Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Over the Weekend Laughter

We had a nice Memorial Day weekend. Over the past decade that I've kept this blog, journal, thing, whatever, we've made several trips places or have hosted people. This past year has taken the symbolic wind of fun out of our metaphorical sails, so we were lucky to have things happening here close by to keep us with smiles on our faces.

Doug's cousin Andy and his wife came to visit Boston. We spent some time on Saturday afternoon with them walking around Harvard Square and having lunch at the John Harvard Brew House. It was a beautiful day. It was fun to see Andy, considering in the last decade I've seen him three times... two of them were at funerals.

Sunday morning our good friends Steve and Allyson came to speak at our church. They are missionaries who over the next 2 years will be out "in the field" in Thailand and India and wherever else their feet are led by the call of God. Steve makes movies, and a few weeks ago we got to make a movie with him with that 48 hour film festival. I was happy to get them in the door and get their story told, and support of our missions committee behind them to help support them. We enjoyed a nice lunch with our pastor and S and A, and lots of laughs were had.

We then made our way to Gloucester to meet up with Wayne and Marcia, Chris and Laurie (who were staying at Good Harbor Beach) and another set of friends that we haven't seen in about 13 years (we figured out), Glenn and Cheryl. We ate at Lobsta Land, right there off rte 128 headed up towards the first rotary, if you're familiar with the area.

During the discussion, Cheryl had mentioned that once upon a time dinner with their kids out at a restaurant would be four plates of chicken fingers and fries, and they have watched their tastes evolve to the point where they order much more grown up food, finally. I related the story of how we were at a restaurant last year and Geoff himself was trying to be "grown up" and serious, and in his deep 13 year old voice asked the waitress for a "Black Anus Burger," misreading or mispronouncing "Angus" much to the absolute hysterics of the rest of us at the table. Had this happened when he was about 11, he would have flipped out, screamed at us all, flipped the table over and walked out the door. But he weathered it well, and the waitress brought him his Black Anus Burger... again, we laughed.

Everyone at the table was laughing at this story, and Wayne said "you're so racist! Why does it always have to be a BLACK anus? Why can't it sometimes be a Native American Anus?"

Only at that one split second, everything in the entire restaurant had fallen into a collective lull. The restaurant was dead silent, and all you could hear was "NATIVE AMERICAN ANUS!" as loud and clear as the ringing of a clarion call.

I think I heard someone actually GASP behind us.

We all lost it. Wayne turned bright red, and hid his face. I can't remember what Glenn said, because I was already laughing too hard, but we all were roaring and tears were flowing down our faces at this point. Holy crap, it was funny. Wayne's wife said that even when they leave their kids at home, she still has this to worry about... Wayne wasn't embarrassed, he laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

It hurt to laugh that hard.

We ended up at a little Italian cafe in Gloucester to have dessert, and we were talking about summer jobs that the kids get, and sometimes you have to do a job that you just don't want to do. Case in point, a job that Glenn took while we were in college. He answered an ad in the paper for a job at a Turkey Farm in Essex. He thought in his head "oh! a farm! a barn, and kitties walking around, and moo cows and ..." His first two months there were spent working with sweet little old ladies making Turkey Pies. They taught him to make the dough, and put it in the tin, and fill it with stuff, and how to ladle in the right amount of gravy...

And then Killing Season started.

He lasted two more weeks.

He related in gory detail working in the killing room, the scalding/plucking room, and the eviscerating room. I won't entertain you with the retelling. Laurie said "I am never having turkey for thanksgiving again. I hate turkey. I'm having spaghetti."

I then didn't miss a beat, I said "Laurie, do you remember that job I had between freshman and sophomore year?" She shook her head no. "It was in the spaghetti fields on the pasta farm. It was horrible. The things I saw ..."

Again, roaring laughter. I painted a horrible picture of putting pasta through "the thing that squeezes it flat and cuts it into tiny strips, and then oh my GOD you have to stretch it out and .... it's horrible!"

"Gnocci day was the worst, rolling those little potato balls out... oh man."

What an incredibly fun night. It came to an end too soon. It would have been nice to finish up with wine around a campfire, but we had a 45 minute ride home and Wayne and Marcia had to go get their kids and head home to Maine.

We told Glenn and Cheryl that 13 years shouldn't pass without seeing one another again. We see Chris and Laurie and Wayne and Marcia a couple times a year, and should do so more frequently... especially because laughter like that is great exercise.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BOA update, Wherein I am Bloody, Bold and Resolute

We listen to the radio at night when we go to bed. There is a commercial from the Ad Council for MakingHomeAffordable.gov with some folksy guitar and some dudes singing about being "I'm home and I love it, I'm home where I belong." When I hear it come on the air I want to punch someone. I literally want to punch the guys singing and take their guitars and beat them over the head with them. And I'm totally a big fan of acoustic folk music. But this ad, and the whole program, and Bank of America have made me lose my mind.

I wish I knew who those musicians were, because I would like to yell at them. Or something.

We got an email from our lawyer today with a final draft of our complaint which will be submitted to the district court in our county launching our lawsuit. He asked us to review it, come back to him with any suggestions/omissions, and that he will submit it Friday if we can get it back to him tomorrow.

I've long waited for this, it feels like it has been forever, even though it has been about five months since our first sit down meeting with the lawyer. He informed us that even though he has worked directly with their lawyers, they decided that they are still going forward with a foreclosure on us.

Okay. You want a fight, BOA. Hell hath no fury like me right now.

In March they returned our monthly payment to us with a "no thanks, we're foreclosing on you" letter. We have been putting our payments into a savings account since then, and if it turns out that they want it, it'll be there. Hopefully our lawsuit will result in them wanting to do business with us on the terms that we had renegotiated with Countrywide, that they have not honored.

We WANT to keep this house, we want to live here, we LIKE it, LOVE it and don't want to lose this.

I've got a lot of friends who in this last year have had to walk away from their homes for different reasons. I'm not there. I adore this building, and do not want it to fall into non-or disuse. I feel it is a treasure. I feel it is something that I took responsibility for when we bought it.

I cannot imagine next winter if we don't have this room in which I am currently sitting, with the woodstove cranking and the lovely wooden floors. I don't want to be anywhere else.

If it is meant to be, we'll win. And I truly hope that it is meant to be.

If you are a praying soul, please keep us in your prayers. I feel like my entire life is on hold, my emotions are so tied up in this. I had a small panic attack this morning when I got the email. But right now I am, as Shakespeare says "bloody, bold and resolute." Wish us luck.

Monday, May 16, 2011

So this is the verdict...

I had a saline infusion sono-hysterography. And we've discovered that I have a 6 cm by 4 cm fibroid (internal) and basically have three options.

1. Live with it. Periodically my period will be horrifying. But I wouldn't need surgery and the next 5 or 6 years would be ... annoying.
2. Have a Uterine Artery Embolization, which will kill the fibroid. My doctor said that this is about 80% effective. I could grow another fibroid in another part of the uterus, and have to deal with it later, but this one would get its little ass kicked by the UAE. One night in the hospital, 6-10 days recovery.
3. Get a hysterectomy. Which would be 100% effective, of course. 2 days in the hospital, about six weeks recovery.

Now, I spent about 35 minutes with my doctor talking things over. He said that if the fibroid was smaller we could have had a fourth option of an ablation (either heat or freezing). But this stupid fibroid is too big, so the ablation wouldn't work. He said there's a new procedure with some crazy tube and they shoot some stuff INTO the fibroid inside and it disintegrates the stupid thing, and then they use the tube thing to suck the inner evil workings of the fibroid out. Yes, that sounds super gross. But... it isn't an option just yet... most hospitals don't have that system installed and it would be a couple years before it was available to me.

A lot of people are telling me that I should not have a hysterectomy. I'm not really sure why, except it is based on their own experiences and thoughts. I'm not, as my doctor put it "attempting to preserve fertility" because heck, I don't want another baby. Ever. So that's not even a consideration for me. He said that a lot of women have a real, powerful, psychological/socio-psychological attachment to their uterus. My concern is mostly hormonal, whether or not I'd need hormone replacement therapies or if it would all just be "yay! it's over! I'll never get my period again. Woo hoooooooo!"


Anywho... Doug and I are going to talk about it, figure out what is best for me and what the impact on the family / life schedule of life would be, and we'll make our decision.

So that's the wrap-up on that...

Ultrasound Day and a General Roundup of Stuff

Not a lot has been happening in the week since we did that 48 hour film project. Steve and Brad said it was well received, but not THE funniest comedy that was offered up that night. Still, they said that it was good in comparison, and hopefully we'll win something. Long and the short of it though is that it was fun for me, and I'm so happy to have participated.

On Thursday night we had an event at work. Create a Cook partnered with Harpoon Brewery and presented a food and beer pairing night.

I worked exceptionally hard on print collateral but nowhere NEAR as hard as Jo, Sam, Heather, Lily and the others on the actual food stuffs. Doug came out by train and met Dave (of my Friday shenanigans) and me there. About 40 people were there ready to rock the house and have a great time.

The food was amazing. The beer was perfect. I didn't get to eat as much as I liked, especially of the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese... and I especially missed out on the sous vite pork with the beer sauce because I was wandering around SCHMOOZING on behalf of the school, answering questions about program offerings and whatnot.

My take-away box with canolis and cupcakes got EATEN by one of my dogs, so I was exceptionally mad at her for doing that. But all told it was a lot of fun. I look forward to it happening again sometime.

What else... hmmm. Oh -- Jess has been my Baking Fairy for the past couple weeks. She sleeps all day and then gets up around 4pm, hangs out with us, and when we go to bed she bakes. She's trying to perfect quickbreads. This morning I woke up to lemon pound cake and blueberry cake bread. The 11 pounds I've lost since Christmas may come back if she keeps it up.

And finally, today is the day I finally go to the doctor again for the follow-up Ultrasound to determine if there is anything wrong with my innards, and to discuss treatment plans for the menagoria I've been experiencing. So we'll see what happens next with that. I will, of course, keep you posted.

Anyway. That's about it. A very quiet, boring stretch here at the Way Out Inn, I must say.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Liveblogging: 48 Hour Film Project

So my friends at Playomatic, Steve and Allyson et al, do this awesome thing every year for the 48 hour film project, and I have long wanted to work on this process. This year, I am. Leigh and Steve asked me to help out, so Jess and I are here.

And I thought I would live blog it for them, since Steve doesn't have a Playomatic blog. And because he needs to like direct and stuff.

This entry will be edited repeatedly through the day. Check back often. Please.

The elements this year are as follows: Prop - Chess Piece. Genre - Film de Femme (a movie focusing on strong female characters, but not necessarily girls in roles that guys usually would have in society... so we are going ... super hero). Line - "I didn't see THAT coming!"

Working on the project right now are:
Steve and Allyson
Rachel and Abigail
Erik R.
and other people will be joining us later.

We are at Erik's home base, the Griffen Theatre in Salem MA, using the stage, props, back drop, and facilities.

Erik will be playing the White Queen. In Drag. His dress is amazing. And now we're picking out his wig... Rachel and Abigail will be playing the Goth Gyrlz, characters who have appeared in past Playomatic films... and Leigh will be playing Aunt Henrietta. She will get an extreme goth makeover in the end...

We brainstormed, wrote lines, have the general idea, and right now we're setting up the equipment. Erik and Jess are making up dialog in mock-german for Die Weisse Königin, and Erik even shaved his chest for the role.

Scott Smith, in da house.

Christine: Let's be creative
(looks at facebook instead).

Filming begins.... NOW!
Sound check with Erik - "Thing is, I can totally hear you petting your dead cat."

Steve says, "here we are, filming starting earlier than last year...."

"curse my orthodontist.... he said i wouldn't need braces!"
Erik's outtakes will be amazing.

My new job: Cat Wrangler

"Let's run down to the hardware store and say "I'm building a bomb, what do you have that looks bombish." Yeah. That'll go over well."

Shot the Goth Gyrlz and broke for lunch. Special guest appearance by Keri and Nastia who stopped in to visit. Getting ready to film Aunt Henrietta's big entrance, the Big Reveal, the Big Discovery.

My daughter needs to shoot a CO2 canister at Leigh for her entrance, It's like a fire extinguisher ... this could be very funny.

"What, we all recognize Uncle Hank by his genitalia????"

That went well. CO2 was very loud, the girls made great horrible funny faces. Leigh ad libbed great lines, the reveal is amusing. Scott is using a rubber hand on top of his head to balance the boom mic.

"Ally, can you tie up Erik, please." -Steve
"Didn't See THAT Coming!"- Scott

"I'm not that method, man." - Erik
"Dude, just take your pants off." -Steve

Shooting photos for the graphic novel segment of the movie. Pow! Slam! Stomp! Victory!

Wrote/edited the voiceover for the graphic novel segment for Scott's narration. If he can get through Die Weisse Königin without laughing, or only laughing a little bit, it'll be awesome.

Scott's narration is done, he's off to home. Hopefully we didn't miss anything (hopefully I didn't jinx us with that comment). Great to see him.... and the voice over is very comic book/Power Puff Girls, perfect.

"You know, you're like lactose intolerant, right?" - Flossie
"I totally forgot." -Jess

Jess gets to be in the movie, saved by the Goth Gyrlz... yay!

Longest. Attempt. For. 10. Seconds. Of. Humorous. Footage. EVAH!
Jess and the Goth Gyrlz could not keep it together, laughed hysterically through the takes. Painful, but worth it (we hope).

Brad posted a short video of "what passes as a special effect." Very Funny

Bubble stuff, and flame lighting. Oh my.

Jess and I are clear from the site. Great night, lots of fun, and I do not envy Steve and Brad now as they will be editing and creating the masterpiece tonight. Sending them heartfelt mojo and huge thanks for allowing us to participate.

Screening will be Wednesday night at the Kendall Theatre. Hoping we can make it in.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


I woke up this morning and my email contained a touch of sad news.

One of the parishioners at our church passed away yesterday. His name was Bill, and he was a good old man.

He and his wife Carmen were smiling beacons of kindness in the congregation, and they welcomed us lovingly when we joined.

Bill was a Marine, you could tell. He carried himself with a stern dignity that was somehow softened not just by his age and experience but by the hand of God. He always talked to Jessica, asking her about school and her college search. And while she was away, he asked us about how she was doing. He loved that she was studying languages and linguistics, because the world gets smaller every year and it is good that people know how to communicate.

Bill and Carmen were a lovely couple together, I loved to watch them talk, and interact with others. I took this picture in 2009 at our annual historical reenactment service, where our pastor dresses as George Whitefield. Carmen is wearing some sort of 18th century little hat thingie, most of the women in the church (and some men) dress up for the event. Bill didn't. Obviously.

Last year, Bill was struck down with cancer. He ended up in the hospital, had most of his intestines removed, fought hard, worked hard to beat it. I went to a job interview one day and drove past his rehab facility. I decided to drop in and visit. Boy, the smile on his face when I walked in.... I will never forget it. He and I had a good hour and a half to ourselves and we chatted about kids, raising them, working hard, being unemployed... his wife didn't drive so people would bring her to the rehab, and she came in with the folks who brought her that day and we had another hour together of laughing and visiting.

It's a day I will never forget.

Unfortunately, it is pretty much the last day I ever saw him. He got released from the rehab and went home, and everyone thought he was on the mend. In the fall, he got the news that the cancer had spread.

This past March he decided he'd had enough fighting, and stopped all treatment. He found it stupid and futile to keep poisoning himself when it wasn't doing any good.

He went out on his own terms.

Our pastor visited with him almost daily. I made plans to visit this week after we got back because I wanted to take Jessica to see him. Carmen told me that it was a really nice idea, but that she didn't think he'd make it and not to be surprised or let down.

Well, I am not surprised or let down. I am actually disappointed in myself for not going over sooner, without Jess.

Bill was a great guy, with a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that you could not help but join in with. I will miss him dearly.

Rest well, Marine. You've served honorably, you've lived righteously, you died on your own terms. It's all any of us can ask for, really.

Monday, May 02, 2011

My thoughts on OBL and the 10 year fugitive run

"I've never wished a man dead, but I've read some obituaries with great pleasure."
-Mark Twain
I'm taking a break from reading my facebook newsfeed to write an entry on what happened last night. Not that my opinions count or matter really, and there will be time to reflect more deeply on this, but I wanted to write down what I was thinking and feeling as the news unfolded and continues to unfold.

Last night Doug went to bed and I was on his heels when I took one last look at facebook, where a high school friend posted that Obama was getting ready to address the nation in moments. It was about 10:20pm, and Liam was freaking out. What was he going to talk about? What could he be suddenly addressing the nation for at 10:30 on a Sunday night? I jokingly said that he was interrupting all the TV broadcasts so he could specifically interrupt Donald Trump's TV Show. He had nothing to say, but because he is the president, heck ... he can do anything. "Oh hi, I'm the president! I can do anything I want! If I want to monkeywrench The Apprentice, I'll monkeywrench it! Hope you liked getting my birth certificate, Donald!" Liam thought that was funny. We wondered if it was something about Libya, Qadaffi, something like that. And he suggested Bin Laden.

Bin Laden hadn't been much of a mention in the past several months. The "Arab Spring" movements were filling the headlines, no one was really paying any attention to OBL and where he was hiding. I raised my eyebrow. Captured? Something? Dead?

I decided to go upstairs and get Doug. I figured if I did not and there was some Big News, he'd be mad at me. I also figured that if he didn't care, he'd roll over and go back to sleep and that would be his call. He jumped out of bed, news junkie that he is, and we came downstairs to watch.

Eventually the talking heads on the TV stations that we were bouncing around (CNN/Fox/MSNBC/Local News) came out and announced that Bin Laden had been killed in a compound invasion.

Initially I had an "America, Fuck Yeah!" moment where the song from Team America was ringing through my head. And then I got a little sick to my stomach about the "Oh dear, what happens next?" Doug said that all the sleeper cells across the world might just use this as the moment to wake up and strike hard.

I then got a little sicker in my stomach watching the news roll in of people celebrating in the streets. Most of them were very young when 9/11 happened, maybe 10 or 11 years old, and there they are screaming in the streets like the home town hockey team just won the Stanley Cup. Any excuse to party, right?

The president came on and did his address, dispelled some of the unconfirmed reports that this happened the week before or a month before or whatever, and confirmed it had happened this day. So no joke, he didn't want to interrupt Donald Trump, he had news to share.

I then started to think about the vacuum that his persona would leave behind, and the next in command, the ladder climbers, the real haters in the operation who upon ascending to the high seat will really flex the muscles and strike out at us.

Reading through the responses on Facebook, there was a lot of jubilation, a lot of cheering, a lot of "this is pointless, it will not bring anyone back..." a lot of "Great, now can the TSA stop bothering us at the airport, for crying out loud?"

And there were sobering thoughts. Bible quotes, fears, sadness. And then other comments to those statuses saying "can't you just be happy for a minute? Enjoy the moment!"

Several of my friends posted profound quotes, but I loved what Molly had to say (Eeka's Molly) with this:
"Although I find it rather a relief to know that bin Laden is gone, I can't help but think of the midrash in which God chastisted the angels for rejoicing at the Egyptians' destruction at the Sea of Reeds..."My creations are drowning, and you want to sing?" Many emotions and reactions are appropriate. Wild cheering and partying are not. Carry on."
I was suddenly aware of the fact that when the news shows Arabs dancing in the street and celebrating with guns shooting into the air after 9/11 or when a suicide bomber takes out a Jerusalem marketplace full of Jews and Western Tourists, we call them "savages," but here are our own people dancing in the street and freaking out. It made me very ashamed for some reason.

My friend Ann posted that it broke her heart to know this man was dead, and did not stand the chance of accepting Salvation through Christ. Basically, yes. But he led a life that said that he rejected our Christ and was a full enemy to him, so do we necessarily weep for that or do we say "you made your bed, you sleep in it, for eternity..." Honestly? We all have an end-date to our lives, and he lived his right up to the end as an enemy to Judaism and Christianity, to anything other than his philosophy of hate. What can we say to that? As Christians or as anyone else. Is this "justice?" And as Christians, don't we believe that those who do what he did deserve justice, not just here but after at the hand of God? Can we not say that this WAS the hand of God giving him finally what he "deserved?"

And then there were jokes, some of them awful, most of them involved Donald Trump. And sadly one made me laugh out loud but I feel guilty for it. "Okay, okay, on a scale of from Anne Frank to Osama, how was my hiding place?" This will be used in hide and seek going forward, I guess.

I'm proud of the soldiers and Navy Seals who managed to put this together and execute it so quickly. But I have concerns and questions. I'm upset by the fact that he's probably been hiding in Pakistan all this time, and Pakistan didn't do anything about it. He basically was living next door to Pakistan's "West Point." You would think Army guys would ... know? Do something? Anything? Maybe? I do not like that he wasn't captured and put on trial. But then again, at what cost financially to the country would a lengthy trial be? Who would try him? Would he just end up in GITMO like so many other big whigs who have been sitting there for about 10 years? And what is this 'burial at sea' thing that they pulled off mere minutes after killing him? Why? I mean, I'm not calling out a conspiracy theory, and I know that parading his body around is ghoulish and wrong, but ... so fast? Everyone is concerned about whether or not it was in adherence to Islamic Law, but I really don't care about that. I really don't.

It feels like a hollow victory also, as I remember two of my classmates who died in the Twin Towers, my friend Mike who is a firefighter in NYC who had to deal with the aftermath and the loss of over 300 of his Brothers. Nothing will bring any of them back.

On that note...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Home Home Again

We got back late last night from a brief trip out to Western PA to get Jess and bring her back. Her freshman year is complete. Waiting now to get the grades for this semester. I hope they are as good as her first semester. I feel like this year dragged and flew at the same time. If that makes any sense at all.

Geoff didn't come with us on this trip. His 8th grade class takes a trip to Washington DC each spring, so we planned our departure for the same day as his. He was exceptionally excited to go on this trip: he started packing the day he got home from the Boy Scout bike trip; he obsessed over being ready. He wanted new clothes and a hair cut (he got new shirts but we didn't get his hair cut -- I want him to keep it longer through the summer for Shakespeare because it just looks so curly and cool).

Our dog sitter came over Tuesday night to go through the routine and say hi to the dogs. Doug bugged out of work early so he was here at 5:30. We all ended up at Kohl's and the Petsmart (for guinea pig litter) and then a lovely dinner at Unos together. We had a great chat, and Geoff was on edge about getting home to pack. We got him all organized and he stayed up until after midnight, and then got up at 4am and showered, paced the house, and waited for me to get up at 6.

We brought his stuff to school and he took off like a shot. Bye! Have a nice trip!

I went home and laid down on the bed. Doug let me fall back asleep while he packed and cleaned. The last load of laundry had to dry... So me getting a little extra rest was a good thing. We left at about noon, and headed to Chris & Chrissy Kelly's down near Scranton. It has been a really long time since Doug has had the time to spend with Chris on one of these trips. Usually he (Doug) is in a hurry to get all the way there. This time he felt like taking his time. We stayed the night, had beer and wings (the wings conquered us, unfortunately) and enjoyed Hockey Night in Scranton watching the Bruins beat the hated Canadiens and the Penguins (unfortunately) lose.

We dragged our feet in the morning, Doug and Chris were exceptionally chatty and it was nice to listen to them go at it in playful argument and discussion. We hit the road at noon, and got to our hotel at about 5pm. Doug's parents met us for dinner, and we had a really nice time.

Normally we stay up by the mall, but Doug wanted to save money so we stayed at the Willows Inn down in Industry. We saved 30 bucks a night, but it was kind of super awful. I'm on the verge of a Yelp review that will not be ... kind. Normally, I save my snark and don't really pour it out there, but ... yeah.

Doug and I decided that to save 30 bucks a night to sleep on weird smelling pillows... we'd suck it up and pay a little more and go up by the mall.

Anyway, Friday morning we went down to Pittsburgh. Jess' friend had asked my help in moving stuff into storage because she had no way to get things there. Jess later told me that she did have friends with cars and that I got played, but ...whatever. I'm helpful. Because I agreed to do this my husband and daughter went out to lunch. I had fun helping C move her stuff into storage, and she was worried that she wasn't going to have enough room in the storage unit for her stuff... but it turned out that she did so we went back and got more.

We got to Jess's dorm and Jess was angry with me that I took so much time with C. Part of it was traffic... I can't help that there was an accident in my way. But she was so ready to go, and so bitchy. She swore that she had not accumulated anything, but turns out she sure the hell did. Our entire hatchback and the back seat was basically full -- just enough room for Jess to squeeze in the back. It's a good thing we didn't have Geoff with us.

She simmered down a bit by the time we made it out of the city. We got to Doug's parents and Jess put enough things into storage there in their garage so that there would be room enough for her to ride home comfortably. After we emptied out the car, reorganized, reset, we headed out to Ohio to visit with Doug's grandmother. It has been quite a while since we'd gone to see her, I think it was Mother's Day 2009 the last time we went out, the same weekend we buried his other grandma.

She is 93, and a sharp cookie. We had a nice visit, a bunch of laughs. She keeps saying that she can't believe she is lucky enough to see us again when we come. It kind of breaks my heart. She walked us down to the exit with her walker thingie and hugged me so hard. And she beamed at us as we left. I wanted to cry.

Doug's dad always takes us on little tours of where his people are buried in eastern Ohio. Doug patiently tolerates it... I think it bores him because it is the same each time. I didn't expect it this time because the light was fading fast. But I want to bring a GPS and mark them so that we have a record of these things. He's obviously wanting us to make an effort at connecting to his family's past so ... I'll make the effort.

Second night in the hotel was good, Jess slept in a chair because she didn't want us to bother the hotel at 10pm and get a cot. And then she complained about it being uncomfortable.

We stopped to see Diane, J and the kiddos at their new house, which is awesome, and they have a pool, and my niece and nephew are horribly fun and entertaining and I love them.

We knew our dog sitter was not going to be able to stay at the house Saturday night. That came as a surprise to us.... as she emailed it to me on Thursday to let me know that her mom wanted her home. So we discussed driving straight through, or having our neighbor let them out at 9pm and again in the morning. I figured they'd be frantic left home alone overnight. We have never done that to them.

Traffic was mercifully very light, and we made it from Beaver Falls to home in about 10 hours. We didn't stop for dinner. We stopped for gas and burgers somewhere in Connecticut. We got home to watch the newly minted Dr. Who on the DVR and go to bed... I think I fell asleep at 1am.

Geoff's bus was scheduled to arrive between 8am and 9am this morning. I checked in online with one of his friends with facebook on his phone to find out their arrival time. I went and got Geoff a doughnut and me a coffee, and headed over to the school. The parking lot was a disaster, hugely crowded and horrible, and Geoff ended up getting a ride with someone else while I was stuck in traffic. I was so angry. So incredibly angry. Horrifyingly, head splittingly angry.

I actually have not been this angry in so many years... I think that biologically there is something in our brains that keeps us from murdering our kids. That is the only thing I think that has kept this boy alive. Oy. I called home and told Doug that my urge to kill was rising, and he laughed at me, which is not good, and he told Geoff that he'd better be ready to apologize to me the second I walked in the door. I was greeted with open arms and "mom! So glad to see you!" which made me even more angry.

I got over it.

I'm happy right now to have all my family home in one place. And no one has had a fight, yet. Yet. And I haven't killed anyone.

Welcome May... Looking forward to this summer.