Summer Randoms

My oldest, Captain Jelly Belly, is fifteen years old, and out of nowhere his voice is breaking. It’s filling me up with ALL THE FEELS. My babies!


The Captain, Sir Monkeypants, and I have been working our way through the entire seven seasons of The Good Wife on Netflix. This is my second time through the series, so I have the luxury of sometimes letting my mind wander a bit, and thus I have become completely obsessed with Alicia Florrick’s apartment. First, it’s huge and it’s gorgeous, which I don’t know how she maintains as she goes in and out of jobs on the show.

But more importantly, the layout completely escapes my ability to mental map. Sometimes she’s in a room and I can’t quite figure out where that room came from, or if it was always there, or how it fits in with the rest of the space. I have spent hours looking at photos of her apartment from all angles to try to figure out how the rooms are arranged and I even tried drawing out a floor plan but there’s too much that just doesn’t add up.

We actually finished the last episode a week or so ago and I might have to go back and start over from the start just so I can slow-mo through every single apartment scene and try to sort this all out.


We have been back on the “getting a pet” merry-go-round around here. My youngest, Little Miss Sunshine, would so much love to have a pet. But all pets have things that make them difficult for us; we can’t have anything that eats seeds or grass due to allergies, we have very heavy cat, guinea pig, and rabbit allergies in the house, fish are too boring, and a dog is just too much work. We have been flirting with the idea of getting a hedgehog but I worry about a) my daughter’s ability to hold it safely (she is a cuddler!) and b) whether or not a hedgehog can actually be happy in captivity.

The other day I opened up a puzzle my son bought for me used, at a school sale, and it was full of dog hair. I don’t know how people with dogs can live if their house is so thickly coated with dog hair that it gets all over a puzzle they are doing, in theory on a table surface. It has definitely turned me off the whole pet idea for the time being but my daughter continues to look at me with big sad brown eyes, so we’ll see.


The other evening I made ratatouille for dinner, and then we watched the Pixar film Ratatouille, and man, does that movie ever hold up. We laughed and laughed, and since it had been a few years since we’d watched it last, my two oldest in particular were amazed at how charming and appealing it was to them, even more so than when they were little. They are now on a mission to re-watch all Pixar films which is fine by me. I think we own most of them except Inside Out, which is happening…(goes to Amazon, clicks around)…now.


Our summer so far has been very random and scattered. I’ve been working more than I wanted to, and two of the three kids did summer school, which ate up most of July. Now that it’s August, we are doing a lot of lazing around the house, working on important projects like Good Wife apartment plans and cleaning all the dog hair out of my new puzzle.

I declare that age 15 is the official cut off age for Summer of Awesome, sadly. I can still drag the Captain along with us to museums and parks and events with threats, but he doesn’t really enjoy it. Gal Smiley, who will be 14 in a month, is at pretty much the same point. So this year I stopped pressuring them, and some days it’s just me and the Little Miss going on adventures while the other two flop at home and read or watch YouTube.

I am a little sad for the days spent on outing after outing, but I’m okay with it at the same time. I’m still having fun with the Little Miss, who is willing to indulge my desire to see every museum special exhibit and every art gallery in the city. Both of my older two are making solid progress towards getting qualified for jobs (the Captain took a course on becoming a camp counsellor, and Gal Smiley is working hard on her lifeguard certification), and I’m proud of them both for that. Next year perhaps they will have part time jobs. They’re moving on to a new phase of life and I will miss my babies but I love my teens, too. They’re really cool people.

Hope your summer is awesome!

On Choosing a Personal Scent

Two anecdotes about my good friend Sarah.

Sarah anecdote number one: We are in our early 20s, working together on a university co-op work term. We head to the mall on our lunch break and Sarah flips through several magazines, eventually settling on Glamour, because she “smells a perfume sample” and that’s always a good thing.

Personal mind blown: a) ladies read magazines! b) ladies wear perfume!

This lead to me becoming a regular reader of Glamour and also exploring the world of smells, and what smelled good to me, having never given it one iota of thought before.

Sarah anecdote number two: Later that same summer, we are doing some shopping while waiting for a movie to start. Sarah needs some shampoo and is standing in the aisle of the drugstore, smelling a variety of choices. Eventually she settles on one because she likes the scent.

Personal mind blown: a) people can change personal care products any time they feel like it! b) people can choose products purely based on smell as a factor!

Up until then I had been using the same shampoo and conditioner that all my sisters and my mother used, because that’s what had been in my house growing up, plus the same deodorant that my mother had first bought me in grade 5, which was the same brand and smell as my best friend used, because I was envious of her grown up liquid roll-on.


Without sharing too much personal detail, a certain member of our household recently joining the Wearing Deodorant club. Without my knowing it, her older sister suggested it was time, and gave her a stick of what she wears for the younger one to try.

And I was all like, no way!

It was because of the scent. My older daughter is not girly at all and wears a nice cucumber/fresh sporty scent. My younger daughter is very girly and it doesn’t match her at all.

After the Summer of Sarah, I went to the drugstore myself and smelled everything and picked out a shampoo and deodorant that I actually liked. Naturally I still use these both to this day, because unlike Sarah, I am a woman of habit and extreme brand loyalty. But also, I feel like both of these have become by Signature Scent. A few years back, when my older daughter was finding her own scent, we ended up with a few leftover deodorants and I used them up but I felt weird the whole time, like, who is this weird-smelling woman I am attached to?

So I took my youngest out to the store and let her smell everything, and she picked out a lovely rose-scented deodorant to experiment with that suits her to a tee, and which may become her lifelong signature scent, although I suspect she has a little of The Sarah about her and will be continue to experiment.

Still, she’ll always be a flowery one, I’m sure.

What’s your signature scent? Do you have a lifelong commitment to it?

Parenting an Extroverted Child

Before I get into today’s topic, let’s start with a small aside. The other day I was riding in the car with my youngest, and the song “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith came on the radio. I was singing along and she asked about it and I started to tell her about the movie Armageddon and then I had to stop because I was very, very close to bursting into tears. Over Bruce Willis dying in a cheesy action movie recalled over an AEROSMITH SONG.

I am thinking it is possibly time to turn this blog into a Journey Through Perimenopause because of this story. I don’t really want to explore this issue any more than you do, I’m sure, but at the same time I was thinking about how many of the blogs I read when the kids were little were written by fellow young moms, and sharing our mutual horrors and joys at raising kids created amazing bonds but also helped you feel like you were not alone and that everything was going to be okay.

So from time to time, I may share stories of my progress towards becoming a Woman Of A Certain Age, which apparently, involves weeping over Aerosmith songs on your car.

I feel like these years will be just one long apology to my family. Sorry about this, guys.

Anyway!

We are into summer vacation and so far I have spent it driving. Both of my oldest are in summer school for July, in two different locations, and so every day is drop off, run home, serve lunch, drop off, run home, try to work for two hours, then pickup, pickup. It’s been bananas and next week the third one is going to a week long day camp at a THIRD location and I am going to have to clone myself to survive.

Until then, though, I have my two extroverts – the girls – home every morning, and then one extrovert – the youngest – home alone each afternoon. I am the most introverted of introverts, and I feel like that is potentially becoming a problem as I age. This summer especially, I feel like the girls are suffering, especially the youngest, by the fact that I have booked too much work for the summer, but also, prefer quiet around the house in general.

Here’s how they would prefer to spend their summer: friends over every day, or going to a friend’s house, or maybe having several friends over for a bit of a party/hang out, or else meeting a group of friends at the park, or talking on facetime with several friends at once, and then going for a pool party with friends every evening.

Here’s how I would prefer them to spend their summer: sitting quietly in a corner reading, with occasional requests to go the library for more books.

I could easily spend the summer with the Captain, who is as introverted as I am. When it’s just the two of us at home, you won’t hear a peep. We will occasionally check in with the other one to see how they are doing, and sometimes if we are keen to do something social we will watch a TV show together, before retreating to our respective corners.

But the girls are always at my elbow, asking if people can come over, or if they can go somewhere. And I know it would be SO GOOD for them, that’s what they need, that’s what will make this summer awesome. But I am busy and I am tired and the thought of negotiating playdates and arranging more pickups and drop offs, or else dealing with more noise and activity in my house, is just ugh, you know?

I feel like, when the girls grow up, this will be one of those things that they were denied as children. Like, I was never allowed to have long hair as a kid, so my daughters (and also, my son) all have long hair and can have it as long as they want. They may also have all the gum they want, something that was banned at my house.

When they grow up, they’ll probably tell their kids they were never allowed to have people over (never being a HUGE EXAGGERATION, but compared to how often they would LIKE to have people over, I’m sure it feels like never) and then let them have all the friends over they want.

Of course, they will probably birth introverts and all their kids will want to do is spend the day at Grandma’s, reading quietly in the corner, with occasional trips to the library.

Anyway, until then, I am trying to do better, to be a better Mom To Extroverts. I am trying to say Yes more often, when they want someone over or want to go out. I am trying to do all I can to make playdates happen and to support their social lives. It’s a hard thing, to say yes when you really want to say no. But I feel like that’s going to become norm as they pass into the teen years – when they were toddlers, it was all about saying no when you wanted to say yes, but now it’s about saying yes when you really want to say no, for so many things.

Parenthood – it’s weird, right?

Seeing Yourself Through Other Eyes

I’m back from the trip to Toronto with Gal Smiley and her eighth grade class.

I wrote about a dozen blog posts in my head while I was away, because that is how I process. But now that I am back, I find I don’t really want to wallow.

So to sum up:

  • Some of the boys on the trip were jerks.
  • I let their behaviour really get under my skin.
  • There was an incident where I kind of blew my top at them, in an inappropriate manner.
  • They laughed in my face and told me they didn’t have to listen to me, and I cried a whole bunch, and felt totally embarrassed and humiliated.

So! It wasn’t exactly a great time. Luckily for me, Gal Smiley had no awareness at all that this had happened (possibly doesn’t even still). She had a very nice time and her friends were wonderful so I’m happy about that.

I spent a lot of time after The Incident processing and self-analyzing. I beat myself up for my well-established tendencies to bossiness and nosiness, which had bloomed out of control on the trip. I gave myself firm lectures on how I need to get my menopause emotions under control, stat.

I wanted to be the Best Trip Supervisor Ever, but although you might think that means being active and involved, I think it actually would have been easier for the teachers if I was more of a warm body, willing to be directed and told what to do, but otherwise on the sidelines. I tried to be that for the remainder of the trip and it was better.

Most of all, I had this really weird flash where the boys were laughing at me when I could really see myself through their eyes. It was the first time I have ever felt truly old. I could hear myself barking at them about The Rules, The Rules, and I sounded to my own ears like a bitter, cranky old woman, angry at youth. Wanting to exercise what sad, little power I had before I vanished completely.

I have probably thought about this incident about 1000x more than any of those boys. It’s come and gone for them, hopefully for the teachers on the trip too.

But I have changed. I am different now. I can see what some part of the world thinks of me and it isn’t pretty.

After The Incident, I was sitting on the bus with dark glasses and tissues and I was sitting behind one of Gal Smiley’s best girl friends. And she casually pointed out to me a cool license plate as it was going by – “AZ IF.” And I cried anew, because she was kind, and because we shared a geeky interest in license plates, and she talked to me like I was just any other person. Maybe it is possible in this world to find the kind of people who are like you, who value you, no matter what your age or station or mistakes or damage.

But it will take some soul searching to get over it all, I think.

Adulting, Again

So next week, I’ll be going to Toronto for three days with Gal Smiley’s Grade 8 class. It’s my own fault. I sort of half-volunteered during a conversation I was having with the teachers about Gal’s many, many food allergies, and what their plan was to feed her on this trip. It turned out there wasn’t ANY plan, and I was nervous, so while I was giving them dozens of sheets of printouts outlining all her allergies and safe foods, I also threw in the fact that I’d be willing to go with them, if needed, to make sure she ate properly.

Let’s sign you up!, the teachers said. They are no dummies.

Now that I am going, I am no longer worried about what Gal Smiley will eat, but I have a whole list of new worries. Mostly I am worried about potential male/female interaction among horny 14-year-olds, whether it be snogging at the back of the bus, or sneaking in and out of hotel rooms at night. My friend Lee Ann told me that her own mother went on a similar Grade 8 trip, and sat up, awake in the hallway, all night, where she returned girls to their rooms every few minutes.

I am totally willing to be Fooling Around Crackdown Mom, but I am mostly worried about whether my role as night watchman means I will literally get zero sleep over the two nights. Trust me – the world does not want a Lynn who is running on minimal sleep. It’s not pretty.

Someone else, I forget who, warned me that on their own Grade 8 trip, someone smuggled a bottle of alcohol into their suitcase, resulting in one of the hotel rooms becoming a “party room,” and the supervisors both having to a) clean up vomit and b) strongarm sick, hungover kids onto a bus for several museum tours the next day. I am feeling like that is not going be so much “fun” as “horrifying.”

And of course, there are simpler worries, like what if a kid gets sick or injured (legitimately, not from alcohol poisoning), or what if we misplace a kid, or what if we meet Doug Ford on a tour of the Ontario Parliament Buildings and one of the kids “accidentally” kicks him in the shins. What if the kids are bored and not being respectful or paying attention? Or a kid whips out a cigarette and claims their parents are “totally cool with it”? Or a kid loses their wallet in the Eaton’s Centre and my entire three days are one big mall-based scavenger hunt?

Your positive stories of successful trip supervision would be appreciated.

Small Wonders

The other day I made a meal that I have made many times before – chicken shishkabobs for the BBQ. Usually this meal results in leftover lunch for both me and Sir Monkeypants, and maybe a little more than that, too. This week it was all gone. All of it!

This sounds like a minor thing but in our house of very small children with teeny tiny appetites and multiple food allergies, it is a major victory. I used to have this story I liked to tell, about reading an article in a magazine when my oldest was a baby about a lady with three teenaged boys who went through two loaves of bread A DAY. I mentally geared myself up for such a time, but we have never, ever come close to that. In fact, we often have freshly baked bread languishing on the counter, and the kids sometimes bring home uneaten lunches. Including the cookies. Like, who can’t even muster up the appetite to eat the cookies? SIGH.

So, the fact that the entire dinner got eaten is big news. All three kids ate well but the biggest change is that our oldest, Captain Jelly Belly, smallest person in his high school, may finally be hitting a growth spurt. That’s so awesome it makes me want to cry, so I will just leave it there and try to stop lurking near him several times a day so I can compare his height to mine.

Speaking of food, this is the time of year when I always feel the need to write a post on a theme of Lunch Making Blues, and how trying to find something to put in the kids’ lunches is sucking away my will to live. I’m hanging in there this year, but this year more than any other I am really pushing the scheduling part of making lunches.

I usually get up around 6:15 in the morning, and wander downstairs and check my mail and fool around on Facebook, with a firm deadline of 7 a.m. for heading to the kitchen to tidy up and empty the dishwasher and make lunches. For the past few weeks that schedule has been slipping and sliding, so that I’m often still fooling around on Facebook at 7:15, leaving myself a scant 20 minutes to pull three lunches together. But I have been doing it, with the aid of prepackaged crap and lots of cookies. It’s only encouraging me, which is not good.

Only four weeks left. I think I can get lunch making down to 10 minutes if Starburst counts as a fruit. It does, right?

And speaking of endings, tonight is my last Girl Guide meeting of the year. I know it’s crazy, but I have signed up for one more year, because Little Miss Sunshine wanted me to, and the other part-time leader was going to leave if I did, and I didn’t want her to leave, so I caved. So this is not my last Girl Guide meeting ever (May 2019, you and I have a date with a wine bottle!), but it does mean at least a couple of months of no thinking about Girl Guides, which is awesome.

I have to say, I am feeling rather proud of myself for getting through this Year Of Guides and for doing a good job and for hanging in there. I know it was hard on my family and I have been cranky a lot of the time and I had to go camping. But I did it, and I dealt with a lot of crazy stuff, and I managed some difficult situations, and I did a lot of crafts, and I survived. I’m not sure I would recommend it, but as Ladies Of A Certain Age we so rarely get a chance to do something new and hard and to point to something concrete like this and say, “I did that. I made a difference.” So that’s a good thing.

Getting Political

Our older two kids, aged 15 and 13, are pretty miffed that they won’t be able to vote in the upcoming Ontario election this summer. I think that’s so awesome. They’ve both been talking about the election at school and they are interested in the issues, and feel strongly that they should be allowed to have a voice. I really hope they are this keen when they get to actual voting age.

In our riding, there is a lot to talk about as we have so many candidates. In fact, my son pointed out that between the Liberals (red), NDP (orange), PC (blue), Trillium Party (purple), Green (green), and Libertarians (yellow), we have covered all six of the Infinity Stone colours. His dream is to get one lawn sign from each and then lay them out in an Infinity Glove pattern on the front lawn.

I think that’s both hilarious and kind of deep. Snap your fingers, parties – it’s pretty much all the same thing.

Recently we learned that there is actually a seventh party represented in our riding. We were out doing errands and we almost had a car accident when the kids squealed with excitement because they had spotted a black sign.

It said on it “None of the Above” with a big checkmark and it is actually from the “None of the Above” party of Ontario. They are not so much a party as a loose affiliation of independent candidates who want to break away from the whole idea of having to tow the party line. They don’t have a specific platform; instead, candidates are meant to represent their local points of view only and not be beholden to any particular party whips.

I am fascinated by this – do you think government would actually work with a bunch of independent candidates? On one hand, it would be very interesting to see how the issues shake out when it’s a straight up majority rules. But I feel like everything would happen more slowly, as much more debate would be needed and many more back room deals would be required to actually call a vote on something.

Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be any slower than the government already is. Ba-bam! Burn! I’ll be here all week, folks!

In any case, you can find out more on the None of the Above website. We’re not sure how the black sign will work in our political Infinity Gauntlet but I’m sure we can figure something out.

Speaking of lawn signs, I have always been one to keep my political views very private from my neighbours and the whole idea of having a lawn sign was just a big NO. But I am so, so very saddened and discouraged by the sheer volume of Conservative signs on my street that I actually ordered myself a Green Party sign. I’m not 100% committed to them but I just wanted to stir up some crap, quite frankly. It’s out front – Sir Monkeypants and I have bets on how long it will be before the house gets egged.

Seriously, though, what is with all the Conservative support? I cannot vote for them, full stop, because a) Doug Ford, b) removal of sex education from our public schools, and c) DOUG FREAKING FORD. And those are just my province-wide issues; it recently came to light that the PC candidate in my riding, who is likely to be our next Health Minister, is solidly in favour of two-tier, for-pay health care, and as a sideline used her Twitter account back in 2015 to make some fear-mongering, anti-Muslim tweets. I know that it’s impossible to find one party and one candidate that represents everything you stand for, and you sometimes have to take the bad with the good. But these things – sex ed, universal health care, and the idea that anyone living here should not have to feel that those in power, let alone the majority of their neighbours, do not want them here – are so important to me that I don’t see how any thoughts on taxes or hydro bills could compare. I will be humiliated if Doug Ford becomes our premier – which seems more and more likely each day.

Man, this got much more serious than I planned. Hope I didn’t scare anyone away. If you’re despairing, though, just think Infinity Gauntlet. SNAP.

Best TV Characters Ever

A few days ago, Brooklyn Nine-Nine got cancelled. It’s one of my favourite shows and one of the few shows that we watch together as a family, and I was sad.

Less than 36 hours later, it had been picked up again by a new network. Yay! Rock on with your silly self, Nine-Nine!

In between there, in the sad hours, I boldly declared that Captain Holt, played by Andre Braugher on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, was my most favourite TV character ever. EVER.

No one clip can capture the understated brilliance of Captain Holt, but this one might do:

Anyway, Sir Monkeypants challenged me, thinking I was blinded by the recent cancellation, so we brainstormed other TV Characters We Have Loved. Of course, I have not seen every TV show ever. But of the ones I have seen, here’s a list of my all-time favourites.

  1. Captain Holt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  2. Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
  3. Buffy, Buffy The Vampire Slayer
  4. Eli Gold, The Good Wife
  5. Quack, Peep and the Big Wide World
  6. Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy
  7. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
  8. Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones
  9. Kalinda Sharma, The Good Wife
  10. Toph, Avatar: The Last Airbender
  11. C.J. Cregg, The West Wing
  12. Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, Downton Abbey
  13. Kimmy Schmidt, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  14. Les Nessman, WKRP in Cinncinati
  15. Amy Farrah Fowler, The Big Bang Theory
  16. Diane Lockhart, The Good Wife
  17. Molly Solverson, Fargo
  18. Brienne of Tarth, Game of Thrones
  19. Toby Ziegler, The West Wing
  20. Titus Andromedon, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  21. Abed Nadir, Community
  22. Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons
  23. Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks
  24. Robin Scherbatsky, How I Met Your Mother
  25. Dr. Gregory House, House
  26. Elsbeth Tascioni, The Good Wife
  27. Data, Star Trek: The Next Generation
  28. Kramer, Seinfeld
  29. Murphy Brown, Murphy Brown
  30. Alex P. Keaton, Family Ties
  31. Amy Duncan, Good Luck Charlie
  32. Gob Bluth, Arrested Development
  33. Mojo Jojo, The Powerpuff Girls
  34. John “The Biscuit” Cage, Ally McBeal
  35. Candace, Phineas and Ferb

I know as soon as I post this there are going to be 100 more that I remember. Plus, there are several shows on here where I wish I could list ALL the characters, like Game of Thrones and Veronica Mars and The West Wing and The Good Wife and Arrested Development. Who would you add to this list?

It was fine.

I know you are all worried about how I am doing, so just wanted to assure you all that I survived camp. And it was…fine. Not a horrible bloodbath of terror. Definitely not my preferred way to spend a weekend. So it was somewhere in the middle – it was…fine.

It helped that we had fantastic weather, bright and sunny and warm without being too hot. Also, it helped a lot that we were camping at an outdoor educational centre that has a classroom building, sort of like a cottage but even better than that as it had a proper bathroom and kitchen. The girls were allowed to choose to sleep inside the big classroom on the floor, or outdoors in a tent, and I slept inside with about a third of the guides. Tent sleeping is THE ABSOLUTE WORST and also I have a firm INDOOR PLUMBING AT ALL TIMES rule, so this was a much happier situation than true camping. No one had to canoe anywhere to get to the site and no one had to pee in the bushes and no one had to sleep on rocky ground if they did not want to.

So, I made it. I’d still choose not to go to camp if at all possible. But if they were in another desperate situation and needed me to come, I would come, and it would be…fine.

I have many stories about what it is like to supervise 18 very excited and energetic 8 to 12 year olds for a weekend. But I cannot share them in good conscience, as they are stories about other people’s children. Instead, I will just say that on the very first evening, one of the other leaders leaned over to me at campfire and said, “Remember, Guide Camp is an exercise in patience,” and so indeed, it was. It was sort of a marathon of patience, in fact. But that was probably good for me. Right?

Anyway, I came home on Sunday and had the world’s longest hot shower, and my husband and older two kids made me lunch and cleaned up all the camp gear, which was so nice. And we ordered pizza for dinner and watched a superhero movie and it was a lovely end to the weekend and a very nice Mother’s Day, and now I am celebrating my return to civilization with many jellybeans and actual machine-brewed coffee, and camp is already a fading memory.

Everything AND the Kitchen Sink

I have been roped into going to Girl Guide camp at the last minute – we leave tomorrow and will be back on Sunday. Anyone who has known me for five minutes knows that camping is my most hated thing in the whole world. Well, that and having plans change at the last minute. I am not a flexible person, I have a bug and general outdoor phobia, and I hate, hate, hate being without creature comforts.

As my friend Nicole would say, at least I am not being dragged across the prairie, pregnant, with a fiddle-playing vagrant who thinks carving a house out of grass on squatted land is really cool, like poor Caroline Wilder. BUT STILL.

I told my husband that in order to soothe my fears and keep me sane, I will be taking the whole house with me. EVERYTHING.

Later when I had calmed down a bit, he said, “So, what are you going to sleep on?”

And I said, “Two camp pads, maybe a couple of quilts, both of our sleeping bags and a couple of pillows.”

And he was all, “Uh…isn’t that rather a lot of stuff? You have to haul this stuff around you know.”

And I was like, “Did you think I was KIDDING about taking the whole house? THINK AGAIN.”

And he wisely ran away from the crazy lady.

This evening I have been packing, with the help of my two ex-Scouts older children, and they were reduced to giggles by a) the sheer number of bug spray containers I am taking, and b) the sheer number of allergy pills I am taking, in FOUR different brands, and c) the sheer number of pairs of socks I am bringing.

And to them I say, WHOLE HOUSE PEOPLE.

If you don’t hear from me, it’s because I was eaten by blackflies. But at least I died wearing my choice of four different hats and three pairs of shoes. It’s the little creature comforts that get us through the hard times, right?