Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Let me explain...
As a kid, did you ever get into trouble for saying bad words? and get your mouth washed out for it?
Except, I wasn't saying the real naughty words - cuss words - No...my mother didn't allow me to get that far. My mom washed our mouths out for words that could mean other things like: gosh (God), jeez (Jesus), or butt (ass).
By the time I was 12 or so, I can't tell you how many times I had had my mouth washed with Dial soap. Yep...so much that I had kinda acquired a taste for it. (I know...weird, right?)
And that is when I screwed up the good thing I had going...after saying another "bad" word, I made the mistake of saying to my mom, "Go ahead, wash my mouth out! I actually like the taste of Dial soap."
My mother promptly threw down the bar of Dial soap and picked up the liquid dish soap. "Stick out your tongue!" Giving my mother attitude, I stuck out my tongue...How bad could it be?
A shiver runs up my spine still to this day. Liquid soap does not come off your tongue no matter how much liquid you gulp down and sputter out!!
So for all of my friends out there that make fun of me when something goes wrong and I shout out: "By howdy!" or "Oh golly!" or "For Pete's sake!" or "Oh my goodness!" there is an honest reason for it.
...and I promise not to cuss just to see if you keep Dial soap in your bathroom. lol.
Friday, December 25, 2009
You know when you have a preconceived idea of how something should go...and then it doesn't happen like that, but the imagined was just SO much better... it is hard to get past that.
That was today for me.
I stayed up till 2 am last night assembling new beds for my boys.
(Actually, I should clarify...
it took me 4 hours to:
assemble their new beds,
take apart their old beds,
and rearrange everything in their rooms so that everything looked like it fit.
My only downfall was that I didn't start until 9:45pm. I was told it would take 2 hours to assemble them...I guess I should have accounted for the other things, but I did not.)
So, in my head, my boys would be bouncing up and down excited about their new beds this morning. (They have been asking for them for a while because they both were sleeping in toddler beds.)
Instead, they were like, "cool. ... MOM! It snowed last night!!!!!"
Yeah...trumped by snow.
I should have known I would have to compete with the snow.
Secondly, Spencer and his kids were supposed to come spend Christmas with us.
This didn't happen either.
Again, the day that played out in my head was so much better than us wishing each other "Merry Christmas" over the phone.
Thirdly, my boys spent from noon until 6 with their dad. I understand about him wanting some Christmas time with them as well, but he originally said he just wanted them a couple of hours. There is a big difference between 2 and 6 hours.
My only saving grace for today is that my brother, Tim, and his girlfriend, Xuan, showed up right when my boys were leaving. I didn't know they were coming today...I thought they were coming tomorrow. So, instead of me sitting in the house depressed and alone on Christmas, I was taken out to lunch and learned all about this wonderful girl my brother has found.
I guess you can't plan things like that, huh?
Thursday, December 24, 2009
My friend, ck, over @ BAD MOMMY MOMENTS, has captured it perfectly in her journey stories.
Please enjoy these stories as you thank the Lord for all that he has provided for you in this season of His son's birth.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I got a call right after school let out - it was my friend/co-worker, Laura.
L - "You are NOT going to believe what happened today!"
"What?" I asked.
(Seriously... crazy stuff seems to happen anytime I am away from school. Last year, a little girl almost got kidnapped on the day I was gone...but that's another story.)
L - "A kid ate poop today off the toilet seat."
yelch. gag. *attempting to not puke as my gag reflex goes into effect.* ~yeah. ok. I just threw up a little in my mouth. pretty much happens any time I hear and/or repeat the story...
me - "What??!!"
L - "Yeah...and that's not even the worst of it! It wasn't even his own poop!"
It's sad when we try to justify a disgusting action as eating feces by following it up with "it wasn't even his own." Like somehow him eating his own would have made it all better??
Have I mentioned that it needs to be Christmas break and soon?!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This has nothing to do with needing to teach my child the value of a dollar...no he hears it come out of my mouth plenty, "No, we can't afford that." or "Sorry, Mom's pinching pennies right now."
This has to do with the incessant amount of infomercials on between cartoons!
I mean, my son is completely convinced that he, himself, can NO longer dispense his own toothpaste, that he must have a gadget attached to our bathroom wall to do it for him.
Kids might love it... but this mom has told her children that she already has toothpaste all over her bathroom counter and inside the sink, that she will pass on it being on the bathroom walls as well.
Also, my son believes I need the 'Perfect Brownie Bake Pan' because, "Mom, it cuts them perfect every time." Yeah...'cause brownies will never get eaten in this house if they aren't perfectly cut. (Wiping evidence of a crookedly cut ~with a fork *gasp*~ brownie from the corners of my mouth)
If my son was allowed to purchase all of these things we just have to have I would be one buff Momma never having to do another sit up, while sitting wrapped in my Snuggie eating the perfect brownie while growing tomatoes upside down....ahh...the
Last night... it was for some website where children can log-on to play with a virtual animal in a virtual world. Repeatedly he kept saying to me, "But Mom, a HUNDRED people are already on !"
Let's not make it a hundred and one...
The author does not endorse nor promote any of the above mentioned and/or pictured items. Nor does she want to hear from her son about how much she needs any of these items because they would make her life so much easier. I'm just saying...
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I planned for everything.
I made sure there was plenty of room for all the food that everyone was bringing.
I made sure I gathered all the dust bunnies and sent them packing.
I thought I had dusted every nook and cranny. (I found a spot this morning that I missed~Uggh!~I'm sure others saw it as well.~double Uggh!)
(Yesterday at school everyone gave me a hard time about how they were expecting to see a clean house. ~Ha Ha. I laughed with them. Why wouldn't my house be clean?~Maybe they have seen my desk...)
The time came for everyone to start arriving. My friend Laura and her husband had arrived a little early to help out. I immediately put Laura to work making the brownies she hadn't made yet...(yeah...we had some sort of deal worked out there.)
As other people started to arrive, I repeatedly had to clarify that "No. This isn't my boyfriend and/or husband. This is Laura's husband, Bill. You have all met him before." (Thanks Bill for having a good sense of humor about all that.)
Then suddenly, my house went black.
I can't even remember what I was doing at the time. I think I might have been finding tongs to serve meat with. All I know is I was completely embarrassed. (Thankfully the blackness of night was a good cover for the red blushing across my face.) "Oh this is a quick fix. Sorry everyone. "
Yet, it wasn't. I unflipped and reflipped every breaker.
I called the electric company.
Can I tell you how much I hate automated systems?
There are times when you need to go hysterical on someone and have a human response.
This was one of those times.
I still had guests arriving.
Some of them actually went into my neighbor's house because "There wouldn't be a party in the dark house."
Thankfully, I had an over abundance of candles.
(I know as a female, I am supposed to loooove candles. But I don't really...but my ex-husband did. I actually haven't burned a candle since he moved out. )
So, Laura went to work lighting and placing all the candles throughout my house.
Everyone seemed to take the outage in stride. People ate and joked. I heard many times, "If you didn't want to dust...."
Ha. Ha. Funny. Funny.
I, being calm and cool on the outside, was freaking out on the inside.
Finally the electric company called me back.
Electrical Man (EC) - "Ma'am, you have power going to your house."
Me: "No, I don't...I am sitting in the dark."
EC: "Did you try flipping off and on the breakers?"
EC: "Even the main breaker?"
Me: "I don't have a main breaker."
EC: "Every house has a main breaker."
He directed me outside my house to the main breaker.
Tadah! Lights! Electricity. YEAH!
That should have ended the
I couldn't seem to get back into the party spirit.
I tried to quickly make and finish the brownies and dip that were headed to the oven when the power went out. I got cornered by a co-worker who decided to unload on me about her marital problems. Everyone else sat in my living room and laughed and joked.
I joined them (finally) when the contest began.~We had an Ugly Christmas shirt/sweater contest.
I thought for sure I would win...or at least come in second.
I didn't get one vote, not even a pity vote.
And to make it even worse, I had a fellow teacher ask to have my shirt (if I was going to throw it away)because she actually liked it. (That's way worse than not getting any votes!!!)
I'm telling you - it really was ugly!
I ended up with a candle....have I mentioned that I'm not all that fond of candles...and yet have an overabundance of them??? Guess I'll add it to my collection for the next blackout.
Overall, everyone said how much fun they had and thanked me for hosting it at my house...so why do I feel like this is a night that I don't want to remember?
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I was finally feeling the holiday shopping spirit.
I walked into Charlotte Rouse and immediately saw a coat that I just knew I had to have (You know Santa needs to have presents for me too!). The ticket read $38.95.
The sign on the rack read $24.95.
Needless to say I was tickled pink!
After I tried on several, I picked one and headed to the register.
The cashier scanned it in. It came up as $38.95.
"Oh." I said. "isn't that one on sale?"
The young cashier politely said, "Yes, it just won't show that way until I hit enter."
She hit enter.
She looked over to the rounder where I had gotten the jacket. "It does say $24.95, doesn't it?"
So she calls on her little headset to the manager. The manager obviously tells her it says '$24.95 and up' because she replies, "I see the $24.95, but I don't see the 'and up'."
The manager storms out of the back room, yanks the sign off the top of the rack, flips it over, and shoves it in my face. Pointing the the 'and up' that (I kid you not) was in a font of about 18pt.
I politely say, "Well that is very misleading considering the 'and up' was not on the side of the rack that this jacket was on. It just said $24.95."
The manager looks at me and says, "It's priced as marked!"
"Then I don't want it." I said, walking away.
Did I mention how much I loved that jacket when I walked in? Customer service is a huge deal~Had the manager been polite about the whole sign ordeal, I probably would have still bought it, but I refuse to be treated rudely.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
My mother was killed in a car accident 12 years ago. With each passing year, I tend to push the fact farther and farther to the back of my mind.
In earlier years, many things would catch me off guard and send tears streaming down my face.
In more recent times, I have learned to just quietly lower my head and let the tears fall, and when I had regained myself again, I would raise my head back up.
Yesterday, at our staff meeting, my principal was making announcements. She announced that another teacher's mother had been killed in a car wreck over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The news hit me like a ton of bricks! I knew that there was NO way I was going to be able to quietly lower my head and allow tears to drop from my eyes. As I got up to leave the room, the overwhelming feeling of grief swept over me. I was hyperventilating and sobbing before I reached my classroom. The loss of my mother was a turning point in my life and to know that someone else was now experiencing what I had to experience was too much for me.
After I regained myself, I returned to the meeting. Thankfully... crying is NOT an unheard of thing at our staff meetings, so no one questioned my sudden outburst. Sometimes working with a lot of women has its advantages.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I don't have to agree with everything you say or do...and that goes for you as well. You don't have to like how I handle every situation. You don't have to think that I do it right.
Just don't make me feel like I do it wrong! I am an adult and I should NOT feel like a beaten red-headed step-child anytime my individual opinion differs from yours.
We are two different people, you and I...and that is a good thing. Life would be boring as hell if we were exact duplicates of one another.
This doesn't mean that I don't love and care for you...
it means that, sometimes, when you think you are right...so do I.
...and other times... I don't.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I normally do by this time of year.
I should have my shopping almost complete.
I normally do by this time of year.
I should be in the holiday spirit.
I normally am by this time of year.
It doesn't feel like the holidays to me yet.
I miss having my boys here at home every night.
I want to wait to put up the tree when they are here...but I don't feel like I have had any "down time" with them to do that.
I don't even know what they want this year. (That is except for those Zhu Zhu hamsters that you can't find anywhere!)
I'm feeling like a complete Scrooge.
I know this is stemming from the fact that I know this Christmas isn't going to be normal...and I don't know what to do about that yet.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I am here to admit that I have a slight OCD problem...with food sitting out.
I teach. Each year the health department comes and presents in my room. Each year I listen to the health lady explain how quickly bacteria spreads on lukewarm food that sits out on your counter. Each year I hear her describe how a few days later people get sick from food poisoning and try to blame it on the flu, when really it is their Thanksgiving meal sitting out for hours upon end.)So when I host Thanksgiving, after we eat, the food it immediately put up. If someone wants something else, they are more than welcome to get it...from my fridge. lol
It's okay...admitting that you have a problem is the first step.
Growing up, this day meant a table that got the sleeves put in and then could easily sit 12. We always had LOTS of family and ANY friends that didn't have somewhere else to go. This was also the day that the fine china and a full place setting came out. It was something to look forward to. Everyone helped out in getting everything ready. I'm sure at the time, I (as a child) did not find this appealing about that day, but now I look back at it fondly.
After my mom died, Thanksgiving wasn't the same. No "home" to go to. After I got married, I decided that my house was going to be what my mom's had always been... and it was.
Last year with being divorced being a new thing, my ex and I spent it together still with both of our families all at my house. I'm sure it was a little strange all the way around. But that is how we had always done Thanksgiving, and it was hard to break from the norm.
Things are different this year. This year other people are involved in both of our lives. Our children have multiple families that are vying for their attendance. So, today, the day my house should be jammed packed with everyone I know and love, sits empty.
My boys are with their dad celebrating with his girlfriend's family. I am celebrating with Spencer's fam. Then tomorrow my brother and his wife will come to my house and we will celebrate together.
Not the BIG celebrating of the past...but I guess it will do.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Now if you think I am getting ready to tell you I laced up the skates and went at it...I am not. Not that I can't! Just not this weekend I couldn't. Remember I ran that 5k? Remember I can barely move? Yeah...any other time I would be all about that skating rink showing off my stuff - so instead, we sat in the designated party area with all of the other parents.
Spencer and I sat on the same side of the bench so we could people watch...
hey, (shrugging shoulders) it's what we do.
At the next table over, there was a dad at another birthday party. He had asked me to borrow a pen. I loaned him one. Then Spencer pointed out to me that his cell phone was about to fall out of his pocket. (I'm one of those people that you can't give little bits of info like that to and expect me to just sit on it.) I go to lean over and tell the guy. Spencer stops me. He says the guy will figure it out when he stands up or when it fall out, whatever comes first.
That's great and all...but this meant that I kept catching myself looking over repeatedly to see if the phone had fallen yet.
Somehow, this sent the message that I was interested.
When Spencer walked off for a minute, the guy asked me if I was dating the guy I was with.
"Oh...well....then I guess I won't ask for your number then, huh?"
I guess I could have left it at that, but I wanted the guy to know there had been a reason I kept staring his direction. (Not having anything to do with attraction.) So I explained.
I really wanted to say, "I wasn't checking out your junk"...but I think he got the message without my added bonus of words.
Guess I really need to pay attention to who I watch, where I watch, and for how long.
... It sounds like a good idea at the time, but the sometimes the affects are ill and unwanted.
So when you see me shuffling down the hall trying to hide the grimace on my face, please keep the laughter to a quiet snicker.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
(This is where I wanted to have a really cool picture of me running, but who really wants to see me red-faced and sweaty?)
I by no means finished first...but I also didn't finish last either. Truly that was my goal...not to finish last. Oh!...and to beat Spencer to the finish line. Let me clarify for all of you that don't know Spencer and I. He runs. I don't. He also bikes and swims. I don't. He has told he is okay with the fact that I am not uber athletic. Yet, I still like to try (a little).
So when I say I wanted to beat him, I didn't want to beat him in distance for distance, time for time. No, there is NO way in H-E-double hockey sticks that could have happened! But I still needed to beat him back to the finish line. I was running a 5K. He was running a 10K.
I did it....just barely.
See before we left, I asked him how much time it would take him to run the 10K. He told me, "Eh, 45-50 minutes." That was all the info I needed. Without fail, I knew I would be back to that finish line before 45 minutes. I didn't care how hard I had to push myself. I didn't care if I had to
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
This is normal.
I let them go at it until someone screams...,"Grandpa!"
Yeah...I really do need to discuss with them which male relative you yell out when you give up.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Her jaw drops.
She stares at me.
"You are friends with her?" she asks dumbfounded.
"Yeah, on Facebook...so? She is Spencer's boss's wife. Why?" I ask.
"I just never thought you would be friends with HER!" M says.
"What?!! You don't even know her. She lives in Texas. What's the big deal?" I ask completely confused.
M. looks at me as if I have totally lost my mind. "Is that NOT the same name as the person R.(my ex) had an affair with?"
It takes me more than a few seconds to file through my brain for her name. It's not a name I pull up often. Yep. Same name.
Funny how our mind mentally blocks things that could potentially hurt us.
....Wishing now that observation was never brought to my attention.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I have surrogate parents. They adopted me (unofficially) into their family back when I was in high school. Their daughter(EE) and I were inseparable back then. I spent a good portion of my waking hours at their house (when I wasn't required to be at school.) I'm surprise that they didn't ever kick me out...I mean, I was seriously there way too late some nights ...and then way too early other mornings.
Through the years, EE and I aren't always at each other's door step, but we are always there if the other one needs anything. Friends like that are good to have. We don't question when we haven't heard from one another in months...but we are always happy to see each other when we do. And as an added bonus, on top of having such a wonderful friend, I also got her parents.
Like I said... her parents adopted me.
They are wonderful grandparents to my boys!
...And they are wonderful parents to me.
Tonight they came to watch the boys play flag football.
Without knowing any of the nonsense that happened yesterday, they were there... in my corner.
As my ex's whole family cheered on my boys, I didn't feel displaced and unbalanced... because I was represented too. I had family there cheering right along with me.
It was also nice to know that they understood things that I didn't have to express... like when my ex announced to everyone that they were headed to Wendy's to eat... that I didn't want to go.
"We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been - a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free." ~Starhawk
Thank you both for being there for me!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I had no intentions of arguing.
I just wanted my concerns to be voiced...and heard.
My oldest has "bumps." They are similar to warts, but they aren't warts. We have to treat them nightly, in hopes that they won't spread (which they still currently do). We have been to a dermatologist and we have medicine to treat them with.
Recently one of these bumps has appeared on my son's penis. We checked with the doctor to make sure it was okay to treat it. It was.
I found out, last night, that my ex's girlfriend (W.) is the one who puts medicine on the bumps when the boys are with my ex.
Now, I have no problems with her putting medicine on my boys...but when it is on their private parts, I do.
Today, I voiced my concern to my ex(R.). He told me I was being ridiculous - that she would never touch our boys in a sexual nature. I told him I understood and that I wasn't accusing her of such, but that I did not feel comfortable with her applying medicine to our son's penis.
I suggested that she put a dab of medicine on C's finger finger and that he apply it. Again, he told me I was being ridiculous.
I reminded him that we have always taught the boys that NO one is allowed to touch their private areas and that we would be sending mixed messages if we wavered on this. He told me that she is like a mother figure to them, and that the boys view her as such, so there was no problem.
He said, "To prove it to you, we'll ask C." "C, who is okay to touch your penis like to put medicine or wash you?"
C - "You or Mom."
R - "What about W. or S.? (both of our significant others) Is it okay if they touch your penis to put medicine on or wash you?"
C - "Nope."
"See?" I said. "Even our 6 year old knows. It's common sense"
That was somehow me attacking his intelligence, and so he hung up on me.
I am SO frustrated I could just scream!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tonight after Colby was done reading, we sat around telling jokes that we knew. I told some oldies, but goodies like:
- What's black and white and red all over? a newspaper...or a penguin falling down the stairs
- Why did the turkey cross the road? because it was the chicken's day off
Sam (of course) didn't want to be left out. Poor boy thinks his jokes are hilarious....and it takes all of me to muster a snicker, much less a full fledged laugh.
His jokes go something like this:
- Why did the chicken cross the road? because there's ketchup on the light switch. hahahaha
- Why did the ghost say boo? because the fork drove a pineapple car. hahhaaha
That was my question at lunch.
A student told one of my co-workers that his dad was picking him up today. The boy then pauses and says, "But I don't know why he's my dad... Our car broke down and we stopped at his house to ask for his help ...and we started living there...so now he's my dad."
I know to take what kids say with a grain of salt sometimes...but, normally, interlaced in all those grains is a speck of truth.
So how exactly does that happen?
Friday, October 30, 2009
In the classroom next door, a little girl dressed as a witch. Eh. That's pretty normal, right? sure. Her book, however... not so much. Her book was Witchcraft Spells...an actual book of spells! Her grandfather (who had recently passed away) passed it down to her before he died.
This reminded me of a student that I had about four or five years ago. His grandmother (who was his guardian) was a wiccan. She was well know throughout the town for the ceremonies that she performed and for the late night show she had on the local cable channel.
The day after Halloween this student of mine was so tired he couldn't stay awake. When I questioned him on whether or not he was up too late from eating too much Halloween candy, he told me, "No, I was aiding my grandma in her ceremonies." Alrighty then! No more questions from me.
At the end of the year, his present to me was a dinosaur plant. The box read as follows:
"Watch me spring to life and grow right before your eyes! If you look closely, you may even be able to see me move! Listen, and you might hear my fibers expanding. I’ll be fully awake in just three hours. "
I don't know why, but it freaked me out! I'm sure it was just an innocent gift. But knowing that curses or spells could have been put on it...I wasn't taking my chance. Still haven't, in fact. I can't seem to bring myself to throw it out, however. Maybe one day I won't believe in all that mumbo-jumbo...but until then, I won't be causing any dinosaur plant to come alive so I can watch it move.
Man...Now I'm gonna have man-eating plant nightmares. I'll let you know how those go as well...
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
- You will live for jean day.
- If you leave it in the teacher's lounge, by accident, it is free game...and it won't be there 20 minutes later. (Vultures...I tell you...vultures!)
- You will learn to how to go 8 hours without having to pee.
- There is no end to your stack of papers.
- You will learn to inhale your food...because there is no time for chewing and enjoying in the 15 minutes that you actually sit down to eat.
- You will have to deal with pee and poop...peeing children that will sit and pee in their chair to "defy" you. Poop stashed throughout your room till you feel like a crazy person calling all other teachers in to help you sniff to locate the stash.
- You will (at some point and time) google "Life after teaching"
- You will joke with your teacher buddies about drinking in your closets...because even though it would never happen...some days you wish it could.
- You will participate in days like "Pajama Day"...and get complimented repeatedly for your crazy sock monkey pajamas. Who knew kids like to see their teachers in pajamas??
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
I know I don't.
I know I should...but I don't.
If something happened to me, I know my ex would keep my boys, but financially things are not spelled out. I don't have anywhere about where I would want to be buried, or expectations of my things.
I know I should get a will drawn up... and soon!
My mom had everything exactly laid out. When she died, there were no questions by us kids. No decisions we had to make. No financial burdens.
Driving home last night, I hit a part in the road that for some reason is always overly slick when it rains. I knew it would be then, as well, so I slowed down as I came up on it.
I hit it just right though and I started to slide. I tried to correct as my car swerved sideways. Prayers repeatedly rolled out of my mouth for help and guidance. I finally came to a screeching halt facing the opposite way in the opposite lane.
Shaken, I was thankful that I hadn't lost control as there is quite a drop off on either side. That's when those *Onstar commercials don't seem so silly. My cell phone was nowhere to be found, as it had slid off my lap as I spun.
After I got off the road, I sat there trying to regain the confidence to drive back over that same spot again. I thought of how I don't have things ready. How I need to have things ready.
Because...just like that...those decisions might have to be made.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I am also on the phone with Spencer.
This is normal.
Many nights we sit in silence with one another on the phone. This may seem odd to some, but really it's not. If we lived together, if we were in the same place, people would not think it odd for us to sit in the same room and not converse, just be...and that is what we are doing. We are just being together... without being together.
Tonight, I was chatting on IM. (I am fully admitting that I use the same part of my brain to converse on IM as I do in holding a speaking conversation.) So, needless to say, I can't talk on the phone AND IM. Normally that wouldn't be that big of a deal... because sitting with a phone to my ear and IMing - I can do that.
But tonight I was chatting with a husband of one of Spencer's classmates(C.) - long story, short - At Spencer's reunion, all the significant others were occasionally ditched so old classmates could catch up. So, we, in turn, got to know each other. It was either that or sit around....and honestly I don't just sit well. We had lots of great laughs. Completely innocent, but a good time nevertheless.
So, I tell Spencer tonight who I am IMing and about what. Spencer is convinced that C. has the hots for me. (I guess, I should have taken that as my cue to stop IMing)
Me: "Whatever. We are just chatting. Like I used to do with all my guy friends in college."
Spencer: "Yeah, probably because they ALL had the hots for you."
Me: "Yeah...that's why NONE of them dated me....because they all had the hots for me. It's nothing."
Again...I now know I should have gotten off the IM because Spencer then tried to hold a conversation with me... and of course, I couldn't follow it completely...so he hung up mad.
I admit I can't be in two places at once - physically or mentally. The most I can say is I'm sorry.
Two days later, I am in my car pulling out of the driveway. My mom comes running out with the gift bag that I had "forgotten." "Don't you like them?" she asks. "They're fine." I say. I toss the bag into the backseat thinking to myself how I will never wear them.
That night I call to thank my mom for her gift. I knew I had acted ungrateful. I tried calling, but got no answer. It was December 27. I was back at college and I was packing to go spend the new year with my boyfriend (R. - my now ex-husband). I was lonely...no one was in the dorms during this time of year. So I kept trying to call.
Then I had a knock on my door. "Strange." I thought. "Didn't know anyone else knew I was here."
I walked to my door. My dorm supervisor stood in front of me. I'm sure I must have given her a strange look because she never came to your door unless you were being unruly and loud - I was being neither. She, without hesitation, said, "Dawn, there's been an accident and your mom was killed."
I fell back into my dorm room banging the door against the wall. Everything moved in slow motion. I could hear myself screaming, "NOOOOOOooooo!" The room was spinning. I now realize, I was probably very close to fainting, but it just felt as if this was not happening to me; like I was just an outsider watching it.
My dorm supervisor followed me into my room and tried to hug me. I wedged myself in between mine and my roommate's bed and in between sobs yelled,"Don't touch me! I mean it, don't touch me! It's not true. It's not true. I was just there. It's not true."
Shortly thereafter, my roommate called. They had called her first trying to see who they could find that could have been with me when I found out, but no one was there...everyone was home with their families for Christmas. She consoled me as much as she could over the phone and said she would be there in the morning since the roads were snow covered.
Then my aunt called. She said my youngest brother had also been in the car and that he was in critical condition and was currently in surgery. Then she told me that my other two brothers had not been called yet. I took that as my responsibility.
How do you tell the most important people in the world that their/your mother has died? Somehow, I managed to do it and then sat sobbing on the phone with them.
Every time I thought I couldn't cry another tear, a wave of overwhelming sadness would come over me. I called R. and he immediately got on the road coming back from Texas.
My dorm supervisor insisted on sleeping in my room, even though I told her that I would be fine...that I just needed some time alone. When I finally didn't cry for over an hour, she decided that I was "stable" enough.
As soon as I knew she was completely out of earshot, I fell over in convulsions. My whole body shook as I screamed "WHY?!! Why! Why!" repeatedly until my voice was hoarse and my body was worn. I received no answer to help with the realization that I would never talk to my mom again.
It's not a memory that I bring to the forefront of my mind very often.
Yes, her death was sudden and tragic.
But the reason I don't like to think about it is because the last time I was with my mother, the last memory she had of me, I was being an ungrateful B...and that's something I would rather forget.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
My mother was an amazing woman! I'm sure most people will say this about their mom, but when I say it, it's true.
My mother was in abusive marriage with 3 kids under the age of 3. When my mom decided to finally leave my dad, she found out she was pregnant with my youngest brother, Nick. She stuck it out until after Nicholas was born. Beaten and bruised, she would get up every morning to go to work to ensure there was money to put food on the table.
Being a single mother of four, my mom chose to swallow her pride and move back home to Missouri to live and take care of my grandmother (her mom). The six of us lived in a two bedroom house. The saving grace was that the house had a basement.
My mom bought old dolls from garage sales. Taking doll wigs and clothes she had sewn for them, she made it so I would have a "new" doll for my birthday.
Even when we had nothing, my mom would do something crazy just to make us laugh. She knew how to make the most mundane thing exciting. I laugh now when I catch myself doing some of her "tricks."
Oh, how I miss her...
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
But in the same sense, I have said things that have bothered me for a long time to the people that they need to be said to.
I have to say, I am a planner and a worrier. If I am going to have a confrontation with someone, I plan it out in my head. I play through several scenarios to not be caught off guard and so that I can be prepared for the worst. I am much better at writing down my feelings so I can reread them before presenting them to someone....most of the time, they aren't presented. And then I worry. I worry about what will come about because of my words. Things I can't take back after I have said them. So, I don't say them.
But the last few days, in this fogged-out, sleep-deprived brain of mine, that filter (that makes me plan and keeps me from saying what I want to say) has been void from my life.
I told my ex-husband today how much he hurt me....and I didn't leave out the mean, hurtful feelings that I have never said to him. Feelings that filter of mine keeps me from saying because I might cause a ripple.
Somehow, I feel less weighted...now maybe I can sleep.
I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
There is great need for a sarcasm font. Yes, there is!!
How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? I actually know the answer to this one...Martha Steward taught me how :)
Was learning cursive really necessary? I'm going to have to say, "Yes." since I teach it daily :)
Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. This has become my mantra
Bad decisions make good stories. So has this :)
You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever.
I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. SO true!
My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "What would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the heck do I respond to that?
I think the freezer deserves a light as well..
I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.
Monday, October 19, 2009
But I have never wavered.
At the beginning of January, you told me you would be here by summer.
By mid-January, you told me you couldn't discuss coming here.
By the end of January, you told me you weren't sure as to how long you could hold out in coming to me.
By the end of February, you told me that I didn't need to come there and you didn't need to come here.
In March, you told me that you missed me so much that you were sick to your stomach and that you loved everything about me.
In April, you asked me to come live with you and told me that we were "Common Law" married per your state's law. Yet, you went out on a "date" with your landlord's daughter.
From May through September, I traveled to you as much as possible. I felt like we needed to experience what it would be like if we were actually together, not just dating 7 hours from each other. I learned that you love and know me, you are very good with my boys and that you love them, and that we enjoy each other's interests (motorcycles, photography).
But what I also learned is that you aren't getting any closer, you don't want to get married, you don't want to be involved with church, you don't want any more kids, and you treat me like I am a Susie homemaker (which I am not, and actually hate).
So...this week, when you decided that you are back on board with moving up here...and I had some hesitation...I'm not wavering.
I'm waiting...to see what happens.
I'm watching...to see if you will change your mind again.
I'm wondering....if this will actually work out.
...But, I'm not wavering.
I know that you are fearful of the H1N1 flu virus.
I know that you think your child carrying around small bottles of hand sanitizer is the answer to all your fears.
I know you think I am a mean teacher when I tell them "Absolutely not!" and insist on them using the hand sanitizer on my counter.
...but what I also know is that:
- one in five students by eighth grade has tried huffing (inhaling that lovely hand sanitizer to get high) and this normally starts in third or fourth grade.
- I have already caught several of my own students doing it this year.
- I can monitor the hand sanitizer and its use when it is on my counter.
So, please be assured that my intent is in the best interest of your child.
The Hand Sanitizer Nazi
P.S. - No, I didn't really send this home to my parents....but I sure wanted to!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test.In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson
We may teach school...but we are not IN school, especially NOT middle school! However, some of you (I think) are not full aware of this... as you continue to act like it.
Berating your peers in the hallway causing them to be tearfully unsure of themselves and their place was not cool back when...and it is still NOT cool now!
And hearsay! Hell, are we not adults here? (Note to self: still up for discussion) If a student came to us and said, "He said, she said..." WE would send them off to talk to the person that said it...but somehow that advice is not taken amongst ourselves.
Please people...remember... what runs through the grapevine is not always verbatim...it gets tangled in the twists and turns of the branches.
The one who is just trying to stay out of all of this drama.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Normally, I like a good rain storm. I like to sit back and listen to the thunder bounce off the Ozark Mountains around me. The sound is soothing to my soul. I sometimes turn off all my lights just to see the light show going on outside.
Tonight was very different though. Tonight the storm was rough and mean like a bully pushing through a crowded room. You could feel the effects, but you couldn't see which way it was coming from.
I let out a deep sigh as I pulled into my garage. (I think I might have actually been holding my breath.) The comfort and safety of home. My sanctuary. What a relief.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Now don't get me wrong, they haven't disowned me. They haven't given me the cold shoulder or turned their backs on me.
The problem is... I don't know my place anymore.
They are still very much involved with my children (as grandparents should be). I still see them at all sporting events. I'm just not part of their family anymore...but they were my family for almost 15 years.
Today really hit home when I stopped by my ex-in-laws to drop my boys off. They were all talking about my ex's brother (who I was close to) and his son coming to visit this next weekend. It shouldn't have mattered... but I felt like I was being left out of a family reunion.
It shouldn't have mattered...but it did...because I don't know my place anymore.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Somehow, once they learn that you know how to handle the head bangers and the tantrum throwers and turn them back into normal human beings before the next school year... they tend to put them in your room.
That has become my norm.
A norm that in the heat of it you think, "Am I ever going to come out the other side?"
This year, however, I have an easy class.At the beginning of the school year, I sighed a sigh of relief that I might actually have a sane year.
And I do.
Sure... it's nice to have a group that doesn't get above a quiet roar, but it's not a challenge...and I'm always up for a good challenge.
I know, I know...I shouldn't complain. (Mainly because it will come back and bite me in my ass)
...but I need someone to keep me on my toes.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't say anything that shouldn't be heard over the speaker...I mean I am talking to my 4 and 6 year old after all, but why?
Why does he need to listen to me ask questions about their day?
Why does he need to hear me tell them that I love them and miss them?
I know that he has to do the dialing.
I know that he has to be putting it on speaker.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Thanks Mox! (I think...)
Where is your cell phone? lap
Your hair? spiky
Your mother? heaven
Your father? crazy
Your favorite food? Japanese
Your dream last night? nope
Your favorite drink? Cape Cod (I realize this is 2 words...deal!)
Your dream/goal? together
What room are you in? basement
Your hobby? photography
Your fear? mice
Where do you want to be in 6 years? married
Where were you last night? home
Something you aren’t? sure
Wish list item? car
Where did you grow up? rural
Last thing you did? this
What are you wearing? clothes
Your TV? recording
Your pets? gone
Your friends? hiiilllarious!
Your life? unbelievable
Your mood? fabulous
Missing someone? yep
Something you’re not wearing? polish
Your favorite store? all
Your favorite color? green
When was the last time you laughed? Today
Last time you cried? Saturday
Your best friend? Awesome!
One place that I go over and over? crazy
One person who emails me regularly? Laura
Favorite place to eat? couch
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I was on fire!
Today at school, Laura and I were brainstorming ideas to do with our small groups. She would tell me what skill she was thinking of covering and I was coming up with activities left and right.
I was on fire!!
Tonight I got home and planned on grilling steak for the boys and me. I, of course, always buy the charcoal that always has the lighter fluid already on it so it will be fast and easy. However, it was not. No matter what I tried, I could not get that bleepin' charcoal to light!
Being on fire does nothing when you want something actually on fire.
So much for being on fire...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I don't like confrontation, but as I get older, I have found that if someone confronts me with something I feel strongly about I turn into a bulldog... and I don't back down.
I arrived at the football field. My ex was already there with my boys. She was also already there. She was already in there helping out. She was wearing a t-shirt with the team's name on it and my boys' names on back.
The game hadn't started, (and I obviously wasn't needed) so I stayed back and talked to one of my friends(C.) whose son is also on the boys' team. She expressed how she didn't know how I felt, but if it were her in my shoes, she wouldn't be handling it very well.
When it was finally gametime, I headed to the edge of the field - right where I would be in the center of all the action, so there was NO way I could be replaced. She came up to me and said she would like to talk to me when I had the time and handed me a shirt. Sure, it was a nice gesture...and we might be rooting for the same players, but I am not going to show any kind of "team" unity here....just not going to do it! Her and I are NOT ever going to be unified!
Thankfully, C. chose to come sit by me and keep me company so She didn't feel the need to talk to me throughout the whole game.
After gametime, my ex asked me to come to his vehicle to get the boys' bookbags. When I arrived there, She came up and handed them to me. She told me that she was not trying to replace me and the we needed to have the two boys best interest at heart. I said that it sure did feel like she was trying to replace me. She kept going, repeating herself over and over (I think trying to convince us both). Then She said that I needed to accept the fact that she was there, that that wasn't going to change, that she wants to be here and be involved more than anything.
That was my breaking point...that is when the bulldog decided to join the fight...I told her, "Well, for as much as you want to be here...that's as much as I don't want you to be here."
I got in my car and closed the door. I felt like I was going to throw up.
I didn't ask for this interaction... all I wanted was to not be replaced.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Tonight at supper, Sam said "Mom, when I grow up, I'm gonna marry you."
Me: "You mean you're gonna marry a girl like Momma?"
Sam: "No, I'm gonna marry you...you are the only girl I love."
So sweet...but I wanted to clarify things for him.
Me: "Well, Sweetheart, you can't marry Mom because I'm your mom."
Sam: "Well...then I guess I'll just live by myself and have a dog."
Oh...not where I wanted him to go...
Me: "But don't you want to have kids of your own someday?"
Sam: "Oh. Yeah...... Boys can't have babies....I guess I will have to marry a girl, huh?"
Sam: "Well.... okay....but you're the only girl I love right now."
Me: "That's fine...Mom is okay if you don't love another girl for a LONG time!"
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Because the only one missing is me. I have been replaced. My two children are there. The man who used to be my husband is there....and she is there - my ex's girlfriend. I am no longer the one who gets to help on the field when it comes to assisting with the boys, she is picked. I am no longer the one who goes along and gives the kids their refreshments for their drink breaks, she is. Today was the kicker though. My son got hurt and he ran to her....because she is on the field. She is right there, not me.
It makes me not want to be involved. It makes me want to fall into the shadows even more than I already am. It makes me not want to go to their games and practices...I mean, I'm not needed, she's there.
So I went to my ex after practice and I told him this. I told him I realize that he has moved on, but being replaced in the eyes of my children hurts...and I won't put myself through that kind of torture weekly.
He actually surprised me. He told me I could never be replaced... that I am their one and only mother and that he would talk to her and tell her that when it is times where all of us are present she needs to let me have my role as the mom.
So...I guess we'll see if I'm in or on the sidelines...first game is Thursday.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I have never been a person who enjoys yard work.
If the summer sun gets so hot that it turns my yard to a sickly shade of brown, I'm a happy camper. This summer I didn't water my lawn once, not once, and it stayed green! (even though I was hoping for that sickly brown color.)....I seriously think my neighbors secretly watered my lawn.
You see, with that sickly brown color comes less mowing. I hate to mow. And more than mowing, I hate to weed eat! Sickly brown burnt up grass doesn't need to be mowed or weed-eaten.
Because I despise this mundane task of cutting down something just so it can regrow and the WHOLE task can reoccur again in 5-7 days, I put it off as long as I can. This time around I did a fabulous job of putting it off.
Over Labor Day weekend, I was out of town.
Then came my birthday (...and who really wants to do yard work on their birthday??!!) and a busy week at school.
Then last weekend, I had a day out with my girls and an unplanned trip to see Spencer in AR.
So...here we are... with my grass greener and taller than it has EVER been.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I'm gonna live forever.
I'm gonna learn how to fly.
I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry
I'm gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame
I'm gonna live forever
Baby remember my name
I was only 5 when this movie came out the first time. I SO wanted to be a dancer. I guess my mom's compromise (since she couldn't afford for me to take dance lessons) was to take me to see this movie. I loved it! I would dance around singing this song over and over and over again. I'm sure my mom hated that song after a while. I know my brothers did.
Being only five, I don't really remember the plot of the story...just the song. I am actually really excited about the new movie coming out.
I hope I'm not disappointed....Because this is movie made me, a girl who never had dance lessons, believe I could dance! I knew I had it in me... FAME!
Small dreams are never small to the young.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I feel like birthdays are a BIG deal...which is why I'm down today.
See... today is my birthday.
I don't care about getting older... that's going to happen no matter what; it's the fact that I am spending my birthday alone.
Never in a million years would I believe that I would have no one with me on my birthday to celebrate it with me.
It's my own fault really.
I insisted on having my boys go to Texas with me this past weekend, thinking we would celebrate it there.... but we didn't.
So, today, my boys are with their dad...instead of with me...on my birthday.
And it's my choice to date someone who lives 7 hours away.
So, today, he is in Texas...instead of with me... on my birthday.
So...I guess I'm having a pity party... rather than no party at all.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I had an uneasy feeling about this weekend from the start. It had nothing to do with the 7 hour drive, or traveling with 4 kids. It had to do with... I never know what to expect from Spencer's almost 11 year old son.
See...in the beginning, things were great with Corban. He liked the idea that I was a teacher. He liked me teaching him new things. Then one weekend that we (Spencer, myself, and his 2 kids) spent together in AR, that all changed. Spencer jokingly mentioned that one day I might be Corban's step-mom.
Since that time, Corban has done little things to try to get under my skin. Most of the time I just ignore them... or, in the least, tell him to stop.
I know what he is going through. I know his feelings well enough that I can normally predict his next move. See...I am a person whose parents are divorced and my mom dated when I was a kid. I know how happy a certain someone made my mom and I promptly told her that I would be respectful of him (if she ever married him), but he would not be my dad and he would not tell me what to do.
Which is why I don't understand why tonight caught me so off guard...
You see, Spencer loves apple pie. Normally his mom makes him an apple pie on the weekends he comes up to see his kids. This weekend she ran out of time before I left with the kids, so she just sent the apples with us.
This evening Spencer casually asked what he was going to do with all of these apples. I said I could make him a pie, if he wanted. I went to the computer to look up a recipe. (I mean, I have never made an apple pie before, but I do like to bake and have made other pies, so....) About that time Corban asked if he could used Spencer's phone. After Corban walked off, I said to Spencer, "Guarantee he is calling your mom for the apple pie recipe." Sure enough he was.
Now, I know a lot of you are thinking, "Oh. easy fix. Use Spencer's mom's recipe. No biggie." But, I guess, it is how it was presented... Corban was trying to control the situation.
...and so the butting of heads was on.
I printed off the recipe I had found. Corban brought his recipe to me. I compared the two.
(Honestly, I had nothing against Spencer's mom's (Nana)recipe....but it was written in 10 yr old boy writing ~missing measurements and steps). That is one thing, when it comes to recipes (and directions) I follow them step-by-step. I am not one of these people who experiment in the kitchen. So, I told Corban that I would just use the one I had found on-line.
Corbin kept asking Spencer, "Do you want Nana's apple pie or the inter-net's? You already know you like Nana's." So I said, "Well, who knows...maybe your dad will like my apple pie. He's never had it before." Then I turned to Spencer and said, "'Cause I know if I make Nana's now, it won't be as good as hers in Corban's eyes."
We headed into town to get all the necessary ingredients. While Corban called to tell his Pa that I wasn't going to use Nana's recipe but "one found on the inter-net". By this time, I had my fill. I thought I was doing a nice gesture by offering to make an apple pie...and now it was nothing but a headache.
Spencer was having a hard time understanding why I was having such a hard time with this situation. I tried to explain to him that no matter what I do, I'm the bad guy with Corban. I'm not used to that! I am with children daily. Children who will misbehave, and I discipline, and then at the end of the day hug me and tell me they can't wait to see me tomorrow. I know how to connect with kids! It's what I do. But that connection is a two-way street. Both parties have to be willing to give a little.
I, by no means, ever want to come between Spencer and his kids... because I would expect him to always choose his children first.
Yeah...I'm realizing more and more that Mike and Carol Brady had it TOO easy ~ six kids and no resentment. Whateva!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
They were eating cranberries.
Wish I video taped them more often.
Guess, that should be my new goal.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
"Mom, you have any more babies in your belly?" he asked.
Ha! "Not right now I don't!" I answered.
"Well, do you think you could grow one?"
(You see, Sam has been going to a babysitter (other than grandma) and she watches a little girl about 9 months. This is the first time that Sam has gotten to be the big kid. I think Sam likes to be the BIG kid.)
So, I explained to him..."Son, mommas have to be married to have babies...and I'm not married." (I know, I know....this isn't true...but it is what 4 year old minds understand!)
He looks up at me with his big beautiful bluest of blue eyes and says, "You think you can marry Spencer any time soon?"
I'm thinking...maybe I will have to do a little more explaining.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
We had a guest pastor.
I was trying to listen to what he was saying... but couldn't.
I couldn't because Colby's cold little fingers kept running up the back of my arm, up into my armpit, tickling me.
I whisper, "Quit." but as I do, Colby giggles.
He is tickling and giggling and I can't help myself...I begin to snicker.
Through my snickers I attempt to whisper, "Quit" again, but right about that time his cold fingers dig deep into my armpit.
His infectious laughter gets louder.
I have to join in.
It's been TOO long since we have laughed like this.
...It was a good message I got at church today...and I have no idea what the sermon was about.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Scraping bubble gum from the inside of my dryer.
Yes, one of my children successful left gum in their pants pockets. This, in turn, plastered it on the inside of my dryer.
Let me tell you...Using peanut butter on the gum that is stuck inside your dryer does nothing but makes your dryer greasy.
What??!! Peanut butter works on hair and clothes...why not on the inside of the dryer?
So...a back ache and an hour later, I successfully have removed both the bubble gum and the peanut butter.
Another reason why I should hire someone to do my laundry....as if the list wasn't long enough already!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I wish things were easy.
I wish my back didn't hurt and the my eyes weren't always heavy.
We don't always get what we wish for...
Spencer told me today that even though we have discussed marriage, the longer he stays single... the more he thinks that he might stay single and never get married again. I wish he hadn't said that...even though I played it cool, my mind was going crazy. I wanted to say "Why would you say that? Don't you want to grow old with me?" But I didn't. Wishing that he didn't say that... wanting him not to feel that way, doesn't change anything.
We both tell each other how much we want to be in the same place as the other...but some days I wonder. I wonder if I am wasting my time wanting something more for the both of us. I know that was part of the downfall of my marriage. I wanted it...and because I wanted it, I was able to make it happen... for a while. But it didn't last. Because no matter how much you want something for someone else...if they don't want it themselves, it isn't gonna last.
I just wish the want wasn't there...but it is.
I want the dream life...I just don't know how to wish it into existence.
I find myself waiting for the next bomb to drop.
Am I destined to not have a life-long partner?
I analyze every action or non-action.
I over-analyze silence.
I drive myself crazy with the "What will I do, if...?"
I wish I knew where to go next...