Tuesday, February 28, 2012

She should have stabbed me. It would have hurt less.

Today, oh today... you had such promise. I got up early to shower and make 30 lbs of sloppy joes for a fundraiser - I planned to load up the car, go feed some soldiers, load everything back up, unpack, clean the area-formerly-known-as-a-kitchen-but-looks-like-a-bomb-range, get the kiddo down for a nap, and relax until big kid gets off the bus.


Today, for the most part went well.  We made $300, to my surprise - I didn't think we had served that many - all my volunteers PLUS some showed up (YAY AND I LOVE YOU!), and Quinn did really well. I even saw a few people I knew, and got to know some of the spouses better, which was great. Until.

Until this beast of a woman, upon seeing Quinn, asks him "What's your disability?" Being thoroughly confused, I said "He has none." To which she replied, "Oh, well, he looks just like my cousin who has Down's Syndrome."

Do not misread me. Had I a child with any sort of disability, I would love that child with everything I am, just like I do The Preteen and Captain Awesome. In fact, as you all know, I have concerns that Quinners might fall on the autism spectrum and am in the works to get him evaluated.  This is not so I can take him back and get a new kid. It is so I can get him all the services he needs and deserves.

That being said, the words she spoke to me, so matter-of-factly, cut me so deeply that I can't really even explain. I have no idea who this woman was, but she totally owned me and my feelings with a few words. I don't even know what I said to her. I think it might have been "Oh." What do you say to that? If I didn't have my hands full of 2.5 year old, my hands might have subconsciously went to her throat.

I am having a hard time identifying the emotions that are coursing through me because of a SENTENCE. I'm not exactly mad, not exactly sad, just upset and hurt.

My little boy is fucking awesome, and disability or no, he has my heart in his little hand. I have always said I would walk through fire for my children, and I couldn't even respond to this woman. But looking back, I'm not sure I needed to.

My heart just feels broken. I think I need to go snuggle my Quinners. Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Adventures in Multitasking

Sweet mother, I wish that I would be able to complete the tasks I need to in a reasonable amount of time without something getting grade A screwed up. Case in point:

Tomorrow, I have a fundraiser for our Family Readiness Group (FRG: comprised of spouses of your soldier's company to get out information, support each other, etc.). We are feeding soldiers. Cool, right? Well, I am making 200ish brownies and 30 lbs of sloppy joes - WHICH my dumb ass forgot to buy buns for - TODAY. Needless to say, I'm in the middle of a pretty good project. Which means my eyes aren't on my toddler constantly. Which would explain how I didn't notice him crawl onto the table, open my laptop, pull half the keys off, throw a couple down the vent, and feed the rest to the dog.

That led to a barfing dog. Got the keys back, anyway... unusable, but at least they came out of his mouth so I wouldn't have to go treasure hunting in the backyard.

He also ate a wooden block. Which he barfed in my room.  It doesn't even faze me anymore. I'm not sure what that says about me.  Also, if you were wondering, Captain Awesome found everything hysterical.  Little shit.  :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Misty, you shouldn't have.

Misty, of Misty's Laws fame has tagged me as one of three people she wants to know more about!  I am flattered and a little nervous, and now I wonder if she's not following me around with her ninja photog skills trying to catch me at Walmart in my jammies... but here's the deal:  I have to share three things about me, and then pick three bloggers who I want to know more about!  Should be easy, right?  Not so much.  I can think of three things, but narrowing down three people who I want to know more about is insanely difficult.  But, because I should have done this days ago, I'm going to pick.  Right now.  Well, after I put my three things.  Circular much?  Geez.

So, without further adieu (maybe, probably not, I have a hard time getting to the point this week):

  1.  I love to cook.  I like taking recipes and tweaking them (read: I don't measure shit) to make them my own/accommodate the pickyish eaters in my house.  There's only been a couple of things they could have lived without, but when I get a resounding "nom nom nom" from the peeps at my table, it brings me joy.  I do not, however, enjoy cleaning up said mess.  But that's what I have kids for, right?  Right.

2.  Reading is a life source.  I mean, I love my husband and kids and dogs and other family members, but reading has been my escape for so long from so much, I cannot imagine a world without books in it.  I read anything and everything, so please pass on your favorites!  Don't bother asking me to pick my three favorite books.  It is impossible.  What three books would I bring to a deserted island?  My kindle, duh.  

3.  I was born in the wrong era.  I'm not a fan of today's music in the slightest.  I think the 70s and 90s channels were made for me.  No, I'm not wishing I was back in high school, I just love me some hair bands.  I think Woodstock would have made my entire life.  And my dream car?  --->  I want one so bad.  

Now, on to the best part - I want to know more about these incredibly talented bloggers!  These people make me laugh, make me think, and make me want to have them over for beers and Wii bowling.

  1. Johi of Confessions of a Cornfed Girl.  Not only does she have the coolest name ever, and the view from her porch is of the majesty that is Colorado, her storytelling makes me want to move to Fort Collins.  Because if I do, maybe I can get Lyle Lovett's doppelganger's autograph.
  2. Hoody Hoo.  Even though I know all about her pancreas and her ham-stealing cat, I'm sure there's stuff I don't know that I really need to.  Plus?  She's hilarious.
  3. Bill at The Authentic Life.  I'm expecting good stuff here, because I just started reading him, and I don't know much yet, but what I do know, I like.  A lot.  I also liked that I remembered to put a space in between a and lot, because they're two separate words.  And that is my PSA for the day.
Misty, thank you for picking me! 

Conversations with inanimate objects: The pacifier edition.

Captain Awesome is two.  Captain Awesome is ornery. The dipshits who built the house we live in did not tack down the vents, which they put in the FLOOR. Hence, the vents are rarely covered in this house because Captain Awesome finds great joy in taking them and putting them in random places around the house, like on the toilet seat. (I really wish I would have taken a picture of that.) He also delights in throwing shit down said vents, and thanks to my Go-Go-Gadget arms, I have been able to retrieve all items.  Until last night...

*Camera pans to small child, giggling evilly, while lifting vent out of floor.  He puts the vent to the side, and attempts to crawl into space.  Frustrated at his failure, he grabs the closest thing he can reach, his pacifier.  After contemplating said pacifer, he throws it into the depths of the vent, not unlike the dude on Beastmaster throwing shit on the pyre, assuming his mother will come to the rescue...

Me:  Seriously?  Leave the vent alone, and quit throwing things down there you want to keep, because someday they'll go too far down for me to reach!

C.A.:  *cheesy grin*

Me:  *shoves arm down vent up to the shoulder, bravely braving what creepy crawlies may or may not live in said vent*  SEE?!?!?  I CAN'T REACH IT!  IT'S GONE FOREVER!

C.A.: *sits on dog*

Me: *puts face near vent*  Hey little pacifer, it's okay.  I'm so sorry he did this to you.  I know it's dark down there.  Are you alright?  Do you need a night light?  REACH FOR ME!  No?  Okay.  You may like it down there, actually.  I bet it's quiet.  And now he can't throw you, or chew on you, and neither can the dog.  Maybe I should join you down there.  I like quiet.  Can I get you anything?  Are you giving me the silent treatment?  I miss you.  He's going to miss you.  I'd say he's sorry, but I'm not so sure he is.  Is there anything else down there to keep you company?  You know, like a random Lego or spiders?  Because pacifier, if there are spiders, I expect you to go all dragon-slayer on their asses, because I am not having spiders in the house.  Are you even listening to me?  You're probably on some Pacifier Indiana Jones adventure, while I look like a complete fuckstick talking into a vent.  Maybe your adventure is more Goonie-ish.  I hope you know how to play the piano, or your pretty much fucked.  If you find One Eyed Willie, will you bring me back some sparkly things?  I like sparkly things.  Well, both of my kids and the dogs are staring at me now, so I should maybe fix dinner or something.  But I'll be back tomorrow.  You're not alone, I promise.  Nai-nai.

*If anyone wondered before this post whether or not I needed help, I think the answer is now clear.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh, Internet... Quit making me be so serious.

You know, we all are flawed people.  There is no such thing as a perfect human being; we may have been made in His image, but He also granted us free will, therein allowing us to screw up all over the place.  Learn something, humans!  Yeah, about that...

I can pinpoint the minute my self-esteem took a nose-dive. I was in fifth grade. My Violet is in the fifth grade. Don't think I don't stare at that pink elephant every day. I do. And I'm trying my damnedest to make sure that that girl knows her self-worth.  Luckily for her, being a member of this society, she is thin, and absolutely beautiful. I was chubby with bad hair, not great clothes, and I was the new kid at school. May I remind you that Kelly rhymes with jelly and belly? Hence, the little masons inside started bricking up those walls at lightening speed, starting at age TEN.

I look at photos of myself at age 17 and wonder why I hated myself so much. I look at me now, and my flaws and imperfections - they're ME.  This body has walked an unknown number of miles, brought life into this world, danced, ran through sprinklers, felt the power of a horse beneath it - how quick we are to call babies miracles, yet forget that we are walking ones ourselves?

Learning to find the beauty in ourselves for those of us who truly don't believe the compliments we've been/are given is a daunting task - like trying to climb up an icy hill with high heels on.  Over the past few days, at the age of 35, I've realized the skies are finally parting for me and I'm finally starting to get it.  Starting to truly understand that I am a person who deserves to be happy and to be proud of herself and to not get all Stuart Smalley on y'all, but dammit, I am good people.  I have an amazing family who raised me right, yet despite that, in my 20s, I got dealt a pile of shit. But now? I am going to slam these bones down and yell, "DOMINO, MOTHERFUCKER!", because for the first time in my life, I feel how I've wanted to feel for years - strong, determined, loved, able, and willing - not meek, tattered, and broken. These demons will be exorcised.

I think I just had a Towanda moment.  I am in need of a viking helmet.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In other news, I think my uterus has gone rogue.

I'm not even remotely kidding.  Every time we start talking about having another baby, my uterus responds with something that could kind of be described as shards of glass trying to escape from inside my lower abdomen.  It makes me stabby, to say the least.  Now, Dear Uterus is not throwing the hissy fit from hell because we want to expand the brood, she's just throwing her weight around and being quite the asshole because she can.  She's really probably still pissed off that she got sliced into when Captain Awesome was born.  I've tried to explain it to her that I really didn't enjoy it either, but shit is always about HER.  Whatever, Uterus.  You just wait until I elect to have you vacated permanently.  I thank you for bringing my son to full-term, and I'll thank you in advance for the child I hope we have sooner rather than later, but soon you'll be out of a job.  Don't worry about unemployment.  It's straight to retirement for you.

Sorry dudes, this was overly girly and probably gross, but eh, such is life.

I really could benefit from buying stock in Advil as much as I've consumed this weekend.  And Yuengling, for that matter...  Happy Three Day Weekend!  A Monday with no alarm clock almost makes today better. :)

I didn't die.

Yesterday was my first 5K, and I did not expire!  I perspired, though.  I also contemplated crying because I was pretty proud of myself.  Captain Awesome WAS awesome about it, until it was over and then he was more than ready to go home, as he was pretty pissy about getting up that early and being strapped in a stroller all morning.  It was an excellent experience, one I am ready to do again, but not today.  Probably not tomorrow, either.  But soon.  I'm going to start over C25K in the hopes that I can extend the amount of time I run/jog versus walking.

Most important to my heart, we did this as a family, and really became each other's cheerleaders.  Violet has the build to be a long-distance runner, and it is my hope that she finds a love in running, since other sports really haven't gotten her attention yet.  I didn't say I love to run, but it feels good to have a challenge and complete it, and I want to be healthier and more fit, because like I've said before, if I get thinner, I have to buy new clothes, and shopping - well, according to some of my girls, that's a sport all it's own.

But for now, I need more coffee, and ibuprofen.  Lots and lots of ibuprofen...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wrap Up.

I just haven't had much to write about this week.  I'm getting sick (AGAIN. BOO.) which makes me grouchy because tomorrow is my very first 5K.  So today I'm going to this running store that makes you run on the treadmill so they can see how your feet strike the ground and decide what is the best shoe for you.  This just blows my mind.  Technology is rad.  Then it's back to the house to put together the jogging stroller.  I think I'll just leave the house and let Hubs handle that.  Because even though I CAN do it, and could probably do it faster and without hassle (since I would read the directions), he gets all pissy when I try to do "man stuff" when he's home.

The best part of this 5K is that I get to "carb overload" tonight.  I am not exactly sure what that means, but since carbs and I are lovahs, I'm sure it will be an incredibly pleasant experience.  I'll be back tomorrow to discuss the race, should I live through it.  Right now, I should probably go to legalzoom.com and write up a quick will in case I don't make it out alive...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Roses are red, chocolates are sweet...

I bit the bullet and decided to tweet!  If you want to, you can follow me @kellbellrhoades!  I'm sure I'll be full of amazing wisdom over there.  *snort*

Also, my Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/kellyrhoades.  I like friends.  Come ovah.  I'll make coffee and monkey bread.

Self-love. And not the kind that you're thinking of. Pervert.

Okay, so it's Valentine's Day.  Yahoo?  And being the scattered mom that I am, it appears I'm raising scattered kids, because we both forgot to make amazing Valentines go to Target and buy some amazing Valentines for her class.  Derp?  Yes.  So we'll go tonight and say oops, and she can hand them out tomorrow.  Day late = story of my life.  I highly doubt the world will stop spinning because we forgot valentines.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with my thoughts for today, but I felt I needed to share it, because it was probably the least stupid thing I've done in a while.  Fact.

I was thinking to myself this morning, "Self? Why is it that you don't think you are as fantastic as your dogs and toddler do?"  I assume they think I'm fantastic because none of them this week can get close enough to me without surgical attachment. Either I'm really fucking fabulous, or it's because I feed them.  One or the other.

Unconditional love appears to be so easy for small children and animals.  I say small children, because as you know, I live with a preteen, and don't lie to yourself - their love is TOTALLY conditional.  I don't think I need to provide examples, just think back to when you were in 5th/6th grade and how you felt about your parents. See?  Toldja.  I really don't want to talk much more about animals, because then you know fucking Sarah McLachlan will show up on TV and:

Seriously.  I can't listen to that fucking song without wanting to go adopt ninety bazillion dogs. And then since I can't, I feel like the world's biggest asshole for not.  Fuck you, Sarah.  I bet you only have one dog.  I have two.  I win.

Before I digress even further, I just want to say that I think Valentine's Day is stupid.  If you don't care enough to tell the people you love you love them more than once a year, you should get a big fuck off because you're an asshole, plain and simple.  So, since I try to make a point to tell the people in my life how much they mean to me as often as possible, I'm going to take Valentine's Day to take care of me, because no matter what my demons say, I'm a good person - I kind of have to be, otherwise I wouldn't have so many kick ass people in my life.  And when I say take care of me, it will be in the five minutes I have to spare after the house is clean, kids are fed and bathed, dogs are fed and bathed, dinner is made, cleaned up, and put away, and... okay.  Maybe it won't happen today.  But it will, dammit.  It will.  ;)

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.  Don't forget to take care of yourself while you're taking care of everyone else.  Because you know you are.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A change'll do ya good...

In a minute, after I'm done typing this, I'm going to get off my ass and go sweat.  I've been slacking hard in this arena lately, and enough is enough.  (that, and I have 8 days until my first 5K - which I'm walking, but still...)  I've proven to myself that even though a snuggly fleece blanket and a pint of Ben and Jerry's is comforting (and really appealing right now), the sense of accomplishment I'll feel after I'm done will trump the sugar crash that is inevitable.

Besides, the UPS guy brought me goodies in the mail today, consisting of some new shower stuff, so the hope is that after I sweat my proverbial balls off that my new stuff will make me want to never leave my shower.  I got a whole bunch of stuff (thank you, tax refund!), and almost all of it I've never tried before, so I'll have to let you know if I got winner winner chicken dinner or if I smell like a cheap hooker after I'm done.

Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope that this good feeling continues.  I've been a little mood swingy the past week or so, and I'm hoping it's behind me, because right now I'm excited to get my shit together and do something that will not only make me feel good, but might result in having to buy new clothes one of these days.  Shopping = GOOD.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

You know, just in case your kid has rabies...or something...

This morning, I made the trek to post to re-register the kiddos for child and youth services.  This sounds like not a big deal, until I tell you that I didn't have an appointment so if anyone had an appointment, or was XYZ type people and they walked in after me, I'd get bumped to the back of the line.  WHICH, is why I was there for two and a half hours for a 10 minute thing to verify all my information was correct.  I don't mind, honest - bump me all you want to - just not when my kid is being a complete asshat.  Fortunately, they're used to this, and I was able to avoid the dirty looks from the other people (whose kids weren't being exactly saints either, thankyouverymuch), and bide my time with my nose stuck in my Kindle until they finally called my name.

I needed to get the kids back in the system so I can use the hourly daycare.  What?  Go drop Q off and go somewhere ALONE?  Yes, please.  Anyway, I have a training on Monday, so I needed to get my butt out there and get shit figured out, otherwise I'd be up shit creek without a paddle, and have to cancel on Monday.  So I get all the paperwork figured out, filled out, and kind of proudly, since I remembered to bring shit like their SSNs and whatnot.... and then I realized I didn't have their medical paperwork.  No big deal, the lady says, just have your doctor fax it.  AWESOME!  Thanks!  ... And then, she says... "Really, we just need the immunizations for Q.  you know, if he would bite someone."

Evidently vampire children are frowned upon in this establishment.  Bella and Edward would be screwed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Let's Do The Time Warp Againnnnnnnn...

I've always thought it interesting that one time span can simultaneously go by super fast and excruciatingly slow.  Today, five years ago, I married my Hubs.  It was a crazy week that included "yes, you're getting married", "no, you're not getting married", "you're deploying on Friday.  No, Tuesday.  No, Thursday.  No, Friday.  Friday.  Promise."  And then it ended up being Saturday.  Anyone you know get married on a Thursday?  Now you do.  Me.

You see, Hubs and I decided to tie the knot pre-deployment rather than post because Violet was going to be staying with me.  By myself.  With a just-turned-six year old.  Not only was my love headed to a war zone, I had to figure out how to be a single parent, and figure it out now.  She had been staying with us a whole three weeks at this point.  We were in a routine.  We meaning the three of us.  Now shit was going to change.  Single parent. Single disciplinarian. Feeling like I didn't know my ass from my elbow.  And I didn't.  But we made it up as we went along, waiting not-so-patiently for calls from Daddy.  Those calls and webcam chats were so special - she got time with her dad, and I got some reassurance that he was okay and that he thought I wasn't screwing up his kid.

The last five years have been full of laughter and tears and worries and heartache, moving and meeting people and saying goodbye, finding where the commissary and PX and Walmart and Target and Starbucks are, looking for jobs, having a baby, being a stay-at-home mom, volunteering, being homesick, enjoying new adventures, finding myself and losing myself and finding myself again, being insanely proud of my Soldier and becoming even more of a patriot.  There have been times I've questioned choosing this life, but no matter how hard and stressful and less-than-perfect it may be, I know in my heart I am where I am supposed to be.

I love you, Hubs.  It's been a crazy ride.  I can't wait to see what is around the next corner for us.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy One Year Closer To Being A Teenager, Dear Daughter...

Yep, today is The Preteen's birthday.  She's 11.  She scored Just Dance Wii games, an iPod shuffle, some DS games, and some other random stuff, and that was just from us.  Hopefully the stuff from her mom comes on time, (read: TODAY), but I'm not going to hold my breath.  Not because I'm bitter towards her, she's just never on time.  Ever.  But that's not what this post is about.  Violet's currently eating a breakfast of cinnamon toast crunch and brownies.  I thought maybe she'd request waffles when I asked her what she wanted, but nope - cereal and brownies.  A child after my own heart.  She also requested a little Storage Wars before the bus gets here.  How can I say no?

As much crap as I give her (and she gives me), I cut my parenting teeth on her, and I can only hope she's not too scarred from it.  She has been a trooper over the past five years and change, as I have played the game of trial and error with her.  There have been loads of tears as well as laughter, lots of second-guessing on my part, trying my best to not take her mom's place yet raise her as though she were my own.  It's been incredibly hard, incredibly joyful, has made me consider divorce more times than I'd like to admit, and has been beyond satisfying in so many regards.  I love her to the moon and back, and I can only hope one day that she realizes that all I've done has been for her benefit; that all the times she got her way and didn't were because I love her.  That, and I don't want her to be a spoiled brat.

Happy Birthday, Violet.  I love you, punkin butt.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mom Jitters.

I hate the internet sometimes.  Even though it's brought me some of my closest friends, it also makes me obsess like nobody's business.

Enter diagnostic tools that you can do yourself.  I'm not talking about WebMD - because we all know WebMD thinks everyone and their mother is dying - but things like the M-CHAT, which stands for Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers.  It's a list of 23 questions, and if your answers coincide with three or more, it suggests your child is at risk for being autistic.  Captain Awesome hit four.

Now, I know, I know... just shut up and quit worrying, but it makes my stomach hurt.  I've been wondering about this for a while, actually.  And not that it makes a difference, it's just, aw hell.  I just needed to tell someone.

Thanks for the ear.  I hope everyone has a great weekend, whether you're footballin' it up or just planning on shoving food down your face.  xoxoxo!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts, dee lee dee dee dee...

There they are a'standin' in a row... Sorry, we're watching The Lion King this morning, and it's stuck in my head.  I love that movie!  Jeremy Irons is the best badass, and I love Mr. Bean.  Which reminds me, I saw this on Pinterest yesterday, and it requires sharing:

This might make me the biggest geek alive, but this just brings me unexplainable joy.

I really don't have much to talk about this morning.  Last night was kind of hectic, Captain Awesome was NOT awesome - he had a hard time staying asleep last night.  Not in pain not staying asleep, more like "I'm gonna throw all my shit out of my bed and then holler until someone comes and gives it back to me and THEN after you leave I'm going to cry like you just abandoned me at Walmart on the bad side of town and really, I know how to dial 911 and I will call CPS on you if you don't come snuggle with me for half an hour while I play with your hair and try to simultaneously pick your nose and put my pacifier in your mouth."  This happened twice.  Before 3 am.  And then Hubs' alarm went off at 330... and then at 5, again with the party, so I decided to bring him in bed with me because I couldn't see straight.  Biggest. Mistake. Of. My. Life.  This is why I don't co-sleep - he was all over everywhere, and I'm fairly certain four or five of my internal organs are shredded.  So back to bed he went, which started the CPS threats again... and then it was time to get up.  

Fast forward to now, when both dogs want to come in but are giant mudballs due to the swamp that is my backyard (and maybe a little bit of digging?  Sampson?  Care to weigh in on the topic, pal?  Since you've got mud up to your armpits? Does anyone else consider those armpits on dogs even though dogs don't have "arms"?) so I bring them in, refuse to bathe them because the next time they go out it will be the same fucking thing, and now Sampson is humping the Backyardigans couch like he's got something to prove.

I think I need more coffee.  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

State Testing Mini Rant That Will Probably Turn Into A Maxi Rant, But Not A Maxi Pad, Just To Be Clear...

OKAY.  This effing state testing thing is just for the danged birds.  Today, The Preteen has the writing portion of the test, and she is freaking out BECAUSE, if they score a 5 or a 6, they've been promised a party.  Okay, I'm all about having a party, but can you wait until after shit is over with to celebrate instead of putting pressure on the kids to perform?  They actually FILMED A SCHOOL COMMERCIAL to play before the test this morning on how to relax and "YOU CAN DO IT!" and shit.  I'm just kind of flabbergasted about the whole deal.

Now, state testing is nothing new to this family - in second grade, her teacher told the class that they "had to do really really good or the school wouldn't get any money from the state."  Are you KIDDING me?

This teaching to the test thing is repulsive.  So is requiring Kindergarteners to be able to tie their shoes, know the alphabet, and be able to count to infinity before enrollment.  I could read before Kindergarten, but that's because Sesame Street was my babysitter.  I just think it's bullshit that preschool is becoming a prerequisite rather than an option.  We probably will do a year of preschool, just to ensure that I'm not raising a feral child (sometimes I wonder), but I just don't think it's NECESSARY.  Kindergarten is supposed to be about ABCs, 123s, paint smocks, snacks, and naps.  Fifth grade is about learning how to be a complete snot to your parents, insisting they're stupid, and doing math that your parents didn't do until college.

Ugh.  This was a rambly mess, but geezopete... It kind of makes me want to homeschool.  But then I'd never get to do THEBUSISHERE!!!!!!!!!!! happy dance.  And I live for that moment, yo.