Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The End of the Road

Since I've been a slacker blogger lately, I'm going to play a little catch-up this week.

I mentioned I've been traveling a lot for work, and by "mentioned" I mean complained about in a whiny, self-pitying kind of way.  Vermont is for Lovers, but if I hadn't scored a huge Ben & Jerry's Cracked Up Combo Ice Cream Bar in Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough on the last night I was there, it might have been CNN time for this mom.  Eight days is too many to be away from home, particularly when it's the mom and there are three kids under driving age in the house.  I was ready to get home.

And that's why I cried with Gary at
Chicago's O'Hare airport last Monday.

Let me preface this by saying that they should keep Xanax biscuits at all airports, and a sparkly unicorn sock puppet to feed them to upset travelers.  That is my contribution to the "How To Make Air Travel Bearable" suggestion box.

Those of you who have been following along will know that air travel and I do not mix.  I used to love flying, back in the day when it was fun.  Now it's not only stressful because of the whole get-undressed-to-get-patted scenario, but also because it seems like the airlines have completely lost their shit as far as how to run a business.  I have been in 12 different airplanes over the past three months, and I am here to tell you that no one has fun anymore.  There is no room in the seats, boarding and de-planing are a total nightmare, and there is no room for carry-ons, which everyone brings because no one wants to pay the $25 or more for checking bags.

Take that dubious beginning, and then add me.

In November, a flight I was on was delayed due to fog (not the airline's fault, I grant you), but then all of my tightly scheduled connections were thrown off and I spent 18 hours in airports that day.  Another flight was scheduled too closely to the first one, and my baggage didn't make the connection, and my luggage was lost.  Of course, I didn't PLAN to check my bag, but since I was a lowly Zone 4 in boarding there was no carry-on space, and my bag was forced to check and then was lost.  You'd think I would learn from this experience, but I am truly an old dog.

A few weeks ago, I checked my itenierary to Vermont online, and noticed that the Vermont to Chicago legs of my flight were missing.  I called Expedia to see if they had reserved a scooter for me to drive to Chicago to catch my last flight, but Juan reassured me all was well (Didn't you get the e-mail that those flights were cancelled?  No Juan.  I didn't.  That's why I'm panicking now.)  He e-mailed my new itenierary and indeed, all the dots connected.  Until Monday.

I caught my flight from Vermont at 8 a.m. to LaGuardia.  (SIDE NOTE:  I flew over Ground Zero twice in the last two weeks, and it is very chilling.  I couldn't help but think, "This is what they saw before they crashed."  So sad.)   In LaGuardia, you have to catch a shuttle to another terminal, then go back through security, and run to find your gate.  If you have less than 40 minutes between flights, fuggedaboudit.  I caught my flight to Chicago, and was SO. CLOSE.  The Son had an orchestra concert at 7, and my flight was scheduled to land at 4:30, so it looked good for me to hear it.  Then the flight was delayed due to mechanical problems.  Just what you want to hear in the airport. 

(On my flight out of LaGuardia to Vermont, we were in the plane, strapped in, getting ready to taxi down the runway, when we returned to the gate, because "Our hydraulic pump just broke." OH?  I quickly booked another flight from LaGuardia to Philly, then Philly to Burlington, and got in three hours late.  Dear United:  Never tell us the plane is breaking if you want us to use your airline again.)

SO, BACK TO O'HARE.  We are finally boarding.  I walk up to the gal, she scans my boarding pass, and says, "This passenger has already boarded."  Um, no, she hasn't.  "Yes," she says, "She has."  We look at my ticket.  OhHolyShit that is NOT my name on the boarding pass.  "You'll have to go back to the ticketing agent," she says, and looks past me to the next person.  Now everyone is looking at me like I'm a terrorist, which I am *thisclose* to becoming.  I go back to the ticketing counter and say, "Excuse me, you gave me the wrong boarding pass" which has issues all by itself, as in How do they issue TWO boarding passes to ONE person?  I have to take off my belt, watch, shoes, coat, and scarf and can't bring perfume, hairspray, vodka or certain anti-aging products, but you can issue two boarding passes to the same person?  SECURITY!!!

But Gary has news for me:  "I'm sorry, I don't have you on this flight."  I have news for Gary:  "OH YES I AM."  Gary says, "But you aren't on my list" and I say, voice trembling, "Here is my itenierary.  And I have three kids in Iowa that I've been away from for eight days and I have to be at an orchestra concert in three hours.  I'm on the edge here, Gary,"  Gary says, nervously, "Don't cry..."  and I say, "Oh THIS isn't crying.  I haven't even BEGUN to cry.  It will get much, much worse."  And then Gary quickly prints off a new boarding pass with my name on it and I run to the gate and am the last passenger on the plane.

We are beginning our descent when suddenly it hits me: I checked my bag in Vermont because my connection in LaGuardia was too close and I couldn't chance it with the carry-on.  But the airline didn't have me booked to the Quad Cities, they had me booked to Chicago.  And like a COMPLETE MORON, I packed my laptop, Garmin, digital camera, Blackberry charger, and my paperwork from the show (not credit card numbers or money though, that doesn't leave my person) because I didn't want to lug 40 pounds of electronics and paperwork through the airport.  Right now, my bag is making the rounds at Baggage Claim C in O'Hare, with some clever thief muttering, "Bingo."   I'm an idiot.

I get off the plane, make my lost baggage claim, and go see my people.  Honestly, at this point I'm so tired and so relieved to see my family and an orchestra concert that I don't care about the bag yet.  We go to the concert, have our lovely friends who are visiting from Atlanta over for about 2 hours late Monday night, and then off to bed and work the next day.  I call United baggage claim about four times during the day Tuesday, and the automated voice says, "We haven't located your bag, but remember that 90% of all bags are found."  By 6 p.m., I am feeling like part of the lucky 10%.  It turns out, they did find my bag, and the delivery service was trying to drop off my bag with all of my electronics at the wrong address, even though it is clearly printed in my baggage tag.  I finally got it at 9 p.m., and thank you Jesus everything was inside.

What did I learn?  Nothing.
The End.

Check back in February, when I am not only going back for MORE air travel, I am taking a whole posse of minors with me.  Because my ulcer is not yet fully matured.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

Happy Delayed Thanksgiving, Wifers!

Here are the Top Ten things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1.  I'm done traveling for the year for work.
2.  Village Inn makes pies for taking to Thanksgiving dinners prepared by others.

Nom Nom, Village Inn.

3.  People who know how to cook delicious Thanksgiving meals without my help.
4.  Said people let me go home with minimal cleanup help.
5.  Sleeping in for THREE DAYS.
6.  Breaking Dawn finally coming out, and me finally seeing it.

Thank you, Stephenie Meyer. 
I know this isn't Shakespeare, but STILL. 

7.  Four days off work after 10 days on at work.
8.  Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese frosting.
 I think I need this.  Stocking stuffer?

8.  Getting Christmas lights up on house two weekends ago when it was 50 degrees.

Makes me feel like an effing GENIUS.
See George the Superpet looking out the door?

9.  Oldest Daughter's Boyfriend for helping to paint walls in basement construction zone.
Who knew I would benefit so greatly from this relationship?

10.  That my wonderful children have taken an interest in baking without help.  These are Butterscotch Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies, and I have eaten a half dozen, easy.  Warm.  With milk.  Just like heaven.

And of course, I'm thankful for YOU, Gentle Readers!
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Cookies for everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On the Edge

I just re-read the title of this post and thought, "Yeah, I WISH I was on the Edge!"  I know he's old, but I'd still tap that.

I just re-read the sentence above and thought, "I wonder if Current Husband will get uptight about that?", particularly considering that I've been gone since 6 a.m. last Tuesday morning and he theoretically hasn't been laid.   Not that me being around means he's getting laid, but that's all going to change soon.  I'll explain in a later post.  Probably Whoreticulture Friday material.

Wait...what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, how I'm going fucking crazy in Vermont.  Not even a bored kind of crazy, but a coming-unhinged kind of crazy.  It's nothing personal against Vermont.  Vermont is a sharp dresser and has great hygiene and is very well-mannered.  But I've been here ALONE since last Tuesday, and I'm ready to go all Kanye West on this Taylor Swift state.  It's quaint and lovely and bucolic, but there is no Starbucks to be seen, and the adorable shops are not open when the hooker convention is over, so I can only stare and drool.

The hookers are great, and funny, artistic people.  One woman I overheard this week said, "Be warned, I have a big mouth and thin skin."  I need that on a t-shirt.  Another woman, who is in her sixties, said, "I don't want to call my husband stupid; let's just say he's mentally incapacitated."  I love her.  I could show you a Shutterfly album of pictures of amazing rugs, but the one that really stood out to me is one called "Aries Woman".  It is an unusual piece in that it is very modern and is hooked by someone under the age of 50, a gal named Mariah Krauss here in Vermont.  Check it out:

This is hooked with at least 20 different shades of red, and is hooked with hand-dyed wool that is about 3/32 of an inch wide.  Here is a close-up of one part of it:

Look at that - yes, all of those bumps are hand dyed and hooked 3/32 of an inch pieces of wool.  All kidding aside, it blows my mind, the time it took to hand dye all of that wool in all of the perfect shades and draw the pattern and cut the wool and then to actually hook it and then steam it and mount it...WOW.  Here is her description:

Thanks for letting me geek out there for a bit.  So even though the hookers are fun, I'm with them from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Then I grab something to eat and I'm back in the hotel room for the rest of the night until I go to sleep at midnight, because there is nothing open after 5 p.m.  Sitting in bed with a Subway Steak and Cheese, a plastic tumbler of white wine, and unlimited, uninterrupted tv viewing for the night?  Sure, it's fun for the first night or two, but by Night Five and over 20 hours of HGTV and some History Channel and a few misguided hours with VH1 I was ready to take sleeping pills. 

I'm flying out tomorrow and as I type I'm watching a film biography on Woody Allen, which would be interesting if he hadn't screwed Mia Farrow over by getting it on with their adopted daughter.  He's all smart and funny and talented, blah blah blah, and I just keep thinking "You MF'er, you did it with your kid!"  Soon Yi might not have techinically been his legal daughter, but he did technically take Polaroids of her naked, and she was in the "Child" camp in their house, so sorry Woody, that makes you a pedophile in my book

I'm ready to get home.  Even if it means I go back to my previous role as a vending machine and coordinator of rides and social activities and laundry.  I'll be able to sleep in my bed and shower in my presumably still dirty bathroom and see my kids and go see Breaking Dawn.  (Even though I found out that Oldest Daughter saw it today without me, and I forgive her even if she cheated on us.)  I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vermont Virgin

Hey peoples.  I am currently stranded in Vermont on a week-long business trip.  Don't get me wrong, Vermont is for Lovers.  It's all the things that Vermont is cliche'd to be:  charming, bucolic, quaint, and full of Volvos and LL Bean and maple syrup.

(Okay, I know this is Maine, but you get the idea.)

 There are charming shops and bistros and charming art galleries and charming vintage homes and it all looks a lot like the movie Baby Boom, starring Diane Keaton.  But.  I'm ready to get the hell out of here and get home.  I'm not a great traveler.  I like being alone for a limited amount of time, but I'm used to noise and demands.  Demands for rides, snacks, sex, meals, playdates and gaming. I'm HGTV'd out, and ready to hit the juice.

This morning at 9 a.m. I visited a quaint little local market and purchased a six pack of Diet Coke, Salt and Vinegar chips, and this bottle of wine, (which says "I will not drink bad wine".)  The clerk may or may not have been alarmed.  I looked at her, smiled, and said, "Breakfast of Champions!"  She chuckled uneasily and gave me my receipt.

I had a long day with the hookers, but they are mostly nice and very artsy and creative.  This show is being held in a historic red round barn in Shelburne, and it is GOR-GEOUS.

The inside is a three floor gallery - this is the third floor gallery, pre-show:

Tonight I arrived back at the hotel and decided to hit the hot tub.  I don't know why, but somehow I am always surprised when I see myself in a swimsuit, like "Hey Rosie O'Donnell, what's up?" and then realize it's me.  Shit.  When I go to the hot tub, I'm alone, but after I get in, I catch myself looking at every man who walks in with suspicion, and I have an inner dialogue going on.  An older, portly dude walks in and I'm thinking "Keep moving Jerry Sandusky", or a younger guy walks through and I'm all, "Look away, Ashton Kutcher, you dog."  I tend to assume every guy is a serial killer, and I formulate ways to defend myself and then kill them.

Whoops.  That's the wine talking.

This is my third night in my room, and at first I liked that I'm on the end on the first floor, so I could pull the rental car up outside and walk right inside the hallway and to my room.  However, I've come to realize that the smokers in the building go outside and smoke right outside of my window.  Super.  Now I have to figure out how to defend against and kill them too.  Effing smokers.  Can't you go about giving yourself cancer quietly?  (Sorry Mom.)  (And Dad.)

I'm also seeing a lot of commercials for chocolate.  It's like HGTV knows I'm trapped and have body issues.
We're getting the basement finished right now, and I told the contractor multiple times that I was leaving for Vermont this week, so if you need me to make any decisions, do it now.  Of course, he ignored me, and I've had e-mails and texts and phone calls asking me to pick a bathroom countertop! - pick a French door! - pick the bathroom door! and I sort of want to defend myself against him, but I'm not in killing mode yet.  But if he asks me about flooring or electrical tomorrow, it's over.  I'M IN VERMONT!  YOU HAD THREE WEEKS!  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, MY HUSBAND!?!

Current Husband has done well this week getting three kids coordinated.  (I had to put that in here, he reads this, and now he is probably alarmed about my homicidal tendencies.)

Well, Beavis and Butthead is on MTV and I need to see if it's the same.  This is what my life has become.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Mighty Heart

I like starting my blog posts with apologies, because then your expectations will be low, because Hey, She's Already Apologizing So This Will Suck, and then if anything good comes of it, you, the Reader, are pleasantly surprised.  I'm not above using Reverse Psychology tactics.  You're welcome.

I was going to blog about my friends again, but who the hell wants to hear about THAT?  It's just a bunch of drinking and personal exams by the OB-GYN on site and sex talk and health food and Bacon Cat.  And overage band members.  And the Seven Brothers table our waitress tried to hook us up with.  And boobs.

Tonight, however, I'm getting in a quickie (and not even calling it Whoreticulture Friday!) because tomorrow I volunteered to help the high school orchestra program put out Veteran's Day flags for the Optimists, and I have to be at the school at 6 Effing 30 a.m.  I must REALLY love orchestra, and Veterans, because I am not a morning person by anyone's definition.  I am dragging Oldest Daughter out of bed, and I am forcing her beau to get up and help us as well, which honestly is making me think he is a bit of a peach if he's going to help.  Well played, Freshman Boyfriend.  Well played.

What is distracting me tonight is Mariane Pearl.

Every year my fabulous book club babes go to this International Author's Event with The Women's Connection.  Last year, my friend Julie and I had a couple of drinks, and thought it would be funny to monopolize the photographer at the event.  Well, they had the last laugh when they decided to use a photo of Julie and I tipsy and laughing in all of their fliers, print ads, banners, and TV ads for The Women's Connection.  Tonight, we walked into the room and every table had brochures with photos of me looking like a braying donkey and her looking like the Head Cheerleader, AND there was a huge banner on the stage with our picture on it.

Oh, I'm sorry.  Did you think I was kidding?  But at this camera angle, I like the banner picture better.  When, oh when, will I learn to stop tucking my triple chin in this way for photos?  One of my high school friends this weekend took a picture of me, looked at her camera, and looked at me, and said "You know Jude, you're a cute girl but totally not photogenic."  I conceed that point.

While Mariane Pearl is speaking about the horrific story of her husband and Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl being kidnapped and then killed, the giant screens behind her showed Mariane, and then me and Julie, tipsy and smiling.

Normally, I'm not adverse to being an ass.  However, in this situation, it was a little...um...awkward.

But enough about me (not really).  Mariane Pearl was perfectly lovely, and I have a huge amount of respect for this incredibly smart, resilient woman. She has been through so much, and has seen so much suffering in the world, and yet, she remains hopeful and caring about the world in which we live.  Amazing.  It was a terrific experience, and I hope to see her speak again someday, because I'm so interested in what she has to say.

Of course, as part of my Author Stalker movement, I had my picture taken with her, but my damn Blackberry wasn't working properly, and quite frankly, takes horrible pictures anymore.  I look at all of my friends' iPhones with great longing.  Here is the pic of me with Mariane, but the photographer couldn't tell if the pic had been taken or not, and we both ended up looking away and then back and my upper jaw moved toward the camera and this is what I ended up with:

How does she still look so cute?  Why does the camera hate me so much?  Is it just me, or does she look like she's signaling for security?

More this weekend, I'm off to bed to prepare for flag planting before dawn.  I must REALLY love our Veterans!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All my Exes Live in Texas

Actual conversation that just took place in my house:

THE SON:  "Here Mom, catch!"
(throws ball at me - I miss it)
THE  SON:  "Um...try again!"
(throws ball at me - I miss it again)
THE SON:  "One more time!"
(Ditto - but this time I pick it up and try to drill it at his head, but instead I drill it directly into the ground two feet in front of me.)

THE SON:  (Cackling laughter) "Wow Mom, that was awesome!  Let's try a little higher!"
ME:  "CH!  The Son is making fun of how I throw!"
CH:  "Oh, your mom is a great thrower - you should see how far she can throw a golf ball down the fairway when she's mad."
THE SON:  "Did you do that Mom?  Was it the same time you peed your pants on the golf course?"
ME:  "Oh, I'm sorry CH, did I disturb your iPad time in bed?  Is it time for you to be rolled?"

And for the record, YES, it was the time I peed my pants on the golf course.  But that was because I was incontinent from successfully completing my third labor with CH's bowling-ball headed babies and my golf club sort of missed the ball and hit the ground really hard.  I also threw my golf ball down the fairway in front of a group of people after actually missing the ball three times at the tee box.  At least I kept things moving.

Last Thursday, I went to work for a few hours (MISTAKE!) and then boarded a plane for Austin, TX to see my women.  This was around noon, and I celebrated with some "Alone/Contemplation Time" at the airport bar.

Just me, George Washington, and some Blue Moon.
But then they announced boarding and I had to slam it.
And then I realized a neighbor was sitting behind me
and watched me slam a beer by myself in the bar,
and then boarded the plane with me.
All class, all the time, People.

Away we went to Dallas, and then to another flight in Austin. I don't mind takeoffs, but I just cringe at every landing. I hate that moment when the tires hit the runway, because I always picture them breaking off and then I'm in a fiery crash and I'm trying to grab my purse to exit the plane, because even in a fiery crash I'm probably going to take my purse. Do you know what a pain it is to get a new driver's license?

(By the way, I KNOW this text is all caddywompus, and I'm trying to get Blogger to change it and it won't, and I'm very tired and I'm not going to even bother pursuing the left-alignment any more. Please make a note of it.)

I found my girls.

Soon, an obliging bar table looked like this.

Our friend Liz arrived, late because her car broke down on the way to her flight in Denver, so she missed it, and got a later flight because she cried at the counter. Then she met a fellow on the plane, "Jim", who made sure she got to our bar okay. Hello Liz. Goodbye Jim. Better luck next flight.

Our next order of business was to get to a grocery store to stock up on food and liquor for the weekend. Instead, we ended up making faces and posing in the store, and went home with little food.

But a good start on the liquor.

We rent houses because we would get kicked out of hotels. We were lucky that our friend Paige has a colleague with a $3 million dollar house that he only uses a couple of months out of the year in Austin, so here was Home Sweet Home, RENT FREE no less, for the next few days:

We spent LOTS of time in that little hot tub on the pool.

Since the house only has three bedrooms, one person was bed-free.  I would have taken the couch or one of the reclining chairs in the theater, but Dee had the short straw that night and she CHOSE to sleep on the floor, which is fun when you're 13 and a real pain in the ass when you are over 40.  But when you're a little tipsy, anything will do.  Here is what Dee's Princess Bed was made of, no shit:
  • A "Congrats Wendy" graduation blanket
  • A slightly stained quilt that said "To Robert Love Dad"
  • A Texas Longhorns blanket
  • An inflatable alligator

You've got a purdy mouth, Alligator.

Keep in mind that Dee ended up with Bacon Cat at the spa when we were in Scottsdale, so there is a history of her getting short-shafted with animal products. She might want to reconsider her friend circles. We all know she's too polite to say anything.

The next morning, we discovered the house was attractive to these:

Actual dead scorpion on the floor.

I killed one with a rubber squeegee in the garage.
We also discovered that in the light, you could see into the stone entryway, and that in said entryway there was a little Casita, which in Spanish translates to "You bitches made your friend sleep on the floor with Wendy's blanket and the homoerotic alligator when she could have been in the nicest bed with a private bath in the house".

But then again, my Spanish is a little rusty.
The Casita is on the right. Oops.

Tomorrow: Bikinis, Booze, and Probiotics.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Distracted by Rap

People, I have a problem.  I'm addicted to celebrity tributes to rap.  And while I meant to blog about my fantabulous weekend with my high school posse, I sort of got all wrapped up in the Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake tribute to rap.  Now, it's 10 p.m., and The Wife must shower.  For the good of her family, her workplace, and the Nation.

Let me say quickly that I hope y'all voted today - CH and I figured out at 7:56 p.m. we hadn't voted and it's Election Day, so we left the teen in charge of the third grader in the bathtub, ran out of the house and drove the three blocks to the polling station (yes, we drove, but c'mon, we only had a few minutes and we are thick and slow) and just made it in to vote, which probably raised the turnout in our district to 9%.  But really, you can't complain about government if you don't participate, people!

Back to the rapping and the showering  - enjoy these, and I will post some drinking pics tomorrow.


They disabled the embedding function on this one, so you have to go to the link. Let's just see how committed you ARE to this, huh? Because I watched it, people.
Jimmy and Justin and Part 3

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Club 40 in Austin

In about 11 hours, I will abandon my children.
In about 15 hours, I will leave my husband.
In about 20 hours, I will be kissing a woman.
In about 24 hours, I will likely be drunk.
It will all be documented.  But most of it NEVER shared.

These are my women:

Skinny, pretty bitches, aren't they? 
And this is after about 6 hours of drinking.
But I love them in spite of it.

My high school posse of seven gets together every couple of years, and honestly, it's one of the most precious, important things to me.  We travel from Iowa and Nebraska and Minnesota and Colorado and Montana and Idaho.  They are smart, terrifically talented and multi-faceted people, and when we get together we aren't people's moms or wives or employees or bosses or doctors or designers or marketers or artists or corporate brass.  We are Julie and Paige and Meem and Dee and Steph and Liz and Jen.  People with histories and victories and tragedies.  I know every one of these chickas has my back, and I have theirs.  And they know EVERYTHING about me, which makes you feel a little sorry for them, no?  Do you want to know how much I love them?  Do you?

I would poop in front of them.

That's right.  Go ahead and cringe.  But if you are a woman, you KNOW that's a big deal.

Here we are re-living what was probably a middle school slumber party move:

Since I'm the tallest person, I'm always the heaviest too, so I spared them all the ER visit and didn't get on the top of the pyramid.  You're welcome, girls.  This was taken two years ago when we last met in a gorgeous house in Scotsdale, Arizona.  That weekend was such total and complete bliss, and we all cried when it was time to leave.  I've been so effing busy at work and with the kids and our basement renovation that I haven't even had time to think about this trip much until tonight, and I'm finally starting to get so excited.  It's the oasis in the desert.  With tequila.

Since my air travel experience wasn't fantastic last time, I'm sure to load up on reading material.  These are the two books I'm lugging along for my drinking reunion weekend:

That George Washington book is a bigun.  It is making me rethink my aversion to a Kindle.  There is just SOMETHING about opening that book and turning the pages and feeling the heft of it in my hands.  I'm a little old school about it.  But a Kindle would be a dream for the trip.  Maybe in Large Print. 

I briefly considered taking Todd "Hot Nuts" Epstein with me for the trip, because that cheeky squirrel is always up for a party, but if airport security took him away for any reason, I would just die.  I wouldn't get on the plane.  It nearly killed me that they took my forgotten mini Swiss Army knife out of my makeup bag.  I begged them to let me keep the tweezers, because with the Chia Brow I need to pluck every 3-5 hours.  I'm taking my muffin top because I have nowhere else I can put it.  I'm taking a camera and swimsuit and Prilosec and Aleve, and the rest doesn't matter.  Which is good because it is now nearly 9 p.m. and I haven't packed yet.

Au revoir, Wifers!  Have a great weekend, and I'll be back all full of verboten tales on Monday.  Or Tuesday.

UPDATE:  Oh bloody hell.  I got sucked into Property Brothers on HGTV, and now it's 11 p.m. and still no packing.  Up at 6:30 to get kids to school, still have to pop in at work for a couple of hours, flight at 1 p.m., what was I thinking? 

Damn you, Property Brothers and your stylish renovations.  Damn you to hell.