Saturday, October 31, 2009

Comment: No, it wasn't PMS.

But it probably was exhaustion.

The reason I didn't write yesterday, I mean.

Long story short? I bonked my head pretty hard on the corner of our mantle in our new and furnaceless abode. That's a pain that lingers.

So I went to bed with a bad headache. But all is well today.

And it's Halloween.

Does anyone else think it's ironic to be playing "Everything Counts" by Depeche Mode while small children paw through our bowls of candy? I'm sorry, but that's hilarious. And "Enjoy the Silence" is not bad, either. Oh do I amuse myself.

The kids are out trick or treating with their dad, who is so busy in a new job that he barely has any time for them (or me). The kids were so excited they were vibrating. This is truly a holiday for the little ones, in spite of what you might see at Party City with the skanky grown up and even little girl (YUCK! WRONG! NO SKANKY CHILDREN PLEASE) costumes that are wildly inappropriate for most people, especially those under 18.

Yes, I'm old. Deal with it.

So Happy Halloween! I'm sure we'll all eat too much candy and regret it later, but so be it.

It only happens once a year.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Comment: The Ambivalent Doctor

I had an amusing experience today at the doctor's. I went in due to a nagging earache that had just gone on for far too long.

The doctor, a middle aged, mellow and chatty guy, wasn't really sure it was too big of a deal. But it was some kind of deal.

So he prescribed me antibiotics.

What struck me was how, unenthused he was about the diagnosis. I mean, he was all, "Well, it's not a BAD infection, it's just sort of a SMALL one, so you know, if it was ME, I'd take antibiotics. I mean, amoxicillin isn't you know, a hard core drug. Do you get yeast infections? Eat some yogurt. Yeah, I'd take them if I were you. Call me if you're not feeling better!"

This speech didn't exactly inspire confidence.

But it was refreshing in its honesty. I knew I wasn't in grave danger and just wanted to find out what he thought, since he can see into my ear, and I can't.

But it was the most grudging prescription for antibiotics I've ever seen.

But, you know, I think I'm going to take his advice and like, probably take the antibiotics.

But it's not a BIG deal.

Comment: Turtlenecks are back!

At least, for me.

In this new wintry climate.

With no furnace.

So, yes, I’ve rediscovered turtlenecks; I wore them when I was little, and in fact once in seventh grade had to wear one to hide a curling iron burn which obnoxious boys were claiming was a hickey. (As if. I barely knew what a hickey was, and was mortified at the thought.) (Whereas today’s tweens are probably giving hickeys in fourth grade, right? Augh.)

Anyway, turtlenecks were on my clothing rotation back in my Canadian childhood. But since moving to Southern California, I eschewed anything with a neckline higher than my clavicle, and hadn’t looked back.

Until today. Since I now live in a colder climate. With no heat. Did I mention that?

In fact, I am wearing a turtleneck right now.

I feel so hipster/dufus/beat poet. Like I should be in a café scatting or something.

But see, for years even if I had WANTED to wear a turtleneck, I couldn’t have.

I had this little gag thing.

It started when I was pregnant. I couldn’t even wear a necklace when I was pregnant. If you brushed your hand within three feet of my neck, I gagged.

If a commercial came on TV, I gagged. (but for slightly different reasons)

I gagged when I got dressed and pulled something over my head.

Button up shirts? No way.

Turtlenecks? Not. Not. Not.

So this is a return to an earlier time. I didn’t even realize middle-aged women wore them, though if LL Bean and Land's End are any indication, I should have. I thought seniors and babies wore them, and the babies’ are onesies, natch. I do not need a snap on crotch part for my turtleneck, thanks very much.

I feel a bit like Carl Sagan, or my Dad in the 70s, with these, but maybe I'm gonna try to make this work for me.

My fashion possibilities are endless! I can layer! I can wear turtlenecks in different colors! After all, turtlenecks are neither punk nor preppy. I’m not sure what they are.

But I’m willing to find out.

Won’t you join me on this journey?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Complaint: Sizes 5-10, 11.

Those numbers ring any bells?

If you're a lady who shops for shoes from catalogs or online, you do.

Yes, it's how sizing availability is indicated.

Have you noticed this?

If you're some petite and delicate 5, you haven't. If you're Mama-Bear-just-right size 7, likewise.

But if you have feet the size of BOATS, you're aware of this.

It's foot segregation. And discrimination.

Why don't they say sizes 5-11? Why do they have to separate the 11s from the rest of the pack? When we wear new shoes, do we not bleed? We are human beings. We have feelings.

Why do all catalog and online retailers feel the need to ostracize those of us with the largest feet in the room?

Isn't it bad enough that people see our feet enter said room ten minutes before we do?

When I was teaching preschool, the kids used to trip over my feet. You think I'm kidding.

Now, I used to be a big, boat-like size 10. But after I had my kids, two things happened: my feet grew and my boobs shrank and dropped like anchors. (TMI? Sorry.)

So now I am, most of the time, a size 11.

Oh, the humanity.

So I really do NOT need to be reminded of this fact every time I open a Land's End or Gap catalog (not that this happens too much. Doc Martens are much more civilized, with their Euro sizing, bless them.)

So the next time you're perusing some junk mail, take a moment and look at the sizing availability for women's shoes.

Do you not see how we ache?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Complaint: Every month a damn cupcake.

What is it with the ultra-celebratory nature of our children’s accomplishments and/or major holidays?

I just got a three paragraph email from a highly intelligent, heavily employed mother who is all a-flutter over what Halloween games to play at the first grade Halloween party EVENT. She is concerned about logistics and needs input.


It’s like the preschool graduations, and the cheering every time your kid eats something, or defecates, or rolls over in bed. Do we have to make everything an EVENT?

For freak’s sake, can we please stop making a big deal over every single thing that happens? Can we please stop applauding our children every time they do something?

My husband works with a lot of younger adults, Generation Y-ers, and they need accolades just for showing up to work.

This is not cool.

I’m not saying I’m not guilty of cheering everyday occurrences on occasion. I’m an enthusiastic person. But schools celebrate so many holidays, and there’s always a frenetic, exhausting "party" with a cupcake of some sort involved. Can we get a little more creative, please?

I mean, do I really care about what games are played at my son’s 45 minute Halloween party EVENT? He doesn't. Does it really matter if I go out and buy (or make) (ha ha!) candy corn cupcakes? Do we really even need to discuss a MENU?

It’s too much.

Let the kids wear their costumes and sing a few songs and be done with it. It’s not like they’re not going to get boatloads of sugar soon enough.

All this hoopla is overwhelming, exhausting, and is turning our little kids into needy, self-centered creatures who need to be congratulated for showing up at school on time or taking a whiz.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Comment: Oops.

Oh my goodness, I actually forgot to do a post yesterday. This is the first time in a year that this has happened.

Other times that I haven't posted, the decision has been conscious, and has been due to one of the following reasons:

-crushing depression
-sheer exhaustion

Just so you know.

Guess I'm not like the mail man, through wind and rain and all that crap. Then again, postal carriers don't actually deliver one day a week. Should I take a day off once a week?

We've been settling into our new/old-house-without-heat and so far it's okay, except for the no heat part. Luckily we are in a warm snap, so it's not so bad. But when you go to bed in two pairs of socks, two shirts, long underwear and a fleece hat and wake up to FROST on your car, you know it's cold, and here we are only in October.

My in-laws just arrived yesterday, so my reason for not posting was distraction. My in-laws are amazing people; they are home improvement superheroes. They come in and fix lights, switches, sticky doors, hooks, handles. They bring rugs and chairs and ideas and inspiration and in one day our place is already much homier. Sure, I unpacked every single thing myself, and I did a good job getting our house up and running, but I didn't get to the fun part. Decorating.

And I can't believe I just wrote that.

I never thought I'd see the day that I'd have anything more in common with Martha Stewart than a vagina. But there you have it.

I am actually, gasp, a little bit excited about tending to this house.

Not the cleaning. That's not exciting. But is good exercise when you have multiple sets of stairs and bathrooms to deal with.

But I'm actually getting ideas, a vision, if you will, for our now-empty living room, for example.

Is this how most people behave? Like, do most people look forward to decorating their house? Because it's a new feeling for me, I have to say.

And I think I like it.

So if I don't post in the next few days, it's going to be due to...decorating.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comment: It’s official. I’m a working mother.

I may not “go to work” every day, but I do some days now, and that counts.

Isn’t it sad that I need my work to count only if it’s outside my house? What is wrong with society that motherhood is not revered as an absolute calling and profession worthy of admiration? Does it need to become a paid position to get any credibility in the straight world?

I’m continuing reading Kristin Maschka’s book, “This is Not How I Thought it Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today.” She talks about ambition, and gives the best definition I’ve ever heard.

She says, ambition is the desire to become really good at something, AND to have recognition by the outside world that you’re really good at that something.

This is why motherhood is so thankless. Because NOBODY recognizes that you are doing a good job. You’re NEVER going to be an expert. Your kids will develop neuroses no matter what you do and other people will judge you harshly no matter how hard you try.

So it’s hard to be ambitious in the mothering profession because there is no recognition of achievement and there are no standards or practices or licenses, thus nullifying it as a profession in the first place. Oh yeah, and no paycheck.

Why don’t mothers get social security?

There is a lot to be angry about, in terms of how mothers are marginalized, taken for granted and/or ignored. But complaining about it isn’t going to help. The prescription is action. And that’s what Maschka’s book is all about.

She encourages the reader to challenge his/her own assumptions, or "mental maps" of what mothers are and what they do, what fathers are and what they do, and so on. Challenging deep-seated assumptions is the first step to undoing them.

For example, I knew I would stay home full time to raise my kids when they were small. Now that they are about small to medium, I am salivating to get back to external paid work, if only part time. I've just started and I love it. But of course, I have to figure out how to juggle all the family and house work I do now PLUS the additional number of hours being taken up by a job.

I assume it’s all on me to take care of everything, and to protect my husband and his career.

What if we challenged this assumption?

I’m no fool; I know my husband’s earning power happens to be much higher than mine. But there have to be ways to make our lives as parents and professionals work TOGETHER.

So I will keep reading, and reimagining how family and work lives can coexist.

(No, there's no punchline here. Admit it, you were waiting for a sarcastic quip, or a witty barb to end this. Not tonight.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Question: Can the words “Bite me” be used as a parenting strategy?

A girl can dream, right?

Because the other day I really felt like saying that to my daughter. She was sassing me up the wall and saying mean things to me and I have to admit, I took them a little personally. So I wanted to say “bite me”.

But of course I didn’t. I left the room, took some deep breaths, took what I’ve been taught is called the parenting high road. It’s very tiring taking the high road.

And lonely.

I used to look at people who yelled at their kids in public and think they had no self-discipline, no morals, no something. But maybe they were just tapped out.

When your kid punches you, calls you a chicken (which would be funny if there weren’t so much venom infused in the tone) and says “I hate you”, it’s hard to take the parenting high road.

I spoke at length with my best friend about this, the coiner of the parenting high road phrase, and she and I both ended up discussing the fact that there’s probably no book out there on spiteful parenting.

Spite as a parenting technique?

Sure, it’s fine when the child is spiteful.

But not when the grown-up is.

Doesn’t really seem fair, does it?

But there it is.

I guess I can't say "bite me" to my kid.

At least not out loud.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When will this ever be over?

Imagine that sentence loudly whispered in the silent gap between music, dance and applause. Nothing sotto about that voce. Reflexively, my hand clamped over my child's mouth, just for a second.

Imagine the squirmiest child ever trying to sit still for two and a half hours. The intermisison M and Ms did NOT help. Imagine my surprise.

Yes, we took our kids to the ballet.

For the first time.

But honestly? Not the last. Considering their ages and the length of the program and lack of Disney fairies, really, Sleeping Beauty: The Ballet went really well.

I had forgotten that at ballet performances there are five zillion solos, followed by five zillion preening poses as applause wafts toward said soloist. There is a lot of clapping. And waiting for something to happen.

Really, they stripped the plot of Sleeping Beauty down so thin you could see through it. But no matter. I wanted my kids to see a live performance of a non-kid performer. Some culchah.

My mom took my sister and I to the ballet and other related dance performances very frequently as children. We would get a loge at Place des Arts in Montreal, and sit up high and feel important and special. And in awe of whoever was hoofing it down on the beautiful stage.

So I wanted to give my kids that experience. Maybe I started them a bit young, but no matter. We all survived relatively unscathed (although there was a major meltdown in the car on the way home by the four year old. Couldn't really blame her. It took almost as long getting out of the damn parking garage as the whole second act.)

I wonder if we're up for the Nutcracker...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Question: How does it feel to know that what you are doing is beautiful?

And that YOU look beautiful doing it?

We went to the ballet yesterday (more hilarity on that to follow in next post) and as these perfect people with their shiny costumes and glittery tiaras contorted themselves into shapes most of us could never assume, even in utero, I thought, wow, what’s that like, to be doing a thing of beauty that is almost universally recognized as such?

Because even if you don’t like ballet, when you see a ballerina whip around on her toes ON THE HARD STAGE, did I mention it’s her TOES? It’s hard not to admire it, and to find what she’s doing impressive, and, in some way, beautiful.

Because I’m not particularly coordinated, I will never feel or look like these ballerinas. I just don’t have it in me. I’m Olive Oyl with post-punk elements and a muffin top.

But the way these ballet dancers had the grace and the dignity of dance, the way they posed and preened for the audience had me floored. They KNOW they’re super fantastic and gorgeous. Even if the actual person isn’t that good looking, what they are doing makes them beautiful. People gasp, ooh, ahh and clap.

What must that be like? To be applauded for being and doing a thing of beauty?

But more on the applause tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Complaint: Mother Burnout

A few questions for the audience:

Why am I always the one left alone in the kitchen at the end of the day?

When everyone is out playing, why am I inside cleaning up their stuff?

Why does everything I have have to be for somebody else all the time?

Why am I the only one who knows we need toilet paper, milk, laundry detergent?

What would happen if I just stopped doing any of those things?

May I please have a turn?

Because the kids and the spouse, they always get top billing. God forbid I should want a career. Then I'm seen as selfish. If I don't aspire to a career outside my home, I'm perceived as an idiot. Staying at home makes me stupid and seeking work makes me selfish?


These ideas are not originally mine; they come from Kristin Maschka's great book I'm currently in the middle of, called "This is Not How I Thought it Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today" and I can see that I need to keep on reading, because from where I sit, there are a lot of mommas feeling the pressure. I'm hoping for some blueprints for my life, and the lives of my mother friends who are fried, taken for granted, and withering on the vine.

Who says mothers have to give up everything? Dads don't. People kind of humor you when you say you want to get out, do something for yourself. It's fine, as long as it fits in with your child care schedule. And even if you do get out or are already at work, who's going to do all the housework, the cleaning, the shopping, the doctors' appointments, the hair cuts, the dental appointments, the endless pick-ups and drop-offs, while you're at work? Guess what? You are.

Oh, hell hath no fury like a mother scorned.

I really feel like running away and joining the circus.

But they'd probably have me taking care of the kids and cleaning up urine there too.

So I guess I'll go read more of my book.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Comment: OMG. This book rocks!

Yes, I’m here to tell you today about an incredible book that has just come out. Kristin Maschka has written a book about motherhood (a mamafesto, if you will) that really resonates. “This is Not How I Thought it Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today” is sharp, reassuring, witty, and timely.

Wasn’t I just kvetching about mothers’ underappreciated status last post? What did I just say?

I haven’t even finished the book, but I urge you to go out and buy it. If you’re feeling ambitious, you should get your husband or significant other to read it, too.

Maschka, whom I’ve had the good fortune to spend a brief but very pleasant amount of time with, combines personal history with spot-on research about people’s perceptions and realities about motherhood and how to make it work for EVERYONE in the family.

Finally, somebody is (eloquently) saying what so many of us women who are mothers have been thinking: Did I really sign up for this?

I’m feeling really validated as I read, knowing that I’m not the only one who woke up one morning in Pleasantville and wondered how I’d become the cook, chauffeur, cleaner and child care go-to person in my marriage.

Mothers and More, which is mentioned frequently in Maschka’s book, is where I met Kristin, along with many other wonderful and similarly-disgruntled women who are mothers and have been wondering how they got where they are.

Finally, ambivalence is being addressed intelligently. The bonus? There are actual solutions on how to have a more balanced life. Kristin walks the walk, talks the talk, rocks the block.

I’ll write more about this book as I read it, but it couldn’t come at a better time for me, personally; I’m in transition, and I’m about to experience some of the challenges of going back to work.

I’m glad I have Kristin Maschka to help guide me through it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Complaint: Now with 70% MORE Vitriol!

This a post about the day of the poop scoot.

In short, I’m feeling that my job as primary caregiver today is particularly thankless.

While my husband deals with big business, internet traffic and human adult relationships, I am home, in a cold, dark, house, in a cold, dark, climate, waiting for the endless parade of home repair people who give me windows such as “we’ll be there between twelve and four, we’ll call you on the way” who then bang on the door at 6:30 pm when you trying to put your kids (alone, as usual) to bed. Guess he forgot to call.

Anyway, as you can gather from this cheerful post, I’m in a mood. But let’s be fair: there are reasons for the mood. I’m not just venting for kicks. It's just better than the alternative.

I’m irritable beyond words because we live in a cold climate, our furnace part is somewhere in transit and is for a basically defective furnace anyway, and it’s cloudy here. Like, a lot.

Coming from beautiful, sunny (and polluted) California has ill prepared me for this slop. And it’s slop. It will spit rain for awhile, then get cloudier. Then a little more rain. Some gusts of wind. And, apparently, tomorrow, snow.

I’m not against snow per se. BUT I AM AGAINST IT IN OCTOBER. IN CALIFORNIA, WE’D BE IN SANDALS RIGHT NOW. If you lived here, you'd be irritable by now.

Anyway, I was talking to a new neighbor today, who is a physician who just left full time work to be home with her kids this past Spring. She was telling me about how one of her former patients was ill and was wishing desperately that she (my neighbor) were still in practice to be there to help her. There's a lot of appreciation for doctors. Meanwhile, her son tells her he hates her on a regular basis. If it’s not biting, it’s kicking; if it’s not kicking literally, it’s the metaphorical kick to the solar plexus with the most powerful weapon the kids have: their words.

I too heard “I hate you” today. Over and over. For the first (but I'm sure not the last) time.

I guess I knew it was coming, but since I’m pretty sure I never said it to either of my parents, it kind of smarts.

Which brings us to the poop scoot.

Earlier in the day, I discovered a brown stain on the edge of my daughter’s bed. It looked like chocolate. But brother, it weren’t chocolate.

It was poop. From a naked, scooting bottom. That had been rubbed into the bed by an inadvertent and stealth poopy butt.

So I cursed, cleaned it, and stripped the bed and washed everything. (OCD much?)

Then, to pile on the shit further, this afternoon, after the kids were home from school, my daughter had a poop accident in her pants. When I was cleaning her up and readying her bath for a good soapy soak, that’s when the “I hate you”s began.

Such fun.

So basically, my point today is, when you take care of your kids day in and day out, most of the time, nobody thanks you. Nobody really recognizes the hard work you are doing. You’re just taken for granted.


Mothers are freaking superheroes. Thank the next mother you see.

Comment: Still getting a connection from my corner so here goes...

So we're dealing with the whole furnace issue. It's been ten years since my husband and I even lived in a climate that required a furnace, so this is big. Our house has a really old and malfunctioning furnace. It needs to be replaced. Like, now.

Which brings us back to that research/agonize/eventually act out of desperation cycle that we seem to dwell in as a family.

I understand that a furnace is not a t-shirt; it's a big investment. How we get to purchasing one is where our paths diverge. I want to talk to the furnace people; my husband wants to do research. But he doesn't have time to do it. And I don't know the first thing about furnaces. So I want to ask a specialist. Sure, I know, they're trying to sell me something, but they know more than we do. When you go shopping for a mattress, you count on the salesperson to tell you something about your options, even if you do take it all with a grain of salt. Is this a vicious circle or what? Or maybe a funky Mobius strip, snake swallowing tail, no beginning and no end? (Hey, that sounds kind of Zen.)

The bottom line: it's week two, and we are still without heat. I'm getting very good at lighting fires. (In the fireplace. Relax, people!)

I'm learning to appreciate the concept of layering. The last time I wore this many layers, I was a punker in upstate New York, an angry young woman with jet black hair and raccoon-eyes who smelled of menthols. (Remember that, Solipsist?)

Today the layering is not about fashion.

I've had a hat on for two weeks. And now I'll never be able to take it off, since the hathead case is unbelievable. I have a sleeping hat and a running hat and a day hat.

I probably love hats because of Mary Tyler Moore. My best friend and I are devotees of MTM. We even met two years ago in Minneapolis, so we could pose in front of the bronze statue of Mary throwing her hat. We had strangers take our picture, and we took some of them, too. It was a riot.

My friend and I regularly remind each other that we are indeed going to make it after all, even when things feel bleak. No other slogan works as well for us as the ole "hat hurl."

I love you, Jane!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Comment: I'm baaaaack.

At least for a few minutes.

Now let's get serious. I'm sitting in a chair in our new house in the exact position where we can snag the Internet, and it's intermittent, fickle and challenging, so who knows how regular these posts are going to be. This one may not even make it on until the fifth try. I will persevere.

But I will say this: we are moved in.

We have no heat, no Internet (yet), no TV and no microwave. I didn't realize I was taking on the Luddite lifestyle when moving to the Mid-Atlantic region, but apparently, I did. We did.

The kids don't seem to miss the screen at all. And they have space heaters.

I want a space heater.

I miss utilities.

And hello? It's freakin' cold here. They have seasons. Imagine my surprise.

So we are all trying to recalibrate and get into some kind of routine. I will do my level best to get posting regularly again after the 15th, when our Internet connection from the Tortoise Company deigns it appropriate to flip the switch.

I'm dealing with some slight rage issues. Can you tell?

Talk to you soon!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Complaint: Disney Trauma

I just sat through an hour of "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody: Lost at Sea," on Disney Channel (natch). It was our last night here at the apartment (a.k.a. The Land of Disney Crack) so we splurged and let the kids stay up late to watch it.

Big mistake.

The only person attempting to follow the plot was me.

That's pretty scary.

But what scares me more is that after awhile the bad acting doesn't seem so bad. It's really over-acting, or "indicating," as my Drama profs called it in college.

A good example of indicating would be a person chattering their teeth noisily while hugging their arms around themselves saying. "Brrrr, I'm c-c-c-old!"

Sort of a master of the obvious style of acting.

Anyway, I'm a little freaked out now. I'm going to need to go have a glass of wine, a hot shower, and read something written for people over the age of 11.

We're moving to our new house tomorrow, and I don't know when the DSL/Internet is being set up.

So please, mind the gap.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Comment: Crackheads for Disney

Yes, my children are officially addicted to the Disney Channel. I blame the temporary, one-bedroom apartment we’ve been in for four months with its lack of space and abundance of cable TV.

How could they resist the allure of badly-acted kid sit-coms? (kidcoms?) Seriously, there is some truly pathetic acting going on up there on the kiddie screen.

I’ll spare you the analysis (for now). All I can say is, if PBS Kids is whole grain, full on 150% wheat bread, then Disney is Wonderbread bleached to within an inch of its life. Quick sugar high, then loooong sugar crash.

I’ve become lax in the past few weeks since I know that we’re leaving the land of Mickey and Friends. And we’re moving to a place where we have no TV. No modern TV. Which means that even if we get TV reception, order it or whatever, we will need a TV on which to receive it. Which means that my husband and I will have to make…dum dum dum…

A big ticket purchase.

This is something that requires months, nay, years, of deliberation, research, agonizing, and an eventual trip to Best Buy/IKEA/Target where we still won't buy anything. We tend to wait until things fall into our lap.

The only furniture we’ve ever bought is the following: mattresses. No bed frames. Well, okay, a cheap-ass bunk bed from Ikea which is now in about 3000 pieces in the kids’ room in the new house.

We’ve only ever bought tables from friends who were getting rid of them. We’ve gotten a couple of couches and a chair from friends for free.

So let’s recap: mattresses sans frames, second hand tables, and hand-me-downs.

That’s right: We’ve been married for thirteen years and we’ve never bought furniture together. (The bunk beds were bought by my husband while I was out of the country. Doesn’t that sound exotic? It isn't.)

This is the level we’re at.

So if we continue at our current molasses-in-January-style speed, we may not get a TV until the kids are in high school.

So there should be plenty of time to get over the DTs.

But who knows? With my husband’s newfound interest in football owing to our geographical location, we may get a TV before, say, middle school.

We'll be right back.