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New (Year’s) Resolutions

It’s actually a bit of a coincidence that I’m here now with new plans and ideas at the New Year.  It’s really a matter of new baby Adam being big enough to give me a little breathing room.  Also, the holidays are over, no one’s involved in winter sports and I have a new Wii Fit–a birthday gift, not a Christmas present.  It’s time for the winter tuck-in.  Is that why people tend to make resolutions at the New Year anyway, because things are slow and quiet?  It’s probably also because everyone’s fat.

Nevertheless, I have resolutions.  I’ve been sorting them out in my mind and I considered going to Borders with my gift cards–Christmas this time–to buy a journal to get them down on paper.  Then I thought about how well journals have worked for me in the past.  They get misplaced.  They get scooped up by the kids.  They turn up and embarrass me.  They’re not the best choice.

But!  I never lose the computer and neglected as it is I’ve never forgotten how to get myself onto this blog.  The kids don’t and won’t have the password and I’ve never reviewed what I’ve written here and been all that embarrassed.  All that plus I think maybe using this space to post my goals and progress will give me a little bit more accountability.  Maybe.

So, here goes with my goals for the year and my little mini-goals for the month of January.

Health and Weight:  Sooooo clichéd but since I’m heavier than I’ve ever been excluding pregnancy and because I have all kinds of little symptoms that I know are weight related, I resolve to lose 50 pounds this year.  Let the wild rumpus begin!  I predict this will be the most difficult resolution to keep.  Perhaps I’m wrong.  As I sit here listening to David snapping at someone (probably Ben) to hurry up on whatever video game they’re playing maybe the next goal will be harder.

Family Life:  The level of unkindness my children exhibit toward each other is breaking my heart.  Phew!  Hard to admit.  Maybe it’s regular sibling stuff.  Do everyone’s kids fight like this?  Todd and I aren’t exempt from this either though.  A house stuffed with two parents, eight kids, a cat and a dog can be a pressure cooker.  We’re not always the parents we want to be.  Speaking for myself, that’s probably an issue more often than it’s not.  Nevertheless, we need more peace in this house.  And now, as I deal with yet another David/Ben Wii fight, I resolve to find a way to make everyone in this house behave more kindly to each other this year.  Ugh.  I’m scared.

Spirituality:  I think there’s something in me that’s drawn to spiritual things.  When I enter a church’s sanctuary I feel at home.  There’s something about it that instantly settles me.  When my attention to that part of me is lacking, I feel it.  Lately, it’s really been lacking.  I’m not sure what it is.  Is it time constraints?  That’s probably part of it but the truth is I’m confused too.  There are things about my Catholic faith that are pretty difficult right now.  The doctrines on human sexuality are tough, the various scandals that always seem to be in the press are hard too.  I don’t know how to get past these things but I know I have to try if I want to be comfortable with myself so I resolve to work to find a way to be at peace with myself in my faith this year.

Parenting: With such a large household it’s very easy to get lost in details of laundry and meals just to lose track of the children and their needs.  I try pretty hard with this but I’m embarrassed to admit how many times in the past couple months I’ve had a conversation with someone–usually a teacher–and lost track of a particular child’s particulars.  What am I doing this for anyway?  To be a master laundress?  I don’t think so.  This year I resolve to become more engaged with each and every one of my children.

Professional work:  And here we come to the area of my life about which I’m most conflicted.  Sure I need to be present for my children.  I absolutely need to lose weight.  There’s no question I have to get things straight in my spiritual life.  But, do I need to become engaged in some sort of professional work?  I don’t know.  Gah!  I just don’t know.  I want to.  We could also use the additional income.  College is coming in less than four years–god help us.  Oh man, I’m going to tack this on at the end here even though I don’t know how I feel about it.  I guess I’ll make it easy on myself I resolve to earn enough money of my own this year to buy Andrew a Xenith football helmet, sign a couple of the kids up for a couple of summer camps and pay for next fall’s music lessons.  Putting it that way makes it a lot less angsty for me.

And the specific steps for January…

Health and Weight: Plan weekly menus & spend at least thirty minutes a day working out on the Wii.

Family Life: Eliminate bad language from my vocabulary and that of the kids.  It starts with profanity but includes the words “stupid,” “idiot,” “hate,” and especially, “shut-up.”

Spirituality: Add fifteen minutes of spiritual reading to my daily routine.

Parenting: Spend at least ten individual minutes each day with each child.

Professional work: Spend fifteen minutes a day on honest-to-goodness income-generation.

Is this too much?  It’s scaring me a little but it needs to be done.  I feel like I’m in a rut of my own making and this is less than two hours a day of trying to dig out of it.  For now.  I think I can do it.  I’ll post at least weekly–hopefully more–on my progress.

Yowza!  Frightened.

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Ah, Family Literacy Night.  Though it comes but once a year it brings with it mommy-guilt that lasts and lasts.

For those of you not familiar with the phenom that is Family Literacy Night, let me introduce you.  It’s the result of a lot of work and very noble intentions on the part of our town’s public elementary school faculty.  All three schools cooperate to present an evening of workshops, free books and performances all in the name of getting kids and families reading.  Now that’s a cause I can get behind.

Normally.

The free books are great.  My five-year-old took his to school the next day for show and tell.  It was all about caverns and the various things that hang around in them.  A week later he’s still carrying it everywhere.  The performances are entertaining and enlightening.  The refreshments are even better.  But the seminars, oh, the seminars.

Last year we attended one on literacy games.  It was really good.  We played one or two of the games.  The kids decorated game pieces.  We even got a big stack of mimeographed game boards with accompanying directions.

I think we were probably still at the school when my eldest (and obviously wisest) son said, “You’ll never play any of those games.”  I strenuously disagreed.

I brought them home.

I put them in a drawer or a closet or something.

I never played them. 

When enough pieces were lost and game boards were sacrificed in the name of arts and crafts I relocated them to the recycle bin.

This year’s seminar was on the importance of reading to young children.  One of the two teachers leading the group pointed out that research shows that children need a total of 1,000 lap hours, during which they’re read to by the person who cares for them, before kindergarten in order to be reading ready.

I am not kidding when I tell you that five-year-old Ben’s head snapped around to me and his eyes widened into saucers as he silently mouthed the words “ONE THOUSAND?!”

My thoughts exactly.

I’m a little slow so it took a few days but I finally did some math to get my mind around this.  If the lap time you have with your child is reading bedtime stories, I think it’s safe to assume you’re spending about thirty minutes each evening.  At that rate you would have to be sure to never miss a day from birth to age 5.48 to achieve the magic 1,000 hours.  If, however, you don’t intend to bring a pile of picture books to the hospital in your overnight bag and you think you might have a cold sometimes or you are considering ever having an outing that ends in toddlers falling asleep for the night in the car, you might want to bump that up to 45 minutes a day.  You can reach 1,000 hours in 3.66 years that way–or you can do it in five or so years with a reprieve here and there.

Either way, good luck.

Tonight I decided to watch the clock while I read to my three little ones.  I choose wordy books (Board books are for amateurs!) to make sure we got the maximum amount of time in.  We started with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  Before we were through Ben wanted to know if he could leave.  I said no.  When the first title was complete, however, he slid off the bed, army crawled to the door and jumped up to announce “I got away!” before running off.  He lasted twelve minutes.

On book two, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, Marie was fidgeting.  She grabbed at the pages.  She bit me.  She stood on my lap, danced and tried to walk up to my shoulders.  She eventually escaped.

I’m not sure what the third book was now but James, the last hold out, stood up and walked away in the middle of that one.

We got 25 minutes in.

God help any of you who have children who can’t sit for a book because this is what happened with a couple of my kids who can sit.  I quake in fear for the others.  I guess they’re just doomed to the same fate as those who weren’t breastfeed for twelve to twenty four months or who didn’t have ugly black and white mobiles hanging over their bassinets or the ones without iPods playing Mozart in their nurseries on a regular basis.  They’re just not going to cut it in any way whatsoever.

The other day at lunch I asked Ben what he thought about needing to be read to for a thousand hours before kindergarten.  He made one of his crazy Ben faces and said, “I’m not doing that!”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it will give me a headache.”

I hope not Ben, but if I don’t get to read you a bedtime story tomorrow and we end up behind I hope you’ll forgive me.  I’m not sure if we got 1,000 lap hours in for your sister before kindergarten either but I have to go to her induction into the Junior National Honor and I might be home a little late.

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and given that two of my last three blog entries were about one thing I bet you smart, smart readers can guess where this is going.

John & Kate Plus Eight.

After reading my Pffffffttttt! post, one of my friends responded with a couple links to anti-John & Kate sites. That was about right, I think. A cousin also told me that she thinks I might just be a John & Kate hater. Maybe.

I clicked the links. I’d seen one site before but not the other and I started to read. After a little while I decided to watch an episode called Twins Are Mommy for the Day because I read about it here. I wondered if I’d have the same passionatley negative feelings as the writer. In one way, I guess I did but in some others, not really.

At the beginning the author makes a big fuss about Kate going along with the girls’ idea to try to be mommy for a day so they can see how hard she works. Um, so? When I watched it I didn’t see the big deal. Does it hurt these girls to get a very small clue about what it takes for their mom and dad to give them a regular, everyday Saturday? Of course not. It’s good for them to know that meeting their needs and giving in to some of their whims takes a lot of effort from other people.

There’s also some snark about the fact that John’s not on board with the idea. I have to admit I wouldn’t be too jazzed either but I understand that John’s attitude is irritating. There’s really not much he’s up for. He tends to be whiny that way.

Apparently it’s a problem for the writer–and others if you read the comments–that the sextuplets still wear bibs and use covered cups with straws. A waitress served my nine-year-old a covered cup with a straw just yesterday so I’m not sure why that bugs. I’m thinking she would feel strongly about children walking around with food stains on their shirts too. Things have to work a little differently in large families. I have a good three loads of laundry to do each day and I get the impression that’s less than a lot of others. Should Kate allow her laundry pile to grow exponentially by having to provide a change of shirt with every meal for her six youngest children?

The idea of naps for three-year-olds doesn’t go over well either. Once again, I don’t get it. Kindergarten teachers enforce naps so they can have a break. What’s the big deal here? There’s really no doubt that a person caring for six preschoolers could use a bit of a break during the day. How else is she supposed to manage that? Should she leave them unsupervised?

With her free day a la the twins and John, Kate decided to switch the kids’ closets from summer to winter. The author injects some venom about how this could only take a full day for Kate. Um, nope. It takes AT LEAST a full day for me too. I have to figure out what hand-me-downs might fit which kids and I have to try and organize things as I put them away so they can be used for the next child down the line. Its really not this simple, quick task. It’s a pain in the rear that takes over my whole bedroom and when it’s done I ALWAYS find stray shorts or tank tops coming out of the chronically backed up laundry. I even keep a special box in my attic for the remainders as they drizzle in. It’s my most dreaded chore.

There are, of course, some mildly cringe-worthy moments. Kate has some not-so-nice thing to say about Mady being “mean and ugly. ” John has that eternal puss on his face. There’s a shot of Kate in the recliner looking as though just being in her house is a chore. But they are H-U-M-A-N. I’m pretty sure there’s pettiness in every household and I don’t know a single grown-up who doesn’t have some story about their parents acting like jerks. Is it really that big of a deal?

Ultimately, what I discovered is that, no, I’m not a John & Kate hater BUT, unlike the author I enjoyed the program so little that I only made it about halfway through. The whole thing is just too close to home for me. It’s not entertaining and the way they earn their money still irks me but truth be told, if Kate Gosselin were a mother in my neighborhood I think I’d enjoy her at mom’s night out. Her bossing would get on my nerves but guess what? I wouldn’t be hanging around her house on random Saturdays to hear it and if she started with it in public I’d just turn my attention to my own band of rebels. She can raise hers however she manages.

And that, ladies and gents, is the final word on my John & Kate fixation. I think. I’ll let you know for sure next week.

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and to that, I have to say, come on!  Throw me a bone here!  Though even typing that is probably a waste of energy because I know you won’t answer.

I’m not even sure I should ask but…

Well anyway, it begins with my coming across this Don’t Vote PSA with a whole bunch of celebrities using all their acting abilities to say:

Pshaw!  You don’t need to vote.

And then saying:

No, really dude, you gotta vote.

Here it is, actually.

 

 

Then all of a sudden, at about 2:54 Sarah Siverman says:

Go ahead and register on-line.  I’ll wait.  Actually, I’m going to pass the time taking my bra off under my shirt while you do.

And that brings me to my question.  Is it really that interesting that women can take their bras off under their shirts? 

It strikes me as about as interesting as when Jack or James or any one of the other kids discovers they’ve put their top on backwards, takes their arms out, spins it around and puts their arms back in.

It’s exactly that big of a deal to me.

And though I haven’t done it for years myself, the taking off of the bra under the shirt is the kind of thing that happens when you’re sitting around in your grubbies or something only you had to put a bra on because someone showed up at the house and they just don’t need to be exposed to the horror that is you without a bra.  And then they left.  And then you went back to watching Lifetime Original Movies.  And maybe you’ve gained a couple pounds and the bra’s uncomfortable.  Or maybe it’s the under wire.

I don’t know.  I don’t think it’s that interesting.  Is it?

None of you are going to answer me anyway so whatever.  Just go about your business silently stalking me.

It’s all good.

Edited to add:  Never mind about answering the question.  (As if you would have anyway.)  I added a poll in the sidebar to the right because I really am curious.  You have to scroll down a little.  It’s below Blogs I Like because I didn’t want it to be the first thing people see when they come here.  I have some shame.

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Today the answer is that I washed and dried six loads in my second-largest-capacity HE washer and dryer.  I folded and mostly put away nine.  I washed six and folded nine because while not every load I did today required folding there were four loads left to be dealt with from Saturday-aka The Great Hand-Me-Down Re org–Fall 2008 and The Post Hand-Me-Down Re org Escape to a Local Chain Restaurant and The Eight O’clock Bedtime to Enable the Three O’clock Wake-up for Ye Olde Paper Route.  In other words, it’s no wonder I didn’t fold those four loads of laundry Saturday and since Sunday is football all day, yay Monday!

In the end, I’d say what I did was about four or five days worth of wash.  Therefore, in answer to one of the most burning questions posed by people who don’t have seven kids, “How much laundry do you do anyway?” it works out to two loads a day if I never miss a day and they’re not always big loads.

It’s not that big a deal, right?

It’s not BUT I’m feeling sooo good about myself at this very moment because of everything else I accomplished today.  (And maybe a little because Todd asked me to make him a Long Island Iced Tea when he got home so I had about half of one too.)  In addition to the laundry I drove to and from preschool, took a trip to the playground, cleaned out the party van, drove the soccer carpool, helped David with his homework, drove to and from football practice, ran out for a small grocery trip, made dinner, pitched in with the kitchen and dining room cleanup and did the bedtime stories and tuck-ins.

Phew!

Sadly, as much as I’d like to, even after doing all that I can’t take credit for everything that got done around here today.  Normally I would but despite getting up at 2:30 this morning to deliver papers then working all day Todd got all three little ones into their pjs and put clean sheets on Ben’s and James’ beds when he got home.

Yay Todd!

Plus, I know my own productivity had something to do with the fact that I prayed a lot today.  I’m almost embarrassed to say it because it sounds so hokey.  It sounds so Sarah-Palin-asking-the-Assembly-of-God-people-to-take-her-will-about-a-pipeline-as-God’s-will.  Nevertheless I can’t deny that it always works out that if I make time to pray I miraculously have the time and energy to get everything else done.  Does it just keep me focused?  Is it just a matter of putting myself in the right frame of mind?  I don’t know.  I don’t believe that but I’ll tell you what, it is kind of amusing sometimes and it really makes it harder for me to take myself too seriously.

Today for example, I was dreading folding all that laundry.  I was especially dreading it because someone broke my kitchen radio and I would have to do it in silence.  Faced with the lack of a laundry-folding diversion I made up my mind to say a prayer of gratitude for every item I touched and it went something like this:

  • Thank you for giving me seven beautiful children who are strong enough and healthy enough to make such a big mess.
  • Thank you for letting me realize that a very big portion of what Jack and David threw in the hamper was clean before they got away with it and escaped to school.
  • Thank you for giving me such an easy little guy in my one boy left at home on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings because he is SO not getting into trouble right now.
  • Thank you for this sweatshirt from my brother Joe… and by the way, can you find him a wife?  Wait a second.  Does he even want a wife?  Maybe he doesn’t.  Maybe he’s a happy bachelor.  Then again, maybe he’s there in New York practically engaged to some off-Broadway starlet.  Whatever.  If he wants a wife help him find a good wife.
  • And oh yeah!  Speaking of wives, help AP to find a good husband.  Hey!  Wait a minute…
  • Thank you for all these nice hand-me-downs from the Smiths.. and the Nelsons… and the Kings… and the Farraghers… and the Greenes… and the other Erin’s sister.  What the heck is her name again anyway?
  • Thank you for grandmothers who buy everyone a new shirt now and then so they don’t wear hand-me-downs everywhere all the time because their father and I can’t really see buying them new clothes when these used ones are so perfectly nice.  Plus, who in the world could afford new clothes for nine every season?
  • Thank you for giving us the means to provide these nice, new fashionable clothes for our teenage daughter even if she’s the only one in the house who gets them.  (Well, maybe one of the other boys gets a few things too.)
  • Thank you for making me so brilliant that when the one little boy left at home started to get bored with being afraid of a spider in the driveway I was able to create a quick diversion with a smock, a bowl of flour and some kitchen utensils so I could continue folding this laundry.

Anyway, you get the gist.  It was a great opportunity for me to turn something I would have probably spent my entire day whining to myself about into something positive instead.  And frankly, it was surprising how many people I could find reasons to pray for in one, admittedly very large, pile of laundry.

I don’t know how many of you fair readers are the praying kind–probably more than I’d guess–but if you’d like to give it a try only you can’t find a mountain of laundry, give me a call.  I’m sure I can produce one on a moment’s notice.

PS  Don’t worry Joe.  No fix ups here.  AP doesn’t even live in the US.

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  • If we ever move I think we’ll need a truck just for the clothing in storage nevermind the things in drawers that people actually wear.
  • There are eleven bags and two boxes of hand-me-downs in my bedroom at this very moment.
  • There’s more in the attic.
  • There are two boxes of infant boy clothes in the playroom too because, unlike me, my sister knows she’s done and wants the baby clothes gone.
  • There’s another half sorted bag on the garage doorstep I almost forgot about.
  • There are no sharpies anywhere in this house–at least not where a rational adult could find them.
  • This is one of those times when being slightly nuts can come in handy.
  • I will probably find one of the sharpies by the end of the day.
  • I believe I have spent approximately 24hrs sorting through hand-me-downs since the very end of August.
  • About nine of those hours happened today.
  • The pile of bags of hand-me-downs in my bedroom is larger than my bureau.
  • I own one pair of jeans.
  • Marie has an unbelievable collection of fashionable dresses.
  • I don’t have any dresses though I admit I have a couple of pairs of good slacks.
  • I don’t think any of my good slacks fit.
  • I have one grandmotherly top that I bought when either Jack or David was an infant.
  • Todd hates it.
  • He says it looks like something a grandmother would wear.
  • It acutally reminds me of MY grandmother.
  • I still wear it sometimes when nothing else is clean.
  • At least it’s red.
  • Go Hawks!
  • Feel free to guess if it’s the one when you see me in it.
  • I’ll be slightly embarassed but it will be worth the laugh.
  • Laughing keeps me from turning to the bottle.
  • I don’t embarass easily.
  • Some of my underwear is older than several of my children.
  • The fact that I wrote the above point clearly illustrates just how hard it is to embarass me.
  • Even Todd has more clothes than I do and his clothes are better quality than most anything I buy for myself.
  • I’m actually rather sick of dressing in gar-BAJ.
  • I used to have good taste and nice clothes.
  • I’ve been reduced to “shopping” through my mother’s hand-me-downs for “new” clothes for myself.
  • On second thought, no, I haven’t.
  • Thanks for the offer Ma but I’m going to pass this time.
  • If you’re reading this and you like it, would you consider giving me a job?
  • I promise not to buy any children’s clothing with the proceeds.
  • Except maybe shoes.
  • It seems to me my children do an exceptional amount of sitting around but the rate at which they wear holes in their shoes shows that I am obviously mistaken.
  • I have a really serious headache.
  • If Erin P. wants hand-me-downs–no matter what gender–I can give her lots and lots of stuff and still have more for myself should I ever conceive again.
  • This blog post should in no way dissuade anyone from offering me their hand-me-downs.
  • I still really appreciate them and sorting them, while painful, is not more painful than spending an equal or greater amount of time shopping with boys.

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So, it’s 11:50.

I was up at 6:30 because Marie was crying from exposure after waking in a onesie in her 50-something degree room.  I nursed her even though I’m pretty sure I’m milk-less but she was cold and she’s been sick and, honestly, I’m ambivalent about ending our nursing relationship.  I don’t want to be tied to a little one who’s completely dependent on me for sustenance anymore but she might be my last baby and it’s hard to let go of that last baby.  But I digress.

Afterwards I gave her a cup of milk from the fridge.  She guzzled it and demanded another, thus confirming her nursing days are through.  Todd and I hung out with the two little ones in our bed for a short time before he went to work.  I pined for the days it was just he and I and two babies.  After he left I would have cuddled them and fed them and played with them and done some housework and put them in for a nap.  Then I would have had a nap or read my book or watched Law & Order reruns before getting up with them again to cuddle them and feed them and play with them and do some housework.

Instead it went like this.

I did a handful of the usual things–showered, dressed, switched laundry, barked orders, took Andrew’s sneakers out of the washing machine because he put them in with nothing else and I had to wash diapers, took them out of the dryer because they don’t belong in the dryer and finally, offered to take James outside to ride his motorcycle big wheel.

First it was just me and James.  I got his big wheel for him.  I got a book, coffee and camp chair for me.  He straddled his bike and cruised around the driveway.

For a second.

Because he started rolling backwards almost immediately, I put my book and coffee down and got out of my camp chair to save him despite the fact that he could have just put his feet down.

Jack and Andrew came out to play with James too.

For a second.

After that they started thinking of games I could play with them.

Wiffle ball?  No.

Tag? No.

Basketball? No.

Being the worst kind of mother I really had no guilt suggesting that they play with each other so I could sit in my camp chair and read a little bit while drinking my coffee.

What can I say?  I’m an optimist.

A moment later Shannon came out of the house with enough macaroni and cheese for one person.  She shared with James who shared with Jack but there was no way that one bowl of mac & cheese was going to feed six (Marie’s sleeping) so it just dissolved into a lot of screaming and name calling.  The highlight was when Ben, who apparently has superhuman injustice detecting skills, appeared naked at the door.  He was wet and covered with bubbles and howled, “That’s not fair!”

Seriously, how did he deduce from the upstairs bathtub that someone was outside getting something he didn’t have?

I asked him nicely to please get some clothes before throwing a fit but he declined deciding instead to hurl himself out the door and across the driveway red-faced with rage and with various fluids flowing out of his face.  I think my less-than-honest proclamation of “OH!  Here comes someone on a bike!” helped cut the public nudity short but it didn’t deter the fit.  That, of course, meant I had to put down my book and coffee and get out of my camp chair again to deal with the insanity of a screaming, swearing, door-slamming preschooler who was also threatening to do damage to my house.

Not that anyone would notice.

So again, back to the camp chair with the book, the coffee and the toddler on a big wheel.

For a second.

I couldn’t tell you how I did it but before reading more than a sentence I let go of my cup full of now-cold coffee and spilled it all over my pants.

That was it for me.

I came in to change and though I’m now wearing dry capris my underwear is decidedly damp and java-scented and I’m blogging for free instead of reading about how to make a living as a freelance writer.  I’m also still rather groggy due to the early rise and the lack of caffeine.  Strangely, the kids are being lovely right now.  No fits.  No asking to play.  They’re just painting with watercolors and bringing me sweet little pictures.

And you know, this isn’t a bad day.  This is just a regular day.  Thinking it over, the circumstances don’t even seem to match the level of crazy I felt by the time I spilled my coffee.  It’s got to be the accumulation of normal but non-stop demands and irrationality that are turning me into someone in need of a psychiatrist.

Unfortunately, there’s generally some lag time between mommy-breakdown and mental health appointments so last night I took it upon myself to self-medicate. 

After taking the four youngest kids with me to a high school athletic department meeting I ended up sitting in my car trying not to cry about the fact that I might be raising hoodlums.  I left the meeting about three-quarters of the way through to return them to their father but I had to go back to turn in some paperwork to the athletic director.  Afterwards, I just couldn’t go home so I went to the Ps and drank their booze–a little.  I also played UNO with their five-year-old which is guilt-inducingly ironic.

(Now go ahead and guess, Little Pumpkins, where I went when I called and told you to be good for Dad since I wouldn’t be coming home right away, because I’m not telling you.  Despite what you’re reading I’m sticking to my story.  I was at church.)

Anyway, it’s barely lunch time.  I might be ready for some more booze tonight.

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