When is a deal NOT a deal? When it comes from Spectrum.

So I got this junk mail from Spectrum regarding their new mobile phone service. You may have seen one yourself.

$45 per line per month for unlimited data or $14 per line for 1 gig each, to be shared. Oh, and you HAVE to have their internet service. If you don’t, you have to pay $20 more and limited this and that.

We have 3 phones. So that would be $42 (plus taxes, let’s say $50 a month) for a total of 3 gigs.

If you go over your shared gigs, however, they will charge you another $14 PER LINE for one more gig each. I asked this specifically, and had to repeat myself three fucking times to get her to hear me. She actually had to find that information out.

So if you go over your data allotment by so much as a quarter of a gig, you will double your phone bill. We did go over our original 3 gigs this last month, by .14 of a gig.

Not a big deal if you only have the one line. Like I said, we have three. So that turns $50 to $100, just because my daughter’s phone keeps turning off the wifi and she forgets to turn it back on.

Now that would still be saving us upwards of $35 a month, give or take a few bucks. Our average bill is about $135, and we get a 3 gig + 3 gig free, plus whatever our rollover was from the previous month. We had 10 gigs with this last bill, a very nice cushion.

So that still MIGHT be worth it…if we can use our existing phones.

Here’s where the deal turns sour.

The fine print says equipment is extra, and does not say anywhere that you can use existing phones. Because you cannot.

You have to buy their phones. For Galaxy, the lowest they have is the Galaxy 8. One phone is $500.

We have three phones, so would have to spend $1500 to buy new phones in order to save $30 a month on our bill. If we kept carefully to our 3 gigs, it would be $80 saved per month.

You can pay for those phones in monthly installments of $25 per phone, by the way. So Spectrum wants you to GO INTO DEBT to them to the tune of $500 a pop.

So we’d have to pay $75 dollars more to save five bucks. We would be in debt to the tune of $1500 for at least three years before starting to see any actual savings on this plan.

No thanks. We’ll stay with ATT. I’ve had an account there for over sixteen years and we can buy phones for under $200 when needed.

I will, however, be calling them to ask what they can do, since Spectrum CAN give me this $42 a month bill. (eyebrow waggle)

Couldn’t hurt.

My Experience With a Meal Service — NOT an Ad!

I found what I thought was a really good introductory deal to Hello Fresh. I ended up paying about ten bucks for two meals for two people. But I didn’t actually want to receive that first box.

How did you end up with a box you didn’t want? you ask.

Because they make you put in your delivery address AND payment information BEFORE you get to see the food. I was able to select a preference for Beef, but that was it. (remember that for later)

I tried to cancel. When I couldn’t find a way to select my own first meals, and the meals they had on offer were nothing I’d be interested in eating in the first place, I clicked to cancel the subscription.

The first shipment, however, did not cancel. I received it this morning.

Okay, fine. Let’s see what they gave me, I thought. Maybe they gave me some ingredients I can make my own meals out of.

Bag #1: Turkey chiles Rellenos. Made with ground turkey. — I hate ground turkey. I mean with a passion. I actually don’t like turkey itself very much, or Mexican food. I would never have ordered this. I’d far rather make stuffed green & red peppers made with hamburger or sausage.

So this is a fail right out the gate.

Bag #2: Salmon with dijon mustard sauce and arugula. Just…sigh. I never make anything fish. I never buy anything fish. I might have tuna ONCE a year, out of a little pouch, in one sandwich. Maybe. I don’t like fish. And, might I say, that the amount of arugula included may have been enough for a garnish on the top but was not nearly what I would ever call a salad.

And I did not get my preferred protein. Beef.

I have wasted ten bucks.

Yes, it was all well packed. Two bags inside a cardboard box, with cotton wadding all around it, and the meat was between two thick ice packs under a cardboard plank. That IS a lot of trash. We have recycling of paper/cardboard, so all that went into clear bags. But the innards of the ice pack aren’t recyclable. You are to cut the package open, empty it into the regular trash, and then recycle the plastic from the ice packs. I’ll be turning at least one of the cotton wadding lengths into a lower back protector. Maybe I’ll make the other into a couple small quilts to donate to an animal shelter.

Yes, the ingredients were fresh. But it was nothing I couldn’t have gotten a recipe off the internet and gone to the grocery store around the corner to buy things for.

Sure, it’s convenient to only have as much turmeric as is needed for the one recipe. I never use turmeric, so portioning out the ingredients is a good thing.

I actually thought maybe I’d pluck out the seasonings for that reason; but decided against it. I grabbed up everything included, plus the instruction sheets, and went downstairs to knock on my landlord’s door. I gave them to her and her family. Here. Enjoy.

Otherwise…it’s going in the trash.

So thank you, Hello Fresh. My ten bucks went toward building Good Will with my landlord.

A Candid Discussion of Menstrual Cups

This is an open and honest discussion of a woman’s menstrual cycle. If you’re not prepared for what that will entail, don’t read this.

The purpose of this article isn’t to hound about the environment and convince you to buy one. I am not about to throw that stone. It’s not to discourage you from buying one either.

This is a candid description of my personal experience so that you are armed with practical information and a realistic–and accurate–depiction of pros and cons in action.
I want you to make a much more educated decision about whether or not silicone cups might work for you.

I had seen a couple different brands of menstrual cups and was curious about them. Sure, I read the websites, but those always play up saving the environment and downplay the practical realities. Any information on the practical realities is non-existent on product websites.

How well would it actually work? Was it really less messy? How easy is it –realistically speaking– to insert. Would it really help to decrease the volume of tampons and pads going to the landfill and through the sewer system? Would it be enough to make any real difference to the landfill or my pocketbook? Would the hassle of it be worth the amount of money and landfill space purportedly saved?

I realized these are questions that can only be answered by doing it myself and finding out, as each woman has to assess for herself if the bother of something is worth the end result.

I had previously posted quite the rant about the Soft Cup variety of menstrual cups, and what a complete disaster that was. With that experience fresh in my mind, even these years later because it was such a nightmare, I had some doubts about my ability to effectively use the silicone brands.

Then I saw a “blog/review article” that was actually a thinly veiled advertisement about “how oh so great and fantastic” a menstrual cup was. The article so seriously ticked me off that I posted a reply that I didn’t believe for a single second that the “author” had used one of these things. I actually questioned if the “author” was even female.

I decided to do a long-term, in-depth experiment myself so that I could write an accurate account of my personal experience. I’ve done the months. Now it’s time to write up and publish my findings.

There are two brands I’ve readily seen, Diva Cup and Mooncup. I’ve seen others now, but have not seen much variation in design. They are shaped about the same. They all have a pointy bit at the bottom, which you’re not supposed to grab to pull out so I wonder why it’s there in the first place.

Diva Cup is $40 at most pharmacies, making it rather an expensive initial expenditure. Mooncup I have seen at about $18 on their own website, making it more economical for the average woman. Until you add in shipping, that is, and do the conversion from pounds to dollars again. Then suddenly it’s around $27. That’s about what I paid for a Diva cup at Rite Aid, thanks to my 20% off rewards card and a $5 “load to card” coupon.

Others are as low as five to eleven dollars. Some come in pink, blue, or purple. So the technology is advanced enough that they’re making color options for the little cup that will catch your monthly flood of blood. Yes, we’ve reached the point where they’re trying to make it pretty for us. Oh joy.

“Hey, what color is your menstrual cup?”
“Blue. What’s yours?”
“I got pink. I feel so pretty on the inside!”


Down to Business

I conducted my testing over a period of several months. I used it on light days, heavy days, even “I might start while I’m out” days. I wanted to put it to the test through every likely scenario, and that could only be achieved through repeated cycles.

First of all, I knew the “never buy tampons/pads again” thing was not going to be realistic for me. I simply had to prove it by using one of these things. How did I know? Very simply. I have an exceptionally heavy flow.

“Holds three times more than a super plus tampon!” is one of the alleged pros. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it. We’re told over and over that the “average” woman only releases about two ounces of blood for her entire cycle, so there should never be much at all in the cup, right? I don’t know that I’ve ever met one of those average women. I’m certainly happy for them, to have such a barely there cycle. I, however, am a Niagra falls of menstruation once the dam breaks. I always have been.

“Holds three times more than a super plus tampon!” If they say so. But when I’m blowing through a super plus every 90 minutes, that means I’m going to have to take this thing out and put it back in every three hours to be sure I don’t overflow it. I did that for one cycle. By the end of the day, I was actually sore from repeated fisting of myself to get the thing up there. More on insertion later.

Let’s discuss the practicalities of a prolific flow first, as that is my personal biggest indicator of when I can and can’t use it.

Yes, you CAN overflow these things. I’ve done it more than once during my several months of testing.

This meant I had to be prepared to empty it at the mall, at restaurants, etc. Backup pad in the panties was a must just in case. As an author, I work from home; but you can extrapolate all of this to your job at the office, at the grocery store, wherever it is you are employed. Is there a private facility? Or does the restroom have more than one stall and a shared vanity that means someone may see you with this bloody thing in the sink while you’re rinsing/washing it?

Would you be wiser to take a second cup in a baggy, so you can put the first into the baggy and stash it in your purse until you get home? Is that really very practical, to have this bloody mess of a thing in your purse for several hours?

Diva Cup’s website suggests taking a bottle of water with you so you can rinse it at the toilet. Okay. Am I supposed to do this sitting on the toilet, with the water pouring out between my thighs while I’m straddling the toilet? Or am I supposed to stand up with no protection whatever and do this?

Have they really taken into consideration the muck factor? Have they ever tested this product on a woman who has free-falling river of a cycle?

Menstrual flow isn’t just blood. I have quite a bit of very slimy mucous that, oddly enough, is very sticky at the same time. Think Ghostbusters, in the library, with Venkman trying to get a sample of the ectoplasm for Egon. It stretches, it wraps around fingers, it drips like raw egg that never wants to let go of the shell. All this is hanging from the edge of the cup and I’m supposed to somehow get it to roll out into the toilet so I can then rinse the thing.

I’ve decided I need at least one more arm than I already possess in order to make all this work. Rinsing in the toilet with a bottle of water just is not going to happen for me. I’m not nearly that coordinated and there’s not nearly enough room. I need the sink. That means never taking the cup out in any public restroom.

“Or wipe it out with toilet paper” comes the next helpful suggestion. You mean that cheap toilet paper that shreds completely the instant it gets wet? I would need a baby wipe to feel even remotely comfortable just wiping. And then, I’m not sure I would want to put whatever chemicals are in that liquid substance the wipe is soaked with back up into me for my body to absorb from the inside.

I’m also not comfortable putting the residue of old blood back in me. To the sink I go, to clean it with hot water and soap. Every time. At home, the bloody mess is going to have to sit in the sink for a couple minutes while I take care of cleaning myself.

Doesn’t seem to matter how careful I am, it’s a mess. I have to pinch the bottom to get the thing out. If it’s half full, that means I’m squishing its contents into my vagina. I spend twice as long and use twice as much toilet paper to get all the blood and mucous cleaned away than if I’d used a tampon. Then I get to the cleaning of the cup to reinsert it. I also have to wash my hands again after reinsertion…because at least two of my fingers and my thumb have been up inside my vagina. Again.

This is not, by any means, a “cleaner” alternative. This is messy as hell and there’s no streamlining the process. It is what it is. Pulling a tampon out to drop directly into the toilet is far less messy.

I don’t care what carbon footprint my menstrual cycle causes. The heaviest part of my cycle is going to have to be tackled with tampons and pads. There’s just no getting around that for me.
Now let’s talk about insertion.

I’ve mentioned the two fingers and thumb, near-fisting of myself. There’s much more to it. Insertion is about technique and timing, not to mention finger length, arm reach, and your own flexibility.

I’m a big woman. I’m short, but round. My arms are short. My fingers are short. I already had doubts about whether or not I’d be able to get the thing in. The entire first week was my learning time, along with the entire next cycle. These “a couple times and I had it” claims are out the window with me. There is a definite learning curve, and you need to be prepared for it not to go smoothly every single time. Be prepared for this to take time to get the hang of.

First, folding the cup for insertion. I fold it over in half and pinch it together in the U shape. The Diva Cup is thick and stiff and doesn’t seem to want to go into any of the other configurations you can Google to see. The curved side going in first I slide the folds into my vagina.

The problems are 1. not pinching tight enough
2. letting go too soon.

The cup doesn’t want to be folded, remember. It doesn’t like to be folded over. It wants to be round, and will fight tooth and nail in order to be round. That first time, I lost count of how many attempts it took just to get the thing far enough into me that I could let go and push the rest of the way in.

Whenever it popped open before passing my pelvic bone, I had to take it out, re-fold it, and go at it again. I was seriously there for twenty minutes fighting with this thing, and went through it all over again eight hours later when I wanted to take it out to see how much was in it and put it back. It was quite frustrating.

I used a little bit of lubricating jelly at one point, because I was dry and rubbing myself raw. It helped immensely.

By the end of day 2, I was sore from repeated insertion attempts and didn’t want to use the thing anymore. I almost gave up, thinking the effort wasn’t worth it. My short arms and fingers don’t make it any easier. Neither does being rotund. I can’t do insertion while sitting on the toilet. I have to stand with a foot up on the toilet to open myself enough that I can reach to get the thing in. Maybe if I was sixty pounds lighter it would be easier. That’s not happening any time soon.

The idea is to push it into yourself fast enough to get the rim of the cup past the pelvic bone before it pops open. Once you’ve got that part in, you can push from the bottom to get it deeper inside. Regardless how I hold the cup, I have my first finger, my middle finger, and my thumb going into my vagina all at once. They start at the top of the fold, pinching tight to keep it closed, then walk down the length of the cup while pushing it into my vagina. I end up with my index and middle fingers performing the final pushes. I am getting better at it, six months later, but it’s always something of an adventure.

I can’t grip the cup any lower than the rim because it pops open in my hand. I can’t do it with my hand wet because it slides out of my fingers and pops open. It really got to be a pain in the ass.

Some manufacturer instructions will say to feel inside to be sure it has completely opened. Well, I have short fingers. I can barely get them in far enough to feel my pelvic bone. There’s no way they are going to make it another two and a half inches in to feel that the rim is fully open. Marvel’s “Mr. Fantastic”, able to magically stretch whenever I want, I am not. I have to go on faith that the cup’s desire to be round will win out over my vagina’s need to crush anything that goes into it.


Practical Application

When it came to my heaviest days, I quickly decided to leave off the cup during the night. The last thing I wanted to do at 2am, 4am, and 6am was wrestle with this bloody mess, have to clean the cup with soap and water in the sink every time, then put it back in again. I went back to tampons for overnight. I don’t even need to open my eyes to pull one out and put another in. I can do that in a couple minutes, versus the five minute minimum for dealing with the cup.


“Makes a light seal” the instruction book says. Light seal. That’s cute.

You’ve gotten the thing into you. You’ve worn it for several hours. You’ve gone to the toilet a couple times and felt it poking out while you’re sitting there. Now it’s been six or eight hours, you’re curious how much muck is actually inside it. Time to take the thing out.

There’s this handy little stick of silicone poking out. You’d think that’s how you remove it, right? Nope. I have no idea what that thing is actually there for. It’s not like the cup can “get lost” up there. It comes down toward the vaginal opening all by itself when you sit on the toilet. But no. You’re not supposed to grab hold and pull. You need to reach farther up to the little round base and gently pinch to get a good hold, then pull it out.

Just grasping the thing is another adventure for a short-fingered, short-armed gal. I found myself needing to be something of a contortionist to reach the nub end and get hold of it. Sometimes it took several attempts to get it firmly enough to remove.

Remember that “light seal”? Yeah, what they mean to say is seriously tight vacuum seal that you may feel pop open when you pinch the bottom of the cup to pull the thing out. I don’t know how other women perceive it, but sometimes I feel a small, mild sensation of pain when the vacuum releases.

Slowly pull the cup down and out, trying to keep the thing upright so you don’t spill it if you want to see how much is there. If you don’t want to see how much is there, just tilt to empty…but remember that it will not all come pouring cleanly out. There is that slimy, sticky mucous to contend with. The blood may stick to the inside of the cup, to the rim, to everything. Plus your fingers.

I did warn you this thing is messy.

My most successful “measuring” removal, the cup was 2/3 full. Over an ounce and a half in one six hour session, and I wasn’t in my hardest time of the week. So that “average of 2 ounces for the whole cycle” thing was blown in one six hour time period. I estimate my entire flow was around 16 fluid ounces that month. Two whole cups of menstrual flow. (no wonder I crave steak)

You already know the flow also contains the lining of the uterus, which sloughs off in bits and pieces. The vagina also continues to produce the clear liquid of its own lubrication. This means there is blood in the bottom of the cup, but then a layer of clear liquid on top.

Month 3…I got sick. I had a really bad cold with sinus infection. I was tired, run down. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to deal with a menstrual cup. I didn’t have the energy to wrestle with it. I used tampons and pads through that entire cycle. The experiment reinforced the need to keep my mind on what was really practical for me, for my physical shape and condition, and the ultimate decision was to suspend the experiment that month. I skipped the next month also. I was better, but still not up to fighting with the cup.

I had decided that removal and cleaning three times a day was most practical for me. Morning when I got up, late afternoon, then before bed. This way, I would not risk it filling too much on my more manageable days, and could also balance the number of hours the mess remained in the cup.

I thought about using a glove to reduce the mess. However, if I’m throwing a latex glove out every time I have to take my cup out, that negates the whole “better for the environment” thing.

It does have an odor when left in for longer stretches of time, another reason to remove every 6 to 8 hours rather than 12. I don’t care for the thought of the blood in there sloshing around for that long.

Another interesting tidbit – when the cup sits lower (like when you’re on the toilet), it may make urination a bit more difficult. There is a product now, used like a tampon, that stops accidental leakage of urine. The cup can do the same thing, pressing in just the right spots to cause slow, dribbly urination. Pushing the cup deeper sometimes alleviates that. I usually just bear down a little to force the urine through.

Also, at least once, I did have to remove the cup before a difficult bowel movement.

Now the experiment is concluded, I’ve determined that the cup is a great device for going to a party while I’m on my period. I have two of them (because I misplaced one the day before I was going to a party and had to buy another) and will use them for exactly that. I’ll use them when I’m going to be out of the house for a long time on a lighter day.

As a decrease the landfill option, it’s not going to work for me. Ever. I still have to have tampons and pads for my heaviest days. I’m not using as many regular tampons is all. Not enough to make any substantial difference to what goes to the landfill.

When it comes down to it, nights out aside, I’d rather use tampons and pads and have less hassle and far less mess to deal with. For me, they’re just not worth the effort needed.

PayPal — TURN ON your email notifications!

I am utterly paranoid about unauthorized charges to our debit cards. For years now, I have asked my husband about this little charge or that little charge that came to my attention through an email from PayPal. Sometimes I could figure out what it was. Once it completely ruined a Christmas surprise, but I didn’t let on. Other times, he had to tell me what the vendor was. Some have tried to get him into trouble, as the store was in one place but the address for the charges was another borough entirely.

Today, my paranoia was justified.

At about 3:30pm, I checked my email and saw a payment to a company I had never heard of for $366. None of our bills are paid via that card, and that wouldn’t be the amount anyway. Maybe he had bought something? Well, no. The company is a credit card issuer (and not a very reputable one — Credit One Bank, with many complaints), so the amount would have been to pay the bill. We don’t have any credit cards.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach my husband. His phone was turned off because he was at work. I sent messages the two ways I knew would reach him when he turned it on, and got on the phone to PayPal.

The wait was about 15 minutes, so I opted for the Call Back. Never doing that again. I pressed one to continue with the call and it hung up on me. Nope. Sitting there on hold as long as it takes from now on.

After shouting Representative into the phone about five times, I finally got hold of a human being. She was very helpful in confirming what I’d already figured out. After some hmm-hawing on my end (deactivate the card and prevent more charges but risk stranding my husband without funds, or leave the card open for him but risk more charges), I decided to deactivate the card. I could always get on a bus and go to him if needed.

You can imagine my anxiety level during this time, when there was literally nothing more I could do.

When he finally was able to text me back, shortly after 7pm, my husband confirmed my suspicions. No, he did not make any such purchase/payment, and the card was in his hand. It hadn’t been lost.

I’d made the right decision in deactivating the card.

I went to the PayPal site to start the dispute process; but since the transaction was still pending, the system wouldn’t allow me to do it. I called again, waited on hold for another six or seven minutes after shouting representative once and yes several times, and told the nice lady who answered that I was calling to report a fraudulent charge.

She was able to do it on her end, and the entire thing only took a couple minutes. They may not be able to stop the charge from going through to my bank. (Because we don’t have that amount in our PP account, it draws from the bank, which causes a delay of a day or two.) If the transaction goes through, PayPal will reimburse us and pursue getting the money back on their own end. Of course, all they have to do is get with the credit card company and see whose account was paid off, and they have the guilty party. I may never know that part, but I’m burning to know.

Certainly, I will be watching very closely over the next few days, to be sure no other transactions crop up and see this resolved.


Three years? Five? I couldn’t tell you how many years I’ve had emails coming to me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been paranoid and asked my husband if he bought this or that or went here or there..

Today, that paranoia was proved completely justifiable.

And it was the email notifications that saved us.

Soft Cup — The Grand Experiment

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get periods. I have an enemy that slowly stalks me down every month and then ambushes me for a week long siege.

Until recently, it’s gone something like this:

Day 7 to 10, twinge of pain in one side or the other. Twinge may work its way up to being an ice pick in my side and occasionally will incapacitate me so that I’m curled up in a ball over the pillows on the sofa and pumped full of Advil and Tylenol until it’s over.

I call this little slice of heaven ovulation.

If it happens on the left, it’s usually a day or two early and means it will happen again on the right in a couple days. YAY IT’S TWINS!!!

Then about a week and a half later, my tits will start to get tender. That’s the polite term, of course. What they really do is ache so badly it hurts when they bounce while I walk. Touching them? No, not a good idea. Beat me all you want, honey, but please don’t touch the boobies.

It gets worse as that week wears on, the monthly enemy stalking ever closer.

Some months, I can feel early cramping. There’s no blood flow, but my uterus has decided to clench and not let go. Could be just a day or so ahead of time. Or could be four days of misery.

Day 21 after the last day of my previous ambush, the monthly enemy has found me! Fresh ambush and siege that starts off relatively light that first day. Day 2 of the bleed, the monthly enemy has found the dam and destroyed it. The Niagara Falls of blood has arrived along with enough pain to put an elephant on it’s knees.

I once took 5000mgs of Tylenol in one day and it didn’t TOUCH my pain. Just made me sick.

“Lose weight” someone typed at me when I typed this. Idiot. I weighed 110 pounds at the time. How much MORE weight did they want me to lose??? Weight is not a factor in how much pain I have. It’s been like this since I was 12, thank you very much.

“Go take a walk,” someone else always suggests. Yeah…no. If I can barely stand up to go to the bathroom ten feet away, what MAKES YOU THINK I’m going to make it down (and back up) three flights of stairs? So that exercise thing never does fly with me. Maybe it works for other people. Not me!

I have to use those Super Plus tampons during these middle days. And I’ll blow through one in about two hours. “EIGHT HOURS OF PROTECTION” the commercial says, and I laugh my fucking ass off. I have to make sure to wake up in the middle of the night to change the thing at least twice. They don’t MAKE a super plus that is PLUS ENOUGH for me.

“Use pads” someone says. Yeah, I have ’em. Put one in the panties when I’m going out in case I don’t get to a bathroom in time to change the plug. Wear one at night in case I don’t wake up in the middle of the night. Gotta beat the morning gush to the bathroom otherwise.

I’ve read things that say the entire monthly output averages about two ounces of blood. Two ounces? For the WHOLE THING? Seriously? Does anyone here have that little?

I could weigh one of those super plus from Day 3 and I betcha it’ll be two ounces all by itself. Times one every two hours that I’m awake. No wonder I crave rare steak. lol

Somewhere around day 5 of the bleed, the entire uterine liner will shed and the Niagara Falls spigot closes about 75% of the way. YAY! I can use “Regular” tampons now like a “regular” chick and not have to worry about exploding all over my pants.

Day 7 of the bleed and we’re done. Next day starts as Day 1 of the 1 to 21day hunting expedition and the whole thing begins all over again.

This was such a regular and dependable system for 20 years that I planned our wedding six months in advance.

But the last couple years…things have been changing. Some I don’t mind. Others I’m not liking at all.

Ovulation isn’t waiting until day 7 to 10. Sometimes I can feel it the third or fourth day after I stop bleeding. This will throw the entire thing off, because it means I may start around Day 17 instead of Day 21. This puts a monkey wrench into a bunch of things. Will I start to get tender around Day 14 this month? Or might I just pink a bit on Day 17 but not start full until Day 19? If so, does day 17 count as Day 1 of the bleed? Or does it count when it starts the fuller flow on the 19th day? So now that whole last week from Day 17 to Day 21 is a watch’n’wait game of cat and mouse with my monthly enemy.

The flow itself is also changed. It may take two days before the dam breaks. And the liner might shed two days after that. And then I’m down to nearly nil by day 5 instead of day 6 or 7. And I mean nearly nil. Those last couple days, I might be so light that I don’t even need a tampon. Talk about a revelation!

So the supplies I’d have been burning through every two months…have been sitting there for three or four. At this rate, the pads I have on hand might just last me the rest of my menstrual safari.

At Rite Aid last month, I stood on the “NO MEN!” aisle and looked at this little pink box. Soft Cups they’re called. I had previously researched the Diva Cup at one point, looking for a cost-effective alternative to tampons and pads. So I knew what I was dealing with. All those doubts cropped up again.

I have short fingers and rather a long channel. Will I be able to get it in? Will I be able to get it out??? Will it make a spilled mess when I take it out? Is it worth the price? For the Diva cup, you not only need the cup, but they want you to buy their soap as well. What a mess that would be if I was in a public restroom. I could just see people freaking out that I was washing this thing in the sink. (I think about these things.) Not to mention the horror stories of women who have forgotten they were wearing the thing and remembered days later, and walked out of the doctor’s office with a fist full of prescriptions for the infections.

So then I’d need two. Put one in a baggy to wash at home, put fresh one in. That’s $80 instead of $40. With two $7 boxes of tampons now lasting me up to four months each, the price of the Diva cup is no longer economically viable, even if all my other concerns were negated.

But here on the top shelf of the “NO MEN!” aisle was a little box with 12 disposable cups. Soft Cups —

I was wishing there was a smaller box with only four or six in it, so I could give a trial run. I’d not have hesitated if I was only spending about three bucks. But what if I bought the nine dollar box and it turned out to be a disaster just as I had been concerned all along? What if I didn’t spend the money and they could be the greatest thing since sliced bread?

I bought the tampons. Better the devil you know.

Then here I was about to start my period literally any minute and having to go to a party. I didn’t want to start at the party and maybe have a little yuck to deal with. But it’s not healthy or safe to wear a tampon when you’re not bleeding. The cups would be perfect for this kind of situation – one that is happening nearly every month at this point, since the start of my bleed is perfectly aligned with the second party of each month.

Another little joke by Mother Nature, thank you very little.

So I showed the box to EW. I laid out all the pros and cons, my concerns about all of it right down to the cost. Maybe a ten dollar mistake isn’t that big a deal to most. But I rarely ever buy myself anything.

In true EW form, he got out a coin. Heads buy it, tails don’t. He flipped. The coin said buy it. So I did.

I didn’t start that night. In fact, early this morning, feeling that dull ache low in my belly, I remembered that we just had the time change. It’s Spring. My bleed is always a couple days late that first cycle of Spring. I showed pink this morning. Not a lot. Just a tinge. Not enough that I want to put in a tampon. So I got out the box. Looked at the side. It was in French. I turned the box around to the other end. Did the best I could and it seems I may have done it correctly. Or correct enough. lol When I wipe, I don’t see blood, so nothing is getting past it at the moment.

When I sit on the toilet, I can feel the edge of it with my finger, so getting it out may not be the problem I had been concerned about.

Softcup Experiment #1, Day 1
So far so good.

Experiment Day #2 – Now I remember why I never liked non-applicator tampons

I have never enjoyed sticking my finger into an ooze of warm gooey blood, mucus and uterine lining.  I don’t like cleaning that blood out from around my fingernails either.

So last night, as I had posted, I had given up on the soft cups.  I even wrote the company to complain about the money I spent and the three pairs of pants that are soiled that would not have been if I’d just used tampons.

As the night went on and I was thinking what could I do to change the experience and make a positive out of it, and maybe even a success?

While getting ready for bed, I got an idea and went and looked at the box. I looked at one end…and turned it around to the other because the first end I look at is always the one in French. I squinted my fuzzy vision and examined the pictures.  Nope, I was putting it in correctly.

But…what if I turned it upside down?

See, putting it in open side up put the leading edge at the bellybutton side of my vagina.  When I turned onto my tummy, the gap happened and leakage occurred.  So if I turned it upside down, when I pushed in the end, it would be at the tailbone side of my vagina.  On my tummy would be safer.  On my sides should be perfectly fine as well.

So that’s exactly what I did.  And the night was just fine.  Not a problem.

I got up in the morning and took it out (see that top paragraph again) and was not happy with the mess AT ALL.  I’d hoped to be able to get under the rim, like the picture shows.  But not having talon-like fingernails, that just doesn’t work for me.  I have to get it around the top edge to create suitable leverage to drag the thing outta me.

(big sigh)

Wiped clean, fresh cup inserted upside down to continue the experiment, and I go about my morning of getting coffee and firing up my twelve places I get email messages at. (I’ve tried periodically to whittle it down, but it does NOT work.)

So there I am at the desk when I feel that tell-tale warm gurgling.

(Insert string of favorite epithets here.)

A fourth pair of pants soiled.  Man, am I glad I have so many pairs of black leggings and stretch pants!

Furious, I practically ripped the thing outta me and couldn’t get the tampon up there fast enough.  Clean pants on <note to self, do laundry> and here I am banging this out to you as the conclusion to my little experiment.

Softcups may work for other people and be a minor miracle to their lives.

I, however, am sticking with tampons from now until menopause-come.

How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Death Wish Coffee

As some of my friends and followers are aware, I recently bought a bag of Death Wish coffee. World’s strongest coffee, blahblahblah.
I promised I’d say something about how it was, if it was worth it.
Here ya go!
How to brew the perfect cup of Death Wish coffee, by TylerRose.
Step 1. Brew a pot of your favorite regular/reasonably priced coffee. (Today was Maxwell House somethingorother)
Step 2. Put cone filter into your single cup pour over coffee brewing thingy.
Step 3. Put two tablespoons of Death Wish coffee into the filter.
Step 4. Put single cup pour over thingy on top of your coffee mug.
Step 5. When pot of coffee has brewed, take pot and slowly pour until the single cup pour over thingy is about half full. Use a spoon to push the grounds that gather on the side of the filter back into the water. When the coffee is mostly drained, fill again and repeat as necessary until your cup is as full as you want it.
Step 6. Add your sugar and/or creamer as usual. If you take it as is, skip this step.
Step 7. ENJOY!
Step 8. Have another. Or, if it’s getting too close to supper time, switch to your already brewed pot of regular coffee if you don’t want to risk late-day caffeine action that might keep you up half the night.
Yes, I have used hot coffee to brew hot coffee. Today I used my BB8 mug, which holds about 16oz.
If Death Wish coffee is the strongest and has the most caffeine, you couldn’t prove it by me with a single cup. I’d have to drink two this size in order to see any marked change.
Still, it’s tasty. I’m using unflavored extra sweet/extra creamy creamer plus a splash of milk to smooth it out. I am enjoying it, and using two tablespoons to make a single cup per day I drink it will help to extend the life of the bag itself, helping me to feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

Amazon vs The World pt 1: Pricing, fees and Royalties

So in my email today is this big thing from about how this big bad publishing company is trying to keep e-books so expensive and Amazon (apparently the white knight of Authors and Readers) is fighting the good fight.

You can read the full article here —

But in reading it, I found a couple problems.

Dear Amazon:

You said: “That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market — e-books cannot be resold as used books”

This paragraph contains at least one error and two highly questionable inclusions.

“there are no returns” — Yes, there ARE returns with e-books. I know because I’ve had a couple of them show up in my reports. It’s done with a click rather than a trip to the store on the reader’s end and apparently has to be done within a full day of purchase. But it’s done.

“no transportation costs” — Then why am I charged a “delivery fee” every time someone buys one of my books?

“there is no secondary market” — What do you call the “lending library,” through which one reader can loan another a book for a period of time? That second person can read and might never buy. That makes the library a secondary market through which people can read for free and the author is not paid for it.

Amazon now also allows a customer (through the monthly unlimited subscription service) to download my book and Amazon will never pay me unless the person flips through 10% of that book. It’s the same as going to a store, grabbing any book off the shelf and waving at the cashier as you leave and saying “I’ll come back and pay for this when I’ve read it.” Amazon gets its $10 a month and the Authors get nothing from book hoarders.

A book taken home from a store pays the Author royalties even if the purchaser never picks it up again to read it. Twenty years later, that book may be unread but the Author got paid for it.

Amazon is letting readers take the book without paying the Author.

It’s an interesting thing, throwing stones at big publishers for underhanded dealings.