Tag Archives: humor

The Ill Timing of the Ill Child

Nothing can cramp the status quo day of a working parent more than a sick kid. I wake up in the morning eager to greet the world and earn my much-needed paycheck when my little angel stumbles into the kitchen.

“Mommy, I don’t feel good.”

The Virgo in me wants to immediately correct his grammar.

Well, Sweetie. You don’t feel well.

But because he don’t feel good, I hold my tongue and touch his forehead.

Damn. It’s warm. But I tell myself otherwise. It’s not a fever. Perhaps he was just too bundled up while he slept.

He coughs.

Ditto damn. I try to ignore it. He’s almost 6. Maybe his voice is changing.

Then I hear the gag. I try to pretend I didn’t notice it. I instinctively jump out of the way as he vomits all over my jammies.

Crap. I guess he really is sick.

Some working parents earn a salary and can take time off work. Others get an ample amount of sick pay and can take a day off with pay, then take the second day off after they catch the nasty bug from their bedridden babe.

The unlucky working parents who don’t get compensation or time off have a lot of choices, but they’re all between a rock and that place that’s even harder than the rock: stay home with the kid and miss work, pay, and possibly jeopardize their jobs; sneak their sick child into work and risk contaminating the whole office; pump the sick kid full of medicine and send them to school with fingers and toes crossed; or let their little Typhoid Mary stay home from school alone, risking dire consequences and the possible wrath of a Child Services intervention.

Unlike most working parents, I have one big advantage.

I work from home, so if my kids are too sick to school, I put them back to bed, turn on the tv, and plan on taking a few more breaks playing nursemaid – serving soup and medicine, and sucking up to lots of whining. I can stay home and cuddle with them because although they’re sick, what really makes them feel better is to just have their Mommy. I fantasize about wearing a surgical mask and latex gloves and protecting myself with a 10 mil full body bubble, but since I don’t wear protection when I’m hugging and kissing their sweaty foreheads, or wiping their green snot, or double-wiping their diarrhea butts (thankfully the girls are older and I make them do that themselves) there’s a chance that all those abnormal bodily fluids pouring from my kids’ orifices today are going to be leaking from mine tomorrow.

I don’t think childless adults can possibly comprehend the sheer panic that goes into the instantaneous schedule juggling that goes into effect when your child suddenly takes ill. Any plans you might have – work, social or otherwise – must immediately be cancelled. The problem is, it’s hard to find the time to cancel those commitments because your child has a bowl resting in his lap while you race for the pediatrician’s office before the small window of drop-in hours closes. The minivan careens through early morning rush hour traffic with the parent voice-dialing her iPhone, and in between business calls she shouts in the direction of the back seat at her ill little imp:

“Aim for the bowl! Aim for the… DAMN!”

And as Brando himself would pine:

“The horror! The horror!”

You can spend 200 bucks on an auto detail, but that putrid puke stench is never going to completely come out of your carpet.

Jake at the pediatrician’s office not looking all that sick.

Last Friday, Jake woke up crying. He said his throat hurt – so bad in fact that he couldn’t even eat Cookie Crisp cereal, so I knew it must be bad. I tried to take his temperature, but our thermometer is a little off, so what I have to do is take my own temperature and assume it’s normal, then take his and add or subtract. I was 95.1˚ which would normally mean that I was already dead from hypothermia, and Jake was 98.4˚ which would in Goldilocks terms seems just about right, but by making me 98.7˚, Jake was actually 102˚ which means that he officially had a fever. This combined with the sore throat could possibly mean strep throat, which apparently is incredibly painful and therefore would explain Jake’s tears.

Call me Sherlock Holmes. That was exactly the doctor’s diagnosis.

After the pediatrician visit, a trip to the pharmacy for an antibiotic, 2 oz. of cough medicine and 1-1/2 oz. of Children’s Advil, Jake was happily clutching his favorite blanket and looking forward to an entire day watching SpongeBob.

And after walking about 30 feet away, I went back to work.

Thank you God for my work-from home job, for walk-in hours for pediatricians, for children’s liquid antibiotics that taste like bubble gum, for Otter Pops, for fluffy blankets that are machine washable, and for husbands who will eventually come home from their jobs and take over nursing duties.

But thank God mostly to Nickelodeon for SpongeBob. Now I can get some work done.

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Filed under Anxiety, Career, Family, Humor, Illness, Kids, Parenting, Recuperating

Be Prepared: Massacring the Boy Scout Motto on a Cub Scout Campout

Last week I went on my very first Cub Scout campout. More specifically, I went on my very first Cub Scout campout with my 5-year old son Jake, which makes it sound so much more legitimate than the singular “I,” which would have been really creepy. My daughters spent the weekend with my ex, so Jake and I brought along my current husband, mostly because he is also Jake’s dad. (I like saying “current” husband because it’s fun to watch the troubled look on people’s faces when I say it, and fortunately Tom’s got a great sense of humor so he doesn’t care).

Because I have been incredibly uptight for pretty much my entire life, I’ve been making a point of not taking life so seriously by not over-thinking everything. I tell myself this in retrospect, because the cold hard truth is, I didn’t spend as much time and thought as I should have on packing for this camping trip.

The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared,” so I figured that if I forgot anything, these responsible scouts would probably have it in spades. And they did turn out to be quite well stocked when it came to preparedness items like a first aid kit, fishing bait and new batteries for a dead flashlight. However, Camp Whitsett is a far cry from Motel 6, so if I thought that they might have something like a spare disposable shower cap, I was sadly mistaken. Fortunately for me, I didn’t take a shower the entire 3-day span. Unfortunately for my fellow campers, I didn’t take a shower the entire… you get the picture. Or at least you can picture the smell. By the last day, I literally felt like Charlie Brown’s buddy Pig Pen with a putrid path of stinky stench trailing my every step, followed by a tornado of flies.

Naturally a Native American or Aborigine can survive in the Mojave Desert or Australian Outback with just a spear and a loincloth, but I’m a 21st century woman with survival skills that don’t run past the BRAT diet or placing the Magic Mommy kiss on a boo boo, so my haphazard packing skills could actually affect the safety, well-being and comfort of the rest of my family. Here were some of my packing faux pas:

The first night, I unwrapped a sleeping bag from the plastic kitchen grocery bag I store it in and found that instead of grabbing the sleeping bag, I packed our 6-foot stuffed Frankenstein’s Monster from Halloween. Besides not being very functional, it’s really not the face you want to see late at night in your flashlight beam when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

I ended up stealing Tom’s sleeping bag and being the manly man that he is, he forged his bedding from a couple of bath towels. I also didn’t pack his toothbrush or a jacket, and I mistakenly brought Emily’s water shoes instead of his. On the other hand, my 16-year old’s feet may actually be bigger than my husband’s.

Because my summer attire traditionally consists of a camisole and yoga pants, that’s what I packed for clothes. The outfits came in a variety of colors, and I thought I was so fancy by bringing one extra combination in case of an emergency. However, I had no cover-up to protect my torso from the sun except for a hooded sweatshirt which would have been unbearably hot since the mercury hovered over 90 degrees every day. And it took only about two seconds of actual camping for me to realize that I really should have packed a pair of pants with some pockets. I went through my cargo pants stage only a few years ago, so you’d think I’d know better. Instead, I improvised by stashing bottled water, the camp itinerary, my camera, sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses and my hat in places like my socks, my waistband and my cleavage.

A few weeks ago my family and I spent three nights in Palm Springs and Tom, Mary and Jake had all purchased new sun tops in red, yellow, and blue respectively. I nicknamed this crew The Primary Colors, and when they traveled in a pack around the pool it was easy to spot them. For the camping trip I packed Tom’s and Jake’s shirts, but instead of grabbing Jake’s blue, I packed Mary’s yellow, so Jake spent the entire weekend in a sun shirt that stretched down to his knees.

One thing I deliberately didn’t pack was our tent since we were told that the camp contained not only tents, but also cots. It sounded so luxurious – as if Camp Whitsett would be like Lexus camping rather than VW Bug camping. It turned out to be more of the VW variety – and not like the recent Beetle model but rather more akin to the beater VW van that needs to be pushed down a slope and kicked into gear to get started. The tents were the Army reject variety with occasional holes, placed over punctured plywood. Their canvas bottom edges didn’t quite reach to the ground so any number of small creatures and giant insects could wander in and cozy up. The cots were made of metal springs that were so stretched by decades of overweight Den Leaders that it was like sleeping in a hammock. There was a thin ancient mattress over the cot, but it still didn’t keep me from lying down and having my butt immediately fall to within an inch of the floor. Fortunately the stuffed Frankenstein’s Monster came in handy. I shoved him under the mattress and it filled the gap made by the sagging cot. Almost. I couldn’t flatten Frankie out evenly, so it felt like I was sleeping on a pad covering several rolling anthills. And frankly, with the number of stray bugs in the tent, that might not have been far from the truth.

Overall it was great fun and a terrific learning experience about what to pack for our next camping trip which takes place in only a couple of months. The first week of November we’ll be roughing it at Catalina Island’s Emerald Bay. After hearing stories from the other Cub Scout parents about the choppy boat ride to the island, there’s only one thing I know I absolutely must be prepared to pack for that trip:

Dramamine.

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Filed under Anxiety, Family, Husband, Kids, Parenting, Vacation

13 Suggested Tasks for a 13-year Old’s Rite of Passage into Adulthood

To see my vlog (video blog) of this post, click here.

Last month a woman wrote an article in England’s The Guardian about her son who rented the 1977 tv miniseries Roots and decided that he was old enough for manhood training like young Kunta Kinte – without having his foot cut off. Because he was nearing his 13th birthday and was looking for more freedom and independence, the mom decided to create a series of 13 tests as his rite of passage into adulthood. They included tasks like cooking a 3-course family dinner, taking a train by himself, and learning a piano piece and performing it in public.

I know this magical 13 years of age is a big moment in the Jewish tradition in the form of a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah, just as it was I made my Confirmation. I was now an adult in the eyes of the Catholic Church, which meant that I was really going to hell instead of just purgatory. The adulthood milestone backfired when my brother was old enough to make his Confirmation.

“If I’m old enough to be an adult in the church, then I’m old enough to refuse to go to church,” he confessed to my mother.

Other than weddings and funerals, I think that’s the last time my brother ever went to mass.

There a lot of difficult tasks that adults are expected to perform, so if an adolescent wants a later bedtime or to convince his parents that he should have a supersize rather than a Happy Meal, here are my 13 suggestions that are sure to make him a man:

Note that all these tasks must be done without an iPod, iPhone, Gameboy, or any other device 13-year olds have their noses buried in these days.

Here we go –

1. Work for a week as a customer service representative for a boss who’s a complete jerk.

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2. Put together a desk from IKEA without having any unexplained spare parts.

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3. Call a medical insurance company and try to get reimbursed for a payment.____________________________________________________________

4. Attend a large university graduation ceremony on a really hot day.

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5. Stand outside the Reagan Library and try to get people to register as Democrats.

____________________________________________________________6. 6. Answer the front door to a Jehovah’s Witness without converting.

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7. Go to the DMV without an appointment. Wait and wait and wait until you reach the front desk and ask if they’ll give you a driver’s license if your mom tells them it’s ok with her.

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8. Serve one week of jury duty. More if you get an allowance and your mom & dad compensate you for it.

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9. Take a bus from Union Station to the Santa Monica pier and deliberately sit next to the smelliest guy you can find.

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10. Clean up a frat house after a wild Cinco de Mayo party. Score more manhood points if the tequila was really cheap.

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11. Make a dinner using only vegetables, then eat the entire meal without saying “yuck” or plugging your nose.

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12. Talk to a telemarketer for five minutes, then refuse to buy anything.

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13. Stall your car for ten minutes on a freeway off ramp right next to a man with a homemade sign and cup in his hand. Keep eye contact with him for the entire duration.

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Odds are your child will give up before he or she reaches 13 and instead return to being an obsessed Facebook and Nickelodeon fanatic.

That’s the bad news.

And the worse news:

After this ordeal, he’ll probably never leave home.

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Filed under Humor, Kids, Parenting, Top 10 List

Missing the Kodak Moment on the First Day of School

I am a terrible mother.

Today was the first day of the 2012-2013 school year. I dropped off Mary at the middle school gate, walked Jake to our local elementary school and into his new class, and since Emily is in high school I just gave her a firm kick out the front door. After my kids were tightly locked down into their three respective LA Unified schools, I came home, poured myself another cup of coffee and posted the following to my Facebook page:

“It feels so weird to have the house to myself.”

I hit “post” and then proceeded to read my friends’ News Feed for the morning.

That’s when I realized I deserved the Worst Mother of the Year Award.

Every single post of every single parent of a school-aged child had already uploaded a photo of their little angel’s first day of school. The kiddos were carrying Angry Bird lunch boxes and had Dora the Explorer backpacks over their shoulder blades and their spotless shoes were glittering and their shiny outfits were so new the tags were probably pulled off on the way to class. They were posing with old friends and new teachers, clutching siblings, and wiping the tears away from their sobbing parents.

I, on the other hand, had completely forgotten about that precious Kodak moment. And now it was too late.

It’s not like I could barge into my 16-year old’s French III class with my iPhone blazing. “Excusez-moi, Madam,” I could have said, and that would be the end of it since I don’t speak French. Then I’d take a quick snapshot of my daughter hiding under her desk. For the rest of her high school career, she would be known as That girl with the crazy paparazzi mom.

I wouldn’t have been allowed to sneak into my 11-year old’s drama production class and loudly proclaim to her teacher that being the thespian that he is, he should understand why I must stop the class in their tracks from learning a Shakespeare sonnet or a David Mamet play or some improv demonstration where they all pretend to be caterpillars just so my daughter can be seen on the big screen (big depending on how large your computer monitor is). Normally I humiliate her just by breathing. This stunt would have pushed her so far over the edge that she probably have come home and tried to OD on gummy vitamins.

And now that my baby boy is a big 1st grader, he’d be completely mortified if I popped into his new class and interrupted a lively reading of Junie B. Jones.

“Stand over here next to Hendrix and say ‘cheese!’”

Then I’d reposition him and shove another of his soon-to-be-former friends into the group.

“Let’s do another one with Charlotte since you weren’t smiling.”

Then he’d excuse himself to go to the little boys’ room and never come back.

I could have had my first day of school Facebook photos. But alas, I missed my moment.

So here’s my re-creation:

I took it after my kids got home. Notice that Emily and Mary are already wearing their pajama bottoms.

It’s too late to capture that first day of school moment. But at least I still have time to embarrass my kids.

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Filed under Anxiety, Family, Humor, Kids, Parenting, Public Schools, Teenagers

The Mom Olympics

Pumping up for the Mom Olympics

I’ve never really been into spectator sports, unless of course it involves watching my 5-year old son in Toluca Baseball and praying that he stops playing in the dirt. I love going to see the Dodgers, but if they suddenly closed the concessions stands and I couldn’t wolf down a Dodger Dog, I probably wouldn’t fork out the 50 bucks. And although I love his enthusiasm, I just don’t see my husband’s attraction of yelling at our tv on Sundays at a bunch of helmet heads who obviously can’t hear him all the way in Florida. Are these big guys really going to move faster with my husband is calling them a tool?

This week he’s is trying to lure the whole family into watching the Summer Olympics. Tom is gushing about his respect and amazement over the physical feats of these athletes who have been training for their sport even before they grunted their way through the birth canal. I’m enjoying bits and pieces, while my daughter Mary is learning the lingo about gymnastics (They didn’t stick it!) and coaching me on the athletes’ names, countries and probable endorsement deals.

All this hype has persuaded the YouTube MomPulse channel to ask the question: “What would be in the Mom Olympics?” So in honor of the 2012 Summer Olympics, I have proposed:

12 Categories for the Mom Olympics:

#1 Fastest sun block application

#1 Fastest sun block application

You earn extra points if your kid is crying, but lose points if he’s crying because you squirted sunblock in his eyes.

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#2 Shotput toys from the living room back into the bedroom

#2 Shotput toys from the living room back into the bedroom

You lose points if you happen to hit a kid or dog walking by.

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#3 Synchronized teeth brushing

#3 Synchronized teeth brushing

SpongeBob toothpaste is allowed.

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#4 Fastest sprint to save your child from entering the street

#4 Fastest sprint to save your child from entering the street

Most moms would beat any Olympiad’s Gold Medal record in this competition.

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#5 Hosting the largest slumber party without committing homicide or suicide

#5 Hosting the largest slumber party without committing homicide or suicide

Extra points if your guests are particularly high maintenance.

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#6 Judged by distance, time and amount, how many groceries can you carry from the minivan to the house?

#6 Judged by distance, time and amount, how many groceries can you carry from the minivan to the house?

Extra points for using your own reusable bags. Not because it’s a more difficult skill; Mom Olympics should be environmentally friendly.

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#7 Hurdling over dogs to answer the phone

#7 Hurdling over dogs to answer the phone

Don’t you hate when you waste all that energy just to get a telemarketer?

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#8 Most patience while teaching your teenager to drive

#8 Most patience while teaching your teenager to drive

See #5 above. The homicide or suicide rule applies to this event as well.

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#9 Standing high jump while trying to dust the top book shelf

#9 Standing high jump while trying to dust the top book shelf

For the Dad Olympics, they use a footstool. Or rather, they tell their wife to use a footstool.

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#10 Driving the most stressful car pool without flipping anyone off or using the wrong 4-letter words

#10 Driving the most stressful car pool without flipping anyone off or using the wrong 4-letter words

Extra points if you have to listen to the same Glee song over and over.

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#11 Creating the cheapest edible meal for a family of 5

#11 Creating the cheapest edible meal for a family of 5

I wanted to post a picture of an off-brand macaroni and cheese made with nonfat dry milk and Butterbuds, but then I’d have to eat it, which would violate the second part of Rule #5. It would be inedible and might create inadvertent suicide.

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#12 Triple jump homework help

#12 Triple jump homework help

This is harder as your kids get older and start taking calculus. Unless you majored in math, which is unlikely for most moms. What a shame.

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It’s too bad I didn’t have time to book a flight to London this year, but I hope to see you all in 4 years in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Mom Olympics.

“Adeus!”

That’s “Cheerio!” in Portuguese.

To view my Mom Olympics vlog click the link below:

MomPulse Vlog: What Would Be in the Mom Olympics?

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Filed under Family, Humor, Husband, Kids, Multitasking, Parenting, Top 10 List

Very VERY Busy Stagnation

During the summer when I’m on hiatus from work and the kids are off school, the world is my oyster and the possibilities are endless. I wake up in the morning excited about my choices for the day. Should I clean out my closet? The kids’ rooms? The garage? The pantry? Weed the side yard? Trim the trees? Plant grass seed in the bare spots? Read a book? Update my address book? Hike? Go to Pilates? Take the kids to the beach? To the park? Write a blog or shoot a vlog? Sort through emails? Juggle the bills?

Where do I start?

I start them all.

I started gutting the kids’ room, but now the living room is filled with donation bags and their room looks like the Wicked Witch of the West flew through it.

I started sorting through CDs, but I’m halfway done, so there’s still a pile on the living room floor. “Blues?” “Alternative?” “Heavy Metal?” I’m mainstream rock so I have to ask Tom about his categories.

I started cleaning out my closet, so now I have a pile of too-big-or-too-small clothes and hangers on my bed.

I started putting in a landscape border for plants, but the border is still stretched across the driveway.

I started going to Pilates, but I didn’t stay for the optional final stretching because I had too much to do at home.

I started weeding through emails, but I’ve only made a dent.

I started writing about a dozen different blogs but didn’t post any in the past two weeks.

I’ve started three dozen things, but I haven’t finished anything.

I am so completely overwhelmed, my completion rate has become stagnant. If I have a choice in time management, I end up running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Someone should cut off my head.

My husband tells me to breathe. I’m trying to meditate, but my mind keeps wandering back to my to-do list.

Yesterday I was determined to finish the half-done things and today I finally reached a turning point.

I’ve finished my first blog post in two weeks (this one).

The kids’ room is clean, the donation bags are banished to the patio, and the CDs have been sorted and alphabetized. The grass seed is planted. I’ve deleted a ton of emails and only have 2975 to go. I’ve put about a thousand miles on my new minivan transporting the kids from one summer activity to another, so my mom points are back in the black.

I’m on a roll. The rest of my tasks are coming along.

I’m done hyperventilating.

Just in time to get ready to go back to work.

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Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Family, Humor, Husband, Kids, Multitasking, Parenting

Vacationing Around the World Via Green Screen

Our family enjoying Splashtopia while we vacation at Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage.

I’m not much of a world traveler. My last passport expired in 1988 and I haven’t even been on a plane since before 9/11. But last Saturday at the Colfax World Fair, photographer Craig Damon gave me and my kids the opportunity to travel throughout the world without paying for airport parking or experiencing a minute of jetlag.

Jake and I walked over 5,000 miles along the Great Wall of China, but on the way back he said he was too tired, so I had to carry him.

Here Jake and I are at the Taj Mahal. I stopped him just in time before he drew a picture of SpongeBob in Sharpie on the mausoleum.

Mary and I traveled to Egypt to see the pyramids. She was very disappointed that there was no casino with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Now we’re swimming with the fishes in the beautiful Caribbean. Pretty cool that our clothes never got wet.

Mary and I were amazed at the height of the Eiffel Tower. We tasted about 50 different kids of cheese and then the next day we were completely constipated.

Jake was really excited about visiting Mount Rushmore because he learned about it on an episode of Phineas and Ferb. Jake figured that they were the ones who took away the presidents’ bodies.

Being the teenager that she is, Emily didn’t really want to travel the world with her uncool mom, so I convinced her to join me on a trip to Titus – Saturn’s largest moon. Unfortunately Emily forgot to pack the lower half of her body. Either that or Phineas and Ferb stole it too, and are hiding it somewhere near Mount Rushmore.

You would think that with all this traveling I would have thought to bring a change of clothes.

Next year at the Colfax World Fair I’m hoping that Craig takes me on a trip to Tahiti. Maybe for that vacation I’ll take my husband and leave the kids at the fair.

 

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