Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Drama of Donald the Duck

I saw a missing dog poster today as I stopped at the stop sign on the corner of our street and it triggered a memory for me. About a year or so ago my daughter came inside and told me there was a duck in our neighbor's front yard. It was gone by the time I looked out and other than thinking that was really strange, considering we live in a suburban neighborhood, I didn't give it much more thought. A few days later I was driving the kids to school when one of them pointed out a missing poster sign attached to the street lamp at the end of our street. It had a picture of two ducks that were apparently missing from the neighborhood. I had to laugh out loud because we've seen plenty of missing dog and cat signs but missing ducks was a first for us around here.

A few days later my son came in from the backyard and told me there was a big dead bird in our yard. I couldn't see it from the sliding door and wasn't going out to investigate. This was my husband's territory so I told my son not to touch it and that his dad would handle it later. We have two big dogs and I assumed one of them had killed it. I like birds and all and couldn't begin to count how many times we've rescued injured ones and taken them to rehabilitation homes, but this one was dead so I went on about my business and forgot all about it and about telling my husband to take care of it.

A day or two later my husband was doing yard work. He walked in from the backyard and told me that I was never going to believe it but there was a dead duck in our back yard. He hadn't been made aware of the sighting of the lone duck in the neighbor's front yard or the missing poster for the two ducks so he was completely surprised to see a duck lying dead in our suburban backyard, apparently at the hands of one our dogs.

I was horrified. I couldn't believe that my dogs had killed the pet duck of someone in the neighborhood. I quickly explained the situation to him and told him to get back out there and get rid of the duck before the kids saw it. The last thing we needed was for one of the kids to tell the neighbors and to be forever known as the owners of the duck mauling dogs. I needed some time to think about how we were going to handle this. I felt obligated to inform the owners of the two missing ducks that they were now only missing one duck, but for now I was more concerned about cleaning up the crime scene. You'd have to know my youngest daughter to understand my panic. Rarely does anything get past her and she would've been dying to spread the news. We don’t call her “Harriet the Spy” for nothing. My husband bagged up the dead duck but rather than taking it out to the curb, he thought he should wait until it was closer to trash day so he left the trash bag tied up on the side of the house.

My plan was to eventually drive down to get that phone number from the missing poster and then make the dreaded phone call to inform the duck owner of the sad news and never tell the kids. I can only imagine how shocked my husband and I looked when later that day the kids came running inside yelling that we had a dead duck in our backyard. We didn’t know what to think. Well, the dogs had dug that poor dead duck right back out of the trash and tossed him around like a chew toy leaving a nice trail of white feathers in the yard. It was like the duck that just wouldn't go away!

I went to get that phone number but a few of the digits had smeared off from exposure to the outside elements. I was relieved. A few weeks later my daughter informed us "the word on the street" was the ducks belonged to our white trash neighbors who lived behind and one house over from us. These would be the same people we'd had issues with in the past because their kids would constantly cuss at ours and throw big rocks over the fence at both our kids and dogs so they weren’t exactly ideal neighbors. I was sorry about the death of that duck but decided I wasn’t going over to tell them. I carry around a tiny smidgen of guilt hoping they’re not still leaving the porch light on in hopes the duck is someday coming home, but I don’t lose any sleep over it. Perhaps if they'd not raised misbehaved little foul mouthed heathans I might.

PS. To make matters worse, our escape artist dog had been previously known to dig back there and had gone into the yard directly behind us on a few occasions, so my husband believes that he might’ve gotten into their yard and actually kidnapped the duck. I refused to accept that scenario. There was no proof of that and he's not the fastest dog around by any stretch. Sure it was possible, but it was just as possible the duck flew over that fence. By the way, we’ve now added electric wiring along the fence where he was digging to keep him from venturing out again, just in case he was actually guilty of kidnapping the duck. Technically, I guess that would be considered ducknapping.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Carla and Teresa (BFF)

Last week I talked to two of my oldest friends. It all started with an email. I’d been playing phone tag with one for several weeks and the other one had been on my mind for a while, but I kept forgetting to dig out her email address. I hadn’t called because I no longer have a long commute to and from work and that was when we used to chat, while we were both fighting the hellish traffic together in two different metropolitan cities.

So, when I finally hooked up with my “oldest” friend last week, oldest as in we met in kindergarten and went through every year of school together, I felt an overwhelming urge to find my "second oldest" friend, who I’ve known since 2nd grade, but have only claimed as a best friend since 6th grade. Well, I finally made it a point to email her and spent much of the day on Thursday and Friday laughing at the email exchanges from the two of them.

Carla, my “oldest” friend only lives 2-3 miles away, but sadly we only see each other about once a year, usually when we both attend the Christmas Eve church services at our childhood church. When we first moved here about 8 years ago we did see each other frequently, back when the kids played ball together and our daughter’s were on the same drill team. Then life got hectic after all of the kids started school and things changed. It’s really sad, especially considering the fact that when we do get together both of our sides hurt from laughing so hard.

Friday night Carla called on her way home from work and ended up spontaneously coming over to my house where she spent several hours. I’m not sure why so much time passes in between the visits when all we do is laugh the entire time when we do get together. Between the two of us we can remember so much more about our childhoods. Actually, I do know why. It’s the hustle and bustle of work, kids, chores, life, etc. We always vow not to let that get in the way, but we do. I hope that changes and our plan to meet for margaritas in a few weeks doesn't get pooped on due to a football game or softball practice!

Teresa lives in Atlanta now but still visits fairly often. Carla and I talked about having a slumber party during her next visit and Teresa was all for that idea. Our last slumber party was interesting to say the least, and one that none of us will likely ever forget. That was about 14 years ago. We managed to get 6 old friends together and then dropped in on a few others. I think this next one will be smaller and cozier for reasons I'd rather not discuss!

These two are also my birthday partners. We all have November birthdays, just two weeks apart. By the way, did I mention I'm the youngest? Okay, only by a week or two, but I'm still the youngest! We had a big 30th birthday bash, ummm, a few years back. It was awesome. I wonder if we'll be able to pull another one off for our 40th!

About 5-6 years ago Carla, Teresa and I, along with mine and Carla's mom's took a road trip to attend our other "oldest" friend's wedding. Ironically, our mother's attended high school together. We stayed in Fredericksburg, TX at a quaint little bed and breakfast. By the time our weekend was nearing an end, I felt as if I literally needed to get away from them all before my sides split wide open from laughing so hard. I don't think I could've laughed anymore or any harder for about 24-36 hours straight. I'd forgotten about that trip until Carla brought it up on Friday and suggested that we try to do something like that again. I'm all for it if someone will wrap my rib cage in ace bandages beforehand. I'm not sure they could withstand another weekend like that. Trust me when I say you'd just have to know them to understand. Carla's mom has the most contagious laugh I've ever heard in my entire life. That was all the more fuel for us.

During our email party on Friday, I sent both of them my blog address and briefly explained what a blog was. Teresa's first question was whether I'd written anything about her yet, and then if I'd written about anyone she knew. Then she proceeded to fill my inbox up all day long on Friday with excerpts from our past and suggestions to be used for my next entry. I told Carla about that and she said, "OMG, that is sooooo Teresa". And it is! We both laughed and laughed even more at some of the suggestions from her that triggered fond (and some not so fond) memories of our youth together. I had to remind Teresa that my mom does tend to read the blog and some things would just be better left off! Although she did enlighten her on many of our teenage escapades during that weekend trip! If we do manage to plan another get together with our moms, I just might have to bring a muzzle for Teresa! Nah, I couldn't do that! She'd just gnaw it off anyway and say exactly what was on her mind!

I sent them an email earlier today to let them know I was blogging about them and Carla replied that I better not have written more stuff about Teresa than her. Oh, they crack me up. I sure do miss those girls and all of the good times we've shared! Funny thing is, we can go months or years without seeing each other but we always pick back up right where we left off without missing a beat! So, get your rear end down here, Teresa. I'm ready for that slumber party!

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Baby Girl Starts College

The baby girl started college today! I feel so old. (Truth be told, she's exactly half my age, but who asked and who's counting?)
Lucky for us she opted to stay home for a year and attend the local Jr. College. All went well today. She bought all of her books and from the sounds of it she needed a pallet jack to get them to her car. I'm so glad she changed her mind at the last hour and decided to stay home a little longer. Granted, we drive each other nuts but I just wasn't quite ready to turn her loose out there in the real world. She semi-regrets that decision but we sure don't. That's the only reason I've kept my mouth shut about not being able to see the floor in her bedroom recently. No reason to make her regret it any more!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My brother will turn 40 on 9/11. When my sister turned 40 my oldest daughter and I went down and wrapped her house with black streamers. In Texas we call it wrapping houses but I know in some other places it's called rolling or TP'ing. We also decorated her car with some 40’s stuff I picked up at Party City. I was actually depressed on her 40th because I knew that meant I was getting closer to 40. Now I'm sweating bullets because my brother turning 40 means my turn is just on the horizon. (Ok, 3.5 years away, but close enough)

My brother has grown into a very responsible man with a wife and four children. He has a great job and beautiful home. Looking back, oh, about 25-30 years ago, I'm not so sure that anyone would've envisioned him to be where he is today. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't a petty thief or juvenile delinquent. He was just the life of the party and full of surprises. We lived in a small town and pretty much ran the roads on both foot and bicycles, even after dark. My brother had lots of friends in our neighborhood and they were full of mischief. I was fortunate enough to get to tag along sometimes, when my mom insisted just to shut me up.

Pre-high school my brother and his friends had a few ways to pass the time on those boring summer nights. For the record, I am a semi-responsible adult and no longer condone the following behavior, but it sure was fun at the time! There was the tennis ball game where we would hide behind a house and throw a tennis ball at cars that were stopped at the stop sign. Yeah, I know, we could've caused an accident, but the car wasn't actually moving at the time so was it really that bad? Although I must admit if I were stopped at a stop sign and heard a thud like that I'd probably poop in my pants and drive straight into oncoming traffic. The worst consequence we suffered from that particular prank was when one guy got out of his car madder than hell, spotted us and started running our way. I don't remember how I managed to clear that six-foot wooden fence and make it home in all of three minutes, but I did. I’ve heard adrenaline can have that effect. I think that might've been the last time we ever played that particular game again. My favorite prank was one we called "Purse". Ironically, this was staged at the same stop sign location. The boys rummaged through the closets for old purses to use. They’d lay the purse in the road under the streetlight in plain view of the stopped cars. Typically, it was supposed to tempt the person to open their door and reach for the purse. I think they played it two different ways, one with dog poop inside and one without, sometimes with fishing string attached, sometimes without. Sometimes they’d pull the string and freak the driver out and other times they’d just leave it alone with the poop inside. I was only allowed to play on occasion, but when I did my heart would pound as we hid quietly in the bushes. I know I could hardly breathe. I was having fun but terrified at the same time. I do remember one guy who stopped, grabbed the purse then drove off but slammed on his breaks. He opened his car door yelling profanities (understandable) and threw the purse back out onto the street. Can't say I blame him! I think that might’ve inspired another night of me running home like a bolt of lightning. The craziest prank of all (I never actually participated with this one) was the stuffed dummy that they made. It was wearing a shirt, blue jeans and work boots. They would hang it/him from a rope over a tree and drop him down when cars approached the stop sign. However, they used a different stop sign that had bigger trees! (Mom, please don't ground me for putting this on the internet! Don’t worry, the statute of limitations has run out)

High school was just one big good time. His senior year he was voted Most Handsome, Most Popular and Mr. GPHS. He was the life of the party and everyone loved him. All of the cops in our small town knew him well, but loved him. He never got into any “real” trouble. I'm sure there were times when my parents worried about his future at the rate he was going, but he turned out to be way more than okay. As a matter of fact, I occasionally run into old friends of his/ours who have seen him around, and they often ask me when he became so serious and grown up. Oh, he still likes to have a good time, but he’s long outgrown those wild and crazy days. After all, he’s almost 40!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My sister is also my best friend. I’m five years younger than she is and never let her forget it. Growing up we were anything but close. I was the little twerp who marked all over her beloved ballerina doll with a black magic marker, rummaged through her things and followed her around like a lost puppy. I wanted to be just like her. We not only shared a room but also a double size bed. She’ll be the first to tell you that she got the short end of the stick on that deal since I was a chronic bed wetter until I was practically grown. Joking! But I was a little old for bed wetting when I finally stopped at around age nine. I’m sure she will gladly correct me if I have the age that I finally stopped wrong. I think she has that milestone forever engraved in her memory. She loves to remind me of the many nights she suffered at my hands after being awakened by that familiar and dreaded feeling of something warm and wet hitting her leg.

We both have memories of some made-up games that we used to play while in bed when we were supposed to be “sleeping”. In one we took turns grabbing miscellaneous items from dressers and drawers in the room such as cards, bobby pins, pony tail ties, marbles, pennies, etc. We would spread them out on the bed in between us and look them over for a few minutes. One had to cover their eyes while the other would grab and hide one item and the other had to guess what was missing from the pile. Another was mash the bruise where we took turns pressing on each others bruises to see if they hurt. I guess some actually didn’t, otherwise what was the point! Cut us some slack! We weren’t allowed any lights or talking and as lame as it sounds, our games often entertained us until we finally got sleepy.

We also have a brother who was the middle child. We dubbed him our mom’s favorite. (Now that I have two girls and a boy, I finally get that whole mother/son thing). He was three years older than me and two years younger than her. They always teamed up and made it their mission in life to torment me. I made a pretty good whiney target, too. I remember my sister once talked me into letting her trace the slightly visible veins on my face with an ink pen, and her once pinning me down while she spit on my face and not letting me up until it had run down to my neck! She also convinced me for years that I was adopted, that I was really my aunt’s illegitimate child and I believed her because I looked more like my aunt than either of my parents. I still sometimes wonder about that one! I’m not sure why I worshiped the ground she walked on. Her penance in life for mistreating me came in the form of three very mischievous (but lovable) boys.

Our relationship began to change from stalker/tormentor (I was the stalker, constantly following her and her friends from room to room. The tormentor title needs no further explanation. See above.) to more of a friendship sometime around her senior year. It was at that point she realized she needed to make peace with me to in order to keep me quiet. She had to change me from the historic tattle tail of previous years into an ally and in order to do that she was forced to treat me a little better. After all, we were stuck sharing a room and if she was going to get away with those late night phone calls and private conversations that I was overjoyed to be present for, she needed me to keep my big mouth shut. Too bad I didn’t realize how much power I had at the time.

By the time I started high school we had become pretty close. Looking back, she was always there for me when life wasn’t peachy. Once we reached that point of closeness, we’ve never really drifted apart, even when I lived 1800 miles away. Sure, we’ve had some differences, but over the years and into our adulthood we’ve only gotten closer.

Four years ago my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews moved into a house one house down from ours. Admittedly, it was difficult for me at first. The kids were back and forth constantly and after living away from home for many years while my husband served in the Military, we’d gotten used to having our “space”. In the beginning, I felt a little invaded upon and wondered if it had been a mistake. After the initial adjustment of it, I never regretted them being our neighbors and didn’t realize how dependent I’d become on the closeness of them being right there until they recently moved.

The kids were in school together at various points in time over the past four years, on the same baseball teams, we shared carpools, etc. If either of us wanted to browse the other’s closet, we'd just walk down to see what the other might have to wear. (Ironically neither of us had much to choose from) If one needed cash but wasn’t up for a trip to the ATM, we’d help a sister out if at all possible. Out of eggs? No problem. Send the kids down. My sister was my eyes and ears when our oldest was home alone for the weekend and I was hers. The kids are locked out? No problem. They had a place to hang until we got home. Need someone to feed the dogs while you’re out of town? No worries. About a week before they moved out she called asking if I had some ummm, feminine hygeine products to hold her over until the next day. As I met her on the sidewalk I said, "Yeah, well I bet the new neighbors won't bring you tampons!" The list of little conveniences goes on and on. Sometimes you don’t appreciate things until they’re gone.

When they first moved out last month it was too chaotic to miss them immediately. They literally moved out and within a few days it was time for our annual (family and friends) camping trip so we were all gone for a few weeks. It’s been about six weeks now and it's finally starting to sink in, but I still occasionally find myself looking down at their house when I’m outside just to see who's home. It’s like a habit that will take a while to break.

I’m very happy for them. They bought a nice, big house and it's only about five minutes up the road. I just miss them being right there, one house away. It’s the little things. Besides, who else am I going to gossip with about the neighbors?

Friday, August 18, 2006

We have a fairy princess who dropped into our lives two years ago. She is an absolute angel and if she wasn’t a 35-year-old married mother of three, we’d adopt her. She’s a fourth grade teacher who first taught our daughter, then our son was fortunate enough to have her the following year.

Last school year when our son was in her class he progressed so much so that he no longer needed speech or modified assignments. He only missed three from being being commended on the TAKS test (our state required exam). We were all worried about him taking the test without modifications because of past struggles he’d had in certain areas, and this was his first year to take the “regular” TAKS. I was at the school eating with him the day she got the scores. When she grabbed me with tears in her eyes I panicked and thought she had bad news. Nope! He did so awesome! We both cried with pride.

This is a teacher who cares so much that she calls all of the kids in her class the night before the big state test and talks to them, encourages them and tells them to get their butts in bed on time. She came by the house a few times over the summer to get the kids and take them up to the school to help her do stuff in her classroom and just because she missed them. After our daughter moved to 5th grade she offered to help her with her science experiment and invited us all over to her house so they could conduct the experiment. We met her husband and kids, had pizza and hung out for a few hours. She’s stopped by here to visit and we’ve gotten to know her well over the past two years.

Last week when I was beside myself because my after school arrangements for my son weren’t working out, she called with a very generous offer. He could go to her classroom after school and wait until her oldest child arrived and then she’d drop him off at home with his sister. I thought it was too much to ask of her but she assured me it wasn’t, and that she loved us all and would do anything for my kids.

When I got home from work today her car was outside but she wasn’t in the living room when I walked in. Her daughter was on the couch with mine and I asked my husband where she was. He got a funny look on his face and then I said, “She is not in Caden’s room cleaning it is she?” I know her too well. She’s a total GIVER. She hung out here last night to kill some time while waiting on a school function to get started and the topic of my sons messy room came up. She went in there to check it out and I cringed not wanting her to see the mess. All we said was that this weekend was family cleaning day and that the kids were grounded because we’d almost broken our necks trying to walk in their rooms. My husband said, “There was no stopping her. She walked straight to his room with tubs and trash bags in her hand.” Of course I was guilt-ridden and embarrassed and wanted to stop the madness. Okay, I admit it, I really wanted to kiss her because his room was BAD. The kind of bad where mom HAS to help, beyond the messy room but the throw stuff away and organize everything again bad. I do make them keep them clean but about twice a year (after Christmas and summer) they just get bad and I have to spend a whole day sorting thru crap. She said she thought about it last night and had a plan, not to worry, that she loved doing stuff like this. I do feel bad but I also know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t be here if she didn’t want to do it.

I went in to help but could see that they had a plan so I left. I’m on the couch with the girls and typing this while they clean. I don’t know what we did to be so lucky to have her. She really does love the kids and us, and we love her, too. We begged her to move to fifth grade this year so we could have her again, but she had to draw the line with her giving somewhere.

So, there’s been a new development in this story since I first started writing. The room looks fantastic. I wish I had before and after photos. Our fairy just asked if she could take our kids home with her tonight to spend the night, play with her kids and go to the beach tomorrow. We’d been invited to see Dave Matthews tonight with some friends but with oldest daughter being out of town our sitter options were slim. We’d accepted the concert was a no go. When we went in to see the finished room our favorite fairy asked if she could “have our kids tonight” as if we would be doing her a favor. She wants our kids to entertain hers. She swore she never heard us discussing the concert. I’m almost afraid this is a dream and if I move suddenly I’ll wake up.

So, we’re all eating pizza and after dinner they’re heading off to the “bestest” teacher in the world’s house and we’re off to hang with our really cool friends at the concert. Wuhoo! (Maybe we should buy a lotto ticket because this day has been good!)

We love you, Mrs. C!
I was wrong. It's a girl! Ok, I plan for this to be my last post on that topic.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's a boy!!
We confirmed this today, just in case you were wondering like we were.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Before I start this entry I must first go on the record to say that we have taught our kids to not make fun of other people. (i.e. for having crooked teeth, wearing glasses, dressing funny, having a disability, wearing pants that are too short, what kind of car they drive, etc.) They’re all three very compassionate and understanding towards other people who might not fit into the "average" person category. So, just know that last night when my daughter began telling us the following story, she didn’t do so with malice in mind.

She started 6th grade/middle school last week and as a result is meeting a lot of new kids. Her dad and I were asking her about school last night when she told us that there was a kid in one of her classes that she's not yet been able to determine whether is a he or she. She went on to say that the hairstyle, which is short, could pass for either a boy or girl, as could the voice and the clothing. She's even tried to see whom the kid is hanging out with (boys or girls) but there's not been any conclusive evidence to help her figure out the mystery. At this point she’s leaning more towards a boy but would like confirmation so she’ll know how to address him/her. I asked her what the name was thinking this would be a sure indicator but almost fell over when she said Devin. Of course it couldn’t be cut and dry with a name like Joseph or Jennifer. Devin is like Taylor or Jordan or Pat, and can be used for both boys or girls. Yes, I said Pat, which is exactly why I had to refrain from laughing throughout her story. She was experiencing her very first Pat encounter!

My husband and I were both on the same page and couldn’t help but laugh. I must’ve referenced Pat out loud causing her to ask who Pat was. Oh, Pat was one of my all time favorite SNL characters. I filled my daughter in on Pat and how Pat’s co-workers were always asking specific questions hoping for a hint or clue as to Pat’s gender and that this was why I’d been laughing.

So, we’re on alert waiting for some sort of confirmation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

School started here last week. Sigh. I like summer and the fact that our schedule is so much more relaxed. I get to sleep in an extra hour, have no backpacks or mounds of paper work to sort through, no lunches to make, etc. I just wish it would last longer.

I’m generally a nice person but when I am in line at the school in the mornings waiting on my turn to drop my son off, there is one thing that really gets under my skin and I don’t feel so nice. We have a process to follow and it’s pretty simple. The area that is designated for dropping kids off is covered and runs along the side of the building. It is probably the length of about 8 cars. There are teachers assigned to “work’ this area every morning and they assist by opening car doors and helping kids out of the car if necessary. They stand there and wave us on through. It should be a smooth and simple process and if everyone would follow the leader we could make it a much quicker one. There are always a few parents who refuse to let their kids out of the car unless they are the front car in the line. Now I could understand not wanting to let your child out if they were forced to walk unattended into the building, but there are teachers lining the covered walkway to assist your child. They are just feet away from the school entrance and are being monitored by these teachers! It gets a little frustrating when you're the 4th or 5th car in line and have already let your child out and you start inching forward with the rest of the cars but realize that car number two isn't leaving, he/she is only pulling up to be first in line so they can let their precious cargo out 15 feet closer to the door! When this happens I'm usually able to pull out of line and just go around to start my departure process, but sometimes due to other traffic or people walking I'm forced to wait until the lead car starts to exit before I can safely do so. Oh, and if that's not bad enough, these same people will often unload their children then sit and watch them walk into the building before pulling away so I'm stuck there waiting for Jr. to reach the door along with the other seven cars behind me.

Yeah, I know this is on the small scale of important things in life, but it sure felt good to get it off my chest!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I came really close to having an embarrassing moment last week but somehow managed to bypass this one. However, it was a close call.

I was at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The company I work for had a booth at the event. Lunch was catered and served buffet style. We had taken our seats but were waiting on our tables turn to go through the food line. As we were waiting, I looked around the table and saw what appeared to be a pat of butter on a small saucer with a lemon, cut decoratively, twirling around the outer edge of the saucer. It was a little wider than a stick of butter, but looked like exactly that. I drank my tea and never thought more about it until I reached the rolls in the serving line. There were small margarine packets in a bowl in front of them and I paused for just a moment, asking myself why they'd have both kinds of butter, and deciding the packets would be easier to spread, I grabbed one and returned to the table. As I sat there with my roll in my hand, I once more paused looking at that butter on the saucer again before deciding I'd just use the little packet instead. It just seemed easier. After we ate but were still seated, listening to the guest speaker, I heard my co-worker quietly ask if anyone wanted his cheesecake. I turned to look, thinking cheesecake, what cheesecake? I didn't get any cheesecake. You should've seen my face when I saw my co-worker sliding the saucer of "butter" across the table. All I could think of was, "Dear Lord, Thank you so much for not letting me spread cheesecake all over my roll in front of my boss. Amen"