out the drawers in your desk at work? If you have been there for a while it can be a trip down memory lane.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 8:27 AM

I'm always looking for the perfect pocketbook! I have a 'small' purse that I transfer from 'larger' purse to diaper bag on weekends (and finding *that* was a bear, too!!!). In that is everything walletlike (credit cards, money, insurance cards, membership cards (zoo, museum, etc)).

The bigger purse has lipstick, is where I put keys, key card for work, business cards, pens, etc.

The diaper bag has the usual (usually), diapers and wipes. Maybe some food, but not much else as DS is ALMOST READY to be potty trained.

but I need a new purse, and can't find one I like. *sigh*.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 8:29 AM

Oh, right, I also have all those receipts that I need to enter into my excel spreadsheet that I use to track my expenses that are tax deductible. It's what? almost October - better get cracking!

I also have a tiny little notepad, and i've NEVER written in it - but I keep it just in case I'll need it...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 8:31 AM

i keep my bags pretty clean but my coat pockets are another story...a pacifer, funny notes from kids, candy bribes, other people's biz cards...the best, of course, is discovering "found money" in last year's winter coat...

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 8:37 AM

I concur with KLB -- No kids but I commute by public transportation - so it's most of the things WorkingMomX mentions plus spare pair of shoes, small umbrella, reading material (or knitting), my lunch, snacks. (Snacks aren't just for those with kids, I am ALWAYS hungry and having my own stuff along keeps me away from the vending machines).

Posted by: tntkate | September 27, 2007 8:40 AM

Leslie -- That happened to me just the other day. I have this ancient Barbour jacket, it's almost 15 years old and looks like someone's been chewing on it in places but I adore it, and I found a $20 in one of the pockets!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 27, 2007 8:40 AM

We all know the maraca was from the last time Brian took his toddler to MardiGras...

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | September 27, 2007 8:41 AM

Regarding carrying reading material in your bag (which I didn't mention because mine was actually out of the bag on my desk at the time), is anyone else almost superstitious about making sure you always have a book with you? I definitely take this too far at times and it's not unusual for me to have 2 or 3 books, but I can't leave the house without something to read. If I can't find what I'm currently reading, I just grab a different book.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 27, 2007 8:42 AM

Yeah, when I borrow my DH's coats, he ALWAYS gets angry because I'm ALWAYS leaving SOMETHING in the pocket, and it's rarely money.

Oh, and he hates when I roll up the sleeves, too.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 8:43 AM

I must be super anal because I clean out my purse once a week, at least. I know exactly what's in there, but I won't bore you with the details.

My favorite trick: I have a little zippered bag with band-aids, antibacterial wipes, advil, tweezers, and ear plugs that I keep in my bag. That way, when I switch purses, I can just throw the little bag in the new one and have all my essentials.

Also, since I went back to school, I have a school bag. I don't try to combine the two (i.e., put my wallet and keys in the school bag). I just suck it up and carry two bags. That way I don't have to wonder if I remembered to put my wallet back in my purse after class.

Posted by: Meesh | September 27, 2007 8:47 AM

Laura: I'm with you, actually. I don't have the things that a mom is supposed to have - like bandaids, neosporine, etc. I just think: maybe I'll do that later, and hope for the best...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 8:50 AM

May I shamelessly promote the bag of my dreams?

It's the seatbelt bag. It's friggin' indestructible. The fabric is really easy to clean. They have lots of great colors and styles. The one downside is that they weigh a lot (but I consider that strength training!).

http://www.seatbeltbags.com/

Posted by: Meesh | September 27, 2007 8:51 AM

"You used formula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Well yeah....you do realize that Brian is missing a few mammory glands, don't you?


Posted by: fake99 | September 27, 2007 8:57 AM

Ok first post was eaten, so apologies if this ends up being a double.

atlmom: "but I need a new purse, and can't find one I like. *sigh*."

Oh, I found one that I like, all right. Unfortunately, it was $449 at Coach, and is therefore on the list of Things That Shall Never Be Bought. Well, absent humongo sale AND gift card. . . .

And I've discovered that the best trick is to hang out with other moms. Because in any group of three or more, there is always one "good mom" who comes to the rescue with cheerios, neosporin, tweezers, etc. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | September 27, 2007 9:03 AM

altmom1234 -- DH lets you borrow his stuff? mine is territorial to the point of comedy.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 9:06 AM

The most embarassing thing I have in my bag is a small make up bag that contains nothing but different types of lip balm. About twelve different types. And I'm not one of these addicts who applies it 28 times a day. I only put the stuff on maybe three or four times a WEEK but when you need it, you need it NOW. For the longest time I only kept one tube in my bag, which meant, of course, that I could never find it when I needed it, so I kept buying more and more. Eventually I dumped out my bag, gathered all of the lip balm together, put them all in their own case and now I can always find one. And I won't have to buy lip balm again for about a decade.

Other than that, the contents of my bag include the usual (wallet, sunglasses, iPod, pens, old receipts, business cards, etc.). I have three different small notebooks--one for writing down anything that comes up, one for writing down books I want to read, and one that I just added this week--my annual Christmas planning notebook. The next layer is odd stuff--a deck of cards and temporary tattoos from a fundraiser this past weekend, a magnetic letter "N" (never know when you'll need one of them!), a selection of medications(Airborne, ibuprofen, Benadryl), and an eyeglass repair kit (I don't wear glasses).

Posted by: sarahfran | September 27, 2007 9:06 AM

Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.

Thought I would try this as a mantra and see if it works.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 9:07 AM

Laura,

I too am a pocket-not-purse person. I do the habitual pocket patdown before I walk through any locking door to insure I have car keys (front right pocket), other keys (back right, along with a black and a red pen), wallet (back left) and cell (front left).

Sad to say, we long outgrew the diaper bag and now we have not one bag, but a whole bin of bags in our front room. We have one for each purpose and regularly restock them. For fall, our family of 4 has: one jazz dance bag (filled with fresh leotard, jazz dance pants, jazz shoes, hairbrush, ponytails); one kid soccer bag (filled with clean uniform of both colors, soccer ball, cleats, shin guards, car snacks, pump, white T-shirts for practice -- we add an iced thermal water bottle and throw the whole thing in the car on practice mornings so we can head straight to carpool from work); two music bags, each filled with kids' piano books and latest practice lists from their teacher; one soccer-spectator bag, filled with sun hats, a blanket to sit on, water bottles, sunscreen; one trumpet case; and everyone's school/work bags when they're home, restocked each night with their homework folders or binders, agendas, any school library books, couriers of sent & returned notes, forms and checks . . . We've found having the bags always active and the "home base" for all related items saves a lot of "where's my??" chaos as we bustle out the door, or trips home to assemble needed stuff before carpool instead of just throwing a ready bag into the car on our way out in the morning . . . also saves the proliferation of kid-junk spread across our living room floor, which was our default before . . .

So, those of you tired of the ever-present diaper bag, be careful what you wish for --- its successors are even worse ;-)

Posted by: benson | September 27, 2007 9:10 AM

Meesh,
The bag looks adorable. Very important question - does it stay on your shoulder? My biggest pet peeve with purses is that they constantly slide off my shoulder.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 9:11 AM

Leslie


"Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.

Thought I would try this as a mantra and see if it works."

Try-

What's New, Pussycat?


Posted by: chittybangbang | September 27, 2007 9:12 AM

How BIG are you guys' bags?! I could never fit all that stuff in mine!

A book is a must for me - never know when there might be some extra time, waiting for the school bus, end of gym class.

Posted by: Bertrude | September 27, 2007 9:20 AM

Heh, have really enjoyed the posts so far.

I'm in school so have a purse and backpack. Purse gets bigger every year and has; keys, walled, cell phone(if not in pocket), ipod, camera, pda, assortment of old receipts, never a pen when I need it, a calculator, and sometimes old mail. Backpack of course has the usual; all my books and notebooks for the current quarter so that whether I'm studying at home, at work, or at school I have it all with me. Sympathize with the carrying a book thing too, I tend to take up that habit when I'm not in school so if no backpack I have purse and a book. Work is kind of my homebase so I keep bags of instant oatmeal, granola bars, cup'o'noodles, coffee sweetener and mugs, and sometimes a few cans of diet soda handy there. So all about having a book and snacks on hand! Thank goodness no kids yet, I'd need to go with probably a third, larger bag for that.

Posted by: _Miles | September 27, 2007 9:21 AM

KLB_SS_MD, my bag does not stay on my shoulder because in that style, the strap is short. On the plus side, because it's sits right under my arm, I use my elbow to hold it up when I lean over.

I bet that if you got one of the tote styles with the longer straps that it would stay in place. But I guess the only way to know for sure is to try it out!

Posted by: Meesh | September 27, 2007 9:23 AM

Hi this is MaryB...

I am fortunate to live close to work and daycare, so I don't really carry many supplies. I make sure there is a diaper (that fits) and wipes in the car and in the jog stroller. Otherwise I improvise when out with my daughter. We are usually not far from home so I rarely use a diaper bag... I'm considering getting rid of it. I have always used tiny purses and continue to do so. That said, I do keep bandaids and a comb in there along with the requisite wallet (small), calendar, cell phone, an ion pen, work ID, and occasionally a tiny camera. This fits my overall lifestyle - I live in a tiny house with 3 tiny closets - no attic or basement. Constant clutter removal is absolutely necessary in order to maintain sanity.

Posted by: nahnah | September 27, 2007 9:27 AM

Buy the coach bag! First year ammortize the expense at $1.25 per day. Quality pays.

Posted by: btpduc748 | September 27, 2007 9:27 AM

Despite KLB's statement about "ask any woman," in my experience, as many of us are on Laura's team as are on WorkingMomX's, LOL. Laura describes my mentality to a tee. By choice, I will never have the Mary Poppins bag my mom toted: no aspirin, no spare clothes, no tissues, no ziplocs, nothing but my debit card, my drivers license, my ID badge, my car keys and my business cards. My laptop bag doesn't have anything in it but my laptop and related hardware. Back when our kids were younger we kept diapers, animal cookies/crackers in the car and a water bottle. That was it. Maybe it all depends on whether you are someone clutter bothers or not, but I don't want to have to dig through last week's movie ticket stubs in order to find my car keys, NTTAWWT. Thank goodness some other parent usually has all the bells and whistles, typically in a bag in her minivan, LOL.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 9:30 AM

Mãe portuguesa, Ainda está conosco?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 9:34 AM

Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.
Mehitabel loves me.

Thought I would try this as a mantra and see if it works.

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 09:07 AM

leslie, you love to poke the sleeping dragon, don't you, LOL?? It's a character trait you share with Father of 4 / Lil Husky / DandyLion . . .

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 9:34 AM

MN - I aspire to be you! One good thing about the blackberry is that I no longer find odd pieces of paper with phone numbers or addresses at the bottom of my purse or ancient shopping lists. I do find receipts and coupons though.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 9:34 AM

Leslie: He doesn't 'let' me. I just take it off the hook and go on my merry way. If he is there, he will typically admonish me and sometimes guilt me into taking my own coat.

That's my PET PEEVE about ALL BAGS that are out now. The straps are TOO SHORT. *sigh*. I should just become the next kate spade - I've actually thought about this as as crazy as the things I like are, I'm sure SOMEONE out there wants the handbags that *I* want.

Yes, Laura, it's always good to know that there are others around who carry the right stuff. And you know some of them sit there and think: it's a good thing *I* carry that stuff around or her kids would be neglected.

And, as for the coach bag, it really would last forever. My thing is that I like to change styles more often so buying something that would last that long would really make me feel guilty in a year when I wanted another purse. But by all means, take a dollar a day (when you remember) and save it and then when you have enough saved, add a little and buy the bag. Or try ebay - you never know what you'll find - I found a little kate spade ipod case that sold for over $100 a year ago for about $10. Brand new.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 9:37 AM

KLB: and I always have something to read with the blackberry - can go check email, read the paper, etc. So no need to kick myself for always forgetting a book when I know I'll have to wait (i.e., dr's office).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 9:38 AM

atlmom1234,
When you build your perfect bag will you make the straps stay on the shoulder? Maybe not use the same slippery leather on the inside would be a good start eh?

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 9:39 AM

"MN - I aspire to be you!"

Oh, golly, no. You can come up with better aspirations, LOL. I forced myself long ago to clean trash out of my car every time I get gas, and to not put trash in my handbag, because it makes MY life easier. It works for me, but then I can live without having the solution to everything that can arise in life at my fingertips. Others here can't even abide not having a book with them, LOL. OTOH, my keyring has a bottlecap opener on it, so there's at least one life tool I'm never without.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 9:39 AM

_Miles, I'm with you. If I already carry a huge purse and a school bag, I shudder to think what kind of bags I would carry if I had a baby. I would have to have the biggest diaper bag I could find. I can't leave the house without band-aids, hand sanitizer, and benadryl for myself--imagine what I would consider neccessary for the kid!

I would live like a pack animal for the first few years.

Posted by: Meesh | September 27, 2007 9:41 AM

MN,
I used to have one of those bottlecap opener keychains. I have downsized my keys to house and car key with the swipe tag for the gym and a trinket for identification. I see people with huge sets of keys and wonder where they work and what they need so many keys for.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 9:44 AM

Meesh,

The fun thing with a diaper bag is that, of the two of you, one is likely to be the replenisher of supplies while both of you use them. The replenisher gets really irritated when she opens the diaper bag expecting to find bandaids and a spare diaper only to find that her *cough* husband *cough likes the advantage of USING all the diaper bag supplies without ever replacing what's been used. Not that that's ever happened to me.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 9:45 AM

Well, then MN, you are invited to all future parties.

I'll try, KLB. The thing is, I know what I want, I'm just not all that creative.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 9:47 AM

KLB, where do you keep all your many preferred customer cards? Most of what's on my keychain isn't keys, its the PetPerks card, the CVS card, and each of 5 grocery cards. I hate shuffling through a deck to use the creditcard size cards.

Besides, heavy key chains are bad for your steering column. My little bottlecap opener doesn't weigh much :>)

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 9:48 AM

Thank you, atlmom, LOL. and I'm with you, I had a Coach bag once - got a deal on eBay - the da*n thing wouldn't wear out. They are gorgeous new. Once.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 9:50 AM

MN,
I don't use the perks cards. On the rare occasion I go to a store that has them I either type in my phone number or the clerk uses hers :-)
Years ago when I was in the reserves I switched from a traditional women's wallet with the change purse to a man's wallet with the bare essentials. Even tho I have since retired I still only use a man's wallet (I took my dad's after he passed away for sentimental reasons).

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 9:52 AM

yeah, MN, I have all those cards on my keychain. I have one of those keychains that I can break apart - so the house key is on one side, the car key on the other, so that if I go out and walk, I don't have to lug everything with me.

But my DH HATES those loyalty cards, so he doesn't use them enough. I tell him we're going to pay for the kids' educations and he gives me the stare (UPROMISE). We have almost $100 in our account after nearly 5 years...;)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 9:52 AM

Or, Laura, check out overstock.com. Personally, some things I have a tough time buying on line, and bags would be one of them.

That's one thing I'm VERY picky about. I have gotten over the shoe thing (zappos.com is my savior, since I have a hard to find size),so you'd think I could get over the bag thing.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 9:56 AM

I too bought a Coach bag on ebay. I won't use it as it is too heavy. Great quality but weighs a ton. Still has the Coach tag and the registration card inside - anybody want to buy it? :-)

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 9:58 AM


I too rely on the preparedness of strangers. I have a fond memory of my youngest pulling out her homework during her sister's soccer practice. Discovered she needed 4 different colors (had to color a tiling so no adjacent colors touched, cool, actually, foreshadowing the 4-color theorem in first grade!) Scrounged 4 blunt nubby color pencils from the recesses of her sister's school backpack, then was trying to peel away the wood at the top with my fingernails so she could proceed. One of the soccer dads came to my rescue with a pocketknife, so I could sharpen those pencils . . .

When out and about with my SIL, who's got similar-aged kids, I'm always impressed that whatever and wherever the situation, she can always produce hand sanitizer within 20 seconds . . . somehow we always need it when we're with her, too, lol . . .

Posted by: kbatl | September 27, 2007 9:58 AM

LOL, MN, Mary Poppins EXACTLY DESCRIBES the state of my bag and I don't even have kids. My solution is to compartmentalize all the things into littler bags within the big bag, so that the whole thing weighs about 20 pounds. But I am never without an umbrella, comfortable shoes, a book, extra tissues, 30 lip balms that I also never use, and a sweater, so I can survive anywhere! I bet I could fit a plant and a lamp in there if I needed to.

Posted by: teaspoon2007 | September 27, 2007 10:00 AM

DS is infatuated, now, with hand sanitizer. I've bought it, but it's on a shelf somewhere in the house. They have it at school (he's in a portable, so the bathroom is not nearby) - so he was explaining to me the other day when we were somewhere that had it - how it works, how you don't need water, etc. He really was thrilled about using it.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 10:00 AM

hehe. I used to carry an umbrella, too. So, the first time it rained, I used it, then it had to sit and dry, and it's somewhere, not in my purse, now.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 10:01 AM

I had to get a new umbrella because I discovered that if you put the wet one back in its little case when it's still wet and it doesn't get to dry, it stops being waterproof eventually...

Posted by: teaspoon2007 | September 27, 2007 10:03 AM

You know, MN, if you carry hand sanitizer you don't need a bottle opener. You can just apply the Purell and lick your hands from what I'm hearing. Not that I've ever tried this, of course . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 27, 2007 10:05 AM

I heard a story about a guy on a date who pulled out a bottle of hand sanitizer at a restaurant and was wiping down the silverware. I would have had to run as fast as I could to the nearest door.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 10:07 AM

Can't contribute much to the bag discussion, but we have had a lot of experience with Coach products.

They charge $20 for each repair, and will make good if unrepairable. Last time we got the original list price credited towards a new item.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | September 27, 2007 10:08 AM

Dang, WaPo hates me today -- second post eaten.

Posted by: benson | September 27, 2007 09:10 AM

Benson, that was the most terrifying post I think I've ever read. I quake in fear, knowing what awaits me -- be careful what you wish for, indeed!

btpduc748 and altmom: Ok, if anyone could justify the Coach bag, it would probably be me, because I tend to only have one purse and to use it forever. But it just feels wrong to pay more for a purse than the rent on my first apartment. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | September 27, 2007 10:09 AM

MN, that would SO be my experience with the diaper bag. It already happens with the fridge and pantry.

KLB_SS_MD, as long as it's not leather, how much you want for it?

I too am an eBay junkie. I even got my wedding dress and veil on eBay. I never pay full price for designer jeans or purses!

Posted by: Meesh | September 27, 2007 10:11 AM

To Atlmom: One day I saw a woman get on the bus who had the perfect low-tech solution: she closed her wet folding umbrella, popped it into a plastic shopping bag, then was able to put the bag away without getting anything else wet in her purse. I only wished I'd thought of the idea myself, but now I always do this. Then, as soon as I reach my destination, I take the umbrella out of the bag and open it -- not superstitious! -- and turn the plastic bag wrong-side-out. Both will dry fairly quickly.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 10:12 AM

Sorry Meesh - it is leather.

Posted by: KLB_SS_MD | September 27, 2007 10:13 AM

I must be the last parent in the universe who couldn't care less about hand sanitizer, LOL. Experience the germs, kids - then you'll be immune!

teaspoon - I am so impressed and plan to hang around you at every playground, picnic and function, LOL. I also realized I'm lying. I carry 8 different lipsticks. In fact, I think I became so committed to not having 10 lb handbag with lots of crap in it because I was having difficulty finding my lipstick in the a.m. Life is all about priorities, LOL.

WorkingMomX - I'm a wimp with pain and can't stand not being able to quickly and efficiently open a long-neck. But if you'll open my bottles for me, I'll supply the Purell, LOL.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 10:16 AM

UGG! A whole day on BRIAN'S manbag? No thanks. Check out ON PARENTING, interesting topic.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 10:29 AM

Laura--have you tried a Coach outlet? I've had good luck there. Some of the current in-store styles are sold there; some styles are manufactured esp. for the outlet. While you may not find the exact version of the handbag you're coveting, you may find one that you'll like just as well. Check Google for Prime Outlets. I know there's one just west of Williamsburg, VA.

Posted by: kate07 | September 27, 2007 10:30 AM

Oh Brian, I can't believe you didn't find a way to breast feed.

I rarely take my purse when I am running around unless I am going somewhere dressed up. I usually just take my wallet. My daughter, on the other hand always brings her Dora back pack filled with toys, snacks and a few hair ribbons.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 27, 2007 10:41 AM

My cousin's buy their "Coach" bags in NY on the street. I have tried to tell them they are either not real or stolen, but they don't listen. My one cousin actually took her two kids ages 12 and 7 down an alley through a door, which was locked after them to buy these bags.

No thanks, if I can't afford the real thing, I will shop at Target or Macys.

Posted by: Irishgirl | September 27, 2007 10:45 AM

yeah, my dad likes his 'Rolecks' watch too.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 10:56 AM

Hey, did anybody ever read that book "Little Children" -- or see the movie? there's this scene at the beginning where the 'bad mother' has forgotten to bring a snack, and the 'good mother' has a perfectly organized little, healthy snack for her darling daughter -- and it's obvious there's some kind of weird competition going on over who's more together and prepared.

And have you seen that commercial lately for the allergy medicine where the bad mom has this yucky, sticky plastic bag full of stuff and the good mom has the expensive, premeasured, individually wrapped allergy medicine for her child? And she looks over and offers some to the bad mom?

I think the whole "Oh, I'm so prepared. I have notebook paper and four perfectly sharpened pencils and an elephant in MY purse" is part of some weird mommy competition that I don't plan to participate in. And I ask you, did any of you grow up trailed around by a perfectly coiffed, aerobicized forty year old woman who always had Kleenex, Band-aids, a number two pencil, a snack and allergy medicine at her disposal? Becuase I didn't -- and I'm pretty sure I turned out okay regardless . .

Posted by: justlurking | September 27, 2007 11:02 AM

And I ask you, did any of you grow up trailed around by a perfectly coiffed, aerobicized forty year old woman who always had Kleenex, Band-aids, a number two pencil, a snack and allergy medicine at her disposal? Becuase I didn't -- and I'm pretty sure I turned out okay regardless . .

Posted by: justlurking | September 27, 2007 11:02 AM

Not that the "I turned out okay regardless" is the Gold Standard against which parental behaviors should be measured, but I happened to be raised by a mom with a Mary Poppins bag. Everyone in the family relied on her to have pens, pencils, aspirin, bandaids, whatever. Aerobicized she was not. She was too busy being the perfect mom to be the perfect woman. This isn't some New Age competition. It goes way, way back.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 11:08 AM

I'm with you, justlurking. I asked a friend how she was handling the 'later' stages of baby - i.e., you don't need 10 diapers and a zillion wipes and many many changes of clothes, just one or two diapers and some wipes - what kind of diaper bag was she using, etc, as I wanted something smaller.

She proceeded to tell me EVERYTHING in her diaper bag, etc, and everything she carries with her. I guess to tell me how prepared she was for all emergencies. And all I was asking was: where do you think I could get a diaper bag like (the one I was describing)?

I used a purse for a while, with some wipes in a ziploc and two diapers, as we were never out THAT long that he needed TWO changes. Then I could have what looked like a real purse for the first time in AGES.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 11:10 AM

Ugh...you've touched on my soft spot! Handbags! I'm addicted to buying handbags. I'm going to Europe next week and I told my husband that I don't care if the euro is high...I'm buying a purse.

I'm trying to buy smaller purses so I don't have to lug around so much stuff, but it's really not working...especially since my husband thinks that he can put his things in there as well.

Posted by: MV_78 | September 27, 2007 11:27 AM

atlmom,

I find the umbrella people to have the same single-minded focus. No, I didn't check the weather report. No, I don't care to know what you heard about the weather unless I am attending a football game. If it's raining, I'll walk or run through the rain. No, I don't need to borrow your fold-up umbrella either, LOL. When the kids turned 2, we no longer carried anything along with us, but had some back-up supplies in the car, just in case.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 11:28 AM

"Laura--have you tried a Coach outlet? I've had good luck there. Some of the current in-store styles are sold there; some styles are manufactured esp. for the outlet. While you may not find the exact version of the handbag you're coveting, you may find one that you'll like just as well. Check Google for Prime Outlets. I know there's one just west of Williamsburg, VA."

There's a Coach outlet in Leesburg, VA. You can also try overstock.com.

Posted by: MV_78 | September 27, 2007 11:30 AM

Actually, I was recently at IKEA with DH and they have HUGE umbrellas for something like $4. So I said: we should get one, and he said: nah, we don't need it. So when I went a few days later (don't ask!) with DS, I picked one up, and it's in the car. DH saw it and sighed, so you bought one.

I said: yeah...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 11:30 AM

Or, I can get wet. A week or so ago, a HUGE thunderstorm broke out from the time I left my desk to when I walked outside. I mean it was POURING.

So a few of us stood under the overhang to weigh our options (car is in a parking lot, all outside). Okay, then some very nice person we work with came out and had one of those large umbrellas and said he could take a couple of us to our cars. Very gentlemanly of him. I still got pretty soaked, but it would have been MUCH worse if he hadn't held the umbrella over me.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 11:32 AM

LOL, Mehitabel, you're on a roll. I question your harping at Leslie, belittling her point of view to impose your own --- and instantly you've painted me as a social Darwinist, pining for the age of workhouses and debtor's prisons :-) GWB may have some competition in the straw market. (To clarify, no, I do not favor debtor's prisons, rugged individualism, robber baronism, free markets restrained only by an invisible hand . . .)

How convenient that anyone who disagrees with you *must* be an elitist snob, whose views are automatically unworthy of consideration. Whose points had validity or interest? No need to think or open one's mind --- truth and insight are the sole province of the class underdog....

kbatl
---

Totally off topic (I was quoting from yesterday's blog), but as I have less and less time to read On Balance (and therefore kick myself for missing discussions like these), I must comment on yesterday anyway. Kbatl, whoever you are, you're fantastic.

And mehitabel, as the oft-criticized Elitist Snob (who coined the term CSS, but if I could do it again, I would revise the term to include many crappy private schools and delete superior state schools) I think your opinions are foolish and the energy you expend on hating Leslie borders on laughable. If you hate her so much, stop reading the blog -she- gets paid to write. No one's paying you to read it.

From my viewpoint up here on Elite Snob Hill, you are a woman with a big chip on your shoulder, too much time on your hands, and serious jealousy issues over a well-educated, successful business woman who actually gets paid (by the Washington Post, no less) to give her POV while you're on here blowing smoke for free.

Off topic to Leslie, thank you for discussing a Washington Post article the other day (as opposed to the usual NY Times article). Duly noted.

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 11:32 AM

Oh, and to 'contribute' (admittedly, not much of a contribution), my vote goes to Coach as well. Timeless bags, very durable, worth the price. (And they can hold a boatload of stuff.)

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 11:35 AM

Hey! I love the term CSS. I went to TWO of them.

Of course, they are both termed: public ivies.

But I still LOVE the term. And am COMPLETELY AMAZED that tuition (just TUITION) for out of state, for my undergrad school is $23,000 (in state's about $15k, which is only slightly more than I paid as an out of state student - okay, my parents paid).

Amazing.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 11:36 AM

If the dragon wants to be poked, I'm happy to do the poking.

Atlmom -- MY pet peeve is that the straps are always too long!!! I have a short torso and the bags come down to my thighs. You must have one of those gorgeous long waists I've always envied.

Hand sanitizer. Okay, we probably need a whole day on this topic. Hand sanitizer is for germ freaks and nutboxes. But since my nine year old daughter is one of them, I have sympathy. She sleeps with a small bottle of it, and once offered it to me in the middle of the night when I came to check on her. "Would you like some hand sanitizer, Mommy?" As if it were a bottle of myrrh. She saw some at CVS the other day and purred, "Oh, I love that stuff." Different strokes for different folks...

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 11:42 AM

Hey! I love the term CSS. I went to TWO of them.

Of course, they are both termed: public ivies.

But I still LOVE the term. And am COMPLETELY AMAZED that tuition (just TUITION) for out of state, for my undergrad school is $23,000 (in state's about $15k, which is only slightly more than I paid as an out of state student - okay, my parents paid).

Amazing.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 11:36 AM

As I coined the original term in haste, I clearly did not consider all of the ramifications, i.e., including within the term "crappy" highly-ranked state schools and excluding from the term "crappy" numerous "My parents are clearly paying to much for this 'education'" private schools. And yes, those who manage to get the best of both worlds (top-rate education plus low cost) have clearly done well by themselves.

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 11:45 AM

Leslie: oh, clearly not. I just hate when the purse is RIGHT under my arm. I would like the straps to just be a tad longer.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 11:48 AM

Does anyone know if there's a Coach outlet in NC? The Coach Web site was less than helpful--it's like they want us to pay full price for this season's stuff or something.

I love my hand sanitizer. I have some in my bag, at the office, and in each of the cars. One day at the dog park, one of the dogs got peed on. Another time, one rolled in another dog's puke. Both times I offered the respective owners some sanitizer after they corralled their pooches, and they did not turn me down. It's also a godsend on camp-outs.

It's another one of those things I'd have to buy in bulk if I ever had a baby. It wouldn't be for her (babies need to eat dirt and be gross to build immunities, right?). It would be for me after I touched her.

Posted by: Meesh | September 27, 2007 11:51 AM

Meesh, a quick google search revealed the following website (and I just learned all I ever wanted to know!):

http://forum.purseblog.com/coach-shopping/coach-outlets-all-you-ever-wanted-know-more-35517.html
COACH OUTLETS! All you ever wanted to know & more!!
Hi ladies! I know we get a TON of questions about Coach outlets so I figured it'd be easier if we just posted all the info on one thread. Please feel free to add on to it with all of your all's tips, tricks, & advice!!

They're great for picking up fabulous Coach bags for great prices!! Here are some FAQs about outlets:

Q: Where are Coach outlets?
A: Check on Outlet Bound - Online Guide To Factory Outlet Stores & Outlet Centers to locate the coach outlet nearest you!

Q: Do you know if a Coach outlet carries _____?
A: The easiest answer to this question is to call the Coach outlet you plan on visiting (you can find the number for the store at Outlet Bound). Tell them the name or style number of the bag and they will be able to tell you if they have it in stock or if they will be getting any of it in the future. You can also have them hold an item for two days or alternatively if your item is not in stock you can put your name on a list and have them contact you if the bag ever comes in. Outlet stock varies GREATLY from store to store so honestly nobody other than an SA can tell you if a purse is at or will be at the outlet you plan on visiting. Merchandise changes hourly at some stores so you never know!

Q: Do outlets ship items to me?
A: Yes, but they will charge you FULL PRICE for it.

Q: Are items in the Coach Factory stores substantially cheaper than in the boutiques?
A: Depending on the item you want you can get anywhere from a 20-75% discount off the MSRP. Look for the clearance shelf for especially good deals because you can take an extra 20-40% off items located there.

Q: Are items in the Factory stores of lesser quality than original Coach bags?
A: Not really. Items in the factory store are just as high quality as Coach bags from the boutique. The only difference is that some pieces may have been handled more or have been sitting on the shelf for a long time so make sure to inspect your bag thoroughly before buying it. The only real notable difference between outlet and boutique pieces is that a small little circle (looks like a target sign) is embossed on the Coach creed of outlet pieces. (Read the next Q & A for more info on the quality of factory store purses!)

Q: Are Factory store bags made specifically for the factory?
A: Some are. They will have COACH FACTORY written on the outside price tag. Coach sometimes makes bags especially for the factory as a trial run to see how well they sell before they will make those pieces for the boutique. These bags are held to Coach's standards and are just as well made as regular coach purses. They are not cheap, flimsy, slipshod bags that will fall apart as soon as you leave the store so don't worry =)

Also, a large percentage of the bags in the factory store are items that are "last season".. they haven't sold in the boutique so they've been shipped off to the outlets so the boutiques can make room for new things.

Q: How long does it take for an item from the boutique to get to the factory stores?
A: A great way of checking is to go on Coach.com and see if the item you want is still on the website. If it's not on the site anymore, chances are it's at the outlet (so call and see if it is!) Outlets usually get new shipments at the beginning of each month so go early to get all the good stuff!
------
Here's the link off this website specifically to the outlets in NC (the outlets look like generic department stores, but according to this website they carry Coach product).
http://www.outletbound.com/cgi-bin/stores_in_outlet.cgi
--------------
hope this helps. who knew??

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 12:08 PM

My aunt and mother have indentations on their shoulders from their heavy bags. I don't know how they don't have back pain; last year I had a pinched nerve from carrying a backpack on one shoulder, and it was only a little heavier than their purses. Their purses are those gigantic flowery fabric kind with a million things in them. Why would someone need to carry their checkbook if they have a debit card on them? If you have six credit cards, do you really need to carry them with you everywhere? Do you need to carry all your bills with you everywhere? If I go out somewhere other than school, I have a very small bag with a small wallet containing cash, a debit card, and an ID, a lipstick, keys, and cell phone. These women are not mothers of young children, and they're not taking life-saving medication every two hours; what could they possibly need in those huge bags?

Posted by: Monagatuna | September 27, 2007 12:11 PM

And you guys call me elitist? Who can afford those Coach bags anyway?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 12:11 PM

Leslie, perhaps you prefer Longchamp? ;-)

Posted by: tntkate | September 27, 2007 12:17 PM

"I must be the last parent in the universe who couldn't care less about hand sanitizer..."

I've notice that the people that depend on this so-called hand sanitizer stuff and are afraid to touch a doorknob without a tissue are the same people that are usually sneezing, coughing, or otherwise they, or their children have snot running out of their noses as they march to the doctors twice a month for their allergy shots.

I also think that any man that carries an umbrella, unless he is holding it over a girl while it's raining, is a big sissy!

Posted by: DandyLion | September 27, 2007 12:19 PM

...only by shopping at Coach outlets...and being Ok with a classic, rather than having to have the newest, very-latest version...I purchased my work tote for $179 nearly 8 years ago...other than being slightly wayworn, it's holding up just fine.

Posted by: kate07 | September 27, 2007 12:20 PM

"what could they possibly need in those huge bags?"

Um, how about the kitchen sink?

Posted by: DandyLion | September 27, 2007 12:25 PM

True confession time!

I just found out that both Frieda and AF dau have Coach purses. I am told that late sainted mother perferred Dooney & Bourke handbags.

(I think that AF Dau purse is the bullet proof style.)

Posted by: Fred | September 27, 2007 12:25 PM

And you guys call me elitist? Who can afford those Coach bags anyway?

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 12:11 PM

***************************************
Not me, personally, but a classic bag is more of an investment. It is something you will have for several years.

They generally have more classic styles and leather in the fall, rather than the spring (think cloth) collections.

Posted by: chemguy1157 | September 27, 2007 12:36 PM

Wow CreamoftheCrop, thanks!

Leslie, I knew it was just a matter of time before someone commented on elitism and the cost of designer handbags. I just had no idea it would be you!

Posted by: Meesh | September 27, 2007 12:37 PM

I don't get the "it's an investment; it'll last you for years" approach to handbags to justify spending ridiculous amounts of money on them. What bag *doesn't* last for years? I'm currently carrying some no-name tweedy bag I got hand-me-down from a friend a couple of years ago and it's still going strong. I go to the gym with the $20 LL Bean backpack I bought in 1988 that is showing no signs of wear. I don't like buying handbags, no matter the price, because I know that they just DON'T DIE so anything I get will end up in a pile in a closet somewhere. Better to just keep carrying the same old thing I already have that is perfectly serviceable.

Posted by: sarahfran | September 27, 2007 12:45 PM

"It's another one of those things I'd have to buy in bulk if I ever had a baby. It wouldn't be for her (babies need to eat dirt and be gross to build immunities, right?). It would be for me after I touched her. "

Truly spoken like a clue- and child-less person!

Posted by: Evian | September 27, 2007 12:59 PM

"a classic bag is more of an investment. It is something you will have for several years"

Sorry, chem guy, I have to disagree with you. To me, an investment is something that earns me money and/or increases in value over time. Purse as "investment" is same as "saving" money shopping on sale (it's not saving, it's just spending less than if you paid full price).

The fundamental problem is that I have yet to meet a purse that justifies $450 on an annualized basis. My $10 Target purse has cost me @ $1/year (and I only replaced it because I needed more room for BB and cell). So basically, the Coach bag would pretty much have to make it until the next millenium to justify the upcharge.

Of course, none of this has a dang thing to do with how badly I want the stupid thing. :-)

And in the interest of full disclosure: I have a Coach baby bag. But hey, my in-laws gave me a Coach gift certificate for my 40th b-day -- so I HAD to, right? Right? :-)

Posted by: laura33 | September 27, 2007 1:17 PM

Well, actually, the bag I got at target is falling apart, literally, after a year. So yes, I would pay more (maybe not $400, but more) for a better made bag that I could use for a while, that won't fall apart and that won't make me purchase another purse when I don't want to and when I don't have time to.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 1:40 PM

As I coined the original term in haste, I clearly did not consider all of the ramifications, i.e., including within the term "crappy" highly-ranked state schools and excluding from the term "crappy" numerous "My parents are clearly paying to much for this 'education'" private schools. And yes, those who manage to get the best of both worlds (top-rate education plus low cost) have clearly done well by themselves.

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 11:45 AM

wow, COTC, I must say that I'm impressed you came back to acknowledge this. As you learned from that initial post, we all have our days when we get out on a limb, commit to a position, then have to defend it for days/weeks/months. Maybe consider giving mehitabel a break, not that she's asking for my assistance, and let kbatl fight her own battles? Otherwise, perhaps you could be accused of piling on, and a day late at that.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 1:42 PM

Well, I have a wallet that lives in my front pocket. I also have a beat up zippered bag that has a book or three, a manila folder with stamps & my living will (clean underwear AND a living will--see mom, I did listen!) and my spiral calendar. Without that calendar I am LOST FOREVER. So are my kids, as that has many notes. Like, days off from school and report card distribution day. AKA "The Day of Reckoning".

I don't tote anything for the kids anymore on MY person, they have their own backpacks. I will carry their music or an instrument for them periodically though.

I usually have some sort of dog treat in my back pocket too. My dogs go nuts for the dried salmon strips, but I keep those in a zipped plastic bag. It's kind of funny to have little dog competitions going. "Who's going to LAY DOWN first for...THIS?!" (sounds of two dogs hitting the ground)

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 27, 2007 1:43 PM

OK, decadence confession: I bought my first Coach bag in 1983 (I had some money left after paying my share of my tuition and I wanted it). In those days, the only way you knew the bag was a Coach was the classic styling and the quality of the leather. The people who wanted logos in those days bought Gucci vinyl bags with the interlocking G logo.
I bought a new one every three or four years until Coach went the Gucci logo road. Now I have a Kate Spade (just finished its fourth summer) and a Brighton (starting its second fall/winter/early spring). I've given my old ones away over the years, mainly to my younger sister before she could afford her own. She still carries one of the classic designs. I think it matches her briefcase.
I try not to carry a really huge purse for teo reasons: one, because it has to fit into my giant teacher bag and two, I run the risk of looking like Brenda Johnson. The bigger the bag, the fuller it gets.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 27, 2007 1:49 PM

"You used formula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Well yeah....you do realize that Brian is missing a few mammory glands, don't you?


Posted by: fake99 | September 27, 2007 08:57 AM
----------------
I, too, am missing mammory glands. However, I never used formula.

Posted by: r6345 | September 27, 2007 1:55 PM

I've never been into buying expensive bags of any sort. However, I recently scored a beautiful purse from a woman who hand-sews funky handbags - she's changing the name of her business and was selling off all of her existing stock, so I got it for $30! Now, after eschewing fancy bags for all these years, I LOVE having one. That'll learn me.

I also bought myself a really fun laptop bag when I finished lawschool and started working. Then, when I passed the bar, my boss got me a really nice, expensive, totally not my style AT ALL laptop bag/brieface, which I now feel obligated to use. Doh! It was so thoughtful of him and it will probably last for years. Sigh. I'm holding my fun, my style bag in reserve until then.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 27, 2007 2:02 PM

wow, COTC, I must say that I'm impressed you came back to acknowledge this. As you learned from that initial post, we all have our days when we get out on a limb, commit to a position, then have to defend it for days/weeks/months.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 01:42 PM

MN, I have in no way revoked my position on the topic under which the term CSS originally arose. In fact, it occurred to me to actually look back at my original post in Nov 2006 to see what I actually wrote. In so doing, I discovered that I had -not- actually coined the term CSS; rather, I referred to crappy schools and those who attended them (rather inartfully) as "crappy undergraduate graduates." So I guess, even in my haste, I was able to recognize that there were plenty of crappy state schools and plenty of crappy private schools. When paraphrasing me later, someone must have adopted the phrase CSS to refer to what I was discussing that day and I just went with it thereafter when called upon to defend my initial viewpoint. So I abdicate credit for coining the phrase and accept credit only for hasty usage of the term crappy.

Anyway, back on point, I meant every word I said then, and I still stand by it today. Please don't congratulate me for going back on the point I was making that day because I most certainly am not.
--

Maybe consider giving mehitabel a break, not that she's asking for my assistance, and let kbatl fight her own battles? Otherwise, perhaps you could be accused of piling on, and a day late at that.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 01:42 PM

"Piling on" would imply that I've been coming after her since yesterday. I made one comment-and even prefaced that comment by saying that I was not able to read yesterday's postings until today. For a busy lawyer, you sure have a lot of time on your hands to post. I do not.

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 2:13 PM

maryland_mother, Good to hear from you again. Hope you and yours are staying well and keeping happily busy.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 2:17 PM

For a busy lawyer, you sure have a lot of time on your hands to post. I do not.

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 02:13 PM

HMM, this should be fun, watching MN carve her up like a thanksgiving turkey.....

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 2:27 PM

Let's see. What's in my purse? It is Coach, by the way, courtesy of a very generous Xmas gift.

Wallet filled with receipts but no actual cash in it.
Brush
Coin pouch.
water bottle
Kleenex
Used Kleenex
Napkins
Small box of crayons
2 Pens
Some recipe cards from Safeway that my son picked up
Baby registry list
Loose change at the bottom
Magic Treehouse book
The Poisonwood Bible
2 plastic forks and a plastic knife
Stuffed Captain Underpants toy from long ago
Inhaler
Pad
Pack of sugar
blood sugar monitoring kit
sugarless gum
One loose sock that belongs to my son (how did that wind up there?)
bottle cap


Wow - I bet the contents tells a lot about a person. In my case, that I tend toward being a bit of a slob. But it's my purse, and pretty much the only place where nobody else gets any say about how tidy it should be.


Posted by: Emily | September 27, 2007 2:59 PM

i have a great levenger laptop bag as well. but i have never been a purse fan. ditto on designer shoes. impractical waste of money. thank god for coach that some of you feel otherwise...

Posted by: lpsteiner | September 27, 2007 3:01 PM

OT to Emily -- have you finished the Poisonwood Bible? I found it difficult to read in small chunks -- always had to remember who was narrating...

Posted by: tntkate | September 27, 2007 3:02 PM

"i have a great levenger laptop bag as well. but i have never been a purse fan. ditto on designer shoes. impractical waste of money. thank god for coach that some of you feel otherwise..."

Is LESLIE trying to wear a sackcloth today to atone for her elitist ways?;)

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 3:03 PM

I have all that bizarre stuff in my giant teacher bag. My purse has my wallet, cellphone, checkbook, flash drive, keys, lipsticks, tampons, face blotting papers (from the Body Shop - great find!), an erasable red pen, a black pen, and a small notepad.

The giant teacher bag has things like a box (yes a box) of tissues, a bundle of pens, pencils & highlighters, professional journals, manuals, grade book, plan book (sometimes), novel students are studying, umbrella (must-have -- dismissal duty is rain or shine), papers to grade, stapler, 3-in paper clips, tape recorder, box paper clips, hand sanitizer (unopened) ... I stopped digging and I haven't reached bottom.

Oh yeah, the purse and the bag have Advil.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 27, 2007 3:10 PM

For a busy lawyer, you sure have a lot of time on your hands to post. I do not.

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 02:13 PM

HMM, this should be fun, watching MN carve her up like a thanksgiving turkey.....

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 02:27 PM

pATRICK - thanks, but she is too insecure to leave her office if she doesn't appreciate that her admission today is a backpedal. I lack the patience to draw her a roadmap or to explain that the more efficient of us somehow have enough time to do many things without perpetually sounding both harried and witchy.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 3:12 PM

OT to Emily -- have you finished the Poisonwood Bible? I found it difficult to read in small chunks -- always had to remember who was narrating...

Posted by: tntkate | September 27, 2007 03:02 PM

I have not finished the Poisonwood Bible yet, and it is irking me to no end. I don't seem to have enough time to read these days, and small chunks of time are just not satisfying. But I am sleepy by 9:30, and don't feel rested if I don't get my full 9-10 hours in these days.

But I am loving it, even in small chunks here and there. I guess it's better than nothing at all.

Posted by: Emily | September 27, 2007 3:15 PM

My boyfriends buy me Coach and other neato label stuff. Does marriage/kids end the fun?

Posted by: sally | September 27, 2007 3:16 PM

maryland_mother, Good to hear from you again. Hope you and yours are staying well and keeping happily busy.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 02:17 PM

Thanks! My sanity is still up for grabs, I've clearly not sold my soul for my kids--but it IS on a rent-to-own option, and work is going really well. Insanely busy. I'll try and stop by more often starting next week.

Educmom, I find myself wishing I had one of those lovely shoulder-sling bags from the "Back in the Saddle" catalogue.

I love Levengers too. I have this lovely stackable filing cabinet that I wish to make higher. Ah well. See "children and money", above!

Secret longing? Hale barrister bookcases. But they won't sell them to you from the factory (in NY). Bustards.

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 27, 2007 3:24 PM

Meesh,

There is a Coach Outlet store in the Carolina Premium outlets in Smithfield NC.
http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/store_listing.asp?id=48

Posted by: meredithneale | September 27, 2007 3:24 PM

Tntkate and Emily - I had the same reaction to Poisonwood Bible. When I was reading that the first time, I got a book that had a printing error in it - at some point it had a chunk of 100 pages repeated, and the 100 pages that should have been there instead were left out, and of course it happened right in the middle of some intense portion near the end. I flipped! Thank goodness there was still a bookstore open that night.

Posted by: LizaBean | September 27, 2007 3:25 PM

Sally - Kind of. In the sense that once marriage and kids come along, your money is no longer just your own. In my single days, I would splurge on Coach and other luxuries occasionally, and treat myself, knowing that even if the decision was unwise, it was just me who would suffer. These days, I don't indulge like that anymore, because it is not just me anymore, and it would not be fair for my family for me to spend hundreds of dollars on a purse instead of using the money for more practical things, like college savings, for example. I am lucky to have a very generous mother, who seems to think that her role in life is to compensate me for all these little sacrifices that I certainly don't mind making. Otherwise, I would not have a Coach purse.

But really, the reason I like my purse is because my mother gave it to me. It would not mean as much to me if it was simply another VLI that I could just afford.

Posted by: Emily | September 27, 2007 3:25 PM

MN-I suppose you recognize the "witchy" comments because you thrive on these comments yourself. Your lack of desire to draw me a roadmap as to how my point today was "backpeddling" on my original point made in Nov 06 about what elite women (the kind who graduate from top undergrads, med schools, etc., and who go on to big positions in various fields) owe to society is very typical of somehow who simply lacks the ability to back the snark up with rational explanation. Now I'm off with my "harried" self to finish up some work. Real work, the kind you apparently don't do in your Minnesota firm (or do your clients pay you the semi-okay-but-not-enough-to-live-outside-of-Minnesota dollars to snark on a blog?).

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 27, 2007 3:26 PM

"to explain that the more efficient of us somehow have enough time to do many things without perpetually sounding both harried and witchy."

Or that the people who talk about how busy they are all the time usually are neither the busiest nor the most productive people?

Posted by: LizaBean | September 27, 2007 3:26 PM

COFT:

"Real work, the kind you apparently don't do in your Minnesota firm"

What's "real work"? A manufacturing job? Driving a bus? Cleaning? Harvesting corn? Analyzing data?

pATRICK--how's your dad?

Posted by: maryland_mother | September 27, 2007 3:30 PM

Is anyone else cracking up with laughter at that misfire right now?

Posted by: LizaBean | September 27, 2007 3:33 PM

Emily

"But really, the reason I like my purse is because my mother gave it to me. It would not mean as much to me if it was simply another VLI that I could just afford."

Fair enough. I'll stick with the boyfriends for my pricey stuff now. They get such a KICK out of giving, I don't want to spoil their fun.

Posted by: sally | September 27, 2007 3:38 PM

Cream of the Crop.
MN is not from Minnesota -
But I bet you're from New York.

Posted by: Emily | September 27, 2007 3:39 PM

No, LizaBean!!! We're all straightfaced and WORKING.

Hey! And what's with the New York jab AGAIN Emily? ;)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 3:42 PM

"backpeddling," COTC? That would be returning goods to a store (LOL!).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 3:45 PM

Atlmom1234 -

I was just teasing. Couldn't help myself.

Posted by: Emily | September 27, 2007 3:45 PM

aside to LB: me too ;)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 3:49 PM

COFT:

"Real work, the kind you apparently don't do in your Minnesota firm"

What's "real work"? A manufacturing job? Driving a bus? Cleaning? Harvesting corn? Analyzing data?

pATRICK--how's your dad?

I told you before, good schools don't mean good breeding. MM,Thanks for asking, saw him again last weekend, seemed fine but sometimes I wonder if he makes a conscious effort to appear normal when we speak to each other. Is that possible?

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 3:54 PM

"I wonder if he makes a conscious effort to appear normal when we speak to each other."

pATRICK, do you think it perhaps makes your dad feel good if he does make a special effort for you?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 3:58 PM

And LB: You don't have to be so formal, you can call me Atlmom! ;)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | September 27, 2007 3:58 PM

I was in Marine Corps bootcamp in 1976. One piece of advice we were given was (imagine a shrill voice) "do NOT spitshine your handbag!"

I quit carrying a purse when I quit smoking in 1985. Just stuck a man's wallet in my back pocket and keys in the front. (I NEVER carry more keys than I absolutely need.) Can you sing "Freedom"?

Sigh. Then I acquired DH in 1996 which caused me to have to carry a notepad and pencil around with me at all times (don't ask). So I bought a leather waist pack which contained said notepad, pencil and wallet.

That poor waist pack fell apart this last summer, so afore-mentioned DH bought me several beautiful Aigner bags. Now I'm a girly-girl.

Handbags are nice, I suppose, until you have to bend over, (like loading the car with groceries) and they fall off your shoulder. I finally just threw the bag in the trunk with the groceries.

Think I'll replace that waist pack......

:-)

Posted by: oldbam | September 27, 2007 4:01 PM

pATRICK, do you think it perhaps makes your dad feel good if he does make a special effort for you?

Maybe, I hope so. I find myself feeling very worried and anxious every time I am around him, looking for signs. I need to just relax more I guess.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 4:04 PM

pATRICK, I think it must be very difficult for an adult child to relax under such sad circumstances. About all you can do is act as though you're more relaxed, as I imagine your dad picks up the vibes still. Best of luck. BTW -- and I'm not being humorous here -- can you take him a serving of flan sometime?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 4:08 PM

Atlmom, I don't know which is funnier - that she was so off the mark factually, or that she thought that kind of attack would actually bother MN. Hee hee!

Posted by: LizaBean | September 27, 2007 4:13 PM

haha, I just might, flan the gift that keeps on giving..........

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 4:14 PM

"Atlmom, I don't know which is funnier - that she was so off the mark factually, or that she thought that kind of attack would actually bother MN. Hee hee!"

She actually sounded like a haughty supervisor speaking to an assistant. Imperious people like that are fun to carve up, MN just took the high road unfortunately.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 4:18 PM

maryland_mother,
Great to "hear your voice" again. Stick around for a while.

Posted by: jackdmom | September 27, 2007 4:22 PM

pATRICK, I think COTC carved herself up more than adequately, although perhaps without realizing the irony.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 4:23 PM

"Your lack of desire to draw me a roadmap as to how my point today was "backpeddling" on my original point made in Nov 06 about what elite women (the kind who graduate from top undergrads, med schools, etc., and who go on to big positions in various fields) owe to society is very typical of somehow who simply lacks the ability to back the snark up with rational explanation."

67 words, one of which is "backpeddling".

Is it still the high road if I wonder how long a lawyer can remain employed writing sentences like that and using imaginary words? You'll recall from her last post how unhappy she was with her job. I do not think she will have that pesky problem for long.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 4:30 PM

MN, the oddest part of COTC's use of "backpeddling" was that she was replying to your correct spelling of "backpedal" -- so it's not as though she didn't have a correct example to emulate. Elite, indeed.

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 4:34 PM

"pATRICK, I think COTC carved herself up more than adequately, although perhaps without realizing the irony."

Maybe you are right. Letting people hang themselves with their own rope is perhaps the most elegant form of revenge.

Posted by: pATRICK | September 27, 2007 4:34 PM

Oh, leave COTC alone. Unhappy, insecure, pathetic, compensating people deserve our pity, not our scorn.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 27, 2007 4:43 PM

pATRICK,
Good to hear your dad's doing well. As hard as it is, you just have to try to act 'normal' around him as much as possible. Even when he's not himself, just pretend it's all good. I hope you have someone to talk to. I'm not sure if you're the support group type, but as time goes on, you will need someone to talk to who's not part of the situation -- a friend, a counselor, a group, or something. Keep us posted.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 27, 2007 4:47 PM

Oh, leave COTC alone. Unhappy, insecure, pathetic, compensating people deserve our pity, not our scorn.

Posted by: educmom__615 | September 27, 2007 04:43 PM

LOL, or, as they say in the Deep South: "Bless her heart," followed either by "she can't help it" or nothing but a shake of the head.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 4:50 PM

MN, would that be southern Minnesota?

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 4:52 PM

Jumping in late here...but frequently on this blog we discuss what is and is not acceptable conduct in blogging. On this topic, I would like to share a column from the Arizona Republic. Some of the people that post locally make Baba look like Fred Rogers...

How is 'overly profane' defined in media now?
http://www.azcentral.com/news/columns/articles/0927montini0927.html

Posted by: pepperjade | September 27, 2007 4:56 PM

mehitabel,

Were I to relocate to that great state of Lutherans, it would be to sunny, ice-free Minneapolis or Edina. I also hear wonderful things about Bayport, including that its residents tend to speak in short, clear sentences using the English language, LOL. The state beverage is milk, and the state muffin (yes, Minnesota has a state muffin) is blueberry. How wholesome is that?

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 4:57 PM

And I hear tell that the state bird is the mosquito. (We won't even discuss black flies and no-see-ums).

Posted by: mehitabel | September 27, 2007 5:00 PM

pepperjade--Wow. Minnesota is looking better and better.

Posted by: teaspoon2007 | September 27, 2007 5:04 PM

pepperjade,

I have to believe that market forces work in blog-land, as elsewhere in the publishing marketplace. If a news organization thinks it will get more readers by permitting offensive material than it will lose by doing the same, and if it does not have any objective, minimum standards for the sort of discourse that can be found under its tradename, then it is free to determine that the lowest common denominator is welcome. I wouldn't read a blog that published the sorts of comments reprinted in that article. Would you?

The Post struggles with this balancing act, LOL, but seems to have a bar, however low, that prohibits the most egregious personal attacks including those of a racist nature.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 5:15 PM

MN, I never post locally. I know this will sound mean/elitist...but just getting through the bad spelling/grammar is too discouraging. Then comes the ignorance.

Posted by: pepperjade | September 27, 2007 5:24 PM

"...seemed fine but sometimes I wonder if he makes a conscious effort to appear normal when we speak to each other. Is that possible?"

Yes, pATRICK, it is possible and maybe even likely. My late mother (died last November) began showing signs of dementia long before we were ready to admit it. Even once we did admit it, we noticed how she would really try to cover for her confusion or her struggle to come up with correct words. She would, even late in the inevitable decline, laugh at the appropriate moment when the rest of us did, even though she could no longer put together a coherent sentence or even a few words that made sense.

My brother, sister, and I feel certain that she was making that effort for us as much as for herself. She gave us lots of gifts throughout her life, but this last gift of effort to "stay with us" as we were slowly losing her was priceless.

I'm so sorry you are going through this with your dad. It is not easy to see your parent slowly leave you in mind while the body seems well.

Posted by: lsturt | September 27, 2007 5:47 PM


"Your lack of desire to draw me a roadmap as to how my point today was "backpeddling" on my original point made in Nov 06 about what elite women (the kind who graduate from top undergrads, med schools, etc., and who go on to big positions in various fields) owe to society is very typical of somehow who simply lacks the ability to back the snark up with rational explanation."

67 words, one of which is "backpeddling".

Is it still the high road if I wonder how long a lawyer can remain employed writing sentences like that and using imaginary words? You'll recall from her last post how unhappy she was with her job. I do not think she will have that pesky problem for long.

Posted by: MN | September 27, 2007 04:30 PM

Wow, MN, you got me--you (and your group of biddy blog addicts, mehitabel, lizabean and emily) have pointed out that on an informal post, one can (a) misspell a word AND (b) write a run-on sentence! And, someone (Emily? lizabean?) also pointed out that I don't spend enough time on this blog to know the ins and outs of where everyone is from. The "irony," if there is one, LizaBean, is that you take your greatest pleasure in sharing inside jokes on an anonymous blog and that you view yourself superior to someone who takes her greatest pleasures, um, outside the Internet world.

MN, you have still failed to address the substantive point of me "backpedAling" (mehitabel, spelled it right for your sake) on a legitimate point I made a year ago on the blog. If the best you can throw at me is "I can't believe you have a job writing a sentence like that," I suppose I can respond by saying, I can't believe you have a job where you can criticize superfluous details without having to give real thought to an actual argument. I guess you'll take your pleasure, however, where you can get it--here, on a blog--and I'll take mine knowing that in the real world, we couldn't possibly travel in the same circles.

And no, Emily, although I suspect it was jab rather than a question, I'm not from New York.

Posted by: CreamOfTheCrop | September 28, 2007 8:55 AM

"I guess you'll take your pleasure, however, where you can get it--here, on a blog--and I'll take mine knowing that in the real world, we couldn't possibly travel in the same circles."

No, we could not. My circles are filled with intelligent, accomplished, well-traveled and sophisticated people who can communicate both orally and using the written word, without hysteria and insult. They also possess wit and understand the value of self-deprecating humor. In my experience, most educated, driven people are the same. You would not fit in.

Posted by: MN | September 28, 2007 9:24 AM

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