Swirlies And The Problem With Interludes

I have the swirlies. I’ve just experienced an interlude.  Wasn’t planned.  Wasn’t expected.  Was fun. Very fun.  Not exotic.  Not spectacular.  But unusual, unexpected, and very, very unique.  It was signature.  It was classic.  It is the stuff good romance stories are made of whether they end in happily ever after or not…and not all of them do.  But now, it is post-interlude and I have the swirlies.

The swirlies.  It’s that state of mind, hmmm, maybe that state of emotion too, where everything’s  in motion.  My thoughts, my feelings, my reactions, my motivation, my thoughts, my feelings, my reactions, my motivation…all of it is just swirling around like leaves in a breeze. The wind’s not blowing hard enough to just clear the yard of all the leaf matter.  Leaves are in motion, spinning, floating, dangling, coming to rest momentarily, then getting picked up again by the next breeze that floats through.

This is my state of mind this morning.

I’m filled with thoughts.

I’m fill with emotions.

I can’t sort any of it out.  I’m not really even sure I want to. 

I can’t keep any of it still for more than a moment or two and it all comes bubbling right up to the surface again.

I have to go back to work tomorrow.  Correction.  I have to go back to work today.  Because there is laundry to be done, a house to be cleaned, bills to be paid, and children’s needs to meet.

But I am filled with emotions and thoughts and my own needs.  I have my own questions.  I wonder.  I doubt.  I fear.  I hope.  And, none of it will settle.  I want.  I do know this.  I know what I want and that is not swirling.  Everything else is swirling around that. 

I have my own wishes…and my own regrets.  I wish I could have….I wish I’d said…I wish I’d asked…I wish.  I regret that I didn’t…I regret that I did…I regret…

And I wonder.  I wonder what.  I wonder if.  I wonder why. Will there be the opportunity for a re-do?  What if there isn’t.  Why?  Why not? What? What if? 

I also fear.  I fear the if…the when and the why.  Maybe, especially the why or worse…the why not.

Thoughts dash in and then out and back in.  They are swirling, roaming, floating, dashing, fleeing, swirling.  I have the swirlies inside. 

It is evident that today I will not get any answers.  I don’t even know if there are any answers to be had. For that matter, I can’t even pin down the questions.   So without questions, answers make no sense anyway.

I will not get any nearer knowing or resolving or settling anything today, I don’t think.  The leaves in my mind just refuse to be raked and bagged.  I am certain that it is going to be a waste of time to even try to address the tumbling mess of emotional and cognitive matter moving messily about my wild mind. 

So, I am going to give up and go do something else. 

Like laundry.  And making breakfast.  Or preparing for work tomorrow. 

Or any matter of other really normal, routine, business-as-usual things that I would be doing anyway….if the last three days hadn’t happened.  And that’s the problem with interludes. 

The really good ones can’t be planned.  They come as a completely unexpected surprise.

And, when they are over….

When they are over…the return to reality can be almost painful. 

Because a really good interlude, especially one that isn’t planned or scheduled, can put one in touch with what really matters.  And sometimes, it’s just hard to get back to the laundry after that.

Love at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving morning, 2008.  It’s a foggy, misty morning.  I’m writing early because I might not have time later today, and I might not be inspired. I was planning to write some creative thing about being thankful in reverse…or “Things I’m Thankful I Don’t Have”, but being one of those undiagnosed ADD types, I went wandering around Wordpress instead. In my wanderings, I bumped into a couple of blog posts this morning that I thought were very good.  I thought I’d share them.  I always like it when people tell others about something that I’ve written that they found value in, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to return the favor.

The first is a new blog to me.  She writes about love, a huge, unfathomable topic and she barely scratches the surface as you can expect.  She does make some great thought-provoking points and I like the way she writes.  She also gave me much to think about and possibly blog for myself on the topic.  Her post’s title was fairly creative and I love creative.  You can read this blog post, “Love Shouldn’t Feel Like Getting Run Over By a Train” here. Now that I go back and reread the post, I notice that this particular article was written way back in 2006.  I need to get better at noticing things like that.  Even so, I liked it.  Maybe her comments will spark your thinking about the topic of love and family and your kids, if you have them.  I wonder if she’s still writing or if she’s abandoned her blog?  Hmmmm.  Whatever the case may be with her, I do agree with her title.  Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt.  Wore it out.  That’s why I clicked on her link.

The next post is more recently written by someone who is still writing.  His post’s topic is about doing the things you love and making money (or not) at them.  I’m pointing you to Jim’s blog, because he really is a fabulous writer.  Check out his complete post titled, The Money Will Follow (or Not), here. He also made me think…especially about this writing thing and making money at it.  His points reminded me of one of the reasons, beyond complete fear of rejection, that I haven’t yet published:  if I do what I love for a living, which in this case is writing, am I a.) good enough to make money at it? b.) is there a market for my kind of writing (and I don’t even really know for sure what that is yet, thus this blog) and c.) will it become a duty under deadlines instead of a creative outlet and intellectual passion?  (Jim didn’t so much mention that last point in his blog but the first two points were his.  They made me think of the last one.)

Anyway.  With all the talk about love this almost sounds like it could pass for a Valentine’s Day post.

I hope whatever you are doing today, that it is filled with peace, gratitude, good food, good company and some relaxation.  Anyone out there playing mud football today?

Into Every Autumn Some Leaves Must Fall…Somewhere…In My Case Everywhere!

Ahhh, the beauty of autumn.  It is truly my favorite time of year.  Alright, the fact that I’m writing this just about two weeks before Thanksgiving might qualify this time of year as winter…for many…but for me…it is still autumn. Besides that, I think winter doesn’t officially begin until sometime in December anyway according to the calendar…but…who cares? It was definitely the perfect autumn day in my small town the day I pulled out my new leaf blower.

It was the perfect day to try out the blower I purchased for 25 bucks at the local Wal Mart.  The blower proved to be much better and more powerful than the one I had before, which gave up the ghost several months before.

I had a blast, until I realized that I had purchased a blower that had a much smaller blowing capacity than the two feet deep leaf cover I had going in my backyard.  Okay, even after that realization, I still had fun…even though it took me three hours to blow the leaves and clean them up.

The next day, just as many leaves had fallen.  The following week brought heavy rains and a great deal of fog ot our valley…and the leaves continued to drop.  The backyard now looks just as it did before I blew the leaves last Saturday.

I don’t even care.  I love trees and I love my new blower.  There’s just something about a good power tool!   Guess what I’ll be doing this Saturday, that is, if it isn’t raining?  That’s right. Blowing my yard clean of leaves. Why?  Because it’s just weirdly fun to have a clean yard that’s why…plus I just like the idea of blowing leaves around all day.

Who Says Real Estate Is an Investment??!!!!!!

I am ready to sell this freaking fixer upper at a loss just to get out of it.  I am sick of all the little crap that goes wrong that I have no idea how to fix.  To figure it out takes days, weeks, and costs millions of lives.  I can’t do this any longer. 

I had a friend come in and fix the freaking drip in the kids’ bathroom which is the larger bathroom in my home.  Now, the hot water won’t freaking even turn on.  I am pissed.  Shuffling four children through my bathroom in a day (and my bathroom is the size of a broom closet and the shower alone only holds half a human being) is completely unrealistic. 

I’m thinking I want a rental, that I sign a forever lease on which keeps my rent the same, protects me from them selling the friggin’ property out from under me and requires the landlord to do the handyman work. 

The other option is to find and marry Prince Charming.  He only has to be good at three things:  home repairs, sex, and conversation.   Okay, it would be good if he picked up after himself and had a job.  Now, what the hell odds are those? 

I’m doomed!

Halloween-Kicking Off The Holiday Season

I hate the expensive pre-fab costumes that you spend a million dollars on at Wal-Mart and they disintegrate the minute you pay for them.  So, this year I decided to do something a bit different.  I went to the Goodwill store.  I have not dressed up for Halloween in forever…well since college days…yeah, that was forever.  This year, my school is doing a “Harvest Carnival” the night before Halloween and they want us teachers to dress up.  Great. 

Well, I’m going incognito.  I have this full head mask of an old professor type man.  The hair is scruffy black. The eyes are cutout but the bags under the cutout eyes make me think this mask was an alcoholic in another life.  I went down to the Goodwill to see if I could get a man’s suit that was about 4 sizes too large for me.  Well, I found suit coats but not with matching pants.  I had to go over to the pants section for that.  Found those easily. Picking out the shirt was pretty fun.  There were so many to choose from and many which could have doubled as my own sleep shirts after Halloween.  I chose a light brown one.  The suit by the way is navy blue. 

As I was in the store, I noticed that I was not the only one picking out items for the upcoming weekend events.  One youth, couldn’t have been more than 22, picked out a hot pink ski suit with matching ski boots and a red, white and blue ski hat.  I’m guessing he was going as a ski bunny?  Then there was the girl who picked out a straw farmer’s hat, a green bomber jacket and a flannel checked shirt.  Maybe she was going as a scarecrow? 

Anyway, I was there just having a blast as my wild little mind considered all the possibilities.  I mean, the used bridal gowns, the black lace things, the props!!!!  I also thought how much more fun it would be if there was a special someone in my life and he could have been their with me.  The fun we would have had creating and considering the endless possibilities for the bizarre, silly and weird.  It would have been a wonderful kick-off to the 2008 Holiday Season.  Instead, I contented myself with grabbing up the items my children (who were not with me at the time) told me they wanted for their costumes and enjoyed their squeals of delight when I arrived home with the treasure.  Judging from their responses, I apparently scored.  Now, that doesn’t happen every day.  Pleased and excited children…well, that’s a pretty decent start to the holiday season too.

The Good With The Bad…For Lack of a Better Title

I guess I’m living life in all its reality.  I mean, crap is happening…see my most recent post before this one about the drains in my house.  And the sewer incident was preceeded by my car blowing it’s engine this summer, which was preceeded by a year of trauma with cars, including the rear differential of my 4×4 dropping right out onto the street sometime just before Christmas of last year.  Due to my divorce a year ago…well…almost a year ago, finances have been tighter than I’ve ever known in my entire adult life.  Debt is gradually and consistently getting paid off, and I know I won’t be in this place forever, but because I have no wiggle room, it is nothing short of a crisis when things outside the budget occur.  So, that segment of my life is not the happy part of my reality. 

Along with all the stress associated with having to live so very spartan-like and not having the money for extras of any kind…heck, I don’t even have the money for some of the essentials, at times…life has its joyous elements and moments.  These moments splattered the crappy colors of my otherwise dismal financial reality with hope, energy, love and life. 

For example, due to the dismal situation with my drains, I had to call my first ex to take my three oldest children.  This resulted in them being gone for an entire week which was sad and very disappointing.  On the up side, though, it gave me some concentrated time with my youngest.  She slept with me every night and we were able to spend some fun time together in the evenings in spite of me having to complete some extra projects for work.  This was a very happy result of a somewhat stinky situation.

I also mentioned the plumber coming over and bringing dinner and drinks.  That ended up being very fun, and while it is still too soon to tell anything, he is definitely a decent man with a bit of heart and character to him.  And, he doesn’t have a problem communicating about himself or his thoughts…and even better than that…it appears he is capable of taking responsibility for his actions.  He’s continued to call me, we’ve gotten together one other time since the drain date, and while I’m not holding my breath, I think he will, at least, be a good friend if romance or reality doesn’t completely destroy us first. 

Finally, while I’m working some insane hours because I have about three extra projects I agreed to take on (no I’m not getting paid…yes, I am networking and padding my resume), I am loving every minute.  My students and I have this incredibly positive dynamic going in the classroom, the two other teachers I work with at my grade level are wonderful!  It helps that they are men.  There is no PMS-ing and the stress due to my colleagues having to have every little thing nailed down and signed in blood is completely gone. These two guys are nowhere near the definition of “control freak”.  If I screw up the world doesn’t end, if they need to adjust something I’m way relaxed and able to flex with it.  It soooo works for us…and it works for the kids too.  I enjoyed working with my old team and my other grade level…but…there were points where it was toxic.  Add to that the fact that I could have gone to grade level meetings for years (and did) and never have said one word and no one would have asked my opinion about anything, nor would they have cared.  That is not the case with my current team.  I contribute and they respect it.  I like that.  Plus, I really like the fact that they don’t PMS…

Living life in all its reality.  The good with the bad.  The tough times laced and threaded with really happy, nearly hysterically funny moments.  Moments like the writing session I had this week where a student announced that he was going to share his writing on “How To Kiss a Girl” and I told him and the class, “Wait!  First of all, I hope this will be rated G and in good taste.”  Hmmm, that was almost as bad as the time in my first year of teaching when at the end of the P.E. session I instructed the students to “Hold your balls!” Not so good….but very funny!  The kissing writing ended up being very sweet and very entertaining.  My kids are not afraid to laugh and enjoy our class.  This pleases me, no matter how backed up my drains are. 

The good with the bad.  Three of my kids had to live elsewhere this week and I missed them, but my second oldest got into the choir she tried out for as well as making it into the advanced drama class she auditioned for.  My oldest passed her written driver’s test with flying colors but failed the driving portion.  She’s taking it well and in 28 more days will be trying again.  My son is in cross country and the change to middle school is working very well for him, even though he still hates doing yard work.  At least I’m not having to harp on him about homework.  He does it gladly these days.  I can’t tell you how relieved I am.  One man who expresses interest in getting to know me, goes silent, two more step in to take his place.  The good with the bad. The bad with the good.  Life in all its reality.  It is never totally and completely a perfect fairy tale is it?

Out of the Clear Blue…No, Out of the Clogged Sewer!

You are never going to believe this!  My sewer backed up again.  You know, the ugly time when you are just doing your business, then you go to flush your business and the water level in the toilet bowl, instead of going down, rises, rises, rises and slops over onto your bathroom floor.  Ick!!!!  Well, that was my wonderful weekend.  It also happened to be a weekend that I was suffering from some kind of Montezuma’s Revenge either from stress or poor diet…or maybe both.  Anyway, this was not a fun experience.  Then to see it not only overflow onto  my bathroom floor, but to back up into my shower and my bathtub in the other bathroom, well, it was a bit much.  Of course, all this happened after I paid all the bills online and didn’t have enough to pay a plumber without overdrafting my account.  Sigh.  Such has been my year. 

So, I call the plumbing company I usually call. I know the problem is roots growing into the drainage system. I know exactly where the cleanout is.  I have an older home, this happens every year.  My ex used to just take the snake and deal with it but he’s not here so now I pay to get that taken care of, because I’m not strong enough to handle the equipment on my own and I’m not even sure what I’d need.  Well, you won’t believe this but…

…the plumber is coming over with tri-tip steaks and two bottles of Merlot!!!!  LOL! 

Life can be hysterically funny at times!

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times

Music can take me places.  I’m sure you know how that is.  You’re minding your own business and suddenly a song comes on that you haven’t heard in ages and then suddenly you are transported.  You’re completely removed from the present to a different time and place, a world ago, a lifetime ago.  You can smell the smells, feel the feelings and suddenly you are awash in memories like you never left that time or place.  Music transports you.  It transport me.  I was just transported.

I have music all over my house.  I have a small house and don’t have a surround sound, piped in, fancy system like some have.  I do like to “feel” my music. Even as I write this, I have my little 5 CD changer in the kitchen (I have one in nearly every room)  turned up to some ghastly number on the volume dial.  I can feel the reverberations.  But, today, a particular song transported me, and it just came on again and it’s transporting me…again. 

The time was not so long ago.  About this time last year, if my memory serves me well.  The song is K.T. Tunstall’s “Heal Over”.  The events in my life at that time were best described by Charles Dickens in his famous book, “A Tale of Two Cities”.  For me…that time of my life was truly, “the best of times, it was the worst of times”.  I’d left my second husband for the final time.  Divorce proceedings were in process.  It was going to happen.  As a person who walked into marriage the first time with the high fairy tale hopes of “till death do us part”, having to end a second marriage was a devastating blow.  I was in the midst of dealing with that reality and moving back into a house that my ex and his 7 children had just vacated.  And when I mean vacated, I mean vacated.  They took with them things I will be paying for, for many years to come. Things that were purchased at Christmases and birthdays for my children, not his.  And I was left with a house that was little more than a wreck. (No, I’m not bitter or anything.  LOL!) I was embroiled in a battle that had every potential to get very ugly and I was very scared.  It was very possible that I could end up homeless and in debt and, because I had no way to provide for my children, I was afraid I might lose them.  It was the worst of times.

But…it was also the very best of times.  While I was out of my house because I had to leave under police escort to protect myself against a volatile spouse and get what I could in the 20 minutes they allow, I was able to see and experience the goodness and love of friends that I might never have otherwise experienced or known.  I had friends offer me their travel trailer so my youngest and I would have a place to stay for a month while we finished out the school year.  I had other friends offer me a housesitting job while they went vacationing.  That got me through the month, and to the court hearing where I was awarded the house and full custody of my youngest daughter.  And in the background of all of this, K.T. Tunstall’s song, “Heal Over” was playing.  Playing. Playing.  Reminding me of what my mother always used to tell me, “This, too, shall pass.”  And…it did.

I ended up being awarded my house, my ex disappeared rather than creating a crazy scene, I did get all the marital debt but I have my home and don’t have to move four kids out to a rental and worry when I will get 30 days notice so they can put the house up on the market.  I’m safe.  My children are safe and all the fears I had at this time last year have dissipated into nothingness.  But that song, that particular song, takes me back.  It takes me back to a time of uncertainty and transition.  It takes me back to a painfully difficult time of learning to parent on my own, and of learning what it means to be a homeowner.  It takes me back to hot, sweaty days of having to repaint, repair, clean out, fumigate, and scrub, scrub, scrub every surface and cabinet to make my home clean and liveable for my kids and I. I takes me back to spending a month trying to figure out how to clean out a pool, finally having to drain it completely and start over.  It takes me back to days, when filled with fear and uncertainty myself, I had to be strong and hopeful and positive for my children.  It takes me back to days, where we pulled together, attempted things we didn’t possibly think we could handle in a million years, and we did more than just handle them and we did them well! 

That song takes me back.  Heal over?  You bet I’ll heal over.  Make no mistake about it.  

It was the best of times and the worst of times but, funny thing, all I have are good memories.

Life is Grand….Life Sucks!

Life is good…life sucks.  I live with these two conflicting realities daily.  I suspect I am not alone.  Today alone life sucked and life was grand all in the same 24-hour period.

To start with, the weather continues to be record-breakingly hot.  And, now, we are having fires in the area which creates smoke and haze.  For me, since I’m not asthmatic, this is not a problem, but the haze has been so heavy that even I am struggling to enjoy breathing when outside.  In addition, I am having to run my air conditioner, which translates into higher electric bills for me.  That part of life sucks.

But, I was awakened this morning by the sound, of all sounds, thunder!  The crisp, loud boom and crackle of thunder followed by the loud pelting of summer rain on my back deck covering was a welcome sound.  It was a warm summer morning rain that brought momentary refreshment to what has been an exceptionally stifling hot summer. That was grand!

Then, somehow, the son, decided he wanted to be argumentative.  You see, today is the day my three older children left to go for two weeks with their dad. He, of course, had not cleaned up his room and therefore I woke him up earlier than the other children so he could get that taken care of before he left.  Yes, I’m a mean mom.  I do expect that my children participate in chores and duties around the house…and a fairly orderly bedroom (not perfect, but orderly) is part of the deal for me.  So, of course, I awakened him far too early and he grumbled and complained.  I had to really hold my ground with him, and since he was really working hard to tick me off (and nearly succeeding) I had to continue to remind myself, this too shall pass.  Life at that moment sucked.

Then, suddenly, the dad arrives, all the kids are tumbling out the door with their possessions and stuff and the house is, at once, wonderfully silent and dreadfully vacant.  Life sucked but it was also grand all in the same moment.

Later today, I was tasked with helping my second oldest find a swimsuit for vacation.  Not an easy task at this time of the year since there is little to choose from in our neck of the woods and also since her dad places such strict requirements on her for her attire.  Searching every store in town sucked. 

But then, finding the right swimsuit, which we finally did, at 70% off, was grand!

Spending the evening completely alone, doing whatever I want, whenever I wanted, was absolutely grand.

Listening to the thunder and anticipating another summer storm (which has not yet materialized) was also grand.

Missing my kids is not so grand. In fact, it sucks.  I walk past their empty (clean, but empty) rooms and I miss them so deeply it physically hurts.  Definitely, a not-so-grand experience.

Life is grand…and yet it sucks…all at the same time.  This is what makes up our human experience. 

And, fortunately for me, today, I did not experience any of those really devastaing blows such as the announcement that a loved one has a terminal disease or that I do.  I didn’t learn that my spouse was no longer in love with me and I did not walk into a number of other very real tragedies that other people in this world are currently experiencing.  I’m thinking of my friend across the country who mourns the loss of his mother who recently passed.  In light of this, I am grateful that my kids love me, they are healthy, I am in good health and of sound mind…well, okay…at least mostly sound mind. I am employed and able to provide for those I am responsible for.  I must conclude that though I am uncomfortable with or don’t like parts of my life, for the most part I really have it pretty good. 

Life today, for me, is more on the grand than the not-so-grand side.  I’m grateful for that.

What side of life are you on and why?

Cat  (a.k.a. The Wild Mind)

I Must Get Dressed

This has not been a week of happy summer afternoons spent lazily by the pool watching the kids frolic and splash. Here’s why: doctor appointments. I hate them. They aren’t for me either, they are for the kids. I still hate them. They are necessary but they are not fun. They are always time consuming. One way to really lose an afternoon, or a morning, is to simply schedule a 20 minute doctor appointment somewhere in the day. Anyone, who’s even attempted to parent a child understands what I am saying here.

First, it means getting up and getting dressed. I’m not talking about the kids here, I’m talking aobut me! As a teacher, I just don’t like getting dressed during the summer. It’s too much work. In fact, I usually don’t. For example, it is right now almost one in the afternoon and I have still not exited the pj’s. Never mind that I’ve been up since 5:45 this morning because my oldest daughter left to go to a ten day choral academy out of town. If I do manage to stop whatever I’m doing long enough to get out of my pj’s, then I’m hopping into a swim suit. Usually the chores around my place involve maintaining a pool, hot tub or garden all of which are better suited to promoting my tan if they are done in a swim suit. I’d go nude but the old men in the houses around me would collapse of heart failure and I might be up for some criminal charges of sorts, I suspect. It certainly wouldn’t engender positive feelings with their wives either, I’m sure. I’m also just a bit shy that way, but I digress.

The doctor’s appointments. This afternoon my son has his second appointment this month. The first was his physical, since he’s entering middle school in the fall and wants to play sports. The one today is a routine three month check up to keep tabs on his ADD/ADHD. (Yes, I medicate him. Yes, I can post at length about the years of studying the pro’s and con’s about that before making that decision…if anyone is really interested. No, that’s not the point of this post.) Yesterday, out of the blue, I had to schedule one for my oldest daughter, the one who left today because her allergies were acting up. She’s going to a place in Oregon where the allergies are rampant. If you don’t have allergies when you go there, you will by the time you leave. She felt it might be a good idea to refill her prescriptions and I concurred. Filling the prescriptions required an appointment first, of course, and so it was good-bye to my entire afternoon. This afternoon’s agenda: my son’s doctor appointment. Tomorrow, my second oldest daughter, has an ortho appointment. Three of my afternoons this week have disappeared in some medical professional’s waiting room or at some pharmacy filling a prescription.

I am a big believer that one’s time is their life. I hate the thought the sum total of my existence for three afternoons this week can be found in a doctor’s office. It’s depressing at points. So now that I’ve waxed melodramatic about that situation, let me just say that I am incredibly grateful for a number of things here. While I hate incredible disruption to my fairly hedonistic and fun lifestyle during the summer, I must say I’m glad for quality health care. I’m glad for a job that gives me freedom to get my kids to their appointments. As a single mom, I can’t rely on the other parent and I have no family in the area to support me in this effort. It is up to me and me alone. I am grateful for the time during the summer and the sick time during the school year that my job provides so that I can keep my children healthy. But, most of all, I’m glad for the time this afternoon will give me with my son. This time will give just the two of us, without the demands of other siblings and priorities, some much needed time to just connect. He is the only boy in a family of very verbal, opinionated, outspoken women (yes, do feel sorry for him, he’s earned it). He is also the son of a busy, harried, single mom. Sadly, he is often outnumbered or overlooked. He yearns for a brother but that won’t happen for him I’m afraid. We love each other very much, but because I’ve been in survival mode this year, it has been difficult to spend any kind of really decent time with just him. Things are looking better for us as a family. Post divorce rebuilding isn’t always smooth or easy. It has been tough but it has also been very, very positive. While I am annoyed that part of our afternoon will be absorbed in a hot car and a boring office, I’m pleased for the up side to this annoyance. And, I believe there is always an up side. This afternoon will provide the two of us some much needed time together. I am looking forward to it and I know he is too. And, now, the very worst part of it all: I must get dressed!