What I Learned This Year

Legal process is slooooow.  And expensive.  But expensive because it’s slow.   And I’ve had enough of it.  For my part, it is over.  I have no desire to ever, ever see the inside of any courthouse for as long as I live.  But I won’t be so naïve to assume the day will never come again. 

Conversely, A wedding can be planned and executed in less than 2 months.  To think most weddings take at least a year to plan, it has to be some kind of miracle to be able to put together an intimate wedding for 70 in less than 2 months.  Of course, I had a little help from my mother, a caterer herself.  We three went out to dinner together and planned the food and the libations, and the event itself to be held at her restaurant.  I ordered a wedding dress which was delivered and altered within three weeks of the wedding.  Todd designed the invitations and had them printed through his professional contacts.  He made our chuppah, which still stands in mom’s courtyard today, though dusty with snow instead of threaded with flowers from our gardens.  And – the whole thing cost less than a quarter of my aforementioned legal fees.

People don’t change.  This isn’t a negative statement, just a matter-of-fact.  It was this long-ago revelation, along with a few important others, that led me down the path I walk today.  My stepfather says, “leopards don’t change their spots.”  He was referencing a particular individual, but it really applies to most everyone – in the general sense.  You are who you are.  Only you can change who you are, and you cannot change someone else.  A family member recently acknowledged – like I recently have – that we are in our forties.  So, if he is seeking someone special to share his life with – she should accept him as he is, the whole package, the good and the bad – because he is who he is and he’s not going to change.  I happen to embrace this idea.

There’s always a second chance.  This is a big one.  But there’s a catch:  second chances don’t usually come knocking on your front door.  Go out and seize your second chance!  And if, by some miracle or invention, it does come to you with little or no encouragement then by all means… open the God-damned door!  In my life, I got one really big second chance.  It was magical – like the gentle fall of snow around two lovers stealing a kiss in the moonlight… it was wonderful – like the first time you realize that he really does love you like that…. and it was awesome – like the rush of friends and family who came in like holiday shoppers to a Black Friday doorbuster, to witness the second chance sealed for eternity before God, a well-stocked bar, my mother’s buffet, and four dogs.

Know when to accept help when it is offered.  One year ago my internal coping coil imploded.  Without revisiting that particularly painful period of time, suffice it to say that when I went to my family doctor to evaluate a lingering cough, she strongly recommended I start some medication to help me overcome the brick wall I’d been slammed into over the holidays.  Thankfully it stopped the broken dam in my eyes, and everything came back into focus over time.  And that’s just one example.   It’s been a slow – albeit, ongoing – process, this learning to accept help… even to ask for it, since I have always been of the “do it myself” constitution.  As this year comes to a close, I’ve had to release my hold on control of some of the minute things, if not for sanity – then for my health. 

Ask for what you want.  I recently remembered one of Randy Pausch’s statements in his book, The Last Lecture.  It kind of correlates with accepting help from others.  I’ve not only had to start saying “yes” to help, I’ve also had to learn how to comfortably ask others for things I would normally shrug off and do myself, or assume I’m not going to get.  The lesson learned is, ASK.  The worst thing that can happen is that the answer will be no.  And if it’s not “no,” then you just might get what you want!  Even if it’s just a cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey, made by your awesome husband.

My kids need more chores and household responsibilities.  I think this one is self-explanatory.  Both of them are good kids, but both of them have been living in this all-inclusive, resort-like bubble whereby mom takes care of everything while they just “exist” in my house.  So, I hereby decree that the Marriot Grande Momma will close in 2013.  Kid #1 claims he deserves more “responsibility” since he’s in middle school now; unfortunately, this translation to him as meaning he gets to stay home alone from time to time is a bit misguided.  Kid #2 will gladly help her beloved momma – she just needs direction – and at age 7, she is ripe for “training,” before she is taller and the tween years blow in like a hurricane.

I am not old, but I am not young.  I go about my every day like a ball of energy.  I am high-strung, wound tight, and on the go most days.  Just like doing it all myself, I also tend to keep going until I fall to bed exhausted from the day’s responsibilities.  I get up at 6 every week day to get kid #1 off to school, then  kid #2 off to school, then it’s time for coffee and showering and cleaning up the kitchen and straightening up the house, vacuuming, starting a load of laundry, pissing around on Facebook for bit before starting back to my own schoolwork…. all the while fielding phone calls from the nurse until kid #1 gets home and then I’m off to go pick up kid #2 … and then it’s time for homework help and dinner and showers and bedtime and then checking blood sugars at least twice during the night… before I wake up at 6 to start the whole process over again.  Where’s the break in there?  Or, where’s the food?  Which all leads to another big lesson of the year…

I am not a rat.  Being not young means I need to slow down.  Those all-nighters we proudly bragged about back in college, where we sat up all night in the dormitory’s study lounge slugging down cappuccinos and Pepsi, finishing term papers and studying for finals, werememorable moments we can fondly recall on our favorite social outlet.  But those days are long over.  I need more rest.  Similarly, I cannot live on caffeine and the occasional grab-food alone.  One of my kids’ favorite movie quotes of all time is from Ratatouille:  “Food is fuel.  Now shut up and eat your garbage.”  We laugh about it from time to time, but truth be told – I have been eating more garbage than fuel.  Too much alcohol.  Too much caffeine, not enough water.  Not enough fruit, vegetables, whole grains.  All of these factors are closely lined up like dominoes, and once one goes down, they all go down.  And that’s where I found myself at the end of 2012, lying in the emergency room for 9 hours dehydrated and trembling from 3 hours of violent vomiting, hooked up to a heart monitor, blood pressure cuff, two IV’s and four bags of fluids, on morphine and Zofran, and facing admittance for observation on Christmas Eve.  Blood tests, EKG, chest x-ray, abdominal CT scan, and a flu swab… all offered no explanation for the low blood pressure for which they would not release me.  A very valuable lesson, learned I did.  When your body tells you to slow down, you don’t continue to barrel ahead on your picture-perfect holiday expectations like a nut-chasing squirrel on crack.

Stress will destroy you.  Like Gollum’s Precious, it will slowly drive your body to the precipice.  Last year, stress stole my emotional stability, exacerbated ridiculous injuries that refused to heal without some medical intervention, sabotaged my mental agility in my academic progress,  cost me $1400 in periodontal surgery, made me justifiably paranoid over my own decisions, shattered my motivation to run, and opened the door to countless minor illnesses – the last of which was sinusitis turned relentless cough (same time, last year), driving me to the doctor last week for a chest x-ray and subsequent treatment for pneumonia. 

It’s in God’s hands.  At some point we all have to let go of that which we cannot control.  I did so out of faith, but also because I had the good sense to recognize that I needed something bigger than me.  I gave my fears over to Him, because I believed with my whole soul that He would restore me and deliver me from the hell I couldn’t slam the door on (even in the midst of second chances).   I also knew that – like that second chance – things would turn out exactly the way they were meant to.  But it’s not only just in God’s hands – I learned how strong prayer can be when many people pray together.  I have firsthand knowledge of this, and no – I’m no religious fruitcake.   I don’t need you to believe.  But you will.  Someday. 

Money isn’t the most important thing in life – Love and Family are.  Everyone worries about money, and I’m no exception.  I’ve spent a good portion of my life chasing the elusive almighty greenback.  And money is tight, and the bills are sometimes late, and I have lost plenty of sleep over my lawyer’s bill.  What I learned the most this year was to let it all go.  Todd taught me that.  Worrying about it doesn’t change it – and we will eventually overcome the debt.  Everything will get paid.  So…we’ve decided to quit our jobs and live on LOVE.  Okay, seriously.  We are not so stupid not to know how good we have it.  We are blessed beyond our wildest dreams of 3 years ago, when we didn’t know where to find each other and had no idea we ever would, again.  We have each other.  And we have our two undeniably wonderful families we have joined together, who have loved and supported us since day 1.  Todd’s and my families belong to both of us – it is effortless and easy – like chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and ganache.  Again, we are so very blessed.

Take time for what IS important.  My kids are important, my family is important.  Making time for my kids – doing stuff they like to do, making eye contact in the rush of daily life and wrapping my arms around them every chance I get.  Spending time with my family – all of my family – celebrating birthdays and all of our holidays, and laughing together and being appreciative of the how fleeting it can be.  Todd.  Not just being married, but spending time together – focused time – to be friends and lovers, experiencing life side-by-side, looking ahead but remembering who we were.  And last, but not least – sometimes the most important time is the time I almost never take – the time I take for me

The key question to keep asking is, are you spending your time on the right things?   
Because time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think. 
 ~  Randy Pausch
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Rock Bottom Day

Some days are like this.  I am normally a positive, upbeat, full of faith person of reasonable intelligence.  But we all have those days, the days when you wake up and forget to thank God for His blessings and another day to find joy.  It makes you wonder what you were dreaming about, before the eerie chimes of the cell phone alarm begin ringing like hells bells.  And I dream A LOT – most likely a side effect of frequent waking to check on my daughter’s blood sugar.  The luxury of jumping back into a pleasant dream is lost, but avoiding a recap of the nightmare du jour is a relief.  I digress.

I put my daughter on the bus this morning.  If I hadn’t mentioned it previously, she didn’t ride the bus until this year.  Last year, amid all the other changes we were experiencing, I elected to drive my children to school – for not only continuity’s sake but for the sake of safety as well. Putting my T1 daughter on the school bus – out of my reach and her glucose meter – was something akin to pulling out of my driveway blindfolded….  Sure, I can’t see what’s coming, but I can feel the prickling of danger on the back of my neck.  But this year, she begged and begged to please let her ride the bus and I – in my continuous effort to avoid saying “no” to such ordinary things that other parents don’t give a second thought to – let her be a normal kid and conceded.  There are so many things that I have to think about, and so many times when the answer just has to be “no.”  And trust me –there isn’t a single kid out there with diabetes who doesn’t know what it’s like to have to consider every little detail in their lives.  Not one who doesn’t know what it feels like to know they are “different.”  And that’s where this story begins.

I put my daughter on the bus this morning.  My very independent, boiling cauldron of fire – who, at 7 years old, showers on her own, dresses herself like a typical teenager, does her own hair, is apparently dating someone, and completes her homework on most days with no help from me – stepped onto the bus and sat down in the first row.  Through the tinted window her little head was turned toward me, so small is she that half of her face is invisible below the window.  I waved a cheery wave at her and turned back up the drive as the bus pulled away.  It’s like this every day that she rides (and admittedly, there are days when I still drive her), and every one of those days I wait for the absence of those pangs of anxiety.  It’s been 4 months, and I am still waiting.  Today, though, whatever the reason… I just started to cry. 

I think about her, all of her independence and her assertions that she is “old enough” to do this, and capable of “that.”  I see her impish grin, as she jumps furniture in the living room like she’s jumping rocks in a river.  “Watch this!” She implores.  And I hear myself tell her impatiently to stop jumping on the furniture like that, feeling edgy because I’m sick, and agitated by the velocity of time.  I think about how she challenges me on every God-forsaken thing, demanding my justification for whatever it is she sees differently, and never taking no for an answer.  I think about how she screams indignantly when things don’t go her way, or when Owen is teasing her mercilessly, and how nasty she can be towards me when her blood sugars are high.  Or low.  Or on target.  I think about how she wraps her arms around me and hugs me with the ferocity of a python, and tells me I’m the best mom ever.  I think about all the little notes and drawings she makes me, testifying her intense love for me and how much she likes being with me.  I find them everywhere, she makes them almost every day.  And today, for some reason, it just hit me like a summer heat wave on blacktop.  She loves me so much.  She loves me the way I loved my mother, when I was a little girl.  The woman she looks up to for guidance, reassurance, and approval – the woman who is her “rock” and on whom she knows she can depend for anything – the woman who is her very best friend in the whole world, who will never intentionally hurt her, and with whom she is safe to always be herself, no matter if her self  on any particular day is behaving like a monster.  The woman she feels she would be lost without.  And fresh tears sprang to my eyes.

I put this little girl on the bus this morning.  I never see her as vulnerable, but rather – she is strong and capable – like me.   I do not focus on her limitations, or her diabetes, or anything.  I don’t make excuses for who she is, or for her bad behavior – regardless of its cause.  Seeing her small head through that window this morning, it pulled at the fragile threads of my emotional existence.  I’m an extremely emotional person, I’m just good at keeping it from running away without my permission.  She is just a little girl.  A little girl whose very life depends on my ability to be her pancreas, on an insulin pump not failing, and a glucose meter being within arms reach at every minute of the day.  And now she is old enough to grasp the dangers that accompany her disease, with every question she asks me… what happens if I don’t get my insulin?  Will I die?  What happens if I take too much insulin?  Can I die?  How long will you live mom?  Who will change my infusion sites after you die?  Who will take care of me, when you’re not there anymore?

I put my daughter on the bus this morning.  Knowing that I’m just a phone call away, if something goes wrong, and yet – this bus driver wouldn’t be able to save my child’s life, if it came to it.  She doesn’t have glucagon on the bus with her.  My daughter can test herself, and she does feel her lows.  So, as a condition of riding the bus, she must carry her own supplies in her backpack: meter, snacks, and candy.  She knows what constitutes a low.  She doesn’t have to know the calculations that I use – she just has to test herself and grab some candy.  I had to tell her that I trust her not to sneak this candy, just because she can.  I had to empower her to speak up and tell the person in charge – teacher, nurse, bus driver – that she feels “low.”  There is absolutely NO room for shyness.  And THIS was the most important thing she has had to learn in the two years she has been in public school, while exercising her rights to attend school and have peers.

For the last 5 years I have focused only on today – what we are doing today – and I keep my head down and plow ahead with the daily routine of a diabetic child.  There’s never been any room for any negative thoughts to pass through my mind.  Her father used to accuse me of “not caring” about her condition – because I didn’t bawl my eyes out every single day after June 2007.  I cried plenty of tears – for 5 days in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – I opened the floodgates and released all the pain and the shock of watching my pale and lethargic daughter hooked up to every machine imaginable, nauseated over the recurring revelations that she will need insulin shots for the rest of her life, my ears still ringing from the news and her tiny screams for five solid days.  But the day I walked out of that hospital with her in my arms and a bag full of diabetes supplies, I felt only the nausea that accompanies the fear of failure, and complete physical exhaustion.  I was done crying.  I subconsciously made the decision – to use an old tired cliché – to just do it.  What other choice did I have?  That’s where I get confused when other people say, “oh, I could never do that.”  I brushed off my positive attitude and Ava – amidst her supernatural strength to fight me off – today has learned to live with a disease she hates.  She accepts the routine, but there are many times she resents that she can’t just grab a pretzel, or a cookie whenever she feels like it.

I put my daughter on the bus this morning.  After another of those nights where she is telling me how much she hates diabetes.  How it’s not fair.  How she wishes she didn’t have to “wear this stupid pump.”  She hates too frequent site changes, when her sugar is high and we have to change out the site – again.  And why doesn’t Owen have diabetes?  She hates that her friends – all 7 and 8-year-olds – don’t know that her pump is not a cell phone and that she is allowed to carry a bag with snacks and candy in it.  She doesn’t want me operating her pump in front of them.  It’s disheartening that she is no longer a toddler who was more concerned with avoiding the shots and testing – now it’s all about appearances, and who’s watching.   

I put my daughter on the bus this morning.  After she told me she didn’t want to have children.  Why not? I asked.  Because I don’t want them to have diabetes like me.  It would’ve hurt less if John Cena had kicked me in the stomach.  I was so stunned, I had to turn away for a moment so she couldn’t see my face.  I quickly tried to recover my emotions before she could see the tears in my eyes, so that I could tell her that just because she has diabetes – it does not mean any child of hers would.  I often tell people who ask about my children, that she is 7 going on 14.  In some ways she is wise beyond her years, which is why I treat her more like an adult sometimes.  When I put her on the bus this morning, I saw the baby she is – so tough, yet fragile, so very young and impressionable.  And remembered that I am still her rock – the woman she looks to for knowledge and strength – the best friend who will teach her how to manage her diabetes when she is ready, and who will remind her to do it with a “nothing can stop me” attitude.

I put my daughter on the bus this morning, because nothing can stop her.  Because the little girl who knows it all will forget for another day the injustice of a damaged pancreas, and will remember that she also told me that “someday I won’t have a pump anymore.”

Don’t let your struggle become your identity. ~ unknown

Lovers, Bloodsuckers, and Nonsense

Revelations, Long Overdue and What I Learned Since Last Time:

November 6th came and went.  The wrong candidate won.  The right candidate won.  And twenty-four days later, nothing has changed.  The world did not go to hell in a hand basket.  The woman that cut me off at the elementary school today, who thinks she’s better than the procedure to go around the back of the middle school to park for parent pick-up, should go to hell in a hand basket.   And not because she thinks she’s exempt from the “do not enter” signs – but because she has a window decal depicting a stick figure pissing on the name of a certain politician.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  I can’t believe I am admitting how naïve I am, but I honestly have been grateful for the “peace” I’ve had over the last few months with my children, andtheir father.  However, some things never change.  He still thinks I’m stupid.  I know this because he actually thinks I should just sign over the deed to our house, free and clear – just like the car, the dog, and my diamond ring.  Somebody got it wrong, chivalry is dead – but schizophrenia is alive and well.

And, speaking of blood suckers,  I hereby confirm 2012 the absolute worst year for fleas in the history of insects.  My cat doesn’t even go outside.  Yet this particular cancer has plagued him since April and there’s no resolution in sight.  I thought we were home free in early October after his third round of wormer and the cold weather moving in.  As of today, I have bombed the house four times in 6 months, spent $80 on wormer and approximately $120 on Frontline.  Add another $10 for flea shampoo, which was an absolute waste since it only removes the live ones currently residing in his orange forest, and of course they all migrate to his mouth and eyeballs while you’re shampooing him – making for a scene no less freakish than the dude in Poltergeist scratching his eyes out until they bleed.  And poor Oliver, with his front paws clinging to the faucet like a flood victim clinging to a tree, and traumatized by the prolonged contact with running water and an unsuccessful, clawless escape from the bathtub, finds the voice that will inhabit every nightmare I ever have for years to come – crying out for mercy in the name of, I kid you not,  “Ahh- i- ver!  Ahh- i – ver!”

On that note, I have discovered that I can easily spend $100 in less than an hour, in 3 different stores.  First stop – wormer at the vet for $20.  Second stop – Advantage 4-month supply at Petco, $61.  Last stop, liquor store for a BIG-ASS bottle of wine, $8.  An extra stop for the hubs and me to cheat on our healthy diet – one medium Stromboli from our neighborhood pizza stop – $11.  We’ll just pretend none of this ever happened.

I found out that my 7-year-old daughter is dating someone.   She got into the car at parent pick-up the other day and announced she wanted to tell me something.  Okay, I said, what is it?  She said, “well, maybe I better not tell you… you might get mad.”  Now this is maddening.  After I told her it’s impolite to get someone’s attention by saying you have something to tell them, and then saying “nevermind,” she said, “Trevor and I are dating.”  Oh.  She said, “we are.  He really likes me, and I really like him.”  Well, that’s very nice.  He seemed like a nice little boy at the Halloween parade, especially when he politely asked me for help with his costume.  “And he said I looked hot today.” Okay, not so nice.  Doncha just love those parenting moments when you are left absolutely speechless??  And how the hell do second-graders date??  What does this consist of, exactly??

One of my dear friends is pregnant with her first child!  I was so excited by this news,  I almost didn’t notice the blood pouring out of my daughter’s head from an “accidental” collision with her brother and a hammer.  Anyway, it was all I could do not to share childbirth horror stories… you know, as payback for the one she told about me about fifteen years ago how some women poop during delivery.  That story scarred me for years, until I got pregnant with my firstborn and had no choice but to confront that particular atrocity of childbirth.   (Thank goodness I never had to.)  Ava made a full recovery by the way.  That is, from her head wound.

And, while we’re on the subject of violence, I learned that my son is finally an adolescent.  You know – the kind that doesn’t tell you he stopped going to school 2 weeks ago until you hear it from the authorities.  I was saving this for a more in-depth study of middle school, but I learned – several weeks ago and several weeks after it happened – not that he quit school, but why my son doesn’t want to hang with his “best friend” anymore.  He’d made comments before about how he is “mean” sometimes, but he failed to mention that this kid just might be a homicidal maniac.  Apparently – and I still don’t quite know what prompted this – dude grabbed my son by the neck and attempted to strangle him on school grounds during a weekend football game.  WHY didn’t you tell me this before?!  I fiercely implored him, in my most gentle mother’s voice.  And he succinctly replied, “I don’t know.”  This is one of those moments in motherhood where you want to confront the kid, who probably outweighs me by 20 pounds, and ask him WTF his problem is.  But more importantly, WHY didn’t my kid TELL me??  And then I remembered.  He’s 12.  I know I never told my mom about the girls in middle school who tormented me mercilessly – and one who actually followed me in the hall one day on the way to gym class, and kept sticking me with a pin.  She – by the way – can also go to hell in a hand basket, on the high-speed rail.  Some things, no matter that it was 31 years ago, should never go unpunished.

On a lighter note…The new girlfriend seems disarmingly friendly, and… happy.  I guess I should have expected her to accompany the ex to our (hopefully) last “business” hearing, where they two sat on the other side of the waiting room while our lawyers ironed out the wrinkles in what should have been a seamless agreement, oh – I don’t know – fourteen months ago.  But as Todd and I battled each other in endless rounds of Words With Friends, the two of them chattered away and giggled like a couple of teenagers.  I actually liked it.  I liked how she laughed, the unbridled giddiness she had was charming, and it just bubbled over when I decided to introduce myself and she reached out and gave me a solid handshake and……………said,……… “thank you.”  Huh??  She thanked me for giving him up, or giving him to her, or something like that – I don’t know, I was so surprised I was momentarily speechless and wasn’t sure I’d heard her right.  She clarified with how awesome he is and how much she just loves him.  What the hell do I say to THAT??!  I choked back the urge to say, “well, good luck with that,” and instead could only stutter something like, “oh, uh, oh… you’re welcome.”  I think he was just as stunned as I was.  I smiled my most genuine smile, because I already like her… because I bet she’s a great person… and because I hope that she will inspire him to be the man she thinks he is.  Maybe he really will try to be a better man, because of her.  However, off the record – hell has not frozen over and there’s always another “shoe.”  Because I’ve been hit by it too many times not to be poised to duck.

Periodontal surgery is a great way to lose weight.  Those of you who know me will insist I don’t need to lose any, and I surely don’t want to sound unappreciative or pretentious… it’s just that my jeans have gotten really really tight over the last several months.  I have effectively gained about 15 pounds since this time last year.  The surgery was a skin graft, so I had a wound on the roof of my mouth with stitches and the graft site itself was stitched.  I spent the next two weeks eating nothing but mashed potatoes, applesauce, and ice cream, unable to laugh normally and worse – smiling at everyone like Joan Crawford after a stroke.  When I was finally cleared for “chewing,” I moved up to soup and soft foods cut up into small pieces.  So, I lost 9 pounds.  At least I can now pull my pants up without holding my breath and a pair of pliers to pull the zipper up.
Other miscellaneous tidbits…

·         Fleas, of the Siphonaptera order of insects, have a lifespan of about one year, but can live for several years under the right conditions.  (I don’t know what these are, and I really don’t want to.)  In case you don’t already know, they don’t have wings –  but they can actually jump vertically up to 7 inches and up to 13 inches horizontally.  Their primary goal in adulthood is to suck blood and reproduce… the females laying 20 eggs at a time, and upwards of 5000 over their lifespan. In some recent research, I read that baking soda sprinkled into carpet and fibers is a safe (for people and pets) method for getting rid of fleas by dehydrating them.  I hope to give this a try in the very near future.

·         George Lucas sold his company to Disney for $4.05 billion.  Disney apparently is tentatively planning a release of a Star Wars VII movie for 2015, though there is little else we know about the movie other than that Lucas will be consulting on it.  Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher have all expressed interest in the possibility of reprising their characters.  And, in Disney’s selfless and continuing effort to meet public demand, we can also look forward to Star Wars-themed attractions and merchandise. 

·         And now for a little shameless brag:  My son made High Honors on his first middle school report card, and is doing well in Pre-Algebra a month after most kids – according to the teacher – will either swim, or sink.  My daughter is thoroughly enjoying the 2ndGrade, her performance is on-level, and she made the Respect and Responsibility list – the elementary’s version of honor roll.  All of her teachers call my little firecracker “a love.”  I told ya before – hoodwinked

·         The hubs and I got goofy yesterday listening to youtube – I couldn’t believe he had never heard Do They Know It’s Christmastime by Bandaid, and afterward he got inspired to put on We Are the Worldand suddenly we were pissing ourselves laughing.  I realized that if Daffy Duck was a recording artist, he’d sound like Bob Dylan.  Can I just say, there’s one thing wrong with the Bandaid song.  It’s that lyric, “well, tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you.”  Why in the name of the Christmas would I ever thank God someone else is living in famine and poverty… instead of me?  Like, gee – that’s horrible! – well, thank God it aint me!  Okay, stepping down now.

·         And one more public service announcement:  I am making a written list of all the speeders on the road in front of my house.  Taking no prisoners, just taking down company names on the sides of trucks and, if I can catch them, license plates too.  So, either slow the barnacle down, or make sure you’re driving 70 so the identifying info is a blur.  Thank you.  Goodnight.