Husband and I are in Fargo this weekend with a sofa in our van. We hauled the sofa to Fargo so that the moving company can take it and all daughter’s other furniture to Tacoma. Why, might you ask, would we haul a sofa 300 miles East when the moving company will drive right past our house on the way West  to Washington? Well, it apparently costs lots of money for a moving van to make stops along the way, so here we are in Fargo with a sofa.  This is counterintuitive to me.

It is also counterintuitive to me that I have to fly East to Minnespolis in order to fly West to Seattle.  That is what comes from relying on a peripheral airport in Bismark to fly anywhere.

We thought of some other counterintuitive facts on our trip today:

1. People with ADHD take stimulants to slow down.

2. Reconstituted juice has water taken out and  then put back in.

3. It is lack of moisture,  not cold temperatures, that is the limiting factor in our gardening in North Dakota.

4. It is easier for us to grow vegetables than grass.

5. The best way to get people to stop smoking is to load them up with nicotine patches and gum.

What is counterintuitive in your experience?

61 thoughts on “Counterintuition”

  1. I believe that parenting frequently presents us with issues that are best met with counter-intuitive tactics. There were times when my only child was making choices I regarded as unwise, and yet I did relatively little to prevent the error.

    Why would I let her make a mistake? There are several possible reasons. One, I might have been wrong about the dangers of this “mistake” she was about to make. Two, maybe I didn’t really have the ability to stop her, so trying to stop her might be foolish. Three, maybe it was wiser and kinder to let her make her own decisions and learn from them than to try to protect her from her own mistakes.

    Being a good parent isn’t a matter of preventing a child from screwing up now and then. Good parenting is more a matter of encouraging a child to live independently and intelligently, and that has to involve making mistakes and using the consequences as a way to grow stronger and wiser.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree with the philosophy but I also suspect, speaking for myself, that we tend to model our parenting style after the sort of parent we would have wished to have ourselves. That’s not, as it turns out, usually the parent our children need, but we adjust and do the best we can.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are surely right, Bill. And yet there are probably other patterns. As a parent I had a silly determination to prevent our daughter from making the mistakes that proved painful for me as a child. Some parents are obsessed with avoiding the mistakes their parents made when raising them. Dysfunctional parenting styles can arise in so many ways.

        But so can good ones. Feeling unequal to the challenges of parenting, I studied other parents looking for models of doing it right. And found some.

        And you are right, we “adjust and do the best we can.” If our eyes are open, we can see what is and is not working as we raise our kids.


      2. i am a scitzo parent and the parent i am is who they are stuck with
        i call it like i see it and try to catch them doing something right but frequently am not the parent either of us would wish . my let em learn the hard way side gets enough practice without my assist
        i am an old school with work ethic big picture and intent to do you best as the main focus in all things and as long as it passes my litmus test i will live and let live

        Liked by 2 people

      3. So true! My parents raised us with nonstop surveillance. Well, at least on me. My mom used to listen into phone conversations and read my diary. Even as a teenager, she watched my every move. I think that’s called a “helicopter parent”? The result of this was giving my three kids open season. This worked with the two oldest, but not so much with #3. He was a 10 on the scale of precociousness.

        My daughter, having had to watch her little brother and other chores, as well as our low income, raised her five kids to be entitled, bought them designer clothes even when she could barely pay the electric bill. To this day, she hasn’t used her dishwasher because of PTSD from being assigned unloading it as she was growing up. Imagine washing dishes for a family of six for over 18 years?

        We very definitely compensate for what we didn’t get in childhood.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Remember when the “Self worth” trend went coast to coast about 40 years ago?? “Praise the child for everything positive he/she does” was the mantra. Years and much research done later, that turned out to be the wrong tactic. What apparently is the best tactic is, when a kid does something good, ask him/her, “How do you feel about getting an A?” Then follow up with agreement/validation. This way the child owns his/her accomplishment rather than learning to depend on parent’s gushing over it. Sure makes sense to me!


  2. I find it counterintuitive that it’s often cheaper to replace an item than repair it and that many products are not designed to be repairable. Repair parts, when you can find them, are often priced exorbitantly and, when marked up by repair professionals, make replacement a near equivalent. It’s a viscious cycle that results in mountains of waste and it’s mostly unnecessary.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is interesting to speculate why this is the case. I suspect it was sensible to repair machinery when machines were relatively simple. But to look at just one product–modern autos–the trend has been to more and more complexity until we hear that even trained mechanics cannot identify and fix misbehaving parts. They instead use computers to identify malfunctioning sub-assemblies and swap out the bad ones rather than trying to locate and fix the small broken parts. The complexity of modern cars is astounding.


    2. I’ve mowed my own lawn forever on a 20-year old tiny John Deere lawn tractor. Every spring for the 16 years (I bought it used) I’ve owned it, I have to have it hauled in for repairs just to make it through another summer. Although it was built to last forever, it’s cost me around $300 a year. That totals $4800, about the cost of a new tractor, but that money’s gone and so is my ability to replace it. My neighbor bought a brand new John Deere last summer and already had a $1300 repair done to it.

      I think I’ll stick with my old one.


    1. Many years ago, I listened to someone talk about finances (the audience was young people so you know this was a long time ago). He stated that he thought it was a good thing to buy the Sunday paper so you could get all those ads and know what was on sale and thus save money when you shopped. I watched as realization dawned on him that maybe, just maybe, you would save even more money by not going out to shop at all. He amended his statement by saying that.


  3. Hot tea tends to cool me down in the summer. I have extrapolated this from something I once read about iced drinks that actually make you warmer, making your body produce heat to counteract the chilling effect. I may not be saying this accurately. (Heck, I may be making it up!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard other people say that, BiR, so at least you’re not alone in that belief. It may very well be true, but I cannot make myself drink a hot drink when I and the weather are very hot. An icy cold drink just feels so good.


  4. We watch some BBC reality shows, about baking, travel, building innovative homes. Everyone says cause, ore really cus, instead of because. Why do I expect the British not to be sloppy with language? On the other hand I was surprised how seldom my students wrote cause foe because. In Two harbors they didn’t. In Lindstrom they had trouble understanding why cause was not standard writing English, that because was the right word.

    OT: met do and his don at airport last night. Met rest of family at Cracker Barrel. Dix hours later sandy got violently ill. No one else had what she had.


        1. Lots of options for salmonella with that meal. I feel like a gambler every time I order poached egs when I eat out.


  5. (Thought I posted this morning but it didn’t take)

    Hi Kids!
    I’m here to report the advance scout Barn Swallow is here! Yay!
    Love listening to them chatter.
    Looks to be a glorious day; one of tim’s 10 best I think it might be.

    I have a ticket for the Met Opera Live in HD this afternoon. (since the fields are too wet) ‘Eugene Onegin’.
    I will probably drift off part way through as I usually do. But the popcorn will be good. (I sit on the end; I think the ‘Serious’ opera people don’t approve of my having popcorn in there). Oh well!
    (And I did. Great scene changes and good acting to go with the singing)

    Sorry– I don’t have an answer to today’s question yet…

    Since this group always knows something about everything, try this one: daughter has been very tired the last few months. About a month ago I put a trail cam in her room at night. She’s all over the place! Not more than an hour of deep sleep and then her arms are always moving, she sits up; it’s just crazy how much she moves. Not legs so much… arms and hands. Appointment w/ the sleep clinic in a couple weeks.
    Now, for fun, I put the camera in our room. And I do the same thing! Arms are moving all night! I’m not sitting up like her, but the arms… wow.
    Any thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s just their way of designating outsiders from insiders,an impulse common to most religions. Are you sure you want this conversation to veer into a discussion of whose religious conventions are most counterintuitive?

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Agree with Linda. Same with “love one another,” another Christian tenet. I know (or know of) some Christians who think they are standing up for the truth but just sound hateful. I think (hope) most Christians aren’t like that, but some of the vocal ones are. The Christians who frequent the Trail have got it right, I think.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. i think jews are gentiles compared to mormans
      a gentile is gets in line after mormans when the horn blows
      atheists buddhaists devil worshippers… all line up over there
      mit, donny and marie, right this way


  6. Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I’m halfway through my fishburger and I realize, Oh my God. I could be eating a slow learner.
    – Lynda Montgomery

    Liked by 5 people

  7. when i let go or trying so hard to brainstorm the ideas flow
    when i try to be a positive influence on the world i get pissed that they dont get it.. when i just roll with the flow it is easy to find the world perfect

    hey ben i am in ningbo china and we are having one of the perfect 10 over here today too. i told someone at the factory today that you only get 10 perfect days and this might be one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. my oldest son saves every nickel and if you asked him to spend perfect day or save it for later he would be up to 300 perfect days in his bank(he’s 30)
    what would your perfect day bank look like and how would you choose to save or spend

    are you a spender or a saver

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I finally remembered the other counterintuitive thing that drives me nuts — our stove burners are arranged differently from our Robbinsdale stove. The Robb. one made sense, this one does not, and I still turn on the wrong burner occasionally.

    Will think about tim’s Perfect Day question and be back later…


  10. I’m both a spender and a saver. Partly because I didn’t make much money, but also because I had not yet gotten into the habit of paying myself first, by the time I turned thirty I had spent pretty much every nickel I had ever earned. At some point in my early thirties it occurred to me that I had better start socking away a few dollars for my retirement, and I have been doing that ever since. Day to day we live pretty frugally, but I still enjoy the occasional splurge on a good meal out, or something I really want.

    A perfect day for me can be almost any day, it’s not dependent on sunshine or perfect temperatures, although they can be factors. If I haven’t had a good night’s sleep, or if I’m in pain or unhappy about something, even the loveliest of days weather-wise is not going to be perfect. Conversely, even a drizzly, cloudy, or blustery day can be perfect if I’m well rested, pain free and content. I’m pretty sure I have more than ten perfect days each year.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My oldest grandchild (boy, 18) has never saved a nickel for more than
    an hour in his life (as far as I can tell). His brother (14) is a serious saver. He has a goal to have $10,000 in the bank by the time he’s 16, and he’s pretty well on track. He mows lawns, has a YouTube channel that brings in a varying amount monthly, and works several hours a week doing shipping at a family business. He saves the money he gets as gifts. He has always been aware of money. I think his first “business” was Happy Dan’s Back Rubs when he was about 5 years old. He even printed a menu of services and prices, including recommended “bonus money” (his term for tips). He could calculate the value of his US money in Mexican pesos at about the same age; had the exchange rate down pat. He will occasionally buy something with his savings, but for the most part, he’d rather have the money in the bank. Two boys, same parents, both loved beyond measure, 100% opposite relationship with money.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m a bit like PJ – my perfect day is when I wake up with a lot of energy and clear direction on what to do with it. I’m almost through dealing with all the little details involved in catching up from being away 11 days. I hope I wake up with lots of energy tomorrow, then I can put together a couple of blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. RENEEINND, my flying east to go west counterintuitivism beats yours. We went to Hawaii in 2004 and our son-in-law arranged our flights, giving us his accumulation of frequent flyer miles. I’m not an experienced traveler, so I don’t know how these things work, but we ended up flying from MSP to Newark, then non-stop to Honolulu. That was a long day! Hawaii was worth it though, and the return trip was not as crazy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When Child was six, we also used frequent flyer miles. Minneapolis to St. Louis to Maui to Honolulu to the Big Island. Three days later Big Island to Honolulu to Maui. Finally Maui to St. Louis to Minneapolis. They do really torture you when you use your miles!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pretty frugal here but part of that’s due to being the poster child for “house-poor” for the past two decades. In order to have savings for retirement, I had to go the route of having the money taken from my paycheck before I get it!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Daughter is feeling guilty for the money we are spending getting her to Tacoma and set up in her apartment. I told her all she needs to do is just find a nice Lutheran church to attend in Tacoma. She thought was a good trade off. (Oh, I feel so devious!)


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