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So now I have survived two traumatic experiences this summer. Back in June I was in a four-car smash-up, and yesterday I went white water rafting. If you know me at all, I know what you’re thinking: “Madhousewife, why were you white water rafting?” I am not fond of the outdoors. I don’t like to have fun. Therefore, it makes little sense that I should have been white water rafting. Except that my husband wanted to take me and the older kids white water rafting, so naturally that is why I was white water rafting. When my husband says he wants to do something that I’m not particularly interested in doing, my response is to murmur indifferently and hope that he will eventually forget about it. To say I’d rather not do something he’s decided would be fun to do is to invite criticism of my well-established hatred of fun. In addition to fun and the outdoors, criticism of my fundamental personality traits is something I don’t enjoy. I only invite personal criticism when it’s really important. I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head. Maybe I will get back to that later.

Anyway, my husband went white water rafting with his co-workers as a team-building activity last summer, and for his birthday the white water rafting company sent him a gift certificate for a free white water rafting trip for an individual. This reminded him that he wanted to take me and the older kids white water rafting, and it wasn’t like he could not take advantage of one of us being free—hence, he booked us on a white water rafting trip. I was not excited to go, but I was willing to go because despite my hatred of fun and my apparent willingness to own it, I am clearly not willing to fully own it because I still occasionally feel guilty about it and doubt my own judgment when it comes to outright rejecting activities that I have no desire to participate in. I have no desire to spend three days at amusement and water parks at the end of this month, but I am uncomfortable saying, “I will not do that,” because a) it just seems rude to tell my family I won’t go on vacation with them, b) what would I suggest instead? I’m not a fun person, and c) even if they left me at the hotel to read a book, which I would enjoy, I would feel like I was missing something because the rest of my family is off having fun and—for want of a less cringe-inducing phrase—making memories without me. I have to go to the amusement park and the water park, or otherwise I am not part of the family. I would sooner excommunicate myself from the church (and I’m not aiming to do that any time soon).

When it comes to things I’ve never done before, there is also the remote possibility that I will end up enjoying it. It isn’t likely, given my nature, but how do I know unless I’ve tried it? I like to think that there are many things I’ll agree to do once. I once agreed to eat tripe. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. But now I know, and now when I’m confronted with the opportunity to eat tripe or not eat tripe, I can make an informed decision, with or without guilt. Well, in the case of tripe, it’s without guilt because there are several people in the family who won’t eat tripe. I don’t have to feel like I’m letting them all down by not eating it. Also, maybe I feel like some tripe today. I don’t know. I also don’t feel guilty about refusing to eat olives. This only affects my family when it’s time to order pizza. I guess this is one of those examples of when inviting personal criticism is worth the risk. I really hate olives. I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. Thanks to experience, I also know that I really hate raw baby squids—eating them, not so much their existence—and I have no qualms about refusing to eat those, even if it means offending the entire nation of Japan, should I ever find myself in a remote fishing village there again.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Until yesterday, I had never been white water rafting. Maybe I would like it, maybe I wouldn’t. How would I know unless I tried it? I wasn’t excited to try it, but I was willing to try it, for the aforementioned reasons I have already explained, despite the fact that it involved the outdoors (which I’m not fond of) and also involved water, with which I have a complicated relationship. (I’m not sure it’s worth going into the history.) Despite the fact that I am generally terrified of drowning (part of my complicated relationship with water), my anxiety over the trip was not so much over the (distinct) (but at the same time statistically unlikely) possibility of drowning but the certainty that I was going to have to spend several hours in a wet suit, which didn’t sound comfortable (what if I get an itch I can’t scratch?) and that I would need to exert myself physically (physical exertion being another thing I have a complicated relationship with) in a manner that might require coordination (coordination also not being one of my strengths). So yes, I was anxious, but I wasn’t scared anxious.

That was before I got to the white water rafting place. The wetsuit actually wasn’t that bad. I got an itch. I was able to scratch it. It was unbearably hot, but they told me I’d be grateful for the insulation once I was in the 40 degree water, and I believed them. I still had my doubts about the physical exertion/coordination thing, but they were not overwhelming. What was overwhelming was when they started talking about what I’d need to do if I fell out of the raft or the raft turned over and everyone, including me, fell into the river. Obviously, I knew all along this was a possibility—falling out of the raft and into the river—but I didn’t know-know it until they were giving me instructions on how to deal with this scenario and I realized that I would never in a million years remember all of this stuff. I could remember some of it—Number One rule, for example, “Don’t Panic!” Easy to remember. Not so easy to follow, which brings me to my second overwhelming experience, the realization that I would, in the event of falling into a river, definitely not remember anything I was supposed to do except not panic, and therefore I would definitely panic. I’m sorry, but what is the alternative when you can’t remember how not to drown? I can’t think of one. At the same time, I can’t think of a better way to drown than to panic while underwater, so you see why my anxiety increased exponentially at this point. I really had no choice but to stay in the raft, and being ill-coordinated and inexperienced (at white water rafting), I was not 100 percent confident of my ability to do so. Did I mention that I was now rationally anxious, as opposed to just silly-anxious? Seriously, an itch I couldn’t scratch? How could that ever have bothered me? I’m some kind of idiot, that’s how.

Anyway, back to my story and my determined resolve not to fall out of the raft, since I had already forgotten 85 percent of what they’d told me to do in that event—possibly 90, I couldn’t really tell since I’d forgotten so much. I got in the raft. The raft was in the water. Because we booked the trip late, our family had to split up and be in two separate rafts. Sugar Daddy and Princess Zurg were rafting with some outdoorsy, fun-loving young adults (or maybe they were middle-aged adults, I couldn’t really tell since I was focused mostly on the drowning thing), and Mister Bubby and I were rafting with a family of four—outdoorsy, fun-loving parents and their game-looking teenage daughters, one of whom had been rafting before but not at this level of rapids. I forgot to mention that this trip included level-2 and level 3- and level-4 rapids and also a level-5 waterfall thingy at the end. None of these levels meant anything to me before this trip; frankly, they don’t mean much to me now, except I now know that level-2 is about where my comfort level stops. But back to my story. I was getting off topic. We were in the raft. The raft was in the water. SD was in another raft. He said he was actually kind of glad he was in a separate raft because then he could better watch me as I was having my rafting experience. Forget the logic of this statement. What you need to know is that my husband has admitted that he enjoys witnessing my discomfort, to the extent that it’s important to him to get a good seat. I’m going to leave that for now and come back to it later, or we’ll never get past the part where I’m in the raft.

We’re in the raft, the raft is in the water, and we’re rowing. Or paddling. I guess you paddle in a raft. They taught us how to paddle. It made sense.  I am executing the paddling motion. Am I awesome at it? No. Am I better at it than the girl in front of me? Yes. Is that saying much? No, but I don’t have any other reference. We are paddling in the raft, in the water, and we’re coming up on some rapids. What do they call these rapids? I forget. They all have cute names. One is “Maytag.” I do not like that name, but that is not the name of these rapids. I think these were “The Staircase” or something. Honestly, none of the names appeals to me, but that’s neither here nor there. We’re coming up on some rapids, maybe The Staircase, maybe something else fraught with devastating possibilities, and our guide—whom I like very much; he sounds a lot like the Crush the turtle in Finding Nemo, and I feel comfortable with him—tells us to paddle forward two, but I notice there’s a big rock where my paddle would go, and then the next thing I know, the raft is tipping and, despite my determination, I am falling out of it. I am telling this in slow motion. This is how it really went down: we’re paddling, everything’s cool, and then BOOM! I’m in the water and I’m drowning. I knew this would happen!

So I’m in the water, drowning. I don’t know what anyone else is doing because all I can think is, “Don’t panic,” and also, “Panic!” This is the conversation my brain is having with itself: “Don’t panic!” “I’m panicking!” “I said don’t panic!” “I know! I’m drowning!” “You can’t panic when you’re drowning!” “But I’m DROWNING!” “Okay, let’s think, what was that thing they said about recirculating? We don’t want to do that—“ “I AM F***ING DROWNING HERE!” “SHUT UP, I’M TRYING TO THINK!” “I’M PANICKING!” “What you don’t want to do is put your feet down, they told you not to put your feet down—“ “IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT I GET SOME AIR RIGHT NOW” “I’M THINKING!” “Okay, I am breathing air now, but I can’t see anything and I can’t hear anything and the important things is that I’M STILL IN THE WATER AND NOT THE BOAT AND WHERE IS THE WATERFALL AM I GOING TO DIE” and on and on like that until finally I heard SD’s voice and the guide in his raft pulled me out of the water, and then I wanted to cry but I didn’t because the trip had just started and I had already almost f***ing drowned. If I cried at this point, what would I have left to do the next time I almost drowned? Do not be misled by my reluctance to type the F-word in public; I assure you that my private thoughts contained no asterisks. I’m sorry, I’m going to need a minute here.

It was terrifying. Also, cold, but at the time I didn’t mind the cold so much—frankly, it was rather refreshing—but the terror really put a damper on my mood for the rest of the trip. It turned out that the whole raft tipped over, so all six of us went in the river. Mister Bubby actually swam toward the raft. I learned to swim at an appropriate age, but apparently I can only access the skill if I’m not in a life-or-death situation, which, to me, pretty much misses the point of learning how to swim. But I don’t have time to dwell on that epiphany. All six of us eventually ended up back in our right-side-up raft and continued on our way as if we hadn’t just had a near-death experience.

Seriously, wet suits and itching. What was I thinking?

Actually, one of the previously game-looking teenage daughters now appeared to be even more traumatized than I was. She couldn’t stop crying. I knew how she felt. I would have been crying too, if I hadn’t been determined not to embarrass my son, who had made it clear before we got on the raft that he was not thrilled to be paired with me because I was so potentially embarrassing. So I was being strong, for him (not that he appreciated it), but my sympathy was with this poor girl, who—I believe I mentioned—could not stop crying. We kept paddling, she kept crying. We got to a part of the river where we had to get out and hike what seemed like a mile but probably wasn’t nearly a mile of rugged terrain, and she was crying the whole way. Eventually she and the mother just had to walk out, which left only four of us in our party, but that was okay. At least none of us was crying. Yet.

We got to the point where it was time to get back into the rafts, which were already in the water (having been zip-lined past the stretch that was apparently unnavigable), and our choices were to jump off a cliff into the water (about a 20-foot drop), or hike a more roundabout route to the place where the rafts were waiting. The jump was highly recommended by several, but I knew about this part of the trip from the outset, and I knew from the outset that I would not be jumping off any cliff for any reason, with any inducement. I don’t jump off of cliffs. I don’t jump off of anything. SD jumped off the cliff, but that was no biggy, he’d done it before. Also, he liked jumping off of things. Like diving boards and crap. MB and PZ also jumped off the cliff. I took the long road, along with half a dozen or so of my fellow catapedaphobic rafters. I can’t say the descent down the side of the cliff was a stroll in the park either, but there were ropes. I made it. I watched my children plunge into the river, on purpose. Then we continued on our merry way.

Really, there is not much for me to say about the rest of the trip. As I told MB and SD later, it might have been different had I not fallen into the river very first thing. Perhaps I might have enjoyed some of the gentler rapids. SD pointed out to me that I basically body-surfed a level-4 rapid on my back, which should have been awesome, but I really could have done without the experience. I spent the rest of the time just being afraid that I was going to fall in again. It is hard to forget that you just almost-drowned when your ears and stomach are still full of river water and your mouth is still full of the taste of fear. As we got closer to the end of the trip—the part where we were supposed to go over the waterfallOn the bus ride down to the starting point of the trip, I told MB—who was so bummed that he was with the embarrassing, fun-hating parent—that while I was definitely not jumping off a cliff, I did intend to go off the waterfall (which, like the cliff-jumping, was optional). I mean, why wouldn’t I? It was the climax of the trip, and after all, I’d never done it before, had I? And I couldn’t disappoint my son when I was the only parent he had in the raft with him, could I? So I said I’d go over the waterfall, but that was before I fully grasped the concept of “level 5.” As we got closer and closer to the waterfall, and they went over all the safety procedures for going over the waterfall, and they reiterated the stuff they said earlier in the day about the risk of “recirculating” (which I definitely didn’t want to do), I became increasingly certain that without a frontal lobotomy, I would not be able to enjoy going over a level-5 waterfall. And no matter how much I wanted to do it, i.e. not disappoint my son and miss the climax of the trip, even if I hated it, I could not make myself do it.

It turns out that I am only so much of a good sport about drowning.

It also turned out that of the four of us left in the raft (besides the guide), MB was the only one willing to go over the waterfall. That made me extra upset about not being able to make myself do it, because 12-year-olds shouldn’t have to go over waterfalls without their mothers. Right? I mean, it seemed that way to me. I can’t describe the guilt that went along with this decision, which I absolutely knew was the only decision I could possibly make because the flesh was weak and the spirit was also weak. It made it very difficult to enjoy the relief I felt over not having to go over a waterfall, which I now think was really unfair, but at the time all I felt was regret–and an overwhelming fear of drowning, of course, but that goes without saying.

So I got out of the raft and walked with my fellow waterfall-phobic rafters to the bridge where you watch fun-loving people go over a waterfall in a raft and possibly fall out and get sucked into a whirlpool thingy and “recirculate” and meet their watery demise, and my anxiety level went up again. Here I was, safe on the bridge, and there were my children in the river, about to go over a freaking waterfall. I wasn’t worried about SD—he’d done it before and not died, so I was reasonably confident he could do it again—but neither of my children had ever navigated a waterfall before, successfully or otherwise. PZ was even less good at rafting than I was, and MB was all alone in the raft with a dude who talked like the sea turtle in Finding Nemo (not that he wasn’t a consummate professional). I almost didn’t want to watch, but I did.

They survived. Nobody fell out. And the fun was finally over!

SD said it was very sad to watch me getting knocked around by the rapids, clearly terrified, but I can’t help noticing that while SD always says it’s sad for him to see me scared, he also can’t seem to keep from laughing about it. Perhaps it’s a nervous reaction and he doesn’t actually enjoy my fear, but it’s just that he keeps pulling me into situations where I will be very afraid. Situations like roller coasters and haunted houses and big water slides and white water rapids. And he seems to enjoy reminiscing about those experiences. I don’t mean to invite you to judge him too harshly, gentle readers. I’m sure he’s only able to laugh because he (unlike I) knew all along that I wasn’t going to die. I’m sure he wouldn’t laugh at my fear if he ever thought I was in actual danger. I think.

MB: You didn’t enjoy the rest of the trip because you almost fell in the river.

Mad: There was no almost about it! I did fall in!

MB: I mean you almost fell in again. You only stayed in the raft the second time because you grabbed onto that 12-year-old girl.

Mad: Yes. And thank God she was there.

That’s all I have to say about white water rafting. Except that wet suits smell like feet. But that’s another post for another day.

Blog-wise, anyway. I’ve been on vacation for the last ten days. I guess it was ten, I’m too lazy to count. You count for me: I left on the 23rd and came back on the 31st. What is that? Nine days? So nine days, not ten. This is the tenth day and here I am. Surprise! It’s good to see you too.

Let me summarize my vacation for you: We drove down to Gold Beach, which is in southern Oregon. There is nothing at all in Gold Beach except a jet boat tour that will take you up the Rogue River to the bustling metropolis of Agness, which also has nothing in it. I don’t mean to besmirch any of these fine geographical locations. The jet boat tour was a lot of fun. The beach at Gold Beach is very pretty. We ate lunch in Agness, and it was pretty good. We went to church while we were in Gold Beach, and I think we increased the congregational population by 20 percent. I find coastal towns inordinately depressing, but I enjoyed church there very much. It must have reminded me of my college days and the era of Mormon scarcity. Everything’s more precious when it’s scarce. Must be similar to the way Gold Beach residents react when they see a job. But I digress.

Anyway, we were in Gold Beach for a few days, then we drove down into California to see the Redwoods. We went to the Trees of Mystery, which has all the funny-looking redwood trees, and then we did some (very little) hiking in Fern Canyon. I want to tell you one thing about Fern Canyon: If you have the opportunity to go there, you must. It’s astonishingly beautiful.

Then we drove back into Oregon to see the Oregon Caves. Those were cool. Another thing that has to be experienced in real life. I tried to take pictures, but pictures don’t work. They really don’t. That didn’t stop me from taking them, of course. I kept trying to get them to work, but they just don’t. I’m sorry, but that is my excuse for not posting pictures of my vacation. You can thank me later.

Then we spent a day in Medford just taking a breather. This was one of what my husband has come to term “dog’s butt days.” (I hope you appreciate that hyper-link I went to all the trouble of providing, even if you don’t feel the need to click on it.) It is his concession to my need to not be constantly doing something, i.e. my preference for always doing nothing. Medford really is a bustling metropolis, next to Gold Beach and Agness, but there is also very little to do there. So I did the laundry and saw Brave with my daughters. (We had to drive to a theater in a neighboring city, though, since the one theater in Medford was not showing anything we wanted to see.) And that was the dog’s butt day that was.

The next day we drove to Eugene and visited with some friends. Eugene is just as depressing as it’s always been. Not coastal-town depressing, but I-used-to-live-here-and-I’m-so-glad-I-don’t-anymore depressing. No offense to Eugene. Well, none taken, I’m sure! Eugene is a special place. Unfortunately, it occupies a corner of my memory which is reserved for Very Dark Periods of my life. I get a similar feeling of dread every time I drive past an apartment building we used to live in. It’s all part of Life When Life Sucked. And you know, it’s not like life never sucks now, but compared to the way it sucked then? Well, there’s just no comparison. What’s the difference? Money. I’m sorry to say. But it’s true. I’ll never forget the first day I walked into a grocery store and thought to myself, “I can totally afford to buy whatever kind of breakfast cereal I want.” Money may not buy happiness, but it certainly mitigates the sadness. If you don’t believe me, ask a poor person.

The next day, which was yesterday, the last day of our vacation, we drove to the Enchanted Forest in Salem, on our way home. The Enchanted Forest is another thing that has to be seen to be believed. I call it the poor man’s Disneyland. My husband calls it “charmingly low-rent.” It’s the sort of place that my older kids should totally be over by now, but we go there every year and they still love it.

We took my mother-in-law on this vacation. At first she wasn’t going to come. I mean, at first we had planned for her to come, but then she spent three weeks in Chicago with her newborn grandchild and feeling like she was driving her daughter-in-law nuts, so she came back here and said she didn’t think she wanted to come with us on vacation because she didn’t want to drive me nuts. My mother-in-law is always talking about how she doesn’t want to drive me nuts. Really, it’s her son she drives nuts, not me. But after Sugar Daddy and the kids used all their powers of persuasion to get her to come with us, she said she would leave it up to me. To which I said, “…” Because what does one say? My suspicion was that she didn’t really want to come with us and maybe she wanted some time to herself after a stressful three weeks with her other grandchildren and daughter-in-law, but if I told her to go ahead and stay home if she wanted to, she would have interpreted it as “I’m too polite to tell you that you’ll drive me nuts.” So whatever. I don’t remember how it all went down, but she ended up coming after all.

Let me tell you: Never again. NEVER AGAIN. She really didn’t want to come. I was totally right about that. The kids drove her crazy, she drove my husband crazy, and even I, who don’t have the energy to be driven crazy by people to whom I’m not married or who didn’t come out of my birth canal, was driven crazy. The hours in the car were the worst. She was constantly sighing. She was like Al Gore in the 2000 presidential debate. Sigh. SIGH. SIGH. I want to tell you: I love my mother-in-law very much. Generally speaking, she does not drive me crazy. I’m very happy to have her living near us now. And I am very invested in her NOT getting sick of us in the first year. So, no. No more vacations with Grandma. She needs her space.

School starts on Tuesday. I’m very nervous about it. I just think I’m not prepared. This is my own special neurosis, perhaps, but I seem to feel unprepared on my children’s behalf, because I don’t know what they can expect. In the event that one of them goes to school on the first day and has no idea what to do or what’s going on, even if I were right there next to them, available to guide them through this difficult time in childhood, I would have no freaking clue how to help them. It’s ridiculous because I’m definitely NOT going to school with them, and therefore there is no realistic scenario in which I would need to help them navigate their day or find their locker or the cafeteria or whatever–I don’t know what kinds of problems they may or may not have, that’s how unprepared I am!–and so why should it bother me that I would be utterly inadequate to the task? I should just be grateful that they’re going to school and I’m not.

I guess I just need everything to go smoothly. I may have a psychological post-traumatic-stress thing going on because I was not prepared for when Princess Zurg entered kindergarten, I did not know what to expect, and kindergarten was a disaster. More to the point: Kindergarten through fourth grade was a disaster, an almost-daily disaster, during which it was not uncommon for me to receive phone calls during the day from someone at the school asking me to intervene in the disaster that was my daughter’s education and hoping that I could solve it, which I never could. Never mind that my other children have had very successful school experiences. PZ herself has since had successful school experiences, including a miraculously successful transition to middle school. Why should I be so nervous about her starting high school? Because I’ve been to that high school, and it’s big and scary. I don’t want someone to call me in the middle of the day and make me go down there. I’m afraid.

This year Mister Bubby starts middle school. I am somewhat less nervous about him because he always seems to manage just fine–or at least well enough that it is easy for me to ignore what he is not managing. I am being darkly facetious here. It’s the guilt talking. He really is a very capable child, despite the fact that he spent the first six months of his life glued to my breast. I really need to let that go. Plus, his BFF will be with him. You can get through anything with a BFF, can’t you? Have I ever mentioned that I have this secret fear that MB and his BFF will have some falling out because I have never had a lifelong BFF-ship and don’t understand how friendships can possibly last longer than a certain amount of time? I am gathering more material for my next therapy session as I type.

Elvis is also transitioning this year. He has spent the last three years in what they call the “lower social communication classroom” and now that he’ll be in fourth grade, he will be in the “upper social communication classroom”–the “lower” and “upper” refer to grade level, and the “social communication” refers to the fact that all the students are on the autism spectrum. Elvis has always had less expressive language capability than his classmates, and although he’s had a lot of improvement, he still communicates on a much lower level than his peers, even in this classroom where everyone has a social communication deficit. So–regardless of whether or not I’ve explained this situation adequately, I am nervous because academically there is a big jump between the lower and upper section, and I don’t know how he’s going to do with the increased expectations, not to mention the changes in general. He’s gotten much more adaptive over the years, but he’s still pretty rigid, and you know what? I’m pathologically pessimistic, even when I strongly desire not to be. I am refusing to think about this matter any more until somebody makes me. I just can’t take the stress.

And Girlfriend also has a transition, which I am mostly happy about because she will finally be in school full-time. I ought to be doing cartwheels. Metaphorical cartwheels, but still. Anyway. I don’t really worry about her. She likes school and is excited for school. She will need to get up earlier than she’s used to and she’ll be in school much longer than she’s used to, but I think she’ll be okay. Unfortunately, our school district has made some really big cuts this year and the target class size is 39. I think the first grade classrooms will all have 37. I have no reason to be particularly worried about my child, but I just can’t get my head around 37 first-graders in a classroom and what that will possibly look like. Well, I can see what it will possibly look like, but I’m trying to envision the not-disastrous scenario, and it is very difficult for someone of my personality type.

There is also the fact that her teacher is someone of whom the school psychologist once said, “That woman should not be in front of a classroom.” (This is hearsay, as far as I’m concerned, but only secondhand, and from a very reliable source, which gives me pause. Well, first I’m pausing because I can hardly believe a professional would make such an admission to a parent, but also I am pausing because, well, if she said it, it says a lot.) Personally, I don’t know that she’s that bad a teacher. MB had her for first grade, and he did fine. But still. With 37 children in the classroom, do you really want the teacher of whom such a thing was said by a fellow faculty member? Of course, I knew this was the teacher Girlfriend would get. I don’t have the social capital to get my kid into the Desirable First Grade Classroom with the Legendary Wonderful Teacher. I don’t even have the social capital to get my kid into the Other First Grade Classroom with the New and Therefore Unknown-Quantity Teacher. This is a natural consequence of my failure to join the PTA and volunteer at school. If my daughter burns out in first grade, I will only have myself to blame.

Just kidding. I will totally blame someone else. I don’t really anticipate that there will be a problem–at least not a problem that directly affects my child. But this might be because I am wearing myself out with all the other back-to-school worries. I simply don’t have the time and energy to worry about child #4. It’s the same reason there are no photographs of her between the ages of two and twenty-three months. And now I’m re-hashing my guilt over that, too. Thanks a lot, me. Great job!

Like I said, there’s plenty for the next therapy session.

Gentle readers, adieu.

So we went to The Dalles this week, just like I told you we would. Did I overpack? Just a little bit. But I also forgot to pack socks for Elvis, so it kind of evened out.

Speaking of Elvis, he was sick last week and over the weekend. When he woke up on Monday, he seemed fine. Back to his old self. Then we drove out to Multnomah Falls and hiked to the top of the waterfall. He didn’t seem very fine after that. More to the point, he didn’t seem very fine during that. He started coughing again and every few minutes he’d yell out, “I hate it! I hate this walk!” On the one hand, I appreciated his direct communication. I can’t recall him ever telling me he “hated” something before this. “I don’t like,” sure, but never “hate.” So that was like a milestone achieved, and that was cool. On the other hand, 1.2 miles and 11 switchbacks of “I hate it!” got a little annoying. The good news was that he felt a lot better about the experience coming downhill.

I wasn’t going to buy anything from the gift shop because I already have two Multnomah Falls magnets. But then I found one with Big Foot on it, and I just had to get it.

We had lunch at a place called Char Burger. Sugar Daddy described it as “charmingly low-rent.” I’d say that about covers it.

On our way out to The Dalles we stopped at Rowena Crest Viewpoint or Vista Point or whatever it is. We were just going to look around a little bit, but then we started following this path to see where it led, and it led, like, a couple miles away. Needless to say, Elvis “hated” that walk, too. I can’t say I blamed him.

When we finally got to the hotel, I lay down on the bed and fell asleep. SD gave me the best Spring Break present in the world: he didn’t wake me up to take the kids swimming in the hotel pool. I completely missed the hotel pool experience. I just slept until dinner. It was kind of awesome.

For dinner we ate at Spooky’s pizza parlor in The Dalles. Spooky’s is charmingly…something. We ate there the last time we went to The Dalles and were so charmed we just had to go back. I just have to ask you, how do you resist a restaurant with a mascot like this?

There is a knitted afghan of that logo hanging in the dining room. That’s what I mean by charming.

Also, the pizza is quite good.

The pizza might have been more enjoyable if Elvis hadn’t been coughing up a lung and yelling, “I’m sick!” every five minutes. Good thing Spooky’s was hopping that night, or our party might have drawn undue attention to itself. (Or maybe the attention would have been due. But it wouldn’t have been wanted. That’s for sure.)

I can’t remember if I mentioned this in the previous blog post, but we did take Grandma along for this trip. I only mention this now because Grandma, Princess Zurg and I were sharing a hotel room, and Grandma does snore. Which is fine, really, because I understand that sometimes I snore, too. I mean, people snore. My mother snored like a chainsaw. So does my mother-in-law. But this is not really what I meant to tell you. My MIL volunteered to sleep on the couch-that-folds-out-into-a-bed so that PZ and I could each sleep in our own bed. (I really wouldn’t have minded sharing a bed with my own daughter but she’s kind of particular, and anyway, Grandma volunteered so who am I to argue?) PZ and I fell asleep while my MIL stayed up watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. (I can’t watch that show ever since SD pointed out that it’s 20 minutes of two-second edits. Now the thought of it makes my brain hurt.) Anyway, I wake up in the middle of the night and my MIL is snoring. Okay. I get up to use the bathroom and I see that not only has my MIL not pulled out the couch-bed, but she is in fact sleeping on the coffee table. Okay. I mean, not okay. That’s really pretty odd, isn’t it? I mean, my MIL is used to sleeping in different places, I guess. She slept on her couch every night for 30 years until she moved up here and bought a bed. (It’s a long story.) And she’s not very tall, so if she’d decided to just fall asleep on the not-very-big couch in the hotel room, that would have been one thing, but the coffee table? That was unexpected.

But I digress.

The weather on Monday was sunny. On Tuesday it rained. So we went to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, which is always a pip. Then we went into Washington and visited the Maryhill Art Museum, which was interesting. It’s in the middle of freaking nowhere, and they have a large collection of artifacts from Queen Marie of Romania. Stuff like her crown and thrones and jewelry and stuff. Lots of furniture that did not look remotely comfortable. I can understand maybe a throne that isn’t comfortable. I mean, how much time does the queen really spend on her throne? Probably not that much. But sitting chairs and benches and stuff? It was all made of bronze or something. Absolutely no cushioning whatsoever. There were pictures of her and her children lounging on them. Really. I don’t know if they did that often. Maybe those Romanians are just made of sterner stuff than I. Probably so. I mean, most folks are, and heaven knows the Romanians have had a time of it. Uncomfortable furniture was probably the least of Queen Marie’s concerns.

The Maryhill Art Museum also hosts a large selection of Rodin sculptures as part of its permanent collection. I thought that was pretty interesting, being that it seriously is in the middle of nowhere.

As I recall, the museum is housed in philanthropist Sam Hill’s former mansion. (I made a lot of “where in Sam Hill” jokes that day which were underappreciated.) Sam Hill was also a Quaker pacifist and he had erected a World War I memorial fashioned after Stonehenge. It is not too far from the museum, so of course we had to visit that too. Actually, it was the whole reason we went in the first place. If there had been no Stonehenge, what would have been the allure? Romanian royalty and Rodin? I’m still a little unclear on how all that Rodin ended up in the middle of eastern Washington. But life is a mystery.

Now that I have this new laptop I have the new version of Microsoft Word, whatever that is called. Word 7? Word 24? I have no idea. Anyway, it’s taking a lot of getting used to. I finally figured out how to make the spacing the way I like it, which is the way it used to just automatically be in whatever ancient version of Word I was using for the last five years. I want to tell you kids that I am not enjoying getting old and crotchety nearly as much as I expected to. It doesn’t help that I am aware of the fact that I’m old and crotchety. In fact that may be the entire problem. Old and crotchety people aren’t supposed to know that they’re old and crotchety. They’re supposed to just think that the world is getting worse and stuff just isn’t as good as it used to be. The key to happiness may lie in a lack of self-awareness—in which case I am in a lot of trouble, as I’ve always been very self-aware. Sometimes it’s a blessing, but other times a curse. What can I do?

I spent most of today helping a friend with the last dreadful tasks of moving out of her house. I feel terrible because her husband started a new job on the other side of the country a couple months ago and she’s been here all alone with her four kids taking care of all the house and moving crap, and I have been so absorbed in my own stupid crap that I haven’t been any help to her whatsoever. Until today, of course. Better late than never, I guess, but still, I expected better of myself. I told SD that if he ever decides to take a job on the other side of the country and leave me to pack up and move the house by myself with all four kids, he can expect to hear, “I’ll miss you, honey! Don’t forget to write!”

Seriously, between dealing with my own crap over the last two weeks and watching my friend trying to disposition the last of her crap (really the absolute worst part of moving, in my opinion—all the leftover bits of crap that didn’t fit neatly into boxes but can’t just be thrown out), I am more determined than ever to stay right here until I die. UNTIL I DIE.

I just got back from lunch with the husband.  I ate a gyro the size of my head.  In related news, I don’t think I will ever need to eat again.  At least not today.  Unfortunately, that won’t stop me from needing to make dinner.

Sugar Daddy and I were discussing Christmas, as in what sorts of things could we possibly buy the children for Christmas.  They already have way too many things and no place to put them.  Yeah, I know.  Tell them they have to get rid of some things if they want any new things.  Gotcha.  That doesn’t really change the fact that we don’t know what to get them, assuming they prove themselves worthy of getting anything.  Oh, who are we kidding.  They’ll get stuff regardless of their worthiness.  We’re raising monsters here.  Monsters!

I like Christmas a lot.  It’s my favorite holiday.  I don’t like sending out the Christmas cards.  I don’t like the shopping.  Historically, I have enjoyed the giving, though.  But lately I just feel the burden of so many possessions.  I know.  #firstworldproblems.  But I’m 40 years old.  40-year-old housewives who have to pick up after other people all the time find it very easy to be burdened by possessions.  Children don’t find it quite so easy.  I want to simplify Christmas, but I have to ease people into lowered expectations.  So that is the challenge for this year.  Buy less stuff, but don’t let it look like we’re buying less stuff.  Also, I want to cure cancer and bring about world peace.

My mother-in-law has moved into the house she bought up here.  She hasn’t moved in all the way because she still has to move out of her house in California.  She’s staying here through Thanksgiving, and then she’s going to go back down there to pack up all her junk and get her house on the market, and hopefully be back up here in…February?  Maybe.  She’s been in that house for 30 years.  She has a lot of stuff.  The thought of it makes me tired and also want to scream a little.  I’ll change the subject.

November is National Novel Writing Month, of course.  Every year I say, “This year I am going to do NaNoWriMo,” and then I don’t, for whatever reason.  Usually because I’m busy and also afraid of failure.  It’s already, what November 7?  A whole week into NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t written one word of a novel.  Well, perhaps I have written a word somewhere, and I just don’t know it.  But I doubt it.  Anyway, I think it is too late to start with NaNoWriMo this year, especially considering that we’re doing a kitchen remodel next week.  You can’t write a novel while your kitchen is being remodeled.  There have been studies.

Perhaps I will do NaNoWriMo, but I’ll do it on Mormon Standard Time, so I’ll be writing my novel in, say, January.  I would have said February, but it has three fewer days.  Except that 2012 is a leap year, yes?  So two fewer days, but still.  Every day counts.  Perhaps it is more realistic to say March.  Except that one week of March is Spring Break, and you also can’t write a novel while your kids are home from school for a week.  Which leads us to April, which is one day shorter than March, but just as long as November, so…yeah, maybe I’ll do it in April.  We’ll see.

How can I round out this post?  Some current events?  I saw this morning that there’s been an outbreak of head and body lice at the #OccupyPortland squatters camp.  I saw that and thought, “Why does this not surprise me?”  It was a rhetorical question, by the way.  Sometimes I even ask myself rhetorical questions.  I’m pretty sure the term “unwashed masses” originated in Oregon.  Now, it isn’t really fair to laugh at Oregonians.  Lice are a pain in the neck (and head and body) and a real bad word to get rid of.  Also, they are very, very easy to catch.  All it takes is one unwashed person to start an epidemic.  But still.  It’s just so perfect that it would happen here.  At least it isn’t riots.

I had head lice in the third grade.  It really sucked.  You can imagine that with three long-haired sisters, I must have been very popular at home, too.  What I remember best–besides the nit-combing, I mean–is my father taking a louse and putting it under his microscope so we could all look at it close-up.  I thought he was just being gross.  But scientists are just kind of that way.  They don’t mind being gross, as long as there’s something to be learned.  I don’t remember particularly what the louse looked like.  Just that it was gross.  Also, my head is starting to itch just typing this.  I should probably change the subject again.

Oh, look, 800+ words.  I’ll give myself permission to stop.  We’ll chat more in the comments, all right?  Let’s stick with the plague and pestilence theme–although, if you have a Christmas-related plague story, that would be cool, too.  Perhaps together we can write a novel about a Christmas plague.  The gyro was the same size as her lice-ridden head.  Take it from there, amigos.  Au revoir.

Dear Ducks,

I will still love you even if you lose today.  Know that I will always love you.  But also know that you will be breaking my son’s heart.  That’s all.

X’s and O’s,



Ordinarily I don’t feel that invested in college football, but this is Oregon’s first national championship.  I should be thrilled just that we’ve made it this far, and intellectually I know that there’s no shame in losing the national championship, because all it means is that we’re the second-best in the nation instead of the first, but by golly, I’m an Oregonian, and we have issues.  We’ve never been #1 in anything (except unemployment…and that there might be some shame in…I dunno, it’s kind of hard to tell).  Anyway, the point is that no one takes us seriously.  Who cares about Oregon except Oregonians?  No one, that’s who.  Everyone misunderestimates us.  They can’t even say our name right.

Maybe if we win the national championship, all of that will change.  Just kidding.  Ha ha, no, obviously not all of it, but you know, maybe some of it.  Maybe we’ll finally get a little respect.  Maybe people will finally stop calling us Ore-GONE.  I don’t expect much.  I just want to bask in the reflective glow of my Ducks’ greatness for a while longer.

I’m even wearing green and yellow socks today.  Sure, they have a little purple stripe in there, but that doesn’t make them Mardi Gras socks.  It just means, I dunno, they’re a little gay.  I’m wearing game socks with a little gay luck thrown in.  (It can’t hurt.)

I didn’t get enough sleep last night.

Click here for awesomeness.

(You think I’m kidding?  I’m not.)

Mister Bubby and his BFF submit their group project plan for the science fair


Project title
How different liquids make polymer alligators grow…or not

Project description

Which liquid makes the alligator grow the fastest, the slowest and the biggest.  Will grow faster in sprite, slower in milk and bigger in oil.  We will soak the alligators in different liquids and measure them every six hours.

Why did you choose this project?  What background information did you have?
‘Cause we like blowing stuff up and this is the closest we can get.


Mister Bubby, Man of the World

Mister Bubby:  Mom, I’m going to change my name to Mister O’Bubby.

Giraffemom:  Really?

MB:  Yes, because I’m Irish.

GM:  That’s a pretty crummy Irish accent, man.

MB:  Well, I’m really more français than Irish.  The Irish are kind of weird.  They believe in leprechauns.



So our Ducks are going to the Rose Bowl, thanks to their 37-33 win over arch-rival Oregon State last night.  Yesterday morning I woke up Mister Bubby, and he told me he needed his Ducks shirt because it was Ducks vs. Beavers Day.

“Where is your Ducks shirt?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said.  “I wore it a couple days ago.”

“If you wore it a couple days ago, it’s probably still in the laundry, you goober!”

I ask you, what’s a mother to do with children like this?  Well, obviously, under these circumstances, she must dig the Ducks shirt out from under two days’ worth of laundry, find that there are mustard stains on it, break out the Tide-to-Go pen, perform a quick rinse in the bathroom sink and toss the shirt in the dryer on high and hope that it’s only slightly damp by the time school starts.  This family has its pride!  (Just not that kind of pride.)



Have a great weekend, suckahs!

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1.  You could fall asleep at the wheel and kill yourself (or others).

2.  You could be driving along thinking about how tired you are and not about which freeway exit you want to take, and all of a sudden you’re faced with a choice–East, West, North, South–and you won’t remember which the hell it is because it’s almost 1 a.m. and you just…don’t…know, even though you’ve driven this route many times and have always made the correct decision before–seriously, it’s not that hard–but right now, for some reason, you’re thinking, “East…west…whuzza diff’rence…who cares…” and then you remember, “WAIT!  WAIT!  THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!  I CARE!  BUT WHICH IS IT?  WHICH IS IT?  IT’S EAST!  NO, IT’S WEST!  IS IT WEST?  YES, IT’S WEST!  WHICH WAY DID I JUST GO?  WAS IT EAST?  IT WAS EAST, WASN’T IT?  CRAP!”  Which wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that when you’re going east, the next freeway exit isn’t until, like, Idaho, and as lovely as Idaho is this time of year, it is very far removed from where you need to be, which is in bed, sleeping.

* Note:  I didn’t really have to drive all the way to Idaho before turning around and heading west.  That was an exaggeration, for dramatic effect.  In reality, there is at least one exit between Portland and Idaho.  Unfortunately, it drops you off in the middle of ##$*(#$ nowhere, where there are no street signs–not that it matters because there are no streetlights, either, and it’s pouring down rain because it’s Oregon, so you wouldn’t be able to read the signs even if they were there.  On the plus side, you are starting to wake up.  On the minus side, you feel pretty much ready to kill yourself (or others), which is also dangerous.  Incidentally, where you read “##$*(#$,” I want you to think of the filthiest word you know, because even if it wasn’t the word I was saying last night, it was certainly the word I meant to be saying.

And that’s why you shouldn’t drive when you’re really, really tired.  Tell your friends, etc.

That’s right, haters, it’s freaking SNOWING in Portland.  Well, not today.  Yesterday it was snowing.  It snowed so much that church was cancelled!  Which is to say that it snowed “at all.”  Because Oregonians are notorious for shrinking away from the very sight of snow.  Lock your doors, bar the windows, for there are flakes falling from the sky, and they are cold and they are sticking to the ground!  All one inch of them!  Beware, beware!

Which is not to say that I don’t enjoy a little snow now and then.  But I am not enjoying this snow day.  All the schools are closed, and all my kids are home, and I am not pleased at all with how this day is turning out thusfar.  It is not a happy day.  I will not comment further on the snow.

I will make some other, random comments.

1)  I have decided that it would be worth all kinds of money to me to outsource toilet training for the younger two children.  Either my children will be toilet-trained, or I will have the satisfaction of a trained professional admitting to me that my children are IMPOSSIBLE and there is nothing to be done with them.

2)  If my children ever are toilet-trained, there is the distinct  possibility that I could DIE OF JOY.

3)  DIE!

4)  OF JOY!

5)  There is a “Jesus” Facebook application, where you can send Jesus to your friends and remind them to keep the “Christ” in Christmas.  I know because one of my friends sent me Jesus.  I accepted Jesus because it seemed wrong not to, but I’m having second thoughts because it seems like every few minutes I get a notification that I have “unlocked more Jesus!”  I don’t know how I feel about unlocking more Jesus.  What does this mean, from a theological perspective?  I’m confused and disoriented, and I suspect that I may be participating in something less than fully tasteful–which wouldn’t be a problem except for Jesus’s involvement.  I like to keep my distasteful activities separate from Jesus.  My ability to compartmentalize and rationalize my actions is breaking down before my eyes!  How do I remove the Jesus application?  SAFELY???

6)  I am a teensy-little stir crazy for not having left the house since Saturday.  It wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem, except that the kids have also not left the house.  It is a deadly combination, I fear.

7)  Jeremy Northam is so beautiful.  So very, very beautiful.

8)  I am hungry, but I don’t know what to eat.

9)  I have no idea what to give my mother-in-law for Christmas.  Neither does my husband, and he’s her son!  How am I supposed to figure it out?  I think we will end up doing gift cards wrapped in clever envelopes.  Or maybe I could unlock her some more Jesus.

10)  Does anyone actually celebrate Kwanzaa, or is this a holiday that exists only in theory and in books?  Because while my social network isn’t exactly loaded with African-Americans, I have known black people in my time, and none of them did Kwanzaa.  I don’t even know any white people who do Kwanzaa out of, like, solidarity.  And I live in Oregon, land of white people who would probably enjoy appropriating African-American holidays just to stick it to the Man.  So I don’t mean any disrespect here, but I’m sincerely curious.  If you celebrate Kwanzaa or know someone who does, please tell me.  I WANT TO BELIEVE.

11)  There is, seriously, SO MUCH URINE AND FECAL MATTER coming into the house and failing to leave in a timely and efficient manner, I think it is affecting my brain.  Which is to say that I am now blaming my brain dysfunction on that, as opposed to premenstrual syndrome or congenital mental illness.

And now I’m off to put on some warm socks.  Gentle readers, adieu.

After both loripoo and centuscoelis informed me that it was “creepy” to name your all your kids after your home state, a la the Palins (see subsub‘s comment here), I decided that I’m going to change all my kids’ names to stuff having to do with Oregon.  Just to be creepy.

Princess Zurg will be Princess Duck.

Mister Bubby will be Mr. Backwards Liberal.

Elvis will be Whole Lotta Trees.

And Girlfriend will be NoSalesTax (middle name:  SuckItHaters!–yes, with exclamation point; we Oregonians like our creative spellings).

Or I could go with

  • Rain (after the weather)
  • Bike (after the favored mode of transportation)
  • Subaru (after the second-favored mode of transportation)
  • Crater (after Crater Lake–it’s on our quarter, look it up!)
  • Port (after Port of Portland)
  • Eugene (after, well, Eugene)
  • Mari and Juan (twins, after marijuana)
  • Huckle (after the huckleberry)
  • Hood (after the Mt.)
  • Tillie and Mookie (another set of twins, after Tillamook–both the cheese and the forest)

That would require me to have a lot more children, of course, which would indicate that I’m not really serious about being creepy.

You know what it’s time for, right?

It’s time to play “How many creepy names can you make out of your state?”  Begin!

Ordinarily I’m not one to complain about liberal bias in the media–foremost, because it’s such a typically right-wing thing to do.  Also, all media is going to be biased in one direction or another, and even if the publication itself will not acknowledge its bias, people ought to be smart enough to recognize bias when they see it, and if they aren’t, whose fault is that?  I don’t know.  So whatever.  We stopped taking the daily Oregonian about a year ago, mainly because it was just too much paper to have to manage, and we didn’t read enough of it to justify the energy expended on recycling the stuff.  We still get the Sunday paper, only I find that I mostly just read the funnies and maybe the Arts and Entertainment section.  I’m not interested in the news reporting because regardless of what newspaper we’re talking about, I find there’s usually not a whole lot of there there.  To avoid the dreaded consequences of Media Bias, one really has to read about 400 different sources in order to extrapolate something remotely resembling the truth, which is why the internet is such a handy invention.  (Thank you, Al Gore!)

Where was I?  Oh, yeah–I was reading the Sunday Oregonian yesterday, i.e. looking for the funnies, and I happened across this sidebar to an article on the presidential candidates’ campaign strategies.  Didn’t read the actual article, of course, because that would have taken up precious time that could be spent reading funnies or surfing the interwebs, but the sidebar took hardly any time at all to digest.  Too bad it made me sick.  (Ha ha, get it–digest? sick? eh, whatever.)
The sidebar is entitled “How would they lead?”  In the interest of fairness, I am reproducing the entire thing for context.

John McCain:
If elected president, the Arizona Republican could be expected to…
  • Resist setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and redouble efforts to find Osama bin Laden.
  • Pick specific issues and push them to the limit, such as vetoing legislation larded with pork-barrel projects.
  • Continue his my-way-or-the-highway approach, setting up battles even with his own party in Congress.
Barack Obama:
If elected president, the Illinois Democrat could be expected to…
  • Make history as the nation’s first black commander in chief and alter the world view of America, at least for a time.
  • Maintain tight control on his administration, but backers say it would be more for reasons of efficiency than secrecy.
  • Push to bring combat troops home from Iraq, work toward universal health coverage and launch a far-reaching energy plan.

So what’s my problem?  It doesn’t start out so bad.  It’s pretty fair to say that John McCain would resist setting a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, and remember when he told us he’d follow Osama bin Laden to “the gates of hell”?  Sure, he was a little spooky there, but could you argue with his sincerity?  It’s also fair to say that he’d veto legislation larded with pork-barrel projects (I enjoy the use of “larded” in that clause)–though I’m not sure what’s so distinctive about a politician pushing specific issues “to the limit.”  Wasn’t that a Prefontaine movie?  Oh, no, that was Without Limits.  Thank God the President still has limits, or who knows what John McCain would do!

Where it starts getting eye-roll-worthy is bullet point number three:  McCain’s alleged “my-way-or-the-highway approach.”  Ah yes, because he’s just like George Bush, I guess.  You’re either with him or against him.  (“Only a Sith deals in absolutes!”)  As opposed to that celebrated compromiser Barack Obama, the cat who’s constantly reaching out to the opposition, who’s sponsored so much bi-partisan legislation that the party faithful hardly think he should qualify as a Democrat.  Oh, wait, that’s not Barack Obama.  That’s someone else.  If only I could remember who…ah, well, no matter.  Moving on dot org!

So if Barack Obama were elected president, he would, presumably, not push specific issues “to the limit” or take a “my-way-or-the-highway approach,” but he would Make History!  He would Alter The World View Of America (at least for a time)!  What does this say about how Barack Obama would lead?  Nothing!  So why mention it?  Is anyone out there still unaware that Barack Obama would be the first black POTUS?  As for altering the world view of America, I’m not inclined to dispute that.  However, this little tidbit doesn’t have much bearing on how Barack Obama would lead, either.  It doesn’t even say how the world view of America will be altered.  The syntax itself is awkward–I’m not sure if it’s America’s world view or the world’s view of America that’s getting altered.  I’m presuming the latter, in which case it’s fair to say that if John McCain is elected, the world will have a different view of America–one in which terrorists get their butts kicked!  It’s all in the way you look at it.

It’s also reassuring that if Barack Obama’s going to keep “tight control” on his administration, it will be for the sake of “efficiency.”  What does that even mean?  Well, at least he won’t be secretive!  (Not like some presidents we know.)

The third bullet point is inoffensive to me, except that it’s funny how Barack Obama’s domestic policy priorities merit mention, but John McCain’s don’t (though whatever they are, he will push them to the limit).(And what exactly is a “far-reaching energy plan”?  Is that the same plan where he “looks into” clean-coal and nuclear technologies?  Like, really looks into them?  Really far in?)

Note that I’ve not tried to persuade you to vote for McCain or against Obama.  As far as I’m concerned, there are legitimate, rational reasons to vote for Obama.  For example, you might want your taxes raised.  Just kidding–well, no, not really, but I wasn’t going to go there.  I was going to say that you might believe that his temperament is better suited to this office of enormous responsibility.  Maybe you think that his health care plan will provide better coverage for more Americans.  Maybe you’re thinking he’ll bring the troops home from Iraq.  Maybe you think he’s more likely to appoint Supreme Court justices that will protect our rights and liberties, and you won’t have to worry about the government tapping your phone or nosing into your library books or telling you which forms of birth control you can use.  Maybe you think people who earn more than $250,000 should pay more in taxes.  I reckon lots of Americans would happily pay more in taxes if it meant that everybody got health care and a college education.  Who am I to argue?  I’m just mocking the Oregonian for pretending that they print relevant, unbiased information in their sidebars.  They should have put Peanuts there instead.

Just so you all know, I’m prepping myself for Obama winning the election.  You won’t see me threatening to leave the country if the Democrats take control.  I’m making a list of silver linings for the day that cloud starts hanging over me.

Silver Lining #1:  We will finally have a black president.  Sure, it would be better if he were a black Republican president (or a black Republican woman president), but still, considering our history, it’s a big deal to finally have a black man elected to the nation’s highest office.  So that’s cool.  No, it is.  History-making, even.

Silver Lining #2:  After 200+ years of boring Jeffersons and Johnsons and Harrisons and Bushes, we will have a president named OBAMA.  How much more fun is it to say “OBAMA” than “McCain”?  Answer:  Way more fun.  And unlike “Dukakis,” it doesn’t sound like some kind of staph infection.

Silver Lining #3:  For the first time in my voting career, I will have every right to complain about the government because I didn’t vote for that cat.  For four whole years I can just bitch bitch bitch all I want, and nobody can say I only have myself to blame.  I could even get a bumper sticker that says, “Don’t blame me, I voted for That (OTHER) One.”

I have more, but my little ones are begging for another round of Duck, Duck, Goose, and if I disappoint them, it’s like Obama’s already won.


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