Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Too Cool For (Home)School

For those of you who have stuck around during my rather lengthy hiatus...*

*Which I'd like to say was due to some major dramatic life event, but in truth I've been wallowing in a veritable mudbath of slack.

...you know that everyone in this blog -- with the notable exceptions of my husband, Norm, and myself -- has a pseudonym of some sort.  No, my sister's name isn't really Holly, and my ex husband's name isn't really Gil; although it fits him so much better than his real name that my family uses it pretty much exclusively at this point.*

*For those who don't know, "Gil" is short for "Massengil" because my ex is such a tremendous bag of douche.

As such, I have heretofore referred to my twin sons as 'M' and 'J'.  However, now that they are on the cusp of their fourteenth birthday, and proving to be every bit as self-aggrandizing and vainglorious as their mother, they have asked that I use their "real" names.  So...I give you my children:  Michael and Jack.

They're taller in person.

When Norm and I got married last year, we made the decision as a family to get the hell out the city and relocate to his little paradise by the sea.  So, kids in tow, we loaded our trailer, tossed the kayaks on top of the truck, packed up our things and we moved to Beverlyyyyyyy. . .*

*Hills, that is.  Movie stars.  Swimming pools. . .well, actually, no.  We're nowhere near Beverly Hills or its ilk, but I am never one to miss an arbitrary pop culture reference.

Part of our decision to relocate to a small town was to simplify, downsize, and finally put our money where our hippie mouths were and start living more organically; and part of it was so that I could "retire" and start homeschooling the short people, because frankly?  The public school system was chewing them up and spitting them out like a bulimic at Thanksgiving dinner.

"But, Jen,"  I hear you cry, "are you not an educator?  Did you not once work within the public school system?"   First of all, stop crying -- it's not pretty.  And secondly, I have no problem with public school.  Public school was the shit for me and continues to be so for myriad children, but there are some that just don't "fit" the common core mold and two of those aforementioned children just happen to be mine. 

Of course, homeschooling is not without its sui generis challenges; the first of which is that, while my short people are twins, they have dichotomous learning styles.  Michael has autism, so his curriculum is more aural/kinesthetic-based, and involves multiple repetitions and "sensory breaks" throughout the day, and Jack. . .well. . .Jack is brilliant.  I know every parent thinks their child is exceptional, but sweet Mother Mary in a mojito that kid is so freaking smart he makes Stephen Hawking look like a Kardashian after a quad-shot kamikaze.  So, keeping the J-Man challenged and encouraging him to use his mental powers for good requires Herculean effort on both my and Norm's part.  As such, we encourage him to research his passions with a healthy dose of independence, and shower the boy with learning opportunities at every turn.

This is Jack, teaching Mike DNA replication via an off-key rendition of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Getting Back Together" and a crap ton of Legos.   See?  Brilliant.  But his taste in music sucks harder than an airline toilet.   Boy needs to work on that shit, yo.

For those who know, my graduate degree is in Special Education, so when it comes to teaching Michael, I've got it goin' on like Chaka Khan.  But Jack requires a slightly more gangsta touch, because despite his astronomically high IQ, the apple did not fall far from the smart-ass tree. . .may God have mercy on his soul.  To better elucidate my point, I would like to share with you some of the conversations Jack and I have had in relation to his education over the past few months.  Suffice to say, if there were ever any doubt that he was my son, ye may abandon that notion forthwith. . .

JACK ((reading Waiting for Godot)):  OK, so, Vladimir and Estragon are waiting for this guy who is going to "save" them and they're worried that he might "punish" them if they make him mad.  So, Godot is God. . .right?
ME:  Maybe.  Remember too, that they also offer Godot a "prayer" and "a vague supplication", so Beckett seems to be drawing a God-like parallel.
JACK:  But nobody knows for sure who Godot is, right?
ME:  Right.  It's never stated outright, so no one can really explain it.
JACK:  Like black holes. . .
ME:  Or Anne Hathaway's career. . .
JACK:  Or why bitches be trippin'. . .
ME:  Word.

ME:  Crystals -- like diamonds -- are formed when there is a combination of two elements: extreme heat, and extreme pressure.
JACK:  So, it's a collaboration, like David Bowie and Queen?
ME:  Well. . .yeah. . .pretty much.
JACK:  So diamonds are formed ((singing)) "Under pressure!  Do-do-do-doodoo-do-do...Do-do-do-doodoo-do-do...Under pressure...!"
ME:  Wait.  You're 13.  How do you even know who David Bowie and Queen ARE!?!?
JACK:  YouTube.  I like to kick it Old School.

ME:  What are you reading?
JACK:  The Man In the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas.
ME:  Ooh!  Well played!  I love that book -- kind of a 1660's "Parent Trap" meets "Orange Is The New Black".
JACK:  References I would most likely understand if we actually had a TV.
ME:  Hey, I grew up watching TV.  Am I not enough of a cautionary tale for you?  
JACK:  Fair point.   Hey, wait a minute. . .how do YOU know about "Orange Is The New Black"?
ME:  . . .
JACK:  Why must you raise me in a den of Netflix and LIES!?!?

ME:  Newton's First Law of Motion states that an object in motion will tend to stay in motion and an object at rest will tend to stay at rest.  If one object is balanced atop a moving object, and the moving object suddenly stops or turns, the balancing object will continue to travel forward at the original rate of speed.
JACK: So, it's like that time you left our Starbucks order on top of the car and when you stopped it flew forward and made a smoking hot mess all over the windshield?
ME: Well, yeah, but if I'd gone all 'Fast and Furious' and hit the brakes at 120 mph the lattes would have totally cleared the hood!
JACK:  Hashtag "driving goals".
MY FRIEND DREW: I can't wait for your explanation of the second law of thermodynamics.
ME:  Well, as it relates to displacement, I anticipate that it will involve the lyrics to Ludacris' "Move, Bitch, Get Out The Way".
DREW:  I would think Kendrick Lamar's "Backseat Freestyle" would be a better fit.  "Man, I got bitches, man I got bitches..."  Here, bitches represent disorder; the larger his fame, the mo' bitches.  Therefore, the whole of his life, growing ever more closed and rarified, tends irreversibly to maximal bitches, aka. entropy.
ME:  You realize that if you'd taught high school physics I probably wouldn't have skipped class every week to eat graham crackers and watch "Days Of Our Lives".
JACK:  Yes, you would have.
ME:  Yeah, probably.  Because. . .priorities.

ME:  Thanks for helping your brother study for his quiz, Jack.
JACK:  Sure!  Happy to help.
ME:  So, Mike; describe an Emperor Penguin.
MIKE:  They're the biggest.  And. . .they live in the Antarctic.
ME:  Good!  How about a Crested Penguin?
MIKE:  They have red beaks and yellow crests and they live in New Zealand.
ME:  Way to go!  How about an Adelie Penguin?
MIKE:  They're the ones that are 'rollin' in the deep'.
ME:  Seriously, J?
JACK:  C'mon, Mom.  It's not like I set fire to the rain or anything.
ME  ((sigh)):  Bless your soul, you've got your head in the clouds, you made a fool outta me and it's bringin' me down.
JACK:  The games we play, I will always win, always win.
ME:  Oh, I give up.  But. . .never mind, I'll find someone like you.
JACK:  Hello?
ME: . . .
JACK:  Hello from the outside.  
ME:  Well, at least I can say you tried.
JACK:  . . .To tell you I'm sorry, for breaking your heart.
MIKE:  Are we going to study penguins now?
JACK:  Rumor has it.

The good news is, despite his propensity to belabor a point, discuss Minecraft until I want to bludgeon myself with a cinder block, and turn every conversation into an episode of "Epic Rap Battles In History". . .*

*Which I totally let him watch.  Because...history.  Besides, watching William Shakespeare drop a sick beat on Dr. Seuss?  Magical.

. . .Jack is a kind tender-hearted, and joy-filled young man.  He cares for both his twin brother and grandfather, started a community action campaign to clean up our beaches, recently joined a children's movement to require labeling on all genetically modified foods sold in the U.S., and is currently helping his stepdad build a chicken coop and plant a vegetable garden. He is my sunny little man-child: at times erudite and austere, but perpetually ebullient and carefree.  The growth and maturity and strength of character we've seen since removing Jack (and Michael) from public school is astronomical -- as aforementioned, homeschool is not for everyone, but it IS for us.

As we speak, Jack is on the phone, discussing a collaborative project for the annual Science Olympiad.  If it involves ballistics, this conversation never happened.



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Channeling My Inner Oprah

I was actively perusing the CNN website the other day. . .

Well, maybe not "actively"; I guess it was more that I was scrolling through the local news alerts. . .

OK, fine, I was watching cat videos on Facebook; don't judge.  In my defense, when streaming a particular news story about the crisis in the Middle East and a pop-up appears extolling the virtues of a site dedicated to cats that look like Hitler, then I can guarantee you the 'Kitlers' will win out every time.

Every.  Damned.  Time.

Anyhoo, my point is that I started stalking following up with my friends on Facebook when I came across a particularly upsetting post from a high school friend whose marriage is suddenly disintegrating.  Suddenly, I flashed back to eight years ago when my first husband decided that simply sleeping with every woman in the Portland Metro area was not enough. . .he needed to start actually marrying them.*

*My ex is magical.

I sat at my computer pondering what I could say to my old friend.  What pearls of wisdom I could cast at her feet that would alleviate some part of her pain.  What did people tell me eight years ago that kept me from going the full Sylvia Plath and jamming my head in the microwave oven?  There are tons of Huff Post, Dr. Phil-y sites out there with "10 Things To Know When Divorcing" but sitting around overthinking my emotions and spanking my inner child has never really turned my crank, so this was what I came up with.  It's paltry...even trite and formulaic...but in the immortal words of the great Iggy Azalea, "first things first, I'm the realest"; and this shit is as real as it gets.  I hope it helps.

1) You're gonna be okay.  Really.  I swear.   I know how you feel.  You can't sleep.  You can't breathe.  You know you'll never stop crying.  But one day, you will.  One day a friend will walk into a sliding glass door or your kid will start belting out Nicki Minaj lyrics in the middle of Target or you'll be watching Kitlers on Facebook and you will laugh like a toddler in an ether factory.  I promise.
2) "It's not you, it's them".  I know it sounds like a shitty break-up line, but there's a lot of validity to it.  Sure, when your spouse of 10+ years who once swore "til death do us part" drops the D-Bomb on you like a scud missile you will question everything you may have done or said wrong over the years, but 9 times out of 10 it's a reflection of their lack of character, not yours.
3) Stop asking yourself and your soon-to-be ex "why".  It doesn't matter "why".   First of all, admit it. . .you KNOW why.  We all find ways to conveniently ignore patterns of abuse or distrust or infidelity...*

*Like seeing "subtle" code phrases such as "BFWSK" (Big Fat Wet Sloppy Kisses) and "LOML" (Love Of My Life) sent to other people on their public Facebook page.  But no one would be THAT stupid, right? 

...but ultimately, we all see the writing on the Facebook wall.  You don't need a "why"; all you need is a "what now"?
4) You are never, ever, ever, getting back together...like...ever.  First of all, why would you want to?  Groucho Marx once said "I don't care to belong to any club that would have me as a member".  Sage advice. Why would you want to have anything to do with someone who has categorically stated that they want nothing to do with you?   It's over. Done.  Believe me, by the time your spouse says "goodbye" they've already had months to prepare, emotionally distance themselves, and (90% of the time) form a new romantic relationship; because most folks don't step off the ballfield until they're sure they've got someone else swinging the bat in the on-deck circle.  You've been replaced.

5)  You will feel everything from ecstatically happy to crying like a 'tween at a One Direction farewell tour.  And everything in between. . .every five minutes. . .  Trust me, the crazy too shall pass.   

6)  Take a lesson from the alcoholics.  And no, I am not advocating drinking heavily, but rather heeding the advice of those in recovery.  OK, maybe you aren't all recovering alcoholics, but this shit is legit, yo.  We have several tenets in AA but one of them rings especially true for anyone going through a divorce:  don't make any major changes the first year.  This is not the time to dye your hair blonde, buy a pony, or FORTHELOVEOFALLTHATISGOODANDHOLY jump into another "relationship".   Year One is not for "moving on", it is for healing and renewing.  Leave the L'Oreal on the shelf and walk away from the hot guy at the gym.  Just say no.  Many times, no.  Giant, steaming piles of NO. 

7)  Be rigorously honest.  If someone asks how you're doing and you feel like stabbing kittens (or kitlers) responding "I'm fine" is nowhere near as satisfying as stating "I haven't slept in weeks, I am googling how to effectively cut someone's brake lines, and I want to eviscerate his girlfriend with an Exacto knife, thanks for asking".  Catharsis is a beautiful thing.
8)  You'll get over it.  I swear.  You will never be the same after a divorce, but everyone I've met who has walked the Green Mile tells me they are actually better after going through it. Seriously.  Every.  Last.  One.  You will laugh again.  You will feel passion again.  You will be held and kissed and made love to again.  And that person you thought you couldn't live without?  You will.  And -- believe it or not -- that shitty Gotye song was right: they'll one day just be someone that you used to know.*

*Although I'm relatively certain that saying "shitty" and "Gotye song" in the same sentence is redundant.

9) Your kids will get over it too.  I'm not saying that they won't bear the repercussions of a divorce -- any child, naturally, would -- but they will learn and laugh and grow in spite of it.   Show them strength.  Show them joy.  And WHATEVER you do, do not EVER bad mouth the other parent in front of them!!!  You may hate this person with the burning fire of a thousand white hot suns, but they are still the primary role model your child will have for a member of the opposite sex.   Imagine you are a 6 year old boy hearing your mother say "All men are scum!"  Knowing that you will one day become a man, what message did you just receive?  Children will see their parents for who they are as the years progress, so focus on making yourself someone to be admired and emulated, rather than tearing down someone else.  Believe me, if your ex is a dipshit, by the time your kids are 12-13 years old, they'll have figured that out on their own without your input.

Anyone else out there have some advice for "newbies" going through a divorce?  Because I'm thinking about writing a self-help book. . .just as soon as I check out this video on dogs dressed like Elvis. . .


Monday, July 27, 2015

"Hey, Boo-Boo!"

Last Tuesday, I awoke to the sound of crashing ocean waves; the softly wafting sea air, and the cadent caw! caw! of the seagulls making their morning sojourn to the shoreline for breakfast.  I truly do live in paradise – a funky, red-trimmed, Cape Cod-style home, surrounded by blossoming sweet peas and Queen Annes lace – nestled at the end of a short gravel path that spills out onto thirty miles of pristine oceanfront property.*

*Of course, we are also Ground Zero for the impending Cascade Subduction  Zones apocalyptic 9.0 earthquake/tsunami.  So, its only a matter of time before the Pacific decides to go all 50 Shades of Ocean Spray on our asses and we are vaporized by a 100 foot tidal wave like the end of some craptacular Tea Leoni movie.  But. . .you know. . .YOLO.

Anyhoo, as it was garbage day, and I was feeling all proactive and shit, I punched the on button on the coffee maker, jammed my pitifully unpedicured feet into my husbands flip-flops, and wandered down the porch steps to drag our trash can out to the street.  Approximately 23 seconds later I clomped back up the steps in a stage 4 huff and angrily confronted Norm, who was blithely humming as he retrieved the half-and-half from the refrigerator.

Some stupid teenagers knocked over our trashcan!  I sputtered, kicking my (his) flip-flops into the sunroom.  Theres garbage all the way up the hill, so those little bastards must have drug it off into the woods!

Norm cocked his head and looked at me with his patented do not arouse the crazy woman look and smiled.  First of all, I find it hard to believe that our discarded coffee grounds and empty toilet paper rolls are a hot commodity with the local hooligans; and secondly, we live in a town of less than 2,000 people.  We dont have neighbors, Jen, let alone roving bands of dumpster-diving miscreants."*

*Oh, yeah.  Before you ask, the answer is:  Yes.  In thirty years I WILL be the barefoot cat lady standing on my lawn, waving a rake and muttering about those meddling kids like a geriatric Scooby-Doo villain.

Norm shrugged amiably as he slowly sipped his coffee.  Not a lot of wind coming off of the ocean last night, so it must have been a bear.

Wait. . .wha-what?

I froze to the spot, thinking (a) how can my husband be so blasé about the fact that our home is surrounded by wild animals that would love nothing more than to play our intestines like a meat harp, and (b) I really hope that wasnt the last cup of coffee.* 

*Because. . .priorities.

Bears?  I asked tremulously.  Like. . .bowls of porridge and pic-a-nic baskets, bears?

Norm calmly nodded and handed me a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee (My preeeeeeeecioussssss). Well, he mused a little less Disney and a little more Animal Planet, but yeah.  Bears.

OK, now I feel I must insert a few bullet points here to better elucidate my husbands and my rather divergent reactions to our front yard suddenly turning into the Hundred Acre Wood.  To wit:

  • Norm was raised in Northern British Columbia on a farm with his five sisters.  By the time he was eight, the boy could hunt elk, drive a logging truck, and build a survival shelter.
  • I was raised in Eugene, Oregon, with one sister.  When I was eight I was kicked out of the Girl Scouts due to my glaring lack of functional life skills.
  • When Norm was a boy he walked five miles to school in the snow...uphill...both ways.
  • When I was a girl, I rode the bus...6 blocks...because I was afraid of the neighbor's dog.
  • Before we met, Norm owned a hobby farm with 18 goats, 130 chickens, two horses, and a mule named Walter.
  • So far my death toll includes 2 hermit crabs, 4 goldfish, and a hamster named Biggie Smalls.
See where I'm going here?  

"You seem shockingly cavalier for a man who has just announced that Yogi and Boo Boo were recently having brunch in his front yard."  I said with an arched brow.

Norm chuckled.  "They're just black bears, Jen.  They live all over the peninsula.  In fact, last year I was jogging down the main road and one crossed the street right in front of me."

I sputtered, coffee turning my once-white T-shirt into a caffeine-laden Jackson Pollock.*

*Because I'm classy like that.

"It just, like, WALKED in front of you!?"  I cried.  "Like, how did it walk?  What did it do?"

Norm shrugged and refilled his coffee mug.  "Oh, you know.  It just crossed over to compliment me on my running shoes, we exchanged business cards, and. . .it was a BEAR, Jen!  It just looked at me like 'Hi, human, I'm a bear' and it walked away.  No big deal."

"No big DEAL!?"  I countered, futilely dabbing at my coffee-stained shirt with a damp rag.  "It's a 400 pound bag of teeth and claws that is -- based on our garbage -- not terribly discriminating about what it eats.  And once the Berenstein Bears get a taste of human food, isn't it a pretty logical and food-chain-y step that eventually they'll see humans AS food?"

Norm smiled patiently and kissed me gently on the forehead.  "Pretty sure they're more interested in our leftover meatloaf than in a 120-pound bag of crazy."  He chuckled and wandered back upstairs to his office, calling over his shoulder,"If you're that worried, start carrying the Buck knife I got you."

"Yeah, sure!"  I called after him.  "For the record, I'm pretty sure that bears have, like, FIVE of those on each paw!"

It has now been one week since that conversation.  So far, no bear sightings.  But tomorrow is ((gulp)) trash day.

"Hello, Clarice."

Hold me. . .


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

As many of you know, the short people and I recently packed up and moved to Washington state.  Initially, I received some guff for leaving the great nation of Portlandia, until everyone realized that (a) the move came as a result of my getting married last year and marriages are generally more successful when couples actually, you know, LIVE together, and (b) we moved into a house with a ginormous backyard that sits on 30 miles of sandy beach with pounding ocean waves and pelicans and HOLY CRAP I LIVE IN PARADISE!!!!!
Of course, while BEING here is rad as shit, GETTING here was a giant bag of crazy.  Regardless of how organized, motivated, or well-funded you are, moving blows harder than a Kardashian at an NFL after-party.

Par example. . .


Regardless of how fastidious a housekeeper you believe yourself to be, when you move your furniture, you will find stains on your carpets that are darker than Stephen King’s dream journal.   And no amount of Rug Doctor, Stanley Steemer, nor “. . .all great Neptune’s ocean will wash this clean”. *

*Macbeth;  Act 2, Scene 2.  To all those who claimed I’d never use my Liberal Studies degree, thou mayeth suck it.

My advice?  Invest in throw rugs, and pray for buyers with questionable hygiene.  Trust me, a family with five dreadlocked children named after trees and several large house pets are unlikely to “pooh-pooh” a carpet that looks like a family of Welsh coal miners have been playing Twister on it for the last four years.


Seriously.  Do not be lured by their siren’s song of “$29 Dollars a Day”.  Lies, I tell you.  LIES!!!  First of all, that’s only for moves within the city limits.  Does it say that on the van?  Does it have a beautiful picture of the city skyline reading: “Trenton – City of Lost Dreams”?  No.  IT says “New Jersey – The Garden State”; which is all well and good unless you are driving more than 10 miles across the Garden State, in which case U-Haul will pound your ass like a narc at a prison riot.  And did I mention that they also charge you for mileage?  And gas?  And, umm, I know cars are fueled by fossils and – granted -- the thought that your Dodge Rambler is tooling around on the blood of raptors IS pretty fucking epic, I still don’t know which Machiavellian conversion chart deems that U-Hauls cannot be gassed up for less than $5 a gallon.  Cut your losses, y’all.  Now is the time to either invest in a utility trailer…*

*Norm got me one last year for Valentine’s Day, and believe me, nothin’ says lovin’ like being able to haul a couch, two kayaks, and seven years worth of nostalgia for less than $10 a day.  Bam.

…or purge yourself of all worldly goods (aka. furniture) and just go all zen and minimalist on your new place.   Namaste.


Like Norm’s contact solution. . . Or my running shoes. .  . Or the short people’s underwear.  Of course, there really is no reason for the absence of the third item(s) except to acknowledge that my children are not terribly bright.


One of the glorious things about combining two homes, aside from the whole “one heart, one hand” schizz, is the do-si-do of which photographs will occupy your wall space.  Yes, he had a life before you, as you did before him.  So, how do you determine which Kodak moments will grace your coffee table and refrigerator door?  Here is a Clif’s Notes version of what may (and may not) be deemed acceptable décor. . .

1)      A photograph of you and your college friends arm-in-arm as you stand in front of your first car?   Acceptable.
2)      A photograph of you and your college friends arm-in-arm as you stand in front of the eyewitness at a police line-up?   As long as the statute of limitations has not expired, you may want to rethink this one.

1)      A snapshot of your husband lovingly cradling his newborn children?   Green light.
2)      A snapshot of your husband lovingly cradling his junk?  RED LIGHT!  So.  Much.  Red.

1)      The glorious image of his ex-wife beaming as she walks down the aisle on their wedding day?  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!
2)      The glorious image of his ex-girlfriend beaming as she grinds on a stripper pole in a naughty schoolgirl outfit?   Are you shitting me?


“Oh, this is all just ‘stuff’,” you’ll cry.  “Really!  Get rid of whatever you want; it’s just ‘stuff’.”
This is a lie.  Do not EVER underestimate the power of another person’s ‘stuff’.  When you combine homes and find you have the sum total of 14 spatulas, 6 TVs, and 4 rice cookers (don’t ask), you will be compelled to the whole TLC ‘Hoarders’ meets ‘Intervention’ on your cribs and start purging like Kobiyashi after a Fourth of July weenie roast.  Abort mission!  Abort!  Mission!  What once was ‘stuff’ suddenly has a whole new and deeper meaning when in the hands of another clueless, albeit well-meaning, individual.

I present into evidence the following. . .*

*And, no.  These are totally not rhetorical.

What seems like a “why-in-hell-would-anyone-save-this?” broken piece of plastic to you will inevitably wind up being the integral part of some high-tech, expensive, manly shaving system that your husband will grumblingly dig out of the garbage while he (not so) secretly wonders about your mental stability as represented by your inability to recognize its intrinsic value.

Of course, you too will have the singular moment of “Da fuq?” when you discover your framed high school senior portrait face-down in the trash because your husband didn’t understand why you kept a picture of John Denver all these years.*

*It was the 80’s.  Don’t judge.  In my defense, my bangs were Rocky Mountain HIGH, suckahs.

But the bottom line is: all the crap you save, toss, box up, and recycle. . .it truly is just ‘stuff’.  And stuff will not be sitting across from you at the dinner table.  Stuff will not be running through the backyard, howling with laughter.  Stuff will not hold you when you break down, or make love to you, or argue with you over who clogged the toilet or left the bathroom light on.  Stuff will come and go out of your life like a  breeze, so quit being so fucking obsessed with it and focus on the people surrounded by the ‘stuff’; because they will be the ones holding your hand when you leave this earth, not your CD rack or your high school yearbook.

This last week and a half has been Crazytown , and admittedly, I’ve been weepier than a tween at a ‘One Direction’ farewell tour.  Saying goodbye to my old life, starting my new one, walking through the empty rooms of the house I proudly bought, and making my mark on my husband’s home. . .we’ve been tap-dancing around each other nervously, trying to figure out where we all fit.  But, sitting here now, at the writing desk Norm set up for me because (and I quote), “You’re a writer, Jen.  You need to write”; listening to my children downstairs, making their breakfast and talking excitedly about the day’s plans, smiling up at my husband as he tells me “You look exceptionally beautiful today”, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is where we fit.  Not just this town, or this house, but all of us together.  We fit.  And no matter where we are, or where we go, or how many times and places we move. . .we fit.  We are a family.
Much love, people.