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Even Morrissey wouldn’t put my words to music.

September 4th, 2014 · 11 Comments · Daily

I started writing in a journal when I was in the sixth grade. My sixth grade teacher presented everyone in the class with a Mead notebook and told us that she wanted us to write at least a half page every day. After the first few weeks, I was writing at least three pages each day, and every time I finished a notebook, my teacher would present me with a fresh one.

I wrote in my notebooks all through high school and all through college and I’m sure if I was able to stack them, they would hit me above the belt. (Sadly, many of them have been lost along the way and a few were damaged beyond repair in a flooded basement.)

Here’s the weird thing. For many years, I’ve been telling people (and when I say “I’ve been telling people” I’m not really sure that I’ve mentioned it to anyone other than myself) that I burned my college journal, mainly because I didn’t like who I was back then—not focused, not very bright, too worried about what everyone else thought about me, etc.

This morning I was clearing out some of the final boxes at the old house, and I came across the journal that I thought I had burned. (I actually have memories of burning it. What in the hell did I set on fire that night?!) I brought it home with me, and this evening I read over 100 pages of it. It’s horrible. HORRIBLE. I actually considered sharing some of it here with you, but there is honestly nothing to share. As I read I kept thinking, “Where is the funny part? Is there ever a funny part? Is there even a HAPPY part?” Every single page of that thing is filled with jealousy and insecurity and ugliness and self-pity and when I first saw it at the house this morning, I actually gasped and smiled and thought about how I’ll share it with the girls someday.

The girls will never see the inside of the journal. In fact, I’ve already put it aside to feed our first fire when the temperatures start to cool down. (I’ll remove the plastic reflector from the front cover first because I Love The Environment.)

I always say (not always, but sometimes) that my high school years were my worst years (I rarely left the house and spent most of my free time practicing for piano competitions) and my college years were my best years (I rarely stayed in my room and spent most of my free time dipping French fries in ice cream and going on adventures with my best friend). The college journal is not about ice cream and shenanigans. The college journal is a story about a girl who desperately craves attention that she honestly doesn’t feel she deserves.

I’m not sure what else to say other than: I’m glad the Fluid Pudding thing happened. I still puke ugly into a notebook when I need to release steam, but I mainly collect the good stuff for you. I’m bummed that I didn’t collect the good stuff from 1988-1993. There really was a lot of good stuff from back then, and it sucks that my memories are fading as the years speed by.

I *did* write a poem (as one does) titled The ABCs of Angie back in 1990. I can’t share all of it (because I NAME NAMES), but here are some highlights:
A is for Angelic. I should be a nun.
B is for Boys. But why? I have none!

G is for God. He thinks I am neat.
H is for Ho-Hos. My favorite treat!
I is for Immaculate. Pure beyond compare.
J is for Jolly. Happy everywhere?

Q is for Quality, and mine is okay.
R is for Reality. It gets in the way.

U is for Understanding, whether happy or battered.
V is for Vomiting on the way home from Shattered.
W is for Wanting, and it never pays.
X is for Xerox. Don’t copy my ways.
Y is for Yes. Something I want to say.
Z is for Zebra.

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Specs, Pups, and Tacos

September 3rd, 2014 · 11 Comments · Daily

Meredith’s glasses broke in half last night, which forced Jeff and I to explore the 4,392,594 moving boxes that remain unopened in order to locate her glasses from last year. (Jeff was the winner who found the glasses. He’s perfect in so many ways.) The breaking of the glasses occurred approximately 37 minutes after we met another neighbor during our evening walk to the library. (In terms of FitBit success, the walk to the library from our house will score you approximately 1,000 steps. Yep. We live THAT close to the library. What’s that you were saying about a wonderful world, Louis Armstrong?)

We’ve met around a dozen neighbors so far, including Barefoot Mom and Son Who Don’t Like Pine Nuts and Lady Whose Husband Wants Her to Retire but She’s Not Ready. The woman we met last night is the person who I think will be our Gladys Kravitz.

Gladys Kravitz: Welcome to the neighborhood!

Us: Thanks!

Gladys Kravitz: I’m Gladys and I live down the street in the blue house. The people who used to live in your house had one of those pod things in their front yard and then the people across the street had their pod put in, and pretty soon it seemed like a race to see who could fill their pod the fastest!

Me (because I always get nervous and say goofy things): IT WAS A POD-OFF!

Gladys: So, are those dogs I hear barking in your yard during the day?

Me (regretting “pod-off”): Yep! Two dogs.

Gladys: Well, if you’re out walking, I would think that you would bring your dogs along with you! My daughter works with dogs and blah, blah, blah, blah…

Me (unmedicated): They run around in the yard all day and ALSO, just so you know, they are RESCUE DOGS! Both of them! Supporting the local rescue organizations is very important to us and we’re not walking the dogs only because we’re going to the LIBRARY and NO DOGS ALLOWED! We love animals!!!

Gladys: Hrm. Well, welcome to the neighborhood!

So, today I feel guilty for not taking our crazy unsocialized dogs out for walks. (Please know that there is a man in the neighborhood who walks two of his dogs without a leash. Because Scout and Henry are nuts, I really don’t want to even TRY walking them knowing that we might cross paths with No Leash Man.)

Do you think they look depressed?

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This evening we’ll be attending a marching band event at the new school. The marching band event is also a food truck event and one of the food trucks will be selling tacos, so it’s almost like this event was designed to welcome our family to the district.

Edited to Add: Thank you to my friend Janet for kindly correcting my Bewitched reference!

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And we’re all just entertainers, Jay-Z.

September 2nd, 2014 · Comments Off · Daily

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(Pssst! If you’re hanging out here for the first time, please know that despite what you think I think, animal welfare is VERY important to me. When we do buy meat for the kids, it’s never from Tyson. Ever. Also, I’ll never wear Nike shoes. Don’t even get me started.)

((You know I love you, right?))

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Forcing a Daily to Ward Off Mundanities

September 1st, 2014 · 11 Comments · Daily

Oh, Labor Day.

We spent most of today getting House #1 ready for its new residents. Rooms are cleared and most baseboards and floors are cleaned and dust is removed and branches are stacked. (We vacuumed the concrete basement floor for the first time ever, and I kept reminding myself that some people actually have to clear houses of dead bodies and their associated fluids, so all of this vacuuming really isn’t so dreadful.) The only thing that remains is The Clearing of the Garage and The Taking Out of Lots of Trash. The timing is working out. We have ten days, which includes one weekend and one trash day. It can/will be done, and in 11 days, I’ll be the girl in the bathtub who still doesn’t have a completely functional kitchen sink, but who feels about 34% less stressed out than she does at this particular moment in time. (This particular moment in time is not a good moment to be around me. The good news? I recognize that I’m not easy to be around right now, and I’m very good at Maintaining Distance.)

Because I love stopping by Fluid Pudding and because I’ve been so CRAPPY at it lately, I’m considering turning this month into a NaBloPoMo. I feel like I’ve been nothing short of Uninteresting lately with all of my moving crap, and I need to bust the cycle.

(I’m reading Fangirl and loving it. It’s fun having an 11-year-old lover of books in the house, because I get to dive into young adult fiction for “appropriate theme screening.”)

When we moved into the house, we were greeted with a chalkboard wall, and we sort of loved it.

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After trying to clean the chalk off of the wall yesterday, I’m finding that I sort of HATE it. I’ve tried water. I’ve tried soapy water. I’ve tried the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. NOTHING CLEARS IT. Do any of you have a chalkboard wall? How in the world do you clean it?! (Don’t say Chalkboard Eraser. Seriously. Don’t say that.)

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting the parents of Harper’s new friend. When the mom told me that they had spent a good part of Saturday dealing with what happens when one puts too much shredded beef down the garbage disposal, I immediately knew that we could be friends.

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Complaint Department

August 25th, 2014 · 24 Comments · Daily

1. Within 24 hours of moving into the house, the kitchen sink backed up and leaked water into the cabinets and onto the floor. Because the sellers of our house purchased a home warranty for us, the warranty company had to schedule an “approved” plumber. He arrived this morning, used the words “retarded” and “illegal” more than once to describe our plumbing (I’m okay with illegal.), told us that what’s normally covered under the warranty isn’t covered today because it’s less than 30 days from the purchase of the warranty, and then mentioned that the work we need to have done isn’t actually covered under the warranty. Ever. He then charged us $100 for our warranty deductible. (I know. I KNOW.)

Plumber: I can fix your problem today for $380.

Me: But it’s not covered under the warranty?

Plumber: Nothing is covered under the warranty for 30 days. And, this would be considered a pre-existing condition.

Me: How long do you guarantee your work?

Plumber: 30 days.

Me: So, you walked into the house and told me that our entire plumbing system was not up to code, and now you’re saying you can fix it for $380, but you can guarantee your work for only 30 days?

Plumber: You’re not going to find it cheaper anywhere else.

I’m going to try to find it cheaper somewhere else. I can’t hand money over to someone who uses the word retarded. I just can’t. Also, his company has received bad reviews online because they take advantage of older people. So, here we sit in a kitchen with no sink in a house that has 1.5 inch pipes where there should be 2 inch pipes, and 90-degree joints where there should be two 45-degree joints.

2. I fell down at the old house this weekend and sprained my ankle. My potato ankle is now barely an avocado ankle, so I’m definitely on the mend. But still. Urgent care and x-rays and limping and hassles. (And, no. I didn’t do it on purpose to avoid moving. I saw The Tin Drum, but I’m no Oskar.)

3. Henry tried to attack the neighbor’s sweet old dog through the fence this morning. It was fine and no one got hurt, but we definitely haven’t made a good impression on that particular neighbor.

But, there are good things, too:

1. Meredith read The Fault In Our Stars on Friday and absolutely adored it, and I love seeing the girls feeling jazzed about books. Harper is currently reading The Hunger Games, and is VERY excited about the reaping. (I generally don’t let the girls see movies until they’ve read the books, so she has no idea what is about to happen.)

2. I’m less than 50 rows away from finishing a cardigan, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect as the temperatures are going to hit 97F/36C this afternoon.

3. Despite the fact that our plumbing is nuts and the ice maker quit and the dryer hose won’t attach to the dryer and none of the upstairs doors actually close or lock, we have a good bathtub. We haven’t used it yet, so I really have no idea if it works. BUT, if nothing else, I can fill it with warm scrambled eggs and take a nap in it.

This is the stuff that happens. None of it is going to ruin our lives. This is the stuff that happens. It just happens.

I finished a cowl out of my handspun.

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Yards and Miles

August 17th, 2014 · 6 Comments · Daily

So much has happened, and not much has happened.

The girls started school and are liking it as much as you can like being a new kid in a big place where everyone else seems to know one another. They’re doing fine and they’ll do fine.

I went to Chicago for a day with Tempe and my mom for our annual yarn/fiber celebration. While there, we ate salads and cheesecake and we knit in front of a fireplace. I believe it was just what we needed.

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I came home with yarn to make three shawls and fiber to create something that may eventually become a pair of socks. (It all depends on if I can spin it thin enough to score the proper yardage. I’m not as good as I wish I was.)

Stitches 2014

I also purchased a Lo-Lo Bar, and I encourage you to do the same.

We closed on the new house two days ago and scheduled our movers to be here yesterday morning. They arrived on time, estimated our job to be a four hour move, loaded the piano and two boxes into the truck, and then told us that two of the three movers had plans before 3:00 and that the rain was going to slow them down and may result in stained carpeting in both houses. They then unpacked the piano and two boxes and left. They’ll be back tomorrow. Hopefully. It felt like a big deal, but it’s really not a big deal. We’re still surfing.

As I drove home from the house last night, our car (known to us as Carlos) hit the 100,000 mile mark. I would show you the photo, but then you might yell at me for taking a photo while I was driving. (Please know that I set the camera up before starting the car and that I was in complete control. I don’t text while driving! Also, I turn on my headlights whenever it looks like rain.) Anyway, our beloved Rocket hit the 100,000 during the piano solo in Overblow Your Nest.

(The piano solo is at the 2:10 mark if you can’t stomach the entire song. By the way, if you can’t stomach the entire song, we need to evaluate our relationship. I can appreciate individual differences as well as the next guy, but: Come on.)

Anyway, knowing that I wanted Carlos to follow in the steps of Rocket (because I’m just a little bit weird like that), I hit the play button at 99,998. Before the piano solo ended, we saw 100,000. (Can you tell I don’t really have much to talk about? Look how many words I’ve wasted on Carlos and his mileage! Shakespeare’s plays contain only 884,421 total words. I really should be more careful.)

((We once lived upstairs from a guy who described the woman he loved by saying “None of her movements are wasted.” I will never forget that, mainly because I tend to not move very often (If you are my Fitbit friend, you KNOW this.), and when I do? Movements are definitely wasted.))

I won’t have an internet connection at the house for five days. I promise to use that time wisely.

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Like an oscillating fan that is plugged in and working…

August 7th, 2014 · 9 Comments · Daily

The girls have started at their new school and we move into the new house in nine days. Everything just keeps happening and happening.

Two survey guys came over this morning with sketch pads and chewing tobacco. According to the tiny pink flags in our yard, it looks like one of our neighbors has been cutting a patch of our grass as if it’s his own. Because I fully suspect that his wife will talk him into charging us for this unsolicited trim, I’ve decided to beat him to the punch by suing him for trespassing.

I’ll be leaving super early on Saturday morning (like, 4:30 in the morning early!) for the eighth annual yarn trip with Tempe and my mom. (I’ve discussed a few of our trips here and here and here.) Sadly, the electrician who will be visiting our house in a few weeks doesn’t seem to be the type of guy who would trade services for a cabled hat. Therefore, my yarn budget this year is a lot different than my yarn budget in past years. With that said, I fully intend to purchase the yarn required to make one of these, because if you have the opportunity to create something beautiful, you should jump on it.

Here is the best news of all: Ramona is definitely on the mend, and this morning she climbed into her basket for the first time in three weeks. (It was three weeks ago today that Sid died.) Anyway, we’re quite pleased and we definitely appreciate the positive thoughts that have been tossed our way. (I tend to like our animals more than I like most people, so when a four-legged is down we’re ALL down.)

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Remind me to tell you about the anxiety attack I had during Meet the Teacher night at Harper’s school. (Imagine yourself roaming unfamiliar halls that are filled with hundreds of people who look exactly the same and are all chirping like birds. (That is exactly what happened. I suppose you don’t really need to remind me of anything at all.))

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You don’t have to put on the red light. (Unless you do. I don’t know your situation.)

July 31st, 2014 · 18 Comments · Daily

Hello! It has been one hell of a group of nine days. Let me share them with you!

7/23 (Wednesday): We went to the bank and saw a bunch of really high numbers being thrown around. We signed a bunch of papers. I took a Xanax and started thinking a lot about prostitution along with other opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily interfere with my (currently fairly decent) freelance gig. HHhhhh. (And, no. I’m not going to sing songs about money. This is not the time, nor is it ever the place.)

7/24 (Thursday): I met a friend for lunch. During our visit, my mom took the girls to the mall. While at the mall, Mom fell down but managed to not spill her soda, so it didn’t seem very serious. HOWEVER, when you’re of a certain age and you fall down? It’s never really NOT serious. (I’m at that certain age. Please don’t think I’m calling my mother old. I’m nothing if not respectful at Fluid Pudding.)

7/25 (Friday): The only thing written on the calendar is Caramel. SO, it must have been a pretty good day. Actually, I remember most of that day was spent caulking and renewing some grout and cleaning up for our house inspection and making a caramel pie.

7/26 (Saturday): The House Inspection. It went from noon until two, and we were told to not be here. SO, Jeff took MC to an appointment, and Harper and I went to our favorite rescue agency’s adoption event where we fell in love with a cat named Uno. (It’s not yet time for another cat. Definitely not. With that said, I *just* got the call that Sid’s ashes are in, and I’ve bookmarked this as something to think about down the road.)

7/27 (Sunday): A friend told me that good things happen for our family because we emit goodness. She mentioned that people who live negatively tend to have a lot of negative experiences to sort of “solidify” the way they exist. It made complete sense, but also served as weird brain food for the next four days as some not so great stuff went down. (Please know that I know some really great people who have had a crappy year so far. I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend’s words.)

7/28 (Monday): Harper started horse camp, Meredith received her middle school schedule and was HORRIBLY disappointed (more on that later), and my mom snapped her rib while closing a drawer. Worst of all, she snapped the rib late at night, meaning we were at the ER until nearly 2:00 in the morning. BUT, while there, I remembered how much I LOVE the energy of a hospital. SO, it was a terrible night, but I’m now inspired to become a brain surgeon. (Or an administrative assistant.)

7/29 (Tuesday): Because Meredith was so upset about her schedule, I called the new school to ask why she didn’t get any of the classes she wanted. Bear with me: They said she didn’t get into the gifted program because they never received the paperwork from our current school. They said she didn’t get into Challenge Math because they never received her test scores from our current school. Personally, I know that our current school is on top of things, so I made three phone calls, and within three hours I was able to hand deliver all of the necessary forms to the new school. Meredith was immediately accepted into both the gifted program and the Challenge Math class. (If you’re in Challenge Math, you get to take Pre-Algebra in 7th grade. Meredith is in love with the idea of Pre-Algebra. I really lucked out in the kid department.)

7/30 (Wednesday): Ramona (our other cat, who is 6), has been sneezing and acting depressed. I took her in to the cat clinic where she was diagnosed with an infection. A few hours later, they called to tell me that I need to bring her back in right away, because her blood work indicated some kidney issues that require immediate attention. (I know. I know! Damnit. (You know it’s bad when I start cursing around here.)) They gave her IV fluids and antibiotics, and kept her overnight to the tune of many hundreds of dollars. As I fretted to Jeff (about prostitution, etc.), we received the inspection report on our current house. The inspector on Saturday was very thorough, and we were pretty shocked by the report. Long story short: We’ve got some stuff to fix. Some of it involves digging holes in the yard. Some of it involves electricity. None of it involves pre-algebra, unless pre-algebra has something to do with chimneys. (Strange but true: After reading the entire report, the thing that stood out as being the most important to me was the chimney thing. Not because of fires, but because of Santa. I need to live in a place where it’s Christmas every day and prostitution is just a funny word that has no meaning.)

7/31 (Today! Hello there!): It was Harper’s final day of horse camp, and she was able to ride Opie. (Opie was her favorite horse this week.) The vet called to say that Ramona still isn’t doing well, but he believes she’ll be more comfortable at home. (I picked her up after paying many more hundreds of dollars. She’ll have to go back early next week for more IV treatments and some more blood work. La la la la laaaaaah. “You know my mind is made up, so put away your makeup!”) Meredith had braces put on her bottom teeth. We’re putting Harper’s braces off for six months because I said so, that’s why.

Tomorrow will be our occupancy inspection, during which a man named Bob will come over and tell us the things that we absolutely must fix to make our house safe. After that, we’ll look at our budget and fix everything else that we can. Moving is so much harder than anyone thinks. Does Jon Stewart deal with this sort of stuff when he moves? Does Ira Glass? Do brain surgeons?

By the way, prostitution is never funny. It’s not! And I know that. And if I had the energy, I would try to insert some crisis hotline information right here. (Isn’t it sad that I already know someone is going to yell at me about prostitutes? I once got a really great curry recipe off of the internet. I also got a really spooky death threat that involved a trailer door and a baby head. It all evens out, mostly.)

Won’t you be glad when we get settled at the new house and I can invite you over for burritos and doughnuts? That’s going to be a really great day.

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Truly a wonder of nature, this urban predator.

July 22nd, 2014 · 21 Comments · Daily

This morning I took the girls to register at their new schools. Afterwards, we went to a tiny place that serves nothing but cookies.

DING! (That was the sound of us walking into the cookie place and activating the welcome bell.)

Cookie Guy: Well, hello there! Long time no see!

Me (to myself): What does he mean? We’ve been here a few times, but I would hardly call us regulars at the cookie place!

Me (out loud): Ha! I know!

Cookie Guy: I haven’t seen the girls in ages!

Me (to myself): I’m not sure what’s happening right now.

Me (knowing that I tend to sometimes say too much when I speak out loud): WELL, you’re about to see A LOT MORE OF US, because we just bought a house not far from here!

Cookie Guy: Where did you live before?

And I told him.

Cookie Guy: Where’s the new place?

And I told him.

And then the girls each ordered a chocolate chip cookie and I reluctantly ordered a snickerdoodle (I’ve spent the past 22 days eating things that do NOT contain flour. BUT: Snickerdoodle!), and we sat and ate as Primus was blaring in the kitchen. All of this to say: I don’t care if this guy thinks he knows us. How great is it to have an enthusiastic acquaintance who peddles cookies to the tune of Tommy the Cat?!

(I know!)

When I was in the eighth grade, I was enrolled in a class during which the students took turns reading the newspaper in the evening and then summarizing three current events during the next day’s meeting time. Because it also involved sharing personal opinions on the particular stories we chose, I was always very careful when making my selections. (I didn’t care much that Ronald Reagan was seeking a second term, but I was all over the story about the woman who sued a hospital for not letting her starve to death.) Anyway, I share stories here at Fluid Pudding for two reasons. First, it sort of serves as a record of my family’s adventures. (It actually came in handy quite a few times over the past few months when we were trying to remember when we got the new front door or when we replaced the roof.) Secondly, it’s a way to keep in touch with you. (I know I don’t really *know* a lot of you, but it feels like I do, and I like that feeling.)

Anyway, I know the house stuff can be boring and the pet stuff can be sad (mainly when the pets die), but all of that is part of life and I really have no idea where I’m going with this, other than: Thank you for your patience as I document Where We Are Right Now. You know we bought a house. We had it inspected last week, and the inspector found quite a few things that needed to be fixed. Because we’re firm believers of not being too pushy, we’re asking the sellers to fix only three things: Change the bad light bulb over the tub because it’s a weird bulb and I know myself well enough to know that I won’t take time to research weird bulbs, change the breaker wires to the correct wattage because I don’t want the house to burn down, and get the radon out of the house because I can’t be bothered with cancer. We haven’t yet heard back from them. So we wait.

In the meantime, we currently have a contract on OUR house, and I couldn’t be happier. (We adore the buyers and we love the reason why they want our house.) The Coming Soon sign in our front yard will be changed to an Under Contract sign tomorrow morning, and it’s so weird to think that one month from today will find us waking up in our new house. (You know, if the radon thing gets cleared up. AND THE LIGHT BULB.) ((I wonder how many people out there think I’m a flake.))

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Nashville cats play clean as country water.

July 20th, 2014 · 28 Comments · Daily

If you saw my most recent post, you know that our family lost the greatest cat last week. (Please don’t take this opportunity to tell me that YOUR cat is the greatest cat. I used to eat feta cheese and chocolate chips mixed up in a bowl. You probably think that sounds terrible. AND, you’re WRONG, but it just goes to show that we all have individual differences and that’s why the world is such an interesting place.)

This is Sidney in 2007 showing off her greatest quality: Patience.

Robert Smith loves her cat.

(Meredith was proud to have done her own hair that day. With lotion.)

If you need to know more about Sid, and you DO because she really was the greatest cat, you can go here to read about the time when Harper pierced her ear with a hole punch.

You can go here to see what happened when we considered making chili out of her and serving it to our neighbors.

You can go here to see her Bono impression.

Finally, here she is on the day she accepted Ramona Quimby as her sister.

Sid & Ramona

I know that 47% of you are rolling your eyes and saying things like, “It was JUST a CAT!” Please know that if you’re part of that 47%, you’re on very thin ice right now, Sister. (That’s what I say to the girls when they’re on thin ice. It’s not very effective.) Anyway, I was right there with her at the end, and we spent quite a bit of time talking about the good old days: Nashville and meeting Jeff and getting married and moving back to St. Louis and meeting Meredith and Harper and Ramona for the first time. I took photos because I was feeling helpless and I knew that I wanted to remember when her life was great, but I also wanted to remember her final day with me.

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I cried a lot. I had no idea that the whole process would go as quickly as it did. I had a hard time driving home, and it didn’t get any easier when this shuffled onto my iPod.

Nearly 72 hours have passed and I’m getting ready to eat Chipotle and as I type this message to you, Meredith’s friend is telling her how horrible our new school is and that it’s full of “stuck-up” people and that the school has “lots of financial problems” and all I can do is laugh and hope that the next month goes by fairly quickly, and that all transitions are smooth for everyone who is transitioning. And that includes you, unless you’re part of that 47% up there. (Thin ice doesn’t thicken in my world for at least four hours.)

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