I appreciate all the good refrigerator advice, and I will have opportunities to try it all out, as the refrigerator part is out of stock at the factory. I said to the nice man at the appliance part store, “I work in retail, so I know that sometimes ‘backordered’ means it is never coming. Can you suggest an alternative, or get any further information? Because if it’s going to be months, then we need to do something different.” He promised to call me when he has some further information.

Now, I do feel the need to say that I realize that most of the people in the world don’t have refrigerators, or didn’t until quite recently. And I know that there are plenty of people who would appreciate my Knorr’s instant just-add-water potatoes with mushrooms more than I do. And I should quit complaining about it.

It’s the way that I cook, though. I am supposed to eat only these things: fresh fruits and vegetables (most of which require refrigeration, or at least buying fresh daily), whole grains (many of which require eggs and milk for their preparation as baked goods), nonfat dairy products (all of which require refrigeration, though I am keeping grated cheese in the freezer), and lean meats (which I am keeping in the freezer — that is working out okay, as long as we correctly estimate how much everyone will eat in one meal). So I go out in the morning to make a nice omelette with mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and green pepper, to serve with a fruit and yogurt smoothie, and instead I get instant pancakes. Or of course oatmeal with a side of complaining boys.

Okay, I am through discussing that.

Formerprincess asked about quick, healthy meals. I have argued before in these pages (screens?) that healthy food is not more costly than unhealthy food, and I certainly stand by that with my recent experiences in mind. But I can’t claim that it is quick. Cutting up all those fruits and vegetables takes some time, and making your own sauces and breads and stuff does too. But you can put brown rice in the rice machine in the morning before work, spend 15 minutes chopping stuff when you get home, and have a good stir-fry within half an hour. Or marinate fish or chicken during the day and put it into the oven or onto the grill while you fix vegetables. Or start some whole-grain pasta as soon as you get in from work and make the sauce and a salad while it boils. I also rely a lot on the crock-pot, and often leave a pan of enchiladas or something similar in the refrigerator for the kids to put into the oven. It’s all still quicker than waiting for pizza delivery.

Yesterday contained some new things. Our new worker, Blessing, joined us and whipped right through the June accounting backlog (yes, June. It has been rough out there). I met with my co-teacher for Sunday School. She is a globe trotter, on behalf of the One Book Foundation. Her experiences should make her an interesting partner. And I started Spanish class. The teacher wrote “thought” on the board in the International Phonetic Alphabet and asked what it said. I answered, of course. I don’t think she wanted that to happen, though; she seemed disconcerted. Maybe she had a whole dog-and-pony show planned based on nobody’s being able to read it. Anyway, we just learned the alphabet. And then came choir practice, which had as usual a very high talking-to-singing ratio. But the time has changed, which no one had grasped, including me. And the times of the services have changed, a fact which everyone had to remark upon. Once we got beyond the schedule issues and all their ramifications and started in on the new piano player’s sex life, the director just had to call us to order. We got busy with Handel, which can distract anyone from anyone else’s sex life.

On the HGP, I haven’t made much headway with cleaning the living room. I have done some things like dusting the books, which needs to be done sometimes but is usually too fiddly to bother with, and sorting the papers in the computer area, but I may end up doing most of the cleaning on Saturday. I have gotten all my lists made. I plan to make most of my gifts as always, but there is not much knitting on my list. #1 son is agitating for a new hat, but he will not want to wait till Christmas for it, I am sure. I am considering a new craft for my gift-making, what with having a goal of newness for the fall, but I have not yet determined whether the investment will be a wise one or not.

The thing about taking up new crafts is that there are new tools involved. When I make something with an old skill, I have my tools at hand, and am reasonably assured of success, so the cost is no more than the materials to make the thing. But a new skill is not like that. When I took up soapmaking, I had an initial investment of a couple of hundred dollars over my first two years. Since then, I have kept my family in luxurious bath and body products and my cost-per-item is now very small. But that was a successful example. I never did succeed in making that chaise longue I was attempting earlier this summer. Fortunately, I had only to borrow tools for it from my husband and my dad, and the wood was free. If I put my holiday gift funds toward new tools and materials and then find that I am no good at my new craft, I will have to turn around and buy gifts instead.

Still, there is the benefit of elasticity of the brain.

One more new thing I am contemplating is the 6 a.m. class at the gym. My husband has been going to work at 5 a.m. and I don’t need to make breakfast for my kids till 7, so I could just leave a little bit early from the class and fit it in. The cardipoump class I was sporadically attending has been replaced by “Xtreme Abs and Glutes.” I am not sure that I am up for anything Xtreme, as the cardiopump class was already plenty Xtreme enough for me. The 6:00 class is called “Rise and Shine.” That may be just the ticket.