Life, Interrupted

I seem to be unable to put an entire cohesive post together, so think of this as expanded bullet points.

If I were a car, I’d be a lemon

I had shoulder surgery when I was 19 years old. It was an old sports injury, the doctors had shaved the interior of my shoulder socket to prevent grinding and shrank my shoulder muscles so my shoulder would stay in the socket. I thought I was done with that issue.

Except that for the past five years or so, my shoulder would slip out of the socket once a year. Until a couple of months ago, it was only a little slip and I was able to put it back in the socket by myself without incident. Kinda like the end of this clip, except I don’t slam it against a wall, I lean and gently twist and nudge downward:

Sorry for that.

Anyway — in late March, my shoulder FULLY slipped out of the socket, prompting an ER appointment after there was lingering pain after I got it back in the socket. After sending me home with a sling after a round of X-rays, I was referred to a shoulder specialist. He’s ordered an MRI, but at my appointment last week while he was assessing my arm, an offhand comment he made really caught my attention: “You have to think about how you move your arm.” It’s true. He’d tell me to reach above my head as if trying to get something off a high shelf, and I’d pause, rotating my shoulder and arm, trying to find the correct angle. I never even realized I was doing it.

He also commented on my limited range of motion. He called it “significant to severe” in its limitation. His bet (he’s 99% sure) is that I have a lateral tear, which the MRI will likely confirm, because this guy was GOOD. And once it’s confirmed, I’ll be having surgery on my shoulder. AGAIN. To repair the tear and to “laser” my shoulder muscles to shrink them again. In the meantime, I’m blowing through my supply of Aleve and Motrin with ridiculous rapidity.

Stress Management = messy house

For awhile, I was staying up to about 1 a.m. daily, trying to stay on top of cleaning the house. I was getting less than 5 hours of sleep and essentially burning myself out. My “to do” list was so long, ever growing, that I actually considered getting some no doze just so I could get ahead. That list, and my daily responsibilities, began to weigh on me. I started to feel like Atlas. Except that my burden had shifted to my chest: I could barely breathe from it. I’d find myself having issues drawing a deep breath. The pressure on my chest was so great I started having panic attacks. Hyperventilating. And not knowing why.

I talked to a counselor, who as a stress management aid, told me to take 10 minutes for myself each night, and to give myself a set bedtime and that no matter what I’m doing, when that bedtime hits, to go to bed. No excuses.

My house is now a disaster zone. It’s ridiculously messy. But that feeling of not being able to breathe? It’s gone. I’m not hyperventilating. No panic attacks. Just feet that have been pierced by tiny, sharp, plastic toys as I try to cross the living room.

Total Upheaval

The Fiscal Cliff has pushed us over our own proverbial ledge: Hubbs was laid off a few months ago, and despite calling our mortgage company the very next day, we’re still in loan modification purgatory — meaning we’re still waiting for an answer as to whether they’ll modify our loan. And they just asked for more documents. Again.

As someone living between the proverbial rock and a hard place, it doesn’t feel as through they’re trying to help me. At all.

And so we’re going to rent out our house for a year — or more, depending on how things pan out. This means moving in with my incredibly generous parents. It means renting a storage unit. Discarding a ton of stuff. Trying to fit everything we need for daily life into two 8×10 bedrooms with only the teensiest bit of overflow.

It means upheaval for my children, who will need to adjust their expectation of what “home” is going to mean. Who will need to adjust to brand-new teachers and a brand-new preschool. But it also means more love: They’ll be living with their grandparents and uncle — enough to send them jumping up and down and yelling “yay!” when we told them. They’ll have dinner at my grandparent’s house once a week, which warms my heart because I grew up doing the same thing and have wonderful memories of those dinners and visits.

I adore my parents. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for helping us. For upending their house to make room for us. For my dad grimacing, but allowing me to paint the kids’ room a light blue — despite abhorring any wall color but white.

I never expected to move again. I was going to grow old in this house — watch my kids grow up here. They took their first steps here. Said their first words here. I expected to walk with them, hand in hand, on the way to their first day of school from our front door. I expected to teach them how to back out of this driveway when they learn to drive.

Maybe I still will. You never know what life brings. But not matter how it turns out, we’re together, and we have a loving and supportive group of family and friends that are with us no matter where we call home. And in the end, that’s what matters most.

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Dear Immune System, I Give Up

“I effing hate you.”

This time it was me saying it. Hubbs gave me his plague: Sore throat, occasional cough. I gave him a golf clap. Well played sir, well played.

But it wasn’t just that. It turned into me choking on even the smallest sip of liquid — especially my own saliva. It felt like I was swallowing broken glass shards. And then I started to feel crackling, tingling in my ears. My lymph nodes were ridiculously swollen. I would be bent in half by body-convulsing coughs.

Urgent care says: Sinus infection with post-nasal drip. BAD sinus infection that is quickly turning into an ear infection. Solution: Heavy-duty antibiotics, cough syrup with codeine (yay!), and allergy nasal spray.

I’m finally starting to feel human again.

But I must have pissed off the fates. Because they weren’t done with me yet. Sean got the stomach flu on Tuesday — he threw up three times at day care, again in the car on the way to the doctor’s office, on the way home from the doctor’s office, and once more before he went to sleep that night. Allie came home with a raging fever.

Yesterday was a blur. A hellish blur. Both kids were cranky in the morning. Inconsolable. Wanting to cuddle. Wanting to sit by themselves. Sean was a complete paradox — inexplicably loving, huggable and cuddly one moment, raging toddler swinging haymakers the next. Everything was like the end of the world. The day dragged on in a tantrum haze.

Allie was more constant. She wanted two things: Mama and her binky. If she parted with one, it was instant waterworks, end of the world crying.

I need a nap just writing all that.

The good news is that the two monkeys are feeling better and that I have some photos to post next week.

Whee!

 

The Lady (Bug) Of The Year

So I finished Allie’s Halloween costume. As originally reported, I had attempted to make a hat with antennae coming out of the top. It would have worked brilliantly — had the hat fit. Note to self: Flannel doesn’t stretch enough for a hat, no matter how accurate your tracing skills for a pattern.

I was able to salvage the antennae. I deleted the photos — I was mad — but essentially you:

  1. Cut two strips 4x as wide as you need out of black flannel.
  2. Place 1 piece of stitch witchery on one end, length-wise.
  3. Place 1 piece of stitch witchery on the other end, again, length-wise.
  4. Fold the ends (with stitch witchery) toward the center. You should end up folding 2x on each side until they come together.
  5. Sew the edges together with black thread, and use a thimble to push the needle through.

This makes for a stiff antennae. (snark-snark)

Next, make the ends: Cut out 4 circles from the leftover red fleece. Take 2 pieces and sew them together, leaving 1/4 unsewn. Slip the end of 1 antennae into each circle and sew closed. Now you have 2 completed antennae.

In the end, I got lazy. Or smart.

I found a pre-made headband with a bow at Target — a 4-pack for $2.99. I used the black one, and wrapped the antennae around the black headband piece and sewed it shut. This way, I can slide the antennae around on the headband as needed. It also means that after Halloween, I can cut off the antennae — if I want — and reuse the headband.

Now for the finished product!

Close-up of her headband.

And the entire outfit!

The kid loves to pose.

We ended up buying Sean’s costume. He picked out a dinosaur. And wore it for exactly 3o seconds before demanding that we take it off. The neighbors gave him candy anyway.

Shy Guy

(Like my “rawr!” hands in the background?)

Happy Halloween everyone!

Homemade Halloween Part II: Ladybug Body

Social commentary aside, I have decided to make my daughter’s Halloween costume this year. For her first Halloween, she’ll be a ladybug.

That being said — and announced to the interwebs — I was stuck. How the bloody hell was I going to accomplish this?! I don’t even own a sewing machine for chrissakes.

I decided to wing it. And you know what? It actually worked.

I quickly decided to treat the body of the costume like a vest or jacket. Underneath this, she will wear a plain black onesie (purchased at Buy Buy Baby for $3.50!) and a pair of black leggings (Circo brand, puchased at Target for $2.50 — I had a coupon). Both items will get a lot of use in other capacities, so they’re solid purchases in my view.

Part III of this series will be the hat, which I haven’t made yet.

But on to the tutorial! (This size is for a 6 month old)

Also, I apologize for the picture quality — my phone sucks.

For the ladybug body (only) you will need:

  • 1/4 yard of Red Felt (I bought 1 yard to allow for oodles of mistakes. Now I’m not sure what to do with it all);
  • Red thread;
  • Black thread;
  • 1 bag of buttons of varying sizes
  • Paper (preferably thin tracing paper, but I used binder paper and it worked just fine);
  • Tape (if using binder paper);
  • Black felt pen;
  • Pencil;
  • A large, round, serving platter;
  • A current sweater and/or shirt to use as a model;
  • Pins; and
  • Scissors.

The black fabric is for the hat.

Step 1: Draw out your ideas
This is actually the hardest part. I made several sketches of the body, but couldn’t figure out how to make them work with the back, which is kind of like a cape. For my daughter, ties or strings = choking hazard, so those were out. Another idea was to have the shoulder strap button onto the onesie, but I didn’t think that flimsy onesie flap could take the weight of the fabric and buttons.

In the end, I looked through some of my daughter’s clothes and this sweater caught my eye. One button holds it together. It was perfect.

Imagine it without sleeves.

Now that I had figured out the front, I dug through some more clothes to find examples for shoulder straps. I decided to use a tank-top style, because of the wide straps, which I figured would be more comfortable in case the cape got heavy.

Shoulder & arm size model.

Step 2: Make A Pattern
Don’t be intimidated. I simply traced the outline of the onesie above onto a piece of paper with a pencil. The end of the skirt = the end of the cape in back. All told, this took 6 pieces of binder paper to trace. (I taped them together. ) Although if I had planned it better, I probably could have used only 4 pieces.

Then take your large platter/serving tray and line it up with the shoulders. Trace around it with the pencil.

Red, baby.

Once that’s done, go over your pencil lines with your black felt-tip marker. In the picture below, you see the dip for the arm area — ignore that. The red circle is what I ended up going over in black.

The back takes shape.

For the front/vest, I traced the shoulder and front of the sweater onto a piece of paper, leaving the arms off. (I forgot to take a picture.)

Cut out your patterns, leaving 1/2 an inch extra along the sides.

Step 3: Pin & Cut The Pattern
When you get your fabric from the store, its folded in half. Keep it that way. On the floor, lay the fabric flat. Place the body (the big one) with the shoulders closest to the fold in the fabric. Pin the pattern down as flat as possible. (The little triangles are to help line things up.) Pin the vest part below that. This will take up exactly 1/4 of a yard, with enough extra to pin another front piece if you need it.

Try not to prick yourself.

Now cut them out. This will be a rough-edge costume, so you won’t be sewing the edges. Go back and check everything to make sure your cuts are at least smooth.

Notice the shoulder straps.

We have basically made 2 backs at this point. I did this on purpose, in case I royally messed up on one I wanted to have a spare without the extra effort.

Two other options:

  1. Leave the shoulder straps as-is, and sew the sides — giving you a sandwich-board type costume. (This would work well for a turtle if you used a different color.)
  2. Leave the shoulder straps as-is, and put a thin piece of cardboard (think clothes gift box) between the two pieces. Cut the cardboard so its about 1/4 inch from the outer edge and sew the pieces together. This will give you a flat, yet quasi-flexible back.

If you’re following my pattern, snip the shoulder straps at the fold in the fabric. Pull out all the pins and put one of the back pieces to the side.

Step 4: Pin Everything Together
Pin the vest front to the shoulder straps, giving it a bit of wiggle room — maybe 1/4 inch. Pin the sides to together. Make sure the front edges — where it will be held with a button — overlap.

Almost there.

Here’s a closer view:

Make sure the front edges overlap.

Step 5: Sew It
Remember, I don’t have a sewing machine. So I had to hand-stitch everything together with the red thread. Make sure you reinforce the beginning and ends. (I actually sewed over everything twice for strength.) Remove the pins and flip the garment inside-out. You’re so close!

Step 6: Vest Button

Pick a button for the front of the vest (not too big!), and using your scissors, cut a hole for it on one side. Sew the button on the opposite side with black thread. Make sure to reinforce it really well. Sew around the button hole with red thread, making sure to reinforce the area closest to the edge of the fabric.

Close up of front button. Apologies for the angle.

Step 7: Sew Back Buttons
I don’t know about you, but I thought that cutting out perfect circles in varying sizes out of black fabric and then sewing said circles onto the back of this outfit would be tortuous. So I bought a variety pack of black and white buttons from the fabric store for $2.50. Lay your extra back down and use it to figure out your spot pattern. Once that’s done, sew the buttons on with black thread, being sure to reinforce them well. (We don’t want a choking hazard.)

Finished product!

And the body of the ladybug is done! Try it on your little diva and see how it looks.

Modeling the costume's front.

Close-up of the front.

The back!

Next tutorial: The hat with antenna!

We’re Very Mature Adults …

There’s something you need to know about the Hubbs: He’s a jokester and he loves to mess with me.

NOT what I was expecting to see.

So I really shouldn’t have been surprised to open our linen closet door and find myself face-to-face with a creepy doll.

I jumped back with a “Gaah!” and shut the door. Hubbs was sitting at his computer with his ear buds in, so he didn’t notice me until I threw a towel at his head.

“Punk!”

“What?” He popped his ear buds out and I rolled my eyes at him.

“You’re a PUNK.”

He grinned at me. “Found him, huh?” He snickered. “You’re lucky its a big doll. My original plan was to put him at the bottom of a box of tampons and cover him up, so that one day when you’re reaching in there in a hurry, you’d pull him out instead!” He practically howled with laughter.

“I’m so going to get you back.”

“Uh-huh,” he popped his ear buds back in and turned to the computer.

Oh, it won’t be hard. All I have to do is sneak up on him and grab him. I do it — unintentionally — all the time. Its a habit learned from many years of quietly padding around my parents’ house, trying to sneak up on my Dad to scare him. My brother and I were obsessed with it, since my father’s favorite thing to do was to hide behind doors and corners in the middle of the night and jump out and scare the bejeezus out of us when we walked by. (We also like to torment the Hubbs by scaring him when he walks out of the bathroom at night. We’re sadistic like that.)

Totally gross.

But back to the creepy doll. It was a gift to our son from a family friend. I’m sure it was a lovely gift, but it gives me the creeps. “Chucky” creeps. Its still sitting in my linen closet. I haven’t decided where I’ll hide him yet.

We also play this “game” with an ugly old fox skin the Hubbs has from the way-back machine.

It started with him hiding it under the covers on my side of the bed after I told him it creeped me out.

Admitting that? Giant mistake.

I laughed at him, tossed it on the floor, and went to sleep. The next day when he was in the shower, I stuck it in his underwear drawer, nose up.

Two days later, I found it in my jacket pocket.

And so it goes.

I was actually pretty annoyed when I found it in my pantyliner box, since they’re not individually wrapped and that’s just gross.

I’m still trying to figure out where I’m hiding it next. In a cocktail glass? In a pair of socks? In a pant pocket?

The possibilities are endless.

But that freaking doll still creeps me out.

"They're coming to get you, Barbara!"

Owch

The cyst is out. Her name is Harriet, by the way. She was extracted a week ago today, by my faboo OB who sent me home with pictures. Harriet, like her brother Harry, was a dermoid or dermacyst — a cyst on the ovary (right side this time) that was filled with hair and fatty tissue. But again, not as big. And apparently my doctor didn’t fake gag while talking about Harriet, so she wasn’t as gross as the other one.

What IS gross, however, are my arms. My surgery was scheduled for noon. And I couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. No water for 12 hours. I was so. freaking. thirsty. Also, dehydrated. And I’m breastfeeding, which means I drink like 2 liters of water on a normal day, because a ton of that fluid goes to the mammaries.

I should also mention that I am what phlebotomists call a “hard stick”. I know this for a fact, because while you’re pregnant, you have to take a ton of blood tests and I ALWAYS had issues. I was the person in the clinic sitting in the chair with 5 hot packs along both arms and two people searching desperately for a vein. I’m the person who will point out at least 3 viable veins that have been found before and have said — on several occasions — “there’s a pretty good vein on the top of my hand. If you use the smallest syringe, the one with the butterfly clasp, you should be able to thread it.”

Yeah. I’m that person.

So when I showed up at the clinic for my surgery at 11 a.m., and was taken pack to the pre-op area, I warned the nurse. She checked both of my arms and decided to try for one on my right arm — and couldn’t thread the IV. At that moment, the anesthesiologist walked over to introduce himself. Since she had issues FINDING one vein to try, she roped him in to help. He looks around, requests a syringe with numbing medication, and goes to town on my left arm. About 10 minutes later, another nurse walked by to say that they could start my surgery about 30 minutes earlier than planned, so my doctor was on her way over. When she saw the problems they were having, she stuck around, trying to help the anesthesiologist and the first nurse find a vein. Another 10 minutes pass and yet another nurse starts trying to find a vein.

When my doctor walked in at 11:30, I had four nurses and an anesthesiologist hovering around me. I had tourniquets on both arms. Everyone was starting to get desperate. She joked to them: “Can you guys get the IV?” And they actually paused before answering in the affirmative. I just shrugged at her: “I’m a hard stick.”

The four nurses deadpanned “no kidding.”

In the end, the first nurse got the IV in on the top of my left arm. Cumulatively, they tried to thread the IV in 12 different places. The top of the arm. The forearm. The inner wrist. The crease of the elbow. At one point, they even took my socks off to check my feet for viable veins. Once they got the IV in, the anesthesiologist immediately shot me full of medicine to make me drowsy. One nurse said they’d tell my husband they were taking me back and ran out to get him so he could say “goodbye” really quickly. By the time he got to my side, I was already woozy — fighting to keep my eyes open long enough to tell him I loved him.

When I woke up, my arms hurt. My shoulder hurt. My stomach hurt too. I went home, eased into bed, and fell into a deep sleep. I woke up in time for dinner to sore arms. I looked — and still look — like a junkie. I have giant bruises along my arms, especially in places where the anesthesiologist repeatedly tried to thread the same vein by probing around the area with the needle.

Arms aside, the recovery hasn’t been so bad. The pain is what I’d consider minimal and I’ve been off pain medication for 48 hours now. I’m not pain free, but its not so bad that I want to take pills for it. Mostly, I’m stiff and sore. I can pick the Munchkin up no problem, but struggle to carry her when she’s in her car seat. I really struggle, actually. I haven’t tried to pick Buddy up yet. And it kills me that I can’t play with him the way I want to — but it won’t be much longer. I’m trying to be patient and let myself heal.

—————–

In other news, Buddy can climb out of his pack n play at day care, which means that naps have gotten interesting over there. Today he napped on his pillow in their front room — instead of a bedroom. He slept for an hour and a half once he settled down.

Miss Munchkin , also got athletic this week. On Tuesday she rolled from her tummy to her back for the first time. Fact: She hates tummy time with the fire of a thousand burning suns. Nothing guarantees angry cries like tummy time. So you can imagine her glee at being able to turn herself over.

There was the moment of total shock followed by one of the biggest smiles I’ve seen from her yet. It was like she was saying: “Hell yeah, bitches! You can’t make me stay on my tummy anymore!!!”

I will be so screwed once I have two fully mobile children. So. Screwed.

Also, she wouldn’t do it in front of the Super Spouse. Luckily, I took pictures during her second attempt, so I have proof.

—————–

So a couple friends of mine have started a blog about trying to get pregnant. You should read them, because they’re brilliant, funny, and poignant. I find their blog and journey fascinating, and it is right here. And I also feel like a complete ass when I read about their struggles. Because I’m “that” friend who got knocked up pretty much immediately when I tried — and then got pregnant when I was on the pill. And since I have no idea what they’re going through, I can only support them. I can read their posts wish they were in my living room so that I could hug them. I can send them loving, fruitful thoughts.

I can try to not put my foot in my mouth while doing it.

Boo!

No, I’m not dead. My brain may be though. Hence, bullet points!

Why yes, if you tell me I’m pretty, I’ll smile!
  • The Munchkin is two months old, her hair is crazy thick, and her cheeks are still insane.
  • There’s a cold draft that comes from the garage at night and it drives me NUTS.
  • Buddy loves his little sister. He calls her baby and will stop whatever he’s doing at the moment to lean over her and rub his cheek against hers. One of these days I’m going to get a good picture of it — one where it doesn’t look like he’s smothering her — and it will give you cavities.
  • This kid’s farts … oh lordy … lets just say that Hubbs has blamed a couple on me based on the volume.
  • I talk about poop WAY too much. And yes, I’ll spare you.
  • Schlepping two small kids around takes a lot more planning and effort than originally anticipated.
  • We’re keeping Buddy in day care part time to keep him in the routine of going. He likes routine. Also, it gives me the chance to clean up every once in awhile.
  • I kept him home all last week: We’re breaking him from the bottle.
  • It hasn’t been pretty.
  • But went better than I had anticipated.
  • He has retaliated by refusing to drink it at all. The doc isn’t worried as long as he’s at least eating dairy.
  • The binky is next. The thought gives me hives.
  • HIVES I TELL YOU.
  • Munchkin SMILES and coos now. It melts my heart every time.
  • Remember that ovarian cyst I had while pregnant with the girl child? Yeah, its still there. So it has to come out. Two days after my birthday. (Last year, I had bronchitis on my birthday. So far, birthdays in my 30s haven’t been so hot.) BOO is all I have to say to that.
  • Super Spouse will be home the entire week of my surgery and my mom will be up to take care of the Munchkin for a couple of days.
  • I’m not looking forward to the soreness of recovery.
  • Or the look on Buddy’s face when I tell him I can’t pick him up.
  • Or the way my heart will break when I see that look.
  • Stupid cyst.
  • So when my doctor brought up the surgery, she says … “SO … are you done having kids?” And I say “I think so.” And she scoots closer. “Do you think or do you know?” And now my eyebrows are up around my bangs so she continues, “because, since I’ll be in there anyway, if you ARE done having kids, I could tie your tubes.”
  • And then I did this:

     

  • I talked about it with the Hubbs, and after some serious discussions: No, we don’t want any more. And we don’t think we’ll change our minds about that. But the … finality … of the tubal — they cut them and cauterize the fallopian tubes — was just a little unsettling to me. So I opted for a 10-year, hormone-free IUD instead.
  • More than you wanted to know? Too bad!
  • The Munchkin has gas every night. I hesitate to call it colic, because it doesn’t last for hours on end, but its close and she’s been waking her brother up with her crying. I’ve recently found that laying her on her stomach along my arm with the palm of my hand on her stomach seems to ease her discomfort. It also found that this position can result in spit up oozing down my pant leg.
  • Did I mention that I recently bought 3 different laundry stain removers?
  • We had the carpets cleaned the other day by a fabulous local guy who scotch-guarded my front living room “high traffic area” for free. He also brought zucchini bread, which was crack-tasticly good.
  • The reason we had the carpets cleaned is because our cat peed ALL OVER our second living room in the EXACT spot that Buddy will lie down on when he plays with his cars. I may have over-reacted a bit: I told her that if she ever did it again, she’d be on the menu at my Chinese grandmother’s house.
  • Not really, but its a running family joke. Someone gets a new pet and she tells them to “fatten it up” for her, because (insert animal breed here) is mighty tasty. Then she giggles and we freeze for a second, because honestly, there are some traditional dishes she makes that I eat yet have no clue what is in it. (However, I know its not a pet, OK?)
  • Something I learned from carpet dude about stain removal: 1. Rubbing the carpet is bad. 2. Put a folded body towel on top of the stain and stand on it to bring the liquid up. 3. Use Nature’s Miracle — the one from the pet store used to get ride of the urine smell. He said its natural, so less harmful than other stuff, and it will pull the stain out better than other stuff. Also, OxyClean has bleach in it. I didn’t know that.
  • We’re bad pet owners. Either that or bad communicators. Maybe both: For a week, both Hubbs and I thought the other person was feeding the cat. We were wrong. How did we find this out? Hubbs went to change the litter and there was nothing in it. Dowt.
  • Enter $500+ vet bill (cringe) and guess what? Early onset of RENAL FAILURE and possibly cancer. Oh, and the cat that we thought was maybe 6 years old is 10 years old — a senior citizen. 
  • Enter special vet/prescription food and some crazy tests that we still haven’t done because they need to be done at home and I haven’t been able to get it set up the past couple of days due to the two yard monkeys.
  • Enter heart-to-heart talk about not being able to afford cancer treatments if/when it gets to that point for the fuzzy butt and pinky-swearing to not get another pet. EVER.
  • Enter discussion about how the kids will break us at some point and we’ll end up getting a pet anyway.
  • On a lighter note, I have two more months of maternity leave.
  • I go back right after Buddy’s 2nd birthday.
  • I’m already starting to think about his family party and what to do.
  • What I really want to do: Ditch the party and take him to the zoo instead. But he deserves a party too. Too bad my extended family wouldn’t really enjoy the zoo. Especially my 90- and 80-something grandparents.

OK, must run. My kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it and I have to figure out what I’ll throw together for what I call dinner these days.