Friday, January 30, 2009

When it comes to family, at least there's one person you get to choose

So due to the snow and ice we got this week, I was able to blast through the remaining Twilight books.  My sister was trapped here for awhile, since she spends the night with us when bad weather is forecasted.  We live half an hour, one mountain range and 1000 vertical feet closer to her work than my parents do (plus our driveway is a reasonable 20 ft. long and not a terror-inducing quarter mile long icy plunge that skirts along clifftops and weaves through boulders and trees) so we usually are not quite as trapped as they are when it snows, but sometimes it hits us hard too.  Anyway, since she was trapped here, so was the 3rd book so we traded back and forth (sometimes with more goodwill than other times) and I got through the last two books in time for her to take them along on her trip to Florida today.  Now I'm really missing Edward and Bella, of course.  I love to read book series...the author can devote much more time to character development and I feel like you really get to know and love the characters, but it makes it that much harder when the story's over.  Oh well.  I thought I'd never survive after I finished the 7th Harry Potter book and yet I've found other books to obsess over, so I'm sure there's something else out there for me.

So yesterday since I had nothing to read, Emily and I spent the day visiting.  We visited Daddy at work (which we don't do NEARLY enough, considering he works 5 minutes away), we visited my mom to say goodbye before she goes to Florida with my sister for the week, and unfortunately we visited my drug-addict Aunt who was up from Atlanta to spend some time with her granddaughters.  Her story is far too long and horrific to relay here, suffice to say she was a teenager in the 60's and has spent most of her time since then staggering drunk and high on painkillers.  Her brain is absolutely fried, which makes talking to her similar to talking to a  drunk toddler, only she's even more self-centered.  She had never met Emily and was begging to do so, so I figured I might as well go quickly introduce them while she was in the area and seemed to be doing well enough that she wouldn't try to steal anything from me while I was there.  Isn't it crazy what you'll put yourself through for family?

So we drove over, and Emily played with her twin second cousins while I sat and listened to my Aunt's stories, mostly about how horrible all her health problems are (but how she's also holding up better than any patient any of her doctors have ever seen) and how every toy that either of the twins showed any preference for was of course bought by her.  Then she decided to give me the Elizabeth ring, a ring that has been passed down through the generations in my family from oldest daughter to oldest daughter, along with the middle name Elizabeth.  Aunt Diane didn't have any daughters (although she did unfortunately have a son who's even more of a mess than she is), so the ring and the name go to her sister's oldest daughter, me.  I was pleased to get the ring, both because of the history attached to it and because I worried that the longer Aunt Diane kept it, the more likely she would be to pawn it or lose it.  She told me that the tradition was to pass down the ring and to tell the story of it when the ring went to the next generation...too bad she was the one who gave it to me because all I got from her were incoherent half-sentences with very few names.  I knew the story of the ring already, but I still don't know who it was made for originally or how old it is.  She assured me it's made of gold, although just looking at it you can see that it's actually copper or something similarly colored.  I guess I'll have to take it in to a jeweler to find out any details about it.

Then she sat way too close to me, and stared at me for way too long with eyes brimming and lower lip trembling.  Right when I was about to decide I couldn't take it anymore, she whispered "I love you" in a gooey, tremulous voice and slowly leaned over to cup my face in her hands and plant a lengthy, disgustingly wet kiss on my cheek.  It was only by using up every shred of self control I had left that I was able to hold back the vomit.   I don't mind emotion, but when people are overly-emotional just to add drama it drives me insane.

So at least that unpleasantness is over with, and hopefully we can avoid her having contact with Emily for at least another 2 years.  I'm torn between keeping Emily away from her once she's old enough to remember anything that might be said and using her as a cautionary tale to show Emily what happens when you abuse drugs. 

But on a much more positive note, today is the 11 year anniversary of Will's and my first date.  11 years ago today he picked me up at Middletown High after my all-county chorus practice, we drove in his '79 Volvo station wagon to dinner at Ruby Tuesday, then went to the nice new movie theater to see Phantoms.  Today the car is long dead, Will would rather die than eat at Ruby Tuesday, and the movie theater is creepy and ghetto.  But he still gives me butterflies, and I still feel lucky and amazed that he seems to enjoy being around me too.

I'm so glad all that practice doodling "Sara Randall" in my notebook in 7th grade Algebra didn't go to waste :-)

I love you bunches, my inseparable partner for the last 11 years and most loyal blog reader!

Friday, January 23, 2009

It got me

I didn't go looking for it.  We don't even have TV, so I had no idea until a month or two ago what Twilight even was.  When I saw the books, I realized I'd been seeing them in the front windows of bookstores for the past few years.  When my mom and sisters decided we'd all get the Twilight books for each other for Christmas and then we could all take turns reading them, I said why not.  I always like to read, and I was intrigued at that point.  When Kathleen decided to offer up the first book, I declined because I was in the middle of a book series I was enjoying already.  But when I did read the first book, I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Mom brought over the second book on Wednesday when she took Emily for me so I could do errands.  I was feeling under the weather that day though, so I spent most of my time reading the book and I finished it yesterday.  Now I have a problem.  Twilight has got me.

I am the proud owner of the 4th book in the series, and I have read the first two books in the series, but the third books is currently being read by my sister, the slowest reader on the planet.  Not only is she the slowest reader on the planet, but between her long work days and her 3 hour commute every day she has very little time to read in the first place.  That poses a problem.

I could just buy the stinkin' book, but books are such a good thing to put on birthday and Christmas lists, and why buy it when I know I can get someone else to buy it for me if I'm patient?  I looked at my library's website, and was encouraged to see that the wait for Eclipse is only 2 days.  But then when I went to place a hold on it, it seems that there are actually 49 people on the waiting list.  Where do they get 2 days from?  It can't be 2 days per person, so I have no clue why it said that on the first page.  Then I noticed they had it on ebook, and it said there was 1 available.  I called the library to see how I could go about acquiring this ebook, and she told me that there are 15 people on the waitlist for it.  When I pointed out that it said there was 1 copy available, she said "Yes, that means we OWN 1 copy, and we can only send it to 5 people at a time".  Library-speak must be very different from the language I speak, because to me "1 available" means there is 1 ebook available for me to have right now.

I even eyed the Amazon Kindle, a pretty slick piece of technology that is also (in my opinion) a colossal waste of money, except for the fact that when you're reading a series and you have to know what happens next, you just click to download the next book and you're reading it within minutes.  Too bad Kindles are back-ordered for the next 5-7 weeks.  Oh, and they cost $359 to boot.  Poo.

Then I called my sister to beg.  Her boyfriend is coming up this weekend, and I was hoping that she wouldn't be doing much reading.  If I could just have the book for 2-3 days, I could finish it and give it back to her, then I'd be home free since the 4th book is already in my possession, sitting on my bookshelf taunting me.  She said she'll probably read it a bit this weekend, but that she'll give it to me on Monday because it makes her stay up too late anyway when she tries to read it during the week.  Last night she and my mom and I all went to go see the Twilight movie that is in the cheap theaters now.  That didn't help.  Nor did it help that Krista kept saying "The third book is so much better than the first two".  I told her to hush, because in 5 days I'll be in a position to tell her how it ends.

Even though I will have the book in just a few days though, I'm going nuts.  I'm considering buying the hardback version at Barnes and Noble and returning it when I'm finished.  I've done it before when I was a poor college student...but I know if I tried it now Emily would choose that book to color in/tear to pieces/shove under the couch so I can't find it etc.  I'm contemplating how long Borders (and Emily) would let me just sit there in one of their chairs reading the same book.  I just need a little!  I'm like a junkie looking for a fix.

Really, it's a good thing that I don't have the book right now.  It's fun to have something to look forward to instead of blasting through all the books at once and then wishing there was more to read.  I've honestly tried to read more slowly, it just irritates me and feels unnatural.  And I had a nice day today so far.  Emily and I went to Little Gym, and then we spent almost 2 hours playing outside.  It's 50 degrees today, and it felt SO nice to get out of our germy, closed-up house, and now instead of reading I can clean up the kitchen during Emily's naptime.  

They're not even the best books in the world, to be perfectly honest.  I won't sit here and list their shortcomings just to make myself look smarter...they're written to entertain, and they do that well in my opinion.  They're fun and they're quick and they're compelling.  

And addictive.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The best-laid plans...

8PM yesterday found me standing in a wrecked kitchen, peering into a pressure cooker that was still inexplicably filled with uncooked beans.  My back ached from vacuuming for hours (yes, hours!) and shoveling the driveway and the sidewalk.  Being a corner lot, we have A LOT of sidewalk.  My daughter still had nothing to wear out to play in the snow, despite a last-minute trip to Target to procure such items, and my husband DID have lactose-free milk, although the carton looked like a pack of wolves had tried to rip into it.  Despite my best efforts, yesterday kicked my ass.

I decided to do detail-cleaning of the floors yesterday, so I set about to scrubbing, vacuuming, mopping, and all of that fun stuff.  Shortly before noon, our friend Eddie called to see if it was ok for him to come over and finish the cabinet installation.  I said yes, since he's leaving on another mission on Wednesday and I would REALLY like to have it finished.  I TOTALLY appreciate him doing this in exchange for the van, it was just unfortunate that I had chosen that day to clean the floors, because a spotless floor + cabinet installation = a filthy floor.  Oh well.

By then it was snowing in earnest, and I realized that Emily didn't even own any sneakers, let alone snow boots.  It hasn't snowed appreciably around here for the past 4 years or so, so it seems like a waste to buy snow gear for a child who probably won't get to use it this year and who will DEFINITELY have outgrown it by next year.  The problem then is that when it DOES snow and you want to take your daughter out in the first snow she's old enough to enjoy playing in, you have nothing to dress her in.  So during Emily's nap, I shoveled the driveway and focused on cleaning the basement, and when she woke up we headed to Target.  They did not have a SINGLE toddler-sized boot, nor did they have any snow pants.  I did find one pair of slippers in a toddler 7/8, and although Emily wears a 6 I got them anyway since they were less than $2 and I hate how cold her feet get.  She won't wear them anyway, but maybe by the time they fit she will have made friends with them.  I also did not find any canned beans for the soup, and as I mentioned, the milk I got for Will turned out to have been severely tampered with.  By the time I realized though, I had walked all the way across the store to the checkout and waited through a surprisingly long line with a toddler who was close to losing it.  It hadn't actually been opened per se, so I just bought it anyway.

Since Target had no beans, I had to use dried beans, and since I had no soaked dried beans, I had to use the pressure cooker.  For some reason the beans didn't cook on the first try, and on the second try I didn't get the lid shut so the pressure never built up, and at that point I gave up and we had frozen grilled chicken strips I had made, peas and some frozen papusas we dug out of the back of the freezer.  So despite all my work yesterday, I still felt like an utter failure as I finally got a defrosted dinner on the sawdust-covered table at 8:15.

To avoid that mess, I decided to just get out of the house today.  Emily and I ended up happening upon a 12-24month storytime at the library, so we grabbed a ticket and walked in.  It was really nice, with all sorts of songs, signing, props, and activities, a good number of kids, and nice moms.  Pretty similar to the Sing and Sign class we took last semester at the Lucy School, except free!  And close to our house.  I think we'll make that a regular activity around here.

Emily also starts back into Little Gym this Friday.  I'm excited about that, since we really enjoyed it last spring, and Emily is older now so she'll be able to do even more fun physical stuff.  Emily's big thing nowadays is throwing things, so we're trying to teach her that you only throw balls, you don't throw toys.  We've gotten her a couple balls and we try to substitute those for hard toys when she's in a throwing mood, although balls can do damage too.  They don't hurt people though, so that's a start.  She also enjoys showing things to her stuffed animal friends, especially Elmo, Kitty and Bitty Bear.  She'll carry them around and hold them up to one thing after another, showing them her favorite things around the house.  She has named her first stuffed animal...a little pink bunny finger puppet she calls "Hoppy".  She spends a great deal of time making him hop along furniture, into her breakfast, basically on anything she can reach while chanting "Ho-PPY! Ho-PPY!"  Whenever I set up her tea set, she immediately runs over and just smashes everything all over the place until most of it is under the couch, in the cushions, behind the TV, anywhere it's hard to find.  Will says she has the most violent tea parties ever, at least since the Boston Tea Party.

She has also started talking like crazy since we got back from San Diego.  I still think she's a little bit behind for her age, but she's definitely making improvements and she's significantly more willing to attempt to say words.  Her favorite word is "Fish", and she shouts it joyously whenever the urge strikes her.  Most excitingly, she is starting to remember to say "more" (which she over-enunciates into a 5-second long word and also signs at the same time in case we don't get the picture) and "please" instead of just shrieking when she wants something.  THAT is big.

The other day, as Mingus rushed by Emily and sent her stumbling, I said "Uh-oh, Mingus almost  knocked you over!".  Emily looked at me, and started knocking on the door, the wall, the floor.  There was another instance, earlier in the day when I said a word and Emily showed that she understood the word but not the particular meaning.  It just goes to show how amazing a toddler's mind much they have to learn and with what enthusiasm they set about learning it.  

She remains unhealthily obsessed with TV, although the only things she gets to watch are Baby Einstein and Sesame Street.  I try to tell myself it's not too terrible for her, since she dances around like crazy while she's watching it and after all, it's not a DVD, it's a digital board book for goodness sake!  But I know it's still TV, and I shouldn't let her watch it 3X a day.

And while I'm listing Emily's accomplishments, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Emily is a little tap dancing prodigy.  She already knows shuffles, taps, and flaps.  I can't wait to get this girl into a pair of tap shoes.  Don't tell her father.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not-so-smart Cookie

So far so good.  I haven't collapsed into a miserable heap of human yet.  I'm still trying to get and keep the house as straight as possible though...never a bad idea, right?

One of the things I was trying to do is to read through my growing pile of magazines so that I don't have to look at them laying around anymore.  I get all sorts of magazines, none of which I actually pay for, some of which I have no idea HOW I came to have a subscription to.  I guess taking pre-baby classes automatically subscribes you to a long list of parenting publications.

One that I did choose myself (because it was free) was Cookie Magazine (all the best for your family).  Sounds good, right?  Well, I pretty quickly figured out that I was not the target audience of Cookie Magazine.  I do not consider a $300 floor-length sundress with a train "backyard barbecue-wear".  I do not plan to ever take a family trip to Monaco.  I do not consider Prince Charles' second cousin my social peer, and I sure don't sigh "Awwwwww" when she talks about how she has nannies and housekeepers so that she can make sure she has time to spend focusing 100% on her kids every day.  

But an article I was reading last night really perplexed me.  It was called Admit You Need It, and the blurb under the title explains "Her time and money are stretched to the limit, yet the date-night line on her family budget is non-negotiable..."

The very next page shows an outfit that makes it easy to "...transform from working mom into work-it wife", so that you can go straight from your office to date night.  Let's take a look at the cost of this outfit:

Jeans - $176
Blouse - $88
Jacket - $118
Earrings - $185
Undies - $26
Work bag - $45
Evening clutch - $295
Work flats - $98
Evening heels - $298

Total - $1329


Now, as I said, I know I am not the target audience for this magazine.  And to give them credit, the daytime bag was from Target.  But it seems to me that there are probably not enough people who #1 live in the US, #2 are moms, #3 work outside the home, #4 are wealthy enough to drop half a mortgage payment on an outfit, albeit a versatile one, to make much of a readership for this magazine.  So that leads me to believe that many of the people who read this magazine do so to sigh and wish they could drop $200 on a onesie.  I just think it's kinda crappy to run an article on fitting date night into your tight budget, then propose wearing an outfit like this.  Maybe I'm way off base, or maybe I really am NOT spending enough money on my date-night outfits.  Oh well.  My marriage doesn't seem to be suffering as a result, so I guess I'll just continue to shake my head in bemusement every month when my new issue of Cookie shows up.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Round two....fight!

Will's flat on his back with a stomach flu.  It seems pretty virulent, I think Will got it from his dad and he wasn't around him ALL that much.  Time to get everything I can taken care my count I have about 5 days (or less) until I get sick.

I guess a week with no travel, holidays, or sickness is too much to expect right now.


I am lucky, in that I have very few things in my life that I regret.  I regret that I didn't really commit to Weight Watchers until 6 months after I got married, the result being that it is very painful for me to look at my 225-pound self in my wedding pictures.  At least Will was tubby then too :-)  I regret my colored jeans phase in middle school.  Seriously, just because my favorite colors were purple and green didn't mean I needed a pair of jeans in each of those colors, and it CERTAINLY didn't mean I needed to wear them ever.  I regret standing in the dressing room backstage during school play rehearsals my junior year and bursting out with "The guy I have to dance with is SOOO gross, he sweats all over me!", only to realize his sister was standing right behind me.  My mother always warned me never to say anything bad about anyone in Frederick because their parent/sibling/cousin/friend was most likely standing right next to you, and it is SO true.  I still feel ashamed when I think about that situation.

The thing I regret the most though, is getting dogs.  I mostly regret getting these dogs, but I pretty much regret just getting dogs in the first place.  Especially since Mingus peed on my drivers seat in my car yesterday.

We took them in to get their teeth cleaned yesterday, and Mingus, being his usual passive-aggressive self refused to come out of the car when we got to the vet.  He vaulted from the trunk into the back seat, then from there into the front seat, where he peed all over the place.  I sure did enjoy standing out in the freezing cold soaking up dog urine with paper towels.

And after a perfectly normal tooth cleaning (although they did remove a growth from Remy's mouth...they called to explain all about it while I was having lunch.  Gross) I got the bill.  $798.  And when I gulped and asked them how often I'm supposed to have their teeth cleaned, they cheerfully said "Oh, once every 6 months or so, some dogs can make it to a year".  Ha.

So owning two perfectly normal dogs cost almost $2000 a year, just in teeth cleanings and yearly checkups.  That doesn't include food, licensing fees, flea and tick medicine, vet visits and medicine if they get sick, boarding if you have to go away, daily medicine to keep your dog's skin from falling off, extra energy consumption and cleaning supplies to remove an entire cubic foot of dog hair from your floor every other day, and the daily frustration.

Remy did amuse us by falling flat on his face last night from a perfectly still standing position (the anesthesia hadn't quite worn off yet I guess), but that small bit of enjoyment certainly doesn't make up for all the money I put into keeping these fools around.

To some people I might sound very uncharitable and mean, but if you think so I invite you to come hang out with my dogs for a bit, let Mingus growl at you and bite you, let Remy whine at you until your ears split, and maybe chip in a bit for their veterinary care.  I'll even let you clean up some of the barf that ends up on our floor every day, and some urine too.  You know, just to get a good taste of what it's like.  THEN tell me how excited you'd be to have to pay so much for the pleasure of their company.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yesterday I wished I was a poet

Maybe it was because we came home from San Diego and I got to see Emily for the first time in 4 days, but I just felt so overwhelmed (in a good way) with being a mom, though there's not really a way to fully express it.

When you talk or write about your kids, it all sounds so normal.  Yesterday, I glimpsed Emily's little leg through the front window as Grammy carried her up to the house.  I helped Emily set up a tea party with her stuffed panda using her new table and chairs she got for Christmas and her wooden stir fry set we brought her from San Diego.  Emily helped me put the veggies in the pan for dinner.  Right before bed she put a little hand on each of my cheeks, pulled my face toward her, kissed me on the chin with a "mmmmmmwah!", then looked at me (through her Elton John sunglasses) and said "Mama!".   To people who aren't me, those events sound normal.  I don't have the words to describe how my heart leapt at my first sight of her after 4 days, even if it was just her leg.  I can't explain how proud and amazed I was, just to see her hold a wooden red pepper piece to her mouth and pretend to nibble like a little adult, or how adorably hilarious I thought it was to watch her sneaking pieces of spinach and pretending to sprinkle milk from her cup onto our dinner as I assembled it in the pan.  And words definitely can't capture the teary-eyed puddle I dissolved into when she kissed my chin and called me mama.  At least not my words.

So that is why I wish I were a poet.  There have been people over the years who seem to be able to go beyond a simple description to capture exactly what a moment feels like.  But I am not one of those people, so all I can say is that I missed Emily like crazy, and I'm so proud and happy to be her mommy.  I'll leave it to people more skilled with words than I to capture the enormity of those feelings.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coming back to life

Due to several consecutive weeks of exhaustion, I haven't blogged much recently. First there was Christmas of course. Through sheer dint of will (and Will) we got the house all clean and presents purchased and wrapped and food prepared for Christmas. We had everyone come to US this Christmas, instead of making rounds all day like we usually do. It turns out doing it that way is just as exhausting as the other way around, but it was a very nice day. We woke up and opened our presents, then chilled for a bit. Then my side of the family came over, and we opened presents and had the food and drinks that I thought would be easy to throw together but turned out to be pretty involved. I did crock pot egg casserole and whole wheat cranberry rolls, figuring using the bread maker and the crock pot would allow me to do all the rep the night before and then effortlessly present my guests with warm delicious food from a sparkling clean kitchen the next morning. But as I should know by now, just because it spends some time in the breadmaker doesn't necessarily mean the rest of the prep is easy, and the same goes for things from the crock pot.

Then once my family cleared out, we had another wave. Will's family was next, so we went to the family room for a third time to open presents and have more food. After that we went to Will's aunt's house for the big Randall family party. Emily was an angel, and didn't break a single thing in Aunt Dee Dee's museum-like house, but she ran her parents into the ground with her boundless energy, despite only having a 15 minute nap for the day.

Emily seemed to know something was going on, and she definitely enjoyed seeing everyone and getting all the attention, but I think it'll still be next year before she fully comprehends the holiday, if not longer. It's sad, your kids have 7 years or so (if you're lucky) of believing in Santa, but for the first 2-3 they don't even know what's going on! That only leaves 4ish years when Christmas is that perfect, magical time that leaves such an impression on you for the rest of your life. Hard to believe, looking back. It seems like I had more than that, but I guess not.

Anyway, the day after Christmas (thank goodness she waited) Emily came down with a bad cold (who's surprised?).   On New Year's Eve I started to feel poorly, and 2 days later Will had the same thing.  It was a particularly strange cold, in that the main symptom was complete exhaustion.  There was a bit of stuffiness of the sinuses, but it was mostly just 6 days of being bone tired.  Usually when I have a cold, I can still carry on with my day, although the sneezing and stuffiness makes me miserable while I do it.  This was the reverse, I just sat in a chair and watched the house fall apart around me and felt guilty because I didn't actually seem sick, just tired.  I was released from my guilt when the cold knocked Will out though, because he didn't see the inside of the gym for days and anyone who knows him knows what it takes to keep him from sticking to his exercise regimen.  

Will's cold took us straight through to the day we left for San Diego, so once we had mostly recovered, it was time to deal with packing, a 6 hour flight and a 3 hour time change.   San Diego was fun, but I would suggest renting a car if you go.  Since we were only there for 3 days and 2 of those days Will was in conferences I just decided to explore on foot and while it is a nice city, most of the fun stuff to do is outside of the immediate downtown area.  There were a LOT of homeless people (says the girl from DC) and most of them seemed not quite right in the head, just like in San Francisco.  I can't blame them though...if I had to live outside, there are much worse places to do it than San Diego.  The TRAINS drove me nuts though, every time I tried to walk anywhere a deafening bell would go off and a railroad crossing arm would come down to block my way.  And every time I tried to sleep I'd hear train horns and the clanging at the crossings.  San Francisco and New Orleans have trolleys that are on street level, but they're pretty much restricted to one straight shot in one small part of the city.  In San Diego it's basically a subway system without the benefit of being underground.  I wonder why they did it that way?

Anyway, 2 full days was just about the perfect amount of time to spend there, Will and I had our "date night in a new city" that is basically the reason why I abandon my child and brave the friendly skies to go on these trips, and we made it home at 4:30AM on Sunday morning.  It's totally understandable, we had 2 gate changes and 6 delays (from 9PM to 9:45, then 10:10, then 10:25, then 11:00, then 11:30, then our departure time on the board just went to "TBA") at O'Hare, even though our plane was AT the airport and they just had to bring it from the international terminal to our gate.  O'Hare is big, but I seriously could have walked over there and pulled the plane back myself with time to spare before they actually managed to get it over to us using conventional means.

I'm also getting more and more sensitive to flying...I'm no Will yet mind you, but I seem to be really sensitive to the oxygen level, and I do get queasy whenever the plane swoops which all of them did A LOT this time around.  I also spend a long time before the trips being depressed about leaving Emily, but a mom in our row with a 1-year old "lap child" who screamed the whole way to San Diego was a useful reminder that taking her along is not really an option.  I think the trips are good for Will and I, and good for Emily too in the long run, as she gets a chance to party at Grammy's with all her aunts and uncles-to-be for 3 days 3 times a year and she learns that mommy and daddy always comes back.

There's talk of holding Will's June meeting in Baltimore or Philadelphia instead of Charleston this year though, and I can't say I would mind not having to fly!

So now, finally, we're back to a normal week, free of holidays, illnesses (hopefully) and travel.  Now I have no excuse for being unproductive!