About The Great Unwashed

I enjoy nonsense. I have a large family. I do bathe, just not often.

Fear in Room 134

The teacher stomped into the room like a soldier marching on Germany. She was tall, and had the kind of figure that people describe as big boned but no one would ever have the courage to say as much to her. All of this was overshadowed by her voice, when she talked, Ms. L’Ethope gave me the same feeling that I get as an adult whenever I cross the border.

“Any weapons or explosives?” the Homeland Security official will ask, peering into my car as though I’m already suspect. And even though I’ve only ever fired a gun twice and would run in the opposite direction of a hand grenade, I always feel guilty, like maybe I forgot about the eight semi-automatic rifles I packed next to my toiletries.

“You all did your homework,” Ms. L’Ethope would boom. It was a statement and an accusation, like she wouldn’t believe all of us lazy, high-school ingrates even if it was true. From my seat in the front row, I caught each blast of a word straight on.

She was a terror, not just to me, but even to the slackers that tried to skip her class. Five minutes into the period one day, she looked around the room, as though assessing all of us – I can only assume we failed the evaluation – before clomping out the door. She returned a minute later all but pulling a boy by his ear. “You do not skip my class to smoke,” she barked. The boy in question was too dumb to cower and laughed in response, but he did sit obediently in his seat until the bell rang. He was there every day from that point on.

I couldn’t imagine skipping her class. Forget presenting a doctor’s note if I’d been sick, I’d want my actual doctor to stand next to me and testify that the only reason I missed her lesson was because I had vomited up my kidneys.

Ms. L’Ethope had two moods: irritated and incensed. She was pregnant with her first child; unimpressed by the process she took her frustrations out on us. “I threw up five times in my car this morning and once on myself,” she’d say with a quick look at the clock to bring home the fact that it was early in the day and she was already deeply disappointed, mostly by us. Then she’d take a breath, and give the class the kind of look that a warden gives murderers and thieves, full of contempt and judgment, “So all of you had better have finished your homework.”

I spent more time studying science than any other class. The thought of this woman’s wrath was scarier than sitting alone at lunch, scarier than being turned down by a boy, scarier than even high school itself which was a landmine laden field of social mores and cliques. I wanted to win Ms. L’Ethope’s rare scraps of approval because I adored her. She would never offer outright praise, but when I did well, there was a lack of disdain.

No other teacher was as cutthroat or surly; they pandered to our humanity and cut us breaks for being teenagers. Ms. L’Ethope had no interest in that; she wanted to teach science and for us to learn science, end of story. No excuses.

The only time I was ever caught writing notes in class was in science. My seatmate and I were having a spirited conversation and I needed to finish my statement, but the bell rang and Ms. L’Ethope had started talking. I quickly scribbled down a sentence before turning my attention to the blackboard. But it was too late, my teacher had seen. With eyes like thunderclouds, she approached my bench. I wanted to liquefy in my seat, become a puddle on the floor to avoid her fury. This act of treason from a good student would not be tolerated; she’d bellow, have me thrown out of class, possibly frog march me to the principal’s office. I’d never gotten in trouble before and certainly never gotten in trouble with the most foul-tempered teacher I’d known.

Not stopping her lecture, she walked over and reached for my paper, turning it towards herself to read it. My weird saved me that moment because the note said, “Dye yourself blue then!” Ms. L’Ethope raised her eyebrows at me then turned and moved back to her spot at the board. I exhaled, realizing that I had narrowly avoided catastrophe and humiliation. I never wrote notes or stepped even close to the line, let alone crossing it, again in her class.

She was my favourite teacher. Still is. She ignited a passion for science that was only extinguished eight years later during the final year of my Honors Science degree when I realized that I’m abysmal at lab work. “Didn’t you want to study something easier?” people will ask me when I confess that I have a BSc in Honors Genetics. As if I had a choice of anything other than science.

Class : Introduction to Non-Fiction Storytelling

Assignment – Write a scene about a cruel teacher you loved or a kind teacher you hated

Some Light Reading For The End Of The World

I’m scared of everything; the dark, being home alone, bugs, ninjas that use trampolines to bounce onto my room. Everything.

A decade ago, my sister suggested that we go to Halloween Night at our local theme park. It was a fun idea. For Diana. For me, it was an exercise it trying not to wet my pants. I clung tight to my sister all evening, as a comfort, or a shield, and if necessary an offering. Although, a bigger, fatter person would have made a much better shield, but scaredy cats take what they can get.

I spent the whole evening being terrified out of my skin, at points throwing myself and Diana sideways with the intensity of my reactions. That was until we got to the pig-man. He wasn’t a person, or at least from the chest down he might have been, but up top, he was a pig. Or sort of a pig.

Pigs share an awful lot of our genetic code which is why they get used in science a lot. This creature looked like he had come out of the wrong end of an experiment. He was making these tortured, animalistic sounds. While I spent the entire night feeling like I was going to die, when I met the pig-man, I was certain my time had come.

I bolted for the exit, throwing Diana backwards towards the pig-man as a sacrifice. “I’m sorry she’s not bigger or fatter,” I called over my shoulder.

That last part isn’t true. The only thing that came out of my mouth was the strangled howl of a person escaping death. I ran the rest of the way through the house, shoving the other tourists out of the way in my bid for salvation.

When Diana emerged from the haunted house, she was furious. “You threw me at the pig man! There was ONE scary thing in this entire park and you threw me at it!”

There may have been one scary thing to her, but for me, the entire park was scary, while the pig-man was the harbinger of my death.

I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake”. Diana recommended it. “It’s really good, you’ll love it.”

I was so scared after reading the book last night that I couldn’t go downstairs to brush my teeth. My son has been sleeping in my bed and not for his comfort, for mine. There have been a couple of times, after closing the book this past week, when I’ve felt like leaning over and shaking my four year old awake. “C’mon buddy, Mommy has to go to the bathroom. You have to come with me. Wake up, wake up; I do this for you in the morning.”

There’s nothing quite like reading about the end of the world, when it feels like you’re living through the end of the world.

Finally, I called my sister on it. “That was a really scary book you wanted me to read.”

“Really? Was it?” The skeptical note in her voice nearly killed me.

“You don’t remember the hemorrhagic plague that killed everyone? And the genetically-altered, murderous pigs?” My mind went back to the night of the pig-man.

“Oh yeah, I guess it was scary.” This admission came out like I had corrected her on the colour of our childhood dollhouse.

And then it came to me, this was her revenge for offering her up to the pig-man. Life is long. But sibling rivalry is longer. I’m scared for what she has planned for the afterlife.

Fake homeless teenagers and environmental hopes

Course : Introduction to Storytelling

Assignment Description

Emily Dickinson said, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” To embrace the idea of rewriting and to immediately make it part of your practice, choose a short piece you’ve written and write it again in a new way. Tell it from the angle of what you’d like other people think had happened.

Initial Story – You’ve got the wrong person! I swear!

I got mistaken for a homeless person. Again. For once I would love for another person to describe the experience of having spare change thrown at them while walking down the street. That never happens. It’s only me.

My hair is dirty blonde. Emphasis on the dirty. It’s wild to the point of making Helena Bonham Carter look kempt. And I will concede that my clothes have seen better days between the twice mended and now ripped patches at the knees and the haggard, secondhand coat that I habitually wear, but isn’t that the uniform of a dedicated environmentalist?

Then there’s the bike. It confuses people. It costs as much as a used car but because it’s a Danish cargo trike and I live in Canada, people assume I cobbled it together in my garage.

And of course, we can’t forget the size or the voice. At five foot two, I’m the size of your average twelve year old on a good day. Maybe a thirteen year old with poor nutrition. Combine that with my tinny, small voice and I get asked whether my parents know where I am.

It was approaching Halloween and I was on a hunt for gourds. There was supposed to be a sale. There wasn’t. There wasn’t supposed to be freezing, cold rain. There was.

After arriving at the shopping mall soaked to the skin and disappointed by the lack of pumpkins, I took my son into the grocery store to warm up. There was a stack of newborn diapers on the sale rack, since I was six months pregnant at the time, this was a find.

I piled up the cart and headed to the checkout. Behind me, was the same kindly looking man who watched with curiosity as I had dismounted my bike in the parking lot. While I waited to check out, I talked to my son about the new baby. My hair was plastered to my face, giving me a sad bedraggled appearance, but my son who rode in the covered cargo area was cheerful and dry.

The cashier scanned my items. Horror washed over me as I realized that I had only brought twenty dollars cash – enough for two pumpkins from the missing farmer’s market. The gentleman behind me stepped in with the same benevolence you’d expect from a grandfather, “I’ll pay for those.”

“Please, no. Please, no. Please, no,” I repeated bathing in my own shame now rather than horror.

“I’ve had a lot of good fortune in my life,” the man reassured the underage pregnant girl he thought I was.

“I…” the deeply ashamed, well off married woman faltered.

“You have a good day dear,” the man said to me as I swam away on a wave of my own humiliation after thanking him.

What I Wished had Happened – Score one for the underdog treehuggers!

I got recognized today! Finally, after years of committing to my various causes – second hand clothing, biking over gasoline, mending what you have, someone rewarded me for my efforts!

There I was: cycling to the mall in the freezing rain, which never feels truly cold when one is living their dream of biking everywhere. The drivers gave me friendly waves as I rode past. I knew in my heart that I was an inspiration, surely next week I would see them on their bicycles next to me.

Sadly the local, organic farmer’s market failed to materialize in the inclement weather but that didn’t stop me and my son from having a nice morning. Off we headed to the grocery store.

Our trip was rewarded – packages of newborn size diapers were on mega sale. As I was six months pregnant with my second child, this was an exciting find. Normally, I would never use disposable diapers, but my stash of cloth diapers only includes a handful of newborn size.

Behind me in the lineup for the checkout was the same man who had eyed my bike as I locked up. “You are an impressive young woman,” he said, looking pointedly at my well mended pant legs.

I smiled demurely and said, “Thank you.”

“Let me pay for those diapers.”

“I couldn’t,” I replied, unsure of his motivations.

“It’s the least I can do for someone who is actively saving the earth.” I was taken aback, while many have said they were impressed by my commitment to cycling and lowering my carbon footprint this was the first time I had received anything beyond the sense of satisfaction from it.

“Why thank you!” I walked out of the store positively giddy, surely this is a sign of change and support for green energy to come!

The Recycling Game – The Lazy Mom’s Answer to Pintrest and All Those ‘Learning Activities’

Mama, I see you, pulling out your hair because it’s a pandemic, your children wrapped around you like snakes in a tree. I see your eye twitching when they ask to paint. I feel your pain when your oldest begs for the craft kit that is so finicky, it makes rocket science look simple. I see your exhaustion, and I feel how overwhelmed you are.

Here’s something which will actually help, unlike those endless activity lists for ‘Busy Toddlers’, which just make you feel more inadequate. Oh poor, tired Mama, I created this game just for you, to help you clean your basement, and make your kids happy for ten minutes.

The Recycling Game

  1. Forget to wheel out the recycling cart for two and a half months until it fills to the brim and your toddler has to tap dance on the lid to make the cart close.
  2. Miss recycling day twice more. It’s more fun if you miss it by a minute and try to chase the recycling truck down the street in your pyjamas while hauling an overflowing cart behind you shouting, “Wait! Wait!”
  3. Pile up the recycling in the corner of your basement like an environmentally minded hoarder.
  4. Finally remember recycling day so the cart is emptied. Wheel the empty cart to a doorway. Employ some child labor and have your preschooler ferry boxes of recycling up from the basement to the door, while talking up the fun of the ‘Recycling Game’.
  5. Have your children stand on the steps and throw the recycling into the cart while yelling random numbers when the items go in: Seventeen points! Thirty points! Forty two points! Twenty points!
  6. The game ends when you run out of recycling or your baby falls face first in the snow. If both happen at the same time it’s called Kite Crash and everyone wins.
  7. Forget recycling for three months so you can play again.

Feel better Mama, you can’t see it, but there is an end to the pandemic in sight and regardless of how you feel, you ARE doing a good job.

Life at Crisis Point During a Pandemic – As Written For High School Students Studying Canadian History in 2084

Dearest Highschooler,

I am so sorry that you have to read my ancient blog post. I’m not sure what the internet looks like now but I imagine my words to be projected directly into your brain. My sincerest condolences; sometimes I don’t want my own words in my brain either if it makes you feel any better.

Please also allow me to apologize for the fact that you are not making out with the hottie who sits behind you in English. Again, I too would rather that the 2020 pandemic had not happened thus freeing up your time and your tongue for more attractive activities, but since it did, let’s get down to business.

As of today we are eight months into the pandemic here. The last ‘normal’ day was St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know whether you still have that, it’s a day for binge drinking and making bad decisions under the guise of celebrating part of Europe. Even then, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t normal. Everyone sat perched on a sharp edge, as though waiting for catastrophe to arrive.

It never did.

Manitoba – it’s a province, we cut Canada into pieces and then claimed that everyone needed different things; Alberta needed oil, B.C. needed hippies to eat organic produce, Manitoba needed winter coats, and Toronto, or as some might call it, Ontario, needed tiny, expensive condos to bankrupt their residents, there were other provinces too but they weren’t important – my home shut down early and hard. Kids were out of school for six months including the summer. People were fearful and stayed home. As a province, Manitoba did really well, our case numbers were very low – there was even a period of two weeks when there were no new cases of COVID.

Then the fall came.

People started gathering inside. We still weren’t sure of how the virus was spread. Initially in the pandemic people were crazy for disinfectant. Wipes were sold out everywhere. If you saw them, you grabbed them, even if like me, you didn’t use wipes. My still untouched canister of wipes is probably in a museum somewhere – “From the COVID era, wipes were a popular tool to combat coronavirus”. People were bonkers, they were disinfecting everything in sight. I even read an account of a man who froze his morning paper to kill the virus because he couldn’t wipe it down.

Finally people started wearing masks. This should have been a turning point in our pandemic fight but it wasn’t. Unfortunately the pandemic came hot on the heels of Trump’s presidency. That man stood for ‘Me, me, me and especially ME!’ What this meant is all of North America was well versed in getting riled up about having their rights violated while trampling other’s freedoms. So not everyone wore masks.

Some idiots even staged anti-mask rallies where they gathered together and all breathed in each other’s fumes while bellowing about how they wanted to hug everyone and the virus was a sham. These same people would end up in hospital killing all the grandmas and grandpas with their negligence because case numbers kept going up and hospital beds were in short supply. Physicians had to make tough choices.

Doctors had it bad but no profession was safe. The teachers were all stressed out because they had to teach online or in person but two meters apart and no one could do any group work or have fun in the classroom. Nurses were stressed out because they were overworked to begin with and kept getting sick. Ditto for the healthcare aides.

If the minimum wage workers hadn’t been laid off then they were working the front lines and were also getting sick. Small business owners were hurting, big companies were hurting because there were shutdowns of entire industries. The only people whose lives were mostly the same were the IT guys who worked from home but even those poor dudes had their work load doubled because everyone was working online now.

And the working online. Dearest highschooler, it was bad. Like French egg bad – oeuf. Picture trying to video-brainmeld with your great aunt Lilly. People had no concept of norms; they’d show up in their pyjamas, they’d have wildly inappropriate websites open on their screens, sometimes they even used the can while their coworkers watched. The can is what we used to call the toilet. You probably have a more sophisticated method of relieving yourself now. You’d think that the virus robbed people of their common sense rather than their smell and taste.

Weeks turned into months, then more and more months ticked over. People got tired of the restrictions. But the case numbers kept going up and hospitals continued to be overwhelmed. Even for the general population, every day felt like waking up in a lead vest – heavy, a slog. There was a kind of worried sadness that permeated every aspect of life. You’d be out in the grocery store and ask how someone was and they’d just stare in silence then shake their head.

When I was your age, I wished for an event as grandiose, life changing and romantic as a World War. This isn’t a war but people are dying and across the world, everyone’s lives have changed drastically. If I could go back in time, I would wish for more fun nights with friends and hot dates.

I’m done rambling now – tell your teacher that you read my words. Now please go make out with someone in your car while wishing for more of the same.

Day Drinking with the Elderly

So this blog used to be about humor, But now it’s a spot to post my writing assignments. Please descend on this piece like a pack of hungry jackals.

Introduction to Storytelling

Write about a time you tried something new and it surprised you. Now take what you’ve written and make it exactly a hundred words – not ninety-nine or a hundred and one. Think about what can be cut and why. What choices do you make and how do you create priorities when editing your work? Now take the hundred word story and write it in six words.

It was nine am on a Sunday. I’d been up for an hour and it would be at least two more hours until my sister Diana woke up. The clock ticked slowly. I wished I had brought a book.

At home, I go to church. But I wasn’t at home. I was somewhere in a metropolis. Even when I’m somewhere new, I still go to church. I once sang hymns while accompanied by a minister who played his trombone. The minister’s young son spent the entire service tugging on his leg and asking when it was going to be over. To date that was the smallest, most unusual church service I’d ever been to.

I looked at the clock again. Nine oh two.

At once, I decided that I was going to find a church. There had to be one around. Leaving Diana a note, I walked out of the apartment. Before I saw the sign, I heard the bells. A church.

An Anglican church, I’m United, but as far as I’m concerned, in the same way that love is love is love, God is God is God. How bad could it be? I’m guessing they’d have a piano which already put the service a cut above the outdoor one I attended with the trombone playing minister.

God is absolutely God. And love is absolutely love but Anglicans have their own agenda and it looks nothing like any that I’ve known.

The entire sermon, they were reading from a book that I didn’t have. I was one of six parishioners so I even pew hopped to look for the missing scripture. No dice. Apparently it was BYOB- bring your own bible.

Being the only person under eighty jumping from one pew to the next would have been enough embarrassment for the day but it was also communion.

In the United church, we have individual, tiny glasses and individual wafers. I’m not crazy about the plastic waste but I go along with it.

Apparently the Anglicans are hardcore environmentalists. They shared a cup.

One cup.

For all the old people.

I would have opted out, but everyone rose from their seats and formed a line at the front of the church. I was in line behind a centenarian before I realized what was happening.

Once again they were reading from the book I didn’t have so I was extra confused and a little grossed out. But all the same, I knelt down on the cushion and drank from the same cup that the minister had thoughtfully wiped with a towel after the man before me finished. It tasted like wine and the 1918 Spanish Flu that the gentleman before me had survived.

Afterwards I walked home and thought about how my soul felt lighter even if my lungs were now heavy with liquid tuberculosis or some other old person ailment.

479 words

While visiting my sister, I went to an Anglican church. I am a United Christian but ‘How different could it be?’ I naively thought.

It was very different. They spent the entire sermon reading out of a book I didn’t have. It was BYOB – bring your own bible.

The worst was yet to come. It was communion. Instead of the individual, plastic glasses at the United church, all the parishioners lined up to drink from the same cup. I was kneeling at the front of the sanctuary before I realized what was happening. By then it was too late. Ugh.

100 words

Anglicans read secret books and share cups.

7 words

Please criticize me mercilessly and make me cry

So that was a helluva eight months. Like everyone, I’m a little furrier, and just a touch more stressed.

But

I finally did it, I enrolled in a writing course. Well writing courses. But I’m a grown up. With children. And a job. So that means I complete them one at a time. Because that’s how you eat elephants- one at a time.

That’s definitely the saying.

So in lieu of actual posts, I’m going to post my assignments. Please enjoy them. Or not. But please grade them. And rip into them like you are my mother and my work is an errant, shrieking smoke alarm.

Introduction to Storytelling – Keep a journal

September 16, 2020

The battery in the smoke detector outside my bedroom died at precisely three forty-one am this morning. I wonder whether they program it that way, whether it’s China’s revenge on us for forcing them to produce all our goods.

 I can picture it -the two unfortunate workers sitting next to each other in the factory.

“Should I set it for two fifteen?”

“No, they’ll get a good night’s sleep after that, pick a later time.”

It made me remember when I was little and the smoke detector went off in the night. Instead of a sporadic beep, it was a long wail that pierced your eardrums and was so loud that you felt you could almost see sound.

 I walked out of my bedroom just in time to see my mother whacking the plastic safety device repeatedly with a broom. The smoke detector flew across the landing and onto the floor where my mother pounced on the battery compartment with the aggression of a hungry lion tearing into a gazelle, snuffing out the smoke detector’s life force as swiftly as a predator on the Discovery Channel.

I wish I had been that dramatic when my smoke detector went off. It makes for better childhood memories.

I merely reached up and removed it from its place on the ceiling. I didn’t even need a chair- a benefit of living in a house that was designed for oversized garden gnomes. Then I grabbed the kitchen step stool to reach the shelf with the batteries.

There were no nine volt batteries. Are there ever any nine volt batteries at three in the morning? Perhaps all the charged nine volt batteries gather together to party at that hour, licking one another for kicks. Who knows?

So then I had to make the decision of which smoke detector to move from its floor to replace the defunct one outside the bedrooms. Which begs the question- if I were a fire, where would I start?

The answer is of course – pants, hence the phrase ‘liar, liar pants on fire’. Ergo I swapped out the main floor one because there were pants in the basement hanging on the clothes horse to dry. Then I went and lay awake in bed for three hours and thought about how my children will only have boring stories to tell.

I Did The Bad Thing

I did what you’re not supposed to do. Which, in the grand scheme of terrible actions; murder, smoking, social media, isn’t that terrible.

I joined Publisher’s Marketplace.

And started researching agents.

And then I went insane.

But only slightly, because on any given day, I’m most of the way nutty to begin with.

This led to me researching query letters even though EVERY SINGLE WEBSITE said “Do not query until you are done, absolutely, utterly and completely done your manuscript”.

But I kept going. I make bad choices like that- how else would I have destroyed our washing machine twice otherwise? But I digress.

All of the query letter instructions gave a format. My book did not fit the format. In writing a book, you write it from the inside out. As far as I can see, writing a query letter means looking at your book from the outside in.

So I stepped outside my book. Then I looked at it sideways, tossed it upside down, and threw it hard at the ground to see whether it would bounce. This all occurred in my head of course. I don’t suggest you abuse actual novels in this way.

This inability to fit my book into the mold of a query letter led to a full scale metaphysical meltdown where I was like “Maybe I haven’t written a book at all? Maybe it’s a koala? One would have thought that the smell of eucalyptus would have tipped me off but no such luck.”

I was on the verge of going on the interweb and ordering koala habitat paraphenalia so my book could live out it’s existence in comfort when my husband asked me what was wrong.

Tex is an engineer. The sole purpose of engineers is to solve problems. I presented him with the parameters of my problem- the format of query letters along with the content of my book. He looked at me and said “This is your protagonist’s dilemma. That’s your query letter” And then he walked out of the room and went straight to bed. Because he had solved the problem, ergo his job was finished. The engineering version of a mike drop.

Goodnight internet. Goodnight my Unwashed public. I haven’t quite determined what to do with this blog of mine. It seems to have served it’s purpose- in that I became a writer. However I made a pact with myself to keep it for three additional years. Stay tuned.

Also go visit my friend Ross’ blog, because he’s been responding to my ridiculous text  messages about writing and publishing.

https://rossmurray1.wordpress.com/

 

Australia is Burning and I Hope You Feel Bad

You did this. I did this. We all did this. Every single person reading this post burned more carbon than they should have, which warmed the atmosphere, causing climate change and creating the fire storm that is engulfing a continent. Every one of us is culpable. Every one of us should feel ashamed. And every one of us needs to make sweeping changes to our lives now.

Do you feel bad?

Good.

Then change your actions.

Firstly, donate to help the people who are suffering.

Next, park your car. If you don’t believe me when I tell you that how we transport ourselves accounts for at minimum thirty percent of our carbon footprint, then go here.

Capture

Screen capture of the average household carbon footprint according to the Cool Climate Calculator (Source https://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/calculator)

It’s the Cool Climate Calculator. It shows how you compare to other households like yours. It is far and away the most comprehensive calculator I’ve found. As a point of reference the accepted global sustainable footprint for an individual is 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

 

The carbon footprint calculator was developed by a number of organizations one of them being Berkeley, the California school. Look at the bottom, it has Leo DiCaprio’s name on it. Say what you will about his taste in women, that man is devoted to climate change and bringing awareness to it.

If you want to help understand the ramifications of the crisis and how it came about, watch National Geographic’s “Before the Flood”. It’s narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and was the catalyst for our family committing to both renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint.

This is an emergency. Greta Thunberg told us to act like our house was fire. There’s no pretending now- our house is truly on fire.

What are you going to do about it?

Tell me your and your family’s goals to change your habits and lifestyle in the comments.

 

It’s Best If You Don’t Ask To See Our Photo Albums

Dear Tex,

I love you like crazy. I don’t take pictures of your butt anymore but it’s still cute. I thought you should know that. Although if you decide to go on anymore  ten day long trips without me and the kids I might start that habit up again.

I want you to know, that even after two kids and approximately 8.73 million moves, I would still follow you to the ends of the earth. Not just because I was trying to take photos of your rear end or even because life with you is exciting and marvelous but because I like you. You’re kind in a way that I can’t even emulate. You’re funny and understand not only me but how to poke hilarious fun at my foibles and gosh is that ever fun. But best of all, you are interesting; life with you is intricate and well thought out. I hope I get to listen to your explanations until the end of time because your thoughts fascinate me.

So cheers to another year of you. Thanks for spending it with the kids and me. Happy Birthday.

Also now seems like a good time to surprise you with this, but I accidentally painted all the couch cushions in a Pintrest gone wrong project last week. I didn’t clean them, I just flipped them over. So your birthday gift is a wet vac rental.

Unwashed