Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Decision 2007

Lately I've found myself in the position of having to research multiple unfamiliar issues and make decisions based on my research.

Decisionmaking, obviously, is nothing new to me: I'm nearly 30. I'm a lawyer. I make decisions all the time, and lots of them. But I think that, for me, the difficulty of the decisionmaking process is inversely proportional to how much I actually care about the decision I have to make. In other words, the less I care, the harder the decision.

What college to attend? No problem; that was important to me. Whether to marry Ty? Piece of cake. (Specifically, chocolate hazelnut cake with buttercream--another easy decision.) Choosing a wedding dress? I went to one store, tried on six, and picked the sixth one--the whole process took less than an hour, including the choice of which of the 72 or so available shades of white I wanted (I am not even kidding). Do I want children? Absolutely.

What kind of highchair to get? NOW we're entering problem territory. After several precious hours of research, I settled on one.

Carseats? Ugh. Simultaneously an official Very Important Decision, and one of the most boring things a human being can research. Using a base? The LATCH system versus standard belting? Compatibility with a travel system? My knowledge of carseats was limited to a memory of my brother, Mr. Lashes, joyfully smooshing a plastic eggfull of sticky, fluorescent-yellow Ghostbusters-inspired play ectoplasm from the 25-cent machine at the grocery store into the fabric of his seat, and my mother being thrilled that she was able to get the stain out.

I spent more hours on carseat research than on any other baby item. I finally settled on one that I felt good about, and communicated the information to kind and generous relatives who had expressed an interest in providing us with the carseats of our choice. We received the carseats and checked them out--they looked like sturdy little tanks. Perfect. Then, Consumer Reports came out with the Let's Scare The Parents Half to Death! study, and put our carseat on the Shit List, and their two "good" carseats sold out everywhere .00028 seconds later, and Ty and I lost a precious, precious half-night of sleep deciding what to do, and then a little later they said, Oops, never mind, the study wasn't conducted the way we thought, please turn to page 30 for an assessment of butter cookies in a tin.

Now, we're having some electrical work done. The electrician came by yesterday, and asked me to call the tech support guy at the company that manufactured the switches he was going to use, and I did, and he started asking me all kinds of questions about transformers, and magnetic versus electronic, and single pole versus double pole, and do I have a low voltage system? and I nearly lost it entirely and nearly screamed I HAVE TWO UNBORN CHILDREN GRIPPING AT MY RIBS LIKE WEE STRAPHANGERS; WHY DON'T YOU JUST LABEL YOUR FUCKING PRODUCTS IN PLAIN ENGLISH SO THAT THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN BUY THEM WITHOUT GRADUATING WITH HONORS FROM APEX TECHNICAL SCHOOL.

In the end, the guy gave me a model number for a switch that he said I needed, and I called every store within a reasonable distance of my apartment, and none of them had it, and then I found it online, and I requested that it be delivered overnight, and the website told me they couldn't provide me then with a quote for overnight delivery, and presented me with FOUR OPTIONS. A four-way decision about ELECTRICAL SWITCHES--ooooooh, my favorite! One such option was to request a quote by email or something, which was supposed to take up to one business day, which would totally defeat the purpose of overnight delivery. Another was to have the company call me with a quote, which was the one that I chose.

So, after 30-40 minutes of research, two phone calls, and over $200, my switches are on their way. $200. Have I mentioned that I'll be having some extra expenses in the near future?

This morning, the electrician called and told me that I really don't need those switches. Now, I need to decide whether to call the company right away and attempt to cancel the order to avoid the restocking fee, or to accept delivery of the package and have the switches here just in case he was mistaken, and then risk both restocking and reshipping fees and the hassle of lugging the switches in to be reshipped.

And I haven't yet decided what to eat for breakfast.


Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

I went through the SAME THING with the carseat conundrum. I am about ready to kill some Consumer Reports peeps. WE went with one of the seats that's supposed to be OK when used with traditional belting, but of course the whole travel system costs $279. Helloooo, Craigslist!

Also feeling you on the ribs as straphangers thing. Who knew they could reach that high? And that it would be so uncomfortable when they did?

I really hope you need that switch, after all that. Or I hope that returning it is a simple, painless process and the restocking charge is minimal. You could use that 200 clams for a travel system!

10:43 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

This should be nominated for some kind of award - this post, I mean. And you, too, of course. World's Smallest and Most Accomplished Woman with Electrical Issues and Functioning Obsessive-Compulsive Computer Researching Disorder to Ever Have Twins.

Girl, you gotta step away from the computer when it comes to shopping for baby stuff. I mean, there's good info out there, but it's worse than a needle in a hay stack. It's like finding a 4 centimeter piece of hay in a haystack full of 4.1-4.7 centimeter pieces of hay.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Gah, just what you need when your brain isn't functioning at full capacity anyway.

And I agree with Mignon... step away from the research - you'll drive yourself bonkers.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

If I had to devote that much time to understanding, researching, and acquiring ELECTRICAL SWITCHES, I'd throw up.

Too many choices. And too much information that's all the wrong freakin information.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

I agree with Mignon. These are all legitimate worries, but they're the first of so many you'll have. Brace yourself, Arabella. The next 18 years will be like "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride".

12:22 AM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

LOL! I can so relate to this post. I make myself apoplectic with indecision at times.

We're not having electical issues; we're having plumbing issues. Hello $1,500 bill we didn't anticipate! *sigh* Good times.

You could always do what my best friend does: she consults a swinging pendant when faced with difficult decisions. I'm not making this up.

2:48 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I get irritated when faced with too many decisions. Really.

Hang in there.

6:56 PM  
Blogger ptg said...

"Wee straphangers!" I'm dyin' of laff.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

Everything OK?

2:47 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Everything's ok now--I just posted an explanation as to my long absence. Thanks, everyone, for your support!

3:34 PM  

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