Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guilt-free Wednesday. Try it.

This is the post I started and stopped and started yesterday in between the whining and...well...read along and you'll come to your own conclusions about yesterday.

Alright. I know nobody said it was going to be easy. Well, maybe a few people said it would be a "piece of cake", but I've decided those people were either stupid or really jonesin' for cake. I'm relapsing. Back into that person I barely strangled out of my body back when Sam was just a few weeks old and I was crying every day and asking myself how the hell am I going to do this again tomorrow. I have my hypotheses about what's causing this revert back to sub-par mothering, but it's all minutia and boring.

The crying. The whining. The in-between whining and crying noises. It's maddening and with each syllable of every noise a piece of my maternal confidence crumbles. I know it's not me. But it sure seems like it is. I know that babies cry. Babies are unhappy and confused by their new environment and would sometimes like to just crawl back up into the womb for some warm, wet comfortable fetal meditation. If I could oblige, I would. I really, really would.

Sometimes I am weak. I look at him and apologize for not knowing what he wants. I cry and then he smiles at me as if he finally has what he wants. Me. In pieces. And don't everyone comment at once about how babies are incapable of manipulation. I know this. It doesn't mean that his timing isn't impeccably ironic. And when you're a puddle of mom-goo your brain is unqualified to make accurate observations about your certain scenarios. Like. All of them.

Things are pretty much the same. What's changed is my coping skills. Actually, coping mechanism. The addition of. I drank a cup of coffee today. I know. I am a sucky mom blah blah blah. Sam is probably all hopped up on some Starbucks right now and I'm being passed over for mom of the year. Truth is, I don't care what anyone thinks on the subject. I like coffee. And while some super-conservative types may equate a cup of coffee to a hit off of the crack pipe, I'm soooo over the guilt.

So. This time yesterday I was grinding my teeth and doing some worthless Lamaze breathing to get me through until dance class where I was pleased to hand off the baby to my dance mom friends to pass around and coo over. This time yesterday I hadn't showered, applied makeup or deodorant for that matter, and I had paced a rut in the backyard grass (and the bedroom carpet and the living room laminate and the tile in the kitchen....et al).

You get the point. But today I'm good. Thanks to my coffee pot. And a half-calf coffee bean blend from Starbucks. So suck-it all you perfect mom types who only drink water and carrot juice all day so you can brag about your babies' brain development at play dates. Maybe you don't need chemical stimulation to get through the trials and turbulence of raising an infant, BUT I DO.

Anyway. Coffee is not a drug. It's a vitamin.

Monday, September 21, 2009

plz send help

short post. holding baby. gassy, toothing crying. baby, not me. soo heavy. left arm burning. longer post later. *if arm doesn't fall off.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bitch-slapped by Friday.

If you find out some bad news from your doctor about your baby-making parts, I don't suggest going home and Googling any of the big words he uses during the consult. You'll end up white-knuckling your cell phone in a manic text-message session with your sister in law. Because surely the self-proclaimed "neurotic" one of the family will be the one to text you down off the ledge you're perched upon. I mean, since Google is already certain you have death "in-the-bag". Why not, right?

But, seriously. Internet searching when you're in the first stages of some new-to-you medical disaster is not what I recommend.
I celebrated my disturbing appointment with Dr. Bajingo by cruising the drive-thru of Taco Bell for some diet tacos. Yes. I said diet tacos. And I ate two, because they are delicious and em...good for you.

I also went to Target with Sam and he barfed Linda Blair style at the checkout counter. The lady behind me was creepin a little too close, apparently, because she got some on her flip-flop and I was all like...so sorry it's just hot milk here's a baby wipe...and stuff.

I arrived home in time to catch the baby swing doing it's possessed by demons thing where it works when it's not turned on and won't turn off even if you rapidly crank the switch on and off and on and off. Yeah. Weird. Made me nostalgic for the projectile puking at Target.

I stripped-down baby to his birthday suit so I could wash off the barfy smell and then ran a little sinky-bath while I held him and gathered the towel and suds and stuff. I know. Stupid. Gather stuff first, then strip baby. Hold baby over toilet should come next. I got myself peed on. Right after joking with him, "please don't pee pee on mama". Sometimes I tempt fate. That's just how I roll.

Peed on. Barfed at. Taco lettuce in my lap. Yeah. Not bad for a Friday. Oh, yeah. And I'm trying really hard not to get cancer, too. Starting today. Because all the other days I was thinking I wouldn't have to worry about it.

And sorry if I offended anyone by saying bitch

Have a nice weekend.

Stephanie Gresham sent an invitation using STOP FRICKIN INVITING ME! Please support her cause:

Facebook is overwhelming me. I've finally gotten over the whole "must read every single post" thing that sucked months of my life away before Sam was born. I mean, really, who needs to know every little boring update every person you ever knew posts every few minutes? Well, me, duh. But I'm over it.

Now I can cruise through and really just browse pages with little or no desire to read pages and pages back (since sometimes I skip a day or two here and there....gasp....I know, talk about willpower). Anyway. Facebook is really annoying me with these little "invitations". So let me go ahead and put it all out there, people I know on Facebook:

No, I do not want to play Farmville or Mafia Wars. Furthermore, I don't care if you just scored a bunch of diamonds or plowed a friggin corn field. Thanks, anyway.
I love animals and children. This being said, I can't click on your "support my cause" button because it will inevitably lead me to invite the rest of my friends to join the cause and I just can't do that. I like them too much. Also, I really hate the extra steps and all the questions involved once you commit to the "allow" button. It's all too much like a contract to me, so pass.
Petitions on actual paper are more effective, so although I want to help find a cure for Breast Cancer (and I really do- no joke) I think I'll sign the petition for Medical Coverage for Genetic Markers Testing for Family Members of Cancer Patients when it requires an actual signature. Call me old fashioned.
Also, I don't take pleasure in offending friends and family, but I don't need an e-hug, an e-heart, or an e-BFF. I just don't. And if you are having reservations about sending me an e-angel, please note that I posted this link on my front page today because it's falling-off-the-fence-Friday and being open about my religious preferences was the one I teetered on this week.
(I'm reserving a blog-post on the topic of religion for another day simply because I'd rather piss people off in smaller groups instead of all at once.)

So. Facebook friends, please don't take offense. I still like most of you. I am just a voyeur trying to avoid being poked by hiding in the shadows of my facebook quizzes.

Thanks for thinking of me, but please un-check that little box by my name. I'm just not interested.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dear Number Six,

Hi. Remember me? Last time we had a problem I was in the third grade. Let me jog your memory...I couldn't multiply you by anything besides my pal Number One.
Yeah. It's me.
The reason I'm writing you now is because you've recently poked your evil little head back into my life. Sure, I occasionally reach into the cobweb-covered corners of my brain to figure out how many you make when there are six of you in one place. Thirty-six is easy to remember because YOU insist on being in the answer.
Anyway. My daughter turned six recently. Go ahead and laugh- I'll confront my issues with Irony later. She was given, as a gift/cruel joke, a place mat with the multiplication table chart on the back of it. And suddenly you were back in my life.
I love my sweet little girl, which is the only reason the place mat was spared a trip to the shredder. I am a merciful woman. I know. So. If we're going to live together under this one roof, I need to lay down some guidelines so that we can get along. Don't get me wrong, we do NOT have to like each other. In fact, I'm perfectly happy loathing you and using my fingers for most of our uncomfortable encounters. I have less shame now that I'm a grownup. But if I am going to hide my disdain for you in order to bestow some arithmetic confidence in my little girl...you need to respect some boundaries.
Please don't hide in recipes while I'm teaching my baby to bake. Don't mock me in the aisles of BJ's superstore when I'm trying hard to save money by buying in bulk. ( I know you and your pal Twelve like to play with my head while I'm keeping to a budget.) I'm already dealing with a piss-poor sense of direction, so maybe you could keep out of my Google Maps page, too.
In return, I will let you exist on my daughter's place mat at the dining table. I will support her as she reads off your column and encourage her to give you a fair chance. And if you break her spirit, I will not think twice before I tell her what I've known all these long years since the third grade:

You are a stupid number and it's not important to memorize your multiples.

Six, you are despicable. Worse than even Seven. And we all know he eight nine.


Monday, September 14, 2009


Sometimes we run with reckless abandon at the person we want to be in our future. Whether we're tromping clumsily down a dirt path pocked with ruts and holes or striding steadily on a perfectly paved asphalt byway, we are bound to trip and fall somewhere along the way.

My love for writing began with a pink and white diary with gold-edged papers that sounded like tissue paper when I turned them. It had a lock, of course, and was typically hidden under my bed because although my stories were fraught with invention and whimsy, I had little imagination when it came to hiding my most personal possession.

I have had journals and diaries since the pink one. It seems as though every time I moved, broke up, made up, or changed my major in college, I celebrated by purchasing a blank canvas for my new memoirs. They're all here. In my house somewhere. Some have pictures drawn in them. One was given to me by my daughter's father to pen down my new adventures in parenting, but remains only a quarter of the way filled. Appropriate- considering how many changes I've gone through since she was born six years ago. I crack one open now and then when the house is empty or freakishly quiet.

My online journals are still out there, suspended in the interweb. Although I can no longer recall the login information for any of them, I still can view them. I can see who I was. Or who I was trying to be. I can relive the moment I met my husband through an entry written five years ago. I can see myself grow up as entries caught up in boys and spats with girlfriends slowly morphed into complexities like an unexpected pregnancy and my father's death.

Today I carry spiral notebooks. A practical alternative to the tiny padlocked sort. The latest is green and has a Mother Falcon sticker slapped on the front and half-written stories and blog ideas scribbled inside. Since Sam has been born it's pages see the light a little less. I have to choose how to spend these quiet moments and more often than not, I reach for my laptop. I'm comfortable here. This blog is cozy.

I'm a writer. I write. Nobody has to read the things I put down for this to be true. It's what I've always wanted for myself. What I've been running at. Sometimes at top speed, but more frequently zigging and zagging- chased by life's responsibilities. I'm getting closer to the writer I want to be, but still I'm uncertain if I'll ever get to shake her hand.

September was supposed to be the month I posted every day. Life interrupts, as with most things I do for myself, and it's been three...no...four days? Maybe next month. Maybe never. Surely someone will be clicking and waiting for news, a laugh, a good cry. Even if it's just me.

Anyway. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And don't forget your superpowers.

Last weekend I brought Cadence to an "old fashioned" birthday party. No Disney character printed napkins or rented bounce house. No token hungry kids running around an arcade. It was perfect.

Five parents watched as five children ran barefoot through sprinklers and made giant bubbles in a tiny plastic pool. We sipped homemade punch and ate pineapple upside-down cake. Cadence climbed her first tree and ate rock candy that she scored from a paper-mache pinata. We took pause while the birthday girl opened up two gifts (one being my hand-crafted finger puppets), and another being a paper doll set.

Nobody talked about politics. Kindergarten was the hot topic on the large breezy porch. The littlest one got soap in her eyes. Twice. And then I looked at the time and it was already late.

I certainly hope I can pull of something as respectable and truly enjoyable as that quaint celebration.

Of course, what I'm working with is a guest list of twenty-eight, two bags of Disney themed party favors and swag from Cadence's grandma, and a crap-ton of hot dogs for the grill. I'm not going to freak out and go on a cleaning spree like I usually do when we have invited guests over. NO. As part of my flow into a simpler life, I'm letting things go I usually wouldn't.

We'll use real napkins and real plates and real forks. Call me crazy. Water rolling off a duck's back. I like the idea of a party that won't end in two heaping bags of trash and a Xanax.

Come over. Eat some melon and a hot dog. Just have a good time, please.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No Whammies No Whammies

I have a full supply of white cloth diapers washed and folded neatly on a shelf under the changing table in Sam's room. I have a set of diaper pins still in the package in a drawer close by and three pairs of those icky plastic pants.

I also have three pairs of reusable cute cloth diaper covers and inserts from three different brands I purchased while Sammy was still cookin. I used them a few times and then **poof** the covers were all too small and I was faced with what was in the bin under the changing table. And let me tell ya, after using those easy velcro tabs to secure little booty into the pants, the diaper pins were looking a whole lot like shish-ka-bob skewers and I was sure I'd impale a tiny appendix or something if I tried to figure it out.

So. We have been buying a "natural" cotton disposable diaper and I've been riddled with guilt for not figuring this whole cloth diaper thing out sooner. Also, I had not a lick of confidence just after Sam was born and was not exactly jumping at the chance to begin a new diapering endeavor while still so woozy from the shock of it all.

So now I want to make up for lost time. I've asked my mom-in-law to school me on diaper folding, but I'm still chicken about the pins. I mean, kids these days are reverting back to old-school style all over the place. A safety pin in the ear is totally punk, but one in the belly is taking hard-core to a whole nother level.

Anyway. Ryan is giving away some Fuzzibunz and Sammy and I are going to be the randomly generated winners. I can sooo feel it.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

<----- dinky caboose

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thanks for the screws, Craig.

Sometimes I have to breastfeed in public. People should get over this fact and carry on with their own public-type business. I'm not doing it to gross you out or to call attention to myself. I'm doing it to nourish my growing child. Duh.

That being said, I can now add giant home improvement warehouse to my list of worst places to breastfeed. That's right. In an attempt to get my husband motivated to help me re-seat our patio chairs, I decided to pick up a power saw at Lowes. Only men go to that store on weekday mornings, apparently. What kind of men? Construction worker-types of course! So not only was I the only female customer trolling the power tool section at ten a.m., but I was dressed in running shorts and a tank top, which might as well have been a bikini.

Hello, lookie-loos. They're called breasts and they feed my child. Ugh.

So I get this long schpeal about electric saws from an eager-to-help, but pleasant older gentleman named Craig who assures me that my brother-in-law (employed by the Dewalt company) doesn't need to know I chose the Hitachi because it was twenty dollars cheaper and pretty much the same.

Blah, blah, blah, Craig- I just want to get out of here before this little nugget in the buggy wakes up and starts crying out for nums and I have to whip out my tata for an epic suck session while half the members of Men At Work ogle and drool and contemplate a sudden craving for milkshake.

We head over to the nuts n bolts and stuff and Craig fishes eighteen screws to match the rusty one I brought in a ziplock and then we're haulin cart to the hall o' wood.

Craig: It's a four-ba-four. Should be 'nuff.
Me: Sounds good, I'll take it from here, Craig. You've been swell.
Craig: Well, not so fast. This one here'll cost ya fourteen and I can cut you a four-ba-six and it'll only be eleven. It'll just take a minute.
Me: uh. Okay. If you have a minute, sure...
It was at this point I should've grabbed my baby and walked away.
Craig: Hold ya ears, folks.

Power saw cutting my four-ba-six was incredibly loud and took an eternity to "measure twice, cuttt once". Sam woke up as soon as the first saw tooth splintered the first centimeter of wood and suddenly I'm yelling at Craig that I'll be right back and furiously searching for a section of the store not crawling with men talking about pipes and screws so I can yank up my sports-bra and silence the poor starving baby who just had brunch a short hour ago.

Plumbing and flooring were both a no-go since that's where the Marlboro Man convention was meeting. A spackle-speckled group of men in the paint department waved as I hurried my cart past and I'm pretty sure I spied "Eldin" lost near the garden center. I started to panic and quickly turned a corner into the cabinet and kitchen display area where I was at last alone.

Shirt hoisted, baby quiet. Ahh. Craig was going to have to wait.

I feigned interest in a drawer and cabinet set as I held up my son and wondered where I'd feel more comfortable doing this.

Here or Hooters?

These patio chairs are going to rule.

Monday, September 7, 2009

simpler times ahead

Possessions are usually diminished by possession. –Nietzsche

I don't need all of the stuff I have. The stuff has been slowly driving me crazy. I open a closet to put away a hanger and it all stares at me. Waiting for it's turn to be used. To live up to it's own expectations. Pleading for purpose. My daughter's room is crowded with things. Barbies that were coveted for months on shelves in stores are now cast-off to the bottom of a basket or bucket. I stuff shirts on top of shirts on top of shirts inside my husband's dresser drawers and every time wonder what would happen if I dug deep and pulled out one thing from the bottom and took it away. Would he notice? Would it be missed?

I sometimes fantasize about putting things on the driveway for the junk fairy to come and take away. Or promise myself that next week I'll post a photo of that exercise bike on craigslist. It overwhelms me. The garage is full of shit. A garage sale would practically be me moving my car to the street and putting little orange tags on everything inside it.

That's an exaggeration. We need at least two of the screwdrivers in there. And the lawn mower.

But truly, I've come to the realization that the things I was once convinced I needed are what make me feel empty today. Purchases made with the intent to make life easier suddenly complicate things when lost in a drawer or rendered obsolete. They mostly mean nothing. The special things are where I find myself. Where I find others. Memories are nestled in corners of cupboards and tucked inside drawers, but they are crowded and diminished by the crap we collect in fleeting moments of impulsiveness and frivolity.

Maybe it's because I've been using my hands to make things more these days that I have become tired of the rest. Cookies that don't come in a bag taste better and turning a pillow cover fashioned with my own two hands looks better on the chair than the others. I handed over my own creations at a birthday party this weekend.

"These are for you from me. From my heart. And my hands."

Those are the types of things I want to have. The types of things I want to give. They scream vehemence and mean more than what a television commercial can explain in thirty seconds. There's this growing desire I have to make more and do more and know more. And it means making room. Room to move and room to breathe. I can't wrap my head around it all right now. I just know it's in there. This need to leave things behind. To take my family outside and find the world again. To show my children how to laugh with reckless abandon and love without parameters.

I need simple. So I can think.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

when i don't know what to write

i steal from my old self. here's a poem. (my mom pronounces it "poim")

exceeding lowest expectations
perched, abashed, atop a list
bold Failures
head turned, inconsequentially
in the direction of a reflection
of an image
an elusive autobiography
yesterday's applicant
today's regular
tomorrow's yesterday's repeater

Saturday, September 5, 2009

toot toot

Sometimes I wake up at seven on a Saturday morning and put finishing touches on gifties for girlies.

This set of woodland creatures finger puppets and carrying sack is for a wee friend of Ladybug's. She is turning five today and having an "old fashioned" birthday party. You know, ice-cream and sprinklers type. No theme or gimmick. Except for the old fashioned part, I guess. Anyway. I like the idea. Who needs to slave away and spend boo-coos of dough for a kid's birthday party?

Because it's an old-school style party I decided to make some gifts instead of just hand over a Barbie or some other store bought item that will be lost or tossed to the side once the luster is lost. Hopefully she's the type of kid who likes stuff made just for her...

*thanks to extremely masculine hand model/ husband

More info to come on Ladybug's party. She actually turned six yesterday and got her very own tee shirt to match her brother's, but I just am too procrastinaty to have a party on time and figured there might be more friends in attendance if we did it on a regular weekend instead of this holiday one. So next weekend is the one in which six or so of her little friends will be coming over to celebrate her awesome grown-uppedness. Photos on that topic to come.


Happy Saturday!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I only watch the television when it's on.

It's Friday and just because I'm a stay-at-home kind of gal doesn't mean I'm not happy to see the end of the week. I may not be waiting in a long bank line to cash a paycheck or meeting people out at some lame happy hour downtown, but I'm celebrating in my own way.

First of all, let me ask you all why the hell nobody told me about Project Runway. Most of the people in my life like me and want me to be as happy as possible, so why is it that this show has been on for five seasons and I'm just now experiencing its scrumptiousness? I mean. I wear tank tops and blue jeans every day of the week, but that's just because it's not practical to wear this to Publix:

<--------- Where is Sam supposed to put the spit-up and drool?

It's perfect for me, other than that. There are even holes on the side for my love handles. And I'm pretty sure that's a chastity lock down there in front of her bajingo. I can finally give my doctor the final answer about what kind of birth control we'll be using. (Dr. Bajingo is incredibly pushy on this subject. Apparently having your second child puts you in the category of "reckless sex maniac prone to accidental procreation" and necessitates endless prattling and probing about your plans for safer sex. As if.

So back to Project Runway. I had to cancel my DVR series recording of Bones so that I'd have room for my newest guilty pleasure obsession with PR. I can call it PR because I watched three episodes today and we're already friends like that. There's so much to be loved about that show that I don't feel guilty about getting pleasure out of watching it at all. Especially lovely is the quaint gay silver fox guy whose name I didn't catch because I was too busy jogging in place and cursing Heidi Klum to notice. But he sure did win the gay-off between he and that boy Christian.

It's Friday. I might crack a beer and celebrate my new friendship. Lucky for me my husband is addicted to downloading shows off the internet. I have like...five seasons to watch before numero six starts. Eek.


On a side note: does post-a-day in September honor the Labor Day holiday? I have a birthday party to go to, a housewarming bbq, and relatives visiting. This weekend's posts will be short and sassy.

Happy Weekend

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Whispers in the dark

When I met my husband he was just a guy wearing blue jeans and a white tee shirt. A hot guy wearing blue jeans and a white tee shirt. Simple and sweet. He wrote notes on cocktail napkins and eagerly drank every concoction I passed over those two cruel feet of bar-top between us. And he was magic because he knew it every time my eyes found him. He looked back and smiled while he talked or listened to someone talking in the corner of the room. "hi". His lips moved, but the music was loud and he was soo far away. "hi". I clunked glasses onto the bar and ripped my eyes away from his long enough to collect cash and make trips to the register, cooler, ice-well. All the time wondering when the hell I was going to wake up.

Nights are different now. Under the comforter we hold hands and whisper about our day. The baby is feet away in the cradle my husband slept in twenty-nine years ago. We're kids at a slumber party trying not to wake anyone up. I say something funny and he laughs silently, but in the crack of light from the bathroom I can see his cheeks gather up under his eyes. Our feet touch and the little dog sighs loudly between us. We laugh some more. Quietly our nights are for each other here. Two minutes or sixty minutes go by. A cotton ball is louder than we are as we steal quick, close kisses in the dark.

In the time it takes to say "i love you," I'm asleep.

And in the too early morning I open my eyes and look to my left. In the dark, just past the baby who somehow made his way between us in the night, is my husband. "Thank you," I say into the air. I pinch myself. Because you never can be too sure.

A post a day...

Making : believe I can see this "post-a-day in September" thing to fruition without changing the time/date stamp on one single post

Drinking : Starbuck's Breakfast Blend Half-Caff with sweet-n-low

Reading : the nutritional info on the side of my cereal box

Wanting : more time for the sewing projects I have in mind. Shirley is getting lonesome.

Looking: more like a mom and less like a bartender

Watching: dog burrow under blankets

Playing : house with Sam today

Sewing : a few gifts for upcoming birthday celebrations, but they're in varying stages of progress right now.

Wishing : my dogs had mute buttons

Enjoying : the toothless smile and puddin cheeks of our newest family member

Liking : my husband more every time I see him hold Sam

Planning : on a bunch of photo-posts and using "wordless wednesday" every chance I get this month

Wondering : if I can pull off this recipe for Ladybug's birthday party

Hoping : the guests at Cady's party come up with some cool superhero costumes

Marveling : at the fact that my husband's favorite snack is also my daughter's. cheddar goldfish.

Needing : to lose the rest of this pregnancy weight. apparently it takes longer the second go-round.

Smelling : cheddar goldfish

Wearing : a shirt that smells like Sam

Thinking : i have it pretty good

Feeling : happy

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hold the phone, I was EARLY for something?

Me: Hi, I have an eleven o'clock appointment.
Gynocologist: That's actually tomorrow. You must have written it down wrong.
Me: Oh, fooey. I was just so darn-tootin' excited to strip naked and try to wrap that yards worth of paper sheet around myself that I came a day early.
Gynocologist: I see.
Me: I guess I'll have to wait a whole twenty-four hours before I can come back and stick my feet up in those stirrups while "sexy nurse" hands you the bajingo jack.
Gynocologist: Yes.
Me: Can I try on your gyno-goggles?
Gynocologist: No.
Me: Thanks, anyway. See you tomorrow.

Burn BEFORE Reading

Shh. Can you hear that?

That's the sound of the quietest part of my day today. Sure the aquarium pump is chortling and the cat is snoring up on his perch on the arm of the sofa, but listen... that other sound is me thinking.

Not about mom or wife things either. Thinking about what I do when I don't have to think about dinner arrangements, stinky dog ears, or breastmilk stains on my tank tops. And here I am. Shaving off bits of my golden silence to clickety-clack on the keyboard about what I do when I'm not thinking about those things OR clickety-clacking on the keyboard.


I just spent ten minutes thinking instead of typing. It was about a cruise I took with my mom when I was twelve.

Now Sam's awake and I've wasted all my quiet time typing this miserable excuse of a post and thinking about a cruise that wasn't fun.

Wow. I need a do-over.